Hank Byrd disappeared after leaving formation…

This is my 49th article since September.

I know that this is a lot of articles about RCAF No. 403 Squadron, but Greg sent me a lot of pictures and information about the 403. I just did not want to keep it just for myself.

That’s not the mission Greg and I had agreed upon… Hank Byrd’s name appears in Walter Neil Dove’s logbook.

Hank Byrd disappeared after leaving formation…

I don’t think Greg has a picture of Hank Byrd in his photo album, but I know he is going to double-check to make sure. He knows what this blog can do to reunite people. Tony also knows.His daughter is the one who sent him here on this blog and he wrote me.

I am glad he did.

As for Hank Byrd, this is what we have on Canadian Virtual War Memorial to pay homage to this Spitfire pilot.

In memory of 


who died on March 19, 1945

Military Service:

Service Number: J/89351
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 403 Sqdn.
Burial Information:




Grave Reference: Row B. Grave 22.


Gendringen is a village on the Dutch-German border 30 kilometres east-south-east of Arnhem and 15 kilometres south-east of Doetinchem. The GENDRINGEN ROMAN CATHOLIC CEMETERY is behind the church of St. Martinus, which stands in the centre of Gendringen. The British plot is near the eastern boundary wall.

No picture…

Nothing to remember him with.

People visiting the cemetery in the Netherlands would know nothing about this pilot or his squadron.

403 Squadron saw a lot of action in March 1945.

That month was no Piece of Cake…

Greg had these entries in his grandfather’s logbook.

Mar  15 George Boudreau forced down behind Ger. Lines…

Mar 19  Hank Byrd disappeared after leaving formation…

Mar 25 Was  shot at by unidentified A/C…

Mar 25  F/L  Gillis shot down by flak landed among our paratroopers…

 403 Squadron was based at B90 Petit Brogel in March.That’s in Belgium.


On March 25, 1945 Greg’s grandfather flew four missions and he damaged two Met (Mechanical Transport). 58 Mets!

That’s a lot…

Walter Neil Dove  was even shot at by an unidentified aircraft…

Fortunately he was not shot down by a Mustang!

Piece of Cake?

Have you seen this series on television?

Probably not.

It was aired in 1988.

March 1945 was no Piece of Cake for 403 Squadron.

11 thoughts on “Hank Byrd disappeared after leaving formation…

  1. I’ve a photo of the wreck crashed in Landfort near Megchelen/Gendringen on 19 march 1945. (Harold Chauncey Byrd) nearby a small forest at the German/Dutch frontier.

  2. The logbook entry for March 31 concerning the death of F/Lt Aitchison is remarkable. I had heard “rumours” that one of the 403 pilots who bailed out was caught, and that other 403 pilots circling overhead watched in horror while Aitchison was pitch-forked to death by an angry mob, but this record in Byrd’s logbook says he was “beaten to death by the SS.” How very horrible, and repugnant.

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