Keith Lindsay, Edmonton meets Flying Officer Garland


Flying Officer Garland is not the same pilot mentioned on this post.

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.

Honest mistake…

He was posted however with 403 Squadron and his story will be partially told here.


Ripples in the water.

The post below was written in 2011. There is a name of a pilot I did not research back then.

I have just received a message in my inbox and it is at the end of the original post.

Original post

This picture did not mean much to Greg when he was looking at his grandfather’s photo album…


Walter Neil Dove collection

Keith Lindsay was with this pilot when the Luftwaffe carried Operation Bodenplatte.

Click here for information on this pilot…

Canadian Fliers Down 36 German Aircraft in Luftwaffe Attack
London, Jan. 1, 1945 – (CP) – Canadian fighter pilots, in one of their greatest triumphs during the war, destroyed at least 36 of 84 Germans shot down today by the RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force.
The big Canadian score was rolled up as the German Air Force came out in its greatest show of strength for three years in an attempt to smash up Allied airfields in Belgium, Holland and France.

Five Planes Missing
Canadian fighter squadrons accounted for 35 enemy aircraft and the 36th was destroyed by a Canadian in an RAF Tempest Squadron Five. RCAF planes are missing.
Although the Huns’ low-level strafings included RCAF airfields and caused some damage, the operational program of the squadrons was not interrupted and approximately 300 sorties were flown. Some enemy planes were destroyed white the airfields were under attack and others when the enemy fled for home.
The pilot of one RCAF reconnaissance squadron, whose name was not immediately disclosed, destroyed two ME190s and damaged two FW190s as he returned to base.
Spitfire fighter-bombers also were active and destroyed or damaged several locomotives and freight cars in the German supply area around St. Vith in Belgium south of Malmedy.
The Canadian Wolf Squadron alone knocked down five out of a formation of 60 enemy craft which strafed the squadron’s airfield in the Brussels area. Two others probably were destroyed and another damaged in a low-level action that developed into the hottest dogfight for Canadian fighters in months.

Bags 2 Focke-Wolfs
Four RCAF Typhoons returning from a reconnaissance flight met enemy fighters and destroyed three and probably destroyed a fourth. Two were destroyed by FO. A. H. Fraser of Westmount, Que., and the other by FO. H. Laurence of Edson, Alta. All were FW190s.
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.
In the Wolf Squadron dogfight, PO. Steve Butte of Michel, B.C., and Mac Reeves of Madoc, Ont., each downed two planes and Butte also claimed one damaged. FIt. Sgt. Keith Lindsay destroyed one and also had a “probable.”
These were the first scores for Butte and Lindsay.
Butte and Lindsay found themselves in a swirling mass of Huns as they took off on a morning patrol. Butte sent an ME-109 down in flames with cannon fire.
Next victim was an FW-190. “There were strikes on his wing and engine, and I saw him crash on the edge of a near by town,” Butte said.

Out of Ammunition
Then he hit an ME-109, seeing strikes and smoke, but losing sight of the enemy plane as it dived steeply toward the ground.
“By this time all my ammunition was gone and a Hun got on my tail,” Butte continued, “I managed to get on his tail, but couldn’t do anything about it.”
Lindsay shot one plane down in flames and registered a cannon hit on another, but couldn’t determine whether it crashed.
Reeves and his namesake, Flt. Lt. Dick Reeves of 1507 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Toronto, who is no relation, plunged into a flock of enemy planes while returning from patrol. Dick Reeves had to land immediately because of a faulty motor, but Mac, his guns belching, closed on the plane which caught fire and crashed. He attacked the second victim from underneath and the pilot baled out.
It was announced tonight that the Canadian Mosquito Squadron on the Continent during Sunday night destroyed two Junkers planes while on defensive patrol.

Keith Lindsay was with another pilot on January 1st 1945.

Mac Reeves was from Madoc, Ontario.

Walter Neil Dove collection

Mac did not come back from the war…

Walter Neil Dove collection

End of the original post


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 (pictured below) on the second recce, a newcomer, all to Jerry flak. Here is the last entry of F/O Garland’s journal: On Aug 17 at 1800 hours we went on our third trip of the day strafing German trucks and transport in the Falaise Gap. I was flying #2 to F/O Greene and reached target in a few minutes.

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.

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.

