I had a case of mistaken identity last time. Flying Officer Garland was not the same pilot I had mentioned on a post written in 2011.
A Canadian Tempest pilot, Flt. Lt. J. W. Garland of Richmond, Ont., jumped two Focke Wulfs just 50 feet from the ground. He dived from 9,000 feet and destroyed both.
Flying Officer Melvin Lloyd Garland was posted with 403 Squadron and he deserves his place in the history of RCAF 403 Squadron.
This photo was shared by his son David. On this one his father is seen with his wife Marguerite.
David also shared part of his father’s log book which will help me document his father’s service during WWII.
David has also shared this taken Airforce.ca website.
Thursday, 17 August, 1944
Three armed recces today and a black day for us. On the first armed recce we lost F/O Weber, a newcomer to the Squadron whom we saw bale out and on the second we lost F/O Boyle, a second tour type, an old-timer of the Squadron and a darned good type.
We also lost F/O Garland on the second recce, a newcomer, all to Jerry flak.
David copied what his father had written in his log book after he had escaped.
After several passes at many levels, I was climbing back up from one pass at about 700 feet when I was hit in the base of the right wing by a 4mm shell. The plane went out of control but I managed to recover and by trimming it hard managed to crawl along. I immediately turned for home and started climbing for height. The shell must have hit my oil cooler as the oil pressure was gone, the engine commencing to run rough and the temperature started to rise. I tried to jettison my crop top but had to slide it back finally. Flames started to come from the stacks and the temp had gone past the danger mark so I switched off the engine and prepared to bail out. By the time I reached approximately 2000 feet, undid my harness, opened my door, stood up in the seat, slowed the plane up to about 130 and looking down dove out. My trip was suddenly stopped as I was halfway out. Later I reasoned that it was my dinghy straps that had become entangled with the door. I managed to hack loose and after feeling myself slide along the fuselage and past the tail, I pulled the ripcord and waited what felt like hours. Suddenly my fall was stopped with a quick jolt and looking up saw my chute opened. On looking down, I was just in time to see my plane explode into the ground. I had bailed out I think near St. Pierre which was about five miles south east of Caen and at that time was in the center of fighting. I pulled my chute half shut in order to reach the ground as quickly as possible in case any German snipers were around. I landed in the matter of a few seconds in the center of a small field filled with hay. I released my chute and started to run as fast as I could to the nearest hedge. When about ten yards from it I heard something like “Halt” and on looking closely at a small hole in the hedge, I observed a German with a machine gun pointed at me. I immediately stopped and upon his direction went slowly towards him. On passing through the hedge, I discovered about thirty five Germans along the hedge. It must have been a German patrol which I had run across in No Man’s Land. After searching me, they commenced to move slowly back to their lines with their head Sargent keeping a very close watch upon me. We kept walking until about nine at night when the Sargent brought me to what seemed a divisional headquarters.
David also wrote:
F/O Garland would later escape capture and find his way back to London via the French underground. He would furlough back home but not have to return to battle due to the war ending. F/O Garland would return to Canada, marry his sweetheart Marguerite, and successfully obtain an Engineering degree from Queen’s and ultimately his MBA from Harvard.
F/O Garland with Marguerite had 6 children, 15 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren (still counting). F/O Garland passed away in September 2007.