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

No. 9 Squadron Wellingtons flying near Honington in early 1940,
with ventral ‘dustbin’ gun turret extended under nearest aircraft N3000.
This machine was to see service with Nos. 9, 40, and 311 Squadrons, 
and then 12 OTU, 28 OTU, and Air Transport Auxiliary.
Vivian Rosewarne, who wrote the following letter, was a Wellington Pilot.

Letter to Mother
Dearest Mother,

If I am reported “missing”, you must hope on for a month., but after the end of that time you must accept the fact that I have handed my task over to the extremely capable hands of my comrades of the Royal Air Force, as so many splendid fellows have already done.

Though it will be difficult for you, you will disappoint me if you do not at least try to accept the facts dispassionately, for I shall have done my duty to the utmost of my ability.

No man can do more, and no one calling himself a man can do less. Today we are faced with the greatest organized threat to Christianity and civilization that the world has ever seen, and I count myself lucky and honoured to be the right age and fully trained to throw my full weight into the scale. For this I have to thank you.

You must not grieve me, for if you really believe in religion and all that it entails, that would be hypocrisy. I have no fear of death, only a queer elation – I would have it no other way. The universe is so vast and so ageless that the life of one man can only be justified by the measure of his sacrifice.

I count myself fortunate in that I have seen the whole country and known men of every calling. But with the final test of war, I consider my character fully developed. Thus, at my early age, my earthly mission is already fulfilled and I am prepared to die with just one regret, and one only, that I could not devote myself to making your declining years more happy by being with you; but you will live in peace and freedom, and I shall have directly contributed to that, so here again, my life will not have been in vain.

Your loving Son

Vivian Rosewarne, was an only son aged just 23, pilot of a Wellington, shot down and killed at Dunkirk in May 1940. It is the responsibility of the living to make meaningful and to keep meaningful the sacrifices of the dead. We must remember them and the things we shared with them.

The above was taken from TAILWIND - Newsletter of the Aircrew Association of Nova Scotia.
We thank Editor, Allan Coggon, Mahone Bay, RR2, NS. BOJ 2EO           

HUDSON – 65 ½ ft. wing span, top speed 253 mph. from two Wright Cyclone or Pratt and Whitney twin wasp engines.
In 1943 an RAF Hudson became the first aircraft to sink a submarine entirely by rocket projectile salvoes.

The Hudson was a ubiquitous machine serving in anti shipping and anti submarine duties in Canada, U.K., North Africa, India, and Burma. Note the Pyramids in the above picture.
The following tells of a Canadian Hudson experience:

THE BOMBING OF CHARLOTTETOWN by Glenn Clearwater – Winnipeg MB

During the last part of Feb. 1943, a Hudson a/c of No.11(BR) Squadron was returning to its base at Dartmouth NS following an anti submarine patrol. The weather had turned bad with high winds and blizzard conditions making visibility nil. The crew of the Hudson were informed that Dartmouth base as closed and that they were to try for an alternate to the North.

All alternates were closed with the possibility RAF 31(GRS) Charlottetown being open, but when they arrived overhead they were informed that it was now also closed. Remaining fuel indicated that the crew could not stay airborne much longer and, with zero visibility, the chance of a controlled landing anywhere was out. It was decided that they would have to bail out. A course was communicated to the crew to be flown where their depth charges could be jettisoned safely, and then a course to fly which would enable them to bail out over land.

Some how things got fouled up. The depth charges landed in open country between Charlottetown and 31(GRS). A large hole was blown in the ground but, fortunately, there was no injuries or damage to property. The crew then flew the course from which to bail out. The pilot put the aircraft on “George” to keep it on an even keel when they jumped. The aircraft roared away into the stormy night on its last few pints of fuel.

The four man crew landed on a smooth hard surface, a large ice flow in the Straights of Northumberland where, huddled for warmth under a parachute canopy, they spent the next four days and nights before being found and rescued by the Borden to Tormentine ferry.

Outside of minor frostbite, the crew were in good shape, and after a short stay in hospital, returned to 11(BR) for flying duties. The Skipper was S/L Wilson K.C. who, at the time., was CO of 11(BR).

The end of the saga is rather bizarre. After the crew left the Hudson with no one but “George” in charge, the aircraft flew on until fuel exhausted, then with Mephistopheles’-lean mockery, landed itself in the only stretch of open ground available and with minimum damage. A local resident notified the officials and a salvage party arrived. The aircraft was flown out of the field to Moncton NB before the original crew had been discharged from the hospital.

