Contribution by Ronny Bosmann – About H.C. Byrd/Bijdrage van Ronny Bosmann – Over H.C. Byrd

Hallo Pierre mijn vriend Maarten Koudijs heeft een boek geschreven,met daarin weer aandacht voor H.C. Byrd. En een foto van de dodenherdenking 2020.

Groetjes Ronny.


Hello Pierre my friend Maarten Koudijs has written a book, with in it again attention for H.C. Byrd. And a photo of the Remembrance Day 2020. Greetings Ronny.



Courtesy Lynn Garrison

Here are two pages from 403 Squadron reports covering the Dieppe Raid.


Lynn Garrison

Lynn Garrison added this group photo taken 1941.

More on Lynn Garrison here…


Lynn Garrison (born April 1, 1937) is a Canadian pilot and political adviser. He was a Royal Canadian Air Force fighter pilot in the 403 City of Calgary Squadron, before holding jobs as a commercial pilotfilm producerdirector and mercenary. Later he became a political adviser in Haiti, and is now an author. With regard to flying, Garrison is known for his oft-repeated comment, “If it has fuel and noise, I can fly it.”0

Now and then…

Now and then, I come across old images that have been filed away and forgotten. Two such images are attached.

You can use these two from No. 403 [Wolf} Squadron City of Calgary. They came from Lynn Garrison and were the early March 1941 Curtiss Tomahawk fighters.


Clarence Simonsen and I are passionnate about aviation. He is sharing these photos…

74 years ago… Harold Chauncy Byrd

Flowers laid by Maarten and Ronny.

De Spitfire van Landfort

Op 19 maart 1945 tussen 14.00 en 14.30 komt er een Spitfire neer bij Landfort, ten Noorden van Megchelen. De Spitfire Mk XVI met het serienummer SM-208 behoorde tot 403 squadron RCAF en was die dag om 13.30 uur met nog 11 toestellen opgestegen van de basis Petit Brogel in België voor een “sweep” (veegactie) in de omgeving van Rheine en Osnabrück. De piloot F/O BYRD rapporteert aan de basis dat hij te kampen heeft met motorproblemen en terugvliegt naar de basis. Ter Hoogte van Dwardefeld, even ten noorden van Landfort wordt hij getroffen door 2 cm Flak. De Spitfire crasht bij Landfort en de 28 jarige F/O Harold Chauncey Byrd komt hierbij om het leven. Hij wordt begraven in een veldgraf bij zijn toestel en op 14 oktober 1947 herbegraven op het RK kerkhof te Gendringen.

F/O Harold Chauncey Byrd afkomstig uit Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

©Karl Lusink-ARGA

The Spitfire of Landfort

On March 19, 1945 between 14.00 and 14.30 a Spitfire comes down at Landfort, north of Megchelen. The Spitfire Mk XVI with serial number SM-208 belonged to 403 squadron RCAF and was that day at 13.30 hours with 11 more aircraft that took off from the base Petit Brogel in Belgium for a “sweep” (sweeping) in the area of Rheine and Osnabrück. The pilot F/O BYRD reports at the base that he has engine problems and flies back to the base. At the height of Dwardefeld, just north of Landfort, he is hit by 2 cm Flak. The Spitfire crashes at Landfort and the 28 year old F/O Harold Chauncey Byrd is killed. He is buried in a field grave by his aircraft and on October 14, 1947 reburied at the RK cemetery in Gendringen.


Reader’s Contribution – 75 years ago

By Linda Duffield

On this day (13th July) in 1943…..

A routine Fighter sweep for 403 squadron came to a disastrous conclusion for F/O James Ian McKay, when his engine cut out during a downwind landing, causing him to crash land on the airfield at Kenley. He was taken to hospital in a serious condition.

I haven’t been able to ascertain any details of Mckay’s injuries, but happily, he survived not only this crash, but the entire War, returning to Canada and eventually becoming a Superior Court judge.

JAMES IAN MCKAY was born in Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada, on April 1, 1921 to Norman McKay and Catherine Ferguson Foote. He grew up in Owen Sound and attended Dufferin School. During the summer, Ian worked for the Owen Sound Transportation Company as a Watchman/Wheelsman on the S.S. Manitoulin. After graduating in 1939, Ian worked for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce until he enlisted in Toronto, at the age of 19, in August 1940.
During his time in the R.C.A.F. as a fighter pilot, Mckay served in Halifax, Iceland, Scotland and England, receiving seven campaign medals.

