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

Aysha and Callum Nesbitt place a rose on the
Grave site of Gordon Frost, Imperial Sask.
Veteran’s cemetery, New Delhi, India.

Peter Nesbitt 

We live in New Delhi India and we attended the Remembrance Day Service at the New Delhi War Cemetery this past weekend.   It was a beautiful day.  There were a number of Canadians (living and working in New Delhi) that attended the service with us.   We were surprised to learn that 17 Canadians are buried there - 15 of them having served with the RCAF.   The kids were each given roses to place on the graves of the fallen Canadians. 

It took us a couple of days but we finally got around to doing a Google search on Gordon Frost. I can't tell you how surprised we were to come across the April 2005 issue of Short Bursts to see a picture of Mr. Frost and to learn that a lake had been named after him.

We know nothing about Mr. Frost but were moved by the moment and thought you might like to see this picture.

I'm also attaching another picture with four other Canadian graves.  John, you will be pleased to know that it's a beautiful and very well kept cemetery.

If you have time, would you be able to tell us something about your friend, Mr. Frost?  It would be very interesting for us to know something about him.  For example, why were they flying over New Delhi?   Where were they going and who shot him down?  What was he doing in Ceylon (Sri Lanka).    This would be a tremendous learning experience for all of us.

Did Mr. Frost have brothers and sisters?  What was he like?  I would be happy to return to take more pictures of the cemetery if they wish.

Kind regards,
Peter Nesbitt
New Delhi, India

Ed. Gordon Frost and I were together during Manning Depot, guard duty, wireless school, and bombing and gunnery. We received our WAG brevets just prior to Pearl Harbour. Gordon was posted to Ferry Command and was still with that Command when his Hudson aircraft crashed in Gurgeon, India Nov. 27, 1943. I told the Nesbitts about Gordon and our training experiences.

Please note that the Nesbitts would like to contact any of Gordon’s family. If any reader has this information, please advise.

It is interesting that, as they knew nothing of this RCAF Officer, an internet search lead them to Short Bursts, April 2005

Another interesting note about the power of our Newsletter. I received a phone call in December, and a chap said, “John, this is Tommy Abbot.” I nearly dropped the phone. Tommy was our Flight Engineer. The last time I saw Tommy was June 1945. How did he track me down? A friend told him of the Short Bursts Page.

John Ellis

This picture was taken in front of the old Toronto City Hall in the spring of 1941. The parade was from Manning Depot. 

If my memory is right, it was taken by an American. Possibly for a bond drive. I am in the row closest to the camera, fourth in from the left. 

There were also some chaps from the West. Honey Dew Bowles Lunch is gone.

Interesting notes: The Police crowd control chaps are all facing the crowd. Although the men in the parade were destined to be aircrew, only one chap, in front, is wearing the white flash. Note the variance of headgear. Some with wedge caps, others with Winter hats, affectionately referred to as “piss pots”, airmen for the use of”. Not a bad ‘eyes right’ for a group of new recruits.

We thank John Ellis for his generous contribution to the CATP Museum.

CATP Museum Newsletter CONTACT Vol 21 Issue 4.

1942 INTERNATIONAL TRUCKS AdWith the realization that the Museum was about to receive a vintage World War II International fire truck earlier this year, an enterprising member found, and purchased on Ebay on line auctions, an equally authentic magazine ad of the same model of truck. 

The truck, acquired in a trade agreement with one of our Manitoba Special Theme museum sisters, is a veteran of another Commonwealth Air Training Plan Base in Manitoba. 

After the war, it lived out its service life with a local Municipal fire department and then was donated to the Manitoba Agricultural Museum of Austin for which we traded one of our extra BCAPT Crash Tenders for it.

CATPM President, John McNarry, came up with the idea of re-creating the picture. The opportunity presented itself after the canteen ceremonies were completed.  It was a beautiful August day and, once a suitable telephone pole for the background was found, our Harvard, the truck, and our Cornel, sitting in for the ad’s background Harvard, were lined up. 

Six volunteers were pressed into service as firemen. “On the alert at Airfields – Coast to Coast!” – the 2006 version.  Although not likely to be pressed into service again any time soon, our 60+ year old fire truck is remarkably intact – notice from the picture our truck still has the original siren (left front fender) and spotlight (right hood near passengers seat).

