This page is from the first four-page newsletter, THE TURRET,
of the RAF Air Gunners Association published in May 1949. Following are
some interesting extracts from this tentative beginning.
The first addition of the "Turret" may be a poor thing, but it is indeed
our own, and the organizing committee of the Air Gunners Association cannot
regard its production but with a sense of relief – we can feel that we
are now really airborne.
It might not be out of place to start at the very birth of the Association.
It was conceived in the mind of one Jack O’Hara who hails from Wigan, but
is now a Londoner. He was lonely and thought the people of the South
unsociable by Northern standards. He went to the RAFR Branch and found
nice folk there, but not really speaking his language. He sought in vain
for a fellow AG. Thus he started thinking in terms of some sort of club
where ex-AG’s might foregather, and went so far as to place an advertisement
in :Air Mail: asking those of us interested in such an idea to communicate
with him. About one hundred of us were interested and did write… .
At the moment we are concentrating on the social side – we want to bring
AGs together again. In the war years we were thought by others to be rather
different from other aircrew, a quaint breed unto ourselves. But that as
it may, we certainly clung together. We had much in common, we enjoyed
each other's company, and generally speaking were a hay band of brothers.
Your committee has already brought together a bunch of the types – a dummy
run, as it were. The experiment was a success. We are still a happy band
of brothers. We remembered others – we reminisced – we became nostalgic
– we sang those songs – we even shot the odd very small line…
The first decision reached was concerning the potentialities of membership.
Eligibility was granted for all those entitled to the AG, or WAG brevet
– or the old Flying Bullet! Obviously the Association would have to exist
on an Empire wide basis or not exist at all …
Sex Rears its Ugly Head
Shall wives and/or popsies be admitted to the monthly jags? At the moment
it is the view of y0our committee that these affairs should be strictly
stag. However, it is realized that it is only by courtesy of our better
halves that we are allowed to get together at all. Also many of these wives
are ex-WAAFS, which is an excellent thing, and therefore very interested
in our Association. So we real cannot leave them out in the cold entirely.
It might be an idea for branches to put on the odd dance fairly soon in
their programme, and thus bring the ladies into the picture…
The Odd Bomb
An amazing number o gunners liked to throw something on their
own account when over the target area. Beer bottles, bricks and so on.
You may have heard of the type who some how or other always managed to
tip the Elsan contents down the flare shoot? Always in hope that some Nazi
would be looking up at the right time. We heard a quaint story the other
day of a crew who brought a live donkey back from somewhere or other
in a Wimpy. Over France, at a very great height (in a Wimpy?), the donkey
lacked oxygen and died the death. A dead donkey being a bit too much in
the aircraft, they lugged the asinine carcass with much effort to the bomb
by – donkey gone! One cannot help trying to assess the effect on the French
populace when a dead donk. Came hurtling from the skies!
Can you think of odd things which you, or types known to you, threw
overboard? And we don’t mean the Skipper’s pants! We shall be glad to print
all printable tales of Odd Bombs.
As membership was open to "the Empire" many Canadians in the RCAF subscribed
to the Turret, especially those who flew on RAF Squadrons.
In March 2007 the FINAL ISSUE OF THE TURRET was mailed out to the Membership.
This 8" X 11.5", 48-page publication, with many colour photos,
Branch reports, and interesting articles, is truly a work of art.
Ron Bramley is to be congratulated for this effort and his many years as
Editor. Ron must have emptied his filing cabinet on this edition.
Ron Bramley (left)
and Bill Bailey
Ron also served in Burma and
attended The Burma Bomber's Reunion,
Niagara Falls, Ont.
Sept. 29, 2003
EDITOR’S LAST TURRET REPORT (in part)
The above cartoon, in a way, sums up the reasons why we have been late
with the last two issues, coupled with growing older and consequently less
efficient. However, on the plus side, the last ten years have given me
great pleasure, and filled a gap that I honestly wish I could carry on
for another 10 years! As I have reported to the Turret Committee I am quite
prepared to continue with the Newsletter, if that is what members of the
Self Financing Turret desire… even if only to perpetuate the original constitution
The main reason for lateness with the "Winter" Turret 2007 is the will
to make this issue, as with the first Turret an issue to remember. Colour
and more pages have been introduced (hope we have enough cash!!) together
with a tidy up of contributions and "fill ins". As I sit here and compose
this report, I must pay my sincere thanks to all members of the Turret
Committee for their continued record of support.…
Ron Bramley (Bram)
35 Morley Road,
Nottingham, NG3 6LL UK
Tel. 0115 956 9266
Mobile: 07977 320167
Short Bursts Ed.: One article that took me back 65 years was the
item on page 38,
It’s sayonara ‘Tokyo Rose.’
