A rare photo of Catalinas in formation taken during
They were sent to me by Norm Muffitt retired RCMP
his Father was lost flying one. ~ Ted Hackett
“My dad started out in Northern Ireland on Sunderlands with 201 Squadron
and then went over to the Catalinas with 131 OTU. He was reported
missing in Nov 1943.
This past year we have learned more about his life overseas in Coastal
Command than the family had learned in all the years prior. The group
I have been writing to in Ireland are without a doubt true experts on Coastal
Command activities out of Ireland. The one chap is a real wealth
of information and I know he would be thrilled to correspond with any ex
THE CRASH OF CANSO 9789
Ed. For non-Coastal Command types, add landing gear to a Catalina,
make it amphibious, Voile! You have a Canso
Sharon Brown, the daughter of the late Ken Brown is working on a biography
of her father and sent information regarding the crash of Canso 9789. Ken
Brown was the Second Pilot on the crew.
The book Sharon refers to is JERICO BEACH and the West Coast Flying
Boat Squadrons, by Chris Weicht. ISBN 0-9681 158-0-2 February
On page 125 is the story about the crash that Dad was in. He always
told it as the Captain insisted on going in a certain direction (about
which Dad reportedly had his doubts) and they hit the mountain after taking
off about a 1/4 mile of treetops. These are the crash pictures I'm
sending when I get my act together here hopefully tomorrow. On page 125
it says that Joseph "turned to the left" and when I read that I thought
that's got to be the same crash. I'd been looking for it on the internet
aviation crash sites but had no specifics. The plane certainly was
totalled as the book says. Dad always mentioned there was one person
killed who was in a small turret or something [gun blister]. The
book says it was Cowman, a flight engineer. Dad said he was wandering
around when help arrived and was told his eyes looked like 2 little pinpoints.
They suggested a short leave so he went all the way by train back to Mount
Forest (Ont.), stayed one day, then returned by train to Bella Bella, BC.
He said he was always able to get a sleeping berth by treating (bribing?)
the conductor right.
JERICO BEACH Page 125 – Category “A” crash 30-7-43 Alarm Cove, #9 BR
Squadron, Bella Bella BC.
On July 9th, 1943, the Squadron received its second Canso, #9789.
On patrol July 25th, her crew sighted a submarine 175 miles West of
the Queen Charlotte Islands. The aircraft was at 4,000 feet and made a
rapid descent through cloud to attack. When they broke out under the cloud
deck at 2,000 feet, the submarine had disappeared and nothing further was
The stations first fatal flying accident occurred on July 30, 1943,
when Canso #9789 left Bella Bella on an extra long patrol, but ran into
fog in Lama Passage and lost contact with the surface. The Pilot, P/O A.J.
Joseph, attempted a left turn back to the station. The aircraft, weighted
down with a heavy load of fuel, was unable to climb above the fog or to
negotiate the turn in the narrow passage. Number 9789 lost altitude and
crashed into the side of a mountain on Denny Island, on the East side of
Lama Passage above Alarm Cove. The aircraft caught fire on impact killing
the Flight Engineer Sgt. J.A. Cowman and injuring the remaining 8 crew
members. The Canso was totally destroyed.
Although there were a number of Submarine sightings on the
West Coast, the greatest enemy faced by the flying boat crews was the weather.
Your Editor had the privilege of being crewed up with Ken Brown on
Sunderlands at Alness Scotland and 422 Squadron, Pembroke Dock, South Wales.
Ken had a tremendous sense of humour. When tense situations arose he always
had a comment to break the tension. Maybe that was a result of the Canso
Carman Brown 429 “Bison” Squadron
Leeming, York. August/44
Do you remember your very first leave after arriving in Bournemouth,
trying to comprehend all those funny names for the English currency pound,
quid, florin, ½ crown, shilling, pence etc.?
