Mac Reeves’ Last Moment Redux

This post first published on March 20th, 2012 was the one which touched me more than any stories shared with me about 403 Squadron…

Dean Black contributed a lot and he wrote me this e-mail about Mac Reeves…

You may be interested to know that Mac Reeves sent a radio transmission to his fellow pilots moments after he had been attacked by enemy airplanes. He told them that his arm had been completely shot off and that he had no choice but to ride the airplane in. (he could not get out and he could not fly it). He wished them well and he said it was a privilege flying with them. 

 

Mac Reeves does not have a grandson to talk about him or remembering him by like Greg Bell and Colin Forsyth have. 

As a footnote, Mac Reeves would die just a few weeks after that picture was taken.

Mac Reeves

I often wondered who were Mac Reeves’ erks and how saddened they were when they got the news about Mac’s death.

KH-A

A little game from Dean Black.

He wants to find a picture for each KH planes starting with the letter A.

First one: KH-A

Pilot Syd Ford

403 Squadron

1942

Another KH-A…

Mac Reeves

We all know what happened to Mac from this article I wrote.

You may be interested to know that Mac Reeves sent a radio transmission to his fellow pilots moments after he had been attacked by enemy airplanes. He told them that his arm had been completely shot off and that he had no choice but to ride the airplane in. (he could not get out and he could not fly it). He wished them well and he said it was a privilege flying with them. 


Mac Reeves does not have a grandson to talk about him or remembering him by like Greg Bell and Colin Forsyth have. 

As a footnote, Mac Reeves would die just a few hours after that picture was taken.

Mac Reeves

Mac Reeves’ Last Moment

Dean wrote me this e-mail about Mac Reeves…

You may be interested to know that Mac Reeves sent a radio transmission to his fellow pilots moments after he had been attacked by enemy airplanes. He told them that his arm had been completely shot off and that he had no choice but to ride the airplane in. (he could not get out and he could not fly it). He wished them well and he said it was a privilege flying with them. 

 

Mac Reeves does not have a grandson to talk about him or remembering him by like Greg Bell and Colin Forsyth have. 

As a footnote, Mac Reeves would die just a few weeks after that picture was taken.

Mac Reeves

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

Operation Bodenplatte revisited

Flight Lieutenant Dove was in the thick of it as his logbook mentions it…

Mac Reeves got two enemy planes.

Steve Butte got three.

Keith Lindsay got one plus one probable.


This is the log entry…

 

Flight Lieutenant Walter Neil Dove did not get any.

He never got a chance to get off the ground and tangle with the Germans fighters.

That might have been his lucky day…

Who knows?

Mac Reeves’ luck ran out a few months later.

Click here…

Pilots

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. 

Mac Reeves, Killed, Madoc, Ontario

That’s what Greg’s grandfather wrote on a page of his photo album…

Walter Neil Dove collection

Mac Reeves, Killed, Madoc, Ontario

Walter Neil Dove collection

This is what I found here…

In memory of
Flying Officer
 MACKENZIE  REEVES 
who died on March 28, 1945 

Military Service:

Service Number: J/87156
Age: 25
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 403 Sqdn.

Additional Information:

Son of Loomis S. Reeves, and of Florence Reeves, of Madoc, Ontario; Canada.


Click here for more info.

Lest We Forget

Keith Lindsay, Edmonton

This picture did not mean much to Greg when he was looking at his grandfather’s photo album…

 

Walter Neil Dove collection

Keith Lindsay was with this pilot when the Luftwaffe carried Operation Bodenplatte.

Click here for information on this pilot…

Canadian Fliers Down 36 German Aircraft in Luftwaffe Attack
London, Jan. 1, 1945 – (CP) – Canadian fighter pilots, in one of their greatest triumphs during the war, destroyed at least 36 of 84 Germans shot down today by the RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force.
The big Canadian score was rolled up as the German Air Force came out in its greatest show of strength for three years in an attempt to smash up Allied airfields in Belgium, Holland and France.