The Charlottetown paper of the time carried a long write-up of the event.  Perhaps someone could see it in their archives. On the same night three other aircraft were in trouble, two made it to safety, however one, 11(BR) Hudson, trying to make it into Dartmouth, crashed and blew up several miles short of runway #4, no survivors.

It would be interesting if any former 11(BR) personnel recall this event.

Ross Hamilton – Kelowna, BC
The October issue of Short Bursts received, and a great job as usual. Just before some "Smart-Ass" takes you to task, may I offer a bit of additional information relative to the Guinea Pig article? No doubt someone omitted a name or two when composing the item, and I will fill this in for you from a personal standpoint.

On page 8 there is mention of a "Dr. Ross", who worked with MacIndoe. Actually, this chap, was W/C A.R. Ross Tilley. He headed up the burn hospital at East Grinstead, a unit that was purchased and maintained by the Canadian people, not the Canadian government per se.

Post war, Dr. Ross Tilley, and my son-in-law's father, Dr. Ken MacEwen, also a RCAF M/O during wartime, were colleagues at one of the big hospitals in Toronto, where Ken was a Radiologist Specialist. If you have a copy of Larry Milberry's & Hugh Halliday's fine book, "The RCAF At War, 1939-1945", .some of the Guinea Pigs story is on pages 154 & 155. Having run on about all of this, another story has come to mind, and concerns a personal friend who flew Lancs on 207 Sqdn, Turns out that Dave Sutherland was on the same Squadron, and knew Bill Baker then. It is quite a story, regarding frozen hands after a mid-air collision.

By 1943 good deal was being learned about treating burns suffered in combat, but little was known about frostbite. This story illustrates one such happening, and thankfully it didn’t happen often. It was my god fortune to meet up with F/L Bill Baker, DFC, Post-war, and we were close friends for many years prior to his death in 1995.

Bill was a pilot on Lancasters on 207 Squadron. During a raid on Penemunde Nov. 22, 1943, flying out of RAF station Spilsby, Bill’s Lanc. and another from a different squadron, had a mid-air collision near the target. The upshot was that the nose of Bill’s Lanc. Was sheared off and his bomb aimer was sucked out, without a parachute, and fell to his death. Also the port outer engine was badly damaged and put out of service. They had bombed their target and set course for Waddington.

With the Lanc’s. nose sheared off, the gale now blowing into the aircraft as fierce and it was around –50 degrees F. Bill was wearing his leather flying gloves plus his silks, but his hands eventually froze to the control column. His flight engineer looked after other duties in the cockpit.

Damage to nose and Port engine of Bill Baker’s Lanc.

Near Holland Nazi spotlights zeroed in on them and Bill had to dive and corckscrew to get rid of them. They landed safely in Waddington and Bill was taken to sick quarters for examination. After several days the fingers of both hands ballooned into sausage size. With no help at this location, Bill was shipped down to the Military hospital in London. Here it was determined that there was no known method of saving the fingers and all eight were subsequently amputated right next to the hand knuckles. The thumbs were saved.

While recovering in hospital, Bill was awarded the DFC  which was presented to him by no less a person than W/C Gibson, VC. Sadly, a few days later, the medal was stolen by somebody in the hospital. He was given a new one, but it never carried the same import as the original.

Upon leaving the air force Bill returned to university and obtained his engineering degree. He and his long time sweetheart, Jeannie, (WAAF on the station) were wed and settled in Niagara-On-The-Lake where Bill was employed with ACRES Engineering Firm building bridges, dams, etc. all over the world.

At an Air Gunner’s reunion at Stockton on Tees, in 1980, by way of a casual comment about a mid air collision, the two crews involved were able to have a “meet-up” reunion. The other aircraft had been so badly damaged that the crew had bailed out and, all but the pilot, became prisoners of war. Their pilot went down with the plane.  They compared log books and there even was mock finger pointing, “why didn’t you watch where you were going....”

Bill always grieved his lost bomb aimer who fell into Germany without a parachute. Eventually, Bert Dowty, in Lincoln, UK made contact with a historian in Germany who was able to track the boy’s grave, and furnish photographs of the military headstone. He had received a military funeral. When the pictures and details were given to Bill, he broke down. He was finally at peace knowing where his crewmate was buried.

Glen Clearwater - Winnipeg

Have an extra minute? If you do, check out the following two stories.
A little history never hurt anyone.


Al Capone and his lawyer – could it be “Easy” Eddy?

