Cenotaph at Ruddell, Saskatchewan
By Keith Picard
As I was driving
north on 16 highway I pulled into the small town of Ruddell, Saskatchewan.
This almost ghost town with its grain elevators missing and having just
a few residents still living here. It seemed to have nothing here at all.
As I pulled up to the post office I looked across the dirt road and noticed
a cenotaph behind a well-kept hedge. I took a picture of it from the Ruddell
post office first. Then I proceeded to go behind the hedge to get a better
look at it. I took the time to read the inscription and the dates. 1914-1918,
1939-1945. I was amazed to see the number of young men that were named
from such a small town on this plaque. As I touched these names from WWI
knowing that they would not be returning to Canada I wondered, did these
boys all sign up together? Did they all die in the same battle? What battle
did they die at? Was it the Battle of Ypres, the Somme, Vimy, Hill 70,
Passchedaele, Cambral or the last 100 days? As I touched the two names
from WWII I wondered where they died, at sea, in a bomber, The Dieppe Raid,
Italy, Sicily, Juno Beach or maybe in The Battle of The Scheldt, at Falaise
or clearing the Channel ports.
These brave boys from Saskatchewan, Canada all volunteered to go fight
an enemy that had started a war that terrorized their neighbours as well
as the world. They now lie in graves over there, marked or unmarked, never
to return to Canada. Yet this is just one town here in Saskatchewan. There
are many more throughout Saskatchewan and the rest of Canada just like
As I stood there I wondered when the last time a bugler played The
Last Post or a piper played the Flowers of The Forest here? When was the
last time the act of remembrance had been said over them? This small dying
Saskatchewan town paid a high price for this nation in two world wars as
well as the rest of Canada. “They gave up all of their tomorrows for all
of our todays” This monument says it all. “Lest We Forget” “At The Going
Down Of The Sun And In The Morning We Will Remember Them.”
1914 – 1918 Their Name Liveth For Evermore
S. Davy; F. Salter; A. Miller; J. Beckett; S. Jackson; J. McMillan;
C. Locker; C. Beachy; M.Mather; C. Pringle; H. Roberts; H. Campbell;
1939 – 1945
F/O J.E. Wright; Sgt. W.H.Gillatt
P.O. Box 649 Dalmeny, Saskatchewan, CANADA S0K 1E0
Editor: if you wish to see more Saskatchewan Cenotaph photos click
on Keith Picard’s site http://cap.estevan.sk.ca/ssr/skcenotaphs/
who contributes greatly to our Short Bursts Page, has a son, Robert,
serving in Afghanistan. This is a picture of Robert in the compound, sampling
the fare at Tim Hortons.
Robert writes to his Dad:
“I thought you all might find this of interest.. It is probably the
only Tim Hortons in the world where the customers are armed and there is
a sign telling you that, in case of an alarm, Tim Hortons will re-open
15 minutes after the "all clear" sounds.
I guess a good coffee and a doughnut is a lot better than a strong cuppa
in a cracked mug and a hard biscuit served up by the old gal in the NAAFI.
As our chaps in Afghanistan read Short Bursts it is appropriate that
we relate this WWII “Naafi” experience.
THEY ALSO SERVE
While I was on a construction site, a snappy little van came selling
coffee, sandwiches, and refreshments. This brought to mind an incident,
which happened while serving with the Air Force.
Everything was blacked out and we sat under the planes waiting for our
turn to take off on one of the thousand bomber raids. The night was silent,
broken only by the put-put of a tiny Morris – Austin van. This was owned
by two old timers who, during the day, used it in their property repair
business and cleaned it out for the evening.
They were with the Salvation Army and as part of their war effort, the
C.O. allowed them to come onto the base to go from one plane to another
with whatever things rationing would allow. Mostly it consisted of red-hot
cocoa. At other times they would just stand to one side with those boys
who wanted a little consolation. One of their favourite “treats” was what
they called their “Lucky Bags”. These were broken biscuits, which the lady
members picked up at a local factory during the day. On take off one would
see the little van on the highway with the old timers waving God-speed
to us all.
