The Duty to Remember – Albert Lloyd Haynes Jr.

Stephen Nickerson had another comment about this group picture.

But he was not the only one who commented about it.

Albert Haynes 21 August 1942

Of the remaining five pilots not listed, I have not been able to find pictures to the following pilots I know who served with 403 squadron at that time.

Their names are Sgts. H.S. Anderson,

M.F. Fletcher,

A.L. Haynes,

D.L. Rawson,

A. Thomas,

P/Os C.R. Olmsted, J. Mozolowski, and F/O J. Wiejski.

Hopefully, someone can match a face with the above mentioned names in the group picture of 403 at Catterick in August 1942.

Last week Stephen Nickerson had found C. F. Sorensen on the group picture, and then I found Vicki Sorensen, Frank Sorensen’s daughter on the Internet, and contacted her. Vicki Sorensen shared this photo of her father with a whole lot more information about him.

Flight Lieutenant Frank Sorensen is seen here on a photo taken in 1945 after the war. On the group photo taken on August 21, 1942 he is still a sergeant.

How do I know?

We have access to the operational record books of 403 Squadron which are available on This is the link to 1942.

This is what we can find about all the 403 squadron pilots on August 1942. Sergeant Sorensen is mentionned only once on 22 August, 1942.

August 1942
RCAF 403 Squadron

Saturday, 1 August, 1942
Weather, 4/10ths cloud with a heavy ground haze until 1400 hours when it lifted a little. Flying was practically at a standstill until the afternoon.
Pilot Officer J.E. Gardiner has been put on charge for low flying. He was returning from an air-to-air firing and cine gun practice with F/S Turner on July 27th and was seen flying at a low altitude. He was not aware that he was doing anything wrong. His action was the normal flying done down South from where we have just come. He was not doing a beat-up, simply looking the land over, as is customary practice now, to familiarize himself with the ground appearance from low altitude. P/O Gardiner is definitely the steadiest young pilot in the Squadron. He does not drink, is exceptionally keen about flying, is very conscientious and is acting No. 2 in the Flight. At 1925 hours, F/S D.L. Rawson, in attempting to make a steep landing, struck the ground very hard and damaged his port oleo leg, making it impossible to lock the left undercart in the down position. Realizing that he had damaged his oleo, he asked for and received permission to land at Scorton aerodrome so that he could make a long flat approach. He made a good one-wheel landing but damaged the port wing tip and flap. Aircraft is a Category ‘A’ damage.

Sunday, 2 August, 1942
Weather 8/10ths to 10/10ths cloud with haze and poor visibility. Flying practically nil. Very little wind. Sgt T.H. Skebo, Can 4190A, is leaving the Squadron to take a course as a Flight Engineer. He is an excellent NCO, a good tradesman and an above average type. He is keen to go on this course to qualify for flying duties. Sgt A. Thomas R.100332 has been detached for two weeks to attend 13 Group refresher course on Navigation, to be held at No. 2 School of Air Navigation Cranage. F/L Jephson of 406 Squadron is holding a Summary of Evidence on the charge of low flying against P/O J.E. Gardiner.

Monday, 3 August, 1942
Weather, 10/10ths cloud, visibility bad all day and flying washed out until 1700 hours. A scramble was called at 1930 hours as a Dornier 217 was reported in the vicinity, but nothing was sighted. The poor visibility made contact with the e/a a matter of chance, as he stuck to the heavy cloud formation. Bombs were dropped on Middlesborough. S/L AC Deere, DFC and Bar, arrived back from leave in the evening after a week in the South of England looking tanned and fit. He reported warm weather throughout his leave. F/O H.F. Francis, the Adjutant, left today to take up duties at 405 Squadron, with his successor, Flying Officer SE Bringloe, having reported for the previous evening. The Sergeant’s mess at Hartlepool held a well attended party in the evening. All present reported a high time, particularly Sgt Johnston. Sports Day was postponed until August 8th, due to the inclement weather.

Tuesday, 4 August, 1942
Weather, clearing slightly with about 8/10ths cloud at 2,000 feet and visibility of 3 to 10 miles. Formation practice and tail chase was done by ‘B’ Flight as well as Halifax co-operation in the afternoon. Uneventful day for ‘A’ Flight at West Hartlepool. A party was arranged for the performers of an ENSA show at the Officer’s Mess at the conclusion of the entertainment but they could not attend. Undaunted, the Mess members carried on and several new liquid tenors were discovered.
Wednesday, 5 August, 1942
Weather 6/10ths cloud at 4,000 feet, clearing slightly in the evening with visibility of 15 to 20 miles. A quiet day for ‘A’ Flight with one uneventful scramble. Flight formation, cine gun, high altitude flight by one section at 30,000 feet and general flying was carried out by ‘B’ Flight. Dog fights were also flown between Mustangs and Spitfires, the former showing surprising manoeuvrability and had the Spit cold turkey several times. F/L LS Ford tried out a Mustang during the afternoon and was much impressed. Spitfire EN797 was slightly damaged today in an unusual occurrence. The mainplane buckled slightly when Sgt H.J. Dowding pulled out of a dive at 360 mph. The a/c is being flown to the repair unit for inspection.

Thursday, 6 August, 1942
Weather, 6/10ths cumulus at 4,000 feet with some ground haze and visibility up to 20 miles. The Squadron did some formation at 1015 hours, rendezvousing at West Hartlepool where the CO remained for lunch. It was a normal day for ‘B’ Flight, with cine gun, aerobatics and general flying. Two sections went on Ground Control Interception in the afternoon. ‘A’ Flight had one scramble from West Hartlepool in the morning but no activity came out if it. ‘A’ Flight will return to Catterick on August 9th, 1942. The latest ‘Wings Abroad’, dated August 5th carries the awarding of the DFC to Sergeant Pilot Beurling of Verdun, Quebec, who destroyed four Axis fighter aircraft and damaged several others on July 27th, giving him a total of 12 a/c destroyed. Sergeant Beurling spent seven months with 403 Squadron, serving under F/L ‘Brad’ Walker DFC.

