Have you ever seen this picture before?

My guess is that it’s the first time it’s posted on the Internet.

Collection Walter Neil Dove

What about this information then?

Collection Dean Black

Intrigued?

Come back for more next time.

No, you can do better than that.

Click here instead.

You will be amazed by what Greg has started scanning for us from his grandfather’s photo album.

RCAF No. 128 Squadron

RCAF No. 128 Squadron   

Squadron Code RA

7 June 1942.  Formed as Fighter unit at Sydney, Nova Scotia. Flew the Hurricane aircraft.

15 March 1944.  Disbanded at Torbay, Newfoundland.

Walter Neil Dove was stationed there from 14 September 1943 to 15 March 1944.


Then he went overseas on the H.M.T. Andes.

Click on the image for the source

Very little is known about that squadron.

Billy Gould was also stationed there.

This is what I found on the Internet.

Another pilot was there and he tells about his experience at Torbay in Newfoundland.

Click here for the source.

My early experience flying fighters (Hawker Hurricanes) was initiated off the east coast of Newfoundland. We flew from Torbay Airfield near St. John’s. These aircraft were equipped with two 250 pound depth charges slung under each wing in addition to our four 303 machine guns. Our responsibility was to provide coastal patrols searching for German submarines which were known to frequent the coves of Newfoundland and Cape Breton Island. These submarines were sinking the iron-ore laden cargo ships stationed dockside at Bell Island in Conception Bay. Our second task was to provide a deterrent to the battleship Tirpitz (which carried a spotter aircraft) in the event she approached our shores looking to do surveillance and sink allied vessels.
We flew patrols in a single engine aircraft and covered areas as far as 60 miles to sea. We only had compasses and our innate navigating instincts to guide us. The radios only provided contact between each other and the base. They were not “very high frequency.” At time we would return to Torbay, exhausted from the day’s sojourn, only to find the runway thick with fog. Our limited range did not allow us to land elsewhere. Adverse conditions and in adequate equipment made for some high adrenaline landings. I suppose that is what is meant by “… coming in on a wing and a prayer.” We did both.

As the Allied efforts began turning the tides of war in January of 1944, we were posted as a squadron to England and we then converted to the famous Spitfire fighter aircraft. We flew as “Fighter Bombers” with the Second Tactical Air Force carrying a 250 pound bomb under each wing and a 500 pound bomb under the fuselage. We were also equipped with two 20 mm cannons and four 303 machine guns. With the armory on boards, we were assigned to provide close army support. As we moved from station to station, we lived “under canvas.”

Prior to D-Day (Operation Overlord) and the assault on enemy occupied Normandy, we helped pave the way for the upcoming invasion by dive bombing V1 sites and the anti-aircraft gun emplacements. We strafed enemy trains and motor transport which provided the enemy supply links to the coastal regions. Our squadron made sweeps deep into France searching out and destroying Nazi fighters and bombers. These operations “prepped” the area for the infamous D-Day Invasion.

On the actual invasion day, our squadron was assigned to cover the landings of the British Army Units on the beaches of Normandy. We did two sorties that day – one at dawn and then later in the afternoon of June 6, 1944. It was a harrowing experience. We had a bird’s eye view of the tremendous fleets and heavy bombardments from the Navy. We could also view the landings and the fierce tank battles inland towards the city of Caen. Interestingly enough, no German fighters or bombers appeared to challenge our airspace. We provided air coverage daily until we established an airstrip on the Beach Head. On D-Day plus nine (June 15, 1944), our entire unit moved to established ourselves on a field called B3 – just in from the cliffs of Arromanches. We were the first Wing to be stationed and fly from French soil since the Dunkirk evacuation. Our field was visited nightly by German bombers droning continuously above us as we slept in tent covered slit trenches – “army style.”

During the Normandy Campaign, our squadron was credited with damaging or destroying nearly 500 enemy motor transports. We accounted for some 40 enemy fighter planes from the time prior to D-Day up to and including the closing of the Falaise Gap. We lost aircraft and men to ground fire and the Folk Wolfe 190s. Two of our squadron leaders were shot down by the anti-aircraft ground fire and became prisoners of war. My aircraft was badly shot up at the time of the closing of the Falaise Gap, but I was lucky enough to be able to limp back and crash land behind our lines.
We continued to follow the army as they pursued the Germans up through France and Belgium. We were now stationed at Antwerp, Belgium while we took part in “Operation Market Garden.” We were given the task of guarding the bridge over the Rhine at Nijmegen. As a result, the German aircraft were unable to destroy or damage it. There came a lull after the failure of the Market Garden Campaign. We were then transferred back to England at Folkstone. During the previous campaigns we had lost at least 50% of our experienced flying personnel; some had been shot down, while others had finished their tours. Now our assignments were to escort heavy bombers (Halifaxes and Lancasters) as they attacked factories in the Ruhr Valley.
My tour of operations was completed after 131 missions over enemy held territory, always subjected to very heavy anti-aircraft fire during our bombing, strafing and escort runs.

