AUGUST 2001 EDITION
SHORT SUNDERLAND
THE SHORT SUNDERLAND  - see article on this Page 

 

BRANCH REPORTS

Northern Saskatchewan Branch

On the 19th of July 19 Members of the Ex A/G & WAGs Association gathered for their monthly brunch at the RCAF Association Lynx Wing.
Treasurer Doug Warren reported that our finances were in excellent shape.
C.R. Robson was the winner of the 50/50 draw.
Mac Smith submitted a story and a photo for the Web Site. (See below)
Renee Andersen and his wife were in attendance and Renee told of their visit to Trenton to see the Halifax bomber which is in the process of being restored.
Ted Slocombe outlined several ways the Lynz Wing can be supported.

 “Smokey” C.A. Robson – Pres.

M. R. "Mac" Smith
M. R. Mac Smith
After a successful raid on Frankfurt 22 – 3 – 44, Sgt Vern Irvine (third from left above) of Toronto was forced to throw his huge four-engine bomber into a loop to evade a German fighter. The Nazi fired at the Halifax from 800 yards and the rear Gunner, Sgt Mesmore “Sonny” Rainville (second from left) of Montreal was tossed around so violently he could not fire back.

The Navigator, F/O Art Mauger (fourth from left) of Victoria B.C. found himself and his instruments floating up to the roof. The mid-upper Gunner, Sgt. M.R. “Mac” Smith (left) of Star City, Sask., stayed in his turret although afraid he might drop out of the “bubble”.

When the Halifax came out of the loop it found the Night Fighter had disappeared, after missing all its shots. It was the first operational flight for the crew together with the Alouette Squadron, RCAF.


THE SUNDERLAND FLYING BOAT 

During World War 11 the Sunderland was truly a ubiquitous aircraft. At various stages of the war Sunderland Squadrons operated out of Greenland, Iceland, Shetland Islands, Northern Ireland, U. K., Gibraltar, Malta, Crete, West and East Africa, Indian Ocean, Burma, and South Asia.

During the Korean conflict 88, 205, 209 Sunderland Squadrons formed the Far East Flying Boat Wing with their main base at Sebetar, Singapore, with rotation to Iwakubni.

Sunderland Squadrons 201 and 230 were active in the Berlin Air Lift, Operation “Plainfare” flying shuttle service between Hamburg and Berlin.

On operational trips Sunderland crews usually numbered 11 however, with the introduction of sophisticated sonar gear later in the war, an extra WAG had to be carried. The crews consisted of 3 Pilots, 1 Navigator (3rd. pilot assisted the navigator),  2 Flight Engineers, 3 (or 4) WAGS, and 2 Air Gunners.

Because it was a flying boat, terms on the Sunderland were nautical. It was not a fuselage, it was a hull. There was a bilge, bulkheads, a bow and stern, upper and lower decks, ward room (complete with table cloth and window curtains (until the CO saw them),. The cooking area was referred to as the Galley, the toilet was the Head and the IAS was in knots.

Sunderland Galley
Cooking up eggs, bacon and beans in the galley

When the ship was on the water it was moored to a buoy. To be placed in dry dock  it was fitted with docking gear and hauled up the slip. For boarding the crew took a dinghy from the dock to the aircraft and, if the weather was unkind, flying gear was saturated with salt spray before boarding for a 10 to 15 hour patrol. The crews had salt in their veins.

Flying boats were similar to their land plane counterparts when airborne. It was contact with the water which introduced radical differences and similar to a sailing boat once the moorings were slipped. The only way one could proceed was forward with no means of stopping and with limited control over direction. The tendency was to weathercock into wind. Added to these were the variations of wind, currents, tides, glassy water or swells, restricted operating area e.g. shallows, other marine craft, markers, buoys, debris, short flare paths, barrage balloons, and unlit shipping.

In air sea rescue work the Pilots had to master the art of landing in troughs on high seas. WAGS struggled with ASV radar and interpreting sonar signals (differentiating between schools of fish  and the oscilations of a sub’s propellers.) The Navigators plotted courses over endless tracts of water. Engineers worried about fuel supply, and the Air Gunners stared at white caps trying to spot a periscope wake, a puff of smoke from a snorkel, or spot a life raft in the heavy swell.