Following Pearl Harbour, we were patrolling off the North West coast
of Canada flying pontoon equipped Blackburn Sharks. There was no control
tower so the aircrew fashioned their own tower on the side of the mountain
overlooking the channel where the aircraft took off and landed.
consisted of four pine poles with a small box on the top. It was manned
by the WAGs.
I enjoyed the night shift. At that time security was at fever pitch,
blackout orders were strictly adhered to.
At night, in this location, 54 degrees North, radio signals skipped
great distances. One could tune in Japanese radio and listen to Tokyo Rose.
Her voice was pleasant, alluring, at times quite sensuous, and always
convincing, as she talked to the Gis in the Pacific. Like the girl next
door. Many enjoyable hours were spent in the dark, broken only by
the faint glow from the radio tubes, high above the bay, listening to Japanese
music and visualizing Tokyo Rose.
Iva Toguri d’Aquino, alias, Tokyo Rose, Was convicted of treason
in 1949 and served six years in jail. But doubts about her possible role
as Tokyo Rose surfaced and she was pardoned by President Gerald Ford in
1977. She was born in Los Angeles in 1916 and passed away in Chicago in
2006, at age 90.
Bram, true to his sense of humour, writes on page
Received (following) from my son, thought worth reporting in the
last Turret! Ed.
I think the life cycle is all backwards
You should start out dead and get it out of the way.
Then, you wake up in an old age home feeling better
You get kicked out for being too healthy; go collect your pension,
then when you start work, you get a gold watch on your first day.
You work 40 years until you are young enough to enjoy your retirement.
You drink alcohol, you party, you’re generally promiscuous and you
get ready for High School.
You go to Primary school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities,
you become a baby and then …
You spend your last 9 months floating peacefully in luxury, in spa-like
conditions; central heating, room service on tap, larger quarters every
day, and then, you finish off as an orgasm.
Ed: another bit of history is lost. Drop Bram a line (see address
above) and let him know how much we have appreciated his 10 years at the
helm of The Turret, and how much it will be missed.
My neighbour (Jack Galway) was talking last night about the tail gunner
in his Lancaster bomber crew from WW II and wondering whatever became of
him. His name was Clarence Redwood, nicknamed "Junior", because he was
only 17. It is believed that his last known residence was in Georgetown,
Would you know of any group that keeps track of former RCAF members?
Thanks for any assistance you can lend.
I am writing to you on behalf of my late grandfather, Robert Henry
Larson. He served in the 408 "Goose" squadron with the RCAF in WWII
as a tail-gunner in a Lancaster. As I understand it, the 408 held
a reunion every 4 years after the war, alternating locations around
the country. For one of these meetings (I believe it may have
been in the 80's and held in the prairies somewhere) there was a call for
squadron photos and log books to put on display. My grandfather was
not going to be able to attend, but he sent his logbook and squadron photo,
etc. with his friend Doug Boynton. Unfortunately, he never received
these items back. He was under the impression that they may have
been used in a museum, but was never informed what became of them.
He made attempts to locate his stuff and have it returned, but was unsuccessful.
I would like to find his memorabilia and return it to his widow (my
grandmother). I came across your web page and thought it was a good
place to start. If you have any idea who I should try to contact
about this it would be appreciated.
Thank you in advance for your time.
Ted Hacket picked up the ball on this one. If anyone else can help
Good Morning. I got the phone number of a Warrant Officer with
408 Squadron from my son so I phoned him this morning with your request.
He happens to be working on the Museum at the moment trying to get things
straightened out. I gather they didn't keep too many records, he says there
is no record of what was loaned to the Museum in Edmonton. He is
hoping to get into the archives and start sorting things out but it could
take some time. I gave him the information on your Grandfather and
he wanted to know when he served with the Squadron. I noticed that
his service number is a bit larger than mine so he was probably at Linton-on-Ouse
at the same time I was with 426 Squadron. He said he would look for
the log book as soon as he can but he asked us to be patient, looking after
the museum is a secondary job with him. He has my e-mail address
so he will let me know when he finds something. Have a nice day.
