Bill Hillman Presents
Forces: Land ~ Air ~ Sea ~ Home
Compiled by Bill Hillman
FLASH. . . Editor and Webmaster: Bill Hillman:
A Canadian not found on 
CBC’s “Greatest Canadian” List

They shall not grow old, as
We that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
nor years condemn. 
At the going down of the
sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

Ross Hamilton – Ex-407 Squadron.

The graduating class of Wags at #4 Wireless School, 49th Entry, Guelph University in May 1943, soon dispersed to fulfill their individual destinies in WW11 RCAF. The writer and numerous colleagues received postings to #31 Out RAF Debert, NS. for the one month course and crew-up of two WAGs, Pilot, and Navigator. We were to fly the old clapped out Hudsons sent from the UK after they wore out over there.

This story concerns the fate of just two individuals, both fresh from Guelph Wireless School and classmates there of the writer, namely newly commissioned P/Os Clifford Ursel of Fort William Ontario, and John Summerwill of Sprucedale, Ontario, both of whom arrived at Debert a day or two later due to being fitted with their new officer’s uniforms. Prior to getting crewed up, and shortly after arriving on the station, these two chaps met up with an old airman friend (who was already on a training course) and were invited to have their first flip in a Hudson that night on an OFE to Sable Island far out in the Atlantic. They accepted the offer, were duly airborne at 01:00, set course for their Navigational target and wireless exercises, and were never heard of again. There was no Wireless message from the aircraft, and speculation was that perhaps both engines of the worn out Hudson failed, and they came down or crashed in the Atlantic. We will never know for sure what happened on that fateful night.

Fast forward some sixty years to September 23, 200, Kelowna, BC. The Members of our local wartime Aircrew Club have an author as a member, one F/O Les Perkins, who put together a book from stories of “Their War” by the members. It is a fine book indeed. One of the stories submitted by the writer included the above item on Debert, the tragic loss of our colleagues. A copy of the book, “Flight Into Yesterday” was presented to the Kelowna Military Museum where it was read by Nick Rusinick, an Army Veteran of D-Day. Nick had immediately taken note of the Debert story and phoned me to verify that I was the author of the article, that I had known Cliff Ursel and John Summerwill, and clearly recalled the events of 61 years ago. This I was able to do.
As it turned out, Nick Rusinick had married Cliff Ursel’s sister after the war, and having no prior information of this loss, found that my narration in the book had filled in some gaps. Until then, all his parents had was official notification that he was “Missing. Nothing else. I was also able to provide a laser copy of probably the one and only class photo of our lot taken at Debert, which included the pictures of the two chaps who went missing.

Another of those "Small World" stories

Cockpit of Hudson

George Olson 
Apt. 117  -  2487 Countess St., 
Abbotsford, BC. V2T 5L9 
Ph. (604) 504-1768
George Olson

In the April 2003 Newsletter we reviewed 
George Olson’s book, No Place to Hide
a collection of wartime poems 
George wrote during his tour of operations
from 1943 to 1945. 

No Place to Hide 123 pages –
5 ½  x  8 ¼ Soft cover. Six illustrations 
ISBN  0-9687220-0-8 ~ Price - $10.00 Can. 

Published by: 
P.O. Box 4810 
Edmonton, AB  T6E 5G6 

George is still writing poetry and sent us this timely poem:
by George Olson

The veterans fought to give us the liberty
In which Canadian citizens live today
Their young years given to keep us free
 While serving their country in the fray

In years of conflict, many lives were lost
To preserve our freedom they fought well
Winning final victory had a mortal cost
The sacrificed lives of comrades who fell

Then there are veterans who have returned
 Those who survived the carnage alive
They have certainly our gratitude earned

 Because of them, freedom does survive

Some physical wounds, surgeons can heal
 But emotional wounds are hard to mend
Wounds inflicted during their combat ordeal

As they fought valiantly to freedom defend
We honour the fallen and remember them
In Remembrance Day ceremonies every year
For they died in the conflict to tyranny stem
Now only in memory will they again appear

Those who fought and returned to civilian life
 Veterans of combat, governments now classify
They survived the carnage of worldwide strife
 Now to live an ordinary lifestyle they would try

Some found this difficult, as they couldn’t repress
Memories of trauma that they went through
Time heals visible wounds, but not mental stress
We should accept their claims as being true

The veterans deserve all the aid we can give
 They served their country in time of need
We must help them in their autumn years to live
 For assistance they should never have to plead

Every passing year their numbers fewer grow
 These surviving veterans of the carnage of war
Each Remembrance Day, less veteran faces show
At some future time, the veterans will be no more

November 10, 2001

Doug Penny
On Sept. 29/04 three Calgary Ex-AGs were invited to do some flying in a beautifully restored Beech aircraft. This twin Beech was used by the RCAF in Air Transport Command. It had been found in a farmer’s field.

