Bill Hillman Presents
Forces: Land ~ Air ~ Sea ~ Home
Compiled by Bill Hillman
FLASH. . . Editor and Webmaster: Bill Hillman:
Museum to change bomber exhibit
'Victory For Veterans'
National Post ~ August 28, 2007
OTTAWA - The Canadian War Museum will "adjust" its controversial Bomber Command exhibition this fall so that greater "respect" is shown to Canadian war veterans involved in the Second World War bombing of Germany, CanWest News Service has learned. Bomber Command veterans have long complained that the exhibition makes them out to be "war criminals" whose bombs needlessly killed thousands of German civilians.

Changes to the exhibition will attempt to address those concerns, a source said. The details of those changes have yet to be finalized, but the decision to alter the exhibition has been made. . . . A few days after the release of the Senate report, the war museum's director, Joe Geurts, left his job. Neither he nor his boss, Victor Rabinovitch, president of the war museum's parent organization, the Canadian Museum of Civilization, has publicly stated the reasons for Mr. Geurts' departure. More>>>

During WW II, popular souvenirs were cushion covers showing Squadron Crests,  etc. The above cushion cover appeared for sale on E-Bay and sold for $150.00 US to a buyer in England. It depicts an Air Gunner in an open cockpit, firing a .303 gas operated Vickers machine gun mounted on a scarthring. The Vickers K was fitted to a number of two and three-seater aircraft in British service such as the Fairey Swordfish, Fairey Battle and Handley Page Hampden, and the Blackburn Sharks. It was also used in gun turrets, such as the dorsal turret in the Bristol Blenheim and the nose turret in the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley.  Some Halifax and Sunderland aircraft used them as waist guns.

The maximum rate of fire was 950 rounds per minute, however it was usually set at750 rounds per minute. The ammunition pans held 60 to 100 rounds, so one had to fire in short bursts.

We thank Gordon Goddard of Regina for providing us with the picture of the cushion cover.
Major Gordon F. Goddard, CD3 , Email
Director, Saskatchewan Military Museum, Regina, SK  Ph. (306) 924-0748.

Gordon reminds us if we are ever passing through Regina International Airport, take a moment to check out the Military display placed there by the Military Museum.

Ted Hackett
Ah yes, the old Vickers VGO, we had one in the nose of the Halifax for the Bomb Aimer to use. I do believe that it was referred to as "the panic gun".   I think the only time Jim fired it the bag for the empty shells came loose and he had little brass things all over the nose.  It was similar to the Lewis Gun that we had when I joined the Militia in 1941, (the 2nd Battalion The Cameron Highlanders.  Gad Sir, I could strip that sucker and put it back together in no time! 

John Moyles
When operating the Vickers from an open cockpit, one had to contend with the slipstream. When firing towards the rear the prop blast would enter the adjustment vent on the back of the helmet causing the headgear to balloon and goggles to vibrate. When firing to either Port or Starboard the slipstream would tear at the goggles impeding vision. Changing ammo drums while the Pilot was throwing the aircraft around was another problem.

A War time account of  Sergeant Scratch

Sgt. Scratch was born in Saskatchewan, July 7, 1919, and enlisted in the RCAF in Edmonton, as R60973 AC2 Scratch D. P. on July 20, 1940. He earned his wings as a Sgt. Pilot and flew with that rank for a long time. He flew Liberators from Gander Bay, Newfoundland, as a co-pilot on anti-submarine patrol. Scratch was good at his job and was eventually raised to commissioned rank.

B-24 Liberator ~ Note mid-upper turret position

As a Flying Officer and with many hours to his credit, Scratch wanted to fly as Captain, however, Airforce Officials considered that, as he was slight in build, and had suffered ankle injuries in the past, he would not have the strength to control a Liberator in an emergency.

Sgt. Scratch wanted more action but was unsuccessful in getting an overseas posting. He became very depressed. One evening, June 19. 1944, in the mess, he entered into a debate about one man being able to take off, fly, and land, a Liberator. Scratch left the mess, went down to the hangar, fired up a Liberator, and took off. He shot up the American base at Argentia, and the base at Gander. When some fighters approached him to order him to land, they found him occupying, and rotating the mid-upper gun turret, with the aircraft on autopilot. The guns were fully armed and operational. When he returned to base he was placed under arrest, later court marshalled, and dishonourably discharged.

Mr. Scratch returned to Edmonton, Alberta, and went directly to the RCAF recruiting office where he was accepted back into the RCAF as a Sergeant Pilot. He was posted to #5 OTU, Boundary Bay. #5 OTU was training aircrew on Liberators for service against Japan. The Commonwealth Air Training Plan was winding down and many of the Pilots were senior aircrew from Training Command. Again Sgt. Scratch found himself flying second Pilot to officers with far less experience than himself. The training started on B-25 Mitchell aircraft and advanced to Liberators. When his experience and flying skills were not recognized, Sgt. Scratch again became frustrated.

On December 5th. 1944, Sgt. Scratch attempted to take off, unauthorized, in a Liberator, Due to the fact that there was no official flying that night, the field was in darkness and the control tower un-manned, Scratch mistook a roadway for the runway and crashed into a wooden bridge wiping out the undercarriage. Undaunted, he returned to the hangar and signed out a B-25 Mitchell and took off.

