Why have I been writing so much about RCAF 403 squadron since 2011?
You may call it obsessive writing.
I prefer calling it the duty to remember. Yesterday was June the 6th. Many people were remembering June the 6th, 1944 for a reason.
June the 6th, 1944, that is exactly why I started writing a blog in 2009 in homage to my wife’s uncle who was a stoker on HMCS Athabaskan.
I got curious when he told us about it. We were talking about his brother Jean who had been wounded on Juno Beach… That’s the first time he talked about the sinking of HMCS Athabaskan.
This, in a sense, is what leads me today to write about Arthur “Art” Monserez who was a friend of Buzz Beurling.
Courtesy Kenneth Scott
Excerpt from the book
During the early afternoon of 16 January, No. 403 Squadron flew on uneventful convoy patrols, whilst on the following day disaster struck, when Beurling lost his room-mate ‘Art’ Monserez as a result of a tragic but avoidable accident. At 1200 hours, Flight Sergeant A.J. Monserez and Sergeant D.C. Campbell took off to do cinegun and formation flying. On his approach, Monserez discovered his landing-gear wouldn’t lock properly. Taking his Spitfire back up, Monserez started throwing it about, in the hope of freeing the mechanism. He was seen going into a spin, before over-compensating and immediately going into an opposite spin from which he did not recover. Monserez crashed into a wood opposite the officer’s mess.
The sudden loss of a room-mate in an air accident must have had a devastating effect on Beurling. To lose a friend as a result of combat was one thing, but to witness an avoidable death over your home base was something completely different. But there could be no time to dwell on death in the Services, and the Squadron’s pilots were airborne within hours…