The main task of the Sunderland crews was anti-shipping, anti-submarine patrol, and air sea rescue. Early in the war Sunderland Squadrons were used to evacuate VIP’s from Greece and Crete. In one case 72 refugees with luggage ands pets were evacuated in one Sunderland. In South east Asia the Sunderland was used in low level bombing of enemy troop trains and rail yards.


The bombing of a supply train at Thung Song station, 
Southern Siam by Sunderland  NJ265  14.8.45. 
Sunderland squadrons were formed by many allied nations
and included RNZAF, RAAF, SAAF, NORWEGIAN, 
FREE FRENCH, RAF, AND RCAF. 

For a well documented account of this flying boat see – 

SHORT SUNDERLAND in World War II
by Andrew Hendrie 
Airlife Publishing Ltd.
101 Londen Road, 
Shrewsbury  SY3 9EB  England
ISBN 1  85310  429  9 


422 Squadron  Pembroke Dock, South Wales  1944


Don "Red" Macfee 

Don contributed the following to AG’s Association News Letter SHORT BURSTS Sept. 1995 Issue #51.

“I have a letter dated May 6, 1995 from Rev. R.M. Bartlett who was a WAG on 423 Sqdrn. From it I quote:”

‘I had a great “Archdale” time last year. Around Easter time we were on a four-laner heading East in Florida south of Orlando towards Haines City, when my wife, Audrey, suddenly shouted that she saw something unusual not to far away on a small lake. Unbelievable, but there it was, a Sunderland aircraft floating gently and beautifully. I quickly realized that it was the last flying boat after its trip from England to Toronto and then Osh-Kosh, and now in its new home in Polk City. I nearly had a heat attack I’m sure!’

ML 418 at buoy
ML 418 at buoy  (I believe this was taken at Toronto in 1944 - correct me if I'm wrong)
Terry Reeves and Don Macfee
Terry Reeves                                                                            Don Macfee
They flew about 70 0ps together. Reeves did time on  ML 814 in 1945

CORRESPONDENCE RECEIVED 

Subject: crewmembers
Date: Sun, 01 Jul 2001 15:52:05 -0700
From: Jim Murphy <jt.murphy@home.com>
To: tweedhouse@sk.sympatico.ca
I was an A/G on 115 squadron Witchford in 1945. We had two Canadian members our B/A was named Roman Strelchuk and our WOP/AG was named Cliff Mayne, a long shot I know but I wonder if anyone can maybe recall either name .
Thanks for your time
 Jim Murphy


Subject: combat reports
Date: Sat, 21 Jul 2001 16:42:11 -0500
From: Richard Koval <rkoval@voyageur.ca>
To:tweedhouse@sk.sympatico.ca
Hello John.
I have a large web site on the 6 group at www.rcaf.com/6group . I have just received combat reports from Jan 43 to April 44, concerning 6 group aircraft. In due time they will all be on my site. If any ex 6 group gunners would like copies of these, I will have them copied and mailed.
Best regards
Richard

Subject: W.O. II / Air Gunner Roy Howard Jones, 62 R.A.F. Sqdn., R.C.A.F.
Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2001 11:45:37 -0400
From: Brian Jones <ac5059@wayne.edu>
To: tweedhouse@sk.sympatico.ca
Dear Mr. Moyles,

My name is Brian Jones and my grandfather's brother was Roy Jones, a tail gunner in WWII in the Royal Canadian Air Force.  I am trying to find out more information on him and see if anybody is still around who served with him.  He was killed in action on July 13, 1945 in Burma.  He was in the R.C.A.F., 62 R.A.F. Squadron, service number R/67733.  The only other information I have on him is that he was from Windsor, but I think he grew up in Hamilton.  When he was in the air force he had a pet rooster or chicken?  I'm not sure if the bird flew with them, but I've seen a newspaper picture of him in uniform holding his feathery friend.

