It goes into great detail on how to identify, speed, and direction
of aircraft, both by VISUAL contact and BY SOUND. It is the latter which
Sound from aircraft is produced by (1) the air-screw, (2) passage of
the machine through the air, (3) the engine. The manoeuvre of the machine
will vary each and all of these. The resulting sound is therefore not constant.
Experience will help distinguish (1) the heavy bet of the loaded bomber,
(2) the constant drone of the fighter, (3) the “popping” of a light trainer,
but not between hostile and friendly aircraft. All twin-engine aircraft,
hostile or friendly, produce an intermittent drone. Note also, two single
engine aircraft flying together produce the same effect.
At ground level sound travels at approximately 750 m.p.h., or one mile
in 5 seconds.
360 m.p.h. – 1 mile in 12 seconds. 300 m.p.h. – 1 mile in 12 seconds.
260 m.p.h. – 1 mile in 14 seconds.
The text sets out in great detail, how to determine wind strength.
10 m.p.h. Light breeze, Light flag extended, leaves and twigs in motion.
20 m.p.h. Mod. Breeze Dust raised, loose papers blown about. It continues
to high wind at 30 m.p.h.
The direction from which sounds emanate can be best judges by “balancing”
the sound evenly upon both ears. The range of sound is affected by the
wind. A favourable wind has the affect of throwing the sound waves downwards,
thus increasing its range. An adverse wind throws the sound waves upwards,
decreasing its range. On a night of hard frost, it has been known for highflying
aircraft to be heard 20 miles away. Clouds can both reduce range and alter
direction by refraction of sound waves. Ground noises must also be allowed
These are instructions Air Raid Wardens and volunteers had to become
familiar with in their day-to-day duties, The book covers many more wartime
subjects such as, first aid to air raid casualties; how to set up a roof
observation post; enemy parachutists uniforms and weapons.
We thank Robert Henderson, proprietor of HOMEFRONT ARCHIVES & MUSEUM
For the loan of this note book
Ph. (306) 543-5822
Scott Fraser - A WAG with a very interesting and unusual story.
was born in Glasgow, Scotland on September 14, 1919. He emigrated
to Canada in 1921 with his Mother and two sisters. He enlisted in
the Royal Canadian Air force in Calgary, Alberta in 1940 and
had high hopes of becoming a pilot. His hopes were to be dashed however.
He began his career at No.2 Manning Depot in Brandon, Manitoba where he
was selected for training as a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner. The
next part of the journey is one followed by many a young aircrew trainee,
No.2 Wireless School in Calgary, Alberta, No 2 Bombing and Gunnery School
at Mossbank, Saskatchewan and then overseas to Bournemouth in the UK.
Like all aircrew he was anxious for a posting to a flying unit but in
January, 1942 he found himself on board the passenger liner Louis Pasteur
which had been converted to carry 7000 troops. Dave, and approximately
300 aircrew, were bound for Egypt to serve as Wireless Operators on aircraft
being ferried from Europe to Singapore. The Mediterranean Sea was
a dangerous body of water thanks to the Kreigsmarine and the Luftwaffe
so they were forced to travel the long way around the southern tip of Africa.
They sailed in a 22 ship convoy and the trip took two months. On
March 06, 1942 the Pasteur off loaded her passengers at an Egyptian port
on the Red Sea.
Dave and his companions were transported to Kasfareet a Royal
Air Force transit camp 120 kilometres south of Cairo where they spent the
next 3 1/2 months in a dusty tent city . The Japanese had by
this time captured Singapore so the job of ferrying aircraft to that locale
was cancelled. There was now the problem of what to do with 300 surplus
WAGs. "We volunteered to do anything , drive trucks, handle supplies,
anything" says Dave. One by one the WAGs were transferred to operational
units until only 24, including Dave, remained. They were awakened
early one morning and told that they were being sent to a Canadian squadron,
good news indeed. They loaded their gear in a truck, climbed on board,
and were driven north along a road that paralleled the Suez Canal. .When
they arrived at the Canadian squadron disappointment overtook them.
The squadron was equipped with Hawker Hurricanes and had no need for WAGs,
so they turned around and headed back towards Kasfareet.
On the return trip they passed an airstrip lined with USAAF (United
States Army Air Corps) B- 25 Mitchell medium bombers. . The RAF driver
was reluctant to stop so they threw him out and took over the truck.
The airstrip was home to 434 Squadron of the USAAF and the Commanding
Officer, Major George Gutru, was curious about his unexpected visitors.
