Remembering

This is post No.199 about the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan commonly known as the BCATP.

Strangely enough I did not know its existence before 2010 when I started looking for more information on a French-Canadian Mosquito pilot.

Gagnon gets his wings - April 1942

Eugène Gagnon DFC (1921-1947)

Little by little my interest about the BCATP grew and grew. So when I found this week pictures from the past, I just got curious. Eugène Gagnon was also at No.1 Manning Depot, then at Uplands, but he missed the shooting of Captains of the Clouds.

extract-service record-airmen-left st.catharines

LAC Art O’Neil did not miss it. I don’t have his service record to prove it, but I have got pictures to prove he was there.

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LAC Art O’Neil at No.1 Manning Depot, Toronto, circa 1941
Collection Art O’Neil (courtesy Paul O’Neil)

I believe Art O’Neil met LAC Terence Phelan there.

I have Terence’s service record. This is only a few of the pages found on Ancestry.

phelan-service-record-1

phelan-service-record-2phelan-service-record-3phelan-service-record-4phelan-service-record-5phelan-service-record-6phelan-service-record-7phelan-service-record-8phelan-service-record-9

Art and Terry found themselves at No.16 SFTS Hagersville.

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From Art O’Neil’s Collection of Wartime Pictures

This is Post 197 on this blog paying homage to those who were trained in the BCATP.

We will start with these photos for the time being…

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Collection Art O’Neil (courtesy Paul O’Neil)

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Collection Art O’Neil (courtesy Paul O’Neil)

picture-1

Collection Art O’Neil (courtesy Paul O’Neil)

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Collection Art O’Neil (courtesy Paul O’Neil)

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Collection Art O’Neil (courtesy Paul O’Neil)

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Collection Art O’Neil (courtesy Paul O’Neil)

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Collection Art O’Neil (courtesy Paul O’Neil)

avro-anson-cockpit

Collection Art O’Neil (courtesy Paul O’Neil)

It sounded familiar

unknown pilot

This photograph and the story reminded me of something I had written on another of  my blogs about WWII.

This is the translation of the original.

The daughter of Warrant Officer Roland Dallaire sent me several pictures of her father.

   Roland Dallaire

Roland Dallaire

Warrant Officer Roland Dallaire was part of 425 Alouette Squadron.

Here are more pictures of Roland Dallaire.

Roland Dallaire is in front. The pilot is sitting behind in the Tiger Moth.

Rolland-dallaire-in a Tiger-Moth

According to the caption Roland Dallaire was posted in Regina in 1940

roland-dallaire Regina

We would be 11 May 1940.

Here an aerial view of the training school located in Regina.

regina 15efts 3aos

It was used by No 15 EFTS (Elementary Flying Training School) and No 3 AOS (Air Observer School).

Request on a Facebook Page

unknown pilot

This photo was found amongst some special family memorabilia. I do not know who he is but would love to find out more. He would have been stationed in or around Regina possibly 1939? Is this a Canadian uniform? And any tips on where I could begin my search? I appreciate any ideas.

He is most likely my biological Grandfather. My Mom was born July 1940. So this would mean he would have been in Regina October or early November 1939. So many questions arise over my own genealogy now! Please feel free to share –

Many thanks.

Shared on Facebook – Redux

There is another footnote to this story…

photo

R54605, Payer, Philippe Cpl. enlisted: October 10,1939.

With information on the back.

photo verso

Corporal Payer is the man on the right. According to the caption we are in 1941.

St-Hubert P. Que

Été 1941

Moi et mes hommes ce que l’on appelle un Crew

L’avion est un Tiger Shark

spit Fire

I am sure we are at the St-Hubert airbase in 1941, but this is not a Spitfire on this photo. It’s an American P-40 Kittyhawk bearing the code VW.

There were few P-40 Kittyhawk in Canada.

Very rare photos on the Internet. These are from the personal collection of Leonard Weston who would have served in Alaska!

His son had shared them so everyone could see them on the Internet.

