Bill Hillman Presents
Forces: Land ~ Air ~ Sea ~ Home
Compiled by Bill Hillman
FLASH. . . Editor and Webmaster: Bill Hillman:
APRIL 2007
This page is from the first four-page newsletter, THE TURRET, of the RAF Air Gunners Association published in May 1949. Following are some interesting extracts from this tentative beginning.


The first addition of the "Turret" may be a poor thing, but it is indeed our own, and the organizing committee of the Air Gunners Association cannot regard its production but with a sense of relief – we can feel that we are now really airborne.

It might not be out of place to start at the very birth of the Association. It was conceived in the mind of one Jack O’Hara who hails from Wigan, but is now a Londoner. He was lonely  and thought the people of the South unsociable by Northern standards. He went to the RAFR Branch and found nice folk there, but not really speaking his language. He sought in vain for a fellow AG. Thus he started thinking in terms of some sort of club where ex-AG’s might foregather, and went so far as to place an advertisement in :Air Mail: asking those of us interested in such an idea to communicate with him. About one hundred of us were interested and did write… .

At the moment we are concentrating on the social side – we want to bring AGs together again. In the war years we were thought by others to be rather different from other aircrew, a quaint breed unto ourselves. But that as it may, we certainly clung together. We had much in common, we enjoyed each other's company, and generally speaking were a hay band of brothers. Your committee has already brought together a bunch of the types – a dummy run, as it were. The experiment was a success. We are still a happy band of brothers. We remembered others – we reminisced – we became nostalgic – we sang those songs  – we even shot the odd very small line…

The first decision reached was concerning the potentialities of membership. Eligibility was granted for all those entitled to the AG, or WAG brevet – or the old Flying Bullet! Obviously the Association would have to exist on an Empire wide basis or not exist at all …

Sex Rears its Ugly Head

Shall wives and/or popsies be admitted to the monthly jags? At the moment it is the view of y0our committee that these affairs should be strictly stag. However, it is realized that it is only by courtesy of our better halves that we are allowed to get together at all. Also many of these wives are ex-WAAFS, which is an excellent thing, and therefore very interested in our Association. So we real cannot leave them out in the cold entirely. It might be an idea for branches to put on the odd dance fairly soon in their programme, and thus bring the ladies into the picture…

The Odd Bomb

 An amazing number o gunners liked to throw something on their own account when over the target area. Beer bottles, bricks and so on. You may have heard of the type who some how or other always managed to tip the Elsan contents down the flare shoot? Always in hope that some Nazi would be looking up at the right time. We heard a quaint story the other day of a crew who brought a live donkey  back from somewhere or other in a Wimpy. Over France, at a very great height (in a Wimpy?), the donkey lacked oxygen and died the death. A dead donkey being a bit too much in the aircraft, they lugged the asinine carcass with much effort to the bomb by – donkey gone! One cannot help trying to assess the effect on the French populace when a dead donk. Came hurtling from the skies!
Can you think of odd things which you, or types known to you, threw overboard? And we don’t mean the Skipper’s pants! We shall be glad to print all printable tales of Odd Bombs.

As membership was open to "the Empire" many Canadians in the RCAF subscribed to the Turret, especially those who flew on RAF Squadrons.

In March 2007 the FINAL ISSUE OF THE TURRET was mailed out to the Membership. This 8" X 11.5",  48-page publication, with many colour photos,  Branch reports, and interesting  articles, is truly a work of art.  Ron Bramley is to be congratulated for this effort and his many years as Editor. Ron must have emptied his filing cabinet on this edition.

Old Comrades: 
Ron Bramley (left) 
and Bill Bailey 
Ron also served in Burma and 
attended  The Burma Bomber's Reunion, 
Niagara Falls, Ont. 
Sept. 29, 2003


The above cartoon, in a way, sums up the reasons why we have been late with the last two issues, coupled with growing older and consequently less efficient. However, on the plus side, the last ten years have given me great pleasure, and filled a gap that I honestly wish I could carry on for another 10 years! As I have reported to the Turret Committee I am quite prepared to continue with the Newsletter, if that is what members of the Self Financing Turret desire… even if only to perpetuate the original constitution ….