Scratch flew down to Seattle, Washington, area and beat up the Seattle airport causing many aborted take offs. The Americans sent up fighter aircraft to bring the Mitchell down however, Scratch returned to Canada, disrupting and grounding flights at the Vancouver airport. He then flew around the Hotel Vancouver, well below the roof level and down Granvil St. 

The following is an eye witness report by Norman Green. “7:00 hrs. December 6, 1944, while it was still dark, I was in the mess hall when it was shaken, and dishes fell to the floor as a result of an aeroplane flying low overhead. The same pass shook WDs out of their bunks. 

As usual that morning at 8:00 hrs., 1200 airmen and airwomen, all ranks (I among them), formed up on the tarmac in front of the control tower for CO’s inspection. Just as the parade was about to be called to attention a B-25 Mitchell bomber came across the field at zero altitude, and pulled up sharply in a steep climb over the heads of the assembled airmen, just clearing the tower. Within seconds 1200 men and women were flat on the ground. The Mitchell then made several 25 ft. passes over the field. Group Captain Bradshaw dismissed the parade and ordered everyone to quarters.

Over the next two hours we witnessed an almost unbelievable demonstration of flying, much of it with the B-25’s wings vertical to the ground, below roof top level, defying gravity. We were continually diving into ditches to avoid being hit by a wingtip coming down a Station road.  He flew it straight and level, vertically with the wing tip only six feet above the ground without losing altitude, defying all logic, and the law of physics.” 

After an hour of this, three P40 Kittyhawks from Pat Bay Station arrived on the scene, fully armed, with orders to shoot the B25 down if it left the area of the station. They tried to get on his tail but could not stay with him in his tight turns below rooftop level. After two hours of this Sgt. Scratch flew over a corner of the field and circled one spot vertically with the Kittyhawks joining in like May Pole dancers.

Sgt Scratch then climbed to 2000 feet and wagged his wings as he crossed the field, boxed in by the fighters. When they were clear of the station the Kittyhawks signalled Sgt. Scratch to land. He nodded his head, gave them the thumbs down sign, rolled over, pulled back on his controls, and, aiming at an uninhabited spot on Tillbury Island in the Fraser River, dived into it. The shattered red taillight lens was later located dead centre between the points of impact of the engines. 

Could this tragedy have been prevented? Could Sgt Scratch’s flying talents been better used in theatres where he wished to serve? Should the Administration have recognized his expertise and frustrations, made him Captain of his aircraft and crew, and posted him to a theatre of his choice? 

Whatever the motivation, there is one definite truth, Sgt. Scratch,  WAS A SUPERB PILOT

Ed. I was not able to find a picture of a B-25 Mitchell with RCAF markings, so we resorted to reproducing the cover of George Olson’s book of Operational Poetry, NO PLACE TO HIDE. 
It is also an opportunity to promote George’s excellent work.

For those not aware of this book, George, as WAG on 98 Squadron, would , on returning from an Operational flight, write a poem recording the flight. Also in the book are extracts from his flying Log Book and explanatory notes to enhance the poetry.

George is still writing poetry. I often turn to his book for enjoyable reading. It is highly recommended.

ISBN 0-9687220-0-8
P.O. Box 4810
Edmonton, A.B. T6E 5G6

George Olson

Regina Veteran Honoured 

Lionel Hastings
Navigator. 98 Squadron
In 1944, the 21 year old Hastings suffered a crash while flying over Belgium. The event left him clinging to life with 32 facial fractures, three spinal fractures, and a broken leg.

Hastings was one of 18 Canadians who received a Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation. According to Veteran Affairs, the award recognized Hastings’ experiences during the war and the sacrifices since returning home. First handed out in 2001, the commendations recognize individuals for outstanding service and post combat assistance to other veterans and their families.

Lionel completed his first tour of duty in four months, but volunteered to stay on and fly transport units out of Brussels. It was during this tour that Lionel joined a flight ferrying wounded soldiers back to England. The plane’s engines failed soon after take off. Lionel rushed to place the helpless men into crash positions. As he headed back to his seat, the Anson struck two power lines and crashed into a bomb crater.

The Avro Anson, often referred to as “Faithful Annie”

He spent seven months recovering, including three in East Grinstead’s Queen Victoria Hospital. Lionel became a member of the exclusive “Guinea Pig Club”, reserved for airmen requiring extensive plastic surgery

“They even replaced my nose, which is good because there is nothing in there.” He laughed, squishing his nose between two fingers. “I think they did a good job.”

Lionel Hastings recently completed a book on his wartime experiences: As for the Canadians: the Remarkable Story of the RCAF’s Guinea Pigs of World War II.

For more on the Guinea Pig Club go to Short Bursts October 2003 Webzine:

If your Editor can acquire a copy of Lionel’s book, we will review it in a future Short Bursts Webzine.