They explained to him that they were RCAF Wireless Operators and unemployed
at the moment. The Major was excited at this bit of news and invited
them to lunch, pork and beans, Spam, white bread and coffee, much better
fare than they had been used to these past few months. They told
the Major of their posting problems and of their desire to be employed
at their trade, he in turn told them of his problem. The radio
Operators on his squadron didn't know British wireless procedures and couldn't
identify themselves to the troops on the ground. Whenever they flew over
British positions they were fired on, a very dangerous situation.
It would appear that aircraft identification was not a high priority with
the 8th. Army. Dave Fraser and his companions knew the proper procedures
of course and they suggested that they fly with the B-25 crews on their
operational sorties. The CO was more than happy to accept this offer
and the Canadians moved in to the USAAF camp. The camp was a paradise
apparently, good food, folding cots, pillows and even mosquito netting,
something unknown at Kasfareet. There was some question regarding
pay, however, they had their Pay Books and a visit to the nearest British
Paymaster would result in them being paid in cash. This, of course,
is what they did.
This band of Canadians had arrived at a pivotal time in the Desert war.
The Battle of El Alamein began on October 23, 1942 and Dave had a front
row seat. His position in the aircraft, just behind the bomb
bay, came complete with a window. It was like looking down at a table
top with toy tanks and vehicles scattered about is how Dave described it.
Throughout the campaign the B-25s operated between 5000 feet and 8000 feet
and that made them easy targets for German flak and the Canadians began
to take casualties. Three aircraft were shot down and one Canadian
was killed and two became POWs.
Dave's aircraft didn't escape unscathed, on one operation an 88mm shell
tore a hole in the fuselage, the dinghy flew out of its storage and wrapped
itself around the fin and rudder. They flew back to Base with the
dinghy flapping in the slipstream. On April 06, 1943 they suffered severe
damage from flak, the instruments and radio ceased to function and one
engine began to fail. The hydraulic system was damaged with the result
that the bomb bay doors remained open. Hearing a cry for help Dave
went forward through the open bomb bay and found two injured crewmen.
The Co-pilot came back with the first aid kit and he and Dave attended
to the two injured crewmen. The Co-pilot then returned to the cockpit
to assist in flying the aircraft. With no hydraulics Dave and the
Gunner had to crank the undercarriage down by hand. On reaching Base
the Pilot, Captain Carl Killian, had to make the initial landing on two
wheels because one tire had been blown out by shrapnel. The two wounded
crewmen survived their injuries and were repatriated to the U.S.A.
The squadron moved to Sicily where Montgomery's 8th. Army was moving
north from Catania toward Messina. Things were getting better for
the Canadians, on days when they were not flying, they would borrow a Jeep,
pick up some Canadian nurses from No.5 General Hospital near Catania and
spend a pleasant day in the country. They had informed the authorities
where they were and what they were doing and they were advised to report
to the nearest RAF Base when the USAAF was finished with them.
During this time Dave had acquired a small white puppy which he Christened
"Muggs". The pup accompanied Dave on seven operations lying on his
personal towel on the floor near the ROs seat. On one trip, when
the flak began to shake the aircraft, Muggs got up off his towel and, with
tail wagging, walked over to Dave. At that moment a shell fragment
came through the floor of the aircraft and tore through the towel.
The pup licked Dave's hand then went back to the torn towel to lie down.
Do dogs have a 6th. sense? We wonder.
In September, 1943 Dave had completed the required tour of 50 operations
for B25 crews. He packed his bags and headed for Egypt where he was
booked on a troopship to Canada. He was discharged from the RCAF
on October 23, 1945 and married the love of his life, Dorothy on December
08, 1945. He worked in finance throughout his career on civy
street and became National Credit Manager for Western Supplies limited
until his retirement in 1984. He and Dorothy spent 12 years on Vancouver
Island fishing, gardening, and enjoying the company of friends. In 1999
they returned to Edmonton, Alberta to be close to family. Dave joined
the local Ex-Air Gunners Association in 2002 after getting an invitation
from Svend Jensen. He was a regular at the monthly luncheons and
other functions and quickly made many new friends.
On February 04, 2006 Dave and Dorothy flew down to Mexico for a vacation
with Dave's sister and her husband. This was the second such holiday
in two years and was to celebrate their 60 years of happy marriage.
On the morning of February 11, Dave suffered a massive heart attack and
passed away at the age of 86. The local Air gunners were well represented
at a reception in his honour at his home on February 25, 2006. We
shall miss him at the table and his big smile as he, once again, won the
Westlawn Memorial Garden in West Edmonton is constructing a Veterans
Memorial Wall, their Year of the Veteran project, and the name David Scott
Fraser will be on it alongside many other young men who volunteered to
serve their country in time of need.
