Group Picture of Squadron at Headcorn, September 1943

Dean Black sent this picture taken at Headcorn in September 1943.


Photo # 12  PL 19718

Members of the Wolf fighter squadron are included in the above photograph with Wing Commander J.E. Johnston, DSO and Bar, DFC and Bar, of  Melton, Mowbray, Leicestershire, brown-eyed 27 year-old Englishman, who has just relinquished leadership of the Canadian fighter wing to W/C Hugh Godefroy, DFC, Toronto.  Johnston has destroyed 25 German aircraft in combat over France, Belgium and Holland, a record for enemy planes destroyed by any allied fighter pilot over enemy territory.


Front Row:

  F/O Joseph P. Lecoq, Montreal

F/L Charles P. Thornton, Detroit

P/O John Allen Wilson, Hamilton, Ont

Sgt Stanley Barnes, Toronto

F/O Stanley W. Matthews, Winnipeg

W.O.1 Clinton E. Rae, Moulinette, Ont

Sgt James R. MacKinnon, Winnipeg

Second Row:

  F/O Livingston Foster, Grimsby, Ont

F/O Robert G. Middlemiss, Montreal

F/O James F. Lambert, Winnipeg

F/L Dean Dover, Mount Dennis, Toronto

S/L Frank E. (Bitsy) Grant, Brockville, Ont

W/C J.E. Johnston, DSO and Bar, DFC and Bar (Eng.)

F/L Noel J. Ogilvie, Ottawa

F/O Harry Dowling, Sarnia, Ont

F/O J.D. Browne, Florham Park, New Jersey

P/O Paul K. Gray, Toronto

Third Row: 

F/O Thomas A. Brannigan, Windsor, Ont

F/O John Hodgson, Calgary

F/L Arthur C. Coles, N. Vancouver, B.C.

F/L Herbert J. Southwood, Calgary

Sgt Norman V. Chevers, Niagara Falls, Ont

F/O James Preston, St. Catharines, Ont

F/L David Goldberg, Hamilton, Ont

F/O Malcolm J. Gordon, Edmonton, Alta

F/L Harry A. Pattison, Hamilton, On

F/L Ron Forsyth T.E. 11-4-45

F/L Ron Forsyth T.E. 11-4-45

Flight Lieutenant Ron Forsyth was coming home after his tour expired. in March 1945 he flew with Captain Foster, Mo Morrison, Van Sainsbury. Stew Tosh, Gil Gillis, Johnnie Johnson, Walter Dove, Mac Reeves and Keith Lindsay.

Collection Walter Neil Dove

B90 Petit Brogel

Mac Reeves would not come home.

He was shot down on March 28, 1945. He was 25.

Collection Walter Neil Dove

Collection Walter Neil Dove

This is also taken at Petit Brogel. It was sent by Dean Black last month. Flight Lieutenant Forsyth is not in there, but I know he will recognize some of his comrades.

Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.

Jules Renard

Captain Foster and Eugène Gagnon

Sorry, I had to come back to this blog from Torbay…

I never expected this…

Now I know all about Captain Foster and Eugène Gagnon…

Remember when I wrote in an article…

Captain Foster was an instructor at  No. 6 SFTS, Dunnville, until October 1942.

Eugene Gagnon got his wings at No. 6 SFTS, Dunnville, in April 1942.

No. 6 SFTS, Dunnville, Ontario, April 1942

Foster and Gagnon must have met somehow since Captain Foster instructed at No.6 SFTS, Dunnville, until October 1942. Maybe he was Eugene’s instructor.

It’s funny when you meet people.

You never know what will evolve from that meeting.


I got this comment:

What an amazing blog and what a wonderful tribute to those who served in 403 squadron.

I am Cap’s youngest son and can’t thank you and Greg enough for putting this together.

I can answer your question as to whether or not Cap was Eugene Gagnon’s flight instructor unfortunately he was not, I just searched through my fathers log books from his time at 6 SFTS in Dunnville and Eugene’s name was not there. Too bad because that would have been so very cool.

I look forward to learning more about the history of the Wolf Squadron and once again thank you so much for your efforts.


Instructed at No. 6 SFTS, Dunnville, until October 1942

There is so much to tell about 403 Squadron now that Dean is sending me pictures and asking questions about some pilots.

