127 Wing and Market Garden

This is an OCR version of the document Andrew Todd sent me along with the necktie.

By doing so I will make available the information to search engines like Google and reach out for relatives of people mentioned in the document.

This is a letter sent to Raymond Mills.

Dean Black added a comment yesterday about Mr. Mills.

The letter from Mr. Raymond Mills, is very nice. I met Ray Mills in England, when I went to visit the Widow Campbell. Ray had been president of the 127 Canadian Wing association in England for many years, and on his letter he indicates he is a member of the RCAF Association and the Canadian Fighter Pilots Association. I believe he is gone, now, but he was instrumental, along with a dozen close friends, of keeping the spirit of 403 and 127 Wing alive.

Andrew Todd 002

Andrew Todd 003 Andrew Todd 004

Dear Mr. Mills,
In reply of your letter, dated 30th November, we can give you the following information with regard to 127 Wing RCAF.

During operation “Market-Garden” 127 Wing operated from the forward airbase Le Culot near Louvain in Belgium. Studying the operation record books of No. 83 Group only 416, 421 and 443 Squadrons were acting in this operation because 403 Squadron is not mentioned. Probably this squadron was not operational or stood for a course in England (Fairwood Common?).

From 29th September until the end of October 1944, 127 Wing was based at airstrip
KEENT (B-82) near Grave South of Nijmegen. Where on 1st October 403 Squadron
arrived also.

Keent is an extremely swampy foreland of the river Meuse in autumn and moreover it was situated only 12 miles of the frontline and therefore very vulnerable for German air-attacks.

On 2nd October six Messerschmitts 262 (jet-planes) attacked the strip with scrapnel-bombs killing P/O. D. E. Reiber (412 Squadron) and F/L O. Lee whilst 35 men personnel being wounded.

On 6th October a German air-attack again, killing LACs D. M. Wesson and E. Cox
and again an unknown number of wounded.

Six days later an other air-attack now no. 416 Squadron was hit. 5 men killed and
10 wounded. These air-attacks and the very swampy ground caused that the Wing had been displaced to the airbase Melsbroek (B-58) near Brussels, Belgium.

Defending the Nijmegen bridges 127 Wing was involved in very fierce air battles
on 27th and 29th of September ’44. 50+ German fighter-bombers escorted by
fighters tried to destroy both bridges.

During these battles the Wing lost 3 Spitfires but claimed 26 German planes (17 Me-109 and 9 FW-190) operating from airstrip Keent.

Undermentioned you will find the losses of 127 Wing in order of squadron and date as far as we know:

416 Squadron

3rd November 1943

Spitfire, serial BL-430, near the station of Zandvoort, West Amsterdam during bomber escort to airfield Schiphol. Shot down by fighters Pilot F /O . W . H . Jacobs killed. Now buried Bergen-op-Zoom Canadian War Cemetery. (Netherlands).

25th September 1944

Spitfire, serial MJ-412 shot down 3 miles North of Arnhem 1 mile East of the road Arnhem-Apeldoorn by fighters. Pilot F/L. E . H .Treleaven, badly wounded transported to a hospital at Amersfoort where he perished the same day. Now buried in Amersfoort.

26th September 1944

Spitfire, serial unknown, shot down. Pilot F/L. Patterson, Fate unknown, not killed so P.O.W. or safe.

29th September 1944

Spitfire, serial unknown, P/O. R. E. Chambers still missing.

12th April 1945

(the Wing is now based at Eindhoven(B-78) : Spitfire, serial unknown, shot down in Eastern Holland, Pilot F/O. T.P. Dollery killed. Now buried in the Holten Canadian War Cemetery.

No. 421 Squadron

21st January 1945

Spitfire, serial unknown, shot down just beyond the German border. Pilot P/O C.D.Beck killed. Now buried in the Reichswald War Cemetery near Kleve (Germany).

27th September 1944

Spitfire, serial unknown, Pilot F/O. R.Holness killed, shot down just beyond German border. Now buried in the Reichswald War cemetery, near Kleve, Germany.

No. 443 Squadron

26th September 1944

Spitfire,serial unknown, near Angeren East of Nijmegen, Pilot F/O. L.D.Sherwood, slightly wounded, evaded with support of Mr. Fred Huisman.

27th September 1944

Spitfire, serial NH-245, shot down by fighters just beyond the German border, Pilot S/L H. W. MacLeod killed and now buried in Rheinberg War Cemetery (Germany).

29th September 1944

Spitfire, serial NH-437, shot down by Nijmegen, Pilot safe.

10th October 1944   

F/O. L. P. E. Piche and F/O. A. J. Horrell en route on leave in an Auster liaison-plane. They came short of the front-line near Overloon and were shot down by friendly gunfire.
Both killed and now buried in Venray War Cemetery.