When I see them on the street at Christmas with their kettles, I always
see those gentlemen so clearly. As ex-service men they were too old to
serve but found great pride helping the war effort by bringing a little
comfort to the boys.
One of the gentlemen, Mr. Pointon, was a fat tiny fellow with his jolly
face always smiling and bringing a smile from us. He would have made a
wonderful Santa Clause, so pleased as he gave out those bags of biscuits.
Reprinted from CONTACT Oct. 1990.
CONTACT Volume 21 Issue 3
Anson Shoots Down Me 110
An Anson reconnaissance aircraft of Coastal Command shot down a Messerschmitt
110, which, with three others, was machine gunning British trawlers off
the South East coast.
Although his aircraft was only lightly armed and was 100 miles per hour
slower than the fighters, the Anson pilot immediately attacked while his
wireless operator sent out a call for help.
One of the Messerschmitts turned away from the trawlers and came at
the Anson on the beam, firing all the time. The Anson gunner in his turret
amidships, fired back keeping the Messerschmitt in his sights until it
zoomed close overhead. Then, as he swung around to follow it, he saw it
burst into flames and dive vertically into the sea.
In the mean time the trawlers were putting up a stiff barrage of anti-aircraft
fire against the other Messerschmitts. Spitfires appeared and attacked
the remaining enemy aircraft just as the Anson scored its victory.
The Avro Anson,
often referred to as “Faithful Annie”, remained in service from 1939 to
1967. There were 12,000 aircraft of different marks produced, almost 7000
in Britain alone. The first Anson to enter service with the Royal Air Force
joined No 48 Squadron at Manston, Kent, on March 6, 1936. The Anson was
at first, the backbone of Coastal Command, and eventually, with the Tiger
Moth, Harvard, and Bolingbroke, the mainstay of the British Commonwealth
Air Training Plan (BCATP). Thousands of aircrew, Pilots, Navigators, Bomb
Aimers, and Wireless Operators, received their training on this aircraft
during the second world war.
The original aircraft, Avro type 652, was a six passenger commercial
aircraft designed by Roy Chadwick, the designer of the Lancaster. Two of
the aircraft, G-ACRM and G-ACRN, flew on commercial routes with Imperial
Airways. In 1934 the Avro Company adopted the design to meet an Air Ministry
request for a coastal reconnaissance aircraft. The new aircraft had a gun
turret in the mid-upper position and a forward firing Vickers machine gun
on the port side forward of the cockpit. The prototype flew in March 24,
1935 and the Air Ministry placed an order for 174 aircraft in July 1935.
The Anson was the first twin engine aircraft in the RAF to have retractable
undercarriage. The under carriage was controlled by a hand crank situated
by the Pilot’s seat and required 144 turns of the handle to complete the
retraction. This task was usually carried out by one of the other members
of the crew, the Navigator or the Wireless Operator.
The Anson was considered obsolete at the beginning of the war, however
eleven Squadrons were still serving with Coastal Command. They were employed
in patrolling the Coastal areas of the North Sea watching for enemy surface
raiders besides doing convoy and anti-submarine patrols. One of the first
attacks on a U-Boat was carried out in September 5, 1939 by K6187 No. 206
Squadron, which dropped two 100 lb. Bombs. The Anson aircraft engaged in
a number of combats with Luftwaffe aircraft. No.500 Squadron , based
at Detling, fitted their aircraft with extra guns, one on each side of
the aircraft, and shot down several Bf 109 fighters during the Dunkerque
evacuation. The Anson of Coastal Command were eventually replaced with
the Beaufort, Hudson, and Blenheim, but they continued to operate with
Command Operational Training Units.
The Anson also played a small part with Bomber Command during the early
months of the war. The first Squadrons to receive the Anson were No. 58,
61, 144, and 21. They stayed on strength for a few months until replaced
by the Whitley and the Wellington. The Anson remained in service in Bomber
Command in a variety of roles during the war.