Friday, 7 August, 1942
Weather 8/10ths to 10/10ths cumulus at 4,000 feet. The Squadron formation practice at 1400 hours was called off due to heavy cloud formation and unfavourable weather at West Hartlepool. No flying was done by ‘A’ Flight all day. ‘B’ Flight carried out cine gun, aerobatics and formation in the morning. Flying Officer J. Wiejski returned from leave today.

Saturday, 8 August, 1942
Weather 10/10ths cumulus with intermittent rain all day. Flying was suspended and the Sports Parade is washed out until tomorrow at 1400 hours.

Sunday, 9 August, 1942
Weather, 6/10ths cloud with a wind of 15 to 20 mph from the NW. The Squadron did a formation practice at 1015 hours. Rendezvous was made at West Hartlepool. ‘A’ Flight postponed their return to Catterick until tomorrow, so they would not interfere with Sports Parade today. The Meet finally got underway at 1400 hours after two postponements due to the bad weather. 403 Squadron made a creditable showing as indicated by the following: Cycle Race 1st place AC1 Last; Shot Put 1st place Sgt P. Lassardo, and 3rd place LAC Kerwin; Discus 2nd place LAC Kerwin; 220 yards 2nd place AC2 Worn; 1 mile relay 2nd place 403 Squadron; 440 relay 2nd place 403 Squadron; Javelin 3rd place Sgt Lassardo; and 100 yards 3rd place P/O J.E. Gardiner. It was an enjoyable afternoon with the weather turning quite warm and sunny. A number of wives and friends of those involved attended.

Monday, 10 August, 1942
Weather 10/10ths cumulus with intermittent rain all day. The return of ‘A’ Flight was postponed until 1600 hours due to the weather conditions at Catterick. P/O J.E. Gardiner will be ‘B’ Flight Commander during the stay at West Hartlepool in the absence of F/L LS Ford who left today to attend the CTC course at Dundonald. No flying activity was done by either flight today.

Tuesday, 11 August, 1942
Weather 6/10ths cloud with the wind at 10 to 15 mph from the NW. At 1200 hours, a scramble was done by Blue Section, P/O Gardiner and F/O Wiejski, over the base and returning in 20 minutes without contact being made. General flying was done by ‘A’ Flight – aerobatics, cine gun, tail chase and formation. Good news for the Squadron, for today commissions were granted to six NCO pilots: F/S G.D. Aitken, F/S H.S. Anderson, Sgt H.J. Murphy, F/S C.R. Olmsted, Sgt M. Johnston and Sgt Monchier, all effective 20 June, 1942. This action will strengthen the Squadron immeasurably and prove a real factor in building up morale. Word was received that the AOC of the Group has recommended that court-martial action be taken against P/O J.E. Gardiner after a review of the Summary of Evidence.

Wednesday, 12 August, 1942
Weather, 5/10ths to 8/10ths cumulus at 4,000 feet, clearing towards the evening. A scramble was done at 0620 hours by ‘B’ Flight at West Hartlepool by Blue Section, P/O Gardiner and F/O J. Wiejski. They were airborne for 15 minutes and saw no action. The Squadron did a formation practice at 1450 hours, rendezvousing at West Hartlepool. Convoy duty by Sgt Fletcher and Sgt A.L. Haynes was done at 1555 hours, lasting one hour and 10 minutes and being uneventful. At 1605 hours P/O Olmsted and Sgt Dow were scrambled above the base. About 5 miles from Whitby, P/O Olmsted sighted what appeared to be a Dornier 217 at 1,000 yards. He could not close the gap and it disappeared into heavy cloud at 2,000 feet. With the weather getting sticky, they finally returned to base after being airborne for 50 minutes. P/O Magwood returned from sick leave today, reporting to West Hartlepool immediately.

Thursday, 13 August, 1942
Weather, 6/10ths to 10/10ths cumulus at 3,000 feet. It was overcast and threatening most of the day. One scramble was done by ‘B’ Flight at West Hartlepool, who intercepted a friendly aircraft. Local formation flying was done in the afternoon. General flying practice was done by ‘A’ Flight in the morning. Word was received today that S/L AC Deere DFC and Bar has been posted to staff duties at Group Headquarters and will leave the Squadron on August 16th, 1942. It is bad news for the Squadron as his ability and leadership have been an inspiration since he joined the Unit. F/L LS Ford DFC will assume command. He is known to the Squadron and will have the respect and confidence of all.

Friday, 14 August, 1942
Weather, fine with 5/10ths to 8/10ths light cloud at 4,000 to 6,000 feet and closing in during the late afternoon. No flying activity was done by either flight during the day. ‘B’ Flight returned to Catterick at 1600 hours.

Saturday, 15 August, 1942
Weather started out fine but closed in during the early morning with low cloud, very poor visibility and intermittent rain. There was no flying today, instead, modifications were carried out on the a/c. The advance ground party left for Manston today.

Sunday, 16 August, 1942
The Squadron took off at 0845 hours for Manston, landing at North Weald owing to bad weather and arriving at Manston at 1400 hours. The second ground party left by train, owing to bad weather at Catterick. The weather was fine at Manston but two a/c overshot on landing (AA736 and AA979). P/O H.S. Anderson broke a shoulder blade and was taken to hospital while P/O M. Johnston was uninjured.

Monday, 17 August, 1942
The second ground party arrived at Manston at 0900 hours. The weather today was very fine with no cloud and only a slight haze on the seaboard. The Squadron took off at 1245 hours, S/L Ford DFC leading, and took part in a Wing Circus in the direction of St. Omer. No opposition was encountered and no matters of interest to report. The Squadron landed safely at 1341 hours. The Squadron was briefed with the Wing for a circus in the direction of Dunkirk at 1545 hours and took off at 1635 hours. Nothing was seen or reported during the operation and the Squadron landed safely at 1805 hours. S/L Ford led the Squadron on both operations.

Tuesday, 18 August, 1942
Weather, fine with good visibility. From 0620 hours, sections began patrolling the convoys in the Channel and the Thames Estuary until 1300 hours. The Squadron, under S/L Ford, took off from Manston at 1600 hours in a circus to the shores of Holland. 12 a/c from the Squadron took part and all landed safely at 1720 hours. At 1830 hours all pilots were briefed for the 19th August.