Victory in Europe (May 8, 1945) was observed in the middle of the Atlantic by yours truly as we plied our war homeward aboard a ship. We hoped the German U-Boats had learned the war was over! I received my discharge back in Canada and then went on to study Dentistry at the University of Alberta by courtesy of the Veterans’ Allowance. It had proved to be a long and gruesome road in reaching my goal. Being one of the fortunate ones to survive, I was grateful to be able to pursue my dream of attending the University and become a Dentist with a Specialty in Pediatrics.

Three pictures.

Three pictures of a model airplane…

NO. 128 SQUADRON

Dragon

Formed as a Fighter unit at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia on June 7, 1942 with Hurricane aircraft, the squadron was employed on East Coast air defence until disbanded at Torbay, Newfoundland on March 15, 1944.
AIRCRAFT
  • Hurricane I (June 1942 – January 1943)
  • Hurricane XII (December 1942 – March 1944)
HISTORICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
  • Sorties: 760
  • Operational Flying Hours: 927
  • Non-operational Flying Hours: 6647
To learn more about Home Defence… Click here
More about Torbay… Click here and here.

Tomorrow you will be amazed at what Greg sent me…

William Irvine Gould 1921-2008

Greg sent me these pictures.

They were taken in Uetersen, Germany in 1945.

The war is over.

I told Greg when we met in September that I wanted to reach out and find relatives of each person whose name would appear in his grandfather’s photo album.

Two pilots were identified by his grandfather in these latest pictures.

The first one is Billy Gould who I strongly believe is William Irvine Gould.

I found this pilot’s obituary on the Internet.

William Irvine Gould 1921-2008

William Irvine Gould, son of the late Fred and Ruby (Kaine) Gould, born July 31, 1921 in Marysville, NB and died November 2, 2008 at the Veterans Health Unit in Fredericton.

Survived by his wife of 53 years, Doreen (Boone) Gould, sons Fred (Calgary), Bill Jr. (Gail) (Fredericton) and Douglas (Donna) (Dartmouth), five grandchildren, Andrew, Nicholas, Samantha, Brittany and Daniel as well as one great grandchild Jeremy.

He is also survived by several cousins, nieces, and nephews and a sister in law Lilyan Gould of Kingston NS. He was predeceased by his parents, as well as, brothers Donald and Murray and an infant daughter Kathryn Elizabeth.

Bill was attending UNB at the outbreak of WWll and joined the RCAF in June 1940. After pilot training, Bill received his wings at Uplands, Ottawa in February 1941. From there, he was stationed at the Central Flying School in Trenton, ON where he was a flying instructor.

This posting would set the pattern for his career as a pilot in both the RCAF and the RAF. With time out for a tour with 128 Fighter Squadron in Sydney, NS and Torbay NL, a tour with 443 Squadron in Europe flying Spitfires, and 4 years as a test pilot with Central Experimental and Proving Establishment, his flying career was made up of instructional tours while stationed at Summerside PEI, Moncton NB, Centralia ON and Bagotville PQ.

In June 1944, four years to the day after joining the RCAF Bill sailed from Halifax on the New Amsterdam. He spent the summer in Gloucestershire England watching and listening to hoards of bombers as they made their way across the English Channel or the North Sea as they made their almost nightly raids on Germany.

In September 1944 he was posted to 57 OTU at Eshott and its satellite Boulmer in Northumberland County where he flew Spitfires.

From there he was posted to 443 Squadron, 127 Wing.

He arrived in Brussels Evere in the fall of 1944 and began operational tours in December 1944.

Every few weeks the wing moved to a new airfield close behind the army who were rapidly advancing eastward across Europe.

Bill’s last flight of the war was in 1945 to a target very near the Danish border. In Bill’s oft spoken words, “I was one of the lucky pilots who was never shot down or had an aircraft badly damaged except for one occasion when a bullet passed completely through my aircraft, and another time when a piece of anti-aircraft shrapnel punched a large hole in my oil radiator. I was able to make it back to base both times.”

