Another Impressive Website Redux

Dan wrote a comment on the blog about what I posted about his Website.

This was about Dan’s Website…

As our Home page says “everyone has a story” memories and photos should not be allowed to fade. My father was a member of the 419 Moose squadron and like many servicemen he never spoke about his experience while overseas. It left me, as it may have left you wondering what our fathers, uncles or grandfathers had experienced during during those times. The squadron’s story contains many examples of heroism and valour that have been mostly forgotten. But all are more intense and real then any fictional novel. For these were real men in true live and death situations.

In his later years my father collected photos and historical bits of the squadron from the many members he kept in touch with and added these to those he had accumulated during his service years. His idea was to gather the stories of those who served with 419 squadron and to preserve the legacy of those individuals who became the “Moose” squadron.

419-sqn

Since I have my own blog about RCAF 425 Alouette a French-Canadian squadron, I know how impressive Dan’s Website is.

Footnote

Dan wrote this other comment…

Hi Pierre,

Thanks for the kind words and promoting my 419 website. I should add a link from my site, if that is ok with you.

As for the “pinching myself”, if I understand what you are trying to say then it is a common experience. In the year I have been putting together the data on the 419 the number of times when strange, and that is the best word to describe it, things happen. Contacted by familes of crewmen whose webpage I would be just starting to work on, contacts from multiple families of different crewmen of the same lost crew contacting me the same day and none of whom know each other. And it’s not once or twice this has happened, make it dozens of times.

It’s as if those who were lost want to be heard and not forgotten. Wierd , but maybe not.

Let me know if you want to link up
Dan

I wrote back…

Pinching myself is the right expression…

I know this might be weird, but I have exactly the same feeling about someone guiding us in all this.
In the case of 403 Squadron, I think Wally Dove is looking over my shoulder.

Of course you can link my blog or blogs… I have several.
But 425 Squadron is okay since there is a link there.

My blog about RAF 23 Squadron is most interesting since these airmen flew missions to protect Bomber Command’s bombers over Germany.

http://no23squadron.wordpress.com/about/

Presentation page written in 2010!

By the way Dan, did I say your Website is impressive?

Pierre

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Tommy Todd Revisited Redux: the Sequel

Post 321

This post is for you Andrew.

This has happen so many times since 2011 that I have stopped pinching myself.

Andrew Todd contacted me!

Andrew whose grandfather was Tommy Todd left more comments…

I don’t know how you found me but I am sure glad you did! I feel like I know you somehow but can’t figure out the connection.

If you start reading this blog from the start, I know you will start pinching yourself then stop pinching.

Andrew had written a comment on this blog in December 2011, but he had never contacted me again…

Tom Todd is my grandfather.  These pictures are new to me.  I am at work and have to keep it together but feel overwhelmed with emotion so I will have to look at this later in private.  Thanks for posting this.

Walter Neil Dove collection via Greg Bell

Many people contacted me since 2011 and they shared memories and pictures.

I posted everything!

This is why this is Post No. 321.

Captain Foster’s son wrote me, Van Sainsbury’s son wrote me, someone who knew Gil Gillis wrote me. Peter Lecoq’s son wrote me…

Dean Black, who is a retired air force Lieutenant-Colonel with 30 years’ service in the Canadian Forces, wrote me and share tons of information,

George White’s son wrote me and he wrote articles about his father… 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tony Cannell was the first person to reach me on this blog…

He knew Tommy Todd as well as his wife Val and he shared a story.

Walter Neil Dove collection via Greg Bell

I knew Tom Todd very well and despite the fact he was older (I missed the war by two years) he was my best friend.

I took him flying occasionally in light planes in the early sixties. He loved that and would sometimes recall some of his wartime experiences while we tootled around the skies west of Ottawa, or later around Maple Airport north of Toronto.

One incident he recounted was of flying a rhubarb, busting trains etc. He and his friend Izzy Isbister were warned to stay away from the Rhone Valley because of the intense flak in the area. Unfortunately, in their haste to get away after intense activity and getting low on fuel, they mistook the Rhone for another river and flew through some heavy flak. Leaving the coast, Tom could see cannon shells hitting the sea just behind Izzy just ahead. Taking evasive action, they were lucky to get out of that little mess with, no doubt, a great sigh of relief !

Other little incidents were just as interesting too !

Tom was a very quiet,  unassuming and wonderful friend.