The information in this article was supplied by Dorothy Fraser and we
are most grateful to her for sharing it with us.
Biography: Earle Stewart Rheaume RCAF
431 (Iroquois) Squadron.
20, 1914 my dad was born in Ottawa Ontario, to Lillian and Eddie Rheaume.
Dad attended Devonshire Public School, where he was awarded the Certificate
of Honour, after completing his third year in 1926-27. Dad graduated
with honours, from Glebe Collegiate in 1932.
Dad met his later to be wife, at a Saturday evening church dance.
Dad asked the then, Dorothy Ristow for a dance, she agreed, and they danced
together, the remainder of the evening.
Their courtship eventual led them to elope and marrying in a civil ceremony
on January 31, 1936. Their two best friends attended. The four celebrated
with dinner, drinks and dancing.
Those were the depression years where rationing, unemployment and tough
times touched most families, including dad and moms.
Dad would take on any employment that he could find. He was happy to
do so, and worked at the Clark Dairy Limited and later the Ferris Transfer.
Their first son Graham, was born on August 10th 1936 at the Salvation
Army Grace Hospital. Graham died at 4 ½ years, of End Stage Nephritis,
on March 23rd 1941.
I (Earle) their second son, was born some three months later, on June
27th also at the Salvation Army Grace Hospital.
Dad’s last time with son Earl ~ Dad’s
Dad applied for enlistment in the RCAF on November 28, 1940. He met
all qualifications for Aircrew duties – either as a Pilot, Observer or
Wireless Operator Air Gunner. He enlisted in June 1941, receiving his training
at No. 1 Wireless School at Montreal; Manning Pool, Toronto; Camp Borden
and Fingal, where he received his air gunner’s wing in June 1942. He arrived
overseas one month later joining up with RCAF Squadron 431 (Iroquois).
June 12 1943 at 2:45 AM – Wellington HE 392 Crashed:
While returning to home base at Burn Yorkshire, England, from a bombing
raid on Dusseldorf, Earl and his four crew members aboard their Wellington
HE 392 bomber, were attacked by a German Night Fighter. The Wellington
was last seen in flames and diving toward the earth. It crashed on the
land of Mr. Komen at Schagen Netherlands.
The remains of only one of the five-member crew was recovered and buried
the same day: Dad (Grave #183, Row 10, in Petten, District Zype). The bodies
of the other four-crew members were not recovered.
Royal Netherlands Air Force Aircraft Recovery Team (ARG):
On September 10, 1991 the Royal Netherlands Air Force Aircraft Recovery
Team (ARG) began carrying out excavations at the crash site, and discovered
the remains of the four missing crew.
Together again after fifty years:
On June 16, 1993 a full military funeral honours, including British,
Netherlands and Canadian military and officials, reunited the four-crew
members with my dad, after fifty years of separation.
L C Scott
“I knew the whole of this crew well, as it is my custom to see them
off at night and very often meet them on their return in the morning.
Earl, I knew particularly well, as he very often played the piano
for me at my church services and was always very ready and willing to do
so. Also his gift for playing the piano was a valuable asset to us here,
both in the Concert party and also at dances”.
Members of the crew of Wellington HE 392
Squadron Leader W E Mulford RAF (Pilot)
Flying Officer C A MacDougal RCAF (Navigator)
Warrant Officer 11 J G Breen RCAF (Bomb Aimer)
Flight Sergeant E S Rheaume RCAF (Air Gunner)
Sergeant J R Bell RAF(VR) (Wireless Operator/Air Gunner)
See More of the Earle Rheaume RCAF Bio in the May
2006 edition of Bill Hillman's As You Were . . .
the Rear View Mirror
by Charley Yule
Charley Yule 192 Squadron, 100 Group
FINAL NATIONAL REUNION held in Edmonton in the fall of 2000, when the decision
was made to disband, quite a change took place in my involvement with the
Association. Having served as Founding Member from it’s inception in 1983,
as well as acting as Secretary/Treasurer and sometimes Editor of our Newsletter,
it was a bit difficult to dis-associate myself from the Ex Air Gunner’s
Association. There was also a big change in my health, but once I returned
to my home and, with the aid of a good doctor, doing my best to follow
his advice I have now made it to 2006 and am doing not too badly, but began
to feel ‘old’!