5th January  1945

Spitfire, serial unknown, shot down in Germany. Pilot F/O. T. C. Gamey killed. Now buried in Reichswald War Cem.

6th April   1945

Spitfire, serial unknown, Pilot F/O S. E. Messum killed. Now buried Reichswald War Cemetery (Ger.)

No.403 Squadron

19th March 1945

Spitfire, serial SM-208, shot down near the village of Megchelen in the Netherlands, Pilot F/O. H . C. Byrd killed. Now buried at Gendringen (Netherlands).

28th March 1945

Spitfire, serial SM-302, shot down near Haltern (Germany) by flak Pilot F/O. M. Reeves killed. Originally buried in the American War Cemetery Margraten. In 1946 reburied in the Nederweert War Cemetery at Nederweert (Netherlands).

31st March 1945

Spitfire, serial TB-737, shot down near Oberhausen (Germany). Pilot F/L. E. G. Aitchison killed. Originally buried in the American War Cemetery Margraten (Netherlands). In 1946 reburied in the the Nederweert War Cemetery at Nederweert (Netherlands).

In March 1945 No. 403 Sqdn. was based at Eindhoven Airfield (B-78) in Holland.

As you see it was a very hectic time for the Wing in the last half year of W.W.II. I believe there have been more losses over Germany, France and Belgium.

Our museum however has collected only the facts in which our country was involved.
Nevertheless we hope we have given you sufficient information and we hope it will be of good support to your research in reference to 127 Wing RCAF.

Your order for a copy of “Two Wings and the Weavers” describing the story of 126 Wing in the Netherlands we have handed over to the keeper of our bookshop.

We enclose a leaflet of our museum for further information and remain with friendly greetings,

403 Squadron ORB for 1945

Click here.

Excerpt

Monday, 1 January, 1945

The first day of the New Year and what a way to start it off.  At about 0830 hours this morning we had a social call from Jerry in the form of about 30 aircraft which strafed the drome.  They strafed everything in sight, the aircraft, hangars, dispersals and personnel and what a mess they made of things.  They didn’t get away that easy.  Three of our kites, flown and led by P/O Steve Butte, P/O Mac Reeves and F/S Lindsay respectively were just taking off on a patrol when Jerry appeared over the drome.  Within minutes of becoming airborne, Butte shot down and destroyed three enemy aircraft, two ME 109s and one FW 190.  Mac Reeves shot down and destroyed two FW 190s and Lindsay destroyed one ME 109 and probably destroyed a further ME 109.  Considering the odds against them, it was a damn good show.

Mac Reeves

Mac Reeves
(Walter Neil Dove collection via Greg Bell)

About Mac Reeves…

Mac Reeves’ Last Moment Redux

This post first published on March 20th, 2012 was the one which touched me more than any stories shared with me about 403 Squadron…

Dean Black contributed a lot and he wrote me this e-mail about Mac Reeves…

You may be interested to know that Mac Reeves sent a radio transmission to his fellow pilots moments after he had been attacked by enemy airplanes. He told them that his arm had been completely shot off and that he had no choice but to ride the airplane in. (he could not get out and he could not fly it). He wished them well and he said it was a privilege flying with them. 

 

Mac Reeves does not have a grandson to talk about him or remembering him by like Greg Bell and Colin Forsyth have. 

As a footnote, Mac Reeves would die just a few weeks after that picture was taken.

Mac Reeves

I often wondered who were Mac Reeves’ erks and how saddened they were when they got the news about Mac’s death.

No. 403 Wolf Squadron (Stalk & Strike) – R.C.A.F. Casualties 1941-1945

From Dean Black.

The list.

I added the links.

Lest we forget

F/L        Edward Grant Aitchison                 Age 26                  31 March 1945

P/O        Douglas Spencer Aitken                 Age 21                  08 March 1942

F/O        James Hamilton Ballantyne           Age 26                  08 March 1944

P/O        Harry Vern Boyle                            Age 21                  17 August 1944

P/O        George Rawson Brown                   Age 19                  31 May 1943

F/O        Wallace Victor John Burdis           Age 22                  17 April 1945

F/O        Harold Chauncey Byrd                  Age 22                  19 March 1945

P/O        John Nicholson Cawsey                 Age 21                  12 February 1942

F/O        Stuart McIntyre Connacher         Age 25                  16 February 1943

F/O        Charles Gordon Cumming            Age 21                  13 March 1943

F/O        Richard Wright Denison               Age 25                  18 March 1944

Sgt          Leo Joseph Deschamps                Age 23                  04 April 1943

WO2      Ronald Dunbar                               Age 19                  13 March 1943