Hi, I’m trying to trace anyone who might have served with my grandfather
in WWII. His name was Thomas Harold Hebb (but everyone called him Hallie)
and he was from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He trained at No.3 B&G School,
Macdonald, Manitoba 3/May/43 to 23/July/43 as a Rear Gunner and was subsequently
transferred to Training Wing 17 O.T.U, R.A.F, Silverstone on December 13,
1943 and was attached to 106 Squadron in England flying Lancaster III’s
in June 1944. He held the rank of Flt. Sgt.
Unfortunately he passed away in 1985 and when I was only 10, and I’m
trying to put together a memoir for his great granddaughter who has been
named Hallie in his memory.
Thank you for your time.
Please could you help me, I am trying to find out information about
a bomber crew shot down on a raid over Berlin on 24/25 March 1944. My relative
Sgt. CHARLES ARTHUR SALT was killed along with the rest of the crew apart
from F/S R.B.McALLISTER RCAF who survived and was taken POW.
I'm interested to know what became of him and if anyone knows him.
Thank you ~ kind regards
Report from B.C. Branch
Thanks John and we have a wee message for you too.
Rod MacDougal asks me to let you know that he has sent the sum of $100.00
directly to the Webmaster of "Short Bursts" at the museum. Our funds have
all but gone and at our last meeting it was agreed that we take $100.00
out of it and sent it to keep "Short Bursts" alive. We all appreciate this
'Glue' that keeps us all together and talking. Kindest regards.
Dave Sutherland, BC Branch.
Full ahead to the 2010 Olympics
One of our Members sent us the following:
NO NAMES – NO PACKDRILL
THE OTTAWA MILITARY MUSEUM PLAQUE DEBATE WILL
Preserving Hard Won Freedoms
Leader Post, Regina, March 6, 2007.
Commentary – by Don Martin
From his cockpit window, RCAF Pilot Arthur Smith watched a lot of hell-fire
engulf German cities 19,000 feet below the emptied bomb bay of his bomber.
He crossed the English Channel 34 times during the Second World War to
take out targets in Germany or Holland – and every post mission debriefing
had fewer and fewer faces around the table.
By any statistical measure, Smith should’ve been killed several times
over before the war ended, with 10,000 of his fellow Canadian flyers underground.
Now in his late 80s, Smith is fighting to recover from cancer surgery in
a Calgary hospital. He just received "very bad news" from the doctor and
is heading home this week. He won’t talk about the prognosis.
But what Smith does want to talk about what could be his last public
battle. His target is a poster-sized exhibit hanging in the Canadian War
Museum in Ottawa that debates the military value of the bombing effort
when stacked against the cost of civilian lives. Smith’s voice rises in
trembling outrage at what he sees as an affront to the memory of bomber
crews who died in appalling numbers. The museum is now under boycott by
the Royal Canadian Legion.
"I'll never accept the view that what we did was wrong. I don’t
deny the right for somebody to have their opinions, but this exhibit puts
us in a terrible light," he laments. "Why, all of a sudden people have
to rewrite history, I don’t understand."
I have known Art Smith for 25 years. He has served with distinction
as an elected representative at all three political levels, fought to diversify
Calgary’s economy when it was a shambles and became the father-figure member
to a rookie mayor named Ralph Klein. He’s arguably one of the greatest
But with utmost respect, Art Smith is wrong.
I toured the bomber Command section in the War Museum this week and
came away convinced the veterans lack a legitimate grievance and seem to
be attacking the very freedom their comrades sacrificed themselves to defend.
The exhibit is mostly a goose-bump raising testimonial to bomber Command.
It is filled with stories of heroes and heroic deeds. Pieces of destroyed
aircraft, films showing the destructive force of the airborne armadas and
stories of great sacrifice are here in graphic detail with the fuselage
of a replicated bomber for a ceiling. Pictures of the street level carnage
the bombers left behind complete a story more alive than even the nearby
Afghanistan war exhibition.
