RCAF Station Gander, Wing Commander H.B. “Brandy” Godwin

Follow the lead…?

SHORT SNORTER. H.B.G.

Brandy Godwin 25-9-1942

BRANDY GODWIN!

Brandy Godwin

RCAF Station Gander, Wing Commander H.B. “Brandy” Godwin’s signature appears on the dollar bill. He appears to have also added the date.

The same pen seems to have been used for the autograph, the Short Snorter inscription and the date.

Brandy Godwin date September 25 1942

Who is Wing Commander H.B. “Brandy” Godwin?

We find more information about him here.

GODWIN, G/C Harold Brandon (C99)

Officer, Order of the British Empire

– Station Gander

– Award effective 14 June 1945 as per Canada Gazette of that date and AFRO 1127/45 dated 6 July 1945.

Born in Westmount, Quebec, 24 April 1907. Educated around Montreal, B.Sc. from McGill (Electrical Engineering) in 1928; appointed to commission 16 July 1928 and won wings 18 March 1929.

Flew at Camp Borden, Ottawa and Trenton, Signals Officer at Borden (1934-36) and later commanded Wireless School at Trenton.

In 1938 appointed Advisor (Air Signals) at RCAF Headquarters with rank of squadron leader.

During war was closely associated with signals including the following – CO, Wireless School (Trenton), Senior Signals Officer, No.3 Training Command (Montreal), CO, No.3 Wireless School (Winnipeg), Director of Air Signals (AFHQ), and CO, Gander.

Early in 1945 was posted to England as air commodore to command No.64 Base, and later made Deputy AOC, RCAF Overseas Headquarters. Attended Imperial Defence College (1946) and then made Deputy Air Member for Air Plans.

On 1 January 1952 promoted air vice-marshal and made AOC, Air Material Command. AOC No.1 Air Division, July 1955 to August 1958. Retired 13 April 1959. Joined RCA Victor after retirement. Died in Montreal, 17 November 1994. Governor General’s Records (RG.7 Group 26, Volume 59, file 190-I, dossier 7 has citation.

This officer has served with distinction over a lengthy period of service in the Royal Canadian Air Force. As Director of Signals at Air Force Headquarters and later as Commanding Officer of RCAF Station Gander, he has made an outstanding contribution to the efficiency of Royal Canadian Air Force operations in the Western Hemisphere. The unflagging energy, skill and initiative with which he has carried out his arduous duties have been an inspiration to all with whom he has served. Throughout his service his devotion to duty has been outstanding.

GODWIN, A/C Harold Brandon (C99)

Commander, Order of the British Empire – Overseas Headquarters – Award effective 13 June 1946 as per Canada Gazette of that date and AFRO 660/46 dated 5 July 1946.

Air Commodore Godwin did outstanding work in Royal Canadian Air Force Signals organization and operations in Eastern Air Command after which he was posted overseas where he became Officer in Charge of Administration at No.6 Group Headquarters and later Deputy Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, RCAF Headquarters Overseas. His untiring effort and clear thinking, together with his organizing ability, has been a considerable contribution to the solving of the many difficult problems met in the repatriation of the Royal Canadian Air Force since the cessation of hostilities. His conscientious, vigorous and enthusiastic devotion to duty is worthy of recognition.

The question is…

Where was Brandy Godwin on September 25th, 1942?

Was he on Malta the day Buzz Beurling shot down two planes?

I doubt it…


You decided

Buzz  Beurling dollar reverse comparison

Buzz  Beurling dollar reverse

Genuine artefact?

Update!

Lest We Forget

I posted this yesterday on my blog RCAF 403 Squadron.

Pat Murphy had sent me this.

Pierre,

this letter and this Canadian one dollar bill have been in a file at the Vancouver Island Military Museum for many years.

Buzz Beurling Dollar bill

We came across it a while back as we sorted through the many artefacts that we have yet to put on display. I would like to make it part of the Spitfire display in fact I would like to create a special display just for this and place it next to the picture we have of Canada’s most famous Spitfire ace, if I can verify its authenticity then we will put it up on display.

Having never seen a copy of George Beurlings signature before I’m a little hesitant to claim it’s genuine, I thought if it were to be published on your blog site I may get some opinion from…

View original post 390 more words

Genuine short snorter with Buzz Beurling’s signature?

Pat Murphy sent me this.

Pierre,

this letter and this Canadian one dollar bill have been in a file at the Vancouver Island Military Museum for many years.

Buzz Beurling Dollar bill

We came across it a while back as we sorted through the many artefacts that we have yet to put on display. I would like to make it part of the Spitfire display in fact I would like to create a special display just for this and place it next to the picture we have of Canada’s most famous Spitfire ace, if I can verify its authenticity then we will put it up on display.

