During WW II, popular souvenirs were cushion covers showing Squadron Crests,
etc. The above cushion cover appeared for sale on E-Bay and sold for $150.00
US to a buyer in England. It depicts an Air Gunner in an open cockpit,
firing a .303 gas operated Vickers machine gun mounted on a scarthring.
The Vickers K was fitted to a number of two and three-seater aircraft in
British service such as the Fairey Swordfish, Fairey Battle and Handley
Page Hampden, and the Blackburn Sharks. It was also used in gun turrets,
such as the dorsal turret in the Bristol Blenheim and the nose turret in
the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley. Some Halifax and Sunderland aircraft
used them as waist guns.
The maximum rate of fire was 950 rounds per minute, however it was usually
set at750 rounds per minute. The ammunition pans held 60 to 100 rounds,
so one had to fire in short bursts.
We thank Gordon Goddard of Regina for providing us with the picture
of the cushion cover.
Major Gordon F. Goddard, CD3 , Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Director, Saskatchewan Military Museum, Regina, SK Ph. (306)
Gordon reminds us if we are ever passing through Regina International
Airport, take a moment to check out the Military display placed there by
the Military Museum.
Ah yes, the old Vickers VGO, we had one in the nose of the Halifax
for the Bomb Aimer to use. I do believe that it was referred to as "the
panic gun". I think the only time Jim fired it the bag for
the empty shells came loose and he had little brass things all over the
nose. It was similar to the Lewis Gun that we had when I joined the
Militia in 1941, (the 2nd Battalion The Cameron Highlanders. Gad
Sir, I could strip that sucker and put it back together in no time!
When operating the Vickers from an open cockpit, one had to contend
with the slipstream. When firing towards the rear the prop blast would
enter the adjustment vent on the back of the helmet causing the headgear
to balloon and goggles to vibrate. When firing to either Port or Starboard
the slipstream would tear at the goggles impeding vision. Changing ammo
drums while the Pilot was throwing the aircraft around was another problem.
A War time account of Sergeant Scratch
Sgt. Scratch was born in Saskatchewan, July 7, 1919, and enlisted in
the RCAF in Edmonton, as R60973 AC2 Scratch D. P. on July 20, 1940. He
earned his wings as a Sgt. Pilot and flew with that rank for a long time.
He flew Liberators from Gander Bay, Newfoundland, as a co-pilot on anti-submarine
patrol. Scratch was good at his job and was eventually raised to commissioned
B-24 Liberator ~ Note mid-upper turret position
As a Flying Officer and with many hours to his credit, Scratch wanted
to fly as Captain, however, Airforce Officials considered that, as he was
slight in build, and had suffered ankle injuries in the past, he would
not have the strength to control a Liberator in an emergency.
Sgt. Scratch wanted more action but was unsuccessful in getting an overseas
posting. He became very depressed. One evening, June 19. 1944, in the mess,
he entered into a debate about one man being able to take off, fly, and
land, a Liberator. Scratch left the mess, went down to the hangar, fired
up a Liberator, and took off. He shot up the American base at Argentia,
and the base at Gander. When some fighters approached him to order him
to land, they found him occupying, and rotating the mid-upper gun turret,
with the aircraft on autopilot. The guns were fully armed and operational.
When he returned to base he was placed under arrest, later court marshalled,
and dishonourably discharged.
Mr. Scratch returned to Edmonton, Alberta, and went directly to the
RCAF recruiting office where he was accepted back into the RCAF as a Sergeant
Pilot. He was posted to #5 OTU, Boundary Bay. #5 OTU was training aircrew
on Liberators for service against Japan. The Commonwealth Air Training
Plan was winding down and many of the Pilots were senior aircrew from Training
Command. Again Sgt. Scratch found himself flying second Pilot to officers
with far less experience than himself. The training started on B-25 Mitchell
aircraft and advanced to Liberators. When his experience and flying skills
were not recognized, Sgt. Scratch again became frustrated.
On December 5th. 1944, Sgt. Scratch attempted to take off, unauthorized,
in a Liberator, Due to the fact that there was no official flying that
night, the field was in darkness and the control tower un-manned, Scratch
mistook a roadway for the runway and crashed into a wooden bridge wiping
out the undercarriage. Undaunted, he returned to the hangar and signed
out a B-25 Mitchell and took off.