Angels of Mercy at the Queen Victoria

422 SQUADRON (R.C.A.F. WARTIME 1942-1945) 


Back row – Jack Logan,  Ken Pye,  Stan Nichols,  Bob Paige,  Charlie Rafter
Front row -  Alex Logan, Doug Grinham,  Terry Reeves,  Bud Crookes
Missing from photo – Harry Kerrison

Your Editor was unable to attend the reunion however our crew, Captained by Doug Brooks, was represented by Pauline Brown and daughter, Sharon, family of Ken Brown our Second Pilot. To give our readers their impression of the reunion Sharon’s letter sums it up as follows.

“….. ever since the reunion I’ve wanted to tell you of how wonderful it was. I know you would have loved it if you could have been there. What a wonderful group of people. I never doubted it but I was struck by how rock solid great it all was – because of the people. It was a great program. Harry Kierson, Jean Doerne and Bud Crookes, carried the day. Harry gave a presentation, with slides, about the Battle of the Atlantic, relaying messages from members with such caring. Jean Doerne kept the process moving and spoke with such great heart.

We especially liked Bud’s “memory mats” so we could all recall what we wanted to share; since I test memory for a living, I thought it was inspirational. These were laminated pages (placemats) with the web page information of the Squadron Members and the reunion events schedule on the reverse side. My experience was that everyone was just happy to be there in spite of the bitter-sweet aspect of whether this was a final reunion, the whole event was filled with good will. Bud spoke very movingly Sunday at noon before we left, and he conveys the same sense on the website.”

Sharon, let us interrupt you to show the readers a sample of the “Memory mats” which you mentioned. Bud Crookes was kind enough to make up mats for Doreene and myself. Following is an example of the place mats mentioned by Sharon.

Sharon continues. “One of the touching events was when a gallant fellow said to us, “Well, can I buy you ladies a drink.” Of course. At one point I had the opportunity to just sit and, with Jack Logan and others, watch a video of a Sunderland taking off.  Looking at memorabilia of Jean Doeren’s archival collection of prior reunions and pictures, helped us appreciate the love and sense of camaraderie that has run so deeply. I had a great time sitting with Bob Paige and his wife at the buffet. He is the brother of a Squadron member who died and was specifically recognized during the reunion

I was deeply inspired by connecting with such good people for fellowship during the reunion. I think Dad would have loved it. I have treasured Dad’s unwavering character and I recognize him in the ways you remembered him to me.”

Bud Crookes, the Editor and founder of the 422 Squadron Association Web Page, has the following message.  “Web Page is now a static web page with no further changes. Look it up to see the final record of the Squadron activities, including our reunion (with pictures of those present). Wartime music you can turn on while you peruse approx. 1500 separate pages. Anyone can now print off their own book, now that it is out of print.

Cedric Mah

Cedric Mah at the Edmonton Air Museum
Cedric Mah
In June 2007 Short Bursts Page there is an article about Cedric Mah, a young man from Prince Rupert B.C. who served his country flying supplies over the Burma Hump into China.  The following is Cedric’s acknowledgement of the article and his news of a journey of a lifetime.

Hi John, read your fine article today on our Forgotten Theatre. By the way the printout I'm sending you is from the Hi John- Read guy who discovered the headwaters of the Yangzi River. Hernie is the nickname of Wong How Man. He's the explorer and photo journalist for National Geographic in the Far East. The remnants of the CNAC Pilots and the Flying Tiger pilots are invited to Shangri La.

Shangri la is a new village erected at the southeast corner of the Himalayas. It will be a tourist haunt. Here in the shadow of the Himalayas is a strip of grass forty miles long. It lies half way up the Jade Dragon Mountains which rises to 20,000 feet. At Lijiang we used to land before dawn into the mountain and takeoff downhill. We must get off before the sun comes up for the heating caused the katabatic winds to flow off the glaciers into the valleys. The winds can reach 80 to 100 miles per hour. It was here that Kubilai Khan in 1253 stationed 250,000 head of horse [men] to attack Burma and Annam (N. Vietnam).

From here we go along the Burma Road to Dali a quaint village  by an azure blue lake. It is famous for three pagoda's that date back to 600 A.D. Marco Polo stopped here enroute to Ceylon (Sri Lanka). During the war we wished we could get down to rest and swim. 

From here the China Air Museum director, one of our wartime co-pilots will have us driven west along the Burma Road to the China - Burma Border. In 1943 one of our  CNAC C-47's crashed on the 16,000 ft peaks.. Five years ago one of our 85 year old pilots crawled to the crash site. No bones were found. Word got out that an 85-year-old pilot climbed the mountains to bury his buddy hit the headlines. The Chinese army sent 500 soldiers to slide it down. Now its at Pima Pass (10,000 ft.)where we will dedicate the Interior Museum. The National Geographic, Imax Theatre Group, and China Air Museum is footing the bill to visit Shangri-la. 

By the way, the DND Veterans affairs has a video out on Legion 280 in Vancouver. Both my brother Al and I are in the DVD Heroes Remember.
Thanks again for the memo          Regards         CED   MAH

Attention Members of 431 Squadron

Dear sir/madam,
Having recently been in contact with Linda Ibrom she suggested I should contact you with the possibility of you helping me with some research on my grandfather who served in 431 Squadron during 1943.
My grandfather F/O D.F. Rands was in 431 Sqdn from 25.1.43 until 26.11.43 when he and the rest of the crew aboard Halifax V,LK973,SE-E, were lost on a mission over Frankfurt, Germany.