Below are photos courtesy David Garland

Pat Murphy’s Message and Homage to Spitfire pilots


This was a draft post written almost 5 years ago. I still have 30 more draft posts left. This is post 741 honouring those who served with RCAF 403 Squadron.

Pierre, while I was doing some searching tonight for more information on Hart Finley, I came across this picture I took in 2007 at the Y2-K Spitfire restoration project Open House. We had 12 Spitfire pilots attend that year and this was one truck full.

Left to right

Jim O’Toole 421 Sqn

Art Sager 443 Sqn

Kit Carson 412 Sqn

Duke Warren 165 Sqn

Stocky Edwards

Hart Finley at the back of the truck.

It was a great day to have so many Spitfire pilots in one place.



Art Sager, Jim O'TOOLE Spit Pilots



Pat Murphy

Collection Robert Brookes – Spitfire Mk Vb AB981

Every picture tells a story. Airframe mechanic Robert Brookes poses for posterity. Date unknown.

Spitfire KW*A also poses for posterity.

Found on the Internet

Served with No. 403 (F) Squadron, RCAF from 12 September 1941, coded “KH*Z”. Category AC damage in a flying accident on 10 March 1943. Left this unit by July 1943.

I guess KW*Z became KW*A after the accident.

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…

George Aitken flew KH-L – Pat Murphy’s Tribute to George

Dean Black had started a little quiz a few years back on this… I called it the KH game. It was a way to find all the letters of the alphabet with the KH code.

Pat Murphy had stumbled on my blog and had written a comment on an Easter Sunday. With that comment the throttle on this blog opened wide.


I am used to be startled on this blog and on my others blogs I am writing about WWII.

How I started writing about WWII is quite interesting.

It started with the story of a Canadian destroyer sunk on April 29, 1944. I had never heard of it before even though I thought I was quite knowledgeable about WWII when I started getting interested in WWII in 1958 as a young boy coming from school. The blog Lest We Forget and its French version Souvenirs de guerre led me to meet Georges Stewart virtually and then later in person.


While staying at a B&B in Hamilton I met a young man whose grandfather was a Spitfire pilot.


Walter Neil Dove

This is how this blog about RCAF 403 Squadron started in September 2011. A few years later a new chapter opened up with Pat sharing what he knew about Spitfires and the pilots who flew them.

And Pat knew a lot!

And he sent me lots of stuff since that Easter Sunday.

I did not know who Pat Murphy was before he wrote a comment.

Pierre, I very much enjoy your 403 Squadron information, do you have an email address so that I can provide some information to you. I have searched your website for your contact info/ email and can’t seem to find it. I have a Canadian Spitfire display in a museum here on Vancouver Island complete with some 403 Squadron Spitfires that you might find interesting. Recently I’ve included a Spitfire flown by Doug Lindsay of 403 Squadron to the display. I met Doug at his home in Red Deer Alberta a few ago when I was having him sign some limited edition aviation prints for the Y2-K Spitfire restoration project. Doug provided me with the details for his model Spitfire when I called him a few weeks ago. The display also features a model of George Aitkens Spitfire, George provided me with his details as well.

Pat Murphy Vancouver Island Military Museum Nanaimo B.C.

When you don’t know someone they in fact don’t exist.

Just like George Stewart and his navigator Paul Beaudet who flew 50 operations together.


Just like George Aitken and his Spitfire.

Flying Officer George Aitken 403 Sqn RCAF

Just like this museum in Nanaimo.


Or this pilot’s Spitfire…


George Aitken is not a little known Spitfire pilot anymore.


He is not only a post on this blog that I wrote in March 2012.

George is much much more than that…


Much more…


And what about that model airplane of KH-L?


Pat had written this…


I forgot to mention the details behind the reason George Aitken had roundels on his wheel covers. He was visiting an American bomber base at one time and he noticed that some of the bombers had a large star painted on the wheel covers of the bombers, George thought it looked good and when he returned to his own base he mentioned it to his ground crew. The next few days were very rainy and all operations had been cancelled. When opps went back on he noticed that his ground crew had painted the roundel on the wheel covers of his Spitfire, I believe it was the only RCAF Spitfire to wear such markings. When George saw the markings applied to his model he was most pleased.

A comment about the Spitfire

This comment  was made on one of my other  blogs.

The Spitfire’s tactical strong points are probably among the most poorly understood of WWII fighters. It is generally an overrated but capable design. Here are some salient points of its tactical advantages/disadvantages.