The main reason for lateness with the "Winter" Turret 2007 is the will to make this issue, as with the first Turret an issue to remember. Colour and more pages have been introduced (hope we have enough cash!!) together with a tidy up of contributions and "fill ins". As I sit here and compose this report, I must pay my sincere thanks to all members of the Turret Committee for their continued record of support.… 

Ron Bramley (Bram)
35 Morley Road,
Nottingham, NG3 6LL  UK
Tel. 0115 956 9266
Mobile: 07977 320167

Short Bursts Ed.: One article that took me back 65 years was the item on page 38,
 It’s sayonara ‘Tokyo Rose.’

Following Pearl Harbour, we were patrolling off the North West coast of Canada flying pontoon equipped Blackburn Sharks. There was no control tower so the aircrew fashioned their own tower on the side of the mountain overlooking the channel where the aircraft took off and landed.

The tower consisted of four pine poles with a small box on the top. It was manned by the WAGs.

I enjoyed the night shift. At that time security was at fever pitch, blackout orders were strictly adhered to.
At night, in this location, 54 degrees North, radio signals skipped great distances. One could tune in Japanese radio and listen to Tokyo Rose.

Her voice was pleasant, alluring, at times quite sensuous, and always convincing, as she talked to the Gis in the Pacific. Like the girl next door. Many enjoyable hours were spent in the dark, broken only by  the faint glow from the radio tubes, high above the bay, listening to Japanese music and visualizing Tokyo Rose.

Iva Toguri d’Aquino, alias, Tokyo Rose, Was convicted of treason in 1949 and served six years in jail. But doubts about her possible role as Tokyo Rose surfaced and she was pardoned by President Gerald Ford in 1977. She was born in Los Angeles in 1916 and passed away in Chicago in 2006, at age 90. 

    Bram, true to his sense of humour, writes on page 11

Received (following) from my son, thought worth reporting in the last Turret! Ed.

I think the life cycle is all backwards
You should start out dead and get it out of the way.
Then, you wake up in an old age home feeling better
You get kicked out for being too healthy; go collect your pension, then when you start work, you get a gold watch on your first day.
You work 40 years until you are young enough to enjoy your retirement. 
You drink alcohol, you party, you’re generally promiscuous and you get ready for High School.
You go to Primary school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a baby and then …
You spend your last 9 months floating peacefully in luxury, in spa-like conditions; central heating, room service on tap, larger quarters every day, and then, you finish off as an orgasm.

Ed: another bit of history is lost. Drop Bram a line (see address above) and let him know how much we have appreciated his 10 years at the helm of The Turret, and how much it will be missed.


My neighbour (Jack Galway) was talking last night about the tail gunner in his Lancaster bomber crew from WW II and wondering whatever became of him. His name was Clarence Redwood, nicknamed "Junior", because he was only 17. It is believed that his last known residence was in Georgetown, ON.
Would you know of any group that keeps track of former RCAF members?
Thanks for any assistance you can lend.
Lee Daugharty

Good day,
I am writing to you on behalf of my late grandfather, Robert Henry Larson.  He served in the 408 "Goose" squadron with the RCAF in WWII  as a tail-gunner in a Lancaster.  As I understand it, the 408 held a  reunion every 4 years after the war, alternating locations around the  country.  For one of these meetings (I believe it may have been in the 80's and held in the prairies somewhere) there was a call for squadron photos and log books to put on display.  My grandfather was not going to be able to attend, but he sent his logbook and squadron photo, etc. with his friend Doug Boynton.  Unfortunately, he never received these items back.  He was under the impression that they may have been used in a museum, but was never informed what became of them.  He made attempts to locate his stuff and have it returned, but was unsuccessful.

I would like to find his memorabilia and return it to his widow (my grandmother).  I came across your web page and thought it was a good place to start.  If you have any idea who I should try to contact about this it would be appreciated.

Thank you in advance for your time.

Kyle Larson 

Ted Hacket picked up the ball on this one. If anyone else can help contact Ted.

Good Morning.  I got the phone number of a Warrant Officer with 408 Squadron from my son so I phoned him this morning with your request.  He happens to be working on the Museum at the moment trying to get things straightened out. I gather they didn't keep too many records, he says there is no record of what was loaned to the Museum in Edmonton.  He is hoping to get into the archives and start sorting things out but it could take some time.  I gave him the information on your Grandfather and he wanted to know when he served with the Squadron.  I noticed that his service number is a bit larger than mine so he was probably at Linton-on-Ouse at the same time I was with 426 Squadron.  He said he would look for the log book as soon as he can but he asked us to be patient, looking after the museum is a secondary job with him.  He has my e-mail address so he will let me know when he finds something.  Have a nice day.