Scratch flew down to Seattle, Washington, area and beat up the Seattle
airport causing many aborted take offs. The Americans sent up fighter aircraft
to bring the Mitchell down however, Scratch returned to Canada, disrupting
and grounding flights at the Vancouver airport. He then flew around the
Hotel Vancouver, well below the roof level and down Granvil St.
The following is an eye witness report by Norman Green. “7:00 hrs. December
6, 1944, while it was still dark, I was in the mess hall when it was shaken,
and dishes fell to the floor as a result of an aeroplane flying low overhead.
The same pass shook WDs out of their bunks.
As usual that morning at 8:00 hrs., 1200 airmen and airwomen, all ranks
(I among them), formed up on the tarmac in front of the control tower for
CO’s inspection. Just as the parade was about to be called to attention
a B-25 Mitchell bomber came across the field at zero altitude, and pulled
up sharply in a steep climb over the heads of the assembled airmen, just
clearing the tower. Within seconds 1200 men and women were flat on the
ground. The Mitchell then made several 25 ft. passes over the field. Group
Captain Bradshaw dismissed the parade and ordered everyone to quarters.
Over the next two hours we witnessed an almost unbelievable demonstration
of flying, much of it with the B-25’s wings vertical to the ground, below
roof top level, defying gravity. We were continually diving into ditches
to avoid being hit by a wingtip coming down a Station road. He flew
it straight and level, vertically with the wing tip only six feet above
the ground without losing altitude, defying all logic, and the law of physics.”
After an hour of this, three P40 Kittyhawks from Pat Bay Station arrived
on the scene, fully armed, with orders to shoot the B25 down if it left
the area of the station. They tried to get on his tail but could not stay
with him in his tight turns below rooftop level. After two hours of this
Sgt. Scratch flew over a corner of the field and circled one spot vertically
with the Kittyhawks joining in like May Pole dancers.
Sgt Scratch then climbed to 2000 feet and wagged his wings as he crossed
the field, boxed in by the fighters. When they were clear of the station
the Kittyhawks signalled Sgt. Scratch to land. He nodded his head, gave
them the thumbs down sign, rolled over, pulled back on his controls, and,
aiming at an uninhabited spot on Tillbury Island in the Fraser River, dived
into it. The shattered red taillight lens was later located dead centre
between the points of impact of the engines.
Could this tragedy have been prevented? Could Sgt Scratch’s flying talents
been better used in theatres where he wished to serve? Should the Administration
have recognized his expertise and frustrations, made him Captain of his
aircraft and crew, and posted him to a theatre of his choice?
Whatever the motivation, there is one definite truth, Sgt. Scratch,
WAS A SUPERB PILOT
Ed. I was
not able to find a picture of a B-25 Mitchell with RCAF markings, so we
resorted to reproducing the cover of George Olson’s book of Operational
Poetry, NO PLACE TO HIDE.
It is also an opportunity to promote George’s excellent work.
For those not aware of this book, George, as WAG on 98 Squadron,
would , on returning from an Operational flight, write a poem recording
the flight. Also in the book are extracts from his flying Log Book and
explanatory notes to enhance the poetry.
George is still writing poetry. I often turn to his book for enjoyable
reading. It is highly recommended.
LORAL FAMILY GROUP
P.O. Box 4810
Edmonton, A.B. T6E 5G6
Regina Veteran Honoured
In 1944, the 21 year old Hastings suffered a crash while flying
over Belgium. The event left him clinging to life with 32 facial fractures,
three spinal fractures, and a broken leg.
Hastings was one of 18 Canadians who received a Minister of Veterans
Affairs Commendation. According to Veteran Affairs, the award recognized
Hastings’ experiences during the war and the sacrifices since returning
home. First handed out in 2001, the commendations recognize individuals
for outstanding service and post combat assistance to other veterans and
Lionel completed his first tour of duty in four months, but volunteered
to stay on and fly transport units out of Brussels. It was during this
tour that Lionel joined a flight ferrying wounded soldiers back to England.
The plane’s engines failed soon after take off. Lionel rushed to place
the helpless men into crash positions. As he headed back to his seat, the
Anson struck two power lines and crashed into a bomb crater.