The full crew on that mission was:
P/O J.Morton (RAF)Pilot
F/O D.R.P.Short (RCAF)2nd Pilot
F/O D.F.Rands (RAF)Navigator
F/Sgt R.Holmes (RAF)Bomb aimer
P/O G.S.Milner Wireless op/Air gunner
P/O G.H.Rich (RCAF)Mid upper gunner
W/O M.G.Clynes,C.G.M (RAF)Air gunner
Sgt J.G.E.Laflamme (RCAF)Flight engineer

All the crew are buried at Durnbach war cemetery in Germany.
Most of this crew (J.Morton,D.F. Rands, R.Holmes, G.S.Milner) & Sgt.T.Bell (Rear gunner) were on a mission to Stuttgart on 14.4.43 aboard Wellington X,HE201,(T) in which they issued a claim for 2 Me110's destroyed and this encounter is retold in the book 'Royal Canadian Air Force at war 1939-1945' by Larry Milberry & Hugh Halliday.

I have most of the details from the squadron ORB regarding missions & various other written information from the RAF but what I have been unable to obtain is archive material in the form of photographs, either individual or crew, or of Halifax V,LK973.
My grandfather first flew with J. Morton on 27.10.42 in Wellington '208' of 16 OTU, the period at 16 OTU was 22.10.42 - 28.11.42.
While at 431 Sqdn he went to 1659 HCU between 6.8.43 - 12.8.43 to convert from the Wellington to the Halifax.

I would be grateful if you could list an appeal in your 'Short Bursts' magazine to help me in my quest for any relevant information.

Yours sincerely
Ian Rands.

Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) 
Registered Charity  84586 5740 RR0001 
PROGRESS REPORT Number 20    ~   AUG. 1, 2007

To all our members and supporters of the Halifax Project I am most pleased to be able to report on our continued success in our ultimate goal to locate, inspect, and recover RCAF Halifax LW170 from the deep.

The first thing on our agenda is to remind you of the annual memorial function and celebrations at the Nanton Lancaster Society Air Museum on August 25, 2007.

It will be bigger and better than ever with the spotlighted group this year, the 8000+ Americans who flew in the RCAF. It will be a full day of activities and ceremonies for the whole family and we urge you to come out and see what our partners and friends are doing in Nanton, “Canada’s Bomber Command Memorial”. 

In our last Progress Report 19 I told you I would be meeting on July 24 with the Irish officials of the deep sea research group to do some “homework” on the sonar survey that we are planning later on this year. 

This meeting was held in Dublin as I was flying a flight for Air Canada to Dublin and was able to arrange a meeting there with the Irish sonar experts to discuss the Halifax sonar survey and the expedition planning to locate the Halifax in our survey box. 

When I first began investigating the area of ocean where LW170 sank, which was 2 years ago, I was able to find that one sonar survey had been done in that area over 5 years earlier by an Irish government survey. I went to the Geological Surveys of Ireland (GSI) office in Dublin and looked at their sonar survey data in our Halifax survey box area. Unfortunately, because of the way the sonar data was processed, we could not see any targets or anomalies on the bottom in our search box which were smaller that 300 meters across. (the Halifax is 35 meters X  25 meters)

With this disappointing fact in hand I continued on to find any other information on the area within which our Halifax lies. I was able to find out from other deep sea exploration groups, from all their periodic surveys in the area, that there is only a weak current running through the sonar box area, that the oxygen levels are low due to the depth being at over 5000 feet, that the salinity in the area at that depth is lower that at the surface, and that the temperature of the water where LW170 is laying is a constant 3 degrees Celsius. It was also found out that the ocean bottom texture in the area around LW170 is marine clay and sand mix with a fairly solid base that should be able to support the weight of the Halifax without too much sedimentation or concern that the Halifax has sunk into the bottom elements. The bottom terrain in this area is like small rolling hills or hummocks with only a very gradual sloping, almost like prairie landscape. 

LW170 going down off Irish Coast

All of this data was acquired over these past 2 years with the idea that, even if we did not have any past historic survey targets to investigate when we went out on our sonar expedition, at least we would know all about the area we were going to and what to expect for conditions.

On my first meeting with our Irish sonar experts on June 25, 2007 in Galway we all decided that we must leave no stone unturned in looking for clues of the location of LW170. It was mentioned that there was a new computer program for sifting through old sonar  data and that this program might be able to see anomalies on the bottom in our search box that could be of the size of a Halifax bomber. 

Our Irish experts said they would reprocess the data that was available and that it would be ready for our next meeting which as I told you was convened in Dublin last week, on July 24.

I was presented at that time with some great news from our Irish experts as they had some very good results with the new processing computer program. A big computer screen was used and all the anomalies in the area of our sonar survey box, that had been sifted out from the old sonar data, were presented to me. I was very excited to see several definite targets in our box. I was also told that there were 2 very definite solid targets in the area of our box which were only 1 to 2 miles away from the sinking position of LW170 ! 

