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Forces: Land ~ Air ~ Sea ~ Home
Compiled by Bill Hillman
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"The Stream - Eastbound"
painting by Brian V. Findlay

Northern Saskatchewan

On Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. 23 members of the North Saskatchewan Ex A/G's & W.A.G.'s assembled at the Lynx Wing facilities for our regular monthly meeting.

At this meeting we observed a moment of silence for the late Howard Hitchcock, a long time member of our group.

At 5 p.m. we tied into a BBQ steak supper which we all enjoyed. It was agreed that Dec. 10 @ 7:00 p.m. would be the time of the Christmas social and banquet to be held at 602 Lynx Wing, 2407 Ave C N (look for the red A/C).

Members and guests welcome.  A member may bring a non-member couple.
Menu is roast beef and turkey plate with trimmings.

Your truly,

Northern Alberta

I checked the latest Shortbursts and I see that we are still listed as meeting in the JP Legion.  We now meet on the first Thursday of each month at the Norwood Branch 178, 11150 - 82 Street, Edmonton, Alberta.   Now for something completely different. News from the North.

We have now found what appears to be a permanent home at the Norwood Legion, known as the Ukranian Legion.  They have supplied us with a nice room for our meetings, the Ladies, unfortunately, have to meet in the main room but they are off in a corner by themselves. We hope to be able to correct that problem in the future.  We are getting 20+ at the luncheons and about a dozen Ladies. The Legion has quite a large menu and the food is excellent, the portions sometimes being too great.  There is waitress service of course.  The buffet usually features a variety of Ukranian dishes. Our Christmas lunch is being held on December 14 at the Legion, we have reserved a larger room because we normally get a good crowd to this affair.

One of our members Dave High has received the first instalment of the compensation from the German Government for his treatment during the war.  He was shot down and spent some time with the underground before being caught by the Gestapo, I believe he was betrayed.  He was interned in Buchenwald extermination camp where he was treated badly, along with about 161 others, and told he would be shot. The news of their imprisonment got out some how and they were liberated by the Luftwaffe and sent to a regular camp.

By the time you read this we will have had our usual Remembrance Day parade at the Edmonton Heritage Aviation Museum on Kingsway Avenue.  Many of the members will remember visiting the museum during the reunion.  Dave High will lay a wreath on behalf of the Ex-Air Gunners. There is usually a good crowd in attendance, including a lot of young people, and the AGs are well represented.

Ted Hackett

Daily Telegraph – Dec. 1, 1995

Sergeant Duncan Hodgkinson with son Andrew

Film of an RAF sergeant’s funeral in Nazi-occupied Holland has been shown to his son 53 years after his death, writes Mark Story.

Andrew Hodgkinson was 18 months old when his father, Sergeant Duncan Hodgkinson, died with three other airmen when their Handley Page Hampden bomber crashed at Lichtenvoorde near the German border.

He was traced by a Dutch historian who recently uncovered the film, taken by a Dutch villager, showing an elaborate funeral witnessed by Nazi troops.

Sgt. Hodgkinson, a wireless air gunner, had been on a bombing mission to Munster in Germany with 106 Sqdrn. From RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire. He was buried five days later in Lichenvoorde with Pilot Officer Robert Selfe, 26, Sergeant Sidney Harding, 22, and a Canadian, Sergeant Joseph Jacobson, 24, on Feb. 2, 1942.

Beginning with shots of the plane wreckage strewn in the snow among the trees, the film shows the coffins being carried through a snowstorm to the municipal hall, where villagers loaded them onto four horse drawn hearses.

German troops are seen walking to the cemetery behind hundreds of villagers carrying wreaths.

German soldiers parading to cemetery

Mr. Hodgkinson, an accountant from Divizes, Wilts, who also served in the RAF, was contacted after a newspaper appeal by Wim Rhebergen, a Dutch war historian,.

“Although I don’t remember my father, I have a vague recollection of being in tears with my mother when she received the telegram from the Air Ministry. I was astonished when I heard about the film. The footage was incredible and terribly moving. We had a family showing of it and were absolutely amazed by the number of people at the funeral. To organize four hearses, each pulled by a black horse, in an occupied country is staggering.”

Mr. Hodgkinson, 55, who has twice visited his father’s grave, said his biggest regret was that his mother, Hazel, who died 10 years ago, was unable to see the footage. He has learned that the Dutch vicar who conducted the service was later arrested and sent to a concentration camp for the sympathetic content of his oration.

“ I am very grateful to the Dutch person who bravely took the film, apparently without the Germans knowing.” Said Mr. Hodgkinson. The footage is part of a 45 minute film about Lichtenvoorde under Nazi occupation.