The Anson was used as a Gunnery trainer. 313 of the aircraft were fitted
with the Bristol type 1, Mark IV turret, the same type used on the Bolingbroke.
They performed a variety of duties such as Air Sea Rescue, Air Transport.
The Anson was also used on occasion for dropping off and picking up supplies
and agents in occupied Europe.
One of the greatest uses of the Anson was the British Commonwealth Air
Training Plan in Canada and 1528 aircraft were delivered from Britain.
Others were eventually manufactured by Canadian firms. The Anson was modified
in Canada with cockpit heating, hydraulically operated undercarriage, and
interior panelling. In Canada the aircraft was used at 50 RCAF stations;
19 Service Flying Schools, 10 Air Observer schools, and 4 Operational Training
units, eight Bombing and Gunnery Schools had a small number on strength.
#4 B&G School at Fingal had 8 Anson, while No. 8 B&G in Lethbridge
There is an Anson on display at the Brandon Air Museum in Manitoba,
and the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton, Alberta. The Lancaster Museum
in Nanton, Alberta, is in the process of restoring an Anson as part of
their Bomber Command exhibit.
The book AVRO ANSON by Alan W. Hall and Eric Taylor, published by Almark
Publications is a treasure chest of information.
We are indebted to Barb Fraser of the Alberta Aviation Museum for photographs
that accompany this article.
Editor: When we lived in Winnipeg in the '50s there was a Bajoranson
Air Services that purchased, through Crown Assets Disposal Corporation,
some Anson aircraft which were mothballed at the old MacDonald Air Base.
I spoke to the Company owner and asked how he transported the aircraft
from MacDonald to Winnipeg where the aircraft were being brought up to
Department of Transport flying standards. He said that they took the planes
out of the mothball state, started the engines, took off, flew three circuits
around the airdrome and, if the kite was still flying, they crossed their
fingers, and headed for the Winnipeg Airport.
Do any of our readers in the Winnipeg area, know what happened to
these Anson aircraft. To whom were they sold? They could be traced through
D.O.T. registration. It would be appreciated if someone could look into
Interesting note: The lady in Crown Assets Disposal Corporation,
Ottawa,in the '50s, to whom all bids were directed, was Mrs. Bidgood.
WAAFs refuelling an Anson at #2 AOS (Air Observer’s
Can any Ex-WAAFs comment on this picture?
PUBLISH – RETRACT – PUBLISH AGAIN
In the September 2006 Page http://www.airmuseum.ca/mag/0609.html
in support of a WW II story, we published a picture of the 423 Squadron
In the October 2006 Page http://www.airmuseum.ca/mag/0610.html
we printed a letter received from a Member whose name I will not mention,
but his Initials are Ted Hackett.
“Nice September Issue, I sent it off to a couple of friends and to my
son in Khandahar, Afghanistan. My only complaint would be the use of the
modern day Squadron crest in a story about a wartime unit. But then,
I'm a nitpicker as everyone knows.”
The following has just been received from Don Macfie who did his first
tour on 423 Squadron and his second tour on 422 Squadron.
"This is the original crest. The one I wear. While still at Oban
late 1942 our Welsh Corporal armourer RAF, who had studied at the Royal
Academy of Art, drew up this example and presented it to the W/C, who pushed
it on up the line."
423 Squadron Crest received Royal Assent 1943.
Crest signed by Squadron crews.
Don Macfie continues.
One day this Armourer artist was out on the trots doing his DIS. He
was checking the very pistol behind the Second Pilots seat and, with out
bothering to take the pistol out of the pouch, he reached in and pulled
the trigger. It fired a three star flare. He caught each star in his bare
hands and threw them out the window. He wore bandages for a long time and
was awarded a M.I.D. He should have received either the AFM or BEM.
When I was tour expired and just hanging around, he got a chunk of burlap
and painted a portrait of me. He then copied it onto paper, gave it to
me, and had the original hung in a gallery somewhere.
WW II was not all fighting eh!
At the end of this September I had the good fortune of an afternoon
visit with an old Air Gunner who, on January 3, 1941, was in our draft
of recruits from North Bay, Ont., bound for Manning Pool in Toronto.
