Overall, there were 243 American “Eagles” who flew in the Eagle Squadrons.
The first squadron, 71 was formed on 19 September 1940 and was followed
by 121 Squadron the following May with the final squadron, 133 formed that
August. Together the three Eagle Squadrons during the 18 months they existed
were credited with 73.5 German aircraft destroyed with a loss of 77 pilots.
In September 1942, the three squadrons were disbanded and many of the pilots
formed the nucleus of the Fourth Fighter Group, one of the top scoring
The Eagle Squadrons: Yanks in the RAF 1940-42.
Vern Haugland, Ziff-Davis Flying Books, New York, 1979
New hard cover in good condition, copies may be purchased from Paul
E. Kisselburg firstname.lastname@example.org
Kisselburg Military Books
12195 126th St. N.
Stillwater, MN 55082
Price - $30.00 US plus postage.
UK readers may obtain this book from:
Aardvark Books , 50 Bratton Road, Westbury, Wiltshire, BA13 3EP, UK
Tel/ Fax: +44 (0)1225 867723
The book is about American pilots who, from 1939 to December 1941, travelled
to England to join the RAF, or came to Canada to be automatically given
the rank of P/O and, depending on their flying experience, put on
a transport for England. Much padding of logbooks and flying school training
information was done to ensure a direct trip to the UK.
This exodus of young American pilots was encouraged by the recruiting
efforts of Charles Sweeny, a prominent, well-heeled American sportsman.
The Sweeny project gave way to a larger, better organized, program set
up by the RCAF. A recruiting committee was set up in Ottawa and New York
City under the command of Air Vice Marshall Billy Bishop, Canada’s leading
air ace in WW1. Bishop’s Lieutenants consisted of an American flying colleague,
Clayton Knight, Rochester, New York, a military artist and magazine illustrator,
to be in charge of recruiting, and a Canadian, Homer Smith, a cousin of
Charles Sweeney, was made a Wing Commander in the RCAF as Administrator
for the recruiting program in the U.S.A.
All this might sound reasonable however, the U.S.A was trying to project
a neutral status to the point they passed the Neutrality Act, which made
going to Canada to enlist a criminal offence. This turned Bishop’s recruiting
activities into a clandestine, underground operation, although much of
their relationship with the American administration was on a nod, nod,
wink, wink, basis. At this time American Lend-lease aircraft were being
flown to the USA/Canadian border and hauled across the boarder into Canada
by tractors or teams of horses so as not to violate the act.
However, to enforce the Act, the American Government placed CIA men
in Canadian railway stations within the proximity of the Canada/US boarder.
These agents watched for young men coming to Canada to enlist and gave
them the option of returning voluntarily to the U.S. or be arrested and
taken back forcibly. Many flyers tried numerous rail lines into Canada
before succeeding. It was also found more successful to travel individually
rather than in groups. Some entered Canada under the guise of Red Cross
The book goes into great detain on the operational history of each Squadron
giving in depth accounts of Pilots experiences.
Eagle pilots taking their Spitfires off for Malta
from the deck of the U.S.S. Wasp in the Mediterranean.
These aircraft were vital to Malta’s defence.
Those of us who served in the RCAF, in a “Yes Sir, No Sir, follow orders
without question” environment, will be amazed at the route one American
took to Eagle Squadron 121.
Hubert “Bert” Stewart, from Raleigh North Carolina, rushed up to Ottawa
in 1939 to join the RCAF. He presented his “doctored” logbook but was told
he would have to give up his American citizenship and swear allegiance
to the Crown if he wanted to join the RCAF. He returned home. In May 1940
he heard that the rules had changed and he need only promise to obey the
Canadian Government. So he went to Ottawa and enlisted as a Sergeant pilot.
Bert went to Camp Borden, Ont. and started training in single engine
aircraft. On graduation he heard that if he had Instructor status he would
have a better chance of getting on an Eagle Squadron. He was given orders
to report to Moncton, New Brunswick for instructor training on twin engine
aircraft. Before he left for Moncton an instructor told him that
if he took that course he would be training pilots in Canada for the rest
of the war. Stewart protested to the Commanding Officer to no avail.
At the railway station he met two American Pilots, who had been accepted
as RAF Pilot Officers, on their way to Halifax and overseas. Stewart
decided to go along with them.
The trip to Halifax and embarkation went smoothly mainly because of
the inefficiency of the embarkation officials.