Wednesday, 19 August, 1942
Weather, fine with a little low, some medium and high clouds and visibility starting at 4,600 yards and improving gradually during the day. The Squadron was ordered to a state of preparedness from 0500 hours to carry out combined operations against Dieppe.

The first sortie was made at 0645 hours; the whole Squadron took off under the command of Squadron Leader Ford. It reached Dieppe at 0715 hours and served as close cover for the ships carrying out the operation. F/L G.V. Hill and his number 2, Sgt M.K. Fletcher attacked a FW 190. The e/a fell to pieces and went into a dive in flames. P/O H.J. Murphy successfully attacked a ME 109 and gave it three long bursts, going down to deck level after it. The e/a turned on its back and, when he last saw it, it was a few feet from the ground and was out of control. The combat took place in the valley South East of Dieppe and he could not observe the final result, as he had to take evasive action to avoid hitting the hills. The Squadron landed at 0820 hours.
Three a/c of the Squadron failed to return: AR334, EN850 and AR439 flown by P/O N. Monchier, P/O L.A. Walker and P/O J.E. Gardiner. Enemy casualties: 1 ME 109 and 1 FW 190 destroyed.

The second sortie was made at 1115 hours, the whole Squadron again taking off from Manston under the command of S/L Ford DFC. The Squadron went to Dieppe and covered the ships withdrawal. Heavy smoke, rising over 3,000 feet was seen over Dieppe and some fierce fires were burning. The Squadron again patrolled at 2,500 to 3,000 feet and, after 30 minutes, noticed a number of e/a approaching and several engagements took place. S/L Ford opened fire on a FW 190 at close range, the e/a falling to pieces, parts of which hit S/L Ford’s number 2, P/O R. Wozniak but caused no damage. The e/a burst into flames and went down. This took place on the Dieppe waterfront. F/L P.T. O’Leary opened fire at 150 yards on a FW 190; black smoke poured out and it went down, disappearing in the clouds. He tried to follow it through the cloud and came against another FW 190 to which he gave a burst at 250 yards. Smoke poured out and the e/a, apparently out of control, went down rapidly, swaying violently. He took a film that may support his claim of this e/a being destroyed. His first engagement is confirmed by his number 2, P/O J. Mozolowski, who witnessed the smoke pouring out. Sgt A.L. Haynes opened fire on a rapidly diving e/a but no claim was made. All 12 a/c landed safely at 1315 hours. Our losses were nil and the enemy losses were 2 FW 190 destroyed and 2 FW 190s damaged.

The third sortie was made at 1620 hours under S/L Ford. The Squadron went to the French Coast and reported that most of our ships were safely more than half way home. Several of the pilots had combats and three of them were successful. S/L Ford shot at a FW 190 that caught fire and crashed into the sea. The pilot was seen to get into his dinghy. Sgt M.K. Fletcher gave several bursts to a FW 190 and smoke poured out before the e/a disappeared into the clouds. Sgt Cabas fired his cannon but makes no claim. All 12 a/c of the Squadron landed safely at Manston at 1820 hours. Our losses nil. Enemy losses two FW 190s destroyed, one FW 190 damaged.

The fourth sortie took place from 1925 hours to 2030 hours, with the whole Squadron taking off under the command of S/L Ford and returning safely. No e/a were encountered and nothing of interest was reported.
The Squadron behaved in a most excellent manner and deserves every congratulation. All ranks behaved splendidly and the ground staff co-operated in a most hearty way. At 1630 hours, a signal was received from the AOC, asking all ranks to make a further effort as we were in view of a great air victory.

Thursday, 20 August, 1942

A signal was received from the AOC congratulating all of the Squadrons concerned on the fine results of yesterday’s air battles.

The weather today was fine with no low cloud and only small amounts of high cloud during the morning. The Squadron received orders to return to Catterick and the rail party, consisting of 66 of the ground crew, with F/O A.H. Warner (EO) and P/O J.H. Long (IO), left at 1300 hours, reaching Catterick at 2359 hours. The road party, with F/L G.A. Black (MO) in charge, left during the evening, staying at North Weald for the night. The pilots left by air at 1330 hours and arrived at Catterick by 1600 hours.

Friday, 21 August, 1942

The Squadron was released from operations at 1000 hours today until 1000 hours tomorrow. At 1600 hours, the road party arrived from North Weald, which they left at 0700 hours. A very enjoyable dance was held in the Sergeant’s Mess to which all officers were invited. P/O R. Wozniak left for 7 days leave.

Saturday, 22 August, 1942

‘B’ Flight moved on to West Hartlepool during the morning and ‘A’ Flight took readiness at Catterick. Sgt C.F. Sorensen took off at 1430 hours to do aerobatics at 2,000 feet near Leeming. At about 1500 hours, his engine failed and he was compelled to make a forced landing on the edge of Leeming aerodrome. His aircraft was completely written off but fortunately, he escaped uninjured. There was no operational flying today. Sector reccos, aerobatics and formation flying were carried out.

Sunday, 23 August, 1942

Weather very low 10/10ths cloud and very poor visibility. The only thing that took place was a weather test by F/L O’Leary and P/O K.P. Marshall. F/S F.C. Turner returned by road from West Hartlepool on being posted from the Squadron.

Monday, 24 August, 1942

Weather low cloud of 10/10ths at 300 to 400 feet at first with a slight improvement during the afternoon and evening. Red and Yellow Sections were on readiness here at Catterick as the weather at West Hartlepool closed in during the evening. P/O H.J. Murphy and P/O M. Johnston left early in the morning on their way down South to join 402 Squadron. Though sorry to leave 403, they are nonetheless pleased to be going to 11 Group with its promise of greater activity. They will be very much missed in the Squadron, both being experienced pilots.

Tuesday, 25 August, 1942

Weather rain and low 10/10ths cloud all day. No flying. The pilots attended a film show ‘Next-of-Kin’ in the Station Cinema during the afternoon.

Wednesday, 26 August, 1942

Weather, rain and low cloud during the morning and the afternoon saw some improvement before it closed in again in the early evening, this time with heavy rain. Apart from a weather test in the morning there was no flying until the early evening when some local formation flying and a cannon test was done. The pilots attended a film show on Combined Operations in the Station Intelligence Office during the afternoon. F/O R.J.O. Doehler, the new Engineering Officer, arrived on being posted to the Squadron.