The Avro Anson, often referred to as “Faithful Annie”
He spent seven months recovering, including three in East Grinstead’s
Queen Victoria Hospital. Lionel became a member of the exclusive “Guinea
Pig Club”, reserved for airmen requiring extensive plastic surgery
“They even replaced my nose, which is good because there is nothing
in there.” He laughed, squishing his nose between two fingers. “I think
they did a good job.”
Lionel Hastings recently completed a book on his wartime experiences:
As for the Canadians: the Remarkable Story of the RCAF’s Guinea Pigs of
World War II.
For more on the Guinea Pig Club go to Short
Bursts October 2003 Webzine:
If your Editor can acquire a copy of Lionel’s book, we will review it
in a future Short Bursts Webzine.
Angels of Mercy at the Queen Victoria
422 SQUADRON (R.C.A.F. WARTIME 1942-1945)
A CELEBRATION IN WINNIPEG!!!
#422 SOCIAL REUNION MAY 2007 - FOR THE 65th ANNIVERSARY !!!
THE MAY 2007 422 SQUADRON REUNION IN WINNIPEG
BROUGHT TEN VETERANS AND TWENTY WIVES AND/OR FAMILY,
TO CELEBRATE 65 YEARS SINCE THE SQUADRON
WAS FORMED FOR THE BATTLE OF THE ATLANTIC
Back row – Jack Logan, Ken Pye, Stan Nichols,
Bob Paige, Charlie Rafter
Front row - Alex Logan, Doug Grinham,
Terry Reeves, Bud Crookes
Missing from photo – Harry Kerrison
Your Editor was unable to attend the reunion however our crew, Captained
by Doug Brooks, was represented by Pauline Brown and daughter, Sharon,
family of Ken Brown our Second Pilot. To give our readers their impression
of the reunion Sharon’s letter sums it up as follows.
“….. ever since
the reunion I’ve wanted to tell you of how wonderful it was. I know you
would have loved it if you could have been there. What a wonderful group
of people. I never doubted it but I was struck by how rock solid great
it all was – because of the people. It was a great program. Harry Kierson,
Jean Doerne and Bud Crookes, carried the day. Harry gave a presentation,
with slides, about the Battle of the Atlantic, relaying messages from members
with such caring. Jean Doerne kept the process moving and spoke with such
We especially liked Bud’s “memory mats” so we could all recall what
we wanted to share; since I test memory for a living, I thought it was
inspirational. These were laminated pages (placemats) with the web page
information of the Squadron Members and the reunion events schedule on
the reverse side. My experience was that everyone was just happy to be
there in spite of the bitter-sweet aspect of whether this was a final reunion,
the whole event was filled with good will. Bud spoke very movingly Sunday
at noon before we left, and he conveys the same sense on the website.”
Sharon, let us interrupt you to show the readers a sample of the “Memory
mats” which you mentioned. Bud Crookes was kind enough to make up mats
for Doreene and myself. Following is an example of the place mats mentioned
Sharon continues. “One of the touching events was when a gallant fellow
said to us, “Well, can I buy you ladies a drink.” Of course. At one point
I had the opportunity to just sit and, with Jack Logan and others, watch
a video of a Sunderland taking off. Looking at memorabilia of Jean
Doeren’s archival collection of prior reunions and pictures, helped us
appreciate the love and sense of camaraderie that has run so deeply. I
had a great time sitting with Bob Paige and his wife at the buffet. He
is the brother of a Squadron member who died and was specifically recognized
during the reunion
I was deeply inspired by connecting with such good people for fellowship
during the reunion. I think Dad would have loved it. I have treasured Dad’s
unwavering character and I recognize him in the ways you remembered him
Bud Crookes, the Editor and founder of the 422 Squadron Association
Web Page, has the following message. “Web Page www.georgian.net/422squadron
is now a static web page with no further changes. Look it up to see the
final record of the Squadron activities, including our reunion (with pictures
of those present). Wartime music you can turn on while you peruse approx.
1500 separate pages. Anyone can now print off their own book, now that
it is out of print.
Cedric Mah at the Edmonton Air Museum
In June 2007 Short Bursts Page there is an article about Cedric Mah,
a young man from Prince Rupert B.C. who served his country flying supplies
over the Burma Hump into China. The following is Cedric’s acknowledgement
of the article and his news of a journey of a lifetime.
Hi John, read your fine article today on our Forgotten Theatre. By the
way the printout I'm sending you is from the Hi John- Read guy who discovered
the headwaters of the Yangzi River. Hernie is the nickname of Wong How
Man. He's the explorer and photo journalist for National Geographic in
the Far East. The remnants of the CNAC Pilots and the Flying Tiger pilots
are invited to Shangri La.