August 26, 2006 – CATPM personnel (from driver left) Angus Sneesby, Jim Tuffs, Phil Innes, Alan McNarry, George Scott, Stephen Hayter, recreate the 1942 International ad.

Please note the request for wartime Station Newsletters.

From: Stuart & Diane Thickson

 Hi, I found your email through short bursts and was hoping you would be able to point me in the right direction to gather info on my dad who was in the RCAF  from 1940-45.

 His name was James Bruce Thickson.  Service number R-59023,  His rank was flight sergeant.  He was an engineer on Sunderland flying boats.  His brother C.T. Thickson was ground crew with 422 squadron.

 I am wanting to know which squadron(s) he was with and where they went and what they did.  If you can shed any light on this, it would be appreciated.

Number 0277RAF 
Trying to Trace : Anyone
Service/Unit : #4 (C) OTU
Rank : Any
Year/s Of Service : WWII 
Location of Service : Scotland 
Other Information : Any information about the crash of Sunderland DD851 on 26 Nov. 1944. Any details about the crew members, cause of the crash or any other relevant information. Also would like to contact any members of #4 OTU during this period. 
Name of Enquirer : Rhonda Gerber 
Do you have any information which may assist, please contact :-
Direct at :
Lost Comrades at

Dear Ms. Gerber,
I’m not sure when you posted the note above, but my father; WO1 Clare Kinton, was the rear gunner on this Sunderland when it crashed. 11 RCAF airmen were killed two miles northeast of the Invergordon railway station. The plane crashed with a full load of fuel and depth charges when a connecting rod on one of the engines broke, vibration tore the engine off the plane and it was unable to get back to Cromarty Firth to land on the water. There was a large explosion when it crashed and burned on the railway tracks. The crew is buried in the air force section of Stonefall Cemetery in Harrogate.

Basic details of the crash are in the RCAF Memorial book to the 18,000 Canadians who were killed in service during World War 2. It also provides the names, ranks and home towns of all the airmen. I have this information at home and will forward it to you if you are still interested. I have been in e-mail correspondence with the brother of one of the crew and have additional information from the Heritage Society in Alness, including the story of a crew switch between two Sunderlands. Initially RAF Alness believed a different crew was killed however they had been stranded in the Hebrides due to bad weather. They were greeted as ghosts when they finally returned.

I am only aware of one person who trained at Alness around that time, Mr. John Moyles, who manages the “Short Bursts” section (which is dedicated to air gunners) of the website  created, maintained and financed by volunteer Webmaster: Bill Hillman from Brandon, MB.

My wife and I visited Alness and Invergordon in May 2006. The people at the Heritage Society ( and ) were extremely helpful in providing information and two rooms are dedicated to RAF Alness. In addition, the BBC collected stories and one of the base COs provided a three section history at the following link: The gentleman who provided the information has his own website at:

I would of course be interested in any information that you may have and would be happy to provide whatever information that I have gathered. Obviously, you have some direct connection with this crash if your query is any indication.

Kindest regards,

David Kinton
Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Hi John (and Stuart),

Attached is a copy of an article from the May 2006 issue of The Alness & District Times that may be of some interest to your readers, provided there are no copyright issues involved. Tim Baker of Wellington, New Zealand supplied the information which had been dictated by his grandfather, F/O Mervyn D. Cox, RNZAF. Unfortunately I do not have an address of Mr. Tim Baker and Mrs. Joan Ross with the Alness Heritage Center has not replied to two e-mails requesting this information. (One more attempt by copy e-mail to the editor and Joan.) The people at the Heritage Center, notably Joan and Wallace Ross, were incredibly hospital during our visit to Alness. A number of volunteers work very hard there with limited funds and facilities.

Stuart Johnson from Winnipeg is the brother of F/O Garth B. Johnson who was killed with my father when DD851 crashed on November 26, 1944. He and his wife visited Stonefall Cemetery in Harrogate during May 2006, probably earlier in the month than my wife and I, who were there during the last week of the month.

Mr. Baker recognized his father in the photograph of the procession (in the May issue) for the Sunderland crew that were killed in August 1944 and buried in the Roskeen Cemetery between Invergordon and Alness. The Heritage Center made me a larger copy of another photograph of the funeral procession and the airman marching in the front rank beside the truck carrying some of the coffins appears to be my father. He was 6’ 1” or 6’ 2” so it was possible he was “right marker” if I remember my marching drill correctly. The rank carrying the wreaths in which F/O Cox appears somewhat further back in the column.