What golden opportunity then to share this incredible photo taken in June 1941 at St-Hubert.

photo mod

R54605, Payer, Philippe Cpl. enlisted: October 10,1939

No 13 SFTS St-Hubert

No. 13 SFTS St. Hubert

Footnote

Comment left by a knowledgeable reader

Hi Pierre

They are indeed Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks. The VW indicates 118 Squadron.  The photo with the Kitty in the glassed hanger was probably taken in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia where 118 was stationed before it went to Western Air Command in June, 1942.  (Although it could be Rockcliffe where they formed).  It is unusual to see the shark teeth nose on a 118 aircraft, a design they discontinued out west (14 Squadron was also using that design out west when they got there in March, 1942.

The other photos, also Kittyhawks (all Mark 1s), were taken, most likely on Annette Island, Alaska where 118 was stationed until they went overseas to become 438 Squadron flying Typhoons. The photographs were all taken before October 31, 1942 when the order went out to remove the squadron identification letters on all RCAF aircraft.

There must be hundreds of shots like these slumbering in shoeboxes in attics all over Canada. I wish there was a way to get them out.

Best regards

Bill Eull

www.RCAF111fSquadron.com

 

Now this is the other footnote…

Hi

Yeah… what about those teeth?

Maybe one of your readers will come up with an interesting theory or fact.

An interesting sidebar: the USAAF Flying Tigers unit in Burma was run by Gen Clare Lee Chennault. It was his son, Maj. Jack Chennault that commanded USAAF 11th Squadron in the Aleutians and incorporated the Canadian units into the effort. In Burma they used the shark teeth design but in the Aleutians, 11 Squadron used a Tiger mouth (it wasn’t nearly as dramatic) But it was the RCAF 14 Squadron that used the sharks teeth in Alaska and the Aleutians.

They were all P-40 Es (Mk1) although in 111 Squadron ’s diary they were frequently, in 1941, called P40 Ds. I don’t know why.

AL 785 flown into St. Hubert and I think across the country. (Quite a thing, that!) by F/O Grant

AK 857 P/O Johnstone

AK 803 P/O Handley

AL 226 Sgt O’Brien

AL 220 W/O2 Dickson Dickson en route crash-landed near Sudbury

AK 779 P/O Banting I think Banting crash-landed near Sudbury at the same time. These seem to have been the only accidents. Neither pilot was hurt; both were flying in their regular shifts at Annette in the coming days. But I don’t see either a/c on strength again.

AK 845 P/O Studholme

AL 152 Sgt Manzer

AK 797 P/O Baxter

AL 210 P/O Wilson

AK 815 P/O Ivans

AL 224 Sgt Brooker

The others went on to Montreal.

Here is the cross country route flown by these tight little one-man a/c:

Dartmouth to Penfield Ridge (June 6)

Penfield Ridge to Montreal “

Also Penfield Ridge to St. Hubert June 6

St. Hubert to North Bay June 7

North Bay to Purquois June 8

Purquois to Armstrong “

Armstrong to Winnipeg “

Winnipeg to Regina June 8 or 9

Regina to Lethbridge June 9

Lethbridge to Edmonton June 10 They hung out in Edmonton A&E tests etc. They did no flying in Edmonton from June 13 -20

Edmonton to Prince George June 21

Prince George  to Annette Island “

Very impressive achievement!

Bill

www.RCAF111fSquadron.com

 

Shared on Facebook

R54605, Payer, Philippe Cpl. enlisted: October 10,1939.

With information on the back.

photo verso

Corporal Payer is the man on the right. According to the caption we are in 1941.

St-Hubert P. Que

Été 1941

Moi et mes hommes ce que l’on appelle un Crew

L’avion est un Tiger Shark

spit Fire

I am sure we are at the St-Hubert airbase in 1941, but this is not a Spitfire on this photo. It’s an American P-40 Kittyhawk bearing the code VW.

There were few P-40 Kittyhawk in Canada.

Very rares photos on the Internet. These are from the personal collection of Leonard  Weston who would have served in Alaska!

His son had shared them so everyone could see them on the Internet.

What golden opportunity then to share this incredible photo taken in June 1941 at St-Hubert.

photo mod

R54605, Payer, Philippe Cpl. enlisted: October 10,1939

No 13 SFTS St-Hubert

No. 13 SFTS St. Hubert

Footnote

Comment left by a knowledgeable reader

Hi Pierre

They are indeed Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks. The VW indicates 118 Squadron.  The photo with the Kitty in the glassed hanger was probably taken in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia where 118 was stationed before it went to Western Air Command in June, 1942.  (Although it could be Rockcliffe where they formed).  It is unusual to see the shark teeth nose on a 118 aircraft, a design they discontinued out west (14 Squadron was also using that design out west when they got there in March, 1942.

