MAY 2005

Sgt. C.L. Brown, Prescott, Ont., Rear Gunner, gives a light to 
Sgt. F.E. McNally, NDG Quebec, Mid Upper Gunner. 
429 (Bison) Squadron RCAF, Leeming York, July 12, 1944.

ROSS HAMILTON (407 Squadron)
Note from Tom Proctor, 407 Sqd. Historian. 12 Feb./05 to Ross Hamilton.
Miss Christine Stradden, Donald John “Rusty” Haug’s girl friend, has forwarded the enclosed documents and has requested I forward them on to Cam Taylor.

With the circumstances of Cam’s heath, I feel the best way to get them to him is through you when you visit. Please have a read at them yourself but please leave copies with Cam. His memories of 1941/45 may be awakened. 

Sub hunting Wellingtons 

Letter from Christine Straddon

“Final message known of WO Donald J. Haug on a/c HF182(T) 407 Sqd. On ASP Bay of Biscay 9/10 November 1943.

.Donald’s letters from St.Eval ceased suddenly. The Squadron was due to return to Chivenor end of November. Aircrews were with out choice sent to ‘Gib’ – Gibraltar – hush, hush. I telephoned 407  Squadron at St. Eval, reaching the adjutant. My request was I  wished to know if Donald was safe and well. It was met with stony silence and I repeated my request. The adjutant replied that he could not tell me anything. I must contact relatives in Canada.

Donald and I were to attend an evening-dress function (War-time ball) at Barnstaple on December 2nd. I arrived with a girl friend. RAF and 407 aircrews also arrived. I was approached by  an RAF A.G.’s girl friend. “Donald is missing” but you won’t know that,” she said.

I went to 407 group and enquired for Donald, and was directed to an officer, F/L Green (I think) as “the man who can tell you.” He addressed me in a direct and solemn manner”

“They were on their way back. Their last message was they were ‘going to attack’. We have heard no more from them.”

I asked the time of the message. “Just around 4 a.m. on the 10th.” he replied He was very definite about the message.

I enquired about search procedures. “At first light but nothing was found.” I expressed my dismay – first light – not until 7/8 a.m. in the Bay of Biscay in November weather! I protested. 

“My dear girl, it costs 1000 pounds to train a pilot – everything was done that could be done.” I doubted that but said, “well, there is always hope.” “Yes” he replied.

Later he approached me and apologized – the chaps had told him, he said, he was too harsh in manner with the bad news to Donald Haug’s girl friend. I assured him I was especially grateful to know – from him personally,  what had happened. Such matters were top secret. He had been honest and reliable. And that is how it remains.

I would  like to respectfully link this note to that made on 407 notepaper by LAC S.G. Hopkins in December 1943. That important note was discovered by F/L (retd) John H. (Tom) Proctor, 407 demon Assn. Vice President History, in 407 Archives in 2001.

On behalf of Donald and the crew: thank you, indeed, Tom.

Christine Staddon, Devon, England.

Chivenor, North Devon, England, founded in 1056 AD, provides a section of the ancient cemetery as a final resting place for those who died on active service while serving with 407 “Demon” Squadron, RCAF – average age 21 years. The graves are tended by a local ladies group. Donald Haug and crew, as they were never recovered, have their names inscribed on the Memorial at Runnymede, Windsor.

LOVE LIVES ON  (From the Squadron History)

In the summer of 1943 a pretty young Devonshire girl and a Saskatchewan 407 Squadron Pilot met and fell in love. Names were Christine Staddon and Flight Sergeant Donald Haug.

On the night of  9/10 Nov. 1943 Donald’s crew flew in Wellington HF 182 on operations over the Bay of Biscay. They did not return to base. A heated battle was fought just off the North West coast of Spain in the early hours of 10 Nov. The action opened when a 612 Sqdn. RAF Leigh Wellington sighted U966 and attacked.

The U Boat fought a very spirited AA action, and sustained damage which limited their submerged time. The 612 Squadron. Wellington reported seeing another Wellington in the area, but was unable to raise radio contact. Two 407 Wellingtons flying on operations that night over the Bay of Biscay returned safely to base with no U-boat sightings. Two USN Liberaors finished off U-boat 966.

Christine has contacted surviving crew members (AA Gunners) of U-boat 966 and is convinced there is a possibility that Donald’s crew were involved in this action.

