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

403 Squadron Pilots at Diepholz, Germany April 1945

Dean Black sent me more information he had about 403 Squadron.

This picture was taken at Diepholz, Germany, in April 1945.


Photo #30

Photo from Neil Dove & Bob Barbour

Front Row L to R:   Reg Morris, Keith Lindsay, Squadron Adjutant, Squadron Leader Hank Zary, Al Fleming, Bob Barbour

Back Row:  John Pickering, Cy Yarnell, Mo Morrison, Mac McLeod.

Dean added a note…

Zary, Barbour and Morrison were flying TB 752 at this time 


The squadron moved to Eindhoven.

The war was far from over as we can see in these logbook pages.

Reg Morris

This blog is by no means written to glorify war.

It’s not about shooting down Germans airplanes or strafing MET.

It’s about sharing pictures of those who had to fight for their side.

It’s about remembering.

Reg Morris is another pilot in Walter Neil Dove’s photo album. Reg Morris came back, just like Tommy Todd and Doug Orr did.

Little is known about him.

So when Greg scans pictures and send them along, I write what I can find.

This is Reg Morris in the cockpit.

Reg Morris

Collection Walter Neil Dove

This is the story I found on the Internet.

This is an excerpt taken on page 303 and the following page. Reg Morris’ name is in there as well as others. I will put their names in red as well as information found in F/L Dove’s logbook and photo album as I go along.

This article will be edited as I go along and review it.

So come back once and a while. It will be worth it.

Lest we forget…

The Luftwaffe appeared again for a brief while on April 23rd [1945].

Returning from an early morning patrol of the Bremen- Hamburg area the Wolves [403 Squadron] met twelve long-nosed FW 190s.

Eight of the aircraft were milling about low over an autobahn, the other four acting as cover at 3,000 feet.

The squadron engaged the four flying as cover and F/Ls H. R. Finley

and W. N. Dove

each destroyed one. F/O A. McLaren experienced engine failure southeast of Bremen and crash-landed but called up to say that he had got down safely. He eventually was released from a prisoner-of-war camp.

Later in the morning two more FWs were seen but they took refuge in cloud.

The Oshawa Squadron damaged some transport and strafed a tank.

A total of 22 transports, two locomotives and several goods cars was accounted for by the Hornets on the 24th while the Red Indians claimed a complete train.

But there was a bigger and more varied toll on the 25th.

F/O Bob Shannon of the Wolves destroyed an FW.190 at Hagenow just after it had landed and, as aircraft in large numbers were reported parked there and at Schwerin, the squadron visited those two aerodromes later in the day and damaged four enemy aircraft on the ground. S/L Zary claimed an Me.262 and a Ju.88 while F/Ls Reg Morris and E. O. Doyle each damaged an Me.262.

On the southwest corner of Schwerin aerodrome twelve Me.109s were strafed and as our pilots pulled up and away they noted a large explosion which enveloped all the aircraft in a cloud of dust.

About twenty aircraft were seen at Travemunde aerodrome and sea station and again there was ground strafing with good results. F/L A. E. Fleming destroyed an He.III and F/O Leslie claimed what he thought was an FW.189. A Do.26 was damaged by F/O Fred Town with the help of F/O J. R. Baker and FS J. C. Pickeringand in addition six small speed boats and two tugs were damaged. The squadron also reported two submarines lying in the channel. The Hornets participated in the strafing of Schwerin where they saw some sixty assorted Ju.87s, FW.190s, Ju.88s and other types of aircraft. One Ju.88 was destroyed by F/O A. J. Dilworth and damage was claimed to two Ju.87s and an unidentified aircraft by F/L Finley, to another unidentified aircraft and a Ju.87 by S/L DeCourcy, who got the D.F.C. for his part in this attack, to a Ju.87 and an unidentified aircraft by F/O H. A. Greene, a twin-engined and a single-engined aircraft by F/O M. C. Tucker, a Ju.87 by F/O O. A. Dodson, an FW.190 by F/O G. S. Taylor and a Ju.87 by F/O W. G. Conway.