Beech 1953 Model 3nm Serial CAZ61  Mil 2382

Ray Sturdy,  Bob Peterson, Doug Penny
 Ex-AGs all
Mark Eberl of Sunwest Home Aviation 
at the Beech controls, likes to get out of the office
and “get some time in”. 
Sunwest is a very successful 
Calgary-based air charter service.
Stacy McIntyre, shown here,
is the person who set up the Beech flight. 
Stacey is the Granddaughter of Roy Sturdy 
and she is a Lear Jet Captain 
and pilot posing beside a Lear.

The picture of the Beech brings back fond memories to your Editor and now I will bore you with a couple,
Time and place; 1937, a quarter section farm on the Saskatchewan prairies directly on the flight path of the Trans Canada Airlines approach to Regina. 

When walking home from the one room country school at 4:00 o’clock, I would wait at the bottom of our pasture for the TCA aircraft, which either was a Beech or resembled one, from the East to go over around 4:15 p.m. You could set your watches by the trains and planes in the 1930’s.

On cloudless days the planes flew so low they cast a shadow on the prairie grass. I would see the shadow approaching, grip my toes around the toe-jam in my runners, crouch down and, when the shadow got close, race with it down the pasture. As it swept over me I swear I could feel a cool thrill. I would raise my arms in the air and shout to make a connection with the great machine. I often wondered if the crew ever noticed the action below.

In 1937 CKCK Radio station, Regina, hosted a Western music program every Saturday night. The program was sponsored by a Regina clothing store, Wares Wares Wear Well. They ran a contest. Listeners were asked to write in and one letter was drawn from a hat each Saturday evening. The prize was a TCA round trip Regina to Moose Jaw Sask. I wrote many letters signed Johnny Moyles. One night my letter was drawn!

My Mother and Dad drove me into Regina to stay with a friend for the morning flight. The lady I was staying with packed me a lunch and a taxi, arranged by the store, picked me up and drove me to the airport. Pretty exciting for a farm boy. The taxi driver gave me an envelope from the sponsor but I didn’t open it until I was on the plane. In the envelope was a Five-dollar bill! (My allowance was ten cents every Saturday night)

The plane was a Beech aircraft, or something very similar. There was only one other passenger, a very stout man who must have eaten something that didn’t agree as he got sick shortly after we took off. For those readers who are not familiar with Saskatchewan, it is about 45 miles from Regina to Moose Jaw. Not a long flight but my first, and extremely exciting.

On landing at Moose Jaw a taxi met me and asked where I would like to go. I didn’t have a clue. He told me there was an animal park so I decided to go there to put in the time until the plane would take me back to Regina that evening. The taxi driver said he would pick me up in time to catch the plane. So I spent my day in the zoo sharing my lunch with my four footed friends. On returning home I proudly presented the unbroken five-dollar bill to my parents.

For a 14 year-old farm lad it was an exciting adventure and yes, my teacher made me write a paper on it for the school. Little did I realize at the time that in a few years I would spend close to 1200 hours in the air and, although there were scary moments, there would never be an airborne moment as exciting as that trip from Regina to Moose Jaw.

Brandon Man Chosen for the BCATP Film Project 

Robin Hillman 
Three great uncles passed through the BCATP and died in Europe during WWII. 
Our son Robin will re-enact their story in a 4-hour film documentary.