Further evidence of the qualities of these 2 prime targets (which are about a mile apart) was shown to me that only an expert on sonar could see. I was most heartened with this great news and thanked our Irish friends for being so diligent and going the extra mile for us to help locate LW170. It appears all of us are now fully into this historic quest for LW170 and this sonar reconnaissance has yielded great dividends, through the perseverance of our friends in Galway.

After evaluating the 2 prime targets we went on to discuss the pending sonar survey to locate LW170. As we now have 2 prime targets in our sonar box all our activities will be built around a survey that emanates outward from these prime targets. IF, and the key word is IF, we can get a good image of these targets and one of them shows us the final resting place of RCAF Halifax LW170 then, ladies and gentlemen, we have a whole new ball game and the doors will be open to a truly historic project of international proportions.

As far as the timing of when we will do the survey we are hoping that this will be done this fall or early next year. The Irish research ship, as you saw from the photo included in Progress Report 19, is a very large and strong ship capable of going out in all kinds of weather. Our Irish officials have assured me that we will be included in all the planning for the dates of the sonar survey and that we be advised of all our options during the planning of the sonar expedition. You must remember that our sonar survey will be added on to the schedule of a designated scientific cruise and this is where we will gain the donation of services in kind of the ship and the sonar for locating the Halifax.

Please standby for further on this planning of the survey and the dates that we will actually be doing the survey. I will be meeting again with the Irish officials on August 7th  in Galway next week to continue on in our planning details and will report back to you with any major announcements after this date when I return. 

Our beautiful Halifax print of LW170, "INVINCIBLE ITEM”
Contact Karl to purchase one of these prints thereby contributing to the recovery of LW 170 fund.

Further to these developments, Jim Blondeau, a director of Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) and a film producer in Ottawa, will be accompanying me on the sonar expedition to capture on video all the events and technology of the expedition. We are planning on having daily reports direct from the research ship out on the water, via broadband and satellite hook-up, and are working on preparing a video/photo download site on our website at   so that we can, day by day, share our adventure with you, our members and supporters, and all of the world. 

I am looking up now, on my office wall, at the sonar image of Halifax NA337 discovered in 750 feet of water over 12 years ago in Lake Mjosa, Norway.  I remember, as Project Manager of the recovery of NA337, how that one image supercharged our project when NA337 was discovered and this image was released to the media and press. Thousands of people stepped forward to save NA337 by donating funds and services.

I envision that these events will happen again but this time it will be a huge historic event beyond anything we have done before. If we can use the best technology with determination and diligence we will be successful in saving our Halifax, this aviation treasure. We must be prepared and ready to save LW170 and we need your continued support.


Karl Kjarsgaard
Project Manager
Eastern Canada
Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada)
Unit 31C – 174 Colonnade Road
Ottawa, ON  T0L 1R0
Western Canada
Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada)
P.O. Box 606
Nanton, AB  K2E 7J5
Phones 613-863-1942 or 613-226-4884  Alberta 403-603-8592 

A Shot in the dark

I know this may be a shot in the dark but I am trying to find an air gunner his name is 
Gerald Edwin Morrison RCAF of 78 squadron. 
He served with my uncle, Tom Turpin. They were shot down Oct.1 /42. My uncle was killed, but Gerald Morrison survived as a PoW.

Any information regarding Morrison or his relatives, would be greatly appreciated .

Scott Turpin

Ted Hackett

I don't know if I have sent this to you before but it is a means of looking up the fate of Bomber Command aircraft during the war.  The web site address is   When you go into the site you find a list of aircraft, ,and photo, you go to the one you are interested in and you will find pages and pages concerning that aircraft type.  I did look up a number of aircraft to find out exactly what happened to friends.  Gene had a friend who was a BA and who was lost on Ops in 1943.  As far as I know all she knew was that he was killed but apparently she had no other information, at least she never told me of any.  I did a search of the site and eventually found out that they had been on their way to Munich and came down in a lake.  Only one body was ever recovered.  I thought you might find it interesting enough to put in the next issue of Short Bursts.  I tried to find some information on aircraft lost at OTU and HCU but, unfortunately, they don't seem to be listed. 

Do Hope You Can Help Me
Please can you help me? I would dearly love to trace my unnamed father, who I am assured, by my auntie, was a Canadian airman based at Fradley mid 1944. He attended a village hall dance at Alrewas and escorted my birth mother back to her sister's house in Main Street, making a slight detour over a nearby bridge. I merely wish to know something of his background and thereby fill a chasm in my life's history. I appreciate that my request is a little unusual, l but would ask you to understand, and if humanly possible, help me fill this unknown portion of my life. My mother's Christian name was Eileen and her sister who accompanied her to the dance was Irene. 

The dance took place on a Saturday evening the last week of June 1944. I guess there were probable celebrations following the D Day landings of earlier that month, which of course, brought about the successful conclusion to the war. I was adopted in September 1945, as  were many, and my entire life has been a happy one, save for the "missing Canadian link".