Ted Hackett   

Hi, I’m trying to trace anyone who might have served with my grandfather in WWII. His name was Thomas Harold Hebb (but everyone called him Hallie) and he was from Halifax, Nova Scotia. He trained at No.3 B&G School, Macdonald, Manitoba 3/May/43 to 23/July/43 as a Rear Gunner and was subsequently transferred to Training Wing 17 O.T.U, R.A.F, Silverstone on December 13, 1943 and was attached to 106 Squadron in England flying Lancaster III’s in June 1944. He held the rank of Flt. Sgt.

Unfortunately he passed away in 1985 and when I was only 10, and I’m trying to put together a memoir for his great granddaughter who has been named Hallie in his memory.

Thank you for your time.
Karen Hebb 

Dear Sir,
Please could you help me, I am trying to find out information about a bomber crew shot down on a raid over Berlin on 24/25 March 1944. My relative Sgt. CHARLES ARTHUR SALT was killed along with the rest of the crew apart from  F/S R.B.McALLISTER RCAF who survived and was taken POW.
I'm interested to know what became of him and if anyone knows him.

Thank you ~ kind regards
Dean Hartley 

Report from B.C. Branch

Thanks John and we have a wee message for you too. 
Rod MacDougal asks me to let you know that he has sent the sum of $100.00 directly to the Webmaster of "Short Bursts" at the museum. Our funds have all but gone and at our last meeting it was agreed that we take $100.00 out of it and sent it to keep "Short Bursts" alive. We all appreciate this 'Glue' that keeps us all together and talking. Kindest regards. 
Dave Sutherland, BC Branch.
Full ahead to the 2010 Olympics

One of our Members sent us the following:
Military Cutbacks



Preserving Hard Won Freedoms
Leader Post, Regina, March 6, 2007.
Commentary – by Don Martin

From his cockpit window, RCAF Pilot Arthur Smith watched a lot of hell-fire engulf German cities 19,000 feet below the emptied bomb bay of his bomber. He crossed the English Channel 34 times during the Second World War to take out targets in Germany or Holland – and every post mission debriefing had fewer and fewer faces around the table.

By any statistical measure, Smith should’ve been killed several times over before the war ended, with 10,000 of his fellow Canadian flyers underground. Now in his late 80s, Smith is fighting to recover from cancer surgery in a Calgary hospital. He just received "very bad news" from the doctor and is heading home this week. He won’t talk about the prognosis.

But what Smith does want to talk about what could be his last public battle. His target is a poster-sized exhibit hanging in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa that debates the military value of the bombing effort when stacked against the cost of civilian lives. Smith’s voice rises in trembling outrage at what he sees as an affront to the memory of bomber crews who died in appalling numbers. The museum is now under boycott by the Royal Canadian Legion.

 "I'll never accept the view that what we did was wrong. I don’t deny the right for somebody to have their opinions, but this exhibit puts us in a terrible light," he laments. "Why, all of a sudden people have to rewrite history, I don’t understand."

I have known Art Smith for 25 years. He has served with distinction as an elected representative at all three political levels, fought to diversify Calgary’s economy when it was a shambles and became the father-figure member to a rookie mayor named Ralph Klein. He’s arguably one of the greatest living Canadians.

But with utmost respect, Art Smith is wrong.

I toured the bomber Command section in the War Museum this week and came away convinced the veterans lack a legitimate grievance and seem to be attacking the very freedom their comrades sacrificed themselves to defend.

The exhibit is mostly a goose-bump raising testimonial to bomber Command. It is filled with stories of heroes and heroic deeds. Pieces of destroyed aircraft, films showing the destructive force of the airborne armadas and stories of great sacrifice are here in graphic detail with the fuselage of a replicated bomber for a ceiling. Pictures of the street level carnage the bombers left behind complete a story more alive than even the nearby Afghanistan war exhibition.

