TB752

There is little doubt that so far as Aurel was concerned flying the Spitfire was a dream come true.

As he puts it, “the sheer enjoyment of flying such a plane was incredible”.

Many 403 pilots flew this particular Spitfire.

From the book “The Manston Spitfire” by Lewis Deal
Published 1981  ISBN 0 948305 01 0

To learn more click here.

Most of the names appear in Walter Neil Dove’s photo album and on this logbook page.

No 403 Squadron (RCAF) Wolf Squadron Squadron Code KH-Z

Flight Sergeant Robert E Barbour

Flying Officer David Leslie

Flight Lieutenant James D Lindsay (DFC)

Flight Lieutenant R A Morrison

Flight Lieutenant C Leslie Rispler

Flying Officer Aurel A Roy

Flying Officer Robert C Shannon

Flying Officer Arthur Van R Sainsbury

Flying Officer Frederick W Town

Flying Officer Robert Young

Squadron Leader Henry P M Zary (DFC)

You will find these pictures on the site.

SUPERMARINE SPITFIRE MK XVI (LF) – TYPE 361 SERIAL TB752

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Rispler and Amigo

This is the 100th article on this blog that started in September 2011.

As I like to say, Greg scans like hell and I write a lot about what he sends.

But something amazing happened last week.

Dean Black found this blog.

Who is Dean Black? Well you will have to read last week’s articles.

Dean has not told me yet how he stumbled upon this blog, but that’s not important because he is sharing this picture with us this morning.

Collection Dean Black

Amigo is on the left. Les Rispler is on the right.

We know a lot about Aurel “Amigo” Roy thanks to Dean.

Last week Amigo was just a caption in Walter Neil Dove’s photo album.

The caption was beside a missing picture.

Collection Walter Neil Dove

Now we know a lot about Aurel “Amigo” Roy, but what about Les Rispler?

I got curious…

Click here…

This is what they found about him.

LESLIE ‘RIP’ RISPLER
Traced as a result of attending the Wartime Aircrew Reunion in Winnipeg, Canada some 3 years ago and, as a result, his name appeared on the back of a menu as a 1403 representative. Later traced to Calgary, Canada. Leslie knew David Leslie well when in Germany with 403 Squadron.

Leslie was born in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada and completed High School in Medicine Nat, Alberta. He joined the RCAF on 1st May 1940. Initially he served as ground crew but was re-mustered to aircrew on 7th December 1941 (Pearl Harbour Day) when stationed at Uplands, Ontario. Service Flying Training was undertaken on Harvard trainers and Leslie obtained his wings at Camp Borden, Ontario in September 1942. He then instructed on Tiger Moth trainers at Elementary Flying Schools at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan and Virden, Manitoba.

He arrived in England in March 1944 and was stationed at Ternhill, Shropshire, Advanced Flying Unit and at Kirton-in-Lindsey Operations Training Unit. Leslie joined 403 Squadron at Eindhoven, Holland, in March 1945 and returned with the squadron to England in the July. After returning to Canada he attended the University of Alberta and graduated with a BSc in Chemical Engineering.

Leslie has been employed in the oil and gas industry in exploration and production operations. For the past 28 years he has been with the Hudson’s Bay Oil & Gas Company Ltd with headquarters in Calgary, Alberta where he held the position of Manager, Technical Services. (The more observant will have noted that 403 Squadron was adopted by the City of Calgary). His daughter Sheila visited Manston in September 1980 and saw her father’s aircraft for herself.

This blog is all about sharing.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Lest we forget.

As a footnote…

Amigo also flew TB752.

Click here. 

Great reading as we learn more about Amigo.

AUREL ‘AMIGO’ ROY

Aurel was born in Warren, Ontario, Canada, a village which had a population of 600 in the year he was born (1920). Warren is 35 miles east of Sudbury, which is more widely known as the nickel mining centre of the world.

