Bill Hillman Presents
Forces: Land ~ Air ~ Sea ~ Home
Compiled by Bill Hillman
FLASH. . . Editor and Webmaster: Bill Hillman:
JUNE 2004


A Hampden of 32 OTU makes a dummy torpedo drop near Pat Bay, BC 
in this photo used to assess the drop.

Recovery and Restoration of Handley Page Hampden bomber P5436

RAF P5436, Manufactured 1942
2 1000 hp Bristol Pegasus XVIII Engines
Maximum Speed 254 mph
Empty Weight 11780 lb., Loaded Weight 18756 lb.

Some of the following material was taken from an article written by Paul Seguna published in the AVIATION HISTORY November 2002 magazine, and material supplied by Canadian Museum of Flight, Langley, BC. 

On November 15, 1942, a Hampden bomber with serial number P5436, attached to No. 32 O.T.U. Patricia Bay, BC, took off on a practice torpedo-drop sortie. All went well and the crew managed a successfully torpedo drop, but when the pilot banked at low altitude to observe the torpedo run, he lost control and the twin engine bomber with crew of four side slipped into the water. All crewmembers survived the crash with minor injuries. They were picked up within minutes by a passing RCAF Stranraer flying boat whose crew had seen them go into the drink.

In 1985 the underwater recovery team of the Canadian Museum of Flight (CMF) in Langley BC, pin pointed the sunken Hampden with sonar. The well defined sonar images showed it was intact, a rare find.

CMF volunteers next mobilized to gather necessary resources for a salvage effort. A Recovery Crew from the Canadian Lake and Ocean Salvage Team led by Jerry Olsen and the Thompson family of Tillicum Towing in Pender Harbour added their considerable reclamation experience to the worthy cause.

The fragility of the wreckage made for a demanding salvage operation using remote-controlled submersible, guided by operators using on-board video camera and robotic manipulators. The aircraft, although being reasonable intact when it was gingerly lifted out of the water, was badly corroded and suffered crash damage. Certain parts of the bomber remained in good shape. Its compass still functioned as did greased drive chains and bearings. There was even air left in the tires.

At this stage CMF volunteer Fred Gardham became involved in the Hampden’s rebirth. Along with other helpers he would spend hundreds of hours reclaiming the aircraft.. Gardham was uniquely qualified for the tasks he had worked on Hampdens during his civilian aircraft maintenance career. He had even logged post maintenance time in this aircraft. (Fred Gardham served in the Merchant Navy shipping out between Halifax and the UK.)

Using creativity, imagination, and sometimes Gardham’s own money, the volunteers managed to put the bomber back together. They applied metal skin, reattached wings that had been ripped during the crash. Other parts came from two other Hampden crash sites. AN136 which had crashed into Mount Tuan on Salt Spring Island, and ANH132 that crashed near Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. They also attached a glass nose brought over from England (courtesy of the RAF. This item had been used as a greenhouse in the wars aftermath.

What of the 4-man crew of the P5436? We have traced down members of the RCAF and RAAF, who died in Canada and Australia in recent years. The other two were RAF, and one is thought to have visited Pat Bay in the mid-1980’s. We are still searching for them.

The familiar lines of the bomber slowly returned – the bulbous nose with its cockpit perched on top, the twin radial engine nacelles, the ranked wings and pencil like rear fuselage ending in a twin tail, responsible for the aircraft’s nickname “frying pan”.
By 1998 the outdoor display lot of CMF became the new home of Handley Page Hampden Bomber P5436. The late W/C T.C. “Cam” Weir, who had flown Hampden aircraft at RAF Waddington, Lincolnshire, and who became part of the restoration team, found in the Hampden a visible reminder of friendships forged in good times and bad, achievements and tragic loss in the crucible of war. 

In June 2000 a ceremony at the Museum officially welcomed back Hampden bomber P5436 as a tribute to Canadian Aviation History. Today the rebuilt bomber serves as a connecting link with the past for those who have worked to restore it as well as those whose wartime service brought them into contact with Hampden bombers. Many dedicated people had come together in a lengthy endeavour to restore this bit of aviation history so that it could tell its story to a new generation.

This aircraft is dedicated to Mr. Fred Gardham of Vancouver, BC.