 I do hope that you feel able to help me in this quest, though I appreciate that I have very few clues and so I place my hope and faith in you. Please try your very best on my behalf, 

Roger M. Chedgzoy, 
Park Cottage, Highwood, Tenbury  Wells, WR15 8PB,UK,

207 Squadron 
From Dave Sullivan
Good Morning John: No doubt you have heard the news that Wallace McIntosh has passed away in Aberdeen. The following url will lead you to the 207 Squadron site, click on the squadron crest and then on

Reunions and newsletters to see the  many obituaries that have been appearing in newspapers all over the world. Wallace was my Gunnery Leader on 207 and we met on a number of occasions after the war both here in Canada
and the UK. The Christmas cards stopped about two years ago and I knew that he was not in the best of  shape. Wallace was a very modest hero and a gentleman. His mid-upper gunner was Larry Sutherland, last known to be
living in Florida, who appeared one morning unannounced at our door when we lived in Toronto. Larry had sought me out because of our surnames and knowing that I had been on 207. We spent the morning together and after
lunch he was off to Chicago where he had a swimming pool business. As he left he asked me if I had joined the Air Gunner's Association and I said that I had not done that yet. Very shortly afterwards that I received a membership card from the Association paid for by Larry. Sadly, I have been unable to contact Larry, he is not at the last address I had for him.

Dave S.
Full ahead to the 2010 Olympics

Ed. Wallace McIntosh and Larry Sutherland, of whom Dave speaks, are featured in Commemorative Issue of Short Bursts 1983 – 1993 Pg. 46.

"Wallace was to become, at one time, the most decorated air gunner in the RAF. In a 14 month spell between October 1943, and December, 1944, he was awarded he DFM, DFC, and a bar to the DFC." 
Larry Sutherland was a great supporter of Short Bursts and I had the pleasure of sharing his company at a reunion in Edmonton, September 1998.

A Mustang Dream Realized

Mustang Sally 

Article and photos 
by John J. Chalmers
442 Reeves Crest NW
Edmonton AB  T6R 2A3

Bob May 
with his P-51 
City of Winnipeg Squadron

A youthful interest in a great warbird, the P-51 Mustang, has been realized by a Winnipeg aviator who now flies a splendid example of that famous aircraft of the Second World War. Bob May began gathering Mustang parts and components 18 years ago to restore the aircraft to its original glory.

 In only his third flight in the aircraft, Bob flew it to Edmonton on June 22 to put it on show at Airfest 2007 at the Alberta Aviation Museum. On the day of Airfest, June 24, Bob spent a full day beside the aircraft answering questions and talking to visitors about his beautifully restored fighter plane.

 The poster designed for Airfest features a pin-up girl in the style of wartime nose art that appeared on aircraft. “Mustang Sally” was not only the main illustration on the poster, so appropriate with the rivets and bullet holes in the background, but the title of a song that dates back to 1965 and was recorded by many artists. Although the song refers to Mustang cars and not aircraft, it was appropriate for both. Besides the P-51 on display, a local Mustang automobile owners club displayed their four-wheel models at Airfest.

 Painted in RCAF post-war colours and insignia, Bob May’s P-51 Mustang actually bears an American registration number, as the aircraft is kept in North Dakota where it was restored. Bob began acquiring parts for the aircraft in 1989 and restoration was completed in 1994, but he didn’t fly it himself until the day before he brought it to Edmonton.

 Although he is new to the cockpit of the Mustang, he is not new to flying, having spent a career in the aviation field, including operating Keewatin Air with his wife, Judy, for 35 years. With their main base in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, and another in Churchill, Manitoba, they developed an advanced aeromedical program and also operated Learjet 35 aircraft internationally for a number of years as Critical Care International. 

 Although both companies have now been sold, both Bob and Judy maintain their involvement in aviation with consulting and participating in aviation organizations. As well, Bob now has two ex-RCAF Harvards, one flying and one under restoration, both located in the United States, including one that was stored in a Nebraska barn before Bob acquired it. His interest in vintage aircraft goes back many years, having previously owned and flown a 1930’s N3N-3 biplane built by the Naval Aircraft Factory. That was followed by a T-6 Texan, the American version of the Harvard.

 “I can’t tell you much about flying the Mustang yet, as its all pretty new,” says this experienced pilot. “My impression is that I spent too much time worrying about all the stories I had read about how challenging and dangerous it was. In fact, it’s a lot easier to handle than the Harvard and just needs lots of right rudder! It is a very nice change on landing from the Harvard, which I’ve come to respect as never being done surprising the pilot until it is shut down. The Mustang is a joy to handle on the ground!”

 And it looks great in the air, as well as on the ground. When he left Edmonton for home in Winnipeg, the sight of a Mustang making a low pass over the City Centre Airport was something not seen there for years, and the sound of the mighty Merlin engine was music to the ears of anyone who saw it. Thanks to his efforts in restoring, flying and displaying his beautiful aircraft, Bob May now shares his vintage fighter plane with others who are interested in aviation history. 

For more info on Bob’s warbird and other Mustangs, see
For more photos of Airfest 2007 at Edmonton, including photos of the Mustang, go to and click on Airfest 2007.
To see the Mustang fly and hear its Merlin engine, watch the movie on YouTube at

Ed. John Chalmers has been a contributor to Short Bursts. His article reminds me of the 1950s when there were eight Mustang aircraft in mothballs, at Winnipeg Stevenson airport where Western Air Command was then located.