Having teamed up with a city slicker from Toronto, named Alan Roach,
I from a small town in Eastern Ontario called Prescott and situated on
the St. Lawrence river, with a population of 3000 souls, we headed for
London and used the “Nuffield Hostels” as our staging point. We had a good
time taking in all known sites and dropping numerous little silver coins
into an electric/gas heater in order to warm our room. We all know about
London fog, London rain, London pubs and English currency. What a time
Our last day of leave in this great city found Al and I just cruising
around, not very far from the railway station, as our train was leaving
early in the evening. As Al and I were having a half pint (nearly broke)
– two girls, our age, sat down at the next table. Eventually, a conversation
took place and the atmosphere became quite friendly. Then one of the girls
suggested that we all go to a restaurant just down the street. We agreed,
as it was time to have a snack as it would be sometime before Al and I
had breakfast at Bournemouth
Sitting in this little dining area, I began to get very uneasy as the
girls ordered Salisbury steak and, of course, being gentlemen, we ordered
the same. I had had hamburgers – ground beef – beef stew, but never had
I had Salisbury steak.
Suddenly, Al had to be excused and headed for the men’s room or “the
Loo”. I was not too long behind him. Confined in this small room and holding
out our hands, the coins were practically nil. What are we doing ordering
steaks and no money to pay for them, we would be doing KP for a month.
Al locked the door to the Loo – stood on the John – unscrewed the bulb
– opened the blackout curtain – opened the window and squeezed out into
the alley – Carman right behind him. Off to the train station, hopped on
the train and away to Bournemouth.
Often I think about this event and of those two lovely young girls,
my sincere and humble apologies for leaving you in such a predicament.
Al Roach – wherever you are – please call Carman Brown
Phone (905) 722-9910
I later learned that Salisbury Steak is ground beef, shaped like a large
hamburger patty, boiled or fried and served with sauce and garnished with
TED TURNER AG 424; 415 Squadrons
The pictures of the Moth on skis are some of my experiences of flying
war surplus aircraft on my job in the North bush of Manitoba and Ontario
after the war hauling freight and supplies to the various settlements and
campsites up there in the winter and in the summer we converted the moth
to an Ariel crop sprayer. I have more pictures of the Avro Anson and the
Cessna Crane on skis also used by me on this type of operation. These Aircraft
where very reasonable to purchase and once stripped and converted were
able to haul a good load of freight in their day for a number of years
till they became obsolete and un-airworthy
Prices in Winnipeg, Manitoba, in late 40s early 50s:
We converted Ansons to Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior 450 Hp with Constant
speed props, and Cessna to 300 Lycoming constant speed props which made
a different airplane out of them. All of course where operated on skis
mainly in the winter.
Brand new Tiger Moth in hanger @ Bandon Man $700,
Anson, used $ 3000 ,
Cessna T 50 $1500
Anson and Norseman (?)
Tiger Moth post war freighter service
Anson post war freighter through thin ice
As I had something to do with the recovery of Halifax NA337 at
Trenton I thought I would send along some exciting photos of the move of
NA337 from the rebuild shop to the new display building on OCT 16/2004
There can be no finer symbol of our military heritage and history
that the Handley Page Halifax of the Royal Canadian Air Force. 28, 000
of the 39,000 bombing missions done by the RCAF in World War Two were done
on the Halifax bomber. Over 1000 Halifax aircraft were used by our Canadian
squadrons during this period when so many grievous losses were experienced.
Out of 100 Canadian bomber crews who started their combat duty only 24
would finish their combat tour. The other 76 were killed-in-action, killed-in-training,
or prisoner-of-war. This was the greatest casualty rate of any military
force in Canadian history, including the army and navy losses. The majority
of our young aircrew warriors flew the Halifax. And who had the lowest
loss rate in air combat of all the Allied squadrons of Bomber Command?
The Canadians of the RCAF. Who had the highest serviceability rate, ready
for battle every night, of all the squadrons of Bomber Command? The Canadian
For years after I personally discovered these revelations about this country's
air force warriors I dreamed, prayed, searched, and hoped a RCAF Halifax
could be found somewhere in the world to become a memorial to their excellence
and sacrifice. In my life's journey I have helped to find and recover an
RAF Halifax from the bottom of a Norwegian lake and recovered 3 missing
RCAF aircrew and their crashed Halifax from a Belgian swamp. I have received
the invaluable training from these two recoveries which will allow 57 Rescue
(Canada, that is you and I together, to complete our mission to locate
and recover RCAF Halifax LW170 from the deep ocean off Scotland. I hope
you will understand why I believe we MUST do this project for all the reasons
above. Think of these "impossible" technical recoveries that have been
done by our people and remember that first the impossible was converted
to the difficult, and then the project was successfully completed.