Mr. Gardham landed his first job in the airplane industry in 1937, building Blackburn Shark’s at the Boeing Canada plant near Stanley Park in Vancouver. When WWII started, Mr. Gardham moved to Ontario where he worked for Canada Car and Foundry, which was building Hawker Hurricanes. Upon his move back to Vancouver, he worked at the Boeing plant on Sea Island and then joined the Merchant Navy. After a year in the Navy, he went to work at Boeing’s Seattle plant, building B52 bombers and then for Canadian Pacific working on commercial aircraft.

When the Canadian Museum of Flight lifted the Handley Page Hampden out of the Pacific Ocean in 1985 Mr. Gardham was chosen as head restorer as he had worked on this exact aircraft before its crash in 1942 off of Pat Bay. With no diagrams of the aircraft, only his memory, photos, and sketches for reference, Fred started the amazing task of taking pieces of bent corroded metal and once again bringing her to life.

What you see before you today is the culmination of many volunteer hours by many individuals, but had it not been for Mr. Fred Gardham who spent over 15 years dedicated to the restoration of this aircraft, this project may never have been completed.

(Ed. I have been in touch with Fred Gardham, who is now 90, and asked him for some input on this project plus a picture of himself. Stay tuned)

The Late W/C  T.C. “Cam” Weir
who flew Hampdens during WW11
also helped restore Hampden P5436

FRANKFURT OPERATION  3/12/42 102 Squadron RAF Pocklington

The following made up the crew of Halifax shot down by two night fighters . 
May Frank S. Sgt. Pilot POW Cdn
McKim Donald William P/O  Navigator POW Cdn
Nutter George Edward (wounded) Sgt. W.O. POW Brit
Nielsen R. Engineer POW Brit
Charman  Ernest W/O  Bomb Aimer POW Brit
Edwards “Ted” Mardon A/G KIA Cdn
Pope Cyril  Sgt. A/G KIA Brit

Back row – Ted Edwards,  Ernest Charman
Front –  George Edward Nutter, Frank May, Donald William McKim.
Picture was taken on a beach near St. Eval, Cornwall, 
when they were flying Whitley a/c on Coastal Command. 
Nielsen and Pope joined their crew when they were posted to 102 Squadron, Pocklington.

When Ernest Charman returned to England he wrote a letter dated 2/10/45 to Ted Edward’s mother, Mrs. F. Edwards, Sechelt, BC. The following is part of this letter.

“……..No doubt you know by now that I have returned to England from Germany. I only wish that Mardon (Ted) had come back with us. I wrote to you a few times from Germany but could not tell you much or else it would have been censored, but now I can tell you what happened.

We were attacked by two night fighters but I’m afraid to say that none of us saw the second one until it was too late. Both Mardon and Cyril Pope saw the one that attacked us on our own level and engaged him. However, the second one came up underneath us and raked us along the bottom setting all our bombs alight. In the meantime the first one was still attacking and killed both Cyril and Mardon and wounded Ted Nutter our wireless operator very badly. By this time we were well and truly on fire so I decided to abandon ship as it was impossible to put out 10,000 lbs. of incendiary bombs that were all alight.

This happened December 3, 1942 and it was not until   February 1943  that I found out where they were both buried. They were both given a full military funeral and buried in the same grave. The place is Saumershiem in the Phalz. All this information I managed to get from the Camp Commander at Stalag Luft 1, a  Hauptmann Von Muller who was a pretty decent guy. Sometime in the near future I can get over to Germany and I will try and get a snap of the grave for you. …………………”

While the surviving crew members were in Sagan POW camp they wrote letters to Mrs. Edwards and we are fortunate to have access to the originals. Ex POWs will remember these letter forms

Common Grave of 
“Ted” Mardon Edwards and Cyril  Pope

POW Letter Form

To Mrs. Edwards (in part) from George Nutter in POW camp May 20, 1944.

“…………… May I convey my sincere and deepest sympathy for poor Eddy, your son, who was so close a friend of mine for quite a while. Cannot say a lot about the incident, only that everything happened so quick. I was hit myself in the back by bullets, did not feel much pain but was incapacitated a bit but managed, after a struggle to get out. I am feeling comparatively fit now after quite a spell in hospital. Have still one bullet in my back but it does not trouble me much. The others were extracted………………………..”