It is history in all its hellish horror that the Royal Canadian Legion
has no right to sugarcoat or whitewash. Bombers were the Second World
War’s weapon of mass destruction, but they were equipped with fledgling
navigational technology that could not hit military targets at night with
pin point accuracy, most of them were mere blocks from civilian areas.
Collateral damage on a mass scale was inevitable. The exhibit plaque correctly
frames the controversy: “The value and morality of the strategic bomber
offensive against Germany remains bitterly contested.” The mission was
clear enough: "To crush civilian moral and force Germany to surrender
by destroying its cities and industrial infrastructure.”
Whether the raids, "left 60,000 Germans dead and more than five million
homeless" is open to dispute. History books seem to record those figures
as maximums. And to suggest the raids only put minor dents in the German
war machine negates the impact the mayhem caused as resources were diverted
to reconstruction and defensive activity.
But after five prominent historians vetted and vindicated the wording,
the only quibble from one was to wonder if the agreed upon facts were worthy
of public presentation and, thus, presentation. Damn right they are. This
is Canada, not a place like China where history is subject to periodic
revision by the ruling class to create non-persons or purge unpleasant
events from the record.. Our history is factual, not popular fiction.
Distinguished Flying Cross recipient Art Smith has every right to argue
his case from an eyewitness experience few Canadians can now claim, but
his eye in the sky was hardly the perspective of those standing in the
cities being pulverized. Both views need to be taken into account to complete
the historical record.
Lest we forget, 10,000 crew members in Bomber Command died defending
our freedom. And nobody said that excluded freedom of speech.
Published: Saturday, March 17, 2007
Re: History's lesson's, Don Martin.
You have to experience total war and understand the mood of the people
to judge their actions. I grew up in southern England during the Second
World War. Our home was under the bombing flight path for the Southampton
docks. I slept in an air-raid shelter for a year, and people on our street
were killed by a direct hit on their house. In the early part of the war
there was no effective defence for night bombing and the Luftwaffe flew
unimpeded. In 1940 and 1941 during 49 air raids, 626 civilians were killed
in Southampton, (more people than Canada lost in the Korean War) 3,472
houses were destroyed and only one German bomber was shot down. It was
a milk run for the Luftwaffe from their bases 100 kilometres away in occupied
By the time the RAF and the USAF were organized and started bombing,
Germany had radar-controlled defences and losses were very heavy, averaging
4% per sortie. I remember the sombre voice of a typical BBC news broadcast:
"Last night the RAF attacked industrial targets in the Ruhr; 42 of our
bombers failed to return." A Lancaster bomber had a crew of eight.
(the mother of our current monarch) tours a bomb shelter during the Blitz
in London, 1940.
During the last months of the war, three crucial events occurred. The
German air defence crumbled, and Allied bomber losses decreased. Evacuee
children who had spent four years living with strangers in safe cities
began drifting back London. Then the bombardment of London started again,
this time by V1 cruise missiles and V2 ballistic missiles. Hundreds of
civilians were killed and the children were evacuated again to safe towns.
After five long years of death and austerity in total war, Britain had
had enough. The prevailing mood was to bring it to an end as soon as possible.
No one questioned the RAF when it flew unimpeded over Germany as the Luftwaffe
had done over England in 1940 and 1941. There would have been rioting in
the streets in 1945 if the government had decided to cut back the bombing
so as not to hurt the Germans too much.
When the war started, I was seven years old and my carefree childhood
was put on hold. When it was over, six long weary years later, I was no
longer a child.
Peter White, North Vancouver.
Published: Saturday, March 17, 2007
Don Martin is not an "expert" in military history or specifically qualified
to speak on the action of the Allied Bomber Command during the Second World
War. His column represents the myopic view of someone who has looked at
one side of an event and then used his position as a columnist to express
a personal view.
While the Post may consider this as fair game in the newspaper business,
I will only consider it acceptable if an article containing opposing views
is allowed equal space.
I would have to agree with the former RCAF pilot Arthur Smith and ask,
"Why all of a sudden do people have to rewrite history?" Why is a person
like Don Martin trying to apologize for events he was not involved in?