It was with a great deal of pride and satisfaction that 17 years after
the formation of our Association - we could claim that 1267 former Air
Gunners and Wireless Air Gunners who had served during WWII on Squadrons
in the RAF and RCAF had taken the step to become members of our
group. This number included those from former Commonwealth countries, many
of whom trained in Canada as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training
Plan. It also included volunteers into the RCAF of citizens of the United
States of America, prior to that countries entry into WWII (two years after
it began). These individuals felt that standing up to the Axis powers to
keep them and their ideals out of our part of the world, was a worthwhile
Of course, at that time, many in North America felt safe in their beds
with the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans standing between them and the continents
of Europe and Asia - but in today’s world this has proven to be false security!!!
Having become a widower in 1994, I sold my home and property near Pine
Falls, Manitoba and, in 1997, moved into the thriving metropolis of Winnipeg,
Manitoba to become an Apartment dweller.
My only commitment to the Newsletter now, aside from reading it, is
to act as ‘Obituary Writer’ for any former members of our Ex Air Gunner’s
Association whose passing has been made known to me.
You can contact me using the following means:
PLEASE NOTE: I need your help in this regard!
Surface/Air Mail: 1113 - 70 Whellams Lane, Winnipeg, MB
by Phone - (204) 254-6264; or via Computer E-Mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Through the use of the Original Membership Application Forms (which
I have retained as past Secretary/Treasurer of our Association, and treat
as Historic Documents), plus using any information provided by the family
or informant, I attempt to produce a suitable (hopefully) Obit. Other than
that I just sit back and wait for John Moyles and Bill Hillman to churn
out the next Edition of our Electronic Newsletter: SHORT BURSTS.
Since disbanding in 2000 some of us (notably Doug Penny and John Moyles
for starters) decided to try establishing a Website on the World Wide Web
of the Computer Age Network, with the idea of trying to keep in touch with
our former members as well as anyone else in any part of the world who
might be interested, and who had access to a computer.
The help of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, Inc.,
in Brandon, Manitoba as well as Bill Hillman, whose expertise was
key, was sought and obtained - and so began the Ex Air Gunner’s Internet
Version of our Newsletter, "SHORT BURSTS" - (Air Gunner Training
stressed: Conserve Ammunition: Make only ‘Short Bursts’).
The Site is Available FREE OF CHARGE, ON A MONTHLY BASIS
on the Internet, using the following address:
I have followed Karl Kjarsgaard’s exploits in the raising of the Halifax
MkVII, NA337 from a Norwegian Lake with great interest, and attended (in
the company of one of my two daughter’s) the Dedication Ceremony of this
re-assembled aircraft at Trenton (Ontario) CFB in November 2005.
I also attended the ‘Tribute to Air Gunners Day’ held at the Museum
in Nanton, Alberta in the fall of 2004. On this occasion I was happy to
be accompanied by both of my daughters who happen to be residents of that
province. This turned out to be one of the largest turnouts of the Museum’s
annual Fund Raising activities over the past several years. It was fun,
and I was delighted reconnect with many of our former members and Airforce
friends and also to learn that another Halifax Bomber (LW170) may have
been located in the Irish Sea. Karl is presently following up on the possible
recover of this aircraft.
If successful it is anticipated this machine will become part of the
display at the Nanton (Alberta) Museum.
We are now in our SIXTH YEAR of publishing the Electronic version of
SHORT BURSTS, and know that a cord has been struck with many of our former
members - as well as many others in the mysterious world of the Internet,
who have been seeking information about their family members who had served
but had either perished in the war or had left no details of their time
spent in wartime service. John does his best to try to help in this regard
- sometimes with success and sometimes without.
We would encourage your support of this venture by keeping our EDITOR,
JOHN MOYLES, happy by spreading the word to your friends and comrades
and anyone else who might be interested in viewing the Web Page. Tell them
to send articles (suitable for printing) to John!! He needs input from
all of us to keep SHORT BURSTS current and interesting!! So put on the
old ‘thinking cap’ and put Pen to Paper!!! Send your articles to JOHN
MOYLES: (Address Shown in SHORT BURSTS).
Voluntary monetary contributions (small and LARGE) to assist the Brandon
Museum with the cost of maintaining the Website and continuing the other
work they do, are always welcomed (details of how this is possible are
available with each issue). Back Issues, beginning in March 2001, are also
available ‘on line’.
‘LEST WE FORGET’ (slogan of the Royal Canadian Legion)
and ‘NEVER AGAIN’ (slogan of the War Amps) may seem to be
an almost impossibility when one reads the Daily News Journals and tunes
into the Radio and TV!! BUT - We Must Live In Hope!! Perhaps our stories
will help to bring this into reality!!! From ‘little acorns, etc, etc’.