He started his education at Separate School in Warren and then went to Bourget College, Rigaud, Quebec. Aurel tried to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1939 and from that date until he actually joined up (8th May 1941) he was employed by International Nickel.

After joining the RCAF, he was posted to Windsor, Ontario, E.F.T.S. where he earned to fly on Fleet Finches. He was then transferred to Uplands (No 2 SFTS) near Ottawa where he underwent further training on Harvards. Aurel attained his ‘Wings’ in May 1942 and was then posted to Brantford, Ontario (No 4 Wireless School) where he trained W.A.G.S. on Tiger Moths, Yales and Norsemen until July 1944.

He was then transferred to No 5 S.F.T.S. on a refresher course to fly twin engined aircraft: he trained on Avro Ansons although he really wanted to fly Mosquitoes! During May 1944 he embarked for England on the ‘Ile de France’ and finally arrived at No 5 RAF Advanced Flying Unit, Newton, Shropshire, in the June where he was flying Masters and then Hurricanes. Then on to No 53 OTU on the 19th December where he again flew Masters but also Spitfires. After a short period at No 83 G.S.U. Aurel was posted to 403 RCAF Squadron on the 12th April 1945 flying Spitfires XVIs in Germany. He also did one ferry trip to Eindhoven, Holland. Aurel flew TB 752 during this period.

Aurel stayed in Germany until August that year and then returned to England. By then 403 Squadron had been disbanded and he was transferred to 421 “Red Indian” Squadron. He ended up at Bournemouth and later at Torquay. He sailed from Liver-pool to return to Canada. Aurel now runs a store, gas “bar” and restaurant which keeps him very much involved.

There is little doubt that so far as Aurel was concerned flying the Spitfire was a dream come true. As he puts it, “the sheer enjoyment of flying such a plane was incredible”. Aurel also marvelled at the manner in which the British people stood up to all the bombing and also went without so many things that were taken for granted in America. He was in London during the onslaught of the “buzz-bombs” (V.1s) and the “rockets” (V.2s) and describes as unbelievable the destruction caused by such weapons.

Aurel recalls that in Germany his unit was stationed quite close to the Belsen Concentration Camp which he described as “the most inhuman, incomprehensible sight ever” and that “no words can describe such a holocaust”.

Unfortunately all the photographs that Aurel has of his wartime service were destroyed in a fire at his father’s house in 1949.

“Unfortunately all the photographs that Aurel has of his wartime service were destroyed in a fire at his father’s house in 1949.”

I am sure Walter Dove, Greg’s grandfather, gave the missing picture to Amigo…

Captain Foster and Amigo, brothers-in-arms to be sure…

Captain Foster and Amigo  were daredevil pilots as we have read last time in Dean’s message.

Dean sent a picture to go along.

Collection Dean Black

Here again are recollections of Aurel “Amigo” Roy about Cap Foster.

Aurel told me this is because he [Captain Foster] was part aboriginal. More importantly, he told me how Cap made it overseas – he looped his Harvard under the bridge at Niagara Falls. That is correct – he looped his Harvard and went under the bridge at Niagara Falls.

Aurel and Cap were inseparable – most probably because they both got overseas.

Aurel decided one day to “buzz” all the skiers at Camp Fortune, north of Ottawa. He flew so low, as he climbed up the slope with his Harvard, that skiiers scattered and fell getting out of his way. When he reached the top of the hill he flipped over inverted and pulled down to conceal his escape on the other side of the mountain. Sadly for Aurel the entire head of the air force was at a retreat at Camp Fortune – the highest ranking Air Marshals were all there to see it.

He was disciplined and got shipped overseas. When he met up with Cap Foster – “the Chief” – they were brothers-in-arms to be sure.

I found more information about Cap Foster whom Amigo called the Chief.

The story in itself is interesting.

I will tell you more next time.