It is history in all its hellish horror that the Royal Canadian Legion has no right to sugarcoat  or whitewash. Bombers were the Second World War’s weapon of mass destruction, but they were equipped with fledgling navigational technology that could not hit military targets at night with pin point accuracy, most of them were mere blocks from civilian areas. Collateral damage on a mass scale was inevitable. The exhibit plaque correctly frames the controversy: “The value and morality of the strategic bomber offensive against Germany remains bitterly contested.” The mission was clear enough:  "To crush civilian moral and force Germany to surrender by destroying its cities and industrial infrastructure.”

Whether the raids, "left 60,000 Germans dead and more than five million homeless" is open to dispute. History books seem to record those figures as maximums. And to suggest the raids only put minor dents in the German war machine negates the impact the mayhem caused as resources were diverted to reconstruction and defensive activity.

But after five prominent historians vetted and vindicated the wording, the only quibble from one was to wonder if the agreed upon facts were worthy of public presentation and, thus, presentation. Damn right they are. This is Canada, not a place like China where history is subject to periodic revision by the ruling class to create non-persons or purge unpleasant events from the record.. Our history is factual, not popular fiction.

Distinguished Flying Cross recipient Art Smith has every right to argue his case from an eyewitness experience few Canadians can now claim, but his eye in the sky was hardly the perspective of those standing in the cities being pulverized. Both views need to be taken into account to complete the historical record. 

Lest we forget, 10,000 crew members in Bomber Command died defending our freedom. And nobody said that excluded freedom of speech.

National Post
Published: Saturday, March 17, 2007
Re: History's lesson's, Don Martin.
You have to experience total war and understand the mood of the people to judge their actions. I grew up in southern England during the Second World War. Our home was under the bombing flight path for the Southampton docks. I slept in an air-raid shelter for a year, and people on our street were killed by a direct hit on their house. In the early part of the war there was no effective defence for night bombing and the Luftwaffe flew unimpeded. In 1940 and 1941 during 49 air raids, 626 civilians were killed in Southampton, (more people than Canada lost in the Korean War) 3,472 houses were destroyed and only one German bomber was shot down. It was a milk run for the Luftwaffe from their bases 100 kilometres away in occupied France.

By the time the RAF and the USAF were organized and started bombing, Germany had radar-controlled defences and losses were very heavy, averaging 4% per sortie. I remember the sombre voice of a typical BBC news broadcast: "Last night the RAF attacked industrial targets in the Ruhr; 42 of our bombers failed to return." A Lancaster bomber had a crew of eight.

Queen Elizabeth (the mother of our current monarch) tours a bomb shelter during the Blitz in London, 1940.

During the last months of the war, three crucial events occurred. The German air defence crumbled, and Allied bomber losses decreased. Evacuee children who had spent four years living with strangers in safe cities began drifting back London. Then the bombardment of London started again, this time by V1 cruise missiles and V2 ballistic missiles. Hundreds of civilians were killed and the children were evacuated again to safe towns.

After five long years of death and austerity in total war, Britain had had enough. The prevailing mood was to bring it to an end as soon as possible. No one questioned the RAF when it flew unimpeded over Germany as the Luftwaffe had done over England in 1940 and 1941. There would have been rioting in the streets in 1945 if the government had decided to cut back the bombing so as not to hurt the Germans too much.

When the war started, I was seven years old and my carefree childhood was put on hold. When it was over, six long weary years later, I was no longer a child.

Peter White, North Vancouver.

National Post
Published: Saturday, March 17, 2007
Don Martin is not an "expert" in military history or specifically qualified to speak on the action of the Allied Bomber Command during the Second World War. His column represents the myopic view of someone who has looked at one side of an event and then used his position as a columnist to express a personal view.

While the Post may consider this as fair game in the newspaper business, I will only consider it acceptable if an article containing opposing views is allowed equal space.

I would have to agree with the former RCAF pilot Arthur Smith and ask, "Why all of a sudden do people have to rewrite history?" Why is a person like Don Martin trying to apologize for events he was not involved in?

National Post
Published: Saturday, March 17, 2007
The Canadian War Museum clearly implies that bombing Germany in the Second World War was immoral and ineffective. And while Don Martin says that some historians suggest "that raids only put minor dents in the German war machine," we know that after the war, Germany's production minister, Albert Speer, and Karl Doenitz, commander-in-chief of the German navy, both said bombing had been effective. Speer was amazed and thankful that the bombing had not been more successful in hitting such targets as fuel supplies and ball-bearing factories, adding that the Allies were right in assuming that devastation of the area around key targets exponentially disrupted the capacity to make repairs.