Christine has been an excellent ambassador for the 407 Squadron aircrews lost on operations  from RAF Chivenor, and regularly attends ceremonies held at the Coastal Command  Memorial in Plymouth. The love and devotion of Christine for her airman sweetheart lives on till this day. (Christine never married). Such devotion inspires the Squadron Editor to continue the quest to try and find out what happened to Wellington HF 182 and her crew in the early morning of 10 Nov. 1943.


The late Bill Hooper seated among his Prune mannequins
 The late Bill Hooper seated among his Prune mannequins

Nine months before the Battle of Britain began, Bill Hooper, a young “lapsed medical student” like many of his English countrymen, then to old to be conscripted, had volunteered to serve in the RAF. It was only matter of weeks after Great Britain had declared war on Germany.

Bill elected to fly with the RAF in much the same mood as so many cavalrymen who had formed the nucleus of the Royal Flying Corps in WW 1. He was a keen horseman in his County Yeomanry and fox hunt, and shuddered at the idea of taking a horse into war; and anyway, most cavalry now had tanks.

Much to his dismay, he was told that, with all the 18 to 19 year olds called up, and those weekend flyers, he was to old at 23 to go through for a Pilot. At that time the RAF needed Gunners for the “heavies” and the fighter-bomber Bristol and Blenheim aircraft. He accepted the gratuitous statement made to him by an interviewing Wing Commander who didn’t wear either the wings of a Pilot or the half wing of a Gunner, “If you serve a while as an Air Gunner, you may be permitted to re muster later for Pilot training.

After Bill completed Gunnery training June 1940, an RAF Personnel Officer, defying all reason, sent him to 54 Fighter Squadron at Hornchurch, Essex. Since 54 Squadron flew Spitfires, a trained Gunner was the last thing they needed in their single-seat fighters. When the misfit suggested to the Adjutant, “couldn’t I sit in someone’s lap?” that  gentleman said gently, “you are dismissed for intelligence duties.”

First Cartoons

First Prune which was 
Displayed in the Officer’s
Mess, 54 Squadron.

From the time Bill volunteered for duty he kept what he called his “Doodle Diary” which included drawings of a Prune-like figure. This led to the creation of a nameless, egg headed, mushroom nosed Pilot type in cartoon form, drawn to highlight Pilot mistakes Bill heard about. These drawings amused the fighter Pilots as they viewed them in the crew room or sitting on the grass beside their aircraft awaiting the next alert to “scramble” and take off to meet the enemy. Bill made enough drawings to fill an illustrated book of hints and tips for fighter pilots from lessons learned before and during the Battle of Britain. The book, “Forget-Me-Nots” was published as a ‘Restricted’ volume.

 Don’t forget to adjust parachute harness.
The enemy pilot was so fascinated he flew
into the Channel. Prune claimed a ‘kill’!

About this time a WW 1 retired Army Captain, Anthony Armstrong Willis, was commissioned  Pilot Officer in the RAF. Since he was known as an “AA” of Punch magazine, they asked him to edit and rewrite training material written by service specialists for a proposed, ‘light hearted’ training memorandum, with the acronym “TEE EMM”. Armstrong asked Bill Hooper to illustrate the document using the character, P/O Prune, from his notebook. TEE EMM with the first Prune drawings was published on April 1, 1941.

Bill used April 1st. a Prune’s birthday and picked 1922 as his year of birth. Nobody, least of all Bill, knew at the time, that first issue of TEE EMM which introduced Prune and his antics to the entire Air Force, was the first step in creating a legend that would forever be part of the RAF history. Ground crews loved Prune.

Although Pilots would never admit making any of the major blunders Prune committed in the cockpit; many of them remembered instances when they would have said, “there but for the grace of God, go I.”

Prune entered the Air Ministry, Kingsway, Telephone Directory.

Proud J. Miss             T405  1648                 Typing
Proud S.K. F/L           Y107  4247                D.G. of E.
Provost Marshal          MT 118 MT34*             ___
Prune, P. P/O               P602   2403               TEE EMM
Pryce  J.E. F/O            E1191   1741             M.A. 3
Pryce N.I. Mrs.            JB100   JB23             Accts. 15(d)

Prunamania spreads. Crew members, other than Pilots requested representation in Bill Hooper’s drawings. Bill responded.

Navigator – Freddy Fix RCAF.; Bomb aimer – Sergeant Straddle RNZAF;
Wireless Operator - Sergeant Back Tune (Scotchman) RAF;
Gunner - Sergeant Willy Winde RAAF;. Mechanic – AC Plonk RAF;
Armourer – Ernie the Erk, RAF.

After persistent pleas by the fliers of the Free French Air Squadrons in England, Bill created Aspirant Pierre Preline, as a relative of Prune and just as inept. He was seen in the Free French Bulletin.

