Flight Lieutenant Conrad Anthony "Tony" Selfe, DFM, was born July 22, 1922, in Comox, British Columbia, to parents Richard and Irene Selfe.
He enlisted on July 29, 1941, in Vancouver, B.C., as an Aero Engine Mechanic with the Royal Canadian Air Force. Posted overseas in May of 1943, Selfe was promoted to Flight Sergeant rank in October of that same year. He served with No. 425 (Alouette) Squadron before joining No. 426 (Thunderbird) Sqn. in May of 1944. Released from service following the end of the war, Selfe rejoined the R.C.A.F. as a pilot in 1951 and was promoted to Flight Lieutenant on July 1, 1955, retiring from military service sometime thereafter (date unknown).
The memoir in the Selfe Collection, written in 1990, is an account of the D-Day mission he flew as pilot of a Halifax bomber with the 426 Sqn., and for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM). The award was published in The London Gazette on August 22, 1944, with the following commendation:
“One night in June, 1944, Flight Sergeant Selfe captained an aircraft detailed for an operational mission. Whilst over the target the aircraft sustained severe damage. Both the port engines were rendered useless and a large part of one of the wings was torn away. The aircraft became difficult to control but Flight Sergeant Selfe released his bombs. Some height had been lost but course was set for home. When within sight of the English coast, the aircraft suddenly dived to 400 feet. The situation was critical but, by skilful airmanship, Flight Sergeant Selfe regained some height. As the coast was crossed he ordered his crew to leave the crippled aircraft by parachute. This done, he headed the aircraft out to sea before abandoning it himself. This airman displayed great courage, tenacity and devotion to duty in the face of perilous circumstances, setting a most inspiring example.”
F/S Selfe (Serv/Reg# R110459) survived the war; his Service Record is not open to public access at this time.
The awarding of the Distinguished Flying Medal, published in The London Gazette on August 22, 1944 (# 36665, p. 3883).
[Editor’s note: Collection reviewed/updated October 2022. Some additional material was added (the newspaper clipping of 1945-03-10), and the collection description expanded.]