Five Planes Missing
Canadian fighter squadrons accounted for 35 enemy aircraft and the 36th was destroyed by a Canadian in an RAF Tempest Squadron Five. RCAF planes are missing.
Although the Huns’ low-level strafings included RCAF airfields and caused some damage, the operational program of the squadrons was not interrupted and approximately 300 sorties were flown. Some enemy planes were destroyed white the airfields were under attack and others when the enemy fled for home.
The pilot of one RCAF reconnaissance squadron, whose name was not immediately disclosed, destroyed two ME190s and damaged two FW190s as he returned to base.
Spitfire fighter-bombers also were active and destroyed or damaged several locomotives and freight cars in the German supply area around St. Vith in Belgium south of Malmedy.
The Canadian Wolf Squadron alone knocked down five out of a formation of 60 enemy craft which strafed the squadron’s airfield in the Brussels area. Two others probably were destroyed and another damaged in a low-level action that developed into the hottest dogfight for Canadian fighters in months.

Bags 2 Focke-Wolfs
Four RCAF Typhoons returning from a reconnaissance flight met enemy fighters and destroyed three and probably destroyed a fourth. Two were destroyed by FO. A. H. Fraser of Westmount, Que., and the other by FO. H. Laurence of Edson, Alta. All were FW190s.
A Canadian Tempest pilot, Flt. Lt. J. W. Garland of Richmond, Ont., jumped two Focke Wulfs just 50 feet from the ground. He dived from 9,000 feet and destroyed both.
In the Wolf Squadron dogfight, PO. Steve Butte of Michel, B.C., and Mac Reeves of Madoc, Ont., each downed two planes and Butte also claimed one damaged. FIt. Sgt. Keith Lindsay destroyed one and also had a “probable.”
These were the first scores for Butte and Lindsay.
Butte and Lindsay found themselves in a swirling mass of Huns as they took off on a morning patrol. Butte sent an ME-109 down in flames with cannon fire.
Next victim was an FW-190. “There were strikes on his wing and engine, and I saw him crash on the edge of a near by town,” Butte said.

Out of Ammunition
Then he hit an ME-109, seeing strikes and smoke, but losing sight of the enemy plane as it dived steeply toward the ground.
“By this time all my ammunition was gone and a Hun got on my tail,” Butte continued, “I managed to get on his tail, but couldn’t do anything about it.”
Lindsay shot one plane down in flames and registered a cannon hit on another, but couldn’t determine whether it crashed.
Reeves and his namesake, Flt. Lt. Dick Reeves of 1507 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Toronto, who is no relation, plunged into a flock of enemy planes while returning from patrol. Dick Reeves had to land immediately because of a faulty motor, but Mac, his guns belching, closed on the plane which caught fire and crashed. He attacked the second victim from underneath and the pilot baled out.
It was announced tonight that the Canadian Mosquito Squadron on the Continent during Sunday night destroyed two Junkers planes while on defensive patrol.

Keith Lindsay was with another pilot on January 1st 1945.

Mac Reeves was from Madoc, Ontario.

Walter Neil Dove collection

Mac did not come back from the war…

Walter Neil Dove collection

RCAF Base 56 Evere, Belgium

I don’t know if Greg knew that…

Click to zoom in

Walter Neil Dove collection

I wonder if Greg knew about Operation Bodenplatte

Operation Bodenplatte (Baseplate), launched on 1 January 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 Year’s Day, the first day that happened to be suitable.[7]

Secrecy for the operation was so tight that not all German ground and naval forces had been informed of the operation, and some units suffered casualties from friendly fire. British signals intelligence (Ultra) recorded the movement and buildup of German air forces in the region, but did not realise that an operation was imminent.

The operation achieved some surprise and tactical success, but was ultimately a failure. A great many Allied aircraft were destroyed on the ground, but these losses were replaced within a week. Since the majority of Allied losses were empty planes sitting on the ground, Allied aircrew casualties were quite small. Conversely, the Germans lost many Jagdflieger fighter pilots they could not replace.[4]

Post-battle analysis suggests only 11 of the 34 Luftwaffe’s air combat Gruppen made successful attacks on time and with surprise.[4] The operation failed to achieve air superiority, even temporarily, while the German ground forces continued to be exposed to Allied air attack. Bodenplatte was the last large-scale strategic offensive operation mounted by the Luftwaffe during the war.[8][9]

Now you know his grandfather was there.