Having never seen a copy of George Beurlings signature before I’m a little hesitant to claim it’s genuine, I thought if it were to be published on your blog site I may get some opinion from a collector of signatures who has seen Buzz Beurling signature.
The letter that came with the Canadian dollar bill tries to determine the names of the other signatures and has managed to figure some of them out, others are not eligible and I guess will never be known.

Beurling Dollar Bill info

On the back side of the dollar bill we see the name P/O G F Beurling, that signature is easy to read as is the words SHORT SNORTER in block letters on the left side of the bill.

Buzz Beurling Dollar bill signature

The date, September 25, 1942. Beurling was in Malta and claimed  a victory that day as well as one damaged. It stands to reason he might be celebrating that night with friends. I know he did not drink but he was famous for socializing with the fair sex and several female names appear on the bill.

Buzz Beurling Dollar bill 001 90L Buzz Beurling Dollar bill 001 180

Buzz Beurling Dollar bill 001 90L

Buzz Beurling Dollar bill Short

The tradition of the Short Snorter is not well known, It was common during the Second World War and maybe, just maybe this dollar bill is the genuine article. If any of your readers have an opinion I would love to hear them.
 
Pat Murphy
Vancouver Island Military Museum
Nanaimo B.C.

You can contact me using this contact form.

RCAF 403 Wolf Squadron Erks and Two More Destroyed German Aircraft

More contribution from Mark White

Mark White 1 wreck

This picture from my dad George White’s collection was just captioned “Damaged German Aircraft” and it shows a couple of men from his crew standing by a wreck.

The wreckage can be positively identified as the forward fuselage section from a heavily damaged Junkers Ju 88.

The unidentified Erk on the right of the photo has his hand resting on the forward fuselage, and just above his hand, on the canopy, can be seen a small circular opening. This was for a forward-firing machine-gun. That may indicate a bomber version, but as the forward nose (glazed or metal) is apparently missing, it’s rather difficult to confirm. Behind the same man, is a solid metal nose cap in a light colour, reminiscent of the C-series heavy fighters or possibly even a G-series night-fighter.
 

Mark White 1 Ju 88

This picture of a wreck shows the tail section from Focke-Wulf 190 D9. The lengthened fuselage section and the canopy frame on the ground identify it positively as a D9.

Mark White 1 wreck 2

Mark White 1 Fw 190 D9 

Mark White
January 2014.

You can contact me using this contact form.

Robert Wendell McNair Update

This comment was made about this post…

Hello Pierre /

On behalf of my family I would like to thank you for your efforts in honoring the memories of all these men profiled on your pages who gave so much.

I am replying here because I recognise and respect so many of the names on that list above for the simple reason that my father’s name is among them.

S/L HC “Charlie” Trainor flew with 126 Wing in 411 and later as CO of 401 Ram squadron, until he bailed out a second time on Sept 19 during Operation Market-Garden and was taken prisoner.

Thanks also to all who have contributed their stories and those wonderful pictures that you feature. I had the good fortune to meet some of these pilots as a youth at home on PEI  and more just a few years ago in nearby Comox  BC at a function surrounding the Y2K project.

Wishing you all the best with your efforts here.

For now / Jim Trainor

About the post I wrote…

The only thing I plan on this blog is how I react to my readers’ comments.

I reacted to Buck McNair’s son’s comment yesterday who took the time to copy down all the pilots’ names engraved on the silver mug, and I looked for more information about his father.

Dad was Wing Commander Flying 126 RCAF Airfield in  ’43- ’44.  I hope this is an appropriate posting because he also flew with Red Indian Squadron 421, mentioned above.  Dad was presented with a fine engraved silver beer mug to celebrate him shooting down ” the hundreth Hun” for the squadron. The engraving is, under a fine depiction of the “Red Indian” chieftain, as follows:

To S/Ldr RW “Buck” McNair, DFC and Bar
Who destroyed the 100th Hun
For the Canadian Spit IX Wing
Sept 1943
“Cheers Actually”

He was presented later with a silver tray by 126 Wing, engraved by all the members alive at the time ( including my Godfather and Dad’s Best Man at his wedding).  I can’t find a utility to attach photos of the tray and mug but will try to do so later.