To Mrs. Edwards  (in part) from Ernest Charman in POW Camp. July 28, 1943

Dear Mrs. Edwards, I can see from your letter to Frank May that Ted probably mentioned me in his letters home. I have been wanting to write to you ever since he was killed but couldn’t get your address. Believe me he died doing a good job of work. He was killed in the turret as was the other gunner, Cyril Pope, so he couldn’t jump by parachute.
I am writing my mother asking her to send you some copies of the photos Mrs. May showed you. They were happy days for us all…………………..”

In Frank May’s letter from the POW Camp to Mrs. Edwards he refers to her son as Jim. July 28, 1943.

“………………….Jim was a grand fellow and we got along very well together as did the rest of the crew. Gwen Williams had a girl friend (Audrey) and whenever Jim and Gwen were to be found you could almost always find Audrey and myself. The four of us spent the happiest five weeks together – five weeks that I will never forget. You may not know Mrs. Edwards, but Jim and I were billeted together at one of the training schools in Canada, so that we were not strangers when we met in England.

Things happened very quickly that night last year, and the aircraft burst into flames almost immediately we were hit. Jim was cut off from the rest of us, being at the rear. McKim left the aircraft first and I followed him as we were both in the nose of the kite……………  Jim and Cy Pope are buried at CENSORED………………” 

The above original pictures and documents were provided by Mr. Robert J. Henderson founder and proprietor of:

6015 – 5th Ave., Regina, Sk. Canada. S4T 6V4
Ph. (306) 543-5822            Fax (306) 789-2468

Robert Henderson is still researching this incident and the crew, so if you have any information to add, please contact Bob. 

Facts still not confirmed: Was Engineer Nielsen British or Norwegian? In Ernest Charman’s letter to Mrs. Edwards he says, “I decide to abandon ship.” This statement would lead one to believe he gave this order as Skipper. Was he the Pilot and Frank May the bomb aimer?

The Memorial Book THEY SHALL GROW NOT OLD lists Mardon Edward’s burial location as Rheinberg, Germany.

Ed Hunt 
Calgary, Alberta

I have been reading Short Bursts for some time through the courtesy of Jack Denmee of Calgary. I meant to contact you for some time to let you know how much I have enjoyed the issues, but as the saying goes, procrastination is the thief of time.

At Christmas some of my family bought me part of a computer and I got the rest, so I have been endeavouring to learn the secrets of this new toy. It is not easy when you’re 85.

I was interested in the articles that have appeared about Castle Archdale, Northern Ireland. I had finished my second tour ( 115 and 432 Squadrons) in February 1945 and, to keep me out of harms way I was sent to London. From there I was posted to Northern Ireland to sell War Bonds to Canadian Personnel stationed in Northern Ireland. There were somewhere around 600 stationed at Castle Archdale and all around Ireland there were groups of Canadians stationed at Radar stations situated here and there. My headquarters were in Belfast and the Air Force provided me with a car and Driver (who was from Toronto), and it was our job to visit these stations by going around Ireland, and my job was to sell the bonds.

One very dark, foggy night, we got a little off track and got ourselves in Southern Ireland  (which was Neutral). We stopped at a pub to get something to eat and find out where we were. We were served the most delicious meal and when we were almost finished, who should appear, but two of Southern Ireland’s finest. They sat down and explained that we were about 10 miles out of Northern Ireland territory, and that we could have been interned.  However they were not very anxious to pursue the matter. They had us take off our tunics and put our caps away. Of course I had to buy them a brew. We had a fine visit and they explained to the driver how to get back – we shook hands and were on our way.

We arrived at Enniskillen a little later than we planned but none the worse for wear. We laughed about it and decided not to let any of the authorities know, it might have gone hard on the driver. What they didn’t know didn’t hurt them. I am sure the Statute of Limitations has long since expired.


Just fooling around on here and found your short bursts web site.  Very interesting especially as I was at High River to a BMW motorcycle rally and went to Nanton to see the Lancaster.  As I was a B-24 gunner in the US 8th Air Force in England the people there took me on a tour of the plane.  I had always admired the Lancaster and Lincoln.  We flew home by way of the Azores with Canadian Lancaster's, but they were faster than us. I may be back up there in July and will go back to Nanton, by the way I live in Nebraska in the US so it is about 1500 miles for me, old age is catching up. 

Phil Weber. 

Attached are some images from the RCAF Log Book and of my father Philip D McQuellin (F/Lt RAAF) 
I have scanned the entire book and will send it on to the museum for their records. 
It would be interesting to find through your Short Burst readers if Pilot Officer Murray G Hall RCAF is alive or a contact with a member of his family so I might share some images and information with the Hall family. 