In England Stewart accompanied the RAF group to its quarters at Uxbridge,
near London. He didn’t report in but lagged back and then decided to go
to London. At the US Embassy he asked what could be done to a U.S. citizen
in England without authority. He was told that he could be deported to
the United Sates.
to Uxbridge and told the Adjutant his problem. He was taken before the
Commanding Officer, a World War 1 Pilot, Wing Commander Castings, who turned
out to be sympathetic. The CO sent the young American to a friend’s house
until the matter could be sorted out. Three days later Stewart was posted
to RAF Operational Training Unit at Sutton Bridge. Completing the
course with above average marks he was sent to a newly established Eagle
Squadron, No. 121.
Some of our Ex-Air Gunners
Association’s American Members
Another American who came up to join the RCAF as an Air Gunner and
a member of our Ex-Air Gunner’s Association, was Lucien Thomas. Here
is Lucien’s story that appeared in Short Bursts Issue #35, September 1991.
L to R: Lucien Tomas AG 405 Sqdrn,
Larry Sutherland AG 207 Sqdrn.
Francis Surovick, Korean Veteran
at the USAF Air Gunner’s Memorial
I flew with 405 Squadron in 1942/1943 and have always had a special
place in my heart for the RCAF, Canadians, and all aircrew members who
flew with Bomber Command. Although I flew seven tours, ** the RCAF
seems to live in my memory as the happiest days of my life.
(** Lucien served in the RCAF, (DFM), the USAF, In Guam, Korea, and
I want to thank you (Short Bursts) for printing the notice of the USAF
Air Gunner’s Memorial that was dedicated in May 1991. We were honoured
to have several Members of the Ex-Ags from Canada in attendance. They made
a terrific impression on everyone and at the dinner following the dedication
ceremony I wore a blazer with a 405 Squadron crest. A couple of Americans,
pointing at the insignia, asked me what was going on. I commented, ‘after
seeing them’, I said, pointing to the well turned out Canadians, ‘I decided
to transfer back to the RCAF.’
In the interlude between the Second World War and the Korean War I served
as an air gunner aboard heavy bombers with the 19th bomber group on Guam
and with the Strategic Air Command. When the Communists invaded South Korea
I was determined to go there. My efforts were in vain until a friend who
worked in the Pentagon miraculously brushed aside all red tape and objections.
In early 1951 I found myself assigned to a Douglas B-26 Invader Unit
in Miho, Japan. The B-26, designed as a low-level attack bomber was equipped
with two remotely controlled gun turrets. The upper turret was mounted
on the top of the fuselage above the bomb bay. The lower turret, used exclusively
for ground strafing, was mounted on the underside of the aircraft. In addition
to the 6 to 8 .50 calibre fixed guns in the nose, there were 6 .50 calibre
guns in the wings and rocket rails. The aircraft carried a crew of three,
Pilot and Navigator up front side by side and the gunner in a compartment
in the rear.
The remote control turrets were operated through a periscope type gun
sight. The Gunner occupied a bicycle type seat. A heavy duty four inch
lap belt was all that held him in position. As the Gunner sat towards the
rear of the aircraft, he was subject to twice the G force of the Pilot
and Navigator. Unlike most gunnery systems that were designed as defensive
weapons, the Invader systems were designed for offensive action. Special
talent was required to operate the gun switches when the aircraft was in
a steep turns at high speeds and low altitudes.
In the spring of 1952, we were up on Mig Alley following the main rail
line North from Chonju to Siniuju. Wolf spotted a tell tale plume of a
locomotive: “he’s heading for the tunnel around the bend in the track…there’s
a trestle a couple of miles from the entrance…we’ll take that out first….then
we’ll work him over.”
He lined up at a 45 degree angle to the rail line and as the trestle
disappeared under the nose of the Intruder, he released a parademo. He
dropped his left wing and glanced back for a confirming look. He thought
his eyes were deceiving him. A second train had emerged from the tunnel
and was heading in the direction of the trestle.
He swung the Invader around and came in from the other direction. Light
flak, some very accurate, emerged from the railroad right-of-way and from
a flat car on the second train. Wolf came in on the first locomotive with
all 14 forward guns firing, and just before he crossed over the locomotive
he released another parademo. After making a lazy-eight, he came in from
the opposite direction and dropped another parademo on the second locomotive.
He told me to try to clear out some of the light flak with my lower turret
and then proceeded to methodically dissect the locomotives and boxcars.