Aurel “Amigo” Roy – A Quiet Shining Light By Dean C. Black, CD

This blog is to pay homage to the airmen of RCAF No. 403 Squadron.

Dean Black did just that, but not on this blog. He wrote his homage somewhere else.

This is what he wrote about Amigo.

Aurel Roy’s passing at 85 on 08 May 2006 could have been relatively quiet were it not for the probity in his life which only became clear most recently. Aurel grew up near Sudbury and flew Spitfires operationally with 403 “Wolf” Squadron during the Second World War. In retrospect his story says much about our Canadian attitude towards military service.

After a 56-year silence Aurel sought to reconnect with his military past when in 2001 he attended his beloved squadron’s anniversary. As 403’s Commander I was thrilled a veteran would be there. Aurel was a charming, vibrant and down-to-earth man; attributes that explained his war-time nickname – “Amigo”. At 80 years of age, he insisted on playing in our golf tournament. Since he played hockey twice a week he also wanted to play in our baseball game, too. Aurel was also looking forward to the dance later that night.

Aurel nearly golfed his age. At shortstop, though, he fielded a hit but collapsed after successfully chasing down a runner caught between second base and third. Two hours later after assessing Aurel’s leg injury the Doctor released him with a stern look, and a wheelchair. Dancing was out, but a helicopter ride was still possible. A local reporter joined Aurel for the flight. A full-page story was the result. Copies were sent to Aurel one week later. Aurel soon called to tell me he had inadvertently upset his friends. That meant the whole town was angry. After posting the story everywhere, people were surprised and upset to read of Aurel’s military experiences; surprised because they were finding out for the first time, and upset because, well, they were finding out for the first time. Aurel had kept silent about his military past because “…he had no proof”. A 1948 fire destroyed his parent’s home. His most prized possession – his pilot’s flying log book – perished, along with his medals, photos and uniforms. Consequently, he had no desire to tell his friends about a life for which he had no supporting evidence.

Under false pretences we coaxed Aurel back to New Brunswick the following year (2002). In a surprise Black-tie military ceremony I presented Aurel with a mint-condition Second World War RCAF Pilot’s Log Book containing information – missions, sorties, hours flown, places, dates – gathered during ten long months of research. All his training flights and Spitfire combat sorties were documented, reflecting the facts found in the squadron’s war logs. Aurel was stunned and speechless; the rest of us were misty-eyed and really choked up.

Could Aurel’s post-war decades-long silence about his time in uniform have been explained otherwise? Consider that Aurel was born into a generation for which socialization into the military was both natural and expected. Aurel was also born in a country that remains untouched by and largely ignorant of the violence of total war. Reconnecting with his military past left Aurel reinvigorated. After 403’s reunion Aurel returned to Europe to reinforce the process he had begun. In a letter to me in late 2005 he said the 60th VE-Day commemoration was “incredible”. He had ridden in a jeep snapping photographs. Most of the blurry images depicted throngs of people, ten deep lining the route miles long, cheering, clapping, and crying. Their liberators had come home and people were determined to express their gratitude. These precious moments must have served to remind Aurel of the meaning of his life.

Aurel’s silence is more readily understood when we consider that in Canada we care far less about such things. We care not because we understand not. Yes, we do commemorate military heroes and we mourn those who never returned, but soon after the bell tolls eleven on Remembrance Day each year we scatter to our routines characterised less by loyalty, duty and commitment than would appear to have been the case for Aurel’s generation. Aurel’s generation responded when they were genuinely threatened. The 9-11 travesty and the arrest of 17 alleged terrorists in Toronto has not had a similar effect on Canadians, despite the fact western civilization may today be more threatened than at any time in its past.