Thursday, 27 August, 1942

Intermittent rain all day and the cumulus cloud that was almost on the ground. Flying was suspended for both Flights. Nothing of interest to report.

Friday, 28 August, 1942

Weather clearing and very hot with a ground haze to 500 feet most of the day. West Hartlepool flying was washed out due to poor visibility. At 1445 hours, a section, under S/L Ford, left for Topcliffe to carry out co-operation with the Halifaxes at 8,000 feet, returning to base at 1530 hours. The Sergeant’s were entertained at the Officer’s mess in the evening. It was well attended with a number of 403 Squadron NCOs coming form Hartlepool.

Saturday, 29 August, 1942

Weather was again closed in, with 10/10ths cloud all day and no flying. Plans for a Squadron dance were drawn up with a tentative date set for Sept 18th. 403 has been assigned a part in the Station Defence Plan, being required to man four machine gun posts. The schedule of the gun crews for each post was formulated and a practice will be held shortly. Morning PT of one half hour daily will start next week for all ground crew as part of the Squadron policy to keep personnel in fighting trim and good health during the winter months.

Sunday, 30 August, 1942

Weather still unfit for flying, 10/10ths cloud with a heavy mist and rain. No activity of any kind to report.

Monday, 31 August, 1942

Weather was improving with 10/10ths cumulus cloud at 1,000 feet in the morning, which cleared somewhat in the afternoon. One section of ‘A’ Flight got airborne at 1500 hours for 30 minutes. No flying activity was done by ‘B’ Flight at West Hartlepool. S/L Ford left for three days of leave in Edinburgh where he will act as the best man at the wedding of F/L NR Dick, a former member of 403 Squadron.

What about the other comment made by Don Howard?

Albert Haynes flew with the RCAF 403 in ’41-’42. I have a few pictures of him and his story on a Facebook page here:

If you are interested in more information feel free to email me.

More tribute here:

Joined RCAF.
Pilot training Camp Borden, Ontario from September to December 1941.
Shipped overseas ETO.
Assigned to 403 Sqn RAF 17-6-42, Spitfire Mk Vb AR438 ‘Dorothy I’ ‘Pappy’
Returned USA to share ETO fighter experience
Joined 26th FS, 51st FG 14th AF in China, defending the Chinese end of the ‘Hump’ route and air bases in the Kunming area.
Out of Kweilin on an escort mission for 11th BS B-25’s on a mission to bomb in the Changsha area. Jumped by 15-20 Oscar fighters and shot down in P-40N Warhawk 42-104930, baled out over Hengyang, China 5-7-44.


Eye Witness certain he landed in Hengyang which was at the time surrounded by Japanese troops.

MACR’s 7268/7593.

MIA/FOD Crash site unknown. Body unrecovered as yet.

When and Where

LeClare Allerthorn Walker should be on this group photo.

But he is not. LeClare Allerthorn Walker was shot down on August 19, 1942.

Collection Robert Brookes

LeClare Allerthorn Walker’s biography is on this blog for you to read.

20 pilots pose for posterity after August 19, 1942. 8 have been identified. I knew some of them but Doug Banks found some more.

One of them looked familiar…

Collection Fred Turner

Contact – Paying homage to an airframe mechanic and his pilot

Hello, my father (Sgt Robert Brookes) was in the 403 from 41 or 42 to when his 5 years were up just before the war ended. He was an airframe mechanic and trained in St. Thomas before being shipped over.

Anyway, I don’t have a lot of pictures. But in an interesting coincidence the first picture link (below) seems to be of LeClare Walker who I saw on your blog, so it is possible then that my father was his mechanic.

The second is a not very good picture of my father in uniform.

The third is a Hawker Typhoon at night.




To be continued…

Buzz with 403 Squadron

I have started reading Sniper of the Skies.


There is precious information about RCAF 403 Squadron when Buzz Beurling was attached first to that squadron.

The sergeant-pilots were billeted in a house close to the airfield, where Beurling shared a room with Flight Sergeant ‘Art’ Monserez. 

Three days after Beurling’s arrival, the Air Officer Commander 11 Group, Air ViceMarshal Leigh-Mallory, visited the Squadron, pausing to talk to the pilots and 
Reporting to Martlesham Heath, Beurling was escorted to the CO’s office by the Squadron Adjutant. Squadron Leader A.G. ‘Pinky’ Douglas, DFC, had led the unit since 30 September 1941, and was one of the few non-Canadian pilots on the Squadron. Beurling later recalled how at their first meeting, Douglas had flicked though his log book, pausing to read his assessments and to remind the young Canadian: ‘Here you’ve got to obey orders and fly how you’re told.’ 

Beurling was informed that he was to be assigned to ‘B’ Flight, which at the time included amongst its members: 

Flying Officer R.R. Gillespie (flight commander) 
Flight Sergeant Larry Somers 
Pilot Officer William Forsythe ‘Bill’ Munn 
Pilot Officer N.D.R. ‘Norm’ Dick 
Flight Sergeant Arthur Joseph ‘Art’ Monserez 
Sergeant D.C. ‘Don’ Campbell 
Sergeant Ken Collison 
​Sergeant Crawford Sergeant A.J. Schmitz 

‘A’ Flight, meanwhile, was composed of: 
Flight Lieutenant J.C.P. ‘Timber’ Wood (English) 
Pilot Officer H.H. ‘Mac’ McDonald 
Pilot Officer John N. Cawsey 
Pilot Officer C.M. Magwood 
Pilot Officer J. Parr 
Pilot Officer Johnny Baptiste Bernard Rainville 
Flight Sergeant George Albert ‘Rick’ Ryckman 
Sergeant Hugh Belcher 
Sergeant Eric Ambrose ‘Junior’ or ‘Crisy’ Crist 
Sergeant Hubbard 
Sergeant O’Neil 
Sergeant L.A. Walker 

One name was familiar.

So I Googled his name.

Lo and behold!

Click here.