#1: It did not turn that well (inferior to both the Hurricane and the FW-190A in prolonged turning, according to RCAF pilot John Weir, and many combat accounts demonstrate this very well, including those by top ace Johnny Johnson): The Spitfire’s wing for some reason displayed poor lift while turning, but excellent 3 axis control while stalling: This, combined with overly light elevators, allowed it to stall and turn itself to point “inside the circle”, in effect allowing to briefly shoot “across the circle” while stalling: The powerful 20 mm wing guns often made this brief advantage pay off. Most of the time, with an average 2% hit rate, the target had to be shot at a long time, which made turning dogfights far more important in WWII than is generally acknowledged.

The Spitfire sustained turns poorly, so much so Russian tactics had to be adapted when they used this aircraft (they even tried removing the outer guns to help it), the Russians being forced to use instead dive and zoom tactics to which the Spitfire was well adapted (as did most users of the Spitfire, including the RAF). However, its light elevators did allow some harsh initial turns at high speed, giving the impression of a high turn rate after a dive, again helpful in diving attacks.

#2 It rolled poorly: This is well established, but less well-known is that it was actually one of the poorest of all WWII fighters in roll at higher speeds: This was not so pronounced at high altitudes, because the thinner air was more forgiving to its flexible wings, and its low lateral stick leverage.

#3 It was a great diver: For extreme high speed dives from high altitudes, it was one of the better WWII propeller fighter aircraft, superior in diving speed even to the US fighters, until denser lower altitude air was encountered, where its lack of wing rigidity allowed US fighters to overcome it. Again this was a feature favourable to diving and zooming attacks, which is how it was actually used.

#4 It was an extremely good climber: Little emphasized is that the +25lbs boost LF Mk IX probably had the highest climb rate of any WWII piston engine fighter below 20 000 feet. Again a feature helping vertical fighting and dive and zoom tactics.

As a fighter it was forgiving to novice, and its engine kept up with the pace of development: Its short range severely reduced its usefulness.

One on one it was a match to the Me-109, but much inferior to the FW-190A in overall maneuverability, particularly for roll and sustained horizontal turns, but far superior on the vertical plane where the 190 was very poor. It roughly matched the P-51, and far outclimbed the P-47, but like the FW-190A, the P-47 was better on sustained horizontal turns, which is why almost all combat accounts have the big fighter obsessively used in turns, especially vs the Me-109, while the Spitfire climb and dived.

As to the airframe cost in man-hours, I would point out that the relevance of this may depend on the industry: With an excess of labour and a lack of machinery, and especially materials, it might make sense to go for a labour-intensive design that is economical in materials: The engine is the most costly item in any case… Pilot training is also much more costly in time, and the pilot was always more valuable than his machine. In any case, whatever the case may be, the Spitfire did not provide any large superiority except for its climb rate, and maybe its handling at very high altitudes (25 000 feet plus).


About Jimmy Abbotts

This comment…


I’m enjoying to read something about the Spitfire KH-H.

My later grandfather witnessed the downing of this aircraft and he described it with nearly the same words. He was a German soldier who had sentineled the crashed Spitfire. And he took a picture of the KH-H.

I saw this picture in my grandfather’s  photo album and he told me the story behind…

Additionally to the posted story he stated:
– it was a dogfight between English and German fighters
– the Spitfire was in a position to fire at a Bf109
– suddenly a Bf 110 appeared behind the Spitfire  and startet to fire, the Spitfire  began to smoke
– the Spitfire  came down very smooth with something  “at it”, surprisingly it was the pilot
– the aircraft “landed” in a field, the pilot had a broken leg only
– in the hospital the pilot wanted to meet the German pilot who shot him down (this was granted)

With best regards


More from Georges Nadon’s collection – Redux

This should get some people’s attention…


122 squadron 1942


Dear Sir,

My name is Mehdi Schneyders and I live in Belgium. I am a colored half Belgian – half South African, and a R.A.F. enthusiast as well. There are three Belgian pilots on this picture concerning No. 122 Squadron :

– First row ( standing ), first from the left : Léopold ” Coco ” Collignon.
– First row ( standing ), the short one next to the civilian : Léon Prévot.
– Second row ( seated on one wing ), fourth from the right : Raymond ” Van ” Van de Poel.

Posted to No. 350 ” Belgian ” Squadron, two of them ( Prévot and Collignon ) are becoming the C.O.’s of the unit. Van de Poel died on collision with another pilot.