Brian Gunderson, an American who flew with the RCAF for two years before transferring to the US 8th Air Force, met Bill Hooper and Bill’s wife Noelle, in a restaurant. Brian, realizing he may never cross paths with Bill again, asked him for his autograph. No one had any paper so Brian tore open an empty Player’s cigarette package to which Bill put his signature and the following Prune cartoon.

When Bill met his wife-to-be, Noelle, she was a WAAF. Noelle became WAAF Winsum in TEE EMM. Bill and Noelle had a son so, it followed, that Prune and his wife, WAAF Winsum also begat a son. 

WAAF Noelle Hooper

Prune, WAAF Winsum and son. (note finger)
“It was love at first sight,” said Prune

The “Orders” created for Prune became worldwide. The MHDOIF (the Most Highly Derogatory Order of the Irremovable Finger), in other words, the recipient of this Order had his finger where it shouldn’t have been and was not following correct procedure. Bill was in a Blenheim aircraft with a Polish pilot. They sat at the end of the runway waiting for the flare path to come on. Finally the exasperated pilot announced over the R/T, ’ello Saloon, Red Two calling. FINGER!” immediately the airfield lit up like pre-war Piccadilly Circus.

In Burma the Enemy used to locate prisoner’s of war close to military locations to deter allied bombers. On one raid a Squadron of RAF Hawker Typhoons spotted, written on a roof, “POWs JAPS GONE. The Typhoons returned to base but their commanding officer considered it was just an enemy ploy and sent the pilots back to attack. During the second strike a message on the roof of a building in large letters read “FINGER” The action was broken off. No Japanese would think that one up!

Faith and Blind Hope

Although TEE EMM publication was classified it was inevitable that a copy or two should have found their way into German hands. Bill Hooper received a citation from the German Captured Documents Department in Berlin for the Iron Cross to be given to P/O Prune for destroying so many allied aircraft! 

Anthony Armstrong had a contact in ‘Captured Documents’ in Berlin
and was able to obtain an authentic certificate for the award of an
Iron Cross Second Class. This was filled in with Prune’s name.
The story was then circulated that the Luftwaaffe had made the award.

Fortunately P/O Prune, WAAF Winsum, and the rest of their colleagues , created by Bill Hooper, will never die. They live in the memories of thousands of men and women who have flown in the RAF, and Commonwealth Air Forces, and those Air Forces of Britain’s Allies during the war. They think back with nostalgia and emotion to those days in the 1940’s when a nondescript, dimwitted, cartoon character created so much laughter and helped ease the tension for fliers when it was most needed.

One of Bill Hooper’s letters (21 January 1991) to your Editor, reads in part, 

“…….. On my last birthday my son, a namesake of yours, John Hooper, phoned me as he has done wherever in the world he happens to be as a Foreign Correspondence of the London Guardian – from a spot on the Kuwait border where he had been sent by his Editor. At the same time I learned that my 1940 C.O.’s son was out east as advisor to one of the Arab States and that (on phoning my /40 Flight Leader,) my old Squadron, 54, was in Saudi so all seemed to be coming together in an unpleasant way. A Pilot from 54 was one of the first fatal casualties here. Even so, I was able to spend Christmas with John and his wife in Madrid – he is still on tap to return………….”

An interesting point: in 1944 Bill Hooper’s posting to a bomber squadron came through – the Burma Theatre. Of course Bill at this time was indispensable, the posting was quickly rescinded. If, in 1940, that inept Personnel Officer had not erred in sending Air Gunner Bill Hooper to a Fighter Squadron, P/O Prune would never have drawn breath!

 Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada)    April 1, 2005 
 Progress Report  (Number 6)
by KARL KJARSGAARD  (Project Manager)

As the Allied nations celebrate Victory and remember the sacrifices of our veterans in World War 2 during the 60th anniversary of VE and VJ Day we will remember those bomber crews and personnel of the RCAF and our Allies who were the first of our forces to take the offensive to the enemies of Freedom. When no other forces could touch the enemy or get near him the bomber crews, taking horrendous casualties (only 1 out of 4 bomber crews finished their combat tours) were able to attack and weaken the Axis powers. During the dark days of the war these bomber crews, against all odds, went to the attack and saved the day. Whether you are Canadian, Brit , or American we owe our freedom to these young warriors. 

