23 579 People Have Viewed

Post 227…

23 532 people have viewed this blog since September 2011. Some might have  stumbled here by pure chance using Google.

Lucky ones have found precious information on their relatives associated with RCAF 403 Squadron like someone who Googled Fred Town Spitfire. 

The list of these lucky people is long. 

If you want to share with us what you know, please write a comment and I will get in touch.

Rememberance Day is just around the corner.

Portrait of my Father-in-Law. He flew Spitfires during the war for the Royal Canadian Air Force. He died around 1998.


More on Fred Town here.


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.


Bottom of the ninth?

Here are the last pictures sent by Greg.

Stew scoring…

Collection Walter Neil Dove

Stew is Stew Tosh.

Fred the body beautiful is at bat.

Fred Town at bat…

Collection Walter Neil Dove

He comes running home…

Collection Walter Neil Dove

Van taking a cut at the ball.

Collection Walter Neil Dove

Van is taking a cut at the ball.

That’s what Walter Dove wrote.

I think Van swung and missed. But then maybe I am wrong. 

Anyway,  now you know who was on 3rd base.

Collection Walter Neil Dove

About Stew Tosh… We know little about him. Just this.

Uneventful patrols on the 4th were followed by more successes in the air the next day. The Wolves, on their third
patrol, sighted fifteen Me.109s at 14,000 feet in the Arnhem area. S/L Wood destroyed two and shared a third with
P/O R. C. Shannon, Wood’s victories contributing to the award of the D.F.C. which he received in December. Another was destroyed by F/O F. W. Thomson and a fifth by P/O M. Reeves. Finally F/L S. Tosh damaged one. The same squadron, likewise on its third patrol of the day, scored again on the 6th when two bomb-carrying Me.109s were encountered at 16,000 feet over Nijmegen. Wood shot down one of the enemy, the other making its escape. Many Me.262s were seen in the course of operations but they were not engaged.

That’s not much.

Perhaps this on this site… 

S. Tosh, Almonte. This airman got his wings at Dunnville, Ontario on June 19, 1942.


Dunnville, Ont., June 19, 1942 —(CP)—

Eight Ontario sergeants, all civil pilots before the war and former instructors at Canadian training schools, received their wings at No. 6 Service Flying Training school here today.

They were: E. Watson, J. M. D. Holden, R. D. Grogan, Toronto; P. H. Perdue, Oakville; R. H. Bennett, Brantford; H. L. Snider, Baden; V. B. Powers, London; F. S. McCarthy, Windsor.

Wings were presented by Wing-Cmdr V. H. Patriarchs, officer commanding the station.
Other Ontario graduates were: E. H. Edwards, W. T. Klersy, T. R. Martin, W. Smith, A. W. Smith, H. Taylor, J. A. Warren, all of Toronto; D. A. Armstrong, Trenton; G. W. Brown, S. A. Round, Sarnia; J. Clark, D. E. Smith, Woodstock; E. G. Duck, H. C. Spurgeon, Windsor; D. A. Hall, R. A. Neff, Ottawa; D. Hall, Willikens; E. S. Lavery, Listowel; A. V. Nightingale, Mount Forest; M. F. Pettibone, Lakeport; E. R. Proud, Edengrove; J. N. Parrish, Britton; W. Stirling, Niagara Falls; J. Shapter, Bracebridge; S. Tosh, Almonte; R. B. Trull, St. Thomas.

Stew Tosh was a rugby player in 1939.


That would explain the A on his sweatshirt.

Collection Walter Neil Dove

You can read all about it. The game ended in a near riot!

Play ball!

Greg send these along with the picture of the Chief at bat…

Collection Walter Neil Dove

Hank Zary was not the only one at bat.

Fred “Body Beautiful” Town was also at bat and in great shape…

Mo and Ollie Olson were also playing while Tommy was just relaxing at first base…

Collection Walter Neil Dove

With so many names, we have to look at the squadron roster found in Walter Dove’s logbook to know who’s on first.

Collection Walter Neil Dove

If Tommy Todd is taking easy around first base when Mo Morrison is running hard and Ollie Olson is reaching for the ball, then these pictures would have been taken before March 31, 1945 because that’s when Tommy Todd was shot down.