We called in a RB-26 reconnaissance Invader to take photos. After they
arrived we headed for home.” Photo Intelligence studied and evaluated the
photos the next day and we were credited with two locomotives, 28 boxcars,
and a railroad trestle.”
In one of his books Lucien tells of crossing into North Korea, which
was contrary to orders, to do a low level attack on a Chinese Mig field.
It was a totally different war than he had experienced 1942 to 1945.
When the Viet Nam war came along Lucien did a number of ops as a Munitions
Officer. A real career Air Gunner and we were proud to have him as a Member
of our Association.
L to R: Austin Ayotte, Bob Lucadello, Lucien Thomas
With their B-26 “Hard Nose”
(Ed. I spoke with Lucien on the phone March 19, 2005, He is alive
and kicking and has written another book, “Never a Dull Moment”. Some of
this work deals with his time with 405 Squadron. I hope to review this
book in the May 2005 Newsletter.)
Bill “Yank” Poynter.
Another American in the RCAF
Bill had completed a tour with 69 Squadron, having got his qualifications
and training in Canada with the RCAF some miles from his native USA. Bill
was a skilled and experienced Wireless Air Gunner and was pressed into
service with the RAF helping to crew Beaufighters in transit from the UK
to the Middle East. He then took on the unusual role in manning a machine
gun in a motorized convoy of RAF vehicles and personnel from Cairo to Habbaniyah
in Iraq. When he completed his tour with 69 Squadron he was thought to
have volunteered for the Unite States Army Air Corps (to this day he does
not believe this), and suddenly, he was discharged from the RCAF and the
next thing he knew, was a terse demand for him to get over to the US Army
HQ’s to be sworn in. Bill did this and became a Private! Now, let Bill
tell the story.
Revenge is Sweet
“As a private I put up with a bunch of “loud mouth Americans, with one
very loud mouthed Corporal. This guy was a real jerk and I was ready at
any time to stomp him into the sand. Each morning very early, this corporal
would wake me up and I would have to clean out the inside of the incinerator,
take out all the cans and things that would not burn. They were called
‘clinkers’. It was one lousy job, dirty, and besides, this bastard would
stick his head in and tell me what to pick up. Here I was on my hands and
knees with hardly enough room to move. This went on until a date entered
in my log book, June 1, 1943, when I was given the rank of Staff Sergeant.
I was elated, not so much for myself, but what I was going to do to
that Corporal. I talked to the CO and he agreed that I would be put in
charge of the incinerator ‘clinker’ detail. First time he had received
such a request.
The Corporal came around at 6 am on June 2nd. and woke me up for the
‘clinker’ detail. I got out of the sack with this silly bastard standing
there, and put on my new uniform. He was in a state of shock! I told him
that I was put in charge of the ‘clinker’ detail and, if he wanted, he
could check it out with the Duty Officer. Sure enough, he ran to check
I located him, ordered him to attention, and marched him off to the
incinerator. Some of his buddies came around and I ordered a couple of
them into the incinerator. Pretty soon there was a traffic jam inside while
I coolly walked around checking things.
On June 4th. /43, I was flown out to Heliopolis, Egypt That Corporal
and a couple of his buddies were sure elated to see me go.”
My first contact with American GI’s.
In the spring of 1942 an American troop ship destined for Alaska, ran
aground just South of Prince Rupert. All the troops had to be taken off
and billeted at the military bases in the area. Aircraft were removed from
our only hangar and the area filled with double deck bunks. We already
had some beds there as four crews had to be on “ready” at all times, day
or night, and we slept in the hangar. In fact, when we first arrived, the
barracks were still under construction so many of us slept in the hangar.
In the morning we had to wring the water out of our blankets.
Blackburn Shark with Pilot and WAG – 7 BR Squadron
I had been on patrol the day the American troops moved in. I came in
from five hours sitting in an open cockpit of a Blackburn Shark being blasted
by slipstream and engine oil pellets, dirty, tired, and just wanting to
sack-out. To my amazement the hangar was full of noisy American GIs and
I threw my parachute onto my bunk, shook off parachute harness, flying
boots, helmet, and crashed. Within seconds there was a curious crowd peering
down at me.
Questions started coming in rapid succession. “Where did you fly,” “how
far did you go”, “did you see any Japs?” etc, etc. Then a young American
said, “how long have you been in, when were you drafted?”