I would like all members and prospective members of our group
to please take careful note that we have had to change our group name slightly
as Industry Canada found a conflict with another corporate name in their
register. We are now officially called Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada). Please
remember that when sending in any cheques/checks for membership fees or
donations that these checks should be made out to the above NEW name.
The Minister of Defence of England, in late October, was asked for technical
and logistical help from the MoD to help locate LW170. Our Halifax
went down in a location which today is a Royal Navy exercise area for submarines
and it is possible that LW170 has been located in the recent past or could
be detected by sonars of the RN if they feel sympathetic to our project.
As our corporate and charitable entity has now been officially
realized the following volunteered have agreed to stand as Directors.
I am hopeful that in the province of Alberta, in light of the fact that
Nanton will be the home for the Halifax, that we can find the support we
need to get the project rolling.
James Blondeau (Ottawa) - Film Producer, responsible for the documentary
of the Halifax NA337 recovery and recovery of Halifax LW682 with her missing
Chris Charland (North Bay) - respected Military Historian and World
War Two researcher of the Allied air forces, 12 years as USAF public affairs
officer, published author, licensed
Clarence Simonsen (Airdrie, Alberta) - World authority on aircraft Nose
Art, Allied air force researcher, and RCAF historian
George Rosskopf (Ottawa) - Warbird rebuilder, talented aircraft machinist,
and former Halifax NA337 structural engineer, licensed pilot
These talented people have agreed to help HALIFAX 57 RESCUE (CANADA)
in these formative months as we begin our historic quest for RCAF Halifax
LW170. In the middle of 2005, subject to the formalization of our group,
we will be appointing officers and executive according to our needs and
Project progress report soon on our website at www.57rescuecanada.com
with some new developments being announced.
Best regards to those resident rebels of the air force, the air gunners!
Cheers, Karl Kjarsgaard
Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada)
L to R Al Colquboren, Phil Owen,
On Sept. 30, 2004, the remnants of a draft of 28 recruits that left
North Bay Ont. on January 3, 1941, as WAG trainees for the RCAF, met at
Sundridge Ont. Legion to open up some rusty hangar doors.
Of this group 27 became aircrew, most became WAG’s and graduated from
the 16th. And 18th. Entries at #1 Wireless School at Montreal. Two did
become Spitfire pilots. Eleven were killed in action overseas, three got
DFCs, one received a DFM, and one became an acting Wing Commander.
In the above picture on the left, Al Colquboren from Sturgen Falls Ont.,
now visiting from South Africa, after some behavioural cleansing at the
Detention Centre at Trenton, Ont., became a Straight AG. When Al went overseas
I went to Debert, NS. It wasn’t long before some news filtered back from
overseas that Al had beaten up six London Bobbies. But now we have the
straight Gen right from the horse’s mouth – it took six London Bobbies
to beat him up and he has a scar on top of his head to prove it, as well
as an entry on his Conduct Sheet to show he did 28 days at Wormwood
Scrubs. Anyway, he managed a 30 trip tour on Stirlings and, after a leave
at home, a second tour on Lancasters shooting down two enemy aircraft along
the way and earning the D.F.C.
Phil Owen became a remustered Bomb Aimer and did a first tour on 419
Squadron. He came home on leave and went back to almost complete a second
tour on 419 Squadron. However, with two trips short of a second tour he
had the misfortune of having to bail out and become a P.O.W.
And Don Macfie? Well, he managed to tally up 1610 hours in his logbook
over a period of 56 months flying, with a leave home from overseas in the
middle of it – and nothing ever happened to him.
Ed’s note: You are too modest Don
Carman Brown is looking for Miller W. J. Air Gunner WO R194068
429 Squadron POW #3436 Shot down April 23/44
MY FATHER IN ENGLAND IS TRYING TO TRACE HIS WARTIME COMRADE FROM RAF
BOMBER COMMAND 49 SQUADRON WHO PARTED COMPANY FROM HIM ON THE NIGHT OF
8/10 AUG 1943 WHEN THEIR LANCASTER BOMBER CRASHED IN GERMANY, RETURNING
FROM A BOMBING RUN TO MANNHEIM.