It is true that Germany was able to maintain total production in the first years of the war, with the use of 7.5 million slave labourers. However, Allied production in the United States, Canada, Britain and the U.S.S.R. increased by many times, while German production essentially stood still. What the War Museum says about this ghastly business is so incomplete as to be intellectually dishonest.

Colin Alexander, Ottawa.

Member Robert Marshall  148/428 Squadrons 
My concern with the plaque wording is with respect to two aspects of wartime bombing activities that have apparently not been taken into consideration. First is the notation of immorality: why single out the RAF bomber Command in this regard? As I recall it was the way the war was fought! The Luftwaffe led the way into Poland with its bombing of Warsaw and other Polish localities. It was followed by the bombing of Belgrade, and in May, 1940 a residential area of Rotterdam, followed in turn by the bombing of Great Britain and the almost year long “Battle of Britain”. In June 1941 the Luftwaffe was diverted to Russia and the virtual destruction Russian cities as well as other populated centres. We could also add the mid-1944 V1 and V2 attacks on Britain – pointless other than to attempt to depopulate and dehouse British populated residential areas. In essence, all war time bombing of industrial, populated areas could be termed immoral. But if there was a moral high road it belonged to Allied Bomber Command. Their sole motivation was the defeat of Nazi Germany and the liberation of occupied countries.

Second, let us turn back the clock to mid-1940 and wartime prospects at that time. After the withdrawal from Dunkirk the British army had been temporarily taken out of the war. The Royal; Navy was fully occupied in the desperate attempt to keep the lifeline between Britain and North America alive. This left the RAF as the sole means of carrying on the European war through those dark days – defensively in the Battle of Britain, offensively with Bomber Command. With respect to the latter the only choice was to sit back and, given the strength of the German military, eventually throw in the towel.

The embryo RAF Bomber Command, joined in 1942 by the USAF, carried the ball against Nazi Germany and was cheered on by all the free world and peoples in occupied countries.. Whether o not Allied bombing had a significant effect on German wartime capabilities is of little relevance. The point is that Bomber Command played a crucial and undisputable role in the progression of the war, and ultimate victory against the enemy. For this it deserved the gratitude of all post war Europe.

Military historians have been generally in agreement that, through the early years Allied bombing did not have a major effect on German wartime production nor on moral of German citizens – this, however neglects to asses what German capabilities would have been in the absence of Allied bombing. In this they are probably correct given that the industrial capacity, with conscripted labour, of all occupied countries made available to the enemy war effort. And internally, the population was firmly in the grip of Nazi propaganda and related tyranny. I recall one historian saying that people could not surrender to bombers in the sky. Military historians also have, in general, albeit with some expressing reservations concerning the way in which the bombing campaign was conducted, conceded that in the latter years of the war, did make a contribution to final victory. (A notable exception was the British pseudo historian, David Irving, who quite recently was jailed in Austria for his pro-Nazi denial of the existence of the holocaust. It might be remembered that many years ago Irving came to Canada and was shown on television meeting Ernst Zundel and other German expatriates. To Canada’s credit he was asked to leave the country.)

In addition to the views of the historians, a significant recognition of the achievements of Allied bombing was made at the Nurnburg hearings by Albert Speer, German Minister of wartime production, when he stated that, from 1944 Allied bombing provided and effective “second front” siphoning off men and materials that could have made the difference between victory and defeat on the Russian front.

There is no doubt that many Bomber Command activities have now, in retrospect, come into question. Mistakes were made, knowledge was imperfect, wartime intelligence faulty and policies ill conceived. Un fortunately the resulted in a civilian loss of life (and also of aircrews). For those of us involved,  this has been a major regret. But another major regret is that we were unsuccessful in bringing an earlier end to the war – to the suffering of civilian populations including the exposure and closure of death camps at Auschist, Dachau and others.

Robert (Bob) Marshall
Ph. (519) 822-8138

Don Macfie

Being that I have run out of articles to submit to Short Busts, I will submit my account of my experience with an Italian prisoner of war. On leave on a large estate I was staying with the games keeper in the lowlands of Scotland. A tenant farmer stopped by and complained about the hard time he was having getting his stooks of barley into stacks as he only had his son and an Italian prisoner to do the work. Being one who had learned not to volunteer for anything, it must have been the games keeper who said I would help on the morrow. 