I said, “I wasn’t drafted, I joined voluntarily.” This he found hard
to believe. It was before Canada’s Conscription Legislation so being drafted
was foreign to me. The Americans stayed with us until another troop ship
arrived from the States.
An American Civilian came down from Ketchikan, Alaska, to act as Liaison
Officer during the American’s stay. This led to the first time I set foot
on American soil. The Liaison officer had a wife in Ketchikan and he received
a telegram saying that his wife was in labour in hospital. Our Commanding
Officer ordered Van, my Pilot, and myself, to fly the civilian up to Ketchikan
to visit his wife, and then bring him back to Prince Rupert.
Van was an American in the RCAF so he was quite excited about drawing
the flight. We landed at Ketchikan at low tide so Van cut the engine outside
the harbour. Before we left we had stowed a paddle and I had to climb out
onto the pontoon to paddle the aircraft past rocks and obstructions. The
dock, towered ten feet above the aircraft. We reached the top by scaling
a perpendicular wooden ladder.
There was a staff car waiting to rush the civilian to the hospital and
he told us to wait at the Cafe on the pier and then take him back to Rupert.
Van and I settled into the bar and he introduced me to American Bourbon.
The first one, compared to Teacher’s Highland Cream, was pretty rough,
but they got smoother as we waited.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this was the
Bar on the wharf where I had my baptism to bourbon.
the war my passion was saving bar memorabilia.
The American returned to say his wife had blessed him with a son and
they were both doing fine. He then advised that his Department had given
him a week’s compassionate leave and he would not be returning with us.
Now we had to toast the father, and the mother, and the son – the President,
the King, and individual Sea Gulls perched on the pier.
By the time we were ready to leave the tide had come in so we could
step off the dock onto the pontoon. As a prairie boy the huge tides always
amazed me. Now, a number of bourbons on the ground are OK, but when we
got up to six thousand feet they really kicked in. We chatted and laughed
on the intercom. Van would shout, “hang on Moyles” and start throwing the
Shark all over the sky.
WAG’s cockpit with the seat in stowed position
In the open cockpit the Wireless Air Gunner was held in by a canvas
strap which was fastened to the floor of the cockpit by one bolt and on
the other end there was a large snap which was attached to the D ring on
the rear of the parachute harness. The WAG perched on a round bar stool
which swung out from the fuselage. It was alright as long as one didn’t
come down on the stool with the snap in the perpendicular position.
Van spotted some fishing boats and asked if I had anything in my arsenal
that I could toss out when we dive bombed them. I told him that the aluminium
sea markers would do the trick. Neither one of us was feeling any pain.
The aluminium markers were in 4” x 4” cardboard containers designed to
break open on impact and leave a large patch of aluminium on the surface.
Down we went on the first vessel. I hung out over the side fighting
the slipstream, marker clutched in one hand and holding my helmet on with
the other, pressing the head phone into my ear so I could hear Van’s command.
He shouted “Now”. Marker released. The violent pull-out feet above
the vessel tested the safety strap to its limit. When I recovered I saw
the vessel spinning from our slipstream catching its stabilizing sail,
and a patch of aluminium floating off the ships bow. After all, I was not
a bomb aimer!
I must add that one of our first duties at 7 BR in early ’42 was to
locate surface vessels, especially vessels that were running from the West
Coast, and notify the Canadian Navy.
It was dark when we arrived back at base and, as we had no landing lights
or flare path, Van used the shielded running lights of ships moored in
the bay. Nothing was ever heard of our shenanigans. I don’t think I ever
drank bourbon again.
Continuing the 7 BR Prince Rupert Theme
When eight Wireless Air Gunners and twelve Pilots arrived in Seal Cove
at Prince Rupert in December 1941 the Blackburn Sharks were being delivered.
A mountain was being blasted out to make room for hangar sites and H type
huts were under construction. On December 8, 1941, the existing RCAF
No.7 (Gp) General Purpose Squadron was re-named #7 Bomber Reconnaissance
Squadron. The day previous the Japanese Navy had attacked Pearl Harbour.
Radio aids in the North West Pacific area were almost nil so the CO
decided we should build our own radio tower in the bush overlooking the
bay at Seal Cove. This Bay was the Blackburn Shark’s “runway” shared by
freighters, Naval ships, private vessels, flotsam and jetsam, and fishing
boats coming in to the local fish cannery.