Published: Saturday, March 17, 2007
The Canadian War Museum clearly implies that bombing Germany in the
Second World War was immoral and ineffective. And while Don Martin says
that some historians suggest "that raids only put minor dents in the German
war machine," we know that after the war, Germany's production minister,
Albert Speer, and Karl Doenitz, commander-in-chief of the German navy,
both said bombing had been effective. Speer was amazed and thankful that
the bombing had not been more successful in hitting such targets as fuel
supplies and ball-bearing factories, adding that the Allies were right
in assuming that devastation of the area around key targets exponentially
disrupted the capacity to make repairs.
It is true that Germany was able to maintain total production in the
first years of the war, with the use of 7.5 million slave labourers. However,
Allied production in the United States, Canada, Britain and the U.S.S.R.
increased by many times, while German production essentially stood still.
What the War Museum says about this ghastly business is so incomplete as
to be intellectually dishonest.
Colin Alexander, Ottawa.
Member Robert Marshall 148/428 Squadrons
My concern with the plaque wording is with respect to two aspects of
wartime bombing activities that have apparently not been taken into consideration.
First is the notation of immorality: why single out the RAF bomber Command
in this regard? As I recall it was the way the war was fought! The Luftwaffe
led the way into Poland with its bombing of Warsaw and other Polish localities.
It was followed by the bombing of Belgrade, and in May, 1940 a residential
area of Rotterdam, followed in turn by the bombing of Great Britain and
the almost year long “Battle of Britain”. In June 1941 the Luftwaffe was
diverted to Russia and the virtual destruction Russian cities as well as
other populated centres. We could also add the mid-1944 V1 and V2 attacks
on Britain – pointless other than to attempt to depopulate and dehouse
British populated residential areas. In essence, all war time bombing of
industrial, populated areas could be termed immoral. But if there was a
moral high road it belonged to Allied Bomber Command. Their sole motivation
was the defeat of Nazi Germany and the liberation of occupied countries.
Second, let us turn back the clock to mid-1940 and wartime prospects
at that time. After the withdrawal from Dunkirk the British army had been
temporarily taken out of the war. The Royal; Navy was fully occupied in
the desperate attempt to keep the lifeline between Britain and North America
alive. This left the RAF as the sole means of carrying on the European
war through those dark days – defensively in the Battle of Britain, offensively
with Bomber Command. With respect to the latter the only choice was to
sit back and, given the strength of the German military, eventually throw
in the towel.
The embryo RAF Bomber Command, joined in 1942 by the USAF, carried the
ball against Nazi Germany and was cheered on by all the free world and
peoples in occupied countries.. Whether o not Allied bombing had a significant
effect on German wartime capabilities is of little relevance. The point
is that Bomber Command played a crucial and undisputable role in the progression
of the war, and ultimate victory against the enemy. For this it deserved
the gratitude of all post war Europe.
Military historians have been generally in agreement that, through the
early years Allied bombing did not have a major effect on German wartime
production nor on moral of German citizens – this, however neglects to
asses what German capabilities would have been in the absence of Allied
bombing. In this they are probably correct given that the industrial capacity,
with conscripted labour, of all occupied countries made available to the
enemy war effort. And internally, the population was firmly in the grip
of Nazi propaganda and related tyranny. I recall one historian saying that
people could not surrender to bombers in the sky. Military historians also
have, in general, albeit with some expressing reservations concerning the
way in which the bombing campaign was conducted, conceded that in the latter
years of the war, did make a contribution to final victory. (A notable
exception was the British pseudo historian, David Irving, who quite recently
was jailed in Austria for his pro-Nazi denial of the existence of the holocaust.
It might be remembered that many years ago Irving came to Canada and was
shown on television meeting Ernst Zundel and other German expatriates.
To Canada’s credit he was asked to leave the country.)
In addition to the views of the historians, a significant recognition
of the achievements of Allied bombing was made at the Nurnburg hearings
by Albert Speer, German Minister of wartime production, when he stated
that, from 1944 Allied bombing provided and effective “second front” siphoning
off men and materials that could have made the difference between victory
and defeat on the Russian front.