I went up there and was soon dispatched to the field to pitch sheaves with an Italian PoW called Ernie. We built small loads on two wheel carts. They put a tractor on the cart and I built a load that broke the reach. I worked hard and enjoyed it. Good big meals  at noon and supper. We got up five stacks in the afternoon. A big thunder storm came around 7 p.m. and cut us off. They told the games keeper afterwards that the Italian had never done such a good days work since they got him!

Remember “central heating” in the Nissan hut? There was always a shortage of coke. At Alness, Scotland, we went down to the local railway station and pleaded with the train engineers to toss us chunks of coal. They seldom refused. Then there was the time the coke truck got stuck and the driver went for help. When he returned the truck was empty. Strange, there were no witnesses! Anyone out there have any “central heating” stories?

Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) 
 Registered Charity  84586 5740 RR0001

Progress Report Number 17
February 19, 2007

As Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) directors, members, and supporters proceed in the specific and exciting quest to locate and recover RCAF Halifax LW170 from the deep, we are aware of a special responsibility to honour the effort and sacrifice of our bombers crews who gave us our Freedom. We must be caretakers of this knowledge of their sacrifice for Freedom and we must pass this on to our children, our families, and our whole country. 

Remember that only 1 out of 4 bomber crews finished their combat tours. The remaining 3 bomber crews were either, killed-in-action, prisoner of war, or killed/injured in training. That is a loss rate of 75%. The more our historic group studies these men and the crews of the RCAF and RAF the more we are in awe of their efforts for all of us in the face of such adversity. We must remember them.

We have started to pay tribute to our RCAF Americans who came to Canada in the thousands to join our RCAF in World War Two. This year we will do more to give them the credit they deserve.

It has now come to light, after excellent research by our directors, that there is another group which has just now been discovered and must be recognized for flying and fighting for Canadian Freedom. 

We have found the names of at least 11 previously unknown Irish Nationals who flew on the Halifaxes and Lancs of the RCAF and were killed-in-action flying with their Canadian comrades. 

Most, but not all, were flying as Flight Engineers on RCAF Halifaxes. The directors of Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) have now highlighted them on a special page of tribute on our website with all their names and hometowns. We know the list will continue to grow. 

In a symbolic first tribute to the “RCAF Irish” we have decided to include a shamrock beside the RCAF flag and the Canada-USA badge to show that we appreciate and will, from now on, include in all our memorial efforts these young men of Ireland who flew and fought in the Royal Canadian Air Force. 

“Press on regardless…”

On to Business, these are the Halifacts:

As Project manager I am very pleased to let all of our members and supporters know we are making good progress on raising support for the Halifax Project. 

As you are aware we have had several articles in the Irish newspapers about the proposed recovery of LW170. This has not gone unnoticed with the Irish public and on the world internet. Last month I was contacted by David Joyce of Tyrone Productions in Dublin and invited on their variety talk show on Feb.22. I will be traveling over on business and will be popping over to Dublin for a television interview on RTE TV on the “Seoige and O’Shea” show to tell all about the Halifax Project. The discovery of our  “RCAF Irish” and the development of this historic connection between Ireland and Canada is a wonderful addition to this opportunity to raise support on the international scene for the locating and recovery of our Halifax LW170.

Other positive things have been happening as well. As you know I have been in contact with deep sea exploration groups to gather technical data on the location of LW170. I have had sincere interest in the past few weeks from certain officials of a group to help with locating the Halifax on sonar, which could be done as an add-on survey or “piggybacked” on a scientific survey. The timing and opportunity to do the Halifax sonar survey during the next few months of the 2007 season will be looked at and evaluated to maximize all possibilities. If the survey can be done in this way we could minimize our costs to actually locate and inspect LW170 for future recovery.

 I am very hopeful for these developments for our Halifax sonar survey and will have more important information on this for you in the next progress report after I meet with these officials in the very near future. It is best if I keep details to a minimum until we have reached an agreement with these certain officials who really do want to help find our Halifax.

With regard to our website we now have on our official promotion of the exciting new book on the RCAF written by playwright Sandra Dempsey titled “Flying to Glory”. Sandra was so taken with the Halifax painting “INVINCIBLE ITEM” when she was ready to publish she asked and received permission from the artist Michael McCabe and our group to use the image of LW170 superimposed on the RCAF roundel on the front cover  of “Flying to Glory”.