War Assets Disposal Corporation in Ottawa put the Mustangs up for sale to the highest bidder. A consortium in Winnipeg entered a bid of $800.00 each on the aircraft. When they had not heard, they phoned Ottawa and were directed to the person administering the bids. Her name was Mrs. BIDGOOD. Are there any readers out there, especially in Ottawa, who know this lady?

The Consortium lost out to a bidder who paid $1,500.00 per aircraft. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand the Mustangs ended up in Cuba, forming Casto’s air arm in his fight against Batista.

Northern Alberta Branch Report

Good evening John.  I guess it is about time I sent something for Short Bursts so people will know that we are still alive out here.  So Here goes. 

Not much doing in Northern Alberta at this time of year however we still have our monthly luncheon meetings  and we manage to attract around 10 or 12 members to the Norwood Legion. .  We have our regulars but occasionally we have a "drop in" so to speak.  We always have four or five Ladies present , usually those whom we refer to affectionately  as "the Merry Widows".  At the end of June we held what has  become our yearly barbecue at the Log Cabin in Edmonton.  There were 35 in attendance including a few of our friends from the Wartime Aircrew Association.  The barbecue steak  and chicken with all the trimmings was, as usual, excellent with wine and beer available to wash it down.  A good time was had by all. 

We will be attending the function at Nanton on August 25 but we are not sure how many of our members will be there.  We have four positives and about three or four "maybes". It is a long drive for some members and, of course, the price of petrol is a factor.  We will make sure we send an account of the day and some photographs for the October issue. 

Ted Hackett

John Moyles

In the June/07 edition of Short Bursts there is a request from Stefan McKenna seeking information on his Uncle, Gerald McKenna, 162 Squadron, killed in action and buried in Iceland.

A gentleman, Lauren Carlson, member of our morning coffee group, was travelling to Iceland,  and agreed to visit the military cemetery  at Reykjavik, and photograph Gerald’s grave site.

When Lauren pressed back the flowering shrub to get the inscription, he discovered a bird’s nest containing one egg. With death, there is life. 

We thank Lauren and Sheila for taking the time to obtain these pictures.

Sheila Carlson standing
by Gerald McKenna’s grave. 
This picture shows how well 
the grounds are maintained.

Lauren behind Gerald’s memorial


 Flight Lieutenant
AGE   22


Sept. 26, 1942, 7 BR Squadron, Prince Rupert, B.C.

L to R – John Moyles, WAG,  Hank Hankinson, Nav. Gerald Mckenna, pilot, 
returning from Pacific Patrol in Blackburn Shark.
Picture taken by Tommy Cousins –
WAG, with his verboten camera.

The National War Museum Bomber Command Plaque Controversy

The Canada War Museum, to my knowledge, has done nothing with regards to removing the insulting plaque that insinuates that we veterans of Bomber Command,  who bombed Germany during WW2, are "War Criminals"

I would like to suggest that in your next publication, you urge the veterans who will be parading in the Nov. 11th ceremonies at the Cenotaph in Ottawa to congregate at the Museum after the 11 o'clock ceremonies and picket and
boycott the Museum. If the Ottawa branch of the Legion in association with the Airforce Association get together to organize this action, it'll make the public aware of the Museum's Board of Directors insensibility to the feelings of us veterans.

The following bumper sticker is self  explanatory.


We, in Bomber Command 
E.J. Chenier CD
Flight Lieutenant (Ret'd)
208-815 St. Anne's Rd
Winnipeg, MB R2N 3X6 
204 255 2080

SELMAN, J. 'FRANK', Mbr. #0127, CALGARY, AB: Born January 26, 1920 in Raymond, AB, Frank passed away June 7/07 in Calgary, AB.  He joined the RCAF early in the war and became a WAG, having trained at #2 Wireless School in Calgary and taking his gunnery training at #8 Gunnery School in Lethbridge, AB.  He was serving in 467 Squadron when his Lancaster Bomber was shot down over enemy territory.  He became a POW for 3-1/2 years before his eventual release at the end of hostilities.  Part of the Eulogy from his grandaughter, Heather Frost, was as follows:

"The word 'hero' is devined as a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life.  The world often thinks of heroes as somebody famous or high in society.  He's just a common man in the eyes of the world but, in our eyes, our grandpa is a real Hero."

MacFARLANE, GORDON, Mbr. #0215, WINNIPEG, MB: Gordon joined the RCAF in 1941 at the age of 19 and was trained as a Wireless Airgunner.  He served overseas in Coastal Command with 502 Squadron.  At war's end he was discharged with the rank of Warrant Officer, 1st Class in 1945.  He joined the Winnipeg Police Department in September '46.  About the same time he met Reta Thornton from Manitou, MB whose family had recently moved to Winnipeg.  They married in November 15th, 1947 and together they shared a life filled with love and mutual respect.

Retiring at the early age of 54 in order to spend spend more time with Reta and their family, they travelled to such places as Scotland, England, Hawaii, Mexico, Florida and Alaska.

He was a faithful and well respected member of our Ex Air Gunners' Association.