Tony Cannell

I wrote this on Tommy Todd.

Click here to read my article. 

Someone else had written a story about Tommy Todd. I just copied it because I did not want to lose that precious story found also in Walter Neil Dove’s precious logbook.

F/L Todd Shot Down by Flak North of Emmerich

Walter Neil Dove collection via Greg Bell

Toddy was shot down 6 weeks before the end of the war and was taken prisoner. He should not have been flying that day, but had offered to take the place of a young pilot who was exhausted.

I had told Greg I was going to write about Tommy Todd once again so he revisited his grandpa’s photo album and Greg found this…

Walter Neil Dove collection via Greg Bell

Walter Neil Dove collection via Greg Bell

To be continued…?

There is no end in sight about what we can discover about RCAF 403 Squadron especially since Andrew is going to contact Karl.

Another Impressive Website

Dan who wrote a comment asking information about Flight Lieutenant David Evans has this Website about 419 Squadron.

About the site…

As our Home page says “everyone has a story” memories and photos should not be allowed to fade. My father was a member of the 419 Moose squadron and like many servicemen he never spoke about his experience while overseas. It left me, as it may have left you wondering what our fathers, uncles or grandfathers had experienced during during those times. The squadron’s story contains many examples of heroism and valour that have been mostly forgotten. But all are more intense and real then any fictional novel. For these were real men in true live and death situations.

In his later years my father collected photos and historical bits of the squadron from the many members he kept in touch with and added these to those he had accumulated during his service years. His idea was to gather the stories of those who served with 419 squadron and to preserve the legacy of those individuals who became the “Moose” squadron.

419-sqn

I got my own about RCAF 425 Alouette a French-Canadian squadron.

Ce blogue est dédié entièrement à l’escadrille Les Alouettes connue aussi comme l’escadrille 425 Alouette.

Ce fut la première et la seule escadrille canadienne-française durant la Deuxième Guerre mondiale.

Ce blogue sera un lieu de partage des informations que je possède et aussi des informations que les descendants des aviateurs et tout autre membre du personnel de cette escadrille voudront bien partager.

Bien sûr que les vétérans peuvent également participer.

Je te plumerai.

425 Alouette Signatures

Small world…

http://www.arga-nl.nl/

http://www.arga-nl.nl/ is the Website of Karl Lusink.

Karl is the researcher who is searching for information on Tommy Todd.

Tommy Todd at Evere in Belgium

Walter Neil Dove collection via Greg Bell

This page is dedicated to pilots.

This is about ARGA.

This is most impressive.

This is an example of the most impressive research site about downed aircraft I have seen yet.

To be continued…?

I sure hope so for Tommy Todd’s granson.

To Be Continued…?

This blog is about RCAF 403 Squadron.

It was started in September 2011 after I met a Spitfire pilot’s grandson who had all of his grandfather’s war artefacts.

Walter Dove and Tommy Todd

Wally Dove and Tommy Todd

Two years later, this is post no. 318.

Sometimes I will publish old posts like I did yesterday. This blog has a life of its own.

You can always contribute by adding comments or sharing pictures and stories.

403 Squadron Plaque (3)

Tommy Todd Revisited Redux

Someone added a comment on a post about Tommy Todd.

Tommy Todd:

He records his dreadful experiences in the hands of the retreating German soldiers and the Hitler Youth for his grandsons. They can be read in the blue covered book.

Can somebody bring me in contact with one of Tommy’s grandsons?
Up till now I do not know where he came down March 31, 1945.

Regards
Karl Lusink
Researcher from The Netherlands

START

One day someone will write a comment on this blog and say that he or she is related either to Captain Foster, Mo Morrison, Van Sainsbury, Ron Forsyth, Stew Tosh, Gil Gillis, Johnnie Johnson, Mac Reeves or Keith Lindsay…

 

Walter Neil Dove collection via Greg Bell

Tony Cannell is the first person to reach us…

He knew Tommy Todd as well as his wife Val.

 

Walter Neil Dove collection via Greg Bell

I knew Tom Todd very well and despite the fact he was older (I missed the war by two years) he was my best friend.

I took him flying occasionally in light planes in the early sixties. He loved that and would sometimes recall some of his wartime experiences while we tootled around the skies west of Ottawa, or later around Maple Airport north of Toronto.