I received some information from the Book of Remembrance and Veterans Affairs Canada and I am currently waiting to receive a copy of his service record. If you know anybody who remembers him or served with him, please pass this information along to them and ask them to kindly contact me by email, phone or regular mail.

Thank you very much for your assistance, I enjoyed reviewing your web page.

Brian Jones
1824 Pembroke
Birmingham, MI 48009 U.S.A.
H: 248-643-6842


FROM YOUR EDITOR

I hope that my dissertation on the Sunderland did not show bias but flying off water was another world. I started with a “water” squadron in December 1941 and continued until June 12/45. During that time I did not set foot on a runway. The following will show how acclimatized one can become to this medium. After June 7/45 I was transferred to 426 Squadron which was then based at Tempsford Bedfordshire, and was converting to Liberators for UK to India troop transport duties.

On arrival at the base I reported to flights and met the other crew members who had come from land based squadrons. We were scheduled for a familiarization flight and were waiting on the tarmac for transportation. I asked the skipper where the aircraft was and he pointed across the air field to a liberator sitting in a dispersal area. Being keen to check things out I said, “hell, I’m not waiting for transport, I have my bike.” So, jumping on my two wheeled steed I started across the field. Well, why not,  dinghies left the dock and went in a direct line to the aircraft! I bumped over grass then across cement, more grass, then more cement. A red flare burst over head and I can remember thinking, ‘some poor buggers in trouble’.

I had just reached the aircraft when a jeep roared up and a purple faced F/L roared at me, “What the Hell do you think your doing!” I thought he was referring to me climbing into the aircraft so I said, "its’ O.K. our crew is going to test her.” He shook his head and drove off mumbling uncomplimentary comments about ‘Colonials’.

When the rest of the crew arrived by transport they were getting a big charge out of the situation. Our Skipper, Norman “Wimpy” Noel   (ex-428 Sqdn.)  suggested that in the future I should try not to ride my bike across active runways.

We need material of interest to Ex-A/Gs and Air Force personnel to fill our monthly page. Take a moment to drop us a line.

Until September, keep well.   Cheers,
John Moyles

 

Remember Jane?  How could we forget!
Remember Jane?  How could we forget!


2001.08
Regional Meetings


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

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


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


Northern Alberta Branch
Location - Jasper Place Legion , 10220 - 156 St. Edmonton.
Date -  Third Tuesday of each month.
Time - 12:00 hours.
Contact Members - E. H. "Ted" Hackett (780)962-2904 
or Sven Jensen (780)465-7344.


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


British Columbia Branch
We meet on the first Tuesday in 
March, June, September, and December at 11:30 am. 
There will also be special events and meetings throughout the year. 
Our mailing address and meeting place is:
Royal Canadian Legion #83, 
5289 Grimmer St., 
Burnaby, BC. V5H 2H3
Contact Members are - Stan Sullivan (604)277-5641 
and Rod MacDougall (604)515-4280 
rdmacdougall@pacificcoast.net

Members across the Country are encouraged to 
send current information regarding 
regular meeting places, dates, and Contact Members, to
John Moyles
Box 6 
Kenosee Lake 
SK   S0C 2S0 



Members are requested to send their experiences, articles, anecdotes, pictures, etc., to John Moyles and I will forward them to our Web Master in Brandon. Articles and Last Post items will be deleted from the page each month after the designated Member in each region has had an opportunity to copy the material for their Members. Notices of deceased Members are to be sent to Charlie Yule who is still our 'Keeper of the Rolls'. This is your SHORT BURSTS with no printing or mailing costs, and no deadlines! The Brandon Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum has agreed to host our AG page. However, as it costs the Museum $35.00 per month to maintain the Web Page, it is suggested that each Ex-AG group contribute periodic donations to the Museum to help off-set this expense, and to enhance the work they are doing.  We thank our Web Master, Bill Hillman, for his volunteer time and expertise.

Donations can be made directly to:   CATP Museum Inc.
                                                            Box 3, Grp. 520, RR5,
                                                            Brandon, MB   R7A 5Y5
                                                             Ph.- (204)727-2444
 


 
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