Many years ago, Al Capone virtually owned Chicago. Capone wasn't famous for anything heroic. He was notorious for enmeshing the windy city in everything from bootlegged booze and prostitution to murder.

Capone had a lawyer nicknamed "Easy Eddie." He was his lawyer for a good reason. Eddie was very good! In fact, Eddie's skill at legal maneuvering kept Big Al out of jail for a long time. To show his appreciation, Capone paid him very well. Not only was the money big, but also Eddie got special dividends. For instance, he and his family occupied a fenced-in mansion with live-in help and all of
  the conveniences of the day. The estate was so large that it filled an entire Chicago City block. Eddie lived the high life of the Chicago mob and gave little consideration to the atrocity that went on around him.

Eddie did have one soft spot, however. He had a son that he loved dearly.  Eddie saw to it that his young son had the best of everything: clothes, cars and a good education. Nothing was withheld. Price was no object.

And, despite his involvement with organized crime, Eddie even tried to teach him right from wrong.  Eddie wanted his son to be a better man than he was. Yet, with all his wealth and influence, there were two things he couldn't give his son; he couldn't pass on a good name and a good example.

One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision. Easy Eddie wanted to rectify wrongs he had done. He decided he would go to the authorities and tell the truth about Al "Scarface" Capone, clean up his tarnished name and offer his son some semblance of integrity.

To do this, he would have to testify against The Mob, and he knew that the cost would be great. So, he testified. Within the year, Easy Eddie's life ended in a blaze of gunfire on a lonely Chicago Street. But in his eyes, he had given his son the greatest gift he had to offer, at the greatest price he would ever pay.


World War II produced many heroes. One such man was Lieutenant Commander Butch O'Hare. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific.

One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship. His flight leader told him to return to the carrier.

Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. As he was returning to the mother ship he saw something that turned his blood cold A squadron of Japanese aircraft were speeding their way toward the American fleet.

The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was all but defenceless. He couldn't reach his squadron and bring them back in time to save the fleet. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger. There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet.

Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Wing-mounted 50 caliber's blazed as he charged in, attacking one surprised enemy plane and then another. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault. He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly.

Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.  Deeply relieved, Butch O'Hare and his tattered fighter limped back to the carrier. Upon arrival he reported in and related the event surrounding his return.

The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. It showed the extent of Butch's daring attempt to protect his fleet. He had in fact destroyed five enemy aircraft.

This took place on February 20, 1942, and for that action Butch became the Navy's first Ace of WW II, and the first Naval Aviator to win the Congressional Medal of Honour. A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of 29. His home town would not allow the memory of this WW II hero to fade, and today, O'Hare Airport in Chicago is named in tribute to the courage of this great man. So the next time you find yourself at O'Hare International, give some thought to visiting Butch's memorial displaying his statue and his Medal of Honour. It's located between Terminals 1 and 2.


Butch O'Hare was Easy Eddie's son.

Further to this article, the City of Moose Jaw Saskatchewan has reopened the tunnels under their city. These tunnels were used by Al Capone and his gangster associates during prohibition days. Capone would purchase liquor in Moose Jaw (from eastern breweries) and ship it down the Soo Line into the USA. The picture of Capone and his lawyer above was taken in the tunnels some time in the ‘20s. If you don’t believe me, go to          for the straight Gen.

Don Macfie – Dunchurch ON
Blessed is the crew that had one – a joker, that is. Every deck of cards has one and, hopefully every crew had one to help through worries and fears on Ops.

Our Sunderland crew of 11 to 12 members had one by the name of George Irving from Meaford, Ont.  George was the product of a very early coarse in Wireless training in Canada, and when he got overseas he didn’t improve much despite what Cranwell or Yatesbury could do for him. He was shuffled off to SE11 at Prestwick on Botha aircraft and there he shined. He could read that time base (radar) when the rest of us couldn’t. But he was the keeper of an endless supply of ribald jokes and songs.

When, as a  dispirited group, we stood in the drizzling rain, on the pier at 3AM awaiting a dinghy to take us to the aircraft, George was likely to break loose with his rendition of “Mary had a little lamb” or sing, “Starkle, starkle, little twink, what the hell you are I think”, or one of his encounters with the Duchess concerning her daughter. By the time we reached the “Kite” we were in better humour to start our Op.

Once we made a landfall in an Atlantic gale up against the 1500 foot cliffs of Arran, Ireland. Visibility was almost nil and the waves were climbing the cliff so high we were getting drenched in sea-water. I got out of the rear turret where I was getting wet but George continued, seemingly unperturbed, in the mid-upper.