For the full story go to:
Part I: Overview | Part II: Brandon Sun | Part III: News Story | Part IV: Photos
Part V: Episode 1 Video and Screen Captures



Search Pattern
Bill MacLean

Back Row L to R: Don West W/Op.; Leonard Saffron Navigator: Jim MacLean Pilot;
Ken Brown, Pilot; Doug Brooks Captain; John Moyles W/Op.
Front Row L to R: Tommy Abbott, Flight engineer; Frank Whithy AG; D.K. (Paddy) Jones, 
Flight engineer; John Caton W/Op; BILL MACLEAN W/Op; Owen Kennedy AG.
The picture was signed during dinner party, Kings Arms, Pembroke, Wales.
Leonard Saffron and John Moyles are trying to contact Bill MacLean who was a WAG on Doug Brook’s crew, 422 Squadron.
Bill lived at 162 Walnut St., Winnipeg when he enlisted, and post war Bill worked for a time as a shoe salesman at Eaton’s Department store in Winnipeg. 
If Bill is no longer with us we would like to contact his family.
Contact:  John Moyles, 
#233 – 1060 Dorothy St., 
Regina Sk. S4X 3C5 
Ph: (306) 949-6112.

Frank Douglas Topper 
Dan Timon is looking for information on his Grandfather Frank Douglas Topper:

I am looking for any info, pictures or documentations (even charge reports) you might have on my Grandfather.  He was with the 401 Squadron in Ayr and Tangmere from January 1942 until Jan 1943, when he was released on a medical.
He was a Sgt. Air Gunner who got his gunner's badge on Feb 19 1941.  He was in 1 wing 401 squadron 3045 echelon. Thanks for any help you can give.

Dan Timon

Frank Douglas Topper
Service Number R-69646
Enlisted July 1, 1940
Awarded Gunner's Badge 
     and presented Sargeant on Feb 17, 1941
Embarked overseas April 8, 1941
Initial Training Toronto, July 22, 1940
Wireless September 16, 1940
Bombing and Gunnery School Fingal, ON Jan 17, 1941
No. 1. Wing May 10 1941
401 Sqn. January 26, 1942
3045 Echelon April 15, 1942
R.A.F. Station Ayr August 12, 1942
R.A.F. Tangmere August 30, 1942
Repatriated January 31 1943
Honorably Dishcharged April 30, 1943
Awarded Defence Medal 
Volunteer Service Medal
War Medal 1939-1945

Any info you can dredge up would be great, 
even drunken brawls he got into, 
most especially interested in possible news 
of a war child he fathered in England

Dan Timon
28 Broad Rd.
Haneytown, NB
E2V 3N9

(Just outside Base Gagetown, 
where I am posted as a WFE Tech with 4ESR)


Hal’s Trilogy
Hal was an armourer who served at Annett Island Alaska 
with #135 Hurricane Fighter Squadron and then with 
422 Sunderland  Flying Boat Squadron in Northern Ireland 
and Pembroke Dock South Wales. 
Hal kept the guns and turrets operating. 
Post war Hal was a lawyer in Peace Country, Alberta. 
Well, Hal has just published YOU SHOULD LIVE SO LONG.  This work is the third of a trilogy featuring two old curmudgeons, Phil Figgwiggin, and Mike Fowler, a couple of old f—ts that get themselves into predicaments, sometimes dangerous, trying to solve the problems of the world. 

What these aging amateur detectives lack in physical prowess, they more than make up for with cheeky wit and gumption. Backed by a crew of extraordinary allies, Figgwiggin and Fowler take on wacky politicians and trigger-happy commandos to prevent the attempted murder of Mother Earth

In the first of the three books, A FAT LOT OF GOOD, their investigations bring them upon some underworld wealth. What do they do with it? In the second book MAQUILADORA MAYHEM  they find themselves opposing Corporate America.

There is a ‘belly laugh” in every chapter. The wit creeps up on you, catching the reader off guard, you find yourself laughing out loud. Warning, if you are still sleeping with your good lady, don’t read Hal Sisson’s work in bed!

Hal’s last book YOU SHOULD LIVE SO LONG contains the most deliberately serious content of the trilogy. “Writing this novel was my way of doing something about recent world events that cheesed me off,” says Sisson.

These books would make wonderful Christmas gifts. We can identify with these characters.

Contact: SALAL PRESS (New address)
#3 – 3543 West 1st. Ave.,
Vancouver, B.C. V6R 1G9
Telephone: (604) 730-8076
Fax: (604) 730-8079
Ask your local library to order the book the ISBN 1-894012-09-7.

a wartime story of Canada’s Homefront Aircraft Detection Corps.
Let me be clear, I am only mentioning this just published work by Allan E. Coggon in this Newsletter. I recently received a copy from Allan and, although I have scanned it, I realize that I cannot do justice to a book review until I have taken time to digest it thoroughly. A full review will appear in the December 2004 Issue.

