Summer of 43

In August 1943 Wally Dove continued his operational training with #1 O.T.U based at Bagotville, Quebec.

Even if he was with B Flight, Wally Dove certainly met O. C. Dennis Connolly who was Officer Commanding of A Flight.

collection Walter Neil Dove

August 1943…

Interesting to see on this logbook page how hitting the target was somewhat difficult.

2 hits – 600 rounds

collection Walter Neil Dove

Here is a picture of Harvards and Hurricanes sitting on the tarmac at Bagotville in the summer of 1943.

collection Walter Neil Dove

This is Hurricane 51 flying over Bagotville…

collection Walter Neil Dove

Here is a picture of Harvard FE628 in flight.

collection Walter Neil Dove

Wally finished his operational training on August 25, 1943.

Aug 25 – Hurricane 71 – Self –  Solo – Squadron Balboa – Dusk Landing – 1:30 Lovely Sight – Air Smooth…

collection Walter Neil Dove

It seems like Wally is trying to talk to us about his posting at Bagotville, so please take the time to read all the pages.

On September 14, Walter Neil Dove was a passenger aboard a Douglas Digby that took him from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia to Torbay, Newfoudland.

DND Photograph

Walter Neil Dove was joining RCAF No. 128 Squadron, a little known RCAF squadron.

Little known? That was before his grandson shared with us his grandfather’s photo album and logbook, and Wally Dove started recollecting about the war in September 14, 2011.

To learn more about another little known RCAF Squadron, RCAF No. 135 Squadron, click here.

As a footnote to all this Bagotville story, this is a picture I took of the media display last June.

I think I see Dennis Connolly on this picture.

But then I might be wrong…

Dennis Connolly left RCAF No. 130 for RCAF No. 163 Squadron Sea Island on November 16, 1943.

Later  on he joined RCAF No. 135 Squadron at Patricia Bay!

The pilots of 135 Squadron stand before a Kittyhawk
sometime between May 1944 and the end of the war. 

I think I see Dennis Connolly again on this picture.

But I might be wrong… I will have to show him this picture.

Bagotville… Those Who Died

Walter Neil Dove was at Bagotville when a pilot died.

This is a picture of the media display at the museum in Bagotville I visited this summer.

They were just names on a computer screen.

This is the logbook page from July 10 through July 21.

This is the next logbook page from July 21 to July 31, 1943.

collection Walter Neil Dove

Wally Dove did not fly on August 2, but Sergeant I. H. W. Franks from New Zeland course 14 did.

Sergeant Ian Harry Walter, son of Thomas Frederick Franks and of Cora Elizabeth Grey Franks (nee Keig) of Taranaki, New Zealand, while on Rhubarb crashed into Lac. St. Jean.

Click here.

Commenced # 1 O.T.U. Flying Bagotville Course 14 P.Q.

Wally Dove commenced his operational training at # 1 O.T.U. Bagotville.

June 29, 1943.

collection Walter Neil Dove

Small world!

Dennis Connolly was there since February 4th 1943. Greg scanned all the logbook pages related to his grandfather’s posting at Bagotville.

Did Dennis Connolly and Walter Neil Dove meet?

Most probably.

Dennis Connolly was O.C. (Officer in Charge) of A Flight. Wally Dove was a pilot with B Flight.

Next time, I will post all the pages Greg scanned with… pictures!

collection Walter Neil Dove

collection Walter Neil Dove

RCAF No. 411 Squadron

Dennis Connolly was transfered to 411 Squadron after his posting with Treble Two, 222 Squadron.

I know nothing about that squadron just like I did not know anything about 403 Squadron before I met Greg in September 2011. I have come a long way since then as many of my readers.

Brian Davidson wrote me an e-mail asking me how was my visit with Dennis Connolly…

Memorable!

I sent him links to three of the articles I wrote about Dennis Connolly.

I also told him that I just can’t wait to visit Mr. Connolly again and go through his precious logbook and ask him more questions about this anecdote.

Last time he talked about an ASR mission (Air-Sea Rescue). He was with 91 Squadron.

We seek alone…

He found a downed airman in the Channel and the rescue planes looking for him flew over the spot without noticing him.

He had to “advise” them by shooting a few rounds in front of the rescue planes to get their attention.

Dennis Connolly recounts on this site the kind of missions he flew with 91 Squadron.

Excerpt

Also, we did the air-sea rescue work, which meant that when we lost somebody in the [English] Channel, they had air-sea rescue ready to go out and drop dinghies for them and send out high-speed launches to pick them up, if possible. And we would spot the people who were down for them and leave them. Then they’d pick them up and bring them in. Now, that was one of our duties.

