No son they gave us a pistol

Red Ryder

Pierre:
 
I have attached a pic of the print.  Sorry but it is hard to get a good shot as it is under glass.
 
Another memory of Red:
 
I saw him at one of our retirees parties and joked with him that I still flew spits.  Red knew that I flew models.  He replied that one of his grand kids had asked if he had a parachute in his plane.  He said no son they gave us a pistol.  Got a lot more respect from the grand kids after that.

Red Ryder will never be forgotten.

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Henry Percy Duval – Redux – A Comment

Hi there,
I am Madeleine Campbell’s grandson.
My Father Duncan Campbell being the son of Ken Campbell- Madeleine’s second marriage after the death of Hank.
It is lovely to see people speak of my ‘Nanna’ and Hank and see similar pages with the story of Hank and Kens fateful day.
We celebrated Nanna’s 95th birthday last month- but she is in no state to recount memories of her past. So it’s down to reading my Grandpa’s memoirs (Ken) an my father Duncan filling in any holes.

Thank you

Comment made with this post…

I write so people can find lost loved one.

We had very little information on Henry Percy Duval before the war.

Henry Percy Duval

Dean Black had sent this taken from the year album of McGill University. He had sent a painting done by someone at the former base where he was a commander.

Col Blacks picture

That painting was done by Robin S. McQueen

Henry Percy Duval was a Spitfire pilot with 403 Squadron.

Someone has just left a comment.

We now know much more about Henry Percy Duval.

Henry Percy Duval was my great-uncle. I grew up with his sister(my grandmother) so I was familiar with stories about Uncle Harry who was killed in the war. I knew he was a pilot but not much else. He looks a lot like my grandmother. Thank you for posting this.
Regards,
Darryl Hunter
Los Angeles, CA

Remembrance Day 2012 – Redux

One of the most poignant story written on this blog…

Posted on Remembrance Day 2012

Written by Mark White

Lest We Forget

Robert Charles Medforth

MEDFORTH, ROBERT CHARLES LAC R78265 – aero engine mechanic. From Pennant, Saskatchewan. Killed in action Jan 1/45 age 36. #6403 Servicing Echelon, Belgium. Died of injuries sustained when the airfield at RAF Station Evere, Belgium was strafed by enemy aircraft. Leading Aircraftsman Medforth is buried in the Brussels Town Cemetery, Evere-les-Bruxelles, Belgium. 

They Shall Grow Not Old – Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum Memorial Book

Bob’s Fresh Grave

 

Bob’s Grave With Flowers

Leading Aircraftsman Robert Charles Medforth is buried in the Brussels Town Cemetery, Evere-les-Bruxelles, Belgium. 

Whitey, Bill and Bob Medforth

Operation Bodenplatte

Operation Bodenplatte (Baseplate) launched on January 01, 1945, was an attempt by the Luftwaffe to cripple Allied air forces in the Low Countries during the Second World War. The goal of Bodenplatte was to gain air superiority during the stagnant stage of the Battle of the Bulge, to allow the German Army and Waffen-SS forces to resume their advance. The operation was planned for 16 December 1944, but it was delayed repeatedly owing to bad weather until New Years Day, the first day that happened to be suitable for the operation. – Wikipedia

 

Eyewitness Account

This is a written eyewitness account of what happed that day from a member of my dad’s crew.  127 Wing moved to Base 56 (B56) on Nov.4.44 and remained there until Mar.1.45.

It is typed as it was written by hand.

Here’s the Story

127 moved from Mechelan to Evere – another ex-Brussels Airfield – now another bombed out mess, but the best one to date as we had a few amenities – hangers are mostly unsafe and unusable but we have discovered a properly working flush toilet in an otherwise wrecked washroom – how and why is really interesting because no other taps and plumbing worked – we also have a good cement apron to work on.

January 01, 1945.

Most personnel had been up a little late doing a little celebrating and were slightly groggy.

One squadron was just preparing to take-off. We had 4 brand new Spitfire 16’s to check out and put the squadron letters on so I started to head over to 403 disp (Dispersal) to get the stencils KH. At right angles to our work pad, a road went up at a slight rise behind an old hanger.

As I walked, suddenly I could hear gunfire from aircraft coming from the Mechelen Airfield direction. Then, what I first thought was a Spit IX aircraft appeared from that way after flying across our airfield. I said to the Spit – Hey! You better check out Mechelen as he sort of rolled up and there were black crosses well marked under his wings. Then aircraft started roaring across our aircraft and airfield. I jumped into a boarded up German slit trench as some 109’s came low over the old hanger firing as they turned to hit our new aircraft. They weren’t shooting at me but one 37 mm slug went into the wood beside me, the old German gas barrels also got hit and also our aircraft.