Aurel needed to reconnect with his brothers in arms before time ran out. The strength of our admiration for him was reflected in the mission we had set for ourselves. The pilot’s log book and the attention we gave him reminded Aurel about the good things that came with military life. He chose not to share his military experiences with those whom he loved back home because such memories could only be shared with those whose lives had been saved by men like Aurel; men willing to sacrifice everything for strangers in need. Aurel “Amigo” Roy was a reliable, loyal friend to his wingmen. Together these gallant men saved many. Back home Aurel was a humble, charming man who would do anything for his friends. Why would anyone in Warren, Ontario have need for a Spitfire pilot when they already had Aurel? Aurel, you were “best friend” to countless many all around the world who knew precious little about you. Here at home, all of us who knew precious little about you as well – your closest friends – today miss you dearly.

Click here for the source of this article.

The Chief

Call it premonition if you want…

This is the article I wrote a way back.

Click here to read it.

This is the first paragraph…

One day someone will write a comment on this blog and say that he or she is related either to Captain Foster, Mo Morrison, Van Sainsbury, Ron Forsyth, Stew Tosh, Gil Gillis, Johnnie Johnson, Mac Reeves or Keith Lindsay…

Up to now four  people had written to me: the son of Van Sainsbury,   a man to whom the name Gil Gillis rang a bell, someone who was Tommy Todd’s best friend and Tommy Todd’s grandson.

Now I can add Dean Black to that list. Dean wrote me about Captain Foster with a  question…

Who was really The Chief with 403 Squadron?

Well according to Dean I am not sure anymore. Cap Foster would be the Chief.

I was just waiting for his go-ahead to post what he sent me since the story behind The Chief is quite revealing about two former 403 pilots.

Very interesting indeed.

This is what Dean wrote.

I would like to share something with you right now, as a prelude to what I might be able to cobble together for you over the next several weeks.

I noticed in some of the blog entries many references to “The Chief”.

I realize that this alias was written into the scrapbook/photo-album by Greg’s grandfather, possibly; however, I want you to know that I befriended another Spitfire pilot from the same era, named Aurel “Amigo” Roy.

Aurel showed up at our 2001 anniversary, and then he returned the following year. From 2002 to 2005 we had a reunion each summer, but he passed away in 2006.

Nevertheless, Aurel told me one day that Cap Foster was “the Chief”, not Hank Zary.

You have a squadron photo on your blog, with all of the squadron personnel in front of a Spitfire.

Foster (Cap Foster) is sitting front-and centre with his legs crossed, looking like an (aboriginal) Indian.

Aurel told me this is because he was part aboriginal.

More importantly, he told me how Cap made it overseas – he looped his Harvard under the bridge at Niagara Falls.

That is correct – he looped his Harvard and went under the bridge at Niagara Falls.

In one of your photographs of a man swinging the bat at home plate, to which there is affixed a caption “The Chief at Bat” – that is Cap Foster, to be sure.

The other photo of Hank Zary climbing into his Spitfire, to which is affixed a caption referring to “the Chief” – that is Hank Zary, but Hank is not “the Chief”, only Cap Foster is “the Chief”.

Aurel and Cap were inseparable – most probably because they both got overseas.

Aurel decided one day to “buzz” all the skiers at Camp Fortune, north of Ottawa.

He flew so low, as he climbed up the slope with his Harvard, that skiiers scattered and fell getting out of his way.

When he reached the top of the hill he flipped over inverted and pulled down to conceal his escape on the other side of the mountain. Sadly for Aurel the entire head of the air force was at a retreat at Camp Fortune – the highest ranking Air Marshals were all there to see it.

He was disciplined and got shipped overseas.

When he met up with Cap Foster – “the Chief” – they were brothers-in-arms to be sure.

Dean

I am sure Captain Foster was The Chief for Amigo.

I am quite sure Walter Dove gave the same nickname to Hank Zary and his captions have to be right about Hank Zary climbing into a Spitfire and being at bat. This pilot does not look like Captain Foster to me in the pictures I have seen.

But does it really matter?

I won’t start an argument with a Lieutenant-Colonel.

You’ll be the J.A.G in this case.

