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

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!

Van went also to No. 61 O.T.U. Rednal

Greg asked me if Van Sainsbury could be in the pictures I posted.

He is not but Van Sainsbury was  also posted in Rednal.

This is what I had found on the Internet when I wrote my article on Van Sainsbury in October…


Van’ Sainsbury was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1922. He was educated at Upper Canada College and the University of Toronto. After University Van joined his father’s firm of A H Sainsbury & Co, a food brokerage firm.In 1942 Van joined the RCAF and in the October was sent to 13 EFTS, St Eugene, Ontario where he trained on Fleet bi-planes — one of the standard training aircraft. By the January of 1943 Van was flying Harvards and Ansons. In July of that year he was posted to England and went to 7 Squadron AFU Peterborough where he underwent further training on Ansons and Masters: Van was recorded as an ‘above average’ pilot. He rose to the rank of Flying Officer in December and was then posted to Cranwell where he flew both Proctors and Masters. Van progressed to Hurricanes in March 1944 and in June had his first flights in a Spitfire II (TO-K) at 61 OTU, Rednal, Shropshire. Operational flying commenced in July 1944 from Mountford Bridge where his first ‘Rhubarb’ was in a Spitfire V (VV-N): in the August he transferred to the more powerful MK IX A operating from Bognor Regis in Sussex. Later that month he joined 403 Squadron (RCAF) in Normandy where his first flight was in a Spitfire IX B (KH-B). Van’s first victory was on the 31st August in Spitfire KH-M.Van was privileged to escort King George VI to Brussels on the 13th October 1944. By the December he had returned to Tangmere flying Mk XVI Spitfires. In February 1945 Van returned to the European Theatre and on the 24th “blew a staff car off the road” near Eindhoven.On the 24th March 1945 came Operation Plunder – Montgomery’s Rhine Offensive and Flight Lieutenant Fleming and Flight Lieutenant Van Sainsbury were the first section of TAF (Tactical Armed Forces) over the Rhine.There is an interesting comment in Van Sainsbury’s logbook for the 1st April 1945. “BOCHEN area – Deck level – Bags of white flags”. On the 15th April 1945 Van flew a certain Mk XVI Spitfire (TB 752) from B78 to B114 but “returned as clouds were at ‘0’. Shaky do!” TB 752 had not then received her 403 Squadron code. On the 16th April Van led 12 other new aircraft in TB 752 to B114: his next flight in TB 752 (KH-Z) was on the 1st May. A number of other flights were made in TB 752 and on the 8th May he formed part of an escort for Dakotas flying to Copenhagen. The flight lasted 2 hours 45 minutes and the log entry reads “Hard on the ass – but an interesting trip”. By June 1945 Van was promoted to take charge of ‘A’ Flight.

On the 12th August he returned to the Central Gunnery School, Catfoss, East Yorkshire flying mainly Spitfires, Masters and Wellingtons. It is interesting to record that on the 20th August Van flew a Mk XVI Spitfire coded ‘Z’ but there is no way of confirming that it was TB 752.

It did not take long…

Michael wrote back quicky.


My dad was born in 1922 and was still in England in early summer 1944, he was 21 years old.

According to his logbook, he was flying out of #61 at O.T.U., Rednal from 2nd June ’44, from 12 July ’44 at Montford Bridge, and from 4 Aug ’44 at #83 G.S.V., Bognor Regis, Sussex.

Supermarine Spitfires Mark IXs of No. 66 Squadron RAF based at Bognor Regis, Sussex, flying to Normandy to provide a cover patrol over the beachhead. The aircraft mounted two patrols, between which they refuelled at an advanced landing ground in France (note the long-range fuel tanks under the fuselage), before returning to their base airfield. Source IWM

He commenced flying with 127 wing, 403 Squadron in Normandy, France on 20 August 1944, so some of the photos from my grandfather’s album may well have been prior to my dad’s joining #403 in August ’44.

His first entry after joining #403 is dated 20 August 1944 in “Spitfire IXB, No.B, Armed reccy – First Op! 2 MET. Damaged”.

I see no Spit IXCs in his logbook after he joined #403, they are primarily Bs.

Michael also sent me these pictures.

Collection Van Sainsbury

Early Summer 1944 403 Squadron
Collection Van Sainsbury

When you look at the two pictures who can see both we taken at the same time…

As well as this one…

I just can’t figure out why this Spitfire would have only three blades if it’s a Mk IX…