Regards Chris McQuellin

Philip D McQuellin 
(F/Lt RAAF) 

I just wanted to let you know that because of the many heartfelt emails that I have received, I have added a free download link to my poem pages so they can obtain a printable copy.  They seem to mean so much to the people who have sacrificed tremendously through their service or their family losses that I would not want a single one of them to not have a copy if they want it.

Perhaps, in some small way the poems will help keep alive the memory of those losses and maybe help some of our younger citizens to realize that freedom is far from free.

Paul Allen

Don Macfie tells us about his Pilot C.H.E. “Ted” Cook, 423 and 422 Squadrons

Cook was a wild character, especially when having a brew. Once I saw him chew off the necktie of a Flight Commander – right at the knot. Another night when the drinks were being spilt at the bar, he appeared wearing his Mae West. He was so double jointed he got bags behind his knees.  He couldn’t run and one day at Oban we were ordered on a five mile run. Half (of squadron) in the morning and half in the afternoon. Our crew was on the morning run and our Air Gunner was wildly cheered as he came into town leading, and Cook was wildly cheered coming into town leading the afternoon run.

He was completely night blind. One clear night, after take off, I was in he mid-upper and I heard him ask the co-pilot if that was the flare path over there. It was a line of stars.

I did a tour of 800 hours with Cook on 423 Squadron and was with him on 422 Squadron, and on Liberators at Bassingbourne where he had his motorcycle accident. After he recovered he decided it was ‘home for him’. We got to be pretty good pals.

He begged me to climb on the back of his bike and ride with him the day he got schmucked by the big lorry and ended up with his head in front of the real duals. Fortunately I had other things to do.

Well, he straightened out a bit, married, and raised a family. He continued to fly on glider towing and crop duster testing until past 60 years of age. Cook died of stomach cancer.

He was an American (in the RCAF) from Syracuse N.Y. but never put up USA patches. He refused to re-muster to the USAF and never boasted about the ‘good old US of A’. He was just One of Us!

Ted Cook Proud owner
following purchase of his Bike

And after his argument with the lorry

Mbr. #0107, WINNIPEG, MB:  Born March 12, 1917, Lloyd Cambrai died May 6, 2004.  After graduation from High School and some service with the Hudson's Bay Company at various northern posts, he enlisted in the RCAF - Service No. R130098.  Selected for Wireless Gunnery Training he attended #4 W/S at Guelph, ON and #7 B&G at Paulson, MB. where he earned his WAG Brevet.  He was commissioned as J95414 and served overseas with #354 Squadron in India and #160 in Ceylon - both in Coastal Command.  After discharge he became a member of the Wartime Pilot's and Observer's, 500 Wing RCAF Association, and United Services. Until his retirement he worked as a carpenter and a Stationary Engineer.  He also was a member of the Ex Air Gunner's Association and shared in many of their functions over the last 20 years.

WILLIAMS, M. A. #0079, CALGARY, AB: Myron Allen was born July 16th, 1917 and passed away May 7th, 2004 at the Rosedale Hospice in Calgary.  Myron enlisted in the RCAF as R113236 and became an Air Frame Mechanic before remustering for Air Gunner training.  Overseas he was posted to 103 Squadron.  Shot down over Germany in late 1944 he became a Prisoner of War.  Upon his return to England he married Violet Irene East who joined him seven months later in Calgary.  He was an active member of the RCAF ExPOW Association, the RCAF Ex Airgunner's Association a founding member of the So. Alberta Air Crew Association and a member of 263 Royal Canadian Legion.

The RAF Ex-Air Gunners now have a Web Site 
Official Website of
The 'TURRET', until 2003, was the official publication of the national AIR GUNNERS' ASSOCIATION until that association was dissolved at executive level. TODAY it carries on in the same tradition, is produced three times per year by a team of ex-Air Gunners and their associates from the AIR GUNNERS' ASSOCIATION NOTTINGHAM.

The 'TURRET' COMMITTEE is run as a non-profit making organisation and promises to use any superfluous income to assist the maintenance of the AIR GUNNERS' Memorial Room in the Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, Yorkshire.