F/L          Henry Percy Duval, MiD            Age 30                  27 April 1942

F/O        John Walter Benson Earle           Age 22                  05 August 1944

F/O        Dudley Jack Edwards                   Age 20                 25 February 1943

F/O        John Charles Elliott                      Age 21                  20 June 1943

S/L         Norman Ralph Fowlow, DFC     Age 22                   19 May 1944

P/O        John Edwin Gardiner                  Age 23                   19 August 1942

Sgt          Lesa German                                Age 21                   30 July 1941

S/L         Frank Edward Grant                   Age 28                  04 September 1943

FS           Frederick Alexander Higgins     Age 23                  08 November 1941

P/O        Gordon Francis Jospeh Hoben   Age 21                  11 July 1942

F/L        John Hodgson                              Age 22                   02 June 1944

F/O        William Thompson Lane             Age 21                  15 May 1943

F/O        James Leon Lanfranchi               Age 26                  28 June 1944

F/L          Lyn Bertram Madden               Age 22                   15 May 1943

F/L          Stanley Wilbur Matthews          Age 24                  16 November 1943

F/L          Donald Joseph McKenna           Age 30                  08 September 1941

P/O        Frank Cooper McWilliams         Age 21                   20 June 1943

P/O        Norman Monchier                        Age 19                  19 August 1942

FS           Arthur Joseph Monserez            Age 19                   17 January 1942

P/O        William Forsythe Munn             Age 27                   25 April 1942

FS           John Norman                               Age 26                  22 September 1942

F/L        Miall Bourchier O’Kelly              Age 21                   16 July 1944

F/L        Patrick Terrance O’Leary          Age 22                  27 February 1943

F/L        Clifford George Pennock            Age 22                  25 March 1944

WO1      William Charles Powers             Age 23                  20 July 1944

F/O        MacKenzie Reeves                     Age 25                  28 March 1945

FS           Kenneth Ellwood Root              Age 24                  24 September 1942

P/O        Lewis Cameron Rowe                Age 21                  13 November 1943

F/O        Donald John Shapter                 Age 24                  14 July 1944

P/O        Graham Milton Shouldice         Age 21                  17 August 1943

F/O        Robert Harry Smith                  Age 21                  19 May 1944

F/O        Stanley William Smith              Age 27                  29 May 1944

WO1      Milton Eldon Soules                   Age 22                  28 August 1944

F/L          Herbert John Southwood       Age 25                  24 October 1943

FS           William George Uttley             Age 21                  13 May 1943

P/O        Leclare Allerthorn Walker, MiD (3) Age 24        19 August 1942

P/O        Claude Weaver, DFC, DFM & Bar Age 19            28 January 1944

F/O        Harold Andrew Westhaver       Age 21                 15 December 1943

P/O        William Zoochkan                       Age 22                 25 April 1942

KH-A

A little game from Dean Black.

He wants to find a picture for each KH planes starting with the letter A.

First one: KH-A

Pilot Syd Ford

403 Squadron

1942

Another KH-A…

Mac Reeves

We all know what happened to Mac from this article I wrote.

You may be interested to know that Mac Reeves sent a radio transmission to his fellow pilots moments after he had been attacked by enemy airplanes. He told them that his arm had been completely shot off and that he had no choice but to ride the airplane in. (he could not get out and he could not fly it). He wished them well and he said it was a privilege flying with them. 


Mac Reeves does not have a grandson to talk about him or remembering him by like Greg Bell and Colin Forsyth have. 

As a footnote, Mac Reeves would die just a few hours after that picture was taken.

Mac Reeves

Mac Reeves’ Last Moment

Dean wrote me this e-mail about Mac Reeves…

You may be interested to know that Mac Reeves sent a radio transmission to his fellow pilots moments after he had been attacked by enemy airplanes. He told them that his arm had been completely shot off and that he had no choice but to ride the airplane in. (he could not get out and he could not fly it). He wished them well and he said it was a privilege flying with them. 

 

Mac Reeves does not have a grandson to talk about him or remembering him by like Greg Bell and Colin Forsyth have. 

As a footnote, Mac Reeves would die just a few weeks after that picture was taken.

Mac Reeves

Mac Reeves, Killed, Madoc, Ontario

That’s what Greg’s grandfather wrote on a page of his photo album…

Walter Neil Dove collection

Mac Reeves, Killed, Madoc, Ontario

Walter Neil Dove collection

This is what I found here…

In memory of
Flying Officer
 MACKENZIE  REEVES 
who died on March 28, 1945 

Military Service:

Service Number: J/87156
Age: 25
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 403 Sqdn.

Additional Information:

Son of Loomis S. Reeves, and of Florence Reeves, of Madoc, Ontario; Canada.


Click here for more info.

Lest We Forget