THE COMRADE'S NAME WAS SERGEANT MAURICE E SCARFE. ALTHOUGH A US NATIONAL
FROM LOS ANGELES HE WAS SECONDED FROM THE CANADIAN AIR FORCE TO SERVE IN
BRITAIN WITH THE RAF I BELIEVE HE WAS AN AIR GUNNER.
(If you can help Philip, send information to the Editor)
ANY INFORMATION WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.
MR PHILIP G COLE
From Ted Hackett
Good evening John. I had an e-mail from Norm Muffitt who asked
if you knew a chap named Allen Deller. He wrote a book called "Kid
Glove Pilot" about Coastal Command. On page 119 of that book there
is an account of how Norm’s Father was killed, apparently by a defective
fuse on some depth charges. I understand the charges blew up the
moment they hit the water. I will ask him if he has any more photos
that would interest you.
(Ed. Has anyone heard of the book “KID GLOVE PILOT”?)
E-mail Norm Muffitt firstname.lastname@example.org
I wonder if you might have a contact e-mail for the BC Branch of your
I'm the CO of 828 "Hurricane" Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Cadets,
and on May 7, 2005, our squadron and at least three others will be dedicating
a cenotaph at Boundary Bay Airport, the former RCAF Station Boundary Bay.
I gather that a good number of your members trained with #5 OTU, and I
would be honoured if any of them would be interested in attending the event.
J.M. (Jason) White
828 Hurricane RCACS
Dear John and Doreene Moyles,
I have studied your website with much interest and, in particular,
the April 2004 Newsletter entitled SHORT BURSTS. There is a letter from
'AC2 Don Macfie', who was stationed at RAF Oban in 1942, in which he quotes
extracts from his 1942 diary concerning the crash of Sunderland W4026 on
25 August that year. I have been interested in this tragic event ever since
first reading Sarah Bradford's outstanding biography of George VI some
ten years ago. I was intrigued by the sentence on page 456: 'The King,
for some reason, was not told of his brother's death until dinner that
night.' During dinner, the King, who was at Balmoral with other members
of the Royal Family, was asked to take a phone call from the Air Minister,
Sir Archibald Sinclair. The Duchess of Gloucester, who died a fortnight
ago, was present and recorded the event in her diary, which Ms Bradford
I have no professional interest in this matter: I am a retired solicitor;
formerly I was a partner in major British law firm (now Addleshaw Goddard.)
My father, James Gowans, served in the RAF during the War; he gained his
wings at the No1 British Flying Training School at Terrell, Texas.
He sailed from Liverpool on New Year's Eve 1944 for Halifax, Nova Scotia
and travelled on to Texas via Montreal and Chicago. Coincidentally, his
mother's family came from Wick in Caithness, just a short distance to the
north of Eagle's Rock where the Duke's plane crashed. My father now lives
in Cyprus and is a regular visitor at RAF Akrotiri. My nephew, Neill Gowans,
is a Flight Lieutenant currently based at RAF Brize Norton. I was brought
up in Wales, and as a child in the early Sixties I vividly remember going
on board one of the last Sunderlands - then a floating museum - at
Pembroke Dock. Ever since, flying boats have fascinated me.
Accordingly, when I came across Mr Macfie's letter on your website,
I was amazed to read his diary entries for 25 and 27 August 1942 and his
note of a meeting a short while later with the sole survivor of the crash,
Jack. In all probability, Mr Macfie is one of the few people still
alive who has any direct knowledge of the crash. For many years I have
been trying to piece together the events surrounding the tragedy, and although
convinced that human error was to blame - and not sabotage -
and that the bizarre allegations that Rudolf Hess was on board are nonsense,
I remain puzzled by the number of bodies recovered: the authorities stated
fifteen people were on the plane, and, before it was discovered on
26 August that Andrew Jack had survived, statements had been issued confirming
that fifteen bodies had indeed been recovered at Eagle's Rock. Moreover,
as stated in recent press reports, according to Jack's niece, Margaret
Harris, Jack told his brother that there was an unauthorised person on
I should greatly welcome the opportunity to put a few queries to Mr
Macfie. Would it be possible for you to contact him and obtain his permission
to give me his address, fax or e-mail details?
