2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 38,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thirde, Tressam, Todd, Ottawa 1940 Redux

See the footnote after reading this.

Tommy Todd

Andrew Todd, Tommy Todd’s grandson, sent me this picture.

The caption on the back says…

“Thirde, Tressam, Todd, Ottawa 1940”

Thirde could be this airman.

In memory of
Flight Sergeant
William Thirde
who died on November 1, 1942

Military Service:

Service Number: R/80227
Age: 21
Force:Air Force
Unit:Royal Canadian Air Force
Division:233 Squadron

Additional Information:

Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Thirde, of Hartney, Manitoba, Canada.

Tressam could be this airman.

In memory of
Sergeant
Thomas Edward Tressam
who died on December 8, 1941

Military Service:

Service Number: R/75814
Age: 25
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force

Additional Information:

Son of Thomas and Lydia Tressam; husband of Lois A. Tressam, of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Would you have more information on these two airmen?

Footnote

I got this from Mark White.

TRESSAM, THOMAS EDWARD SGT (P) R75814. From Hamilton, Ontario. Killed December 8, 1941 age 25. #60 Operational Training Unit. Defiant Aircraft #N 1570 failed to return from training flight. Sergeant Pilot Tressman has no known grave, his name inscribed on the Runnymede War Memorial, Englefield Green, Egham , Surrey, England.

Thomas Tressam

THIRDE, WILLIAM FS (AG) R80227. From Hartney, Manitoba. Killed in action November 1,1942 age 21. #233 Squadron (Ymlaen). Hudson Aircraft was seen by the crews of other squadron aircraft to spin into the Atlantic Ocean, off La Guardia, Portugal. The aircraft disappeared immediately and only wreckage was sighted. Three of the crew, not Canadians were also killed. Flight Sergeant Air Gunner Thirde has no known grave. His name is inscribed on the Runnymede War Memorial, Englefield Green, Egham , Surrey, England.

 Thirde

On a Side Note:

Hartney, Manitoba is a small town in southwestern Manitoba. It is only a few miles from my mother’s hometown of Reston, Manitoba.

During the Second World War, these small towns probably only had a population of 200-300 people.  Because of the depression and lack of work for young men, and because of their close proximity to British Commonwealth Air Training Plan bases, many of the young men from these areas enlisted in the RCAF and many were war casualties.

Hartney, Manitoba has a War Memorial and William Thirde along with 14 other casualties of the war are listed.

Reston, Manitoba also has a War Memorial. My uncle, John “Jack” Forman and 17 other casualties of the war are listed.

I really understand the impact the Second World War had on my mother and other people from these small towns. A whole generation of young men was lost.

Mark White

December 2013

Thirde, Tressam, Todd, Ottawa 1940

Tommy Todd

Andrew Todd, Tommy Todd’s grandson, sent me this picture.

The caption on the back says…

“Thirde, Tressam, Todd, Ottawa 1940”

Thirde could be this airman.

In memory of
Flight Sergeant
William Thirde
who died on November 1, 1942

Military Service:

Service Number: R/80227
Age: 21
Force:Air Force
Unit:Royal Canadian Air Force
Division:233 Squadron

Additional Information:

Son of Mr. and Mrs. J. R. Thirde, of Hartney, Manitoba, Canada.

Tressam could be this airman.

In memory of
Sergeant
Thomas Edward Tressam
who died on December 8, 1941

Military Service:

Service Number: R/75814
Age: 25
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force

Additional Information:

Son of Thomas and Lydia Tressam; husband of Lois A. Tressam, of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Would you have more information on these two airmen?

403 Squadron’s Captured BMW Sports Car – Identified?

Guest post from Mark White

403 Squadron’s Captured BMW Sports Car – Identified?

I posted this article and a picture of 403 Wolf Squadron’s “Captured Jerry Car” a few months ago.

https://rcaf403squadron.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/403-squadrons-captured-bmw-sports-car/

Pips Priller 1

After doing some research, I think I may have identified this particular BMW.

It’s just a hunch – what do your readers think?

 Pips Priller 2

Oberstleutnant Josef “Pips” Priller with his Fw190A-8 ‘Black 13’.

His car is a red BMW 327/55 Sport-Cabriolet.

 Pips Priller


Josef “Pips” Priller (27 July 1915 – 20 May 1961) was a flamboyant World War II Luftwaffe fighter ace.

Priller flew 1307 combat missions to claim 101 victories. All his victories were recorded over the Western Front, and consisted of 11 USAAF heavy bombers, 68 Spitfires, 11 Hurricanes, 5 medium bombers, and 5 USAAF fighters.

Priller was the most successful Luftwaffe pilot in battles with Spitfires – claiming at least 68 kills – the highest Luftwaffe ace’s tally for these aircraft.

Priller’s actions were also immortalized in the book and the film The Longest Day when he and his wingman Heinz Wodarczyk flew a single strafing attack on Sword Beach during D-Day June 6, 1944.

Mark White

So what do you think about Mark White’s hypothesis?

Pips Priller 3

Footnote

Click here for more information about that sports car.

Buck McNair

Buck McNair has now his own blog.

RAF 249 Squadron

He was, of course, the first-rate fighter leader, aggressive to the extent of being ruthless, yet inside him was a private worry which he confided to me – that his eyesight was deteriorating and might not last the war. He lived with the fear that at some point the medics might discover his defect and take him off ops. For Robert McNair, in the middle of World War II, that would have been worse than the end.

Click here for the source.

View original post

Untold story

You won’t find this story anywhere in a book about Spitfire pilots who flew off H.M.S. Eagle during WWII.

Bruce McNair just wrote this after I posted my article about H.M.S. Eagle. It tells a lot about his father.