Sandra has received great reviews on “Flying to Glory” and has been invited to do a reading from her new book at an event in New York City in the near future. I did pass on to her that she could make a real connection with her American audience as there as 128 American lads killed-in-action in the RCAF who were from the state of New York (the majority were flying the Halifax ! ).

I must point out a great new event has just been announced by our partners at the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum. Nanton is very pleased to announce that this year at their annual celebration on Aug.25, 2007 they will be honouring the “RCAF Americans” as their dedicated group. There are literally hundreds of unknown Americans’ names on the Memorial Wall, which has become the centre  piece and national memorial to the RCAF airmen of Bomber Command.

Please visit the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum website to get all the information on this great event which you should not miss.  (see - under “Special Events” )  I invite all our members and supporters to come to this special ceremony (on August 25, 2007) as THE WALL at Nanton is truly THE Bomber Command Memorial of Canada.

This Halifax Project, from its inception some 3 years ago, has been a wonderful journey of people joining together in a great cause that will require much effort and determination. This is our own battle campaign that requires, just like our heroes of the Halifax and Bomber Command, we must not give up no matter what the odds or difficulties. This mighty symbol of Freedom and symbol of RCAF excellence and honour, RCAF Halifax LW170, must be recovered. Let us keep our eyes on the target and press on to success in our mission.

Let me close with the quote of Robert Goddard, whose pioneering spaceflight efforts helped put a man on the moon.

“…the dreams of yesterday are the hopes of today and the realities of tomorrow .”

Karl Kjarsgaard
Project Manager
Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada)                 Phone - Eastern Canada  613 835 1748
email:               Western Canada 403 603 8592

The following letters say it all. This is the purpose of our Newsletter, Short Bursts. In this case reuniting a Navigator with his WAG 61 years later.

Dear Mr and Mrs Hillman,
I hope this email finds you well.

I came across the above edition of Short Bursts via a Google internet search. 

My father, Steve McCann, is the navigator referred to (and pictured) in Ted Rainer's article on the Verona raid. He was very interested to read it, and would be keen to make contact with Ted Rainer. Would you be able to supply me with an email address, or advise me as to how I could find out his contact details? Or alternatively, if you have his email address, would you be able to forward my email on to him?

Thanks in advance,
Yours sincerely,
Neil McCann

Greetings Neil,

I'm editor of the Short Bursts web page and our web master, Bill Hillman, passed me your request to get in touch with Ted Rainier. 

Here is Ted's address and phone number. Our directory is 7 years out of date, so I phoned and spoke to both Ted and his good wife. Ted has a little difficulty speaking on the phone but, if you take it slow and easy, he can understand (we are all getting on in years). Ted's wife helped out, she is only 81. It took Ted a few moments for his memory to bounce back, but when it did, he was quite lucid.

They are expecting your call or letter. They do not have email. 
Where are you located? Happy reunion. Let me know how you make out. 
John Moyles

Dear John,

Many thanks for your response.  I have posted it on to my father (he is not on email either) and I will let you know the outcome. I am sure he will be pleased to have got a response so quickly. 

He was telling me about the Verona raid - for the first time in detail - just a few days before, and so I googled the net and found your website and the article by Ted Rainer, which told the same story .

We are both based in Barnes, which is in South West London, albeit at separate addresses.
Best Regards
Neil McCann

GRAHAM CAMPBELL died November 28, 2006 in Delta, BC.

Graham was born on August 9, 1922 in Nottingham, England.  Graham’s father, Sydney, who was born in Truro, Nova Scotia was living in Boston when the First World War broke out.  He joined the British Army and was wounded near Ypres.  While recovering in England he met Graham’s mother to be, Ellen.  When Graham was four, his father returned to Canada bringing his wife and two children and settled in Saskatoon where Graham grew up.  In early 1940, when he was 17, Graham tried to join the Royal Canadian Air Force.  He was told he was too young, to go home and come back when he was 18.  In December 1940 Graham succeeded in joining the RCAF and was trained for nine months to become a wireless air-gunner.  Initially he flew as an observer on patrols of the northern BC coast in planes such as the Blackburn Shark.  Later he flew out of Montreal ferrying planes across the Atlantic to England and Scotland.  

