Paying homage to Stuart McIntyre Connacher





Information from Stephen Nickerson

P/O Leslie Sydney Ford. Ford was C.O. of the 403 when F/O Connacher went missing on the 16th of February 1943. Acting Wing Commander Hobson, however, was leading the 403 on Rodeo 170 at 1635 hours that day and F/O Connacher was flying as Red 4 in Hobson’s section. As Kenley Wing (402 and 403) climbed to 25,000 feet before steering for Dunkirk Connacher’s aircraft dropped out of formation and began a steady descent. F/L O’Leary called to the pilot but there was no reply. It was believed that F/O Connacher suffered a blackout during the wing’s climb due to a malfunction in the oxygen system. This occurred at mid-channel before the wing reached the French coast.

Who remembered Hank Byrd?

Greg's grandfather

This is Greg’s  grandfather.

This blog pays homage to  everyone  who  appears  in  his  photo albums and in his log book.

When  I  met Greg in September  2011, I  told  him we had  to  share  his grandfather’s  legacy. This  is  part  of his  legacy…

Hank Byrd

Hank Byrd died March 15, 1945. If he had not, he would  have  been  posing  for  this group  picture taken  around March  25th, 1945.

403 Squadron group picture 3

An email worth reading

Dr. Mark Celinscak had contacted me a few years back. He wanted to get in touch with George White’s son.

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I am grateful that so many of you offered me your generous support over the years. I only hope you will excuse this mass email. I most sincerely appreciate the encouragement and kindness I have received.

I am pleased to inform you that my first book will be published late next week (see attached flyer). The official publication date is 24 October 2015. The book is titled Distance from the Belsen Heap: Allied Forces and the Liberation of a Nazi Concentration Camp (University of Toronto Press). It examines the experiences of British and Canadian military personnel during the surrender and relief of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northwest Germany at the end of the Second World War.

The official book launch will be part of Holocaust Education Week (HEW) in Toronto. For those of you interested, the details are as follows (the program description can be found on pg. 33 of the HEW catalogue):

HEW Book Launch: Tuesday 3 November 2015 at 6:00 p.m. at York University’s Centre for Jewish Studies located at 763 Kaneff Tower, York University, 4700 Keele Street, Toronto. Book signing to follow the lecture. Free and open to the public. Free parking passes available for the Student Services Parking Garage.In support of the publication of the book I have several upcoming lectures in both Toronto and Montreal, some of which are free and open to the public. The dates open to the public are as follows:

HEW Lecture: Thursday 5 November 2015 at 7:30 p.m. at Beth Lida Forest Hill Congregation located at 22 Gilgorm Road, Toronto. Free and open to the public.Montreal Holocaust Education Series Lecture: Sunday 8 November 2015 at 7:00 p.m. at Le Dépanneur Café located at 206 Rue Bernard Ouest, Montréal. Free and open to the public.The book will be available for purchase at all three events. While it would be wonderful to see you at one of the public lectures, I understand if you are unable to attend. I am pleased to say that the book is now available for pre-order at a number of online retailers, such as Amazon, Amazon Canada, Indigo-Chapters, Barnes & Noble,Waterstones and the like.

In closing, I hope you will excuse this blatant act of self-promotion. But, after nearly ten years of work, I am eager to share this news with as many friends and colleagues as possible. If you know of anyone who might be interested in this work or the upcoming public lectures, please feel free to forward this email.

With kind regards,


Dr. Mark Celinscak
History Department
Trent University
Oshawa, ON

Who remembers Hank Byrd?

People in Megchelen do.

Spitfire SM-208-5

Hello Pierre,

Some weeks ago Maarten Koudijs and Ronny Bosmann and some members of the Aircraft Research Group Achterhoek found these relics by a detector. Spitfire SM-208.
These parts are been preserved and keep saved for the community Megchelen as an remember to our liberators specially Hank Byrd who died 3 weeks before the Liberation of that town.

Kindly regards,

Hennie Berendsen

These photos are parts of the wing of Spitfire flown by Pilot Officer Hank Byrd who crashed on 19 March 1945 in Megchelen (Holland)‏.

Spitfire SM-208-2

Courtesy Hennie Berendsen

Spitfire SM-208-1

Courtesy Hennie Berendsen

Spitfire SM-208

Courtesy Hennie Berendsen

Byrd memorial

Courtesy Hennie Berendsen

Spitfire SM-208-3

Courtesy Hennie Berendsen

Spitfire SM-208-4

Courtesy Hennie Berendsen

Who else remembered Hank Byrd?

Byrd and Boudreau

Collection Walter Neil Dove courtesy Greg Bell, Walter Neil Dove’s grandson

Hank Byrd

Collection Walter Neil Dove courtesy Greg Bell, Walter Neil Dove’s grandson

March 1945 casualties

Collection Walter Neil Dove courtesy Greg Bell, Walter Neil Dove’s grandson