Shangri la is a new village erected at the southeast corner of the Himalayas.
It will be a tourist haunt. Here in the shadow of the Himalayas is a strip
of grass forty miles long. It lies half way up the Jade Dragon Mountains
which rises to 20,000 feet. At Lijiang we used to land before dawn into
the mountain and takeoff downhill. We must get off before the sun comes
up for the heating caused the katabatic winds to flow off the glaciers
into the valleys. The winds can reach 80 to 100 miles per hour. It was
here that Kubilai Khan in 1253 stationed 250,000 head of horse [men] to
attack Burma and Annam (N. Vietnam).
From here we go along the Burma Road to Dali a quaint village
by an azure blue lake. It is famous for three pagoda's that date back to
600 A.D. Marco Polo stopped here enroute to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). During
the war we wished we could get down to rest and swim.
From here the China Air Museum director, one of our wartime co-pilots
will have us driven west along the Burma Road to the China - Burma Border.
In 1943 one of our CNAC C-47's crashed on the 16,000 ft peaks.. Five
years ago one of our 85 year old pilots crawled to the crash site. No bones
were found. Word got out that an 85-year-old pilot climbed the mountains
to bury his buddy hit the headlines. The Chinese army sent 500 soldiers
to slide it down. Now its at Pima Pass (10,000 ft.)where we will dedicate
the Interior Museum. The National Geographic, Imax Theatre Group, and China
Air Museum is footing the bill to visit Shangri-la.
By the way, the DND Veterans affairs has a video out on Legion 280 in
Vancouver. Both my brother Al and I are in the DVD Heroes Remember.
Thanks again for the memo
Attention Members of 431 Squadron
Having recently been in contact with Linda Ibrom she suggested I should
contact you with the possibility of you helping me with some research on
my grandfather who served in 431 Squadron during 1943.
My grandfather F/O D.F. Rands was in 431 Sqdn from 25.1.43 until 26.11.43
when he and the rest of the crew aboard Halifax V,LK973,SE-E, were lost
on a mission over Frankfurt, Germany.
The full crew on that mission was:
P/O J.Morton (RAF)Pilot
F/O D.R.P.Short (RCAF)2nd Pilot
F/O D.F.Rands (RAF)Navigator
F/Sgt R.Holmes (RAF)Bomb aimer
P/O G.S.Milner Wireless op/Air gunner
P/O G.H.Rich (RCAF)Mid upper gunner
W/O M.G.Clynes,C.G.M (RAF)Air gunner
Sgt J.G.E.Laflamme (RCAF)Flight engineer
All the crew are buried at Durnbach war cemetery in Germany.
Most of this crew (J.Morton,D.F. Rands, R.Holmes, G.S.Milner) &
Sgt.T.Bell (Rear gunner) were on a mission to Stuttgart on 14.4.43 aboard
Wellington X,HE201,(T) in which they issued a claim for 2 Me110's destroyed
and this encounter is retold in the book 'Royal Canadian Air Force at
war 1939-1945' by Larry Milberry & Hugh Halliday.
I have most of the details from the squadron ORB regarding missions
& various other written information from the RAF but what I have been
unable to obtain is archive material in the form of photographs, either
individual or crew, or of Halifax V,LK973.
My grandfather first flew with J. Morton on 27.10.42 in Wellington
'208' of 16 OTU, the period at 16 OTU was 22.10.42 - 28.11.42.
While at 431 Sqdn he went to 1659 HCU between 6.8.43 - 12.8.43 to convert
from the Wellington to the Halifax.
I would be grateful if you could list an appeal in your 'Short Bursts'
magazine to help me in my quest for any relevant information.
Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada)
Registered Charity 84586 5740 RR0001
PROGRESS REPORT Number 20 ~ AUG. 1,
To all our members and supporters of the Halifax Project I am most pleased
to be able to report on our continued success in our ultimate goal to locate,
inspect, and recover RCAF Halifax LW170 from the deep.
The first thing on our agenda is to remind you of the annual memorial
function and celebrations at the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum on
August 25, 2007.