This is a history of the Canadian Air Detection Corps made up of  2,692 observer posts manned by volunteers from the Atlantic to the Pacific. This is their story. 

Author Allan Coggon spent 38 years as an active pilot, obtaining his wings with the RCAF in 1940, serving in Eastern Canada until 1943, and then doing a tour with the RAF against the Japanese forces in South East Asia. Post war Allan found a career flying for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. In 1993 Allan founded the International Aircrew Association of Nova Scotia, and has been Editor of their Newsletter TAILWIND. In 1995 he helped form the Silver Dart Chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society in Halifax of which he is now President.

(You will see that Allan is a man who cannot say No! When I visited with Allan in his  Mahone Bay, NS, home, I was impressed by his library and research. During the 50’s I had owned a Staggerwing Beech, CF-DTF, and had the misfortune of having to hit the silk and let the beautiful machine roll into a ball in a farmer’s field at Northfield Minnesota. When I told Allan about this he was suspect, and had to reached for a book on the Beech to confirmed my story.)

WATCH AND WARN by Allan Coggon
ISBN 1-4120-3192-3
Take-off Publishing
c/o Allan Coggon
RR 2
Mahone Bay, N.S. BOJ 2EO CANADA

Following prices include tax and shipping
Canada    Can$      29.99
USA         US$       23.99
UK           Pounds   13.50

Good Lord willin’ and if the creek don’t rise, I will have a detailed review of WATCH AND WARN in the December /04 Newsletter. In the mean time it would make a great Christmas gift, just make out your cheque to Allan Coggon.

~ John Moyles
BOB HENDERSON, proprietor of HOME FRONT ARCHIVES & MUSEUM, generously provided us with the following articles on “Sweetheart Pins” and “Japanese Balloon Attacks”.

Sweetheart Pins
I’m told that the old army slogan “Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker” did not apply to those gentlemen in blue, members of the Royal Canadian Air Force. It seems they gallantly impressed their girl friends by being well mannered, well spoken, willing to meet the parents, and most of all, by presenting them with tokens of endearment in the form of “Sweetheart Pins”.

The samples shown below are made of pot metal, plastic and wood, and are simply a fraction of the variations showered on girl friends, sisters, mothers and “kissing cousins”.

It was part of the patriotic war effort which caused the development of such trinkets, and they were available in the local training Base Canteen or in most five cent to a dollar stores across Canada, England, and the United States.

 The V for Victory symbol is probably the most common theme used, and they were worn with pride by the recipient during the entire years of the war.

If you are old enough to remember the war years, you may well recall seeing, or having a “Sweetheart” pin similar to these. Who knows – you may still have a sample tucked away, and with it, special memories.


See Short Bursts page October 2002 and follow-up Nov. 2002 on this subject
During the year 1945, eight Japanese military balloons released from the Island of Japan and loaded with incendiary and anti personnel bombs were found in Saskatchewan!
Here are the details:
1. Stony Rapids 1 Jan 45 Fragments of balloon envelope found
2. Minton 12 Jan 45 Balloon descended 6 miles north of U.S. border, released
15 kg bomb and two flares of incendiaries. Balloon then
rose and disappeared.
3. Moose Jaw 9 Feb 45 Paper balloon including envelope, rigging and apparatus recovered
4. Porcupine Plains 22 Feb 45 Balloon with ballast – dropping equipment found.
5. Camsell Portage  21 Mar 45 Balloon found
6. Consul 30 Mar 45 Ballast dropping apparatus and bomb fragments found.
7. Ituna 31 Mar 45 Envelope, shroud lines, and demolition charge found
8. Kelvington 15 May 45 Valve and ballast dropping device found.
This group of a then “Secret Weapon” form part of the 285 “finds” reported across North America, from a series of over 9,000 such weapons released from Japan. This form of attack was undertaken in retaliation for the famed “Doolittle” air raid by American Army bombers against Japan on 18 April 42. Sixteen Mitchell bombers took off from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier USS Hornet and attacked Tokyo, Kobe, Nagoya and Yokohama after flying a distance of 800 miles. Eleven air crew were killed or captured.

Japanese General Kusaba was placed in charge of scientist who worked in secrecy to develop this “secret weapon”, with the concept being that balloons loaded with incendiary devices, or, if successful, the introduction of germ warfare against North America. Each balloon carried approximately 6 pound sand bags with these designed to be released by a tripping device activated by a barometer when the balloon dropped below 30,000 feet. A separate automatic control activated a release valve to allow hydrogen to escape if the balloon rose above 35,000 feet.