I look forward to hearing from you,
GLYN MACAULAY GOWANS
S'HORT D'EN PAU,
SEXTA VUELTA 6163,
WATCH AND WARN A Wartime Story of Canada’s Homefront Aircraft Detection
by Allan F. Coggon
Mahone Bay, NS
Price $29.99 Can. (includes mailing and tax)
When I read Allan’s book, WATCH and WARN, it made me realize that, where
wartime knowledge was concerned, I had “tunnel vision.” I am not alone.
One of our members joined the RCAF at the age of 17 and celebrated his
18th. birthday in a tail turret over Berlin. His knowledge of the war was
Bomber Command. In like manner, after flying off water for three and one
half years, my war was Coastal Command. Military training encouraged this,
“follow orders, don’t question authority, do your job.” This instilled
a solidarity and pride among crewmembers. I had no knowledge of what was
happening on the Home Front.
In his book Allan shows us that there were a group of dedicated Volunteers
back in Canada doing a job and, sometimes risking their lives, in the protection
of our country. The 30,000 volunteer members of the Aircraft Detection
Corps. They did far more than just identify aircraft. These Volunteers
consisted of farmers, fishermen, trappers, Hudson Bay out post workers.
Many children were recruited, as their eyesight and ability to recognize
a/c and ships were better than adults.
Member of Air Craft Detection Corps.
Binoculars carried at all times
To witness the lack of knowledge of what occurred on the home front
consider the following question, “what was the most highly fortified area
of the North American Continent in 1942/43?” Halifax – No; Vancouver, No:
Seattle, No. It was Sault Ste Marie, Ontario! Allan’s explanation indicates
how vulnerable Canada was to attack in this area.
This is a timely work as the thousands of Volunteers, like we veterans,
will soon be history. WATCH and WARN will help keep their memory alive.
The work of the Volunteer was to log all aircraft seen and report anything
out of the ordinary, e.g. unidentified a/c, any a/c appearing to be in
trouble, ships at sea, flotsam and jetsam in the ocean or washed up on
shore, debris or equipment on the beaches, or suspicious looking strangers.
The Observers soon found themselves contributing to the war effort.
In March 1941, the German battle Cruisers Scharnhost and Gneisenau were
only 350 miles South East of St. Johns, Newfoundland; Nazi submarines were
coming into the bays and coves on the East coast and dropping off spies
who, equipped with radio transmitters, could report convoy and military
movements. Submarine crews were also coming ashore to set up automatic
weather stations, or to pick up German PoWs escaping from Canadian PoW
camps ( I understand that they were not successful in the latter).
One interesting incident: a farmer Volunteer saw a man, carrying a suitcase,
approaching his farmhouse. The man wanted directions so the farmer obliged
him. After the stranger left the farmer realized that the odour he smelt
on the man was diesel fuel. He immediately phoned the RCMP. When the stranger
was taken into custody, a radio, USA and Canadian currency, and maps of
the Eastern provinces were found. After weeks on a submarine this odour
is hard to shake. This was not an isolated incident.
With the German submarines having free rein on the Atlantic Coast; the
Japanese entrenched in the Aleutians, (generating evacuation plans for
Vancouver Island); Japanese submarines along the West Coast, and the afore
mentioned threat to the Sault Ste Marie in Central Canada, the war could
have easily moved into Canada. We were fortunate that all we experienced
were the Japanese firebomb balloons.
If I was to fault Allan on any of this work it would be his less than
inclusive coverage of the Volunteers on the West Coast. Allan flew on the
East Coast for three years before going to the South East Asian Theatre,
on the other hand, I spent two years flying on the West Coast before being
transferred to the UK Theatre. So I guess you could call it
A bit of tunnel vision for each of us. The stories of these Canadian Volunteers
around-the-clock duty, and their individual stories, are fascinating.
As much of this information was considered top secret, it was censored,
and banned from publication, the average Canadian was not aware of how
close they were to the enemy.
I highly recommend this book. It is an important part of Canadian history
and, as such, should be placed in libraries across our land and made available
to the younger generation. If you don’t buy this book, go to your local
library and request them to stock it. Watch and Warn will make a valued
addition to your personal collection of wartime memories.