When I left about 2 minutes ago, Robbie was running up one Spit. Whitey was on the wing tip. I ran back down the little road. Fire was coming out of the cockpit of Robbie’s Spit. I jumped up on the wing. The cockpit was empty, Whitey got up from the ground, he had dropped beside the cement in a patch of old oil, half of his face was black.

A few of the rest of the crew had dropped on the cement apron. Bullets had bounced off the cement all around them, no one was hit – Robbie and 3 others had run to the top of the old smashed hanger. Their backs were covered in red brick dust as slugs had missed them by inches and imbedded in the bricks – and were later dug out for keepsakes. One fellow had been sitting on our prized toilet wondering what all the noise was when a slug came through the wooded door, hit the toilet between his legs, smashed the china bowl and left him sitting on a pile of rubble.

Bob Medforth got a cannon shell through both thighs. Some of the gang found him and applied field dressings to stop the bleeding, got a stretcher and ran him over to the M.Q.’s (Medical Quarters) and requested immediate attention. There were casualties coming in there pretty fast.

I carried on down to the apron to get our Bren gun, it was gone. I never heard it fire, the ammo was still there. The German planes were still raising hell in the vicinity.

A pilot who had finished his tour, ran out and jumped in a aircraft that was still running from the Squad that were leaving for take off – when the Germans hit – as he got clear of the ground he nailed two German aircraft who were crossing in front of him, two more German aircraft followed in behind him and shot him down over Brussels.

I was sent to the crash site right away by truck to find out definitely who was flying that Spit. He went down in Rue de Victare, a narrow cobblestone road solidly built up on either side.

The Spit had gone down straight in making a fair sized pit in the street – the hole was filling with bloody water. I rolled up my sleeves and started picking out pieces trying to find some proper identity.

The two men with me couldn’t stand the sight of the mess and couldn’t help. I had managed quite a pile of gore when a local Belgium came up with the pilot’s wallet. It somehow had landed on the sidewalk.

When I got back I found out that some idiot had run off with our Bren gun. He didn’t know how to use it even if he had brought along the ammunition. One fellow who had been running around  trying to help but was too excited to  do any good had a small caliber bullet right through his foot and he didn’t even know it. When one of the others asked him how come your boots are all bloody? He fell down and couldn’t walk and had to be carried.

The worse part was when some of the crew went back to the MQ’s to see how Bob was doing, they found that he was exactly the way they had left him on the stretcher, only now he was dead – from shock. The MO staff had done nothing for the seriously wounded and had only treated some of the minor injuries and hadn’t even put a blanked over Bob to prevent shock.

There were a mass of stories. The head man of the Tactical Airforce was visiting in his “Mobile Home Dakota” – it was a complete write off.

Our Bofors anti aircraft crew got shot up and put out of action very early.

We had two young pilots up for a practice flight before any operational duty. They got mixed in with the German aircraft and made a few circuits with the attacking aircraft before they had a chance to escape. The Germans couldn’t shoot at them without endangering their own aircraft. Our two pilots were too green to try being heroes.

Next day we could muster about 12 serviceable aircraft out of our four squadrons. Some aircraft were slightly damaged but some were complete write-offs.

The total aircraft destroyed that day must have been tremendous. The German air force also took tremendous losses in aircraft but their real losses were experienced pilots that they couldn’t replace.

Our losses were really only in aircraft and for most of these replacements were already available. We were changing from Spit IV’s to Spit 16’s.

Submitted by Mark White to RCAF 403 Squadron/Wolf Remembrance Day 2012

Next time, the epilog.

Flight Lieutenant Ron Forsyth – Redux

About Ron Forsyth…

Somewhere in Holland in 1944.

¨Mo¨Morrison,G.Nadon Ron Forsythe Holland 44

Colin sent me this message a while back about his grandfather who was still living.

Ron is still with us. Colin told me in a message when I sent him this picture. So what is so interesting about this pilot and his grandson.

He had some very interesting information to send along and share with my readers.

This is what he wrote in 2012.

Hi Pierre,

I’m sending you a couple of pictures and some scans of papers that my grandfather has been keeping.  

There is a photo taken of him in September 1944, just after my father was born in Cambridge.  

There is a scan of a group photo from the Neil Dove collection that was published in a magazine in the 1970s.  It’s more formal looking than the ones you had posted on your blog.


My Grandfather had a book that he lent to someone, but lost track of.  The one thing he has from that book is a photo copy about the history of the 403 and all the planes with serial numbers.  

There is a list of all the types of planes he flew.

I’ll send these in a couple of emails so it doesn’t get too big.