I don’t want to digress  on this blog which is mostly about 403 Squadron, but Captain Foster was an instructor at  No. 6 SFTS, Dunnville, until October 1942.

Captain Foster is seen here in March 1945 at B90 Petit Brogel airdrome in liberated Belgium.

Eugene Gagnon got his wings at No. 6 SFTS, Dunnville, in April 1942.

Eugene became a staff pilot at No. 7 B&G in Paulson, Manitoba, and then a Mosquito pilot with RAF No. 23 Squadron. This is why I wrote a blog about 23 Squadron: to pay homage to him and to his brothers-in-arms.

Click here to visit the blog.

No. 6 SFTS, Dunnville, Ontario, April 1942

Foster and Gagnon must have met somehow since Captain Foster instructed at No.6 SFTS, Dunnville, until October 1942. Maybe he was Eugene’s instructor.

It’s funny when you meet people.

You never know what will evolve from that meeting.

It’s like when I met Greg in Hamilton. My wife and I stayed at his father’s B&B for two days.

I was just there in Hamilton to visit George Stewart who knew Eugene Gagnon. He invited me last year.

Eugene flew his first mission on December 6, 1944 while George flew his last mission on December 8, 1944. They were with the same squadron: RAF No. 23 Squadron.

Foster was one-of-a-kind flying instructor. I never met him personally.

How do I know he was a one-of-a-kind flying instructor?

I met him through this book.

I will tell you more next time or you can read Ted Barris’ book. He met Captain Foster personally as well as 200 more instructors.

As a footnote, you can read  Captain Foster’s citation.

I took it from this site.

We learn more about Captain Foster’s service record.

FOSTER, F/L Livingstone (J10957)

– Distinguished Flying Cross

– No.403 Squadron

– Award effective 10 July 1945 as per London Gazette dated 24 July 1945 and AFRO 1619/45 dated 19 October 1945.

Born in Grimsby, Ontario, September 1919.

Home there; educated there.

Enlisted in Hamilton, 13 May 1940.

To No.1 ITS, 27 May 1940; graduated and promoted LAC, 22 June 1940 when posted to No.3 EFTS; graduated 31 August 1940 when posted to No.2 SFTS; graduated and promoted Sergeant, 1 December 1940.

Promoted WO2, 1 December 1941.

Commissioned 30 March 1942.

Instructed at No.6 SFTS, Dunnville, until October 1942.

Promoted Flying Officer, 1 October 1942.

To “Y” Depot, 23 October 1942; arrived overseas 5 November 1942.

Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 31 March 1944.

Further trained at No.58 OTU (January-March 1943).

Flew with Nos.416 and 403 Squadrons on his first tour (March 1943 to March 1944); at No.53 OTU until September 1944.

On second tour flew with Nos.403 and 421 Squadrons.

To UK 26 May 1945, to Canada 5 August 1945; released 17 September 1945.

DFC presented in Hamilton, Ontario, 27 July 1949.

Rejoined RCAF as Administrative Officer, 19 March 1951 (36961).

Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 1 July 1953.

Queen’s Coronation Medal, 23 October 1953 while at Station Penhold.

Reclassified as Personnel Administration Officer, 8 May 1956.

Credited with the following aerial victories:

17 August 1943, one Bf.110 destroyed (No.403 Squadron; shared with three others);

28 January 1944, one FW.190 damaged (No.403 Squadron);

29 September 1944, one Bf.109 destroyed (No.421 Squadron);

8 December 1944, one Bf.109 destroyed (No.403 Squadron);

28 April 1945, one Do.24 destroyed (No.403 Squadron).

Died in Smith Falls, Ontario, 9 March 2003.

An extensive obituary in the Ottawa Citizen, 11 March 2003, detailed an athletic career that began as rehabilitation following childhood rheumatoid arthritis.

This officer has completed numerous sorties against many heavily defended targets in Germany and enemy occupied territory.  Flight Lieutenant Foster has proved himself to be an outstanding fighter pilot, showing keenness, courage and devotion to duty which, coupled with his ability and fine leadership, have made him an outstanding example to the wing.  He has destroyed three enemy aircraft and has damaged or destroyed many transport vehicles.

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.