The majority of balloons were equipped with two or three 32 pound anti personnel fragmentation bombs, and one or more large incendiary bombs. The intent of the design was that by the time the last sandbag was released, the balloon and it’s cargo would be over North America – carried there by prevailing winds. When the final sand bag dropped, the bombs would follow, and a separate detonation would destroy the balloon and remaining attachment.

The only deaths attributed to the balloons occurred near Bly, Washington, on May 5th, 1945. Rev. Archie Mitchell, a missionary Alliance minister, his wife, and a group of children, were having a picnic in the mountains. Rev. Mitchell was parking the car while his wife and the children went to the picnic site. When the balloon remains were discovered and disturbed by the children, the bomb exploded, killing Mrs. Mitchell, Sherman Shoemaker (12), jay Gifford (12), Eddie Engen (13), John Patzke (11), and Dick Patzke. The irony is that Japanese school children were used to construct the paper balloons.

Up until this point there was a cloak of secrecy over the balloons. The secrecy was so successful that in April 45 the Japanese had knowledge of only one balloon reaching North America and they disbanded the project considering it a failure.

The R.C.M.P. were normally the force which received reported sightings from Manitoba West and across the Territories. They were required to secure the area for safety, make contact with the military, and remain on the site until the military arrived and processed the weapon. The Police also enforced the strict censorship regulations.  The furthest East penetration was Farmington, Michigan, close to Lake St. Clair and the Canadian border.

Portions of Japanese Fire Balloon on a suspended display

At the top left, above a drawing of a balloon in flight, is  portion of the paper balloon envelope. Suspended from above is the control column control system of the balloon. Time burning fuses encircled the aneroid-containing box which supported a battery box. This in turn armed the dropping switches, allowing fire bombs to be released at random and triggered the final demolition charge intended to destroy the balloon.
Volume,                                                               13,450 cu. ft.
Diameter of envelope                                               29.53 ft.
Length of foot ropes                                              50(? Ft. (?)
Gas Valve diameter                                         9.85 inches
Weight without equipment                             3.55 pounds
Ballast                                                                97 pounds
Bombs                                                                  60 lbs.
Gas volume for flight                                       8000 cu. Ft.
Computed alti (pic tude  (approximately)               16,700 Ft.

Close up look at the fire balloon electrical system.
6015-5th ave. Regina, Sk. Canada. S4T6V4
Ph: (306) 543-5822


Many thanks once again John,
I'm sure my dad will be delighted to receive the book - very kind of you.

I started this recent search for dad's wartime comrades as part of a school project for my 9 year old son, Jamie. His school has asked grandparents or great grandparents to come in to the school and talk to the children about their experiences to teach them about the war, how people lived during that time, of the incredible sacrifices of service men and women and why we enjoy the freedoms we have today - and so often take for granted.

Dad lives too far away from us to pop into school, so Jamie and I started researching the war in Indo China and in particular dad's squadron and the kind of missions it was involved in. 

Perhaps dad may lend Jamie the book to show at school. When Jamie has finished the project I will email you a copy of it in Acrobat Reader (PDF) format for your interest and possible inclusion on your web site.
My father's Squadron was 159. He joined the RAF in 1941 and trained in various bases in Canada as a rear gunner. He stayed on as an instructor himself.  In 1943 he was posted to Indo China and served in until 1946 and his home-coming was delayed by a very bad episode of dysentery.

Postal address:
Percy Reynolds
Efail Fach
SA44 4UN

Kind regards,
Niels Reynolds

(Niel’s Dad who lives in Wales trained at 5 OTU on Liberators and served in Indo China on 159 Squadron. He wants to make contact with others who served in this theatre. I sent Percy a copy of our COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE 1983 – 1993 Selections from SHORT BURSTS, which he enjoyed. Following is an excerpt from Percy’s letter.

…. Many thanks for Short Bursts …………….. amazed at the Ex-Air Gunner’s Association. To start such an organization 38 years after the war and keep it going till now is an astonishing feat. I read Chapter 111 with particular interest.

What happened was that my grandson, Jamie was given a project by his school, the subject was his Granddad’s experience in the war. So I found some old pictures in the attic and sent them to him with a short explanation. Then my son got on the internet to find out more about Squadron 159. There is quite a bit, and that is how he got in touch with you.