February 1942

LeClare Allerthorn Walker’s name does not appear in the February 1942 ORB. Beurling’s name appears twice.


February 1942
Sunday, 1 February, 1942
Overcast, snowing heavily most for the morning, clearing in the afternoon.  Quite a heavy fall of snow.  All personnel, pilots and airmen, had a fair amount of exercise clearing runways of snow.  It was nice to see the clean white snow making a blanket on the good mother earth, more than one was a bit homesick.  Due to the weather conditions, S/L Campbell and the pilots returned from Hunsdon by motor transport, and the a/c remained at Hunsdon.  P/O Magwood went to Stapleford on a course.

Monday, 2 February, 1942
Weather overcast intermittent snow and drizzle, fair in the afternoon.  More snow to be cleared so all personnel cheerfully marched forth with shovel and broom and did a very nice piece of work.  In the afternoon, S/L Campbell did some circuits and landings to test the runways after snow clearing.  Sgts O’Neil, Munn, Ryckman, Somers, Connell and P/O Dick did some training on the link.

Tuesday, 3 February, 1942
Weather snowing again and the Squadron is clearing the runways.  Weather closed in later on.  Due to the weather, one section was held to readiness while the remainder of the Squadron were put on 30 minutes notice.  The Squadron was released off the Station at 1400 hours.  All the pilots took advantage of this, going to Epping for shopping, to the cinema, or to enjoy a meal outside of the Mess.  Four Sgt Pilots departed for Hunsdon to bring back the a/c that remained there from night flying.  All a/c were grounded for aileron droop, two pilots to do the taxing of the a/c to the hangar.

Wednesday, 4 February, 1942
Weather was bad and operations were cancelled.  The aircraft were tested for aileron modification.  Four aircraft returned from Hunsdon.  This was an excellent piece of work.  F/L Foster, RCAF Public Relations Branch, visited the Squadron together with F/O Hunter, getting the ‘gen’ on the Squadrons pilots.

Thursday, 5 February, 1942
Weather still bad with snow.  At 0900 hours a weather and aircraft test were carried out; flying was washed out but ‘B’ Flight was held at 30 minutes notice.

Friday, 6 February, 1942
Weather persistent, still bad although it cleared up somewhat in the late afternoon.  At 0950 hours, Red Section scrambled to Clacton-on-Sea.  Runways were slippery and Sgt Ryckman crashed while taxing for take-off.  RAF Orchestra gave a most enjoyable concert in Drury Lane, which was very well received by all ranks.  Pay parade was held at 1105 hours.

Saturday, 7 February, 1942
Weather, low cloud base today but still able to carry out training flying.  Four a/c were tested for aileron modification.  Red, Yellow and Blue Sections did some formation and cine-gun practice.  P/O Hurst did aerobatics, Sgt McDonald did some pinpointing.  Training was finished at 1710 hours.  ‘B’ Watch, RTO’s WAAF, North Weald have taken over 403 Squadron to mother.  Should be no ‘opening of escapade’ in socks now.  One officer and eight airmen went to Stapleford for Military Training Course lasting 7 days.

Sunday, 8 February, 1942
Weather cloudy with some fair intervals becoming more stable in the afternoon.  Vis 3 to 6 miles.  Formation flying was carried out by the Squadron during the morning.  At 1345 hours, Blue and Green Sections went on convoy patrol east of Bradwell bay, these were relieved by other sections at 1800 hours.  The different types of camouflage on Destroyers was noticed.  It was agreed amongst the pilots that those with pinkish grey camouflage were more readily distinguished.  P/O Zoochkan struck a parked motorcycle while taxing down the perimeter doing damage to both the motorcycle and starboard wing.  Owing to the ridges of hard snow on the edge of the runways and the roughness caused by the snow, the damage to the aircraft was not observed until after landing from operations.  P/O Cawsey misjudged the landing, running short and the port wheel engaged the barbwire used for station Defence, resulting in the tire of wheel to be torn and no further damage.  The Squadron was released at 1831 hours.  Good day’s work.

Monday, 9 February, 1942
Weather fog-bound with slight drizzle. The Squadron was released from readiness.  The pilots went to the Link Trainer.  After lunch, the pilots enjoyed a half-hour of PT and ,at 1530 hours, were released from the Station.  The pilots crew room at dispersal has been considerably cleaned and made more comfortable.  Woollen comforts were distributed to NCOs and Airmen from the Red Cross Society.  These were much needed and are greatly appreciated.

Tuesday, 10 February, 1942
Weather, mainly cloudy with much fog at first.  Visibility improving slowly, from 1,000 to 4,000 yards.  At 1100 hours, two sections TOB on convoy patrol, SE of Orfordness at 17 plus.  The aircraft were recalled due to weather.  They found thick haze to 1,500 feet over the convoy and ran into rain on the way back, landing at 1210 hours.  Convoy was sighted and nothing to report on e/a.  Sgt Somers reported seeing what he thought was sea rescue work being carried out by 3 or more MTBs in the vicinity of the convoy.  The Chilean Ambassador and staff visited the Station and the Squadron, making some observations of the crew room and dispersal generally.  His remarks were conveyed through an interpreter.  A surprise visit was paid to the Squadron by AVM Leckie, F/L Hamilton, and W/C McGregor of the RCAF Headquarters.  AVM Leckie interviewed the pilots in the manner of a friendly chat, with the view of gaining data and suggestions that would be valuable to training pilots for war activity.  A splendid type of gentleman whose easy manner quickly put the pilots at ease won their confidence.  At 1100 hours, Red and Blue Sections got airborne on convoy patrols 8 miles SE of Orfordness and,  at 1215 hours, were recalled and landed.  Formation flying was carried out during the afternoon until 1705 hours.  The Squadron certainly had their share of celebrities today.  It is hoped that they were as favourably impressed with us as we were with them.

Wednesday, 11 February, 1942
Weather, bright and clear at first in the morning with a slight ground haze.  Vis 3 to 6 miles.  At 0945 hours, with S/L Campbell as leader, the Squadron took off to practice operational and formation flying.  They were recalled at 1030 hours to stand by for an offensive escort job.  The sweep was cancelled at 1240 hours.  At 1300 hours, one Flight was brought to readiness and one Flight at 15 minutes readiness.  At 1350 hours, one Flight went on convoy patrol off Shoeburyness and were relieved at 1440 hours when the aircraft were ordered to patrol another convoy 15 miles off Clacton-on-Sea at 1530 hours.  This patrol continued to 1800 hours and the Squadron was released at 1840 hours.  A good afternoon’s operations.