It will be bigger and better than ever with the spotlighted group this
year, the 8000+ Americans who flew in the RCAF. It will be a full day of
activities and ceremonies for the whole family and we urge you to come
out and see what our partners and friends are doing in Nanton, “Canada’s
Bomber Command Memorial”.
In our last Progress Report 19 I told you I would be meeting on July
24 with the Irish officials of the deep sea research group to do some “homework”
on the sonar survey that we are planning later on this year.
This meeting was held in Dublin as I was flying a flight for Air Canada
to Dublin and was able to arrange a meeting there with the Irish sonar
experts to discuss the Halifax sonar survey and the expedition planning
to locate the Halifax in our survey box.
When I first began investigating the area of ocean where LW170 sank,
which was 2 years ago, I was able to find that one sonar survey had been
done in that area over 5 years earlier by an Irish government survey. I
went to the Geological Surveys of Ireland (GSI) office in Dublin and looked
at their sonar survey data in our Halifax survey box area. Unfortunately,
because of the way the sonar data was processed, we could not see any targets
or anomalies on the bottom in our search box which were smaller that 300
meters across. (the Halifax is 35 meters X 25 meters)
With this disappointing fact in hand I continued on to find any other
information on the area within which our Halifax lies. I was able to find
out from other deep sea exploration groups, from all their periodic surveys
in the area, that there is only a weak current running through the sonar
box area, that the oxygen levels are low due to the depth being at over
5000 feet, that the salinity in the area at that depth is lower that at
the surface, and that the temperature of the water where LW170 is laying
is a constant 3 degrees Celsius. It was also found out that the ocean bottom
texture in the area around LW170 is marine clay and sand mix with a fairly
solid base that should be able to support the weight of the Halifax without
too much sedimentation or concern that the Halifax has sunk into the bottom
elements. The bottom terrain in this area is like small rolling hills or
hummocks with only a very gradual sloping, almost like prairie landscape.
LW170 going down off Irish Coast
All of this data was acquired over these past 2 years with the idea
that, even if we did not have any past historic survey targets to investigate
when we went out on our sonar expedition, at least we would know all about
the area we were going to and what to expect for conditions.
On my first meeting with our Irish sonar experts on June 25, 2007 in
Galway we all decided that we must leave no stone unturned in looking for
clues of the location of LW170. It was mentioned that there was a new computer
program for sifting through old sonar data and that this program
might be able to see anomalies on the bottom in our search box that could
be of the size of a Halifax bomber.
Our Irish experts said they would reprocess the data that was available
and that it would be ready for our next meeting which as I told you was
convened in Dublin last week, on July 24.
I was presented at that time with some great news from our Irish experts
as they had some very good results with the new processing computer program.
A big computer screen was used and all the anomalies in the area of our
sonar survey box, that had been sifted out from the old sonar data, were
presented to me. I was very excited to see several definite targets in
our box. I was also told that there were 2 very definite solid targets
in the area of our box which were only 1 to 2 miles away from the sinking
position of LW170 !
Further evidence of the qualities of these 2 prime targets (which are
about a mile apart) was shown to me that only an expert on sonar could
see. I was most heartened with this great news and thanked our Irish friends
for being so diligent and going the extra mile for us to help locate LW170.
It appears all of us are now fully into this historic quest for LW170 and
this sonar reconnaissance has yielded great dividends, through the perseverance
of our friends in Galway.
After evaluating the 2 prime targets we went on to discuss the pending
sonar survey to locate LW170. As we now have 2 prime targets in our sonar
box all our activities will be built around a survey that emanates outward
from these prime targets. IF, and the key word is IF, we can get a good
image of these targets and one of them shows us the final resting place
of RCAF Halifax LW170 then, ladies and gentlemen, we have a whole new ball
game and the doors will be open to a truly historic project of international
As far as the timing of when we will do the survey we are hoping that
this will be done this fall or early next year. The Irish research ship,
as you saw from the photo included in Progress Report 19, is a very large
and strong ship capable of going out in all kinds of weather. Our Irish
officials have assured me that we will be included in all the planning
for the dates of the sonar survey and that we be advised of all our options
during the planning of the sonar expedition. You must remember that our
sonar survey will be added on to the schedule of a designated scientific
cruise and this is where we will gain the donation of services in kind
of the ship and the sonar for locating the Halifax.
Please standby for further on this planning of the survey and the dates
that we will actually be doing the survey. I will be meeting again with
the Irish officials on August 7th in Galway next week to continue
on in our planning details and will report back to you with any major announcements
after this date when I return.