I recently found my father’s log book among a number of boxes of my mother’s, which we received when she moved into a nursing home earlier this year. He had many hours in Stranraers and Cansos before switching to Sunderlands at RAF Alness. There are no entries for the month of November 1944 however.

David Kinton

Hi John,

Thank you for the plug in the October 2006 issue of Short Bursts.

I'm developing a website dedicated to RCAF Station Centralia (wartime and NATO years) along with RAF/RCAF Americans.

Go to:

 Wally Fydenchuk 

Hi, my name is Jennifer Lee, l'm from just outside Ottawa, On. my father graduated as a Air gun fighter back in 1943 and as a gift his father gave him an actual gold ring with an "wing" sort of plated on the top. he has lost it! and I'm trying to find another one for him possibly for Christmas.... I realize they likely don't make them anymore but who knows in this day and age?!  Any help would be appreciated. Your web page is wonderful! keep up the great work! 

Thank you for your time, 
Jennifer Lee

Charley Yule

I wonder if you would agree with me that it would be nice if we (SHORT BURSTS) could show our support by spreading the word of "Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada)" in our Newsletter and, perhaps, publishing his Progress Reports (which now number 15, November 7/06) which includes #13A - rather than just #13 - unlucky, you know.)  This could be In Whole or In Part and give you some 'filler',

In my small way I am trying to support him.  I have purchased one of the Limited Edition prints of LW170 'Invincible Item' (#180 or 500 prints), had it framed and now arranging to have someone help me hang it in my dining room.  It looks quite impressive and those who have seen it ask, "what it this all about" - and I am not too shy to tell them!!!

You can access the Web page at: and if you follow the links shown in the document it will take you to many interesting sites.  I am just waiting for the availability of the Digital Encyclopedia of the Handley Page Halifax - 'HALIFAX B. Mk.III EXPLORED' being product by Flyingzone Publication (Great Britain).  It is a tad 'pricey' - but I want it anyway!   I don't have a bottomless wallet, but I feel I must do what I can to help Karl - and the Halley was my kite!

Even my eldest daughter is now, after seeing the one at Trenton, has become a Halifax supporter.  When her friends learn that her father flew in a bomber during WWII, they ask her, "In a Lancaster?" to which she replies, "Bite your tongue!!  It was a HALIFAX!"  So, little by little, and in my own way, I am gradually spreading the word about the Halifax.  Even if Karl is successful in bring LW170 to Nanton, I probably won't be around to see it!!  But then I thought the same thing about NA337 which is now on display in Trenton!!!

Bob Cleaver

Just today I came across your November 2004 magazine articles. They are great. I hope this finds you both well. I have a story to tell and I hope that you or your readers can fill in some of the blanks.

My wife Susan and I had the pleasure of travelling to Newfoundland this past summer. While there I happened upon an antique shop where I found an air force graduation photo of 38 gentlemen all smartly attired in their uniforms. My Dad, a WW2 military policeman identified the photo as being air force. On the reverse of the picture are 33 signatures. I decided then and there to purchase the photograph and bring it home to find out what happened to these men. The men were not neatly identified as shown in your photo in the November 2004 issue so I don't know where the signatories stand. I am also short on the five "unknowns".

I have begun the search and have found, unfortunately, several of the men that I have found have since passed on. One man, Robert Hilliard Chisnell, SGT. was an air gunner in a Wellington that went down during a night training exercise in England. He was only nineteen.

The contacts I have made have come slowly but I am pressing on in the hopes of completing this project by spring. I could use your help.

I believe that the photograph was taken at #2 Manning in Brandon in late fall of 1942. Sgt. Chisnell's records supplied that information. By the obituaries that I have found some of the men ended up as Pilot officers and Captains which tends to make me think that after #2 the group split and went their separate ways. If your readers can poke holes in that theory I would love to hear from their experiences.

I include a copy of both the front and back of the picture as well as my alphabetical listing of the spelling as I see the signatures. You will also note that some 25 hometowns were listed as well.

My immediate goal is to see each man identified. At some point I would also like to have a conversation with one or more of the men, to say hello and to thank them for their efforts.