Thursday, 12 February, 1942
Weather fair to fine, becoming cloudy with fog.  The Squadron was at readiness at 0737 hours.  At 0900 hours, two a/c (Red Section), F/S McDonald and P/O Cawsey, were scrambled to investigate e/a, report number 27, coming into Clacton-on-Sea.  A/C given 2 vectors onto raider that was a single e/a plotted at 3,000 feet.  Our Section was at 8,000 feet.  Controller vectored them 120 degrees from Clacton-on-Sea.  Red Section reported visibility bad and was instructed to use their own discretion.  At 0930 hours R/T failed.  F/S McDonald reports that he and P/O Cawsey dived into cloud then he suddenly felt his aircraft shudder and he lost control.  The instruments in his a/c went haywire and the a/c went to pieces, tumbling over and over toward the sea.  F/S McDonald bailed out, landing in the sea close to a naval craft which picked him up four minutes after entering the water at approximately 0943 hours.  F/S McDonald was taken to Ashmore Naval Hospital, Brightlingsae.  He was suffering from shock but was otherwise uninjured.  P/O Cawsey, after entering the cloud, was not seen or heard from again.  The skipper of the Naval craft HMD Reids reported that he saw F/S McDonald break cloud in his parachute and what appeared to be an a/c dive into the sea a mile distant.  He did not see any further a/c or parachute break cloud.  P/O Cawsey was a very likeable lad, conscientious, punctual in his appointments, but inclined to be over confident.  At 1100 hours, the Squadron was brought to readiness and was briefed for a Wing show with targets being the battleships SCHARNHORST and GNEISENAU in convoy going through the Straits of Dover.  The Wing took off at 1140 hours with S/L Milne leading.  Our Squadron was under the leadership of S/L Campbell, (Red Blue and Yellow Sections) with W/C Eyre as Red 4.  The Wing was to join with the Debden Wing overhead and then proceed to the coast.  The Wing was over Manston, at 1442 hours, disappearing into cloud in a climb to 7,000 feet on the way to the target, with another broken layer at 2,000 feet.  As they approached the target, S/L Campbell, who was at 2,500 feet, saw a burst of smoke between himself and Gravelines on the French Coast.  As he turned right, two Hudsons appeared on the same level flying in the same direction.  S/L Campbell kept on the port side as he was waiting for the Squadron to break through cloud.  Suddenly, 3 ME 109Es made a head-on quarter attack at the Hudsons.  S/L Campbell tired to head them off, giving full deflection of shot which had the effect of sheering one away, the other two dived to sea level and were lost in the cloud.  The Hudsons did not appear to be damaged.  S/L Campbell turned and saw to the East a large blaze on the water with what appeared to be a ship with port and starboard sides ablaze.  More ME 109es appeared from the East at cloud base; he gave chase, mixing in with a lot of Spitfires.  By this time, he had lost the Squadron and, whilst trying to rejoin them, flew over the ships noting that the blaze was now out.  At 1503 hours, he saw what he thought were two Flak ships throwing up flak bursting at 2,000 feet near the cloud base.  Two of our Squadron, with three other Spits joined S/L Campbell and they headed West.  The ME 109s kept breaking cloud base but when the Squadron turned on them, they took cover.  At 1518 hours, approximately eight Wimpys appeared from the East.  S/L Campbell escorted them to 15 miles off Dover and then returned to base.  The Wimpys were still flying on a Southerly direction.  Our Yellow Section engaged e/a at 2,000 feet.  Sgt Ryckman positioned his a/c on the tail of a ME 109F and gave it a two-second burst at 275 yards with cannon and machine gun.  The e/a was seen to pour black smoke and took evasive action.  The e/a straightened out long enough for Ryckman to get in another 3-second burst and strikes were seen on the wings and the fuselage.  Heavy black smoke and flames shot from the engine and the e/a went into a dive at 2,000 feet, disappearing into cloud.  A second e/a appeared but was lost in the cloud.  Sgt Ryckman with Sgt Crist (Yellow 3) engaged a third e/a and both fired a 3-second burst at 300 yards from astern and a second burst of 1 second from dead astern.  The e/a disappeared into the cloud but before doing so, strikes were seen on the wings and the fuselage.  Sgt Ryckman returned to base, having run out of ammunition.  The dive of the first e/a was enveloped in smoke and flames and was witnessed by Sgt Crist and P/O Parr.  Sgts Crawford and Somers saw a ME 109E dive toward them out of the cloud, both turned to their right and fired a 3-second burst of cannon and machine gun.  No strikes were seen.  Both a/c then rejoined their sections.  Sgt Crawford engaged a second ME 109 on his right front angle of 45 degrees, firing a 3-second burst of cannon and machine gun fire, then he rejoined his section.  All a/c returned to base by 1715 hours, after having quite a party with one e/a destroyed and another damaged.  Those in the sortie were: S/L Campbell, P/O Magwood, Sgts Schmitz (Red 1,2 and 3), F/L Walker, F/S Crawford, F/S Somers (Blue 1, 2 and 3) F/S Ryckman, P/O Parr, F/S Crist (Yellow 1,2 and 3) and W/C Eyre (Red 4).