SULEK, OTTO H., Mbr. #0354, CAMPBELLFORD, ON: To keep Otto's history in context, we must start with a brief portion of his pre-war life.  He was born April 1st, 1924 in Czechoslovakia (Sudetenland).  Because of the Nazi Occupation of their country, he and his family 'managed' to depart October 5th, 1938  heading for the UK and arriving there Dec. 5th, 1938. The next portion of their adventure brought them to Canada June 19th, 1939 when he was 15.

(I trust that as you read on, you will understand why I believe Otto and his wife, deserve to be recognized a bit beyond the usual --------) 

When he attained the proper age Otto then volunteered into the RCAF June 23rd, 1943 as R265007 in Toronto, ON from where he was sent for Manning Depot at Brandon, MB.  Selected for Gunnery Training he was then sent to attend a Pre Aircrew Course at McGill University in Montreal (where I, Chas. Yule, Obituary Editor, first met him).  Following those few weeks we were sent to St. Hubert, PQ for Tarmac Duty while awaiting space to become available at a Bombing and Gunnery School.  This occurred a short time later at #10 B&G, Mount Pleasant, PEI where we became Course #70 and received our AG Brevet's Feb. '44.

Following an 'Embarkation Leave' at our Canadian civilian homes, we were reassembled at Valleyfield, PQ for a physical Course which was dubbed, 'Commano Training' - this was accomplished by the end of March, 1944.  We boarded the SS Andes (a South American Vessel) in Halifax and, together with Army Personnel, numbered 6000 troops, crossed the Atlantic on a 6 day 'solo' (not in convoy) zig-zag journey to the UK, arriving Liverpool April 10th, thence onto Bournemouth for further orders.

Now we again take up Otto's story:

He was sent to #22 Operation Training Unit (OTU) at Wellesbourne/Montford for crewing-up and training as a complete crew, May '44 to June 28, '44.

Then followed some time at Heavy Conversion Unit #1659 at Topcliffe, Yorks. to learn to fly and operate as a cohesive crew in the Four Engine Lancaster from Aug. 9 to Sept. 14, 1944.

Deemed a fully trained crew, they were posted to #429 (Bison) Squadron at Leeming, Yorks. from Sept 14, '44 till they were shot down Jan 12/45 near Flensburg, Germany.  They bailed out over the Island of Als, Denmark, where they were captured by the German Navy at 13:00hrs, Jan. 13/45 (see RCAF Overseas, 6th year, Page 107).

From there they were sent to Ober Ursel (nr Frankfurt) for Interogation (bear in mind here, that Otto was a refugee from Sudetenland and in much danger if it became known); Wetzlar (Dulag)  Transient Camp; Nurnberg Stalag #13 (made famous by 'Hogan's Heroes' of TV fame); then onto Stalag 7a at Moosburg, where they remained as POW's till rescued by Gen. Patton's troops April 29th, 1945.  By May 10th they were in Brussels and returned to the UK the next day.

As if this wasn't enough, Otto took his discharge but returned to the RCAF after a try at civilian life.  He trained in the 'Stores Section' serving in Trenton; St. Hubert; Mountain View; Weston; #1 (F) Wing, No. Luffenham, England; #2 (F) Wing, Grostenquen, France; #3 (F) Wing Zweibrucken, Germany; RCAF Stn Cold Lake, AB; RCAF Stn St. Margaret's, NB; Air Material Com. Ottawa, ON; Cdn Defence Liaison Staff, London, England; Supply Depot Moncton, NB; Technical Service Agency, Toronto.  Retired April 1st 1974 with the commissioned rank of Flying Officer, J93465 - still wearing his Air Gunner's Wing and Wartime service medals.

Well Done, Otto!  Rest in Peace - Per Adva Ad Astra!  And we must remember that his wife Olive (Olly), who survives him, is also a retired Airforce Veteran!  They gave the productive period of their lives, and beyond, in Service to their Country!!! 

GRAY, BRUCE, Mbr. #0660, CALGARY, AB: When Bruce sent in his application for membership in the Ex Air Gunner's Association, he made it known that his 'nickname' was 'STINKY' and he made it clear that he wished to be listed under that name.  It may have been because many of his 'buddies' (service and civilian) would remember him under that name! 

He was born in 1922 and passed away June 1/07.  He attended #1 Manning Depot in Toronto and was selected for Air Gunner training with class #1.  Oversea he served as a Tail Gunner with 425 and 428 Squadrons in 6 Group, completing two tours comprising 49 Operational Trips.  He was commissioned as J18650 and in addition to his usual service medals, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.  Following the war he graduated from law school and was able to add BA and LLB to his list of accomplishments.

Bruce resided in the Col. Belcher Hospital for a number of years.



~ Editor Charlie Yule
Not much to report on this month. We have had a very enjoyable summer and it is nice to get back into the regular routine again.

Please give us feed-back, positive or negative. Many Ex-Air Gunner branches are holding monthly meetings. Send us a report of your activities to share with other branches.

October Page is now on the drafting board, and we can always use articles from Members and followers of Short Bursts. 

Until October, keep well.

John and Doreene Moyles – Editors.

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'. 

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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