When we did find the mouth of the river that would lead us to our base at Castle Archdale, the visibility was still poor. We hopped hydro lines and passed down the middle of a main street. Looking up at the town clock as we went by, George called up the navigator and asked him if he had synchronized his watch!

Three years later my Skipper and I were accompanying a lamppost in front of the Regent Palace in London – we were parting for the last time. The lights were all on and the streets deserted, no other uniforms in sight. He says to me, “Red, do you remember that time we were crawling the cliffs trying to find the river mouth in the fog.” I said that I sure did. He said, “Well, things were so desperate that I figured we were not going to make it. I was praying for our souls. But then I heard George over the intercom call up Ray Snelus in the bomb bay and ask him which one of the two girls they were taking out that nigh he wanted. Right then I knew we were going home!”

Jim Coles,  Balgonie, SK

Jim Coles  77 Squadron RAF

Jim loaned me a copy of 77 Squadron Association newsletter, Nickel Leaflet No. 30, 1 October 2003. Opposite a query regarding the Gelsenkirchen Operation 9/10 July 1943, Jim has added; My 7th trip 6:30 hrs.

The following is one of the Nickel Leaflet articles with a Canadian connection:

But, some were younger than others and, none were much younger than Eric Fedi of 77 Squadron then based at Elvington.

On 28 March 1943, Sergeant R.W.F. Munns, Pilot, was posted with his crew to 77 Squadron, then under the command of Wing Commander A.E. (Lofty) Lowe MBE. Sgt. Eric Fedi, RCAF, was the mid-upper gunner in the crew and he was then 16 years of age. The crew operated for the first time on 14 April 1943 when the squadron put up 16 aircraft to attack STUTTGART. Their aircraft on this occasion was Halifax 11, JB865 KN ‘J’.

They flew their last operation on 7 September 1943 when, in Halifax 11, DT793 KN, ‘E’, they flew to MUNCHEN (Munich). Following take-off from Elvington at 1918 hours, nothing further was heard of the aircraft or crew and they were therefore reported ‘Missing’, presumed ‘killed’. The names of the crew are recorded on the Runnymede Memorial at Panels 132, 133, 165, 167, 169, 170, and 181. R172702 flight Sergeant Eric Fedi, RCAF, was just 17 years of age when he was killed defending our freedom.

The 77 Squadron Association Newsletter is edited by Harry Shinkfield. 154 Broadway, Wakefield WF2 8AQ . West Ridingof Yorkshire. UK

George (Ole) Olson
October 23, 2003.
On behalf of 2nd T.A.F./M.B.A. Canadian Wing

Tribute To Air Marshal C.R. (Larry) Dunlap

                  The demise of Air Marshal Dunlap, was noticed with regret
                  He was a peerless leader, on whose life the sun has now set
                 Serving his country capably, throughout his 96 year lifespan
                 His was a distinguished career; he was an extraordinary man
                     Within the R.C.A.F. to Chief of the Air Staff he’d rise
                 Which to all airmen who knew him, was certainly no surprise
                  In this top position, his country with distinction was served
                   Attaining this top ranking, was unquestionably deserved
                 Flying in the Second Tactical Air Force, in World War Two
                He commanded 139 Wing, which B25 Mitchell bombers flew
                 From Dunsfold in Surrey, Airmen on ‘Operations’ would fly
                 On night and daytime bombing raids, through a perilous sky
                  At times he’d accompany a crew, who were flying on a raid
                 Exemplary leadership and courage, was constantly displayed
                 What the aircrews encountered on ‘Ops’, he wanted to know
                 So with them on bombing missions, he would sometimes go
                  Through his display of leadership, their respect was gained
                 An esteem of their Commanding Officer, which never waned
                 Airmen of the Second Tactical Air Force, truly respected him
                  A regard for their leader, that passing years would not dim
                  When World War Two ended, in the R.C.A.F. he remained
                Where recognition and promotions, this eminent man attained
                 Promoted to Air Marshal, Chief of The Air Staff he became
                 After retiring was inducted, into The Aviation Hall Of Fame
                 Meritorious service to Canada, Air Marshal Dunlap did give
                 Striving to make this country, a better place in which to live
                  For Air Marshal Dunlap’s years of service, we owe a debt
                  Air Marshal Dunlap was Special, a man we will not forget

SMITH, MALCOLM R. #0853, SASKATOON, SK:  "Mac" passed away August 2, 2003 AT THE AGE OF 78 and had his body donated to the Anatomy Department, University of Saskatchewan for research.  He took his Manning Depot at Brandon, MB.  Selected for Gunnery Training he attended #3, MacDonald, MB and after receiving his AG Brevet, served overseas with #425 Squadron in 6 Group.  Commissioned as J89212.