I had almost forgotten my time in the RAF and the years in India and Burma, but your articles brought back many memories, also of Canada – Toronto, Winnipeg, Rimouski and, finally Boundary Bay, Vancouver. The railway journey from Rimouski, Quebec, to Vancouver, British Columbia, is an outstanding memory……………………..
Kindest regards,            Percy

If you went through 5 OTU or served in the Eastern Theatre, drop Percy a line.

Reply to Ted Hackett’s suggestion that the Ex-Air Gunners provide out door benches for the proposed Nanton Museum Memorial:

Your suggestion of benches provided by the ex-air gunners and incorporated into our Memorial was well received by our Board of Directors.

Funding for the Memorial project has been successful enough that the decision has been made to proceed with the final planning and construction. We will keep your ideas and contribution in mind as we do this.

Please thank all those who are involved with your initiative for their interest and enthusiasm. We look forward to hearing from you as you proceed with this.

Dave Birrell, Director
Nanton Lancaster Air Museum

Submitted by Otto Sulek AG 429 Squadron
The community Press Western Edition September 3, 2004 
By Kate Everson.
Quinte West – A significant milestone in the construction of the addition to the RCAF Museum was marked on August 31 with the structural steel being put in place.

The 64,000 square foot addition will house the reconstructed Halifax bomber retrieved from a lake in Norway where it had been shot down in 1945. Volunteers have been painstakingly piecing it together for eight years.

Ken Kee, chairman of the fund-raising campaign says new donations are helping make the expansion possible. A $10,000 donation from Scotiabank in Trenton on August 31 was part of the support receive recently. “Coupled with the generous donation 2002, it brings the total Scotiabank donation to date to $20,000,” Kee said. “While we have enough money to complete phase one of the expansion, $2.2 million is still required to put us over the top. A donation by John Williams of $25,000 on September 2 was another welcome addition to the fund raising campaign.

The total cost of the project is $4.8 million. Kee said that it will take 3.8 million to complete phase one which will see the shell of the expansion constructed and the Halifax in place. Phase 2 will complete the interior and phase 3 the renovation of the existing museum. The Museum’s capital building fund has raised $2.3 million and borrowed 2 million from the Canadian Forces. The Province’s initial $76,000 has never been followed up by matching federal funds, which has been a sore point with Museum fund raisers.

“They say they are out of money,” Kee says grimly. However, a promise from Northumberland-Quinte West MP Paul Maklin to finally secure some funds from the Federal government will not be forgotten. We are asking them for $1.6 million,” Kee said.

The Halifax aircraft is expected to be moved into the new facility some time in October.

From Charley Yule
John - Yesterday I mailed to you Otto's newspaper clipping regarding the Halifax at Trenton.

By coincidence I also received a clipping from my Scottish Flight Engineer from "The Sunday Post" (Scotland), Sept. 5/04, which refers to the salvage of a wreck dubbed, "The Flying Henhouse", and which states, in part:  'The Halifax played an enormous role in destroying German industrial targets during the war.  But, although 6178 were built, the only known remaining Halifax was one recovered from a Norwegian Lake and on display at the RAF Museum in Hendon.' 

I saw that Halifax during my visit to Britain in 1980, but did not take note of where it had been obtained, but that was long before the 'Flying Henhouse' came on the scene and, of course, also before the Trenton Hallie was recovered from the Norwegian Lake - so I am pretty sure the Hendon Halifax is not one of those.

As you and I and many others are aware, this is in error - and the Halifax mentioned above has been located at Trenton, Ontario and is the one referred to in the clipping from Otto Sulek.

The fellows in Trenton take great pride in saying that the Halifax they have restored is an EXACT restoration of the aircraft as it appeared at the time it was shot down, while the one at the Yorkshire Museum would more likely be the 'Flying Henhouse' which is described in the article from Scotland, and states that the Halifax was reconstructed using 'borrowed wings from a Handley Page Hastings - similar to the Halifax'.  Therefore the Trenton fellows say that their project is an ' historically accurate' restoration, whereas the other is not!  So There!!