Since the war our paths have seldom crossed. And what did we talk about?
Nothing about his 30 trip tour on Stirlings RAF, nothing about his second
tour on Lancs RCAF, nothing about the 110 and 109 he shot down, or the
DFC he was awarded. But oh, the stories!
One gem he told me is surely good enough to pass along. We were reminding
each other of those winters in the UK, damp uniforms, damp bed sheets,
nothing to put in the little iron stove. One day he and his mid-upper gunner
who was shorter than he was, formed a plan to raid the coal compound.
The piles of coal were well fenced and guarded at night by a foot patrol
with a flashlight.
They got into the coal pile undetected but, when they got outside the
fence with their illegal coal, down the footpath came the patrol flashing
his light around. Al grabbed his air gunner accomplice and, flipping the
greatcoat collar up around his friend’s head and face, placed him in an
amorous embrace with the coal between them. When the flashlight was shined
on them the Patrol chap said, “oops, sorry”. They were then off to the
hut with their coal.
This was Al Calquhoun from Sturgeon Falls. He short circuited out of
Wireless School in Montreal and was overseas ahead of me as a straight
Air Gunner. When I was crewing up at Debert, Nova Scotia, news filtered
back across the sea that Al had beaten up on six London Bobbies. This became
legend until I finally got the story straight. Al showed me the scar and
patch on top of his head where the hair does not grow as proof that it
took six London Bobbies to beat him up.
in one of his columns in the Regina Leader Post, write as follows.
………..Got an interesting letter for help recently from Bernice Priesnall
of Camberley in Britain. She writes that in 1944 a Typhoon fighter-bomber
crashed near what is now the home of her grandfather in Britain. Killed
was Pilot, F/O Nicholas Stusiak of Bienfait, Sask.
Bernice writes, “My Grandfather’s house is on the site of crash in which
Nick and others lost their lives. The reason I am trying to find out more
about Nick is that my grandfather was digging in the garden and found an
RCAF identity bracelet with Nick’s name on it and, on the reverse, the
inscription, ‘NICK FROM ELLEN’.
I would like very much to return this bracelet to his family and I wonder
if you could help me do this. .My mother is particularly anxious to do
this as she witnessed the plane go down when she was a young girl and she
has never forgotten this. We all feel that the bracelet should go home
to those who loved him. I feel an affinity with the airman as I am cabin
crew with British Airways and my grandfather was in the RAF at the same
time as Nick.
If anyone can help, contact Bernice at:
1 Fernhill Close,
Surry, GU17 9HD. England.
Good evening John.
I have a request from a Mr. P. Williams who is doing a search for a
lady. He wants to know about a P/O Charles Murray a pilot with 83
Squadron. He was shot down by a night fighter on a raid to Cologne
on the night of June 16/17, 1943 in Lancaster MkIII ED907. His rear
gunner was F/O Jack Mckay, RCAF.
Where else would you suggest that he look?
From: "David Reeve" firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: 425 Sqn. RCAF aircrew F/S E.A.Powell from Moose Jaw
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 23:55:02 +0100
I am seeking info about F/S Powell 425 Sqn RCAF whose Halifax III LW390
KW-J crashed in N. France February 21/22 1944.
He survived and with 2 others and successfully evaded capture
and returned to England via Gibraltar.
While hiding in a safe house in Amiens, organized by the legendary Balfe
family of Hornoy, he gave a contact address to a fellow successful evader,
Flt Lt Joe Oliver 613 Sqn. Mosquito pilot.
Joe's daughter Janet still has that scrap of paper with 7 fellow
evaders named plus a mass of other information about the helpers in the
Amiens region and Paris who also must have helped F/S Powell.
We would be most grateful if you could possibly help track down
F/S Powell or members of his family by pointing me in the right direction.
Perhaps the letters page of the Moose Jaw newspaper could help - do you
have an e-mail address for this paper. I failed to find one on the internet.
The aim is to exchange information about the evasion exploits of this
group of allied aircrew.