Reviewed by John Moyles
Coggon spent 38 years as an active pilot, obtaining his wings with
the RCAF in 1940, serving in Eastern Canada until 1943, and then doing
a tour with the RAF against the Japanese forces in South East Asia. Post
war Allan found a career flying for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. In 1993 Allan
founded the International Aircrew Association of Nova Scotia, and has been
Editor of their Newsletter TAILWIND. In 1995 he helped form the Silver
Dart Chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society in Halifax of
which he is now President.
Remember the Mess rules of deportment? In part they said that two topics
of conversation were verboten in the Mess – sex and politics.
It has been the policy of Short Bursts Editors, right from March 1983
when Charley Yule and Jim Patterson put out the Newsletter, that we would
not print politically divisive material.
I now break with that convention. I was moved by the following article
and felt I must share it with you:
FEWER AND FEWER VETERANS LEFT
Last week I attended a bittersweet event. The Saskatchewan Indian Veterans
Association held its annual meeting in Saskatoon so I wandered down to
meet my old friends.
Doug Cuthand – Regina Leader Post – Nov. 22,2004.
Over the years, our Second World War veterans have died off or have
become infirm. It's sad to witness the passing of a generation. Our people
honoured the warriors from the battle at Cutknife Hill and Batoche. They
honoured those who went to the First and Second World War. Aboriginal veterans
were even in South Africa for the Boer war.
One example that is unique to our situation is the paternalistic way
we were treated by government. The soldiers' pay was not given to the soldiers'
wives or mothers but instead was sent to the Indian Agent.
Correspondence, since uncovered, indicates that the government felt
that Indian women could live on a lot less than white women so pay was
withheld. The story goes that the Indian Agent would give out $20 per month
and invest the rest in war bonds. After the war, when the veterans asked
what happened to their pay, it turned out that no war bonds had been purchased
and the money had been returned to the war effort. As it turned out many
of our boys fought for $20 a month.
Other veterans received their veteran's entitlements from the Department
of Veterans Affairs. These programs included housing, education and other
assistance. Our veterans' benefits were administered by the paternalistic
Department of Indian Affairs. Benefits were handed out at the whim of the
Indian Agents and the trouble makers were weeded out. As one veteran told
me, "We were kicked off the troop train and told to get back to the reserve."
Our returning veterans were given little if any help and for years they
languished on the reserves. The other veterans got assistance that propelled
them into good jobs and the post-war boom.
The bitterness remains today. A couple of years ago, the federal government
recognized this injustice and made $20,000 in compensation available to
every veteran from World War two and Korea. The only reason the veterans
accepted it was because they were simply too old to continue the fight.
In 2005 Saskatchewan and Alberta will be celebrating their Centennial
year. Millions will be spent, many speeches made, praising our accomplishments.
However, it should also be a time of soul searching. No longer can we say,
“not my problem, let the politicians handle it.” They won’t. We owe
it to our fellow comrades to keep the memory of this injustice alive and
OK, off the soapbox. We want to thank those who contributed to this
Page and remind Membership that there will not be a January 2005 Page.
We will be back again February 1, 2005.
I wish to publicly thank my Navigator, who lives in England, for his
extremely generous donation to the Short Bursts Page. This has been sent
to our benefactors, the CATP Museum in Brandon, Manitoba. So, chaps, don’t
let a Navigator show up the Gunners, remember to pass the hat at your next
luncheon to help the CATP Museum, the sponsors of our Newsletter.
Regarding the lead picture of the Catalinas, I was crewed up on Cats
for a short time and we had a Flight Engineer by the name of Tommy Abbott
from Vancouver. When starting the engines it was Tommy’s job to sit on
top of the wing between the engines with a fire extinguisher at the ready.
With the ocean swell making the ship roll, heave, tug on the buoy chain,
and the ever present rain this was not a stable position. After the engines
started and the aircraft released from the buoy, the Engineer was supposed
to slide back down the wing, enter one of the gun blisters in the rear,
and make his way to the front to help stow the gear.
Tommy couldn’t be bothered with that. He would drop down over the front
of the wing between the spinning props and enter the mooring compartment
in the nose. Ok, go back and check the picture to see the route Tommy took.
This was routine until the CO happened to be watching from the slipway.
If anyone knows the whereabouts of Tommy Abbott, give us a shout.
Doreene and I wish you all a merry festive season surrounded by family