In the evening the same squadron visited Neustadt aerodrome where they sighted twenty-five Me.109s and FW.190s on the ground. Two FWs were destroyed by F/O Tucker and one by F/L Finley while F/O Taylor damaged two more. The squadron also had much success against road transport. This time, however, F/O Dilworth failed to return, his aircraft being assumed to have been hit by flak. The Hornets lost two pilots the next day, too. F/L Watt reported a glycol leak after an attack on road transport near Neumünster and subsequently crash-landed while F/O Conway said that he had hit a pole when pulling up from a ground attack. He was not heard from after he asked for directions to make base. Watt was later reported in hospital and Conway safe in the United Kingdom.

The Wolves recorded an attack on road transport and also strafed a locomotive with a train-load of lumber. The 27th and 28th were poor days though the Wolves saw a Do.217 flying southeast at 6,000 feet on the 28th.

F/L Cap Foster attacked it from astern and it burst into flames and crashed.

Foster now had three destroyed and a damaged to his credit, as well as several transport vehicles, a score which netted him the D.F.C.

On the 29th the same squadron encountered an FW.190 at which W/C J. F. Edwards took a squirt-but it escaped in the clouds. Similarly the Hornets saw an Me.109 at Lübeck which also escaped.

The month closed with a good score on enemy road and rail transport by the Wolves and the Oshawa Squadron. In addition F/L Fleming of the Wolves shot down an Me.108. The Oshawa Squadron set something of a record when for twenty-four sorties it claimed 45 motor vehicles destroyed and io6 damaged, together with two locomotives and five goods trucks damaged too. S/L Mitchner, D.F.C., was awarded a Bar for his share in this devastation of enemy transport. An interesting note was added to the diary of the Red Indians by F/O Marsden on April 29th: Soon after we landed (at Reinsehlen) Evans and myself heard of the army finding one of those graves containing German political prisoners of all nationalities so out of curiosity we went to ee it. There had been 156 of them in all–the last 19 of them were still there and those are what we saw. It wasn’t a pleasant sight as they had been dead since April 5th and were being exhumed by local farmers overrun by the Army. We’d both seen photos of them in newspapers but hardly believed it. However, there’s no doubt about those pictures now.

The close of hostilities found the McGregor-Northcott Wing at Wunstorf. On May 1st the Rams on a patrol of the Schwerin Lake area sighted an FW.190 which W/C G. W. Northcott, D.S.O., D.F.C., damaged. A second one was seen taking off from Lübeck aerodrome and was likewise damaged by S/L Klersy. On the last patrol of the day the aircraft of F/L G. D. Cameron, D.F.C., was hit by flak and he had to bale out but he was escorted back to his unit by a German doctor.

The Grizzly Bears were more unfortunate, Losing P/O D. B. Young, who was posted as “missing, particulars unknown”. The same Bears gained two victories on the and when F/O Wilson destroyed an Me.109 and F/O G. N. Smith damaged an Me.262, the only other event of the day being the damaging of a locomotive and a passenger car by the Falcons.

Klersy was killed on a training flight on May 22nd. His D.S.O. was announced in June, 1945, at which time he was credited with the destruction or damaging of go enemy vehicles, eight locomotives and eight goods trucks since the award of the Bar to his D.F.C. His total of aircraft destroyed in the air and on the ground was 16½. 2 F/O J. P. Francis who had destroyed four e/a was awarded the D.F.C.

The 3rd was a great day, a kind of grand finale to the whole continental campaign.