One incident he recounted was of flying a rhubarb, busting trains etc. He and his friend Izzy Isbister were warned to stay away from the Rhone Valley because of the intense flak in the area. Unfortunately, in their haste to get away after intense activity and getting low on fuel, they mistook the Rhone for another river and flew through some heavy flak. Leaving the coast, Tom could see cannon shells hitting the sea just behind Izzy just ahead. Taking evasive action, they were lucky to get out of that little mess with, no doubt, a great sigh of relief !

Other little incidents were just as interesting too !

Tom was a very quiet,  unassuming and wonderful friend.

Tony Cannell

Want to read what I wrote on Tommy Todd?

Click here to read my article. 

In fact someone else wrote it, I just copied it.

This is an excerpt in case you forgot to read it the first time…

Soon after the Spitfires arrived one of the Canadian pilots, Flying Officer Thomas Todd visited Kingsden – my home, to ask my mother if she would accommodate his wife while he was stationed at the airfield. He had married a 19-year-old Welsh air controller called Val in Swansea. The answer must have been “yes” because they both moved in with us and remained until October 1943. Toddy flew a Spitfire that had the squadron letters AUT on the fuselage (another one I always checked for on their return). One particular morning Toddy had overslept and was woken by his batman calling him from under the bedroom window. Having no time to dress or eat breakfast, with only five minutes to spare until he was due at briefing, he pulled his uniform on over his pyjamas, and went off to cause havoc over France – if only the enemy had realised!

They would fly up to three missions a day, weather permitting. Toddy flew as wingman to Johnnie Johnson and his successor; this meant he had to protect the tail of the Wing Commander’s plane, with a great risk of being shot down. This must have helped Johnnie Johnson to become the Ace! There were very few accidents or losses while the Spitfires were here. Johnnie Johnson left here on September 9th for a course in preparation for D-Day. His place was taken by Wing Commander Hugh Constant-Godefroy until October 14th 1943, when with much regret the squadron left for a permanent base for winter at Kenley. Val returned to Wales to await the birth of their baby, and later sailed to Canada to stay with Toddy’s family. During his stay with us I had taken photographs of Toddy and Val, and my mother had taken one of me with them. We each treasured these photos for 47 years until we met again. In 1990 they came over from Canada to visit Val’s family in Wales, while over in the U.K, they came to visit us and take part in the service held in September at the memorial in Bedlam Lane for Battle of Britain Sunday. There they were joined by the next generation of pilots of the same wing. The young pilots had flown over from Germany for the ceremony (and did so for a few years afterwards). We shall never forget the sight of these youngsters cornering Toddy at Elvey Farm, where we had gone for tea. They were so interested in his Spitfire flying experiences. We have remained close to Val and Toddy and have visited them three times at their home to the north of Toronto. Toddy was shot down 6 weeks before the end of the war and was taken prisoner. He should not have been flying that day, but had offered to take the place of a young pilot who was exhausted. He records his dreadful experiences in the hands of the retreating German soldiers and the Hitler Youth for his grandsons. They can be read in the blue covered book.

F/L Todd Shot Down by Flak North of Emmerich

Walter Neil Dove collection via Greg Bell

Toddy was shot down 6 weeks before the end of the war and was taken prisoner. He should not have been flying that day, but had offered to take the place of a young pilot who was exhausted.

I told Greg I was going to write about Tommy Todd once again so he revisited his grandpa’s photo album again and found this…

Walter Neil Dove collection via Greg Bell

END

North of Emmerich.

North of Emmerich

To be continued…?

Pilots Redux

I love this comment left below this post I wrote last year.

I grew up knowing the story about Chuck Thornton – he was my Dad.

180th article about RCAF No. 403 Squadron, and it’s not over by all means…

Someone has written about another pilot, Charles Thornton.

He is in this picture.

Pilots…

That was the name file for this picture Peter Lecoq sent me a few months ago when he found my blog. He had some pictures that he had found on his hard disk.

In this picture, Charles Thornthon was just a face and a name…

Now, he is much much more because Francis in Belgium is writing something about Charles Thornton.

It’s going to be a great story that will pay homage to this pilot and to the Belgian man who helped him escaped from the Germans for a while before Charles Thornton was finally captured.

When Francis is all done, he is going to send me a copy in French, and I will translate it for you.

So you see, this blog is a never-ending blog about a little known RCAF Spitfire squadron in WWII.