I have found a press article that suggests that he also saw action in Malta…

Hard – Hitting Fighters Hold to Scruples in Tough Going
With the R.C.A.F. Somewhere in England, June 11, 1943 — (CP) — Chivalry in war may be on the wane (this is a very tough war), but it has yet to disappear altogether from aerial combat. There are still some niceties observed in the air by fighter pilots of both sides in this war.

“Flying Officer J.I. (Skip) McKay, of Owen Sound, Ont., said a lot must depend on the way you feel in the air, which may account for some of the things he ran across during fighter work in Malta.

Shoot Own Mates.
“Sitting here in the mess, we all say no, we wouldn’t shoot a man in a parachute,” said Skip. “None of us would want to think otherwise. But in the ‘Med’ I’ve seen one of my best friends ‘get it’ while he was going down in his parachute so I guess everybody doesn’t think the same way. “Out there, too, I’ve seen the Jerries shooting up fellows in dinghies. “Once he even saw them shooting up fellows in dinghies when Skip and his flying mates knew these targets were Nazi airmen who had been shot down. “What did we do then?” asked Skip. “Well,” he smiled, “to tell you the truth, we just laughed like hell and went along home.”

After he was discharged in May 1945, McKay began law school at Toronto’s Osgoode Hall and completed his law degree in 1949. In 1982, he was appointed a Judge of the Federally Administered District Court of Ontario for Bruce County. On April 1, 1996 at the age of 75, Ian retired as a Superior Court Judge, but continued to serve on a Pension Appeals Board.

F/Lt. James Ian “Skip” Mckay was married twice, the first time in April 1944 to Jacqueline McCullough and then to Loretta E. Briggs in 1983. He had three children, and had become a Great-Grandfather when he passed away on May 22nd 2015, at the age of 94.

Rest in Peace Sir and thank you for your service.

Here is the entry in the 403 squadron Operations Record Book, which mentions Mckay’s crash at Kenley on Tuesday 13th July, 1943….

It was bright and clear with little cloud.
Rodeo 244:
S/L Godefroy led the Wing whose role was 2nd Fighter sweep. Rendezvous was made over Kenley with the Hornchurch Wings and they crossed over Bexhill at 9,000 feet. France was entered over Ault at 22,000 feet and they swept over Poix, Amiens, Albert, Douchy and Doullens at 26,000 feet before leaving France over Hardelot at 20,000 feet. No enemy aircraft were sighted but there were three barges coupled to a tug seen in the Boulogne Harbour from 22,000 feet. The Wing crossed the English coast over Rye at 8,000 feet. The weather in the Channel was 7/10ths cumulus scattered between 12,000 and 15,000 feet and the visibility over France was excellent.
The Wing was airborne by 0855 hours and had landed by 1010 hours.
F/O J.I. McKay, Blue 3, was seriously injured when his motor cut out beside the aerodrome and he crashed on the edge of the field when attempting a downwind landing.

The Sections were as follows:
Blue Section Red Section Yellow Section
F/L MacDonald S/L Godefroy F/L Conrad
F/O Lambert WO Wilson F/L Pattinson
F/O McKay P/O Dowding F/O Marshall
W/O Hargraves P/O Abbotts Sgt Rowe

There were ten non-operational sorties today consisting of cine gun practice low flying and local flying. F/O J.I. McKay was taken to the hospital where he is reported to be in serious condition.


Special thanks to Emily Jolliffe of the Bill Bishop Home Museum, Archives and National Historic Site, Owen Sound, Ontario, for information and the wonderful photo of James Ian McKay in his RCAF days…

Reader’s Contribution


By Linda Duffield

On this day (17th June) in 1943….

Kenley’s Canadian Wing engaged in an offensive fighter sweep over France, which turned into a huge, confusing dogfight involving 80-100 FW190s of JG26 and 24 Spitfires.

403 squadron’s pilots all made it back to Kenley safely, except F/O Marshall who landed at Redhill because his Spitfire had been damaged in combat.

421 squadron were less fortunate, losing Squadron Leader Phillip L. I. Archer DFC, and Flying Officer James E. McNamara in the area of St. Omer, France.

PHILLIP LESLIE IRVING ARCHER was born on the 10th February, 1917, in Bridgetown, Barbados. He was the son of Frederick Leslie Archer (a famous cricketer) and Millicent Beryl Archer, of Hastings and Belleville, St. Michael, Barbados. He left Barbados for Canada in 1936, to study Agricultural Science at McGill University. He was described as a quietly-spoken, dark-haired youth who specialised in Bacteriology. A month after graduating with a B.S.c., he joined the Empire Air Training Scheme, enlisting in Montreal in June 1940.
Having earned his wings, he was posted overseas in February 1941, and joined 92 squadron on the 5th May. He was transferred to 412 and then 416 squadrons, by which time he had started to build up an impressive record in combat.
On the 9th February 1943, he was awarded the DFC, with the following citation:

“This officer has completed sorties over enemy territory and has destroyed at least four enemy aircraft. On one occasion, although wounded in the leg, Flight Lieutenant Archer flew his badly damaged aircraft back to the base where he executed a skilful landing. He is a most efficient leader.”