Mr. Andrew Hodgkinson

A letter from "Sandy  Sanderson

Hi John and Doreene,

So glad to hear from you. I do not have a computer but I have an E-mail address and friends who occasionally get mail for me -  Let me tell you about  two Belgiums.

Dirk Decuypere,
Klein Wervikstraat 27
B-8940  Geluwe,  Belgium

Dirk is a school teacher in Geluwe, about ten miles from where my Halley 111 KW-Z crashed and exploded, 6:30 a.m. Feb.9th,1945 on my 34th trip – (Wanne-Eickel). Dirk and his partner, Wim Hugghe, also a teacher, dig up crashed aircraft from WWI and WWII. They sent me a lot of photos of the search and finding of KW-Z. They dug it up one of the guns, .50 Cal. Browning from my mid-under. I would love to see this .50 Cal. hanging over my fireplace!

Everybody else in that crew was screened after that trip – except me – W/C Ledoux made me do two more trips, including my longest trip to Chemnitz, 10 hrs. I was recommended for a commission by A/Com. Hurley (Canadian) and also recommended for the DFM by F/O Lareau and his Navigator, but Ledoux pigeon-holed both of these recommendations. He tried to do away with me at Chimnitz. He failed. When I got my Op’s Wing, I went to his office to get my log book signed, he fled the office and left the Adj. St. Amour, to sign it. I went to the Alouette Sqdn. Reunion in Bagotville 1992. Ledoux failed to show. Did you see the write up in the AIR FORCE Magazine, Fall Issue, Vol. 25 #3, page 45?

Thank you for the Model ‘A’ Ford instruction book, I didn’t have that one. My 1928 Model A Ford, “Eager Beaver” has 66,000 miles on her now. Myself and 2 other Model ‘A’ owners plan to drive our three ‘A’s to Alberta next summer. I often think of the warm hospitality which you and Doreene showed to me on my [Model ‘A’] trip in 1996. I tell people of our visit to Gervais Museum of Wheels.

Best regards, Sandy

Sandy refueling his EAGER BEAVER
The rebuilt 1923 V8 Cad. engine from Bob Miller, Victoria.
It is now in Sandy's 1925 Cadillac Custom Coupe for 5.

[Ed.] In Sandy’s letter he makes reference to a DFM recommendation. The following is his SHORT BURSTS article published in the COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE 1983 –1993.

If It Doesn't Work, Get a Hammer
Sandy Sanderson

I flew as a spare AG at 425 Sqdrn. In late ’44 on an Op. With F/O Lafreniere crew we were shot up with flak to the extent that the hydraulics were U/S. arriving at Tholthrope, the wheels would not come down, the manual release toggles were also jammed. The pilot and crew discussed the options of bailing out or a wheels up landing. In a light hearted vein I said, “My Dad used to say, ‘if it doesn’t work, take a hammer to it. If it still doesn’t work, you need a bigger hammer’ .” We had a chuckle over that, and I suggested to the pilot that if we could do another circuit or two I would have a go at the manual release (one on each side), with the fire axe. You will recall that there was a long curved point or pick on the back of the axe. I proceeded to chop a hole in the wall around the toggle enlarging it enough to get the curved point into the hole and through the toggle handle. With a mighty heave, the toggle released and the left wheel  dropped down with a clunk! The pilot commented, with, ‘now you’ve done it’ tone, that I’d better get the right one down also. ***

I repeated the procedure on the right side and both wheels were now down. Even though the wheels were down, the instrument panel did not show them as locked down. However, a beautiful landing was made.

As we walked away from the kite, the pilot and another officer remarked, “You know Sandy, you should get the DFM, you have saved the crew and the kite with that axe job.”

***  (Ed) While discussing this article with Sandy recently he told me what the Pilot had actually said when the left wheel dropped. It went something like this, “Sanderson do you know how much shit you will be in if you don’t get the other wheel down!!!

In times of emergency there was always humor.


Ted Hackett

Good evening John.  Would you please put a notice in the next Short Bursts?  I would like to hear from anyone who flew with 425 Squadron and remembers a ventral gun position called "The Preston-Green Ventral Turret". I recall a Halifax at Dishforth with a ventral gun position but it doesn't seem to match the photo and drawing that I found in one of my books on the aircraft. It is not a big deal but my curiosity has been aroused(about the only thing that gets aroused these days!). Hello to Doreene.
Cheers, Ted

PS. The aircraft in the photo I have has the markings KW-M, serial number MZ954

Subject: Fw: 4 Group Bomber Command
Date:  Wed, 14 Nov 2001 12:22:46 -0800
From: "Cynthia J. Faryon" <>

My father was Pilot Officer Lawrence George Cramer DFC.  He flew with the 77th Squadron out of Elvington during 1943, as an Air Gunner flying Halifax BII's I believe.  I am writing a book about his life, which started on a Homestead in Northern Saskatchewan, and includes his service during WWII.  My father passed away in 1988, and I am looking for anyone who may remember him during the war years.  Any help or information you might have I would greatly appreciate.