H.M.S. Eagle sinking

It has been said before but it is right to comment here that HMS Eagle brought a group of dedicated pilots to Malta that, with the unflagging support of maintenance crews, ground support and the Maltese civilians putting their shoulders to the grindstone, won the war in the Med. They knew the odds when they embarked on the Eagle.

Dad was very fond of Malta and continued to buy Maltese Sweepstakes tickets from the same guy he met during the seige, for decades after the war.

He paid a final visit to his old haunts the year before he died and was quite content he done so.

This is why I write this blog and let others share what memories they have.

Buck McNair

The talk around the barracks and the messes was all of volunteering for overseas. In mid-December given the opportunity to volunteer for service in the Near, Middle and Far East, all pilots submitted their names. At this time the situation on Malta was becoming grim. The tiny island was a major thorn-in-the-side of the Germans as it lay astride the resupply routes from Italy and Sicily to North Afica. Malta was the perfect location to stage interception raids on Axis ships trying to reinforce General Rommel in Cyrenaica. The Luftwaffe were committed to crushing the RAF and their means of living on Malta with the eventual aim of invading the island. The RAF brass wanted pilots with either experience or a proven ability to destroy the enemy. McNair, amongst others, was chosen to go to Malta. They were shipped out on a long-range Short Sutherland flying boat.

(Source of text and image)

Click here to visit the Webpage where more if found about Canadian Aces.

H.M.S. Eagle

I know very little about H.M.S. Eagle. I knew it was a Royal Navy aircraft carrier.

hms_eagle1

After I saw this in Buck McNair’s logbook…

H.M.S. Eagle to Malta

H.M.S. Eagle will never be the same.

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Click here

How about a trip to Malta?

Excerpt

On May 11th, 1942 a random group of pilots from various squadrons in the United Kingdom set out from West Kirby, England to Gourock, Scotland where we embarked on the freighter “Empire Conrad”, destination unknown. Accompanying us were 31 Spitfire Mk Vc,s in crates tucked in the bowels of the ship. From Gourock, we had a stopover at Holyhead and Milford Haven before crossing the Bay of Biscay.

As pilots, our forte was “the wild blue yonder” and the thought of a sea journey, of being torpedoed and ending up in the depths of the ocean was not comforting. However Gibralter was our next port of call and we arrived there after an uneventful trip. The aircraft were off loaded, assembled, test flown and hoisted aboard the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle.

H.M.S. Eagle will never be the same.

H.M.S. Eagle sinking

At 13.15 hours on 11 Aug, 1942, HMS Eagle (94) (Capt L.D. Mackintosh, RN) was hit by four torpedoes from U-73, while escorting the convoy WS-21S (Operation Pedestal) to Malta. She sank 70 miles south of Cape Salinas, Majorca, Balearic Islands. Two officers and 158 ratings were lost. The commander and 926 survivors were picked up by HMS Laforey (G 99) (Capt R.M.J. Hutton, RN), HMS Lookout (G 32) (LtCdr A.G. Forman, RN) and the tug HMS Jaunty (W 30).

The source is here.

The list of those who died.

Bruce’s contribution

Bonjour Pierre, hello John,
Back home now. Checked logbook.  Dad has no entry for 9 May 1942. He flew a Spit he marked as ” 177″  from HMS Eagle to Malta on 18 May.  I  attach (in my techo-challenged way) a copy of my working copy of the relevant page for your records.  If you would like a scanned shot of the original page let me know; I just need to warm up my antique Canon scanner.

Cheers
Bruce

logbook page

Click on the image to zoom in.

I did not know Buck McNair flew off an aircraft carrier. I have to know more. And yes Bruce I would like a scanned image from your antique Canon if possible.

Meantime I will be reading Pat Murphy’s account of Spitfires taking off HMS Eagle.

Click here to read it.

Malta Spitfire on Wasp

Spitfires on USS Wasp

Precious contribution

Pat Murphy has been contributing to this blog about 403 Squadron.

Last night he sent me this picture of Charles Charlesworth who flew with 443 Squadron.

In a sense this post belongs here and I will reblog it later on my other blog about the 443.

443 Squadron Art Sager Squadron Leader 001

Pat is a subscriber to this blog and he saw the post about Chuck Charlesworth.

He wrote this message…

Pierre really enjoying your recent postings and it’s always nice to see the Smith Brothers story again. Here is a picture that Art Sager gave me in 2004 of Charles Charlesworth at the far left, Art in the middle and Lloyd Hunt sitting on a jeep. It was taken in March 1945. Those are the only details I have.

Pat is the contributor who wrote the story about the Smith brothers.

He had more to say.

Art also gave me a 443 Squadron group photo probably taken around the same time. We never got around to identifying all those Spitfire pilots but you can see Art second from left, Charlesworth far right and Jim O’Toole is in the bottom row second from right without the hat.

443 Squadron Art Sager Squadron Leader

Pat had even more in store…

Jim lives in Nanaimo and recently celebrated his 90 birthday at the Vancouver Island Military Museum with his family in attendance, Stocky Edwards came down from Comox to say a few words and it was a fun time to see these two Spitfire pilots together. Stocky was the Wing Commander for the last few months of the War.

JIM_O'Toole2-crop

Jim on the left

Much more…

I’ve also included a picture of Jim O’Toole in his Spitfire.

All 3.9 megs of it!

Jim O'Toole

Jim O’Toole

I was so beautiful that I could not resist sprucing it up a little.

Jim O'Toole modified

We have a copy of Jim’s log book in the museum and it makes for interesting reading.

Keep up the good work

Work?

This is not work.

This is a passion!