 
I printed out a number of the stories for him to read.  He really enjoyed them and added some other details that were not included.  
 
He said that the reason that Tegerdine crashed onto the roof of the building was due to them using a new type of fuel that blew out the engines.  He told me about one time when he was loaded up with 250 lb bombs under the wing, the electrical system wasn’t working properly so he had to pull a cable to release them.  Unbeknownst to him, one of the 250 lb bombs was still loosely attached to his wing.  As the electrical system wasn’t working, no one could inform him on the radio.  He came in for a landing as usual and the bomb fell, skidded and bounced along the ground for a ways when his wheels touched the ground.  Fortunately it was a dud.  He said the people in the control tower were quite concerned…  
 
Colin

Footnote

Colin sent this picture on November 10, 2012.

Photo of Ron Forsyth on a new plane. A replacement after his previous one was shot up.

Henry Percy Duval – Redux

Post 422

I write so people can find lost loved one.

We had very little information on Henry Percy Duval before the war.

Henry Percy Duval

Dean Black had sent this taken from the year album of McGill University. He had sent a painting done by someone at the former base where he was a commander.

Col Blacks picture

That painting was done by Robin S. McQueen

Henry Percy Duval was a Spitfire pilot with 403 Squadron.

Someone has just left a comment.

We now know much more about Henry Percy Duval.

Henry Percy Duval was my great-uncle. I grew up with his sister(my grandmother) so I was familiar with stories about Uncle Harry who was killed in the war. I knew he was a pilot but not much else. He looks a lot like my grandmother. Thank you for posting this.
Regards,
Darryl Hunter
Los Angeles, CA

About Squadron Leader Bill Pentland

Bill Pentland was not the squadron leader who liked to show off…

Click here to visit a Website paying homage to him as well as pilots who were first with 111 Squadron.

Excerpt

Squadron Leader (Pilot) William Harry “Big Bill” Pentland DFC
(J3204)  He received his Wings from #2 Service Flying Training School at Uplands (Ottawa) in early 1940.  He was ordered to England and arrived on Christmas Eve, 1940.  On June 28, 1941, he was injured in a plane crash (head injuries) and spent a period in recovery.  By early 1942, he had been promoted to Flight Lieutenant and was named a Flight Commander in his squadron (402 Squadron). He returned to Canada and served for a time as instructor at #1 Operational Training Unit, Bagotville, Quebec.  He was appointed Squadron Leader of 111 Sqn in December, 1943, relieving his good friend since flight training days, David L. Ramsay. He took the newly re-numbered (to 440 Sqn) squadron to Europe. He remained S/L until his death on October 7, 1944. His Typhoon (Number MN 641) exploded just as he released his bombs on a railroad bombing run near Wesel, Germany. He is buried at the War Cemetery at Rheinberg, Germany. The 440 Sqn Operations Record Book, dated Oct 7, 1944, noted his last mission. “
There were three missions that day. The first  two were successful. “The third and final target proved very costly when our Officer commanding, S/L W.H. Pentland, DFC, was killed. He has only three more trips to complete his second tour of operations and his loss is deeply felt by all who worked with and knew him. The target was to dive-bomb rails at A.0758 – A.1747 in which 8 of our aircraft participated, using 16 X 500 lb 11 second delay bombs. On the bombing run S/L Pentland was seen to dive with his guns blazing and his aircraft was seen to explode after dropping his bombs. F/O Savard who followed behind was caught in the explosion and narrowly escaped spinning in….  All bombs were in target area, rails were cut and near misses scored. Weather was hazy and  smoky.” He was from Calgary, Alberta.  Photo Identification Confidence Level: 1 Confirmed

More information here.

More never seen before pictures taken in Großenhain

These pictures are real photos taken at Großenhain.

These pictures belonged to a German engineer who had been working at De Havilland plant in Toronto after the war. His wife had these pictures and she showed them to Michael Levesque who is sharing them on this blog.

Michael met Mrs. Stein while she was playing cards with three other ladies. One day she came with these pictures!

junkers87

Ju 87 D with a Le0 45 in the background in Großenhain

me109he45a(1)

Me 109 D with a Heinkel He 45 in the background in Großenhain

stuka1a

Ju 87 Stuka in Großenhain

me110nightfighter1

Me 110 nightfighter in Großenhain

All these are taken from the personal collection of Mrs. Stein via Michael Levesque. Michael told me that they were taken in Großenhain before it was later destroyed by the Allies.

 

      Dornier Do 17 He 111 He 177 Grossenhain tail gun He 177 Grossenhain Junkers 52 Ju 188

Please feel free to comment or write to me.