I am now a member of the Evasion Lines Memorial Society which carries
the torch of the RAF Escaping Society which folded its wings in 1995. www.escapelines.com
with best wishes, David Reeve
The address was as follows:
G.L. Powell 1054? 7th Ave. N.W. Moose Jaw, Sask.
Northern Saskatchewan Group
We had our annual barbequed steak get together on September 18th.
Our turn out was nineteen which included partners as well as two widows
of deceased members. As usual, the steaks were scrumptious, thanks
to the expertise of a willing volunteer chef, Earl Goodman.
Our October 16th meeting took place with 14 members in attendance;
numbers affected somewhat by the first freezing rain and snow of the fall
season. We had as guests, two area counselors from Veterans Affairs
Canada who gave us a presentation bringing us up-to-date on benefits and
how changes affect us. The presentation was well received by the
The Christmas banquet will be held at 1:00 p.m. December llth
this year, a change from the previous years when it was an evening function.
Night vision was affecting attendance at our 7:00 p.m. hour.
Best wishes to all,
Letter to Charley Yule.
Dave Sutherland has given me your email so that I might ask you for
information. I hope you can help.
Rear gunners suffered inordinate losses in the early years of the war
and a figure of six weeks has been bandied around as expected life. But
it is my understanding that by January 1945, Luftwaffe night fighter activity
was low. It should follow that rear gunner loses should be low in January
1945. Is it possible to obtain any statistics?
Aircrew Association Vancouver Island Branch
We publish Aircrew Memories
Good afternoon and hello......I am writing to ask for your assistance
concerning an Air Gunner who served in the RAF during World War II.
I have an old copy of "They Hosed Them Out", also published as "Rear Gunner"
by John Beede, RAAF. I have had this book for 20 years and pull it
out every so often to read as I still find his story fascinating... and
of course I have a deep interest in Bomber Command history. I still
wonder what ever
became of Mr. Beede. Although he was an Australian serving in
Bomber Command and the TAF, I have been unable to locate any information
about him through my Australian sources. I have also been unable
to find an Australian Air Gunners website. My conclusion is that
John Beede is a pen
Just the same is there any one out there that may know who he really
was and what happened to him after the war. His book is one of the
best I've read. Any assistance you can give me is greatly appreciated.
Best Regards, and looking forward to your reply
Banica, Dominican Republic email@example.com
I was just surfing the net for Remembrance Day articles for a slideshow
I want to do for November 11 and came across airmuseum.ca
and thought I would pass on a link to a couple of slideshows I just
made. One is entitled, Keeping the Home Fires Burning ,dedicated
to the spouses of our Canadian Armed Forces and the other is entitled,
Single Maple Leaf dedicated to our Canadian Troops. You can view them
at the following link:
Hello John and Doreene
I found your excellent website quite by chance and was struck by the
contribution in February 2004 by Harry McLean - “The Night of September
I am researching an ex-workmate, P/O Theo L. Simpson, Lancaster Pilot
with 100 Squadron who failed to return on 20 October 1943 and I see from
his Log Book that he participated in that operation. The article certainly
reflects the hazards of the night and I was pleased to read that further
letters from the same A/G would appear later.
So far, I have failed to find any but, in the items for March 2004,
read one that contained a reference to navigator F/O P. Lankester of Bexhill-on-sea.
I live very near there and found an entry in our local telephone directory
for P. F. Lankester of Little Common which is on the western outskirts
of the town. So, hopefully, he is still alive and well.
Which brings me to my last point. F/Sgt Gerald M.M. Rozak, RCAF, of
Ottawa went through OTU and CU with Theo and was his MUG for 14 operations
before being grounded. Is he by any chance one of your members?
I look forward to returning to your website's Archives ASAP as I am
sure they will provide hours of interesting reading and I shall certainly
hope to find more contributions by Harry McLean.