There is no doubt that many Bomber Command activities have now, in retrospect,
come into question. Mistakes were made, knowledge was imperfect, wartime
intelligence faulty and policies ill conceived. Un fortunately the resulted
in a civilian loss of life (and also of aircrews). For those of us involved,
this has been a major regret. But another major regret is that we were
unsuccessful in bringing an earlier end to the war – to the suffering of
civilian populations including the exposure and closure of death camps
at Auschist, Dachau and others.
Robert (Bob) Marshall RGMar@simpatico.ca
Ph. (519) 822-8138
Being that I have run out of articles to submit to Short Busts, I will
submit my account of my experience with an Italian prisoner of war. On
leave on a large estate I was staying with the games keeper in the lowlands
of Scotland. A tenant farmer stopped by and complained about the hard time
he was having getting his stooks of barley into stacks as he only had his
son and an Italian prisoner to do the work. Being one who had learned not
to volunteer for anything, it must have been the games keeper who said
I would help on the morrow.
I went up there and was soon dispatched to the field to pitch sheaves
with an Italian PoW called Ernie. We built small loads on two wheel carts.
They put a tractor on the cart and I built a load that broke the reach.
I worked hard and enjoyed it. Good big meals at noon and supper.
We got up five stacks in the afternoon. A big thunder storm came around
7 p.m. and cut us off. They told the games keeper afterwards that the Italian
had never done such a good days work since they got him!
Remember “central heating” in the Nissan hut? There was always a shortage
of coke. At Alness, Scotland, we went down to the local railway station
and pleaded with the train engineers to toss us chunks of coal. They seldom
refused. Then there was the time the coke truck got stuck and the driver
went for help. When he returned the truck was empty. Strange, there were
no witnesses! Anyone out there have any “central heating” stories?
Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada)
Registered Charity 84586 5740 RR0001
Progress Report Number 17
February 19, 2007
As Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) directors, members, and supporters proceed
in the specific and exciting quest to locate and recover RCAF Halifax LW170
from the deep, we are aware of a special responsibility to honour the effort
and sacrifice of our bombers crews who gave us our Freedom. We must be
caretakers of this knowledge of their sacrifice for Freedom and we must
pass this on to our children, our families, and our whole country.
Remember that only 1 out of 4 bomber crews finished their combat tours.
The remaining 3 bomber crews were either, killed-in-action, prisoner of
war, or killed/injured in training. That is a loss rate of 75%. The more
our historic group studies these men and the crews of the RCAF and RAF
the more we are in awe of their efforts for all of us in the face of such
adversity. We must remember them.
We have started to pay tribute to our RCAF Americans who came to Canada
in the thousands to join our RCAF in World War Two. This year we will do
more to give them the credit they deserve.
It has now come to light, after excellent research by our directors,
that there is another group which has just now been discovered and must
be recognized for flying and fighting for Canadian Freedom.
We have found the names of at least 11 previously unknown Irish Nationals
who flew on the Halifaxes and Lancs of the RCAF and were killed-in-action
flying with their Canadian comrades.
Most, but not all, were flying as Flight Engineers on RCAF Halifaxes.
The directors of Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) have now highlighted them on
a special page of tribute on our website with all their names and hometowns.
We know the list will continue to grow.
In a symbolic first tribute to the “RCAF Irish” we have decided to include
a shamrock beside the RCAF flag and the Canada-USA badge to show that we
appreciate and will, from now on, include in all our memorial efforts these
young men of Ireland who flew and fought in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
“Press on regardless…”
On to Business, these are the Halifacts:
As Project manager I am very pleased to let all of our members and supporters
know we are making good progress on raising support for the Halifax Project.