Amigo was Aurel

Amigo was his nickname.

We can’t figure how he got it from.

He was probably a very nice guy.

Amigo Roy was well known by Dean Black another very nice guy.

Dean is the reader who wrote this comment…

Hello,

I am Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) Dean C. Black, CD – Commanding Officer 403 “Wolf” Squadron (2000-2002).

In 2001 I led the squadron’s celebration of the 60th anniversary of the squadron’s formation. I also found in the filing cabinets a draft of the squadron’s history which had been languishing for ten years. I wrote the closing chapters, bringing it up to date, and then published the book, selling over 1,500 copies. I have two left, but these have been autographed by many 403 Spitfire pilots, so they are invaluable mementos. In December 2010 Steve Butte invited me to Australia to be with him as he was dying. I invested him as the Honorary Colonel of the Squadron in April 2002.

All this to say, I am impressed with your site, and I have much to offer.

Are you interested?

I am currently serving as Executive Director Air Force Association of Canada (airforce.ca) and Executive Editor of Airforce magazine.

I would be lying if I said I was not impressed.

Impressed not because he was a retired Lieutenant-Colonel Commanding Officer of 403 Wolf Squadron.

I was impressed by this…

In December 2010 Steve Butte invited me to Australia to be with him as he was dying.

Dean had to be a nice guy.

Then I started looking for information about Amigo… and found this

I had found nothing on him before. Dean had not posted Amigo’s obituary yet on Airforce.ca site.

This is what impressed me the most about Amigo’s obituary…

A 1948 fire destroyed his parent’s home. His most prized possession – his pilot’s flying log book – perished, along with his medals, photos and uniforms. Consequently, he had no desire to tell his friends about a life for which he had no supporting evidence.

Under false pretences we coaxed Aurel back to New Brunswick the following year (2002). In a surprise Black-tie military ceremony I presented Aurel with a mint-condition Second World War RCAF Pilot’s Log Book containing information – missions, sorties, hours flown, places, dates – gathered during ten long months of research. All his training flights and Spitfire combat sorties were documented, reflecting the facts found in the squadron’s war logs. Aurel was stunned and speechless; the rest of us were misty-eyed and really choked up.

Dean is a nice guy and nice guys are no. 1 in my “logbook”.

Dean sent me some pictures of Amigo.

He is willing to share them with my readers.

Steve Butte and Aurel “Amigo” Roy in attendance at the 60th anniversary of the formation of 403 Squadron,
at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown Oromocto, New Brunswick June 2001.

Collection Dean Black

There is also this one taken when Amigo was presented a new logbook.

Collection Dean Black

As a footnote to this article.

When I met Greg in September, I told him that sharing his grandfather’s logbook and photo album would bring a lot of surprises.

I never expected this one.

Collection Dean Black

Amigo Roy

I have search a lot on the Internet to find information about Amigo.

His second name was Roy.

No Joy…

No Joy… until Dean wrote a comment and the floodgate opened wide.

I figured Amigo could have been French-Canadian as “moiself”.

Walter Dove used this word in his photo album.

Moiself… for myself.

Collection Walter Neil Dove

I am sure Walter Dove was a nice guy.

When I met his grandson Greg, I knew I had met a nice guy.

Greg is in his mid-twenties and he has a deep interest in aviation.

I am in my early sixties and I always had a deep interest in aviation.

It started when I was 10 years old when I first built my first model plane.

It was a F-86 Sabre Jet model kit. My brother had chosen a… Spitfire! I knew nothing about the Spitfire or about WWII for that matter.

The passion for aviation continued on.

So it was natural to offer Greg to pay homage to his grandfather using the logbook and the photo album and share with others using this blog.

Getting back to the photo album, this is one of the pages…

Collection Walter Neil Dove

A picture is missing.

Quite strange.

Amigo’s picture is missing.

Why is it missing?

I think I might have an explanation.

Come back next time.