Bill returned to England from Brussels in 1945 and finally back to Canada in 1945 where he re-entered UNB. While attending UNB, Bill was offered a 4 year extended service commission with the RAF so in 1947 he was off again to spend 3 years at the Central Flying School located at Little Rissington. There, they trained instructors for many of the Air Forces of the world, including Egypt, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, and Siam. He spent the final year instructing on Meteors at RAF Station, Middleton St George.

Upon returning to Canada he applied to re-join the RCAF and was offered a commission as a flying officer. He was posted to Number 1 OTU at Chatham NB. From Chatham he moved to Ancienne Lorette where he was a test pilot with Central Experimental and Proving Establishment at CARDE (Canadian Armament Research and Development Establishment) where they did the test firings of the “Velvet Glove” missile as well many other classified projects. From there he was posted to Moose Jaw SK for yet another stint as an instructor. He spent the last 2 years of his military career in Penhold AB where he was Station Flight Safety Officer.

Bill’s flying career spanned 25 years during which time he flew 29 different aircraft including Spitfires, Mosquitos, Lancasters, Mitchells and 5 types of jets. Bill retired from service in 1964 and since then he and his wife Doreen have attended many fighter pilot reunions all across Canada. Following his Military career Bill worked with both the Federal and Provincial governments until his retirement in 1978. He was actively involved in both federal and provincial politics and ran as a candidate in the 1967 provincial election. Bill was a member of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 4, Fredericton RCAF Association, Canadian Fighter Pilots Association and SPAADS (Sabre Pilots Association of the Air Division Squadrons), and a Life Member of Fredericton Golden Club.

Visitation will be held at McAdam’s Select Community Funeral Home, York Street, Fredericton. Royal Canadian Legion Tribute will be held Tuesday, November 4th at 7PM followed by visitation. Memorial Service, will be on Wednesday, November 5th at 2PM from McAdam’s Funeral Home. Rev. Paul Thompson will officiate. Interment will take place in All Saint’s Anglican Cemetery, Marysville. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Veterans Health Unit, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Cancer Society or to any charitable organization of one’s choice will be appreciated.

www.mcadamsfh.com (4589170)

William Gould was not with 403 Squadron but with 443 Squadron.

Two Spitfires of 443 Squadron take off at radio-mast height of flying control van in Holland.

National Defence Image Library, PL 43156.

Walter Neil Dove and William Irving Gould probably met somewhere else during their service with the RCAF.

I will tell you more next time.

It’s all about another squadron.

Meantime, to learn more about 443 Squadron, click here and here.

Digressing again this morning

That’s the problem with blogs…

You start digressing from what you want to write in the first place. Like yesterday when I was talking about Eugene Gagnon a French-Canadian Mosquito pilot.

When I was reading Ted Barris’ book Behind the Glory I came to realise that Eugene was in the same frame of mind, or predicament, as Amigo and the Chief, Captain Foster that is. Amigo and Foster were both instructors with BCATP while Gagnon was a staff pilot.

How Gagnon came to be a staff pilot at No. 7 B&G, that information I was not able to find out. I am sure Gene hated it just like Foster and Amigo hated being posted in Canada when all the action was in Europe. Gagnon was finally posted overseas.

How he did that I will probably never know.

Eugene Gagnon was a little known French-Canadian airman born in Bromptonville, Quebec, a little town very few people know about unless you live there. When I started looking for information about him in 2010, I found the Air Force Association of Canada Website, and I came across this information…

Boomtonville!

Never heard of Boomtonville! 

You can see it here.

GAGNON, F/L Joseph Achille Eugene (J27002) – Distinguished Flying Cross – No.23 Squadron – Award effective 22 May 1945 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 1147/45 dated 13 July 1945.  Born 1921; home in Boomtonville, Quebec.  Enlisted Montreal 7 February 1941.  Commissioned 1942.  Trained at No.1 ITS (graduated 3 July 1941), No.10 EFTS (graduated 21 January 1942) and No.6 SFTS (graduated 24 April 1942).

Since joining his squadron in December 1944, this officer has completed many sorties against a variety of targets.  His determination has been outstanding and his persistent attacks on enemy locomotives, rolling stock and road transport have been most successful.  One night in March 1945, he was detailed on a minelaying mission in a section of the Elbe River.  On the outward journey the starboard engine developed trouble but despite this he went on to accomplish his task in the face of heavy enemy fire.  On the return journey the starboard engine became completely unserviceable.  Height could not be maintained and the aircraft was forced down to 400 feet, becoming extremely difficult to control.  Displaying brilliant airmanship and determination, Flight Lieutenant Gagnon made a successful landing at base without injury to his crew and with but slight damage to the aircraft.  His devotion to duty has been most notable.