I also want to talk about the Dieppe raid…

[The] Dieppe [Raid, August 19, 1942], yeah, which was just a few minutes. So we had time to refuel and re-arm and then away we went. That particular day, I can remember, we had breakfast before it was daylight and we took off just before daylight and we came back and forth, refueled and re-armed and we were ready to have a lunch but then we were scrambled again, we didn’t have lunch. And we went on until after dark. But it was a real tiring day, that one.

And his posting at Bagotville… where Dennis and his wife Lillian stayed with a French-Canadian family.

The [British Commonwealth Air] Training Plan that Canada had, they did a very great job of training pilots and a large number. But we had no one who had fighter experience. So our group went over[seas] and we spent a couple of years and then they brought us back to instruct in [Royal Canadian Air Force Station] Bagotville [in La Baie, Quebec], with the knowledge that we had, the present knowledge that we had from our operations and we were able to pass that on and make it part of the training course and so on. So that was one of the reasons why we were brought back.

As a footnote to all this before I forget… Dennis Connolly knew the “real” Johnnie Johnson!

Spitfire Vb R7290

A comment from a reader…

I am interested in Spitfire Vb R7290 in which P.O. N Warden may/may not have been killed. That particular aircraft was donated by William and Harold Cook from Donington Lincolnshire hence the name Donintonian. I know their daughter who is now in her 80s now and always believed that it was Warden who flew the aircraft. Do you have any particular information on this aircraft in particular Squadron, squadron markings, colour scheme and history? Their daughter still has the original plaque from the Ministry of Aircraft Production and out of the factory photograph etc.

Some information is found on this forum.

Footnote  

A comment from Dean Black

With respect to Spitfire R7290 (Manufacturer’s No. 1546) This MXII “Donningtonian” had its first flight FF on 29-4-41, and was then transferred to Maintenance unit 8MU on 30-3 (probably 1942, then to the squadron 91S probably on 4-5 (May) of 1942 and then it “failed to return) FTR from Ops 1-10 which means 01 October, probably 1942.

Then another comment…

Hello Pierre or Dean,

Is it still possible you can find the target from F/O Harold Byrd (Admiral) on 19th march 1945, (missing after leaving formation).

In the east of Holland that day there was an assault in the neighbourhood, a small town called Terborg, in a castle “Schuilenburg” there was the residence from General Model (obercom.West). However the day before ” the staff” was leaving. The castle was totally bombed.

The Allied stood before the Rhine (Rees) Germany, the end of War was near. Tragical for the 22 years old Spitfire pilot.

I hope you can help me,

Sincerely
gr. Hennie

This is the whole page of March 1945.

Walter Neil Dove was not flying on March 19, 1945.

Footnote…

Comment from a reader…

Hello,
Hank Byrd took off from Petit Brogel at 13.30h 19 march 1945
Target: Fighter Sweep in the Rheine-Osnabrick area.
12 a/c of 403 Squadron, 5 early returns.
Source: ORB 403 Squadron

Regards
Karl Lusink
ARGA

God Was His Wingman

Dennis Connolly was coming from a strafing mission on railway yards in the Paris area. He had no ammunition left and was coming back to his base.

This mission is most probably in his logbook. I don’t know if he was with 91, 222 or 411 Squadron.

As Dennis Connolly was in sight of the England coast he noticed 5 FW-190s closing in!

Source

He knew he was a sitting duck.

To his surprise, one after the other decided they would toy with him like five cats preying over a lonely defenseless mouse.

But Dennis Connolly was an experienced pilot and he managed to evade every attempt to shoot him down. The Spitfire he was flying was a great airplane but the FW-190 was a formidable foe.

After all this cat and mouse game, the FWs decided the fun was over and went in for the kill and attacked in force just when…

Some unknown force intervened.

Two Spitfires appeared out of nowhere and the FWs quickly turned away.

Usually veterans will rarely tell such anecdotes fearing that people would not believe them. They prefer not to tell and keep it to themselves.

Luckily for us, Dennis Connolly’s wife Lillian was there and had him recount this anecdote and another one about 91 Squadron…

It’s all about this…

We Seek Alone.

I hope I remember all the details.

No. 403 Wolf Squadron (Stalk & Strike) – R.C.A.F. Casualties 1941-1945

From Dean Black.

The list.

I added the links.