The Rams had been patrolling over Hamburg as the ground forces entered the city and, while in search of enemy transport, saw a grass strip at Schonberg, northeast of Kiel, with a number of enemy aircraft in various stages of camouflage. The Rams attacked and, meeting no opposition, continued firing until they ran out of ammunition. S/L Klersy destroyed a Ju.52 and an He.III. F/L Watt destroyed a Ju.52 and a Ju.87, F/O Francis destroyed two Ju.52s and F/Os Gudgeon and Dack each three more; P/O V. E. Cottrell destroyed two Ju. 52s and P/O Woodill one He.III. In addition the squadron accounted for five locomotives damaged, thirteen rail trucks damaged, seven motor vehicles destroyed and 47 damaged and three horse-drawn transports damaged. The Winnipeg Bears also added to their score. Sighting three Fi.156s on the ground north of Neumünster, F/Ls Innes and Peck attacked and left all three damaged. Innes now had three enemy aircraft destroyed and was awarded the D.F.C. in September 1945 A little later S/L Gordon, D.F.C. saw another Fi.156 flying near the deck and shot it down in flames. F/L J. A. O’Brian was hit by his own ricochets during this operation and baled out southeast of Hamburg. The same day he was reported as on his way back to the squadron. For the Grizzly Bears and the Falcons it was an unfortunate day, both losing one pilot. F/L McClarty, D.F.C., of the Bears was hit by flak and disappeared twenty miles south of Kiel while F/L Pieri of the Falcons was forced to bale out when his aircraft likewise was hit by flak or ricochets.

 The last score of the war for this wing was obtained on May 4th. A locomotive and five trucks were damaged by the Falcons and an He.III was destroyed by F/L D. F. Campbell and F/O T. L. O’Brien of the Grizzly Bears. The Winnipeg Squadron got two motor vehicles and damaged ten others. Flying on the 5th was uneventful.

On May 12th the Wing moved to Fassberg. There they found many wrecked German aircraft.

They soon settled in and availed themselves of the many amenities that they found, including the two swimming pools. On July 5th they reluctantly left for Utersen, a few miles north of Hamburg, where they were within reach of the many entertainments provided for service personnel.

They remained there throughout the summer, the Wing forming part of the Occupation Forces.

Since D-Day, June 6th, 1944, the McGregor-Northcott Wing had flown 22,372 sorties and destroyed 361 enemy aircraft in addition to taking an enormous toll of ground targets. Reinsehlen continued to be the locus operandi of the Turner-Edwards Wing until its official disbandment on July 7th, when two of the squadrons, the Oshawa and the Hornets, were transferred to the McGregor-Northcott Wing, the Wolves and the Red Indians being disbanded with Wing headquarters.

May started with a bang. On the 1st, four squadrons maintained standing patrols over the bridgehead across the Elbe, carried out armed reconnaissances in the Schwerin area, southeast of Lübeck, and provided escort fighter cover to medium bombers attacking Lübeck. The reconnaissances provided many targets on the roads and the second patrol netted an encounter between the Wolves and twenty FW.190s. In the dog-fight two of the enemy were destroyed by WO R. C. Neitz and F/O R. Young, one was probably destroyed by F/O Bob Shannon, and eight were damaged, one by F/O Leslie, two by WO Neitz, two by F/L C. L. Rispler and three by Shannon. After escorting Mitchells to Lübeck, the Red Indians on an armed reconnaissance in the Schwerin area saw an FW.190 which was shot down by the joint efforts of F/L W. P. Harper, F/O E. H. Mann and WO P. S. Murphy. The squadron also successfully attacked a convoy of motor vehicles while the Hornets similarly had considerable success against road transport.

On the 2nd the Wing participated in almost every conceivable kind of activity, patrols, armed reconnaissances, escorts to bombers and to a V.I.P. (very important personage), scrambles, fighter sweeps, and reconnaissances to check up on bombing results. The Wing got credit for an enemy aircraft when a German wireless mechanic landed a Henschel 126 on the aerodrome and, with another member of the master race, surrendered to the Canadians. The Wolves scored again when, on a patrol of the bridgehead, an He.III was shot down by F/O Town. But it was really the Hornets’ day. On a morning patrol, four of their pilots destroyed twelve transports and damaged twenty more, four more pilots got an additional twelve and still later the squadron found a number of aircraft on .the east shore of a lake in the Lübeck area and destroyed one He.III and a Fieseler- Storch as well as damaging two more He.IIIs. Then a Ju.88 was seen flying north at 2,500 feet over Bad Segeberg. F/O M. J. Clow and F/L Finley shot it down but Finley’s aircraft was hit by the rear gunner’s fire and Finley had to bale out. He returned to the squadron three days later. The Red Indians on their afternoon patrols damaged five trains and destroyed ten motor vehicles.