Halifax print of LW170, "INVINCIBLE ITEM”
Contact Karl to purchase one of these prints thereby contributing to
the recovery of LW 170 fund.
Further to these developments, Jim Blondeau, a director of Halifax 57
Rescue (Canada) and a film producer in Ottawa, will be accompanying me
on the sonar expedition to capture on video all the events and technology
of the expedition. We are planning on having daily reports direct from
the research ship out on the water, via broadband and satellite hook-up,
and are working on preparing a video/photo download site on our website
at www.57rescuecanada.com so that we can, day by day, share
our adventure with you, our members and supporters, and all of the world.
I am looking up now, on my office wall, at the sonar image of Halifax
NA337 discovered in 750 feet of water over 12 years ago in Lake Mjosa,
Norway. I remember, as Project Manager of the recovery of NA337,
how that one image supercharged our project when NA337 was discovered and
this image was released to the media and press. Thousands of people stepped
forward to save NA337 by donating funds and services.
I envision that these events will happen again but this time it will
be a huge historic event beyond anything we have done before. If we can
use the best technology with determination and diligence we will be successful
in saving our Halifax, this aviation treasure. We must be prepared and
ready to save LW170 and we need your continued support.
“PRESS ON REGARDLESS…”
Phones 613-863-1942 or 613-226-4884 Alberta 403-603-8592
Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada)
Unit 31C – 174 Colonnade Road
Ottawa, ON T0L 1R0
Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada)
P.O. Box 606
Nanton, AB K2E 7J5
A Shot in the dark
I know this may be a shot in the dark but I am trying to find an air
gunner his name is
Gerald Edwin Morrison RCAF of 78 squadron.
He served with my uncle, Tom Turpin. They were shot down Oct.1 /42.
My uncle was killed, but Gerald Morrison survived as a PoW.
Any information regarding Morrison or his relatives, would be greatly
I don't know if I have sent this to you before but it is a means of
looking up the fate of Bomber Command aircraft during the war. The
web site address is www.lostbombers.co.uk/
When you go into the site you find a list of aircraft, ,and photo, you
go to the one you are interested in and you will find pages and pages concerning
that aircraft type. I did look up a number of aircraft to find out
exactly what happened to friends. Gene had a friend who was a BA
and who was lost on Ops in 1943. As far as I know all she knew was
that he was killed but apparently she had no other information, at least
she never told me of any. I did a search of the site and eventually
found out that they had been on their way to Munich and came down in a
lake. Only one body was ever recovered. I thought you might
find it interesting enough to put in the next issue of Short Bursts.
I tried to find some information on aircraft lost at OTU and HCU but, unfortunately,
they don't seem to be listed.
Do Hope You Can Help Me
Please can you help me? I would dearly love
to trace my unnamed father, who I am assured, by my auntie, was a Canadian
airman based at Fradley mid 1944. He attended a village hall dance at Alrewas
and escorted my birth mother back to her sister's house in Main Street,
making a slight detour over a nearby bridge. I merely wish to know something
of his background and thereby fill a chasm in my life's history. I appreciate
that my request is a little unusual, l but would ask you to understand,
and if humanly possible, help me fill this unknown portion of my life.
My mother's Christian name was Eileen and her sister who accompanied her
to the dance was Irene.
The dance took place on a Saturday evening the last week of June 1944.
I guess there were probable celebrations following the D Day landings of
earlier that month, which of course, brought about the successful conclusion
to the war. I was adopted in September 1945, as were many, and my
entire life has been a happy one, save for the "missing Canadian link".
I do hope that you feel able to help me in this quest, though
I appreciate that I have very few clues and so I place my hope and faith
in you. Please try your very best on my behalf,
Roger M. Chedgzoy,
Park Cottage, Highwood, Tenbury Wells, WR15 8PB,UK,
From Dave Sullivan
Good Morning John: No doubt you have heard
the news that Wallace McIntosh has passed away in Aberdeen. The following
will lead you to the 207 Squadron site, click on the squadron crest and
Reunions and newsletters to see the many obituaries that have
been appearing in newspapers all over the world. Wallace was my Gunnery
Leader on 207 and we met on a number of occasions after the war both here
and the UK. The Christmas cards stopped about two years ago and I knew
that he was not in the best of shape. Wallace was a very modest hero
and a gentleman. His mid-upper gunner was Larry Sutherland, last known
living in Florida, who appeared one morning unannounced at our door
when we lived in Toronto. Larry had sought me out because of our surnames
and knowing that I had been on 207. We spent the morning together and after
lunch he was off to Chicago where he had a swimming pool business.