I am sure that in all of the celebrations pending you will see and hear of who did what and where for Allied victory. Canadians will be there in the back somewhere, quietly nodding as the accolades of other Allied nations are mentioned in descriptions of Victory. Remember that Canada had one of the highest percentages of their population in the military of any Allied nation in World War 2 and that the RCAF was the fourth largest Air Force in the free world during this time. And by the way, 1 out of every 4 aircrew in the British RAF was a Canadian.

Special mention must be made of the 7000 Americans who served in the RCAF who will be known as our "American Patriots - Canadian Warriors". They flew and fought with their Canadian comrades in the RCAF with over 700 killed-in-action. After much research Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) has found all their names and hometowns of those Americans who paid the ultimate price for Freedom. All 48 states of the USA are represented on this RCAF Roll of Honour with at least one son killed-in-action from every state. THE MAJORITY OF THESE 700 + ARE NOT LISTED ON THEIR STATE MEMORIALS.  During this project we will give special tribute to these unknown Americans and heroes who flew and died for Canada in the RCAF.  It is the least we can do for our best friends and neighbours.

LW170 going down. Help Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) raise her 

Here are the HALI-FACTS

Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) has been able to gain more support for the Halifax Project in special spheres of influence in Canada.

The Royal Canadian Legion was approached to endorse the project and pass on news of our special project to all their members and Legion branches across Canada. In early March I received an official letter from the Dominion President of the Legion, Mary Ann Burdett, formerly from the RCAF, endorsing our project. Further to this, "Legion Magazine" editors have advised me that an official announcement about the Halifax Project will be included in their May/2005 issue. Considering the national scope of their organization and Branches, not to mention the thousands of members, this is a very positive step for Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada). As Project Manager I have offered to speak to any Legion Branch across the country about the Halifax Project to raise financial support to locate and recover Halifax LW170. 

In January this year I spoke to the Air Cadet Squadron at Milton, Ontario about the RCAF, the Halifax, and the Project. The officers and cadets were most supportive and even made a contribution to our project fund. They suggested I approach the Air Cadet League of Canada headquarters in Ottawa to gain support for the Project. After positive communication with the Executive Director it was agreed that the Air Cadet League would endorse the project. All the squadrons and their cadets will be invited to support the Halifax Project as a fully bilingual invitation from Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) will be included on their official website. This is good news for our aims to include and educate the youth of today of the great heritage of the Halifax in the history of Canada and her Allies.

On April 21 I will be speaking to the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) chapter in Montreal about the Halifax Project. In addition the Airforce Association membership (Western Canada) is having their AGM on April 29/30 in Kelowna, B.C. and the executive have invited me to be their guest speaker at their dinner. I will do my best to gain support for our special project.

On the U.S. front Reverend Bob Bluford of Richmond, Virginia (a B-24 Liberator pilot with the USAAF) whose friend Mel Compton flew LW170 in combat is 110% behind this project and wants to make sure those 700+ Americans killed-in-action in the RCAF are not forgotten. We are going to have a meeting later this month with influential people in Richmond and Washington, D.C. to rally support for the Halifax Project in the U.S.  I am hopeful to meet with the new Canadian ambassador, Frank McKenna, this month to gain his support in promoting the Halifax Project as a possible joint historic project to celebrate the victory and remember the sacrifice of our RCAF warriors of Canada and the U.S.A. 

From the members and supporters of Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) we have received good support in the form of membership fees and donations for our Project and activities. The receiving of status as a Registered Charity in Canada has been an essential development for our fund raising campaign. (Charity Reg. No. 84586 5470 RR0001). We have and will be submitting proposals to several corporations and foundations for the critical funding needed for the sonar survey to locate Halifax LW170. This is in the order of $150,000 to $175,000, subject to currency fluctuations which are a main concern right now.

I would like to explain about the memberships and renewals for people who wish to support our project. As our group is fairly new and this is our first full year together I think it would be best if we make our renewal date be April 1 of each year, which is also the birthday of the RCAF and before tax forms are due. If this will be ok for our members and supporters I would like to ask that for the year 2005 that all of you who read this report would consider renewing your membership now by sending in the fees and any donations you feel is in order to help our project. To our member Richard K. we issue special thanks for your timely and generous donation to keep Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) going when progress was slow and bills were due.

Our legal bill for getting the Charitable status is mostly paid, thanks to the patience of our lawyers Binavince Associates, but we still owe over $500 to finalize the bill. The smaller costs of postage, phone calls, and raising support for the project by my appearances, as I travel about, we can cover from your donations and with some funds from my pocket. Your renewals and donations will revitalize our project progress.