If we have Tommy Tomlinson, then when this picture was taken is everybody’s guess.

Tommy Tomlinson left on April 4, 1945 when his tour expired.

This is Tommy Tomlinson in the Nissan hut.

I wonder if he is packing up his things.

Collection Walter Neil Dove

Fred Town

Greg has this picture which gives a lot of information about who were pilots with 403 Squadron around March 1945…

This picture was taken when Fred Town left his command as Wing Commander.

Who was he?

Click here.

Flying Officer Frederick W Town


“Fred” Town was born in Durham, Ontario, the second oldest of four children: his father owned a jewellery store. When Fred was ten years of age the family removed to Orillia, a city with a population of some 24,000 inhabitants in Southern Ontario. Fred has always been athletically inclined and he spent an active time at school in the athletic programmes.
Fred joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at the age of 21 with hopes of becoming a fighter pilot as he puts it “the dream of enlisted men”. His training on the Link trainer at No 10 EFTS indicated that he had co-ordination and aptitudes above average and was accordingly sent to No 53 SFTS in Ottawa to train on Harvards. Fred received his wings and commission there and with 5 others (out of a class of 60) was sent to No 1 OTU at Bagotville, Quebec, to fly Hurricanes.

In October 1943 was sent to England on board the famous liner Mauritania: he comments that it was a dangerous voyage in those days as this is borne out by the fact that the Mauritania was sunk shortly afterwards. By the December Fred was flying Mk I and II Spitfires from the grass strip at Kirton-in-Lindsey and learning all the techniques needed for tactical operations. He almost flew Typhoons (a dangerous aircraft in those days) but perhaps fortunately was posted to No 7 Squadron operating from Predannack, near Lands End.

During 1944, Fred flew missions to Brest, escorting bombers and patrolling the Channel before the D-Day invasion. He also chased VI pilotless bombs from various stations including Bolt Head, Detling and Lympne scoring 4 “Buzz Bombs” as destroyed.

In August of the same year he was posted from Tangmere to join 403 (RCAF) Squadron to fly Mk IX and Mk XVI Spitfires in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. The Squadron apparently encountered little air to air activity and generally undertook strafing, dive-bombing (both hazardous businesses) and acting as top-cover for bombers. The loss ratio from the first two was quite high. Fred has one forced landing during his operational career landing wheels-up but safely on “foamed” grass at the edge of the airfield. On the 3rd May Fred was flying TB 752 and became separated from the Squadron after strafing an airfield. Trying to avoid the heavy flak he felt that the safest method to stay alive was to keep at a low altitude for at least 5 miles and then climb. It was then that he spotted a Heinkel He 111K bomber also at low level. Fred had some ammunition left so he approached from the left side remembering his training in leading with the gunsight: he used both cannon and machine guns and there was sufficient ammunition left to destroy the Heinkel. Fred did not stay around long as he was still below 1,000 ft and had to get back to base without protection and ammunition. After over 200 operational sorties Fred had shot down his first and, as it proved, his only enemy aircraft.

At the end of the war in May and having flown forty hours beyond his regular tour, Fred applied for the Pacific Theatre of Operations and was sent the same month to No 7 FLS Tangmere. There he trained in tactics, bombing and leading a Squadron. Once again fortune smiled on Fred Town: on leave before the Pacific Posting he had a priority return to Canada and it so happened that he arrived in his own home town on V J Day.

With the war over, Fred chose to go back to school and in 1949 graduated as an Optometrist. He married Mary in 1950 and raised 5 children (4 sons and 1 daughter). His practice is still very much part of his life and he keeps himself fit and healthy by workouts at the YMCA in Orillia and swimming over two hundred miles a year.

Amongst the aircraft that Fred has flown there is unusually a German Focke-Wulf 190 fighter (which 403 Squadron acquired!) plus the more usual Mustang, Tempest and a Meteor 1 twin engine jet aircraft (EE 240) in July 1945.

Both Fred and Mary have visited Manston to view his former ‘Spit’ and his involvement has made him something of a celebrity in Orillia.