As he left he asked me if I had joined the Air Gunner's Association and
I said that I had not done that yet. Very shortly afterwards that I received
a membership card from the Association paid for by Larry. Sadly, I have
been unable to contact Larry, he is not at the last address I had for him.
Full ahead to the 2010 Olympics
Ed. Wallace McIntosh and Larry Sutherland, of whom Dave speaks, are
featured in Commemorative Issue of Short Bursts 1983 – 1993 Pg. 46.
"Wallace was to become, at one time, the most decorated air gunner in
the RAF. In a 14 month spell between October 1943, and December, 1944,
he was awarded he DFM, DFC, and a bar to the DFC."
Larry Sutherland was a great supporter of Short Bursts and I had the
pleasure of sharing his company at a reunion in Edmonton, September 1998.
A Mustang Dream Realized
Article and photos
by John J. Chalmers
442 Reeves Crest NW
Edmonton AB T6R 2A3
with his P-51
City of Winnipeg Squadron
A youthful interest in a great warbird, the P-51 Mustang, has been realized
by a Winnipeg aviator who now flies a splendid example of that famous aircraft
of the Second World War. Bob May began gathering Mustang parts and components
18 years ago to restore the aircraft to its original glory.
In only his third flight in the aircraft, Bob flew it to Edmonton
on June 22 to put it on show at Airfest 2007 at the Alberta Aviation Museum.
On the day of Airfest, June 24, Bob spent a full day beside the aircraft
answering questions and talking to visitors about his beautifully restored
The poster designed for Airfest features a pin-up girl in the
style of wartime nose art that appeared on aircraft. “Mustang Sally” was
not only the main illustration on the poster, so appropriate with the rivets
and bullet holes in the background, but the title of a song that dates
back to 1965 and was recorded by many artists. Although the song refers
to Mustang cars and not aircraft, it was appropriate for both. Besides
the P-51 on display, a local Mustang automobile owners club displayed their
four-wheel models at Airfest.
Painted in RCAF post-war colours and insignia, Bob May’s P-51
Mustang actually bears an American registration number, as the aircraft
is kept in North Dakota where it was restored. Bob began acquiring parts
for the aircraft in 1989 and restoration was completed in 1994, but he
didn’t fly it himself until the day before he brought it to Edmonton.
Although he is new to the cockpit of the Mustang, he is not new
to flying, having spent a career in the aviation field, including operating
Keewatin Air with his wife, Judy, for 35 years. With their main base in
Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, and another in Churchill, Manitoba, they developed
an advanced aeromedical program and also operated Learjet 35 aircraft internationally
for a number of years as Critical Care International.
Although both companies have now been sold, both Bob and Judy
maintain their involvement in aviation with consulting and participating
in aviation organizations. As well, Bob now has two ex-RCAF Harvards, one
flying and one under restoration, both located in the United States, including
one that was stored in a Nebraska barn before Bob acquired it. His interest
in vintage aircraft goes back many years, having previously owned and flown
a 1930’s N3N-3 biplane built by the Naval Aircraft Factory. That was followed
by a T-6 Texan, the American version of the Harvard.
“I can’t tell you much about flying the Mustang yet, as its all
pretty new,” says this experienced pilot. “My impression is that I spent
too much time worrying about all the stories I had read about how challenging
and dangerous it was. In fact, it’s a lot easier to handle than the Harvard
and just needs lots of right rudder! It is a very nice change on landing
from the Harvard, which I’ve come to respect as never being done surprising
the pilot until it is shut down. The Mustang is a joy to handle on the
And it looks great in the air, as well as on the ground. When
he left Edmonton for home in Winnipeg, the sight of a Mustang making a
low pass over the City Centre Airport was something not seen there for
years, and the sound of the mighty Merlin engine was music to the ears
of anyone who saw it. Thanks to his efforts in restoring, flying and displaying
his beautiful aircraft, Bob May now shares his vintage fighter plane with
others who are interested in aviation history.