I apologize for the overall slow progress to go after RCAF Halifax LW170 but I hope you will remain determined with me. There are several proposals from our group with foundations, corporations, and powerful philanthropic people at this time. We will continue to apply and lobby for one of these special groups or people to find the funds we need to go after Halifax LW170. She is a true international aviation treasure and the focus of our honorable quest.

I will close with a quote from Tom Withers, American air gunner of an RCAF Halifax, in a letter to his parents in Roseland, Virginia on January 10,1941:

"... to say goodbye to you was not an easy thing for me to do. However, I believe you both will understand that I could not well do anything else since everything that I, as well as both of you, believe in is now in a very precarious position. My training, inclinations, and whatever abilities I may have, seem best suited for the choice that I have made. And there is no question of serving Canada to the neglect of my mother country. He who serves Great Britain or any of its Dominions also serves the U.S. and vice versa. Our differences are in arbitrary boundary lines only."... Love Tom 

On July 27,1942 Tom's Halifax W1230 of 405 Squadron, RCAF, was shot down over Germany. He rests now with his Canadian crew in the Allied War Cemetery in Kiel, Germany.

Thomas Austin Withers name is NOT on the Virginia State Memorial.


Best regards
KARL KJARSGAARD  Project Manager
Suite 212 - 2980 Colonial Road, Sarsfield, Ontario. K0A 3E0
phone 613 835 1748


NEVER A DULL MOMENT by Lucien Thomas.
West Press 1663 West Grant Road, Tucson, AZ 85745 U.S.A.
ISBN No. 097401640-3
8 ½” X 11” Soft Cover – 296 pages with illustrations.
Price - $24.95 US plus $4.95 S&H

Lucien Thomas was a Member of The Ex-Air Gunner’s Association of Canada. He has written four books. Two, PINTAIL THREE and R for ROBERT, were reviewed in earlier Short Burst Newsletters.

Lucien, an American, came to Canada in 1940 and joined the Black Watch Regiment. When his transfer came through to the RCAF, his Black Watch Sergeant Major told him that the Black Watch did not release members but only gave them on loan for other military duties, therefore, when he went to the RCAF recruiting depot he must wear his Black Watch kilt – which Lucien did.

Lucien moves quickly through the time he came to Canada, joined the Black watch, transferred to the RCAF, trained as an Air Gunner, completed his training in UK, and started his tour on 405 Squadron. The writer goes into detail concerning his tour on 405 Squadron lacing his memories with “Gallows Humour”. Did you know that Canadian flyers introduced the black, tailless, Manx cats, to Northern Germany? Then there is the story of the escaping airman who was secreted in a Paris Bordello while awaiting escort into Spain, Gibraltar, and back to the UK. On the more serious side, Lucien describes how he came to terms with the ever present uncertainty of survival.

“Here’s a toast to the dead and the dying,
So hold your glasses high,
Here’s a toast to the land of freedom,
And hurrah for the next man to die.”

On completion of his first RCAF tour, Lucien turns down a safe instructor’s posting to transfer to the Yanks; the 9th Air Force, Bomber Command, flying Martin Marauders. There is an interesting chapter on his visit, in American uniform, to Buckingham Palace where he received the British Distinguished Flying Medal. 

After three combat tours, Lucien was rotated State side. He explains his reaction to civilian life:
“The cessation of hostilities brought a let down that made many combat veterans a breed apart – alcoholic, cynical, and fey. The peacetime ripped away the special bond that men in combat share with one another, a bond so strong that one has more in common with         those who have experienced it, than with a member of his own family. Wasn’t it Napoleon who warned, that one should be careful of war because he might end up enjoying it.”

This sums up Lucien’s post war attitude and explains why he re enlisted in the 7th. USAF Bomber Group, Carswell AFB, Fort Worth Texas. This led to a stint of duty in Guam where he reiterates many service personnel shenanigans aimed at embarrassing the Top Brass. More macabre humour. Back State side there is an account of survival training in designated enemy held territory, much similar to evasive training experienced by Air Crew in England during WW11.

After a spell at Okinawa, Lucien, through dogged determination, managed to get into another “shooting” war – Korea. It was there Lucien flew as one of the last combat gunners (excepting the modern helicopter gunners). Posted to 13th. Bomber Squadron in Korea, hunkered down on a bicycle sear in the bowels of a B-26, operating upper and lower gun turrets by automatic control, not for defensive purposes, as in the Halifax, but offensively. 

Train bashing in Mig Alley makes very interesting reading. Lucien’s graphic description of action in Korea and exposure of Brass bungling, gives a vivid insight to human sacrifice in that “Forgotten War”.