In 1943 he was stationed in Reykjavik, Iceland flying on submarine patrol over the north Atlantic in the amphibious Consolidated Canso.  Graham had flown 70 sorties and was the First Wireless Officer of Canso P of 162 Squadron on June 24, 1944 when a U-Boat was sited.  They attacked the submarine with machine gun fire and depth charges.  Graham manned the guns in the nose of the aircraft. The U-Boat responded with its deck gun and the Canso was hit and began to burn.  The starboard engine fell off, but the captain, David Hornell, who was awarded the Victoria Cross, managed to successfully ditch the plane.  

The U-Boat had been hit by the depth charge and had sunk.  The crew of 8 had only one inflatable lifeboat, too small to hold all, as the others had exploded or blown away.  The crew took turns in the life boat and were adrift in thirty foot seas for 21 hours before a rescue ship arrived.  Two members of the crew died at sea and Hornell died shortly after rescue. Graham was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in recognition of his gallantry.  After this Graham volunteered for a second tour and continued to fly out of Iceland until the end of the War.   The Canso P was displayed on a commemorative stamp which was issued by Canada Post in 1979. 

After the war and in spite of that experience, Graham made his living mostly on the water.  He worked in the fishing fleet with BC Packers for several years on fish boats, packers and even one of the last whaling boats on the BC coast.  In 1953 he was onboard  the White Swan when at night it hit the towing cable between a towboat and its barge. Graham pulled the skipper, who was only semi-conscious due to a head injury, out of the wheelhouse and helped him into the lifeboat.  That skipper named one of his sons after Graham. Graham became a marine engineer and after BC Packers worked for Coast Ferries on small freighters serving logging camps and native communities on the BC coast.  After Coast Ferries he worked for the White Pass and Yukon from Vancouver to Skagway, Alaska.  Graham retired in 1985 after several years as an engineer with Rivtow Straights. 

In retirement Graham enjoyed being at home in Tsawwassen with his wife Magdalene.  He and Magdalene attended many Commonwealth Aircrew and Air-gunner reunions all across Canada. At one reunion in Ottawa he was able to meet, more than 50 years after the event, the Norwegian airman who, while flying on patrol with the RAF, spotted the flare that Graham had shot off from the dinghy thereby fixing their position for rescue.  Graham was a member of the Ladner branch of the Royal Canadian Legion for 30 years and served on the executive and made hospital visits in the early nineties.

Graham had started on boats as a cook and liked to get involved in the kitchen when he was home.  Cooking fish was a specialty, but he also enjoyed making muffins and scones and his own wine, which he liked to pour generously for family and friends. He canned many jars of Sockeye salmon and gave many away. He was a generous and agreeable man who was liked by everyone who met him.

He was happily married for over 52 years to Magdalene.  He will be terribly missed by Magdalene and by his son Warren. 

Back row left to right: -- Lawrence, Ed Matheson, David Hornell, W.F. Bill Poag
Front row: -- Fernand St. Laurent, Donald S. Scott, Graham Campbell, Joe Bodnoff

PORTER, H.L.  MBR #0261
Howard passed away peacefully, Saturday, March 24/07 at the age of 81.  He was born in Dauphin, Manitoba June 1, 1925.  He enlisted in the RCAF - R208968, and while stationed at #2 Manning Depot in Brandon was selected for Gunnery Training.  Posted to #9 B&G at Mont Joli, PQ he joined course #59 and 61 where he attained his AG Brevet.  Overseas #12 and #582 Squadrons in 1 and 8 Groups as a Tail Gunner.  Following his discharge he began work with the CNR where he was employed in the 'running trades' until his retirement at age 57.  No formal service will be held.
Thanks to those who contributed to the April Page.

Read the Search Pattern letters carefully, maybe you will be able to help. For example, the missing logbook and crew photos of the late Robert Henry Larson, AG on 408 Squadron. If you know of anyone who was on 408 “Goose” Squadron, mention the letter to them, maybe we will get lucky.

A big thank you to the B.C. Branch for their generous contribution to our Newsletter.

Keep well.
Cheers,   John and Doreene Moyles

John and Doreene Moyles,
 435 Froom Cresc.
 Regina, SK
 S4N 1T5
Phone: (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 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, 
435 Froom Crescent
 Regina, Sk.  S4N 1T5
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'. 

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