Thank you and take Care,
Cynthia J. Faryon,

Webmaster Note:
See this month's AS YOU WERE . . . e-zine (December 2001)
for Cynthia's tribute to her father: SILENT HER0.

Subject:  looking for Dewhurst, M.
Date:  Wed, 14 Nov 2001 16:30:21 -0800
From:  reynolds753 <>

I am researching a Michael (?) Dewhurst (RCAF).  As far as I know, he was the rear gunner stationed at Middleton St.George, June 1944, age at time 25 years; I think he was attached to either 420, 419, or 428 Squadron RCAF.  It is also possible that he was actually stationed at Croft, which may attach him to the 431 or 434.  Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Roland Mark

Subject:  Flying Officer Walter Cecil Davies
Date:   Mon, 19 Nov 2001 19:05:59 +0000
From:  Rupert Bellamy <>

I saw you web site and wondered if you could help. The Canadian airman, Flying Officer Walter Cecil Davies,  was a relative of mine who served in 405 squadron and was killed on 16th June 1943.  He is now buried at Sutton Bridge on the East Coast of England.  Family legend had it that he was a pilot but he is listed as an air gunner, I therefore wondered if you would have access to any further information on him.

I have looked up his details on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site but wondered if you had access to any further information:

Why is plane crashed? Did any of the crew survive? How many missions he flew? etc..

Can you let me have any more information that you would have or point me in the direction of anyone else who may be able to help. Many Thanks for your help

Rupert Bellamy

P.S. There is a further sad chapter to this story - again this has been passed down through the family and I am not able to verify every fact in this story.

Walter (or Cecil as I think he was known) came from a close knit farming family somewhere near Saskatchewan - mother, father and twin sister.

Both he and his sister were close and both volunteered for RCAF (or I assume the WAAF in Phyllis's case) in an effort to stay close together during the War.  This worked to a certain extent with both being posted to England. When news of his death arrived home his mother was devastated.  Not long afterwards she committed suicide by drowning herself on the farm.

This led to Phyllis being recalled to Canada to help her father run the farm.  This she continued to do alone after her Fathers death, never having the time or opportunity to marry and take for granted many of the things other people do.

It just goes to show not every casualty is caused directly by a shell or bullet.

Once again many thanks

I live in Derbyshire within reach of many of the Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire airfields from which many members of the RCAF would have flown. No guarantees but if any of your readers have friends or relatives buried in this area and wish me to photograph the grave or check it is in good condition.  Then they can email me and if it is within reach I will do best to help them.


Subject: RAF Turnberry
Date:  Thu, 29 Nov 2001 21:00:12 +0000
From: Margaret Morrell <>

Greetings John,
Remember me ?  Please accept my sincere apologies for not keeping in touch. The proposed book re: Turnberry Airfield is almost ready to hand over to my publisher. What did I get myself into? At present I am writing to over one hundred former aircrew worldwide and have made great friends, I am deeply honoured and I am grateful to so many for the help they have so freely given with regard to my 'quest', I only hope that the book will live up to expectations.

Apart from being kept busy writing to my "Bryllcreem Boys" (as my Husband calls them) I have had the pleasure of enjoying the company of some of them as my guests here in Kirkoswald. One Wop/AG drove the 450 miles here from Devon, another flew for the first time since the war, into Prestwick and a wireless mechanic visited from Australia. I was also honoured to meet a wireless operator who happened to be wandering around in the field next to my house, looking for his HFDF hut, he was Canadian Ron Brighty. So you see, what began as a small local history project/ personal interest Has literally taken over my life. I anticipate publication sometime during the spring. Please give my best wishes to all of your members and I look forward to hearing from you.

Kindest Regards from a cold, frosty Turnberry


I want to thank all those who contributed to this Issue of SHORT BURSTS. There has not been much feed-back over the past year so, in consultation with a number of the Members, we thought that it should be cut back to 6 Issues a year. If you have any views on this, write to me before the end of December. If there are no objections the next Issue will be on the Net February 1, 2002.

Doreene and I wish you all a Joyous Christmas. May you be surrounded by family and loved ones, and may you keep the "grim reaper" at bay for a few more years.

