From Dean Black’s Private Collection

black_godefroy

Dean Black and Hugh Constant Godefroy, April 2001, Myrtle Beach, SC

Butte-and-BlackDean Black and Steve Butte, DFC, May 2002, Bedford, NS

Black_Magwood

Dean Black and Charles Magwood, DFC, 8 April 2002

Black_Windsor

Dean Black and Ken Windsor, Winnipeg, MB, 8 May 2002

Windsor

Ken Windsor

Dean C. Black, CD, CAE
Lieutenant-Colonel (Ret)
Executive Director Air Force Association of Canada
Publisher/Executive Editor Airforce Magazine
Secretary RCAF Association Trust Fund

403 Squadron – 21 March 1943

From Dean Black

403 Squadron 21 March 1943

403 Squadron – 21 March 1943.

Standing Left to Right –

Sgt H.H. Miller,

Sgt D.C. Hamilton,

P/O Berger,

F/Sgt G.D. Aitken,

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

F/L C.M. Magwood,

Black_Magwood

S/Ldr N. Fowlow, (from Winnipeg, MB, J15095)

S/L Norman Ralph Fowlow, DFC, was killed in action on May 19, 1944 at age 22. He was serving with 411 Squadron when his Spitfire LF834 was shot down by flak while dive bombing the railway crossing at Hazebrough, France).

S/Ldr Leslie Sydney Ford, DFC. (Ford, from Liverpool, NS, was killed on June 4, 1943 at age 22. He was serving with 402 Squadron when his Spitfire was shot down off the coast of Holland).

F/L Hugh Constant Godefroy,

black_godefroy

F/O T. Brannagan,

P/O Harry J. Dowding,

P/O W.T. Lane (J16198 Lane, from Sudbury, On, was killed in action on May 15, 1943, when his Spitfire was lost to enemy action inland from the Somme Estuary, France),

F/L Richer,

and F/O Johnson.

On the wings:

P/O Dover,

Sgt George Rawson Brown, (J17567 Brown, from Hamilton, On, was killed in action on May 31, 1943, when Spitfire LZ955 was lost off Sieuport, France. He has no known grave. When he was hit the other 403 pilots distinctly heard him say “goodbye” over the radio, in a debonair manner. Although they saw a parachute blossom far below, after the radio call, he was never seen again).

Sgt William George Uttley. (R105253, Uttley, from Toronto, On, was killed in action on May 13, 1943, when his Spitfire BS104 went missing on a cross-channel sweep).

F/O Roy Wozniak,

Sgt  Harold Elwood Morrow. Harold Elwood Morrow left 403 Squadron ten days after this photo was taken. He was posted to the Middle East. On March 29, 1944, while flying with 417 Squadron he was on a defensive patrol over the beach at Anzio and was shot down. He appears to have been able to bail out, but at a very low altitude. His chute could not have opened much above 100 feet and after two violent swings he was seen to splash in the water, never to be heard from again.

Sgt N.F. Cottrill,

Sgt Norm V. Chevers

and Sgt Joseph Leo Deschamps. (R98254 Deschamps was killed in action on April 4, 1943, just days after this photograph was taken. Flying Spitfire BS120, he was lost during a cross-channel sweep).

403 Squadron 21 March 1943 labels

Some Erks Identified

More from Mark White…

Pierre,

For your readers viewing pleasure.

Cheers,

Mark

Some Erks Identified

Most of my dad’s pictures don’t have captions. This one does. Wouldn’t it be nice to make contact via this blog with some of the families of these men?

Some Erks

(Left to Right)

George White, Kenora;

John Niell, Edmonton;

Whitbark, Toronto;

R.J. Barnes, Montreal;

Shifty Kerr, Winnipeg;

Len Barnes, Hamilton.

My father George White and “Shifty” Kerr were on the same crew for the duration of the war,

 Some Erks back

This photo was taken at Advanced Airdrome Headcorn Kent and was likely taken in the August 1943 when 403 Squadron was flying Spitfire IXb’s and was stationed there for a short time under the command of Wing Commander “Johnny Johnson”.

(See the link for history of this Airdrome and a Memorial Plaque for 403 Squadron)

Memorial Plaque

Will Wes Read more than 300 Posts about his Uncle Walter?

Wes wrote a comment last night.

This is my uncle! Who is his grandson???? 

Amazing information!!!

Will Wes read more than 300 posts about his uncle Walter and his comrades-in-arms?

cropped-403-and-wally.jpg

Wes seems excited about all this. I can relate to that.

I was that excited when I first met Greg in September 2011 and saw his grandfather’s logbook and photo album.

Will Wes read more than 300 posts about his uncle Walter and his comrades-in-arms?

More on Base 2 in Crepon, France

Click here…

You will see this…

And this…

And this…

Bazenville (B-2)

49°18’18″N 000°33’44″W

runway: 07/25 – 1700x40m/5000x120feet – SMT

Airfield Bazenville (Advanced Landing Ground B-2 Bazenville or B-2 Crépon) was an Allied wartime airfield in Normandy, France.