On the 13th June, 1943, he was promoted to Squadron Leader and attached to 421 squadron, taking command on the 17th June – the day he was killed in action, flying Spitfire Mk.IX LZ996.
His final tally was six enemy aircraft destroyed, the final FW190 on the day he died, though later research shows that this may have been a collision.
He was laid to rest in Longuenesse (St. Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France. Plot 8. Row A. Grave 1.
Phillip was 27 years old when he died.

JAMES EMMETT MCNAMARA of Northcliffe Avenue, Montreal, worked at the Royal Insurance Company, prior to enlisting in the RCAF, in September 1941. He was posted overseas, won his Commission in July 1942 and was promoted to Flying Officer in January 1943. Details about his life are hazy, but he may have served in Malta and had a brother called Howard, who also served in the RCAF. He was flying, Spitfire IX, BS319, when he was killed in action on 17th June, 1943, during Rodeo 231.
Having no known grave, he is commemorated on Panel 174 of the Runnymede Memorial.

Rest in Peace gentlemen, and thank you for your service.

Here is the entry for Thursday 17th June, 1943, from the 403 squadron Operations Record Book. Archer is mentioned, despite being from 421sq, because F/O Marshall sees him go down. McNamara’s loss isn’t recorded here.

It was 5/10ths cloud and very windy today. Rodeo 231: W/C Johnson led the Wing whose role was Third Fighter Sweep. They crossed Dover at 15,000 feet and entered France at Gravelines at 24,000 feet. Thirty plus enemy aircraft were sighted West of Ypres. The W/C took 421 down onto these enemy a/c and 403 Squadron followed down to act as cover. After the first attack, 421 Squadron climbed back to reform and Yellow 3, F/O Marshall identified S/L Archer of 421 Squadron as the a/c that was flying along side him at this time. They were flying at about 21,000 feet when Yellow 3 noticed 2 FW 190s closing in on this 421 Squadron a/c and he was about to call for a break when he himself was hit, forcing him to break to the port and up rapidly. No more was seen of S/L Archer. F/S Shouldice, who at this time saw a FW 190 attack Yellow 3, fired Cannon and MG at him from 200 yards before his own section was attacked by five or six enemy aircraft and so F/S Shouldice broke to the port without observing any results of his fire. P/O Bullick of 421 Squadron saw a FW 190 with bits flying off it, streaming black smoke and going straight down. Since no other attack was made at this time by any other pilot of the Wing, F/S Shouldice is credited with destroying this FW 190. Blue Section, led by F/L MacDonald, came out of France at Sangette at about 16,000 feet while the rest of 403 Squadron turned back into France at Cap Gris Nez to allow Yellow 3 and 4 to catch up before they all returned to England, crossing between Dover and Folkstone. At 1605 hours, eleven of our aircraft landed back at base, while F/O Marshall, Yellow 3, landed at Redhill. He was uninjured but the a/c was damaged by enemy action and was a Cat B. There was heavy flak, accurate for height and position, from St. Omer and also some flak thrown up from Gravelines.
The Sections were as follows:
Blue Section Red Section Yellow Section
F/L MacDonald S/L Godefroy F/L Conrad P/O Sheppard Sgt Small P/O Hamilton P/O Bowen F/O McKay F/O Marshall F/O Brannagan WO Hargraves F/S Shouldice
There were only two non-operational sorties today.


S/L Archer

F/O Mcnamara

Squadron Leader Archer

F/O Mcnamara


Is Mac Reeves on this picture which Greg Bell scanned in 2011?

Hard to tell with his cap on.

Cap is Cap Foster.

There was another Cap Foster in the RCAF.

That Cap Foster flew with 443 Squadron. Google this if you are curious or click here.

Leslie Birket Foster didacted his memoirs to his daughter, but you already know this if you are the curious type. I am curious by nature.

In 2011 Greg Bell’s father told me if I would be interested in meeting his son who had his grandfather’s album. His father and I were talking about my visit to George Stewart a Mosquito pilot with RAF 23 Squadron.

How could I resist?

How could I resist looking for who was this Spitfire pilot whose picture was in the album?

7 years later someone is sharing this…