Well done good and faithful servant.
What can one say about the man who started it all.
A collective handshake from All the Members of our Ex-Ags Association.
THE BAND OF BROTHERS, a future book to watch for.
Dear John Moyles, as you did an excellent review on Reg's first book
The One Hundreth Airman, I thought I would keep you posted regarding his
next book - The Band of Brothers due out later this year. Reg now has a
Kind regards, his niece, Janet Stead
Reg & his co-author Murray Straker
at one of their book signings
THIS BAND OF BROTHERS should not be dismissed as just one more book
on World War II. In essence it is not a war story at all but rather a moving
account of the lives of four young men affected by, and set against, the
events of a war not of their choosing.
Sons of English immigrant farmers the boys grew up on the Saskatchewan
prairies of western Canada yet retained strong family ties with relatives
in the Mother Country. In 1940, with Britain on its knees and along against
the might of the Third Reich, the eldest of the Lodington Smiths enlisted
in the Canadian Air Force inspired by a moral sense of honour and duty.
His brothers followed as they became of age and in all three joined the
Air Force and the youngest the Royal Canadian Navy. Sadly two of the boys
paid the ultimate price.
In scope the story covers every theatre of the war from that of Europe
to the Middle and Far East and finally to the Pacific, and includes an
insight into the indignity of prisoner of war life and even the horrors
of death marches. The book is essentially a testament to the indomitableness
of the Human Spirit.
and factually written it is a true story as gripping as any thriller novel
and not a book easily put down until its end. It is a very good read and
will be enjoyed by Veterans, history buffs, and all who delight in a well-told
Authored by Canadians Reg Stead and Murray Straker this is their second
book on the theme of heroism based on World War II experiences. For those
who have read their "The One Hundredth Airman", this is another treat equally
entertaining and readable.
The One Hundredth Airman was reviewed the January 2003 Short Bursts
Page. Check archives for full coverage. It is an excellent read.
THIS BAND OF BROTHERS is expected to be released in the Fall of 2006.
Copies may be ordered through this website: www.reach-for-the-skies.co.uk
I read an interesting book on the life of a Manitoba boy who wanted
It goes down memory lane as he grew up in the 20's and 30's, including
the Depression, and into the war years. He survived #6 Bomber Command
and after the war returned to peace time service.
The soft cover is titled "Nickel Trip" as told by Flt/Lt. K.C.C. Bird
to his son, reporter/writer Brad Bird. Published by Pemmican Publishers
Since it goes into great detail about places and people it is a trip
down memory lane to those who served in the same areas.
C. T. (Clare) Cove
415 Squadron, Eastmoor, Yorkshire.
Ex-Air Gunners Assoc. Wpg, MB.
Good afternoon John.
I forgot to mention to you that I knew Al Gauthier in Rockcliffe sometime
in 1947. I was able to send his son and daughter-in-law a couple of photographs
taken at that time. They said they were photos that they had not
seen before. If I remember correctly Al was at Yellowknife
with No.4 Detachment of 414 (Photo) Squadron. I think he took my
place one day when I was "grounded" after having a tooth extracted.
I should get in touch with them again and find out what happened to Al.
This was in response to a family request for information on Al Gauthier;
Both Svend and I have some material on some of our members that might
make a good story or article for an issue. I'm going to meet with
him this week sometime.
I had posted an enquiry re the blister gunner position on the Halifax.
After much digging I have talked to several veterans of Halis who say that
when the M/U turret was removed the redundant gunner would take up a position
on a mattress on the floor of the a/c and look through a Perspex blister
or Cupola and keep a watch out for night fighter attacks from below. This
was purely a look out position and no weapon was fitted. Later on the MKIIIs
of course some were fitted with Mid Under guns.
Peter W. Cunliffe, researcher UK
RECOVERY OF HALIFAX LW170
Saturday, April 22, 2006 5:55 AM
Progress Report No. 12
Dear Members and Supporters,
Please note that the new Progress Report No.12 is now out.
Please check out our website to read this.
Do not forget to look at our website feature called Forum which is where
all Halibag fans go if they have any questions about Halifax and Halifax
history. Many interesting topics there.
Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada)
Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada)
Dedicated to preserving the Halifax and its international heritage
and actively raising the financial support,
through corporate and public sponsorship, to find and recover Halifax
Limited Edition Signed Prints of LW170 -
the video of the recovery of Halifax NA337
Produced by DunrobinCastle
LW170 Recovery Phase I
LW170 ~ Progress
Halifax 57 Rescue
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