Names on Air Force picture 
Hometown  ~ Status ~ Military ID ~ Legion Branch ~ Death date ~ Age ~ Last rank

Acheson, Fraser 
Amey, Doug W. 
Babaiau, G. A.             Fort William ON
Birken, Max 
Booth, Shorty              Toronto 
Chisnell, Bob Z           Winnipeg St. Vital, MB   KIA   R186823  Aug18 1943   19  Sergeant,  air gunner
Cole, Delbert *            Barrie                      Deceased R188210 Dr WC Little  July13 '96  74   Unkn
Constantine, Jack         Waseca, SK. 
Costley, L.J. Sgt. 
Dorfman, Martin 
Fawcett, W. J. *           Winnipeg     Deceased    Belleville   Feb13 '98   75   Captain
Fea, Garry 
Foxman, Louis              Toronto ON
Gallagher, Howard       Toronto ON
Gregor, Norman            Saskatoon, SK 
Hasement, Stuart           Toronto ON
Head, Jack                    Toronto ON
Hillock, Chas. A. 
Johnson, Vic                  Winnipeg MB 
Lalish, Philip                 Toronto ON 
Lauriola, Mathew          Toronto ON
Law, Ernie  Toronto 
Lawrence, Jim *             Niagara Falls ON  Deceased  R264700  Niagara Falls  Jun 1, 92  67   LAC
Leadbetter, George         Toronto ON
Livingston, George         Barrie ON
Livingstone                     Winnipeg MB
Logan, Frank                   Toronto ON
McLachlan,Belmer         Kitchener ON
Prociw, Morris *            Vila Mon  Deceased  Steinbach, MB Oct. 26, 04 Unkn   Flying officer
Ringer, Jim                      Toronto ON 
Scott, Bill                        Winnipeg MB
Skinner, Bruce                 Toronto ON 
Unknown 1 
Unknown 2 
Unknown 3 
Unknown 4 
Unknown 5 
White, Frank  Bala 

38 names   25 hometowns 

* Denotes found in Commonwealth War Graves Commission website 
Z Denotes find in 

I should have asked this question earlier but not every thing clicks when it should. You mentioned in your reply that you went through the Brandon Manning Depot in March of 1941. A few questions if I may.
  • Did you receive training at the depot? 
  • What kind of training? 
  • Did you have your picture taken with the group you were brought in with? 
  • Was that picture taken at the beginning, middle or end of your time at #2? 
  • Do you remember any flight lists that you had to sign?
I will tell you why. In the above photograph there are 38 men but only 33 signatures. So I am hoping that the flight list, if it exists, can provide me with the names of the missing five and one other whose name I cannot decipher. 
Was your flight given a letter or a number? 
Was there an officer assigned to your flight and who would have appeared in the picture? 
Do you know where these flight lists might now be kept?

I know this stretches the memory back many years but if you can help in any way it would be much appreciated.

Thank you.

Bob Cleaver
1613 342 9095
1319 Cuthbertson Ave.,
Brockville, Ontario
K6V 6Y2

Ed. The written record I recall was the civilian barber’s exercise books where he had every airman write date, name, and hometown after getting his initial hair cut. These stacks of books have been saved at CATP Museum in Brandon, Man. Check with the Museum at

Juliet Wills 

I am a researcher for Australian Broadcasting Corporation program Can We Help? which airs on Friday night at 6.30pm in Australia. 

We have received a request from a lady to track down Gordon and Donald Patterson and I note the late Gordon Patterson appears on your website. I am hoping he may be the Gordon Patterson we are looking for.

The viewer has an identity disk belonging to Gordon and Donald's father, Ed J Patterson a Canadian World War one serviceman. Her father met Ed Patterson when seconded to the British army in Palestine. They remained good friends for the duration of the war and at the end of the war exchanged identity disks as memento of their friendship. The viewer is hoping to find a son or grandson of Ed to return the identity tag.

The viewer remembered the names of the Ed's children (Gordon and Donald) who both served in World War 2. One became a dentist the other an engineer. I do not know if the Gordon Patterson mentioned on your website is Ed's son but if you have contact with a relative or friend could you please email them to find out if Gordon is the son of Ed J Patterson and if Donald is still alive or Gordon's children would like to receive the identity tag. Could they please contact me?

Kind regards
Juliet Wills 
30 Fielder St
Perth WA 6004
 Ph:  (61 8) 92202951
Fax: (61 8) 92202545

Greetings Bob,

Could you do us a favour and try to locate relatives of the late Gordon Patterson. The letter from Juliet in Australia is self-explanatory.