There followed a brief connection with the Viet Nam conflict and then service in Italy. Lucien retired from the Service in May 1968.

The roll of the winged Air Gunner faded into history a scant fifty years after Corporal Quenault of the French Air Service, flying aboard a Voisin bomber in 1914 shot down a German Aviatik. Lucien Thomas is part of that History.

NEVER A DULL MOMENT, written by an American N.C.O. from first hand observation, no holds barred, is a gripping read. The bold type and well-spaced lines make the book easy to read. The cover should contain a warning – “Once you pick up this book, it is very difficult to put it down.” 

Reviewed by John Moyles 

by Cynthia J. Faryon

Altitude Publishing Company of Canada
1500 Railway Ave., 
ISBN 1-55153-977-2
Soft cover 5 ½” x 8 ½” – 123 pgs. 5 illustrations.
Price $9.95 Can.

Cynthia’s work is true to its title. The author has recorded twelve Operational situations where actions taken by aircrew determine the heroic, self - sacrificing, acts of Canadian Airmen. In most cases very little or no recognition has been paid to these circumstances and they would be lost to history if not recounted here by the author.

Cynthia’s father, Larry Cramer, was the tail gunner on a Halifax bomber, 77 Squadron  where he was awarded the DFC on his baptismal Operation. In this account, as in the following eleven short accounts, Cynthia takes the reader into the cockpit, turret, and other aircrew stations, to experience noise, vibrations, fumes, fear, pain, and death, which in time, became routine. The Mid upper Gunner, Jimmy Coles, reacts to his tail gunner’s evasive action instructions to the Skipper, “ For God’s sake Larry, I can’t get him in my sights. Shoot already!” 

The accounts cover heroism during situations on bombing runs, ditching, submarine attacks, PoW, capture and escape, involving Halifax, Lancaster, Liberator, and Spitfire, aircraft. Every chapter is laced with gripping action as related to the author by survivors and documented through research. There is an account of a petit 22 year old French heroine, a member of the Resistance, who defies the penalty of being shot, to escort Canadian escapees through the heavily German patrolled Pyrenees, to Spain, and returns to her home in France to do it again.

UNSUNG HEROES OF THE ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE is a book that should be in School libraries so students can realize the sacrifices made by young men and women, not much older than themselves.

On a personal note, our daughter Elizabeth saw this book in Super Store and bought it for me. I was amazed to open it and see Jimmy Coles, Larry’s Mid Upper, in the first crew picture. Your reviewer meets Jim Coles and his life partner of 60 years, Marj, in church each Sunday. 

This work would be a valued addition to your home library, not to mention educational for your children and grandchildren.

About the Author:

Cynthia J. Faryon

A mother of three, Cynthia J. Faryon, is an internationally published author and freelance writer residing in Manitoba. Canadian born, she focuses her writing on Canadian content, covering topics such as travel, family issues, biography and history.

                                                                                           Reviewed by John Moyles


On January 20th. 1997, my wife of fifty years passed away. I was devastated and thought that I would never stop crying. But I decided, when I had her ashes placed in Oceanview Cemetery, I would return to the land of my birth – Canada.

We had moved to the U.S. after the death of my four year old son due to medical malpractice and we were pretty bitter about it. In 1996 I took out U.S. citizenship in order to get a better job. I didn’t get the job and, unfortunately, “Dual” Citizenship wasn’t offered.

So imagine my surprise when I was told I had to become a landed immigrant! In any event, I obtained the right papers and on March 17th. 2002, I entered Canada at Osoyoos complete with a van full of furniture. Ed Facey, a WAG from 407 Squadron put me up while I cleared customs, so he was one of the friends who helped me get into the Country. Ross Hamilton was another good friend who encouraged me to make the move and gave me endless moral support. Finally, Vern Flatekval, an AG from 514 Squadron, helped me get settled in Armstrong where I bought a small but very adequate condo with wonderful neighbours. 

Now I am waiting to resume my Canadian citizenship. I applied shortly after getting to Canada in 2002 and found that my military proof of birth was not sufficient and had to wait ten months for a birth certificate from Ontario. Now I am still waiting, but at least I am back in Canada and so very glad to be here.

As Ross Hamilton put it, “we’re a band of brothers” and I sure do appreciate all the help my fellow RCAF Vets have given me.

Eric Woodnutt – 81 and holding

I enclose a program from a “Ladies Day” luncheon held at the Kelowna Yatch Club by the Wartime Aircrew Club of Kelowna.