But I persevered in my search… and found it was Bromptonville. This was the start of a beautiful virtual friendship between Eugene and me… I hope you’ll get a clearer picture of what I mean.

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Eugene Gagnon and I are not even related. He died in a plane crah on October 21, 1947. I was born a year later in Montreal. We had never met of course.

Now I have to stop digressing on this blog.

Instructed at No. 6 SFTS, Dunnville, until October 1942

There is so much to tell about 403 Squadron now that Dean is sending me pictures and asking questions about some pilots.

I don’t want to digress  on this blog which is mostly about 403 Squadron, but Captain Foster was an instructor at  No. 6 SFTS, Dunnville, until October 1942.

Captain Foster is seen here in March 1945 at B90 Petit Brogel airdrome in liberated Belgium.

Eugene Gagnon got his wings at No. 6 SFTS, Dunnville, in April 1942.

Eugene became a staff pilot at No. 7 B&G in Paulson, Manitoba, and then a Mosquito pilot with RAF No. 23 Squadron. This is why I wrote a blog about 23 Squadron: to pay homage to him and to his brothers-in-arms.

Click here to visit the blog.

No. 6 SFTS, Dunnville, Ontario, April 1942

Foster and Gagnon must have met somehow since Captain Foster instructed at No.6 SFTS, Dunnville, until October 1942. Maybe he was Eugene’s instructor.

It’s funny when you meet people.

You never know what will evolve from that meeting.

It’s like when I met Greg in Hamilton. My wife and I stayed at his father’s B&B for two days.

I was just there in Hamilton to visit George Stewart who knew Eugene Gagnon. He invited me last year.

Eugene flew his first mission on December 6, 1944 while George flew his last mission on December 8, 1944. They were with the same squadron: RAF No. 23 Squadron.

Foster was one-of-a-kind flying instructor. I never met him personally.

How do I know he was a one-of-a-kind flying instructor?

I met him through this book.

I will tell you more next time or you can read Ted Barris’ book. He met Captain Foster personally as well as 200 more instructors.

As a footnote, you can read  Captain Foster’s citation.

I took it from this site.

We learn more about Captain Foster’s service record.

FOSTER, F/L Livingstone (J10957)

– Distinguished Flying Cross

– No.403 Squadron

– Award effective 10 July 1945 as per London Gazette dated 24 July 1945 and AFRO 1619/45 dated 19 October 1945.

Born in Grimsby, Ontario, September 1919.

Home there; educated there.

Enlisted in Hamilton, 13 May 1940.

To No.1 ITS, 27 May 1940; graduated and promoted LAC, 22 June 1940 when posted to No.3 EFTS; graduated 31 August 1940 when posted to No.2 SFTS; graduated and promoted Sergeant, 1 December 1940.

Promoted WO2, 1 December 1941.

Commissioned 30 March 1942.

Instructed at No.6 SFTS, Dunnville, until October 1942.

Promoted Flying Officer, 1 October 1942.

To “Y” Depot, 23 October 1942; arrived overseas 5 November 1942.

Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 31 March 1944.

Further trained at No.58 OTU (January-March 1943).

Flew with Nos.416 and 403 Squadrons on his first tour (March 1943 to March 1944); at No.53 OTU until September 1944.

On second tour flew with Nos.403 and 421 Squadrons.

To UK 26 May 1945, to Canada 5 August 1945; released 17 September 1945.

DFC presented in Hamilton, Ontario, 27 July 1949.

Rejoined RCAF as Administrative Officer, 19 March 1951 (36961).

Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 1 July 1953.

Queen’s Coronation Medal, 23 October 1953 while at Station Penhold.

Reclassified as Personnel Administration Officer, 8 May 1956.

Credited with the following aerial victories:

17 August 1943, one Bf.110 destroyed (No.403 Squadron; shared with three others);

28 January 1944, one FW.190 damaged (No.403 Squadron);

29 September 1944, one Bf.109 destroyed (No.421 Squadron);

8 December 1944, one Bf.109 destroyed (No.403 Squadron);

28 April 1945, one Do.24 destroyed (No.403 Squadron).

Died in Smith Falls, Ontario, 9 March 2003.

An extensive obituary in the Ottawa Citizen, 11 March 2003, detailed an athletic career that began as rehabilitation following childhood rheumatoid arthritis.

This officer has completed numerous sorties against many heavily defended targets in Germany and enemy occupied territory.  Flight Lieutenant Foster has proved himself to be an outstanding fighter pilot, showing keenness, courage and devotion to duty which, coupled with his ability and fine leadership, have made him an outstanding example to the wing.  He has destroyed three enemy aircraft and has damaged or destroyed many transport vehicles.