For more info on Bob’s warbird and other Mustangs, see
For more photos of Airfest 2007 at Edmonton, including photos of the
Mustang, go to http://photoshare.shaw.ca/gallery/johnchalmers
and click on Airfest 2007.
To see the Mustang fly and hear its Merlin engine, watch the movie
on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6ijo0DQyuo
Ed. John Chalmers has been a contributor to Short Bursts. His article
reminds me of the 1950s when there were eight Mustang aircraft in mothballs,
at Winnipeg Stevenson airport where Western Air Command was then located.
War Assets Disposal Corporation in Ottawa put the Mustangs up for
sale to the highest bidder. A consortium in Winnipeg entered a bid of $800.00
each on the aircraft. When they had not heard, they phoned Ottawa and were
directed to the person administering the bids. Her name was Mrs. BIDGOOD.
Are there any readers out there, especially in Ottawa, who know this lady?
The Consortium lost out to a bidder who paid $1,500.00 per aircraft.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand the Mustangs ended up in Cuba,
forming Casto’s air arm in his fight against Batista.
Northern Alberta Branch Report
Good evening John. I guess it is about time I sent something
for Short Bursts so people will know that we are still alive out here.
So Here goes.
Not much doing in Northern Alberta at this time of year however we still
have our monthly luncheon meetings and we manage to attract around
10 or 12 members to the Norwood Legion. . We have our regulars but
occasionally we have a "drop in" so to speak. We always have four
or five Ladies present , usually those whom we refer to affectionately
as "the Merry Widows". At the end of June we held what has
become our yearly barbecue at the Log Cabin in Edmonton. There were
35 in attendance including a few of our friends from the Wartime Aircrew
Association. The barbecue steak and chicken with all the trimmings
was, as usual, excellent with wine and beer available to wash it down.
A good time was had by all.
We will be attending the function at Nanton on August 25 but we are
not sure how many of our members will be there. We have four positives
and about three or four "maybes". It is a long drive for some members and,
of course, the price of petrol is a factor. We will make sure we
send an account of the day and some photographs for the October issue.
In the June/07 edition of Short Bursts there is a request from Stefan
McKenna seeking information on his Uncle, Gerald McKenna, 162 Squadron,
killed in action and buried in Iceland.
A gentleman, Lauren Carlson, member of our morning coffee group, was
travelling to Iceland, and agreed to visit the military cemetery
at Reykjavik, and photograph Gerald’s grave site.
When Lauren pressed back the flowering shrub to get the inscription,
he discovered a bird’s nest containing one egg. With death, there is life.
We thank Lauren and Sheila for taking the time to obtain these pictures.
Sheila Carlson standing
by Gerald McKenna’s grave.
This picture shows how well
the grounds are maintained.
Lauren behind Gerald’s memorial
G. P. MCKENNA
ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE
19TH DECEMBER 1944
"BOY OF MY HEART
THE HOURS WILL TEEM
WITH THOUGHTS OF YOU
WE ARE NOT APART"
MOTHER & DAD
Sept. 26, 1942, 7 BR Squadron, Prince Rupert,
L to R – John Moyles, WAG, Hank Hankinson, Nav.
Gerald Mckenna, pilot,
returning from Pacific Patrol in Blackburn Shark.
Picture taken by Tommy Cousins –
WAG, with his verboten camera.
The National War Museum Bomber Command Plaque
The Canada War Museum, to my knowledge, has done nothing with regards
to removing the insulting plaque that insinuates that we veterans of Bomber
Command, who bombed Germany during WW2, are "War Criminals"
I would like to suggest that in your next publication, you urge the
veterans who will be parading in the Nov. 11th ceremonies at the Cenotaph
in Ottawa to congregate at the Museum after the 11 o'clock ceremonies and
boycott the Museum. If the Ottawa branch of the Legion in association
with the Airforce Association get together to organize this action, it'll
make the public aware of the Museum's Board of Directors insensibility
to the feelings of us veterans.
The following bumper sticker is self explanatory.
IF YOU DON'T STAND BEHIND OUR TROOPS....
...FEEL FREE TO STAND IN FRONT OF THEM....
We, in Bomber Command
NOT ONLY STOOD BEHIND THEM, BUT FLEW IN FRONT OF THEM....
E.J. Chenier CD
Flight Lieutenant (Ret'd)
208-815 St. Anne's Rd
Winnipeg, MB R2N 3X6
204 255 2080