And who would build this tower? Why who else, the masters of all trades,
the Wireless Air Gunners! P/O Hughs, a Pilot with some engineering experience,
ramroded the job. A square structure was erected on four pine poles. In
the tower there was a radio transmitter, receiver, aldis lamp, very pistol,
and binoculars. Not that traffic in the bay paid any attention to our signals.
Of course the WAGs had to man this tower around the clock.
7 BR Radio Tower. Mel Livingstone, WAG, on duty
I enjoyed the night shift. Being in the tower at night you felt completely
cut off from the world. Due to weird radio signal skips in the Northern
areas, something to do with the atmospheric ionized layer dropping at night,
we could tune in Tokyo radio. We listen to Japanese music and Tokyo Rose
talking to the American GIs in the Pacific. It was amazing how she would
call them by name, unit, location, and even refer, by name, to their loved
ones at home, mothers, fathers, wives, girl friends.
It made one realize that the enemy had an efficient spy system. I guess
that is why the Japanese barbour and his wife whose shop was just outside
our main gate, suddenly disappeared, and their shop padlocked. They were
a nice couple and we used to patronize them.
To this day our time spent on top of those four poles appears to have
been an exercise in futility. The only time I fired the very pistol was
at a noisy raven, but he just hopped onto another branch and continued
to loudly protest my presence. I guess the project looked good in the COs
official report to Western Air Command HQ.
After Pearl Harbour a security blanket was dropped over the West coast
of North America. It was security to the point of paranoia. At first we
had two Sgt. Navigators on the Squadron but they had little to do as they
were not required in the Blackburn Sharks. One of the navigators was honing
his skills taking sun shots with his sextant. A Service Policeman saw him
and, thinking the instrument was a forbidden camera, confiscated the sextant
and marched the frustrated Navigator to the guardhouse where cooler heads
sorted things out.
A WAG took some pictures and sent them down to Vancouver for developing.
When the developer saw the photos he handed them over to the military,
and the dirt hit the fan!
It must be remembered there was no television with instant news as today.
Radio and newspapers only reported war news from Europe, and this was heavily
censored laced with propaganda. Read archive news reports on Dieppe and
you will find the media reported it as a great victory for the Canadians.
We were like mushrooms, kept in the dark and fed s—t.
One evening, Harold Penn, another WAG, and myself were on “ready” duty
in the hangar and, on the way to our bunks, we passed the Flight Commander’s
office. A voice called, “Come in here lads.” We entered but it was not
the Flight Commander, an officer with three rings on his sleeve (no names,
no pack drill) sat behind the desk. Between the in-basket and the out-basket
was an open bottle of rye and a .38 service revolver.
We came to attention and saluted. The Wing Commander put us at ease,
poured us drinks in paper cups, and proceeded to lecture us on, “not to
surrender to the enemy and not to be taken alive”. To emphasise his point
he picked up the revolver and said, “ there are six bullets in this gun,
the first five are for the enemy and the sixth one is for me.”
This man was a senior officer, approximately my father’s age. He must
have known what he was talking about. To a couple of nineteen year old
chaps, his word was almost gospel! After he dismissed us we lay awake in
our bunks wondering what was happening out there. How close were the enemy
– what did the Brass know that we didn’t? After all, hadn’t we been ordered
up to Prince Rupert before the “surprise attack” on Pearl Harbour!
Then there was the CO who heard about enemy snipers tying themselves
He issued axes to every enlisted man on the Squadron and ordered all
trees within 200 yards cut down and fox holes dug and fortified. The Medical
Officer was kept busy patching up axe injuries. And who was assigned to
man these gun positions rain or shine? Yes you guessed it, the Wireless
Air Gunners! With an average annual rainfall of 125 inches, this was not
a comfortable assignment. On the night shifts, to make this duty bearable,
we would smuggle beer out to our fox holes. One of our WAGs played a trumpet
while on watch. But that is another story.
After the Japanese task force, commanded by Admiral Katuta, consisting
of 2 Carriers, the Ryujo and the Junyo, 2 heavy cruisers, 3 destroyers,
backed up by a secondary force of 4 cruisers, 9 destroyers, a screen of
submarines, and 3 transports carrying 2500 invasion troops, attacked Dutch
Harbour in the Aleutians, on June 2, 1942, it was discovered that this
attack was a diversion and the main Enemy force was steaming South East
We were not briefed that this had happened. On June 8, 1942, twelve
Sharks were scrambled, we didn’t know why, with orders to patrol West as
far as fuel load would permit. Years later I read the book TRINITY by Leon
Uris, which explains the Japanese Naval tactics at that time.