The Short Bursts article on Gordon Patterson is in the Summer Edition 2006 of the newsletter.
 Gordon became a graduate engineer after the war, ended up as a professor at University of Saskatchewan
He passed away in 1994.

Cheers,  John Moyles.

Bob Burnyeat lives in Saskatoon. Sk. If any reader knows of Gordon Patterson’s family, please write to  or Bob

Allan Coggon 1919 - 2006
It is with great sadness that I report the passing of Allan Coggon, December 24, 2006.

Short Bursts reviewed two books written by Allan, WATCH AND WARN and, FROM WINGS PARADE TO MANDALAY. A more detailed account of Allan’s service career and his contribution to the Aircrew Association, the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, and WWII history, will be published in the February Page.

Editor’s Report

You will note the change in form and content of Short Bursts. Please read the questions submitted by the “younger generation”. If you can throw any light on their queries,  contact them directly. It would be appreciated if you could advise your Editor of any action taken so we can gage feed-back to evaluate the newsletter.

Short Bursts has been publishing for 23 years and should have, by now, convinced the world that it was the AGs and the WAGs who won the air war during WW II.
(Now if that doesn’t get some static, nothing will.)

Member Fred Burnyeat has a new address; 314 Trent St.,
                                                                      Saskatoon, Sk. S7H 4V5
                                                                      Ph: (306) 931-7859

Members who were fortunate enough to fly in the Halleys, give Charley Yule a shout to support his passion for the successful recovery of LW 170 from the Irish sea.

Charley Yule
On November 11th. I phoned one of my WW II pilots. In response to my query, ‘how are you’, he replied, “Oh, I’m just hanging around waiting to croak.” By his voice and the rest of our conversation, he sounded really depressed. At our age, I guess it is easy to fall into the ‘Poor John’ syndrome. However I was introduced to a program, Spiritual Cinema Circle, that deals with the power of positive thinking.  So if you ever get the Poor John feeling, go to the site: 
Become an affiliate. The videos will certainly re-charge your batteries.
They will also be enjoyed by your grandchildren.

Happy and healthy 2007 to all.
John and Doreene Moyles


SCHARFE, J. MBR #786, SASKATOON, SK: We have received word from Harry Thompson - Contact person for the Northern Saskatchewan Group - of the passing of John Scharfe who enlisted at the age of 17 as R213922l and was selected for Gunnery Training.  Following Manning Depot at Brandon, MB, he attended #10 Bombing and Gunnery School at Mount Pleasant, PEI where he attained his AG Brevet.  Overseas he was posted to 103 and 576 Squadrons in 1 Group completed a 40 Operational Tour.  That is all the information which John provided us on his Application Form when joining our Ex Air Gunner's Association.

(Harry Thompson also advises that the Saskatoon Group is still meeting on a regular basis and have just held their Annual Xmas Dinner)

SCHMUCK, B.H. MBR #939, EDMONTON, AB:  We have been advised by Ted Hackett of the Edmonton AB Group, of the Bernard's passing on Dec. 06, 2006.  Born Sept 3rd, 1923 he enlisted in the RCAF April 15/42 and selected for WAG training at #2 Manning Depot, Brandon, MB  and began his Wireless training at #3 W/S in Winnipeg followed by Gunnery School #7 at Paulson/Dauphin, MB.  Upon receiving his WAG Brevet he was posted as a Sergeant 'Staff' WAG at #7 AOS, Portage la Prairie, MB.  On the 2nd of November, 1943 he sailed from Halifax aboard the Mauritania, docking at Liverpool, thence on to the RCAF Reception Center at Bournemouth.  About 4 weeks later he was posted to Staverton, AFU for 6 weeks of Ground and Air training on 'shaky old Ansons'.  Crewed up at Wellsbourne and completed 3 months Ground/Flying School at a satellite station flying in Wellington a/c following which he and his crew were posted to 426 Squadron at Linton-on-Ouse, in Yorkshire.

First Operation flown August 12, 1944 and 30th on Nov. 27/44, which completed his Tour.

Charley Yule
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 Milne,  Secretary,
392 St. Clements Ave., 
Toronto, Ont. M5M 1M1 

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:
Harry Thompson, 702 Mckercher Dr., Saskatoon, SK  S7H 3W7 Phone: (306) 374-6036

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.
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.

Contact Person and President
Larry Robinson 
Box 179
Okotoks, AB   T0L 1T0
(403) 938-4105

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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