Lest we forget

F/L        Edward Grant Aitchison                 Age 26                  31 March 1945

P/O        Douglas Spencer Aitken                 Age 21                  08 March 1942

F/O        James Hamilton Ballantyne           Age 26                  08 March 1944

P/O        Harry Vern Boyle                            Age 21                  17 August 1944

P/O        George Rawson Brown                   Age 19                  31 May 1943

F/O        Wallace Victor John Burdis           Age 22                  17 April 1945

F/O        Harold Chauncey Byrd                  Age 22                  19 March 1945

P/O        John Nicholson Cawsey                 Age 21                  12 February 1942

F/O        Stuart McIntyre Connacher         Age 25                  16 February 1943

F/O        Charles Gordon Cumming            Age 21                  13 March 1943

F/O        Richard Wright Denison               Age 25                  18 March 1944

Sgt          Leo Joseph Deschamps                Age 23                  04 April 1943

WO2      Ronald Dunbar                               Age 19                  13 March 1943

F/L          Henry Percy Duval, MiD            Age 30                  27 April 1942

F/O        John Walter Benson Earle           Age 22                  05 August 1944

F/O        Dudley Jack Edwards                   Age 20                 25 February 1943

F/O        John Charles Elliott                      Age 21                  20 June 1943

S/L         Norman Ralph Fowlow, DFC     Age 22                   19 May 1944

P/O        John Edwin Gardiner                  Age 23                   19 August 1942

Sgt          Lesa German                                Age 21                   30 July 1941

S/L         Frank Edward Grant                   Age 28                  04 September 1943

FS           Frederick Alexander Higgins     Age 23                  08 November 1941

P/O        Gordon Francis Jospeh Hoben   Age 21                  11 July 1942

F/L        John Hodgson                              Age 22                   02 June 1944

F/O        William Thompson Lane             Age 21                  15 May 1943

F/O        James Leon Lanfranchi               Age 26                  28 June 1944

F/L          Lyn Bertram Madden               Age 22                   15 May 1943

F/L          Stanley Wilbur Matthews          Age 24                  16 November 1943

F/L          Donald Joseph McKenna           Age 30                  08 September 1941

P/O        Frank Cooper McWilliams         Age 21                   20 June 1943

P/O        Norman Monchier                        Age 19                  19 August 1942

FS           Arthur Joseph Monserez            Age 19                   17 January 1942

P/O        William Forsythe Munn             Age 27                   25 April 1942

FS           John Norman                               Age 26                  22 September 1942

F/L        Miall Bourchier O’Kelly              Age 21                   16 July 1944

F/L        Patrick Terrance O’Leary          Age 22                  27 February 1943

F/L        Clifford George Pennock            Age 22                  25 March 1944

WO1      William Charles Powers             Age 23                  20 July 1944

F/O        MacKenzie Reeves                     Age 25                  28 March 1945

FS           Kenneth Ellwood Root              Age 24                  24 September 1942

P/O        Lewis Cameron Rowe                Age 21                  13 November 1943

F/O        Donald John Shapter                 Age 24                  14 July 1944

P/O        Graham Milton Shouldice         Age 21                  17 August 1943

F/O        Robert Harry Smith                  Age 21                  19 May 1944

F/O        Stanley William Smith              Age 27                  29 May 1944

WO1      Milton Eldon Soules                   Age 22                  28 August 1944

F/L          Herbert John Southwood       Age 25                  24 October 1943

FS           William George Uttley             Age 21                  13 May 1943

P/O        Leclare Allerthorn Walker, MiD (3) Age 24        19 August 1942

P/O        Claude Weaver, DFC, DFM & Bar Age 21            28 January 1944

F/O        Harold Andrew Westhaver       Age 21                 15 December 1943

P/O        William Zoochkan                       Age 22                 25 April 1942

Out of Ammunition and Chased by 5 FW-190!

That’s one anecdote Dennis Connolly told me when Lillian asked him to recount what had happened during a mission in the Paris area.

I did not want to talk about the war per se with Dennis Connolly. Most veterans I meet will talk more about their comrades-in-arms than the war like his Squadron Leader Jean Demozay for whom he had only praise for.

We did not have enough time to talk at length about his military career and go over his logbook.

My visit was more a pretext to give him all the pictures I could find on the Internet about the squadrons he flew with… RAF 91, RAF 222, RCAF 130… He told me that he also flew with RCAF 411 and RCAF 163!

Since I did not want to extend my visit too much after two hours, I used this as a pretext to come and visit him again with Brian Davidson who had arranged the first visit.

So what’s this about Out of Ammunition and Chased by 5 FW-190!

Source

I will tell you next time.

I hope you don’t think I am toying with you…

You’ll see what I mean.