POOLEY, KINGDON CLEEVE, #0189, WINNIPEG, MB:  'King'  passed peacefully at the age of 90 on October 10, 2003.  Born and raised in Sydney, Australia.  A natural athlete King enlisted in the Australian Army in 1940 and served in campaigns in the middle east, Egypt, Palestine, Syria and Iraq.  Follow German's defeat in Africa he enlisted in the RAAF and trained in Canada with the BCATP where he met his future wife.  He served overseas with 170 Squadron at Helmswell as a tail gunner.  Upon completion of hostilities he was discharged in 1945 in Sydney, Australia, then returned to Canada to marry and raise his family.  He worked for the Hudson's Bay Company for 32 years.

Branch Reports
The only Branch report this month was a call from “Smokey” Robson, president of Northern Saskatchewan Branch. Smokey advised that they are getting good monthly attendance and had a good turnout to their annual roast beef dinner in October. Plans are underway for their Christmas bash December 8th.
Thanks Smokey.

B.C. Association – A donation of $70.00 was received from the Association for the CATP Museum and has been forwarded to the Museum.
Thanks chaps.

Doreene and I have been Editing and publishing the SHORT BURSTS Newsletter since Sept. 1989. At peak periods we were mailing out from 700 to 800, 28-page newsletters quarterly.

When we lived in the small Village of Kenosee Lake, SK, I recall dragging 5 official Canada Post mailbags down to the local store that subbed as a post office. One December we arrived with our mailbags and deposited them at the counter. The morning coffee crowd had gathered to get the local scuttle-but. 

“What have you got there,” one asked.

“Oh, Doreene and I are just getting our Christmas cards out,” I replied.

That day the rumour went around the village, ‘the Moyles mailed out 5 bags of Christmas cards!’

We feel that we now have to pass the torch. If anyone, or any group, would like to take over the job of editing this monthly Newsletter, please contact myself or Bill Hillman, our volunteer Web Master.

Bill Hillman – 
Email –

Keep well.

John & Doreene Moyles

John and Doreene Moyles,
Ste. 233 - 1060 Dorothy St.,
Regina, Sask.     S4X 3C5  CANADA
Ph. (306) 949-6112
Regional Meetings

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

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

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

Northern Alberta Branch
Location - Norwood Branch 178, 11150 – 82 Street, Edmonton, AB
Date -  The first Thursday of each month.
Time - 12:00 hours.
Contact Members - E. H. "Ted" Hackett (780)962-2904 
or Sven Jensen (780)465-7344.

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

British Columbia Branch

Meeting time and local: 2nd Tuesday of each month at 11:30 
Firefighters Social & Athletic Club, 
6515 Bonsor Avenue, 
Burnaby, B.C. V5H 3E8 
Super eating facilities 
Contact person - Dave Sutherland       Ph. 604-431-0085

Members across the Country are encouraged to 
send current information regarding 
regular meeting places, dates, and Contact Members, to

John and Doreene Moyles, 
Ste. 233 - 1060 Dorothy St., 
Regina, Sask.     S4X 3C5  CANADA
Ph. (306) 949-6112

Members are requested to send their experiences, articles, anecdotes, pictures, etc., to John Moyles and I will forward them to our Web Master in Brandon. Articles and Last Post items will be deleted from the page each month after the designated Member in each region has had an opportunity to copy the material for their Members. Notices of deceased Members are to be sent to Charlie Yule who is still our 'Keeper of the Rolls'. This is your SHORT BURSTS with no printing or mailing costs, and no deadlines! 
We thank our Web Master, Bill Hillman, for his volunteer time and expertise.


WWII RCAF Memories by Mike Spack
100 pages of text ~ 100 photographs
Mike Spack


As You Were . . .
Tribute Webzines
Navigation Chart to the
Hillman WWII Tributes
Short Bursts
Ex-Air Gunners Association

Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum: RCAFHMCS Prince Robert: Hillman WWII Scrapbook - RCNXII Dragoons - 26 RCA Museum
Webmaster: William G. Hillman
Editor and Webmaster Bill Hillman ~ Copyright 1996-2021
 © 2008 Bill Hillman and Ex-Air Gunners Association