As you are aware we have had several articles in the Irish newspapers
about the proposed recovery of LW170. This has not gone unnoticed with
the Irish public and on the world internet. Last month I was contacted
by David Joyce of Tyrone Productions in Dublin and invited on their variety
talk show on Feb.22. I will be traveling over on business and will be popping
over to Dublin for a television interview on RTE TV on the “Seoige and
O’Shea” show to tell all about the Halifax Project. The discovery of our
“RCAF Irish” and the development of this historic connection between Ireland
and Canada is a wonderful addition to this opportunity to raise support
on the international scene for the locating and recovery of our Halifax
Other positive things have been happening as well. As you know I have
been in contact with deep sea exploration groups to gather technical data
on the location of LW170. I have had sincere interest in the past few weeks
from certain officials of a group to help with locating the Halifax on
sonar, which could be done as an add-on survey or “piggybacked” on a scientific
survey. The timing and opportunity to do the Halifax sonar survey during
the next few months of the 2007 season will be looked at and evaluated
to maximize all possibilities. If the survey can be done in this way we
could minimize our costs to actually locate and inspect LW170 for future
I am very hopeful for these developments for our Halifax sonar
survey and will have more important information on this for you in the
next progress report after I meet with these officials in the very near
future. It is best if I keep details to a minimum until we have reached
an agreement with these certain officials who really do want to help find
With regard to our website we now have on our official promotion of
the exciting new book on the RCAF written by playwright Sandra Dempsey
titled “Flying to Glory”. Sandra was so taken with the Halifax painting
“INVINCIBLE ITEM” when she was ready to publish she asked and received
permission from the artist Michael McCabe and our group to use the image
of LW170 superimposed on the RCAF roundel on the front cover of “Flying
Sandra has received great reviews on “Flying to Glory” and has been
invited to do a reading from her new book at an event in New York City
in the near future. I did pass on to her that she could make a real connection
with her American audience as there as 128 American lads killed-in-action
in the RCAF who were from the state of New York (the majority were flying
the Halifax ! ).
I must point out a great new event has just been announced by our partners
at the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum. Nanton is very pleased to announce
that this year at their annual celebration on Aug.25, 2007 they will be
honouring the “RCAF Americans” as their dedicated group. There are literally
hundreds of unknown Americans’ names on the Memorial Wall, which has become
the centre piece and national memorial to the RCAF airmen of Bomber
Please visit the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum website to get
all the information on this great event which you should not miss.
- under “Special Events” ) I invite all our members and supporters
to come to this special ceremony (on August 25, 2007) as THE WALL at Nanton
is truly THE Bomber Command Memorial of Canada.
This Halifax Project, from its inception some 3 years ago, has been
a wonderful journey of people joining together in a great cause that will
require much effort and determination. This is our own battle campaign
that requires, just like our heroes of the Halifax and Bomber Command,
we must not give up no matter what the odds or difficulties. This mighty
symbol of Freedom and symbol of RCAF excellence and honour, RCAF Halifax
LW170, must be recovered. Let us keep our eyes on the target and press
on to success in our mission.
Let me close with the quote of Robert Goddard, whose pioneering spaceflight
efforts helped put a man on the moon.
“…the dreams of yesterday are the hopes of today and the realities of
Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada)
Phone - Eastern Canada 613 835 1748
Western Canada 403 603 8592
The following letters say it all. This is the purpose of our Newsletter,
Short Bursts. In this case reuniting a Navigator with his WAG 61 years
Dear Mr and Mrs Hillman,
I hope this email finds you well.
I came across the above edition of Short Bursts via a Google internet
My father, Steve McCann, is the navigator referred to (and pictured)
in Ted Rainer's article on the Verona raid. He was very interested to read
it, and would be keen to make contact with Ted Rainer. Would you be able
to supply me with an email address, or advise me as to how I could find
out his contact details? Or alternatively, if you have his email address,
would you be able to forward my email on to him?
Thanks in advance,
I'm editor of the Short Bursts web page and our web master, Bill Hillman,
passed me your request to get in touch with Ted Rainier.
Here is Ted's address and phone number. Our directory is 7 years out
of date, so I phoned and spoke to both Ted and his good wife. Ted has a
little difficulty speaking on the phone but, if you take it slow and easy,
he can understand (we are all getting on in years). Ted's wife helped out,
she is only 81. It took Ted a few moments for his memory to bounce back,
but when it did, he was quite lucid.
They are expecting your call or letter. They do not have email.
Where are you located? Happy reunion. Let me know how you make out.
Many thanks for your response. I have posted it on to my father
(he is not on email either) and I will let you know the outcome. I am sure
he will be pleased to have got a response so quickly.
He was telling me about the Verona raid - for the first time in detail
- just a few days before, and so I googled the net and found your website
and the article by Ted Rainer, which told the same story .
We are both based in Barnes, which is in South West London, albeit at
Neil McCann email@example.com