“Our’s was not to reason why,
Our’s was but to do and ….”
As the conflict moved South, many of the emergency measures for the
North West Coastal defences were eased. Naval patrols and air patrols continued,
all ocean-going vessels were challenged with the signal of the day, identified
and recorded. Submarine sightings were investigated, including a Shark
attack on a submarine off Rose Point, Queen Charlotte Islands, on October
27, 1942 . Coastal artillery and anti-aircraft gunnery practice continued.
Blackouts were lifted, radio tower and fox holes remained but were not
manned. The Navy continued to secure the harbour every night with submarine
One night six WAGs and one Navigator, (all Flt/Sgts) in our one-lunger
boat, “The Little Flight”, were returning from a freshwater swimming hole
on an island. Due to engine failure, the Navy caught us adrift outside
the nets – but that is another story.
||Back row – Baum, Diakow,
Centre – Evans, Penn, Leonty,
Front – Stern ,
at our secret swimming hole.
Hy Baum and Pilot Hal Phillips, were
killed in the crash of Shark 524
June 20, 1942.
Just received the latest e-mail copy of Short Bursts from John Moyles,
in which you are seeking information about the Burma Hump exploits of 435/436
I recently came across this site - www.rcaf.com/1939_1945_waryears/
- and thought I would send you this URL in the event that it may be useful.
It has many links which I have not had occasion to view and, therefore,
trust that you will find it helpful.
For John: Thanks for the latest copy of Short Bursts -
Greetings to Doreen from both Carol and I - and keep the Short Bursts coming,
I really do enjoy them.
Good luck in your endeavour Don.
Plains, Montana, USA.
Very interesting issue, John. My John was interested
in the picture of the DC-3 (C47) which is the aircraft he flew. However,
he was not in the AF in WW II but transferred for flight school during
the Korean War. When he saw the picture he said, "Oh, a C47!"
I had a lot of bucket seat time in those when I was at Goose Air
Base in Labrador in 1951-54. I was the civilian Civilian Personnel
Officer there working for the USAF (Goose was not a "base for destroyers"
and the U.S. had to hire Canucks.) I was the only gal on the
base then on officer status. I was going out on a recruiting trip
one time and a Lt. Colonel was waiting to get on the plane. When
they called for passenger loading, my name was first and I overheard the
Colonel say, "They treat her like a God Damned Vip!!!"
Another time I was going back to Goose from Pepperell AFB (St. John's)
and there had been one heck of a party the night before. The crew
took me to a bunk up forward to lie down. When I awakened I was dying
of the heat. Seems the crew kept piling blankets on me thinking I
might be cold. Those guys were always great when I traveled, always
the only woman aboard. A crew member would stand guard if I had to
use the "bathroom," and I'd be asked several times on a flight if
I needed someone to stand guard. Because I was on officer status,
so indicated in my travel orders, the people at St. John's where we usually
had to land, and I often had to over-night, never knew what to do with
me. One time I ended up in the Generals' quarters which were pretty
austere with a two-way bathroom. No generals were there at
the time! Usually though I stayed with the nurses who always
were so friendly and helpful. It was one of the nurses who introduced
me to my first whole lobster!
Looking for information regarding Americans who served in the RCAF
Here is the e-mail address of Wally P. Fydenchuk who has researched
extensively the issue of Americans who served in the RCAF. He provided
me with some information on Harold (Phillips) which allowed me to do some
searches that eventually led me to your article. He is interested
in obtaining photos and any other information on Americans in the RCAF.
If you have such information, contact Wally at email@example.com
This evening I stumbled on your website and the photo of my father
Brian Layne with his 201 Squadron mates. I have a copy of that photo.
Dad passed away 11 days short of his 89th birthday in Matamata, New
Zealand on 25 January 2004. He delivered Sunderland ML792 (in company with
ML793 - ML795) between 21 October 1944 and 2 December 1944 and flew these
4 aircraft regularly until they were withdrawn from use and scrapped in
May 1950. On arrival in NZ they became NZ4101 to NZ4014 and in 1947 03
and 04 were transferred from the RNZAF to New Zealand National Airways
Corporation and they (with Dad as pilot) operated as passenger aircraft
between NZ and Suva in Fiji. He remained with NAC until his retirement
in 1978 when NAC was taken over by Air New Zealand. He had stopped flying
in 1950 and for most of the remaining years was in charge of Flight Operations
in Auckland. In all he amassed just on 4000 hours in Sunderlands and, because
he was a test pilot after his 201 Squadron days, managed to fly 122 examples.