The airfield was built by the Royal Engineers 16th Airfield Construction Group together with the RAF’s 3207 and 3209 Servicing Commandos starting just after midnight after D-Day.

The groups built a runway, dispersal areas, communications facilities, landing lights and many other requirements to run an airfield.

It was located between the villages of Crépon, Bazenville and Villiers-le-Sec.

ALG B-2 would have been completed as the first ALG in Normandy on 9 June, but a B-24 Libeator crashlanded at the uncompleted airfield that morning and ripped up a lot of SMT.

Instead it was completed two days later, on June 11, and serviced the first 36 aircraft (Spitfires) of 127 Wing that same day.

The complete Wing (403, 416, 421 and 443 Sqns) moved in on 16 June 1944.

And a whole lot more about more bases in France.

Full site here.

B2 (Base 2) Crepon France

Written  by Mark White

B2 (Base 2) Crepon France 

June to August 27 1944

The D-Day was June 6, 1944.

The Erks from 403 Squadron had expectations of landing in France on June 10 1944. The glider crossing was cancelled. My father’s crew was then scheduled to cross the channel by air with the Dakota group, but was switched at the last minute to cross with the barge group.

They eventually landed on Gold Beach on June 18, 1944 and got their trucks on shore. The Maintenance Officer, a fellow named Disher, ordered the crew to make sure that they got the crane truck to the airfield near the Village of Crepon. The crane truck was a key piece of equipment for lifting crashed aircraft and doing engine changes on the Spitfires.

After a long and difficult day moving the trucks along railway lines and under railroad tunnels, they were met in Crepon, by one of their men, who was sent out to find them and guide them to their airfield.

our tent

The Erks from 403 Squadron seem rather fresh faced and clean in this photo. It was likely taken soon after the arrival at the B2 Airbase. My father, George White, is the fellow seated. The fellow sitting on his leg is Bob Mosher.

Now, I will share a few stories from 403 Squadron’s No. 1 Crew Journal – as written by hand:

 

June 18, 1944

……… I was never so tired, it was warm and I was dirty. We took a truck back down to the beach to clean up, there was a dozen or so dead, 2nd Division Canadians in the water so we came back dirty. At 11:30 PM an air raid started, intense gun fire, hard to sleep.

June 19, 1944

Maintenance Crew started to dig in. We are in an open grass field along a hedge. Our Maintenance Work area is in an apple orchard. We are close to a German Fort, consisting earth banks with old World War I field guns set up to cover sections of the beach. There was lots of ammo scattered about. Our pilots wheeled out a field gun and started firing a few rounds, hopefully into German lines. Anyway, the Canadian Army or British Army caught on immediately and took the gun away. The German gun crew lived underground in a boarded up shelter. We tried some of their canned rations – pretty good.

 

June 20, 1944

Got stomach flu from drinking bad water – rain and mud. Still on Compo Rations – stew and hardtack, spoonful each of jam – hard to eat as the wasps practically take it out of your mouth. Lots of stings.

June 21, 1944

Feeling better – work starting in maintenance. Green apples not the edible kind – think the French use them to make Calvados – a drink with a heavy kick. Lots of German rifles around. I would like to get a good one home – the Mauser bolt action is superior. 80 hour inspections today – our aircraft handling short netting runway excellently. On guard at night. Air raid missed our airfield. Did some laundry – gasoline – once drained out of aircraft it is not allowed to be put back in, even thou we use chamois skin filters.

Going on guard

June 22, 1944

 Lovely day – not much work built a small fireplace so we can have a fire with no flames showing. Working late at 416 Sqd. Interesting day. Shot up American Fortress crashed. Crew bailed out, plane on fire. Marauder bombers attacking Caen. Heavy German AC AC, clear sky. Aircraft took a beating, one exploded and came down in flames, others just went down, some came back smoking. German Acc Acc shot one man coming down by parachute. Some German Acc Acc bursts over our airfield. Lots of smoke and gunfire from Caen. Annother big air raid at night. Tracer fire beautiful in the dark. German artillery shelled an empty field near our Campsite. Precision shooting but the wrong field. No damage. Some guys came to gawk – didn’t know what was causing the explosions. Army let them know in a hurry.

June 24 1944

 Worked in flight today, fellas there don’t get much chance to do repairs. Dust is getting real heavy. We seem to be the only ones worrying. We went into the nearest village, tried the wine, 10 francs a glass, thought it was Cognac. Actually was Calvados, swear it was moonshine made from local apples, has a kick like a mule. One glass was enough. Vin Blanc, 160 francs 1 bottle, no hell. We saw another German fort setup for beach fire. 28 Winnipeg Rifles killed putting it out of action by sniper fire.

Mark White

July 2013