A new note was introduced on May 3rd when, in addition to their other duties, the squadrons indulged in antishipping strikes. The Wolves turned in a varied score of one locomotive and rolling stock damaged, road transport destroyed and damaged, flak towers destroyed, hits on a runway and dispersed aircraft, trawlers and cargo ships damaged -and rail cuts obtained. The Oshawa Squadron, on an otherwise uneventful day, got its last victory of the war  when F/O Rex Tapley and P/O Larry Spurr jointly destroyed a Do.217. The Red Indians’ only relief from a series of dull patrols was an attack by an FW.190 which failed to do any damage and then made off in clouds. The Hornets damaged locomotives and rolling stock, road transport, cut roads and rails, destroyed a trawler and damaged others, and destroyed a Ju.88 which fell to the guns of S/L T. J. DeCourcy, F/L R. G. Sim and F/O W. A. Marshall.

Subsequent operations by the Wing provided nothing eventful.

Since D-Day the Wing had flown 20,084 sorties, destroyed 184 enemy aircraft, probably destroyed 8 others and damaged 103.


Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.

— Carol Burnett


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.


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.


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.

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

So who’s on 3rd?

Hank Zary is at bat.

They called him The Chief.

This is The Chief again in his Spitfire.

Collection Walter Neil Dove

The Chief died in 1949 of pleurisy.

No one is remembering him that much. He probably had no children to pay homage to their father. This is probably why I write this blog and that I convinced Greg to scan like hell.

Greg is now into the process of rescanning at 600 dpi. That’s great because we can see more details like who’s on 3rd… This picture I believe would have been taken at B90 airdrome in Petit Brogel. 

I think Van is at 3rd base…

Collection Walter Neil Dove

Van is Van Sainsbury.

Collection Walter Neil Dove

Van’s son found our blog and he was delighted at what he saw.

Putting a smile on someone’s face is all the reward we seek.

Tomorrow… Play ball!


This is the list of the pilots of 403 Squadron found in the logbook.

One thing that might not get noticed with the names highlighted is that Hank Zary survived the war contrary to Hank Byrd, Mac Reeves and Grant Aitcheson.

Hank Zary was a squadron leader and Walter Neil Dove called him the Chief…

The Chief died in 1946.

Hank Zary died of pleurisy on 11 February 1946 at the Royal Edward Laurentian Hospital (Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts division) where they specialized in treating tuberculosis & other chest problems.

Click here. 

Walter Neil Dove thus added this information after the war. Like so many war veterans Greg’s grandfather kept in touch with his comrades.

I wonder how the other pilots used to call affectionately Walter Neil Dove. 

Me and my friend Tommy Todd

This is my 51th article.

More than 2000 visitors.

I think we are getting somewhere with this blog about RCAF No. 403 Squadron.

This will make Tony Cannell smile… and Tommy Todd’s wife also.

Her name is Val.

Tommy is no longer with us, but Val is.

Walter Neil Dove and Tommy Todd were friends…

Need some proof?

This photo album page with the caption says it all doesn’t it.

Walter and Tommy were living in that house.

It’s on General Wahis boulevard in Brussels.

Want more?

This was in the back of the picture…

Greg sent me this picture of Hank Zary…

Look at the plane’s name….

Val was immortalized.

Have you noticed that a picture is missing…

Me & Friend Tommy Todd of Hamilton Ont.

I wonder where it is?