Friday, 13 February, 1942
Weather fair to fine with part sunshine, clearing in the morning.  Cloud 6/10ths  to 9/10ths.  At 0900 hours, two sections went on formation flying.  These were recalled as the Squadron was put on readiness at 0946 hours.  The sections LAB at 0955 hours and 1010 hours.  F/S Somers, with F/S Belcher, as a passenger TOB for Brize Norton at 0945 hours in the Miles-Magister, the objective being to ferry two Spitfires to North Weald.  Three sections, Red, Blue, and Yellow were airborne at 1050 hours to patrol and escort seven destroyers approximately 150 miles on course 085 from North Weald.  Our aircraft located the convoy which was going NE off the French Coast.  When the destroyers sighted our a/c they altered course to the SW.  Patrol lasted 1 hour and 10 minutes, with the Squadron LAB at 1230 hours.  At 1245 hours, Red Section was scrambled to Southwold to intercept an e/a but were recalled to base, landing at 1255 hours, the e/a having disappeared.  At 1310 hours, three Sections, Red, Blue and Yellow, TOB to continue their escort for the destroyers which they picked up just off the English Coast, with four at Barrow Deep and the three other destroyers just off Felixstowe heading SW and one other destroyer in about the same position heading NNE.  This escort of three sections was relieved and landed at base at 1430 hours.  Red and Yellow Sections TOB at 1515 hours to continue the escort patrol of the destroyers, LAB at 1700 hours.  Nothing to report.  Some local flying and cine-gun was practised in the late afternoon.  All of the pilots returned to base from Brize Norton and Martlesham, bringing over three a/c that had been weather bound in Martlesham and two others from Brize Norton.  The Squadron was released from operations after a good days work with everyone happy, at 1842 hours.

Saturday, 14 February, 1942
Weather partly cloudy with 3/10ths to 6/10ths cloud.  Vis 2 to 5 miles generally.  The Squadron took advantage of excellent weather and training flying was carried out in the morning for height (25,000 feet) chasing, dogfights and GCI co-operation.  Sgt O’Neill did a cross-country flight.  F/S Crawford and Sgt Olmsted with P/O Hurst did aerobatics.  P/O Aitken did a cannon test.  How smoothly everything goes as long as the pilots can fly.

Sunday, 15 February, 1942
Weather cloudy in the morning, becoming fair in the late afternoon.  Cloud 7/10ths to 10/10ths with vis 1 to 3 miles.  At 0810 hours, 2 Sections TOB on convoy patrol 10 miles east of Martlesham.  Escort was continuous, with the Sections being relieved every hour and a half.  Last patrol LAB 1405 hours.  S/L Campbell, F/L Wood, F/S Campbell and Sgt Beurling went to Southend to participate in Air-to-Air competition of 11 group – result was fair.  P/O Gillespie promoted to Acting F/L and posted to 72 Squadron as a Flight Commander.  Splendid work, fine fellow, a loss to our Squadron and a gain for No. 72, and our best wishes go with him.  Excellent show at Drury Lane tonight.  Tommy Trinder was in the cast.  It was probably the first time for most of the Canadians on this Squadron to see Trinder, England’s foremost comedian, in person.  Comments were amusing.

Monday, 16 February, 1942
Weather much the same as yesterday.  Practice flying carried out during the day from 0935 hours to 1750 hours.  During the afternoon, the Squadron scrambled to 20,000 feet.  F/S McDonald returned today, from his harrowing experience.  A bit thinner perhaps and a little jittery, he looks tired but otherwise OK.  Sgt Crawford was posted to No. 55 OTU.  F/O Lodge inspected the new billets at Sites 1&7 Thornwood.  The personnel have moved in.  These quarters are agreeably better than the ones just vacated.  I’m sure that a great deal of comfort is to be received here.  The meals are on quite a high standard, in fact, the roast beef was much better than I have seen in the Officer’s Mess.  Personnel seemed quite happy and had no complaints.  The drawback is the time lost in traversing backward and forward for meals.

Tuesday, 17 February, 1942
Weather hazy, clearing later with 10/10ths low cloud.  Practice flying was done consisting of cine-gun and cloud flying.  Five Sections were put on readiness at 1115 hours.  At 1215 hours, Blue and green Sections TOB for convoy patrol off Barrow Deep.  These were relieved at one-hour intervals until it was cancelled at 1513 hours.  Three sections were called to readiness at 1554 hours and Red Section was scrambled to patrol off Clacton-on-Sea, LAB at 1750 hours.  F/L Wood, with his section  who were on their way out to relieve the convoy patrols SE of Clacton-on-Sea at 1405 hours, saw a DO 217 below the cloud base which was 800 too 1,000 feet.  He instructed the section to proceed on patrol while he turned to give chase.  The DO 217 was seen to jettison bombs in the sea, climb and was lost in the cloud.  It did not reappear.  No damage by the bombs was seen.  Another anti-gas exercise, with personnel taking more interest in these doings which commenced at 0900 hours in the morning.

Wednesday, 18 February, 1942
Weather cloudy with 8/10ths to 10/10ths cloud and vis 1,000 to 2,000 yards.  Training flying was carried out by the Squadron during the day.  F/L Walker did cannon testing.  At 1005 hours, Red and Yellow Sections scrambled.  Yellow Section was recalled at 1015 hours, Red returned at 1120.  Nothing sighted and nothing to report.  Convoy patrol commenced at 1045 hours for a convoy 15 miles ESE off Shoeburyness.  The sections relieved one another until 1355 hours.  F/L Walker, P/O Hurst, F/S Schmitz went to Hunsdon at 1735 hours for dusk flying.  The Squadron was released at 1845 hours.

Thursday, 19 February, 1942
Weather cloudy, occasional slight snow shower, with 8/10ths to 10/10ths cloud  1,000 to 2,000 and a base of 500 to 1,000 feet. Vis 3 to 6 miles.  The Squadron was put on 15 minutes readiness at 0740 hours.  A Gas Defence exercise went on from 0900 to 1015 hours with a/c acting as bombers.  Nice work.  The pilots returned from Hunsdon.  Practice flying and cine-gun were carried out in the afternoon.  403 Squadron stood in for 222 on readiness during the lunch hour.  S/L Campbell left at 1550 hours to pay a visit to Biggin Hill, returning at 1710 hours.  The Squadron was released at 1851 hours.  A letter of thanks was received from the Chilean Ambassador.