During the NZ delivery he performed the second longest Sunderland flight
ever achieved being 17 hrs 30 mins from Mt Batten to Bathurst in British
West Africa. What I guess was Dad's proudest moment in 201 was his attack
on U-518 on 27 June 1943. Photos of that event have cropped up in many
publications. In all he engaged 4 U Boats, 2 of them simultaneously.
It appears Dad's closest mates were Dougy Gall and Andy Fairclough but
that is purely my own opinion. Can this message be passed on to his surviving
201 mates.I know he would have loved to have said hello to them.
64 4 232 5554
co-author SPANZ South Pacific Airlines of New Zealand & their DC-3
co-author Taking Off - Pioneering Small Airlines of New Zealand 1945
An emotional experience that leaves unanswered questions
In the June 2000 Issue #70 Short Bursts Newsletter there was an article
regarding a young man, Julian Monette, who took time to find, and photograph,
the gravesite of Gordon Frost, Wireless Air Gunner, my good friend, who
was killed in a Hudson crash Nov. 27, 1943, and is buried in New Delhi,
Julian Monette, a sensitive young man from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan,
was a member of a Canadian musical group retained by a hotel in New Delhi,
India. He graciously allowed us to print his letter in our publication.
Mom and Dad,
Here are the pictures of the Gordon J. Frost grave. It took a long time
to find because nothing here is was really in order, so I went to two different
cemeteries and looked through all the graves. Three hours later when I
found the name it was incredible.
I felt so good inside and it made me realize how important it was for
me to find it. It was truly amazing to think that I took a picture of a
person’s grave who meant so much to somebody, especially when the grave
was on the other side of the world. I feel like there was a shinning star
permanently above me.
Now, after it happened (the picture) I could do nothing but be silent
because the feeling could not be explained. I don’t know why it moved me
so much, but if it does this to me, and brings me such happiness, I cannot
imagine how John Moyles will feel when he sees the pictures.
Please see that he gets these and that it meant a lot for me to do that,
so thank him for me”
It is with great sadness that I must report Julian passed away as
the result of a heart attack while playing soccer in Vancouver, B.C. March
5, 2005. Julian had never met Gordon, and I had never met Julian, but,
due to Julian’s act of kindness, the three of us are forever bonded in
a shared, heart warming, spiritual experience.
Frost Lake 59o 19’ N, 103o 58’
Named in Memory of Gordon Frost
Killed in action Nov. 27, 1943. Age 21
Gordon Frost, Brandon Manning
Depot March 1941
You will see from the above articles on #7 BR Squadron, that your Editor
has had a severe bout of writer’s diarrhoea. This reminds me of when the
Ex-Air Gunner’s Association of Canada was formed in March 1983 and the
quarterly newsletters was mailed out. One of the founding Members, Jim
Patterson, assisted Charley Yule, Secretary, Keeper of the purse, Editor,
as Associate Editor.
On one occasion Jim wrote a lengthy article and ended with the following:
“So that is one adventure I had during my war winning years, and if
some of you do not send me your stories, I’ll tell you another - YOU HAVE
There are a thousand stories out there. Lets share them.
If you are looking for military related books a reliable contact is
More Bar memorabilia:
OK, how many can remember this watering hole?
Through my Ryze site http://www.ryze.com/go/gopher
I met a lady in California who operates a doughnut shop. Her Dad was a
Ham Operator and, when she was six years of age, he taught her Morse Code.
When she saw that I had been a Wireless Operator she sent me a page letter
in Morse Code. I was amazed how fast it came back. I guess it is like riding
a bike, you never forget. We have exchanged a couple of letters in code.
Comments by Pat O’Buck who served in the Royal Canadian Corp of Signals
during the war:
Corporal Pat Moyles
(All fan mail to be channelled through the Editor.)
“I read morse at 30 wpm at one time and now could be up to 15 in short
order. I have had my ham license since the mid-seventies. It
is up for renewal this year but I may not bother. Now it is mandatory
to provide a Social Security number and after all these years, I don't
see the point. Pat”
Life, after all, is just a matter of making memories. So lets share
some of our memories before they are no more.
Until the May/05 Page – keep well.
John & Doreene Moyles - Short Bursts Editors Sept. 1989 -