Aubrey Sinden firstname.lastname@example.org
Ross Hamilton's "Chicken Story" reminds me of a similar incident
at 10 OTU, Abingdon in the Spring of 1942. We were flying from
a satellite station at Stanton Harcourt and the local pub was The Checkers,
by the ferry on the river. Two Sergeant Aircrew, after a heavy night of
drinking, spotted two ducks by the river, killed them, and proceeded to
pluck the feathers on their return to the Sergeants' Mess. There they cleaned
the carcasses and placed them in an oven and cooked them for a very late
The next day the farmer followed the trail of feathers to the mess,
found the remains in the waste bin, and contacted the Station Police
and the Civil Police. The Sergeants were prosecuted and appeared in the
Magistrates Court in Oxford, where they were fined ten shillings.
The Oxford Mail later carried the headline,
RAF Sergeants Kill Ducks.
"We did it in self defence," was their explanation to the Magistrates.
Incidentally, it is nice to see the "Coal Powered Halifax 4" story is
Howard's note in the Sept issue about his first flight got me wondering
about how many of us AG/Wags got rides in ac before enlisting. My first
flight was in a Junkers 33, CF AQW, pilot Ron George, of Canadian Airways
Ltd from Ilford, on the Hudson Bay Railway to God's Lake Gold Mine. That
was in March of 1935 and I was 12 years old.
Our log house was next door to the Miller family, who I got to know
well, especially Pat. Pat was learning the code or the “morice cord”
as he sometime called it and got me started to learn also.
My mentors were Mr. Hec McKenzie, Base Agent/Operator for Canadian Airways
and Mr. Jack Wye, Base Agent/ Operator for Wings Ltd. Through them I also
got to meet several of the pilots that flew in and out of the mine site
and on several occasions was taken up on short flights.
There was no runway just skis in winter, and floats in summer.There
never were any seats in the passenger cabin; passengers sat on bags or
boxes of freight. When we left Gods Lake in the summer of 1937, we flew
out to Lac Du Bonnet in a Fairchild 71 of Wings Ltd. CF AQW. Later,
this aircraft had an engine change from the inline, liquid cooled German
engine, to an air cooled radial and became a Junkers 34.
Ed. Thanks Glen. I was on squadron with Pat Miller for two years.
Pat ended up on a Catalina Squadron patrolling the Indian Ocean. Those
of you who have the Short Bursts Commemorative Issue 1983 – 1993, see Page
99. Pat Miller gives an account of “THE LOCUST PATROLS”
Mel Livingstone, Pat Miller, Daly
In Karachi India (now Pakistan)
Pat is no longer with us. We will remember him.
LAST POST ~ Charlie Yule,
F. ALEX McQUARRIE, #0077, CALGARY,
AB: Alex passed away at the age of 85 on September 25th/06.
He enlisted in the RCAF as R102405 at Regina, SK March 22/42 and was posted
for Manning Depot at Penhold, AB where he was selected for WAG training.
He attended #3 Wireless School in Winnipeg on Course #25 and upon completion
was posted to #5 Bombing and Gunnery at Dafoe, SK - Course #27, where he
received his WAG Brevet and Sergeants Stripes.
Overseas for OTU training on Hampden's at Cottesmore, Alex as then posted
to #424 Squadron, Topcliffe, 6 Group, where he and his crew converted to
Wellington's (Wimpy's). On Operations April 19th 1943, they were
shot down on their 9th Op (Frankfort) and interned as POWs until being
liberated May 2nd/45 and returned to the UK May 4/45. He was discharged
with the rank of Flying Officer - J96427, on October 5th, 1945.
In addition to being a Life Member of the Ex Air Gunner's Association
of Canada, he was also a Life Member of the RCAF National POW Association
and the Aircrew Association of Southern Alberta.
The frost is on the pumpkin and it is time to batten down the hatches
On the farm during the 20s and 30s my Dad piled straw and manure around
the house to keep out the cold winter winds. There was always controversy
regarding when it should be removed prior to the spring thaw. But you urban
types would not understand.
Consider the questions being asked in our Correspondence section. You
just might be able to throw light on someone’s question.
A big thank you to all those who contributed to this Page.
John & Doreene Moyles