It contains something from P/O Prunes offerings – a thing about “Q” Code. I’ve completely forgotten any “Q” Code I might have memorized during the war, so I’m wondering if anyone can interpret the following. I wait with bated breath!


P/O Prune went into town;
Of beer he had his fill;
So when they asked him “QBA?”
He answered sadly “NIL”,

His comrades sat him at the bar;
“Now “QAH?” They said,
But ere he got a QFE, 
He climbed a bit instead.

He stood and shouted “QVG
And QTH precarious”
Then QFO’d upon the floor,
His language mixed and various.

Oh QFR,” Prune said. I guess
I QGH’d too fast
Control! – I’m in a ruddy mess!
A QGX please! Blast!

He then turned to the Bar Maid
Saying, “QDR my dear?”
She answered rather snappily
“That QFT’s right here!”

The QTR is “time” at last,
So QAA at mess?
“You seem to me, Prune, almost tight:
So QAK unless.”

 “You wish to QAL in jug
 And be a most peculiar mug.
So get your QDM for home;
Allow for drift and do not roam.”

TEE EMM September 1941. 

Anyone out there who can interpret this? Write your Editor.

Howard Elliot

I made enquiries through the individual (Steve Beaney, Financial Controller, Newsquest [North East] Ltd, Priestgate, Darlington, County Durham, England), to whom I mailed 200 GB Pounds on behalf of the Ex -.A/G. (Mb Branch), toward the Andrew Mynarski Statue.

He thanked me for our donation and provided the web site –
- so I could obtain more information.

Mynarski's final mission was from the RCAF base at Middleton St. George, near Darlington.  I believe this is near the Durham Tees Valley Airport.  Mynarski's grave is at Meharicourt, France. The unveiling of the statue is June 4, 05.  As of Mar. 05, donations exceeded the goal.

I'm sure if you log on, you find the info interesting and maybe additional info for Short Bursts.

Cheers.       Howard Elliott

Halifax AN 337 being restored at Trenton Air Museum
Picture taken by Lloyd Wright of the Trenton rebuild team. 
He was also a Hallie Pilot on 424 squadron. 

Good morning again.  This was taken at Trenton, Ontario at the site of the Halifax restoration in 2000.  They were still working on the rear turret but he asked me if I would like to sit in it anyway.  He spent some time picking my brain about some of the items in the turret. I think I answered most of his questions

Ted Hackett

One might call it Canada’s secret weapon. Some aircrew, usually the Tail Gunner, would toss out milk bottles over enemy territory. As the bottles fell they would create a whistling sound like a descending bomb. This was to put the wind up the Anti Aircraft Gunners. It is much doubted that they had any effect however, some bottles filled with pee, helped relieve the situation in the turret.

This picture was up for bids on Ebay.


On June ¾, 1942, Don Macfie,  Jack Richie, Bert Russel, ferried Hudson FH444 from Canada to Prestwick Scotland. Don has researched FH444 and found that, in August 1942, it was attached to 353 Squadron in India, and struck off strength February 1945.

Don wants to know what duties this aircraft performed while attached to 353 Squadron. 
If you served on 353 Squadron, check your logbook, or if you have knowledge of the duties this aircraft performed, please advise Don at,

Don Macfie,
RR #1,
P0A 1G0 Canada
Phone - (705) 389-2479


When the News Letter was a printed mailed out document (March 1983 – September 2000) we knew who our readers would be and from whom we would get feed back. Now, on the world wide web, readers are divers and feed back unpredictable. We find ourselves in various problem solving positions. E.g. having a small roll in helping a Welsh Lady find her Canadian birth father; assisting in uniting veterans with fellow crew members; and providing WW II information to historians and the younger generation. There was the video games designer in the USA working on a WW II Air Force game, who wanted information on how the mid-upper gunner avoided shooting into the tail of his aircraft.

A retired lawyer from Manchester, now living in Spain, is researching the crash of Sunderland W4026, 25 August 1942, in which the Duke of Kent was killed. This gentleman happened upon Short Bursts and read the article by Don Macfie where Don mentioned meeting the sole survivor of that crash.  This led to correspondence between Don and this gentleman, resulting in more pieces of the story falling into place.