“Presented by 126 Wing RCAF Airfield
To:
Wing Commander RW McNair
DSO DFC and Bars
Wing Commander Flying
October 1943-April 1944″

The pilots/ signatories on the tray are:
CP Wyman, J Hubbard, Gordon Lapp, Ewart Lindsey, RW Hogg, CW Fox, Len Harrison, GW Johnson, WR Tew, JS Hamilton, GB Murray, GA Bell, J
Nixon, RR Bouskill, J Sheppard, Ken Grant, DE Thorpe, JE McAllister,
JR Cronk, Tex Davenport, Bob Hayward, P Wallace, JA Shaw, JM
Bell-Irving, J Billing, TR Wheler, SJR Phillips, WT Klersy, WA Bishop,
DB Wurtele, Russ Or, SA Mills, AB Wheeler, DH Evans, RP Vatcher, T
Dowbigging, CD Cross, TW Love, W Bliss, WR Gibson, Art Booth, Monty
Berger, ML Anderson, D Laubman,  J Goldberg, RA Hayward, KLB Hodson, M Laureys, R Smith, —Marshall, H Garwood, DRC Jamieson, G Panchuk, LM
Cameron, S Berryman, Art Tooley, P Charron, DJ Dewar, RS Hyndman, WS
Johnson, NR Fowlow, G Keefer, HW Kramer, J Koch, WJ Ewens, AR
Hamilton, E Dillsul, B Needham, AF Holcourt (?), WF Guiens, Ross
Linquist, Bruce Whiteferd, Chuck Steele, HC Trainor, DD Ashleigh, HA
Heacock, WE Cummings, BH Cull, R. Stayner, Bob Hayward, Tex Davenport,
R Thitcher, WR McRae, JA Kerr.

There are a few Websites that pays homage to Robert Wendell McNair.

Here’s one.

Robert Wendell McNair

This one is most impressive.

This is an excerpt showing how great a man Buck McNair was.

Following the war Robert McNair stayed in the RCAF as they had a need for experienced senior officers. He returned to Canada to command of ?? In 1947 the French rewarded his wartime activities of liberating their country by awarding him the Croix de Guerre and the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.

McNAIR, S/L Robert Wendell, DSO, DFC (21047) – Croix de Guerre avec Palm (France) – AFRO 485/47 dated 12 September 1947 and Canada Gazette dated 20 September 1947.

McNAIR, S/L Robert Wendell, DSO, DFC (21047) – Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (France) – AFRO 485/47 dated 12 September 1947 and Canada Gazette dated 20 September 1947.

McNair’s courage and bravery exhibited in WWII carried through to his civil service when in 1953, a North Star aircraft on which he was traveling as Senior Officer crashed at Sea Island, British Columbia. Although injured and soaked in gasoline, he managed to rescue and account for all passengers and crew members. The official commendation likely says it best.

McNAIR, Wing Commander Robert Wendall (sic), DSO, DFC (21047) – Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct – Awarded as per Canada Gazette of 7 August 1954 and AFRO 448/54 dated 13 August 1954. NOTE: This was originally raised as a George Medal recommendation but downgraded inside NDHQ as it was deemed that McNair, being part of the crew, has a special responsibility with respect to passengers.

Wing Commander McNair was flying as a crew member in one of the crew rest positions of North Star 17503 when it crashed at Vancouver, British Columbia on 30 December 1953. The aircraft ended its crash landing run in an inverted position and as a result, all crew and passengers found themselves suspended in mid-aid in an upside down position. Self-preservation was uppermost in the minds of practically everyone because of the imminent danger of fire or explosion but Wing Commander McNair, cognizant of the large number of passengers being carried and the state of turmoil that must be existing, threw caution to the winds, remained in the aircraft and fought his way to the passenger compartment. Here, he set to work, restored calm and through prodigious effort assisted all passengers in evacuating the aircraft as quickly as possible. Still not content, Wing Commander McNair remained in the aircraft and personally searched through the debris on the off chance that someone might have been overlooked. Only then did he abandon the aircraft. It is to be remembered that this officer was soaked in gasoline at the time of this incident from an overturned Herman Nelson heater, a condition which would immediately bring to mind the fact that he had been badly burned by fire in his aircraft during the war and therefore should have been acutely aware of his precarious position under the present set of circumstances. The fact that the aircraft did not explode or did not take fire should not be allowed to detract in any way from the magnitude of Wing Commander McNair’s deeds, for it was only by an act of God that neither calamity occurred.

I don’t have to pay homage to Robert Wendell McNair, people have already done so. This blog has only one purpose. To reach out for relatives of those who served their country and let them share their loved one’s memories.

Robert Charles Medforth Lest We Forget

Erk Life Take Two – 403 Wolf Squadron “Life in the Forest”

Here are five pictures from my dad George White’s collection showing some of his crew members camped out in a forest.

The location where these pictures were taken and names of the men are unknown.

Judging by the vegetation and the state of the forest, I’m guessing springtime, so, perhaps Germany 1945.

Life in the forest 1

Unidentified 403 Squadron Erks

Life in the forest 2

Unidentified 403 Squadron Erks

Life in the forest 3

Unidentified 403 Squadron Erks

Life in the forest 4

Unidentified 403 Squadron Erks

Life in the forest 5

Unidentified 403 Squadron Erks

 

Mark White

January 2014

Footnote

Comment from a reader…

Perhaps, Cleve Reichswald? Germany.

I know 403 Squadron was stationed at Fassberg after the war.

You can contact me using this contact form.