God bless.
John and Doreene Moyles

JARVIS, J. G. #0243, CALGARY, AB: John passed away October 18th, 2001 at the conclusion of a hard fought battle with cancer and pneumonia in the city where he was born & raised.  He joined the RCAF in November '42 and attended Manning Depot at #3 in Edmonton.  He earned his A/G Brevet at #9 B&G Mont Joli, PQ.  Departed Halifax in early January 1944 for a 3-1/2 day passage on the Louis Pasteur arriving Liverpool .  During training at #22 OTU he had an allergic reaction to vaccines and spent the next 9 months in, or attached to, sick bay.  In the New Year of 1945 posted to Leeming where he joined #427 'Lion" squadron.  On an Op to bomb Submarine Pens at Hamburg his a/c was attacked by a formation of ME 262's who inflicted over 90 holes to the Fin, Rudder and fuselage.  They claimed one probably destroyed when they saw him dive into a cloud trailing black smoke.

LAKE, A. G. #0296, WINNIPEG, MB:  Alf passed away November 26th, 2001 at the age of 76.  He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 53 years, Betty, and his family.  He took his gunnery training at #9 B/G at Mont Joli, and attended OTU at Kinloss in Scotland.  Following HCU at #1664, Dishforth on Halifax's he and his crew were posted to #429 (Bison) Squadron at Leeming.  He was a strong supporter of the Manitoba Group of the AG Association and attended many of the various National Reunions.

DEVLIN, J. J. #1022, WINDSOR, ON:  Joe passed away September 5th, 2001 at the age of 78.  He joined the RCAF in January '42 and following Gunnery training at #3 B/G he went overseas in January '43 and was posted to #100 Squadron where he completed his tour June-December, 1943.  He was the lone Canadian on an all RAF crew and one of the first Canadians to join #100 Squadron at Waltham nr Grimsby.  He was screened and commissioned to become an Instructor at Lindholm during 1943-1944

BELANGER, D. #0058, ETOBICOKE, ON: David passed away Friday, November 2nd, 2001, peacefully in hospital of lung and kidney problems.  Upon enlistment he was selected for Gunnery Training and attended #2 B&G at Mossbank, SK where he received his brevet.   He completed his first tour on Coastal Command with #53 and #407 Squadrons, and completed his second tour with 2nd Tactical Air Force on #98 Squadron in continental Europe.  He was commissiond as J17978.

HITCHCOCK, H. T. #0741, SASKATOON, SK:  Born 1922, Howard passed away November 13th.  He enlisted in the RCAF and was selected for WAG training and attended Wireless School #2 and received his Brevet at #3 B&G at MacDonald, MB.  He served with Coastal Command in 233, 422 & 435 Squadrons, and received his commission as J85194.  He continued his wireless training as a Ham Radio Operator which became one of his hobbies, and was a member of the RC Legion and RCAFA.

Regional Meetings

Southern Ontario Chapter
Royal Canadian Legion
Wilson Branch 527
948 Sheppard Avenue West
We meet the first Wednesday of each month at the Legion hall 1:00 pm. 
No meetings July, August, September.
Contact persons: 
Ken Hill  ~  President ~  905.789.1912
Bill Cockburn  ~  Secretary ~  416.492.1024

Location - Royal Canadian Legion Br.#4 St. James Legion.
Date - Second Thursday of each month.
Time - Luncheon meeting (provide your own lunch).
Contact Member - Charlie Yule Ph. (204) 254-6264.

Northern Saskatchewan
Location - Lynx Wing Ave. C North, Saskatoon.
Date - Third Monday of the month.
Time - Luncheon meetings.
Contact Member - C.A. "Smokey" Robson  Ph. (306) 374-0547.

Northern Alberta Branch
Location - Jasper Place Legion , 10220 - 156 St. Edmonton.
Date -  Third Tuesday of each month.
Time - 12:00 hours.
Contact Members - E. H. "Ted" Hackett (780)962-2904 
or Sven Jensen (780)465-7344.

Southern Alberta
Location - Royal Canadian Legion  #264 
Kensington, Calgary
Date: Second Monday of each month.
Time - 11:30 hours.
Contact Member: Dave Biggs Ph: (403)236-7895
or Doug Penny Ph: (403)242-7048.
October meeting time moved to third Monday. 
Also there are no meetings in July and August, however, a Barbecue is usually held  at Larry Robinson's ranch in Okatoks during that time.

British Columbia Branch

Meeting time and local: 2nd Tuesday of each month at 12 noon, 
Canadian Legion, 4896 Delta, Ladner, B.C. (no 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 Moyles
Box 6 
Kenosee Lake 
SK   S0C 2S0 

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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