If any reader has information concerning the circumstances surrounding this crash, or the crew and passengers, would they please contact Glyn M. Gowans at the following address.
Glyn M. Gowans
S’Hort d’ en Pau
Cami d’es Clot de’s Pou 6163
07669 S’Horta, Mallorca, Baleares
Tel +971 16 20 49 Fax +971 83 90 05

In the June Issue we are working on an article concerning “Short Snorter Rolls”
This was prompted by a WAG sending me a photocopy of a Short Snorter bill from 1942. .
Aircrews of Ferry Command and Transport Command, with staging posts in various countries, collected foreign currency. When they met other aircrew in bars around the world, they had the bills autographed, taped together, and rolled into a ball. Hence, “Short Snorter Rolls.” The larger the roll, the bigger the bragging rights.

If any member collected Short Snorter Rolls, drop us a line for the June Page.

We want to thank all those who contributed to this Page. Without your support we could not publish.

Remember to pass the hat for our mentor, the CATP Museum, Brandon, Manitoba.

Until June/05, keep well. 

John & Doreene Moyles - Editors

Please drop us some copy and pictures for the June Issue.
Keep well.
John and Doreene Moyles
Ste. 233 - 1060 Dorothy St.,
Regina, Sask.     S4X 3C5  CANADA
Ph. (306) 949-6112
Regional Meetings

Southern Ontario Chapter
Royal Canadian Legion
Wilson Branch 527
948 Sheppard Avenue West
We meet the first Wednesday of each month at the Legion hall 1:00 pm. 
No meetings July, August, September.
Contact persons: 
Ken Hill  ~  President ~  905.789.1912
Bill Cockburn  ~  Secretary ~  416.492.1024

Location - Royal Canadian Legion Br.#4 St. James Legion.
Date - Third Thursday of each month.
Time - Luncheon meeting (provide your own lunch).
Contact Member - Charlie Yule Ph. (204) 254-6264.

Northern Saskatchewan
Location - Lynx Wing Ave. C North, Saskatoon.
Date - Third Monday of the month.
Time - Luncheon meetings.
Contact Member - C.A. "Smokey" Robson  Ph. (306) 374-0547.

Northern Alberta Branch
Location - Norwood Branch 178, 11150 – 82 Street, Edmonton, AB
Date -  The first Thursday of each month.
Time - 12:00 hours.
Contact Members - E. H. "Ted" Hackett (780)962-2904 
or Sven Jensen (780)465-7344.

Southern Alberta
Location - Royal Canadian Legion  #264 
Kensington, Calgary
Date: Second Monday of each month.
Time - 11:30 hours.
Contact Member: Dave Biggs Ph: (403)236-7895
or Doug Penny Ph: (403)242-7048.
October meeting time moved to third Monday. 
Also there are no meetings in July and August, however, a Barbecue is usually held  at Larry Robinson's ranch in Okatoks during that time.

British Columbia Branch 
Meeting time and local: 2nd Tuesday of each month at 11:30 
Firefighters Social & Athletic Club, 
6515 Bonsor Avenue, 
Burnaby, B.C. V5H 3E8 
Super eating facilities 
Contact person - Dave Sutherland       Ph. 604-431-0085 

Members across the Country are encouraged to 
send current information regarding 
regular meeting places, dates, and Contact Members, to

John and Doreene Moyles, 
Ste. 233 - 1060 Dorothy St., 
Regina, Sask.     S4X 3C5  CANADA
Ph. (306) 949-6112


Members are requested to send their experiences, articles, anecdotes, pictures, etc., to John Moyles and I will forward them to our Web Master in Brandon. Articles and Last Post items will be deleted from the page each month after the designated Member in each region has had an opportunity to copy the material for their Members. Notices of deceased Members are to be sent to Charlie Yule who is still our 'Keeper of the Rolls'. 

This is your SHORT BURSTS with no printing or mailing costs, and no deadlines! The Brandon Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum has agreed to host our AG page. However, as it costs the Museum $35.00 per month to maintain the Web Page, it is suggested that each Ex-AG group contribute periodic donations to the Museum to help off-set this expense, and to enhance the work they are doing. 

We thank our Web Master, Bill Hillman, for his volunteer time and expertise.

Donations can be made directly to: 

CATP Museum Inc.
Box 3, Grp. 520, RR5,
Brandon, MB   R7A 5Y5
 Phone: (204) 727-2444

Read Them All The Way Back To March 2001

Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum

Visit Our WWII Nostalgia Online e-Zine 
and Past Issues Archive at:
As You Were: Contents
Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum: RCAFHMCS Prince Robert: Hillman WWII Scrapbook - RCNXII Dragoons - 26 RCA Museum

Volunteer Webmaster: William G. Hillman
41 Kensington Crescent
Brandon, MB  R7A 6M4
 © 2008 Bill Hillman and Ex-Air Gunners Association