The new 'TURRET' aims to uphold the same objectives as its predecessor: to foster good fellowship, to perpetuate and enjoy the friendship born in times of conflict, to bond together its 1600 readers in close harmony even though they live remotely from each other, especially those far away readers in Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand etc.,

The 'TURRET' edited by Ron 'Bram' Bramley will continue the familiar mode of reporting: Branch News from Air Gunners' Associations, Reports on recent events, Reader's stories, Letters to the Editor, Forthcoming events, Search for pals, 'Last Post', News from Overseas and many other items. 

The subscription rate for UK & Europe is £5 per year including postage.
Overseas rate is £7.50 per year including Airmail postage.

Cheques for renewal of subscriptions, and donations etc., should be made payable to TURRET ACCOUNT and sent to the Hon Secretary Bill Bailey.

Articles for publication in the 'TURRET' should be sent to the Editor
Ron 'Bram' Bramley.
Enquiries and all other correspondence to the Hon Sec. 'Bill' Bailey, or by e-mail to Dennis Cooke.


Ron Bramley (Bram)
35, Morley Road
Tel: 0115 956 9266

We need Branch Reports to keep in touch

Again our only Branch report comes from “Smokey” Robson, President of the Northern Saskatchewan Group. Smokey reports that their monthly luncheons are well attended and enjoyed by all.
Let’s hear what is happening in other parts of our great land.


In the May 2004 Page we announced the Air Gunner’s Day being hosted by the Nanton Museum. I have had a number of phone calls from members who hope to attend this ceremony. Here is part of the letter of invitation:

“Our “Salute to the Air Gunners” will take the form of a luncheon in the museum followed by various tributes to the Air Gunners. As part of the program we will be unveiling a commissioned painting by well-known aviation artist John Rutherford depicting Sgt. Engbrecht and Sgt. Gillanders in action. Following the ceremonies flypasts of various vintage and modern aircraft will salute the air gunners. 

For additional information regarding our museum please visit and in particular our “Past Special Events” section that documents our numerous successful special events of previous years and our “Air Gunners” section. 

Please let us know if you will be able to join us on August 14th. I can be reached through the addresses listed or directly by telephone at (403) 646-2681 (evenings). 

Yours truly, 
Dan Fox, President 
Mailing Address   PO Box 1051, Nanton, Alberta Canada T0L1R0 
Museum:   (403) 646-2270
Fax:   (403) 646-2214 

Business correspondence: 
Inquiries and Information:   nlscurator@lancastermuseum ca 


Member Jim Coles loaned me 77 Squadron RAF Association newsletter NICKEL LEAFLET  N0. 31 - 1 April 2004. I was surprised to see seven letters to the Editor as well as a number of new members. One article records a night raid on the Synthetic Oil Plant at Huls, Sept. 6/7 1941 (the same day the Sqdrn. was transferred from RAF Topcliffe to RAF Leeming). Ten Whitley V Bombers took part with the loss of two A/C.

Harry Shinkfield, Editor, does a great job on this Newsletter. If there are any Ex-77 Squadron types who would like to join the Association the address is:

77 RAF Squadron Association,
154 Broadway, Wakefield WF2 8AQ, 
West Riding of Yorkshire, UK

Keep well. 
Good Lord Willin’ and if the creek don’t rise, and if our volunteer Web Master, Bill Hillman, is not vacationing in some exotic Isle, we will publish in July.

John & Doreene - Editors.

Please drop us some copy and pictures for the July Issue.
Keep well.
John and Doreene Moyles
Ste. 233 - 1060 Dorothy St.,
Regina, Sask.     S4X 3C5  CANADA
Ph. (306) 949-6112
Regional Meetings

Southern Ontario Chapter
Royal Canadian Legion
Wilson Branch 527
948 Sheppard Avenue West
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

Location - Royal Canadian Legion Br.#4 St. James Legion.
Date - Third 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 - Norwood Branch 178, 11150 – 82 Street, Edmonton, AB
Date -  The first Thursday 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.
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

Meeting time and local: 2nd Tuesday of each month at 11:30 
Firefighters Social & Athletic Club, 
6515 Bonsor Avenue, 
Burnaby, B.C. V5H 3E8 
Super eating facilities
Contact person - Dave Sutherland       Ph. 604-431-0085

Members across the Country are encouraged to 
send current information regarding 
regular meeting places, dates, and Contact Members, to

John and Doreene Moyles, 
Ste. 233 - 1060 Dorothy St., 
Regina, Sask.     S4X 3C5  CANADA
Ph. (306) 949-6112


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! 
We thank our Web Master, Bill Hillman, for his volunteer time and expertise.

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