When Otto Sulek and I were at Trenton last fall to view the 'Norwegian' Hallie, Otto (who served as a Mid-Upper Gunner on Hallies) was quite strong in voicing to the Project Manager that he (Otto) felt the aircraft should include a Mid-Upper turret.  The Project Manager was just as firm in stating that the aircraft did not have a Mid-Upper during it's role of supplying the Resistance Forces, and therefore they would not even consider adding one.  To calm Otto, he did say that if they could obtain such a turret, they might display it beside the aircraft with a suitable note to explain why this turret did not appear on this particular Halifax.  Fair enough! - I felt!

Just goes to show how history can be distorted even after the passage of only 50/60 years!  And goodness knows, we don't need another war over it - but if there is one, I'm Not Going!!

Take care - be talking to ya!

Linn Spring provided us with these two great pictures of the Nanton Lancaster.
Linn was the chap who loaned us his Father’s book on WWII Gremlins reviewed in Short Bursts April 2003.


BARTON, Thomas, Mbr. #564, LOUGHHEED, AB:  Upon enlistment, Tom attended Manning Depot #3 in Edmonton, following which he was posted to Trenton, ON.  He received training as an Air Gunner at #3 B&G MacDonald, MB and #6  Mountain View, ON.  Following further training at OTU #5 at Boundary Bay and Abbotsford, BC, he was posted to #5 (BR) Yarmouth, NS.  He also served as a Gunnery Instructor at #9 B&G, Mont Joli, and was commissioned: J28285.


Southern Alberta
Doug Penny tells us what the Southern Alberta Air Gunner’s Branch have been up to.

The Southern Alta. Ex-AG Association meet on the second Monday excluding July and August, at 264 Kensington Legion, 1100 hours. Attendance has been around 40 per luncheon. Dave Briggs has been President for four years and has kept us together.

We hold annual skeet shoots at the Carstairs AB Club. Those who don’t shoot can enjoy a pint and a BBQ, ladies are always welcome. Every Summer Larry & Naomi, Robinson host a BBQ at their Okotoks ranch. Larry is a founding member of the AB Group and the BBQ is over 20 years in existence!

Dan Fox, President of Nanton Lancaster Society expressed his pleasure at the August 14th “Salute to Air Gunners”. It was the largest function they have ever had. Total count was 400 at the banquet and many had to be turned away. For me it was personally great to see so many old friends coming from across Canada and from Washington State.

Good health to all of you,
Doug Penny, Calgary.

Manitoba Branch News

Hi John & Doreen.
Our Branch is experiencing concerns with signing authority at our credit union account that requires four members. Our numbered days are getting less as time keeps marching on. 

Recently one member passed on - Vern Donnelly.   Another member - Les Sundell, is unable to do the job because on Alzheimer's.  Our current members, Glen Clearwater, Earl Hiscox, George Longbottom and myself all have varying degrees of health problems.  Of course no one knows the future.  We will have to make a decision on what to spend our funds on and when. 

Every year we have commemorated Remembrance Day with a memorial tribute to our deceased comrades in the Winnipeg Free Press, which appears in the Nov.10th issue. We think it is quite distinctive.  A circle with a banking aircraft with two straight lines that spell WAG emanating from the edge of the circle (gun sight). Underneath: 

In Memory of Comrades Who Gave Their Lives For Freedom
Ex-Air Gunner'sAssociation of Canada Inc.
Manitoba Branch 

Also every year we make a donation to the C.A.T.P. Museum, In Brandon.  Further, every year we make a donation to the Air Cadet League of Canada. 

This year we will be making a donation to the British Monument for Andrew Mynarski VC.  This will be made directly on behalf of the Man. Br. rather than going through the Air Force Assoc. so we will get the credit directly.

Hope you and Doreen are both keeping well. Vicki has a pinched nerve in her back, and we both expect to get away to Australia for a couple of months. 

God bless, sincerely, 
Howard Elliott.

Editor’s Report

Many thanks to those who contributed to this Edition of Short Bursts.

Doreene and I are looking forward to family descending upon us this Christmas Season, which means our computer room becomes a bedroom, so we will not be putting out a January 2005 Newsletter. But don’t relax, we still need material for December /04 Page and for 2005.

To show you that our Web Page does help unite people, at press time I received this Email:

“I just found your site, (October 2004,) on the page is an article by Clifford Campbell about Bob White. 

Bob White was my grandfather. I emigrated to Michigan from England in 2002 and I'd love to be able to contact Mr Campbell as he knew my grandfather.”

(Bob White was Clifford’s mid upper. We will arrange contact with Grandson)
Keep well.
John & Doreene.

Please drop us some copy and pictures for the November 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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