One more for Doug Orr

A reader sent me this picture.

It was destined to end up in a dump.

Ken saved it for all to see.

I got more to write about after my two-hour visit with Flight Lieutenant Dennis Connolly my new found Spitfire pilot.

I found out he was posted with 411 Squadron after his posting with Treble Two what they called 222 Squadron. After 411, he was sent to No. 1 O.T.U. in Bagotville. After Bagotville, he was sent to RCAF No. 163 Squadron at Sea Island and ended up at Patricia Bay.

NO. 163 SQUADRON

Formed as an Army Co-operation unit at Sea Island, British Columbia on March 1, 1943. The squadron flew Bolingbroke aircraft on West Coast photographic work and Harvard aircraft in close air support training for Canadian Troops at Wainwright, Alberta. Converted to Hurricane aircraft in June 1943, and redesignated Fighter squadron on October 14, the unit re-equipped with Kittyhawk aircraft and was employed on West Coast air defence until disbanded at Patricia Bay, British Columbia on March 15, 1944.

Everything is in his precious logbook.

For more on Doug Orr, click here.

Mes fidèles compagnons exemplaires du 91

This is what Jean Demozay wrote me in a  comment in French about the picture below. 

His uncle was the Free French pilot Jean Demozay.

Vous aurez l’incroyable chance de côtoyer et de pouvoir parler avec le sergent  Connolly (sergent à la date de la photo ). Vous lui rappellerez peut être un détail important sur cette photo du Spit V: La bosse derrière le mât d’antenne, qui est le nouveau système de reconnaissance des appareils IFF pour Identification Friend or Foe. (identification des avions amis ou ennemis par les radars Anglais de basse et haute altitude).

Il est fort possible que Mr CONNOLLY garde un souvenir “mitigé ” de mon oncle.

Quand Jean DEMOZAY prend effectivement en charge le A Flight du 91, il reste Français avec un caractère bien “trempé “.

Malgré tous, dites-lui ce qu’il a écrit “MES FIDÈLES COMPAGNONS  EXEMPLAIRES DU 91”.

Respectueusement

jean DEMOZAY

A Flight No. 91 Squadron Nigeria, Hawkinge, England, July 1942

Jean Demozay in on the right.

TRANSLATION

You will have the rare opportunity to meet and talk with Sergeant  Connolly (Sergeant in this picture). You will probably show him an important detail on the picture of this Spitfire Mk V: the hump behind the radio mast which is the new IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) system  put on Spitfires. It was used by British radars for low and high altitude.

It is quite possible that Mr CONNOLLY has kept only a faint and lukewarm memory of my uncle. When Jean DEMOZAY took command of A Flight of  91 Squadron, he remained a true Frenchman with a “very strong energetic” character .

Nevertheless, tell him what he once wrote about his pilots. “MY FAITHFUL AND EXEMPLARY COMPANIONS OF THE 91″.

Best regards,

jean DEMOZAY

After evading France in June 1940, Jean Demozay joined the RAF and flew Hurricanes with No 1 and No 242 Squadron before joining No 91 “Nigeria” Squadron from July 1941 to February 1942. During this period he scored 11 aerial victories, mostly with Spitfire Mk Vb W3122. He returned to No 91 Squadron as Commanding Officer from July to December 1942, scoring several other kills. His total tally is 21 confirmed and 2 probable aerial victories. He was killed in a flying accident in 1945.

Click here for the source of this painting

More on Jean Demozay…

BIOGRAPHY: 
Service number FR 297.
Jean Demozay was a commercial pilot before the war. In 1938 he was called up for military service but after a month he became unfit due to an accident. At the outbreak of war, he voluntarily offered his services and became an interpreter with No. 1 Squadron RAF at Reims in France.

As the Germans drew nearer, he discovered a Bristol Bombay which had been left behind and with 15 soldiers aboard, he flew the aircraft to England. He reported to the RAF and managed to convince the selection committee that he was a fighter pilot. After having completed his training he was posted to No. 1 Squadron and soon proved himself to be a very able fighter pilot, quickly claiming numerous victories.

In October 1942 he scored his 18th victory which was to be his last. In February 1943 he was sent to North-Africa to establish flight training for the Free French. In April 1944 he returned to England. After the invasion he established the “Groupe Patrie” in France. Near war’s end he was named deputy commander of all French flying schools.
December 19th, while en route to London he lost his life after his plane had crashed near Buc (Yvelines).

Source 

This afternoon, I am meeting Dennis Connolly and his wife Lillian who both knew him well.