Friday, 20 February, 1942
Weather remains the same day to day; cold and hazy, vis fair.  Practice flying consisting of cine-gun and formation flying was carried out.  At 1300 hours, the Squadron was put on readiness.  Nothing exciting happened today with the exception that soap is to be rationed as of today.  Horrors.  The Games Rooms on Site 1&7, equipped by the Salvation Army Branch of Auxiliary Services, opened for the airmen’s pleasure at 1700 hours.  Although confined by space, these rooms have been decorated, and furnished with writing tables, games, reading material and radios.  These rooms should be an asset to the sites.  11 Group signalled at 1700 hours that F/L Wood was awarded the DFC.  Congratulations ‘Timber’ (from Ottawa way out west).  We are very pleased about this as F/L Wood has been with the Squadron since its formation.  This brings the number of DFCs awarded to personnel while serving with this Squadron to three.  Who Next!

Saturday, 21 February, 1942
Weather today was cold with snow flurries and 8/10ths to 10/10ths cloud, vis 1,000 to 4,000 yards.  One section was put at readiness from 0719 hours.  The pilots went to the link trainer.  The Wing was released in the afternoon for organized sport.  Some of the pilots went to town.  P/O Hurst and P/O Aitken went on seven days leave.  The Officers of 403 Squadron attended a dance given by the Suffolk Regiment at Hill Hall.  Jolly good show.  There was a dance on station at Drury Lane for the NCOs and Airmen.  Photographs of 403 Squadron appeared in Canada Weekly, February 21 edition.  The COs inspected the new billets.

Sunday, 22 February, 1942
Weather, light snow with 8/10ths to 10/10ths cloud at 2,000 to 3,000 feet.  Vis 1 to 4 miles and less in snow.  Weather tests reported that it was unfit for flying.  Little or no activity today.  The Squadron was brought to readiness at 1515 hours as enemy aircraft were reported but the Squadron was moved back to 30 minutes readiness almost immediately.  Another very fine ENSA show was enjoyed this evening by most of the personnel.

Monday, 23 February, 1942
Weather mainly cloudy clearing slowly.  Practice flying, formation and cine-gun were carried out.  ‘B’ Flight was on readiness at 1300 hours and ‘A’ Flight at 15 minutes.  F/S Rainville went on a flight to Martlesham and returned.  The Squadron was released at 1913 hours.  S/L Campbell went on seven days leave, a well-earned rest.  F/L Wood assumed command of the Squadron.

Tuesday, 24 February, 1942
Weather, mainly cloudy with some light snow.  Cloud was 8/10ths based at 2,000 to 4,000 feet with vis 2 to 5 miles.  The Squadron was at readiness at 0658 hours.  At 0854 hours, two sections went on convoy patrol off Shoeburyness.  Relief sections were sent out during the morning, landing at 1330 hours.  P/O Hurst made a crash landing, the aircraft was damaged but he was unhurt.  Practice flying was carried out during the afternoon – formation and cine-gun.  The Squadron was brought to readiness at 1500 hours for 45 minutes.  P/O Aitken, P/O Magwood, F/S Rainville and Sgt Beurling TOB at 1640 hours for Hunsdon to do night flying.  F/L Wood and P/O Dick went over by motor car.

Wednesday, 25 February, 1942
Weather still cloudy, becoming fair with occasional light snow.  Cloud was 8/10ths to 10/10ths at 2,000 to 4,000 feet and vis was 2 to 6 miles.  The pilots returned from Hunsdon after making an excellent showing at night flying.  14 hours, 45 minutes were piled up.  This is tops.  One Flight was brought to readiness at 0837 hours, the remainder practised formation flying, cine-gun, amp reading and pin-pointing.  Two sections went on convoy patrol but were recalled.  The Squadron was released from operations at 1525 hours.  All of the pilots went to the lecture room at Station Intelligence for a talk by AVM Leigh-Mallory on ‘Review of War and our Possibilities in the Spring of 1942’ and some gen talk on a new type of engine for Spitfires and collapsible tanks.  Very instructive and interesting talk ending on the watchword ‘Physical Fitness for Pilots’.

Thursday, 26 February, 1942
Weather cloudy with light snow.  8/10ths to 10/10ths cloud base at 1,500 feet.  Vis 1 to 2 miles.  No activity today.  One section was at readiness at 1300 hours to 1919 hours.  F/L Wood went on a familiarization flight.  Tonight the Officers and NCOs bade farewell, good luck, and God’s keeping to two of our gamiest and smallest pilots, F/Ss Crist and Ryckman on their posting overseas (East).  A keen pair doing excellent teamwork.

Friday, 27 February, 1942
Weather cloudy becoming fair in the afternoon, closing late afternoon.  One section was at readiness at 15 minutes and ‘A’ Flight at 30 minutes, available from 0920 hours to release at 1330 hours.  Eight a/c went at different periods on familiarization flights to Needham Market.  F/L Wood and Sgt Olmsted did a sector reconnaissance.  Flying was discontinued at 1655 hours.  F/S Campbell, with AC1 Baldwin went to Hornchurch where they remained overnight due to weather closing in.  S/L Belton and Frayne (RCAF Padres) visited 403 Squadron.  S/L Belton is our visiting Padre and has promised to look after the interests of the personnel, providing comforts, amusements and to their spiritual welfare.  They were favourably impressed with the set-up here and spent the afternoon chatting with pilots, officers and airmen.  Sgts Connell and O’Neill posted overseas.  Good luck.

Saturday, 28 February, 1942
Weather cloudy to fair with smoke haze and low cloud, 10/10ths at 500 to 1,500 feet. Vis 1 to 3 miles.  Two a/c were at readiness at 0647 hours.  The Squadron went on readiness at 0800 hours to 1304 hours and was released at 30 minutes availability.  The trippers, F/S Campbell and AC1 Baldwin, returned from Hornchurch.  During the afternoon 7 ATC visited the Squadron and were taken up for flips.  The Squadron is still waiting for ‘fun and games’ with the Army.  Gift cigarettes were distributed to all personnel this afternoon.  These were most necessary for the majority of the airmen.
RCAF Officers – aircrew – 9
RCAF Officers – ground – 4
RCAF Airmen – aircrew – 15
RCAF Airmen – ground – 130
RAF Officers – aircrew – 2
RAF Officers – ground – 1
RAF Airmen – aircrew – 1
RAF Airmen – ground – 68
Operational flying time – 182 hours
Training flying time      – 241 hours
Patrols carried out     – 129 operational
Spitfires – 18    Magister – 1 Tiger Moth – 1