The other photos, also Kittyhawks (all Mark 1s), were taken, most likely on Annette Island, Alaska where 118 was stationed until they went overseas to become 438 Squadron flying Typhoons. The photographs were all taken before October 31, 1942 when the order went out to remove the squadron identification letters on all RCAF aircraft.

There must be hundreds of shots like these slumbering in shoeboxes in attics all over Canada. I wish there was a way to get them out.

Best regards

Bill Eull

www.RCAF111fSquadron.com

RCAF joins the American Ninth Air Force – Update

Carl Fleck had commented on this post last week.

He just sent this personal message with lots of pictures from his father’s collection.

Hi Pierre,

Here’s a  few images from the 83rd squadron period. I’ve got to rescan these images as their resolution isn’t very good.

My father flew in few B25s. In the image CASTBEN.jpg, refers to a the location where the 12th BG were located Castel Benito. The plane #52, my father flew in, is over Tripoli in the image.

Image M5 (Mighty Five)  the CO of 83rd Squadron crew…left to right…. Lt. Muska, Lt Wilson, Capt Young, Sgt Fleck, Sgt Wilson.

I’ve attached a couple of log pages….you may find the dates interesting.

 Cheers,

 Carl Fleck (Jr.)

Collection Carl Fleck

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

From Clarence Simonsen

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, American and British leaders arranged for a joint meeting to be held in Washington, D.C., between 24 December 1941 and 14 January 1942. This was called the Arcadia Conference, which formed overall plans to conduct a total global war against the axis powers. The first major American force established was the 8th Air Force, which moved to England and became operational on 17 August 1942. The next urgent action was needed to relieve pressure on Russia and stop the advance of German General Rommel across the Western Desert.

The whole story is here…

American 12th Bomb Group and RCAF

Text version

RCAF joins the American Ninth Air Force

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, American and British leaders arranged for a joint meeting to be held in Washington, D.C., between 24 December 1941 and 14 January 1942. This was called the Arcadia Conference, which formed overall plans to conduct a total global war against the axis powers. The first major American force established was the 8th Air Force, which moved to England and became operational on 17 August 1942. The next urgent action was needed to relieve pressure on Russia and stop the advance of German General Rommel across the Western Desert.

The existence of 23 American B-24’s plus a dozen B-17’s in Egypt in June 1942, was a fortunate coincidence of war as Rommel made his push for the Suez. On 17 June, Washington, D.C. ordered Colonel Harry Halverson to taken charge of this small force of U.S. large bombers, in response to the threat of the German Africa Korps. This new air arm of the US Army Forces in the Middle East was pressed into service to help the British 8th Army hold Cairo. Out of combat necessity, the American Ninth Air Force was unofficially born on 28 June 1942, when Major General Lewis H. Brereton was placed in charge of this newly formed United States Army Middle East Air Force. At the same time, two stateside combat bomb groups were ordered to prepare for movement to North Africa. Leaving Florida, the 98th Bomb Group ferried its B-24’s across the Atlantic arriving in Egypt the last week of July 1942. Following the 98th were the B-25C Mitchell medium bombers of the 12th Bomb Group. These two Groups aircraft were all painted in “Sand No. 3” covering all areas that had been painted dark Olive Drab. Even new this sand paint had a pronounced apricot shade, and when exposed to the North Africa sun, the yellow pigments faded, leaving only a strong pink color. These aircraft became commonly known as “tittie” or ‘desert pink’.

The 12th Bomb Group was formed 20 November 1940, and patrolled the west coast of United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor. They began training in the B-25C medium bomber in January 1942, for duty overseas. On 16 July 1942, the S.S. Louis Pasture departed New York with 4,882 men of the 12th Bomb Group, assigned to the 12th Air Force. They arrived at Deversoir, Egypt, on 31 July 42, just before Rommel’s Panzers made their last gamble to take Alexandria. The key to victory in North Africa was Allied air power, which could deny the Germans their spare parts, ammunition, fuel, food, and water. The 12th B.G. was the first USAAF medium bomber group in the Mediterranean theatre of war, which introduced the ‘desert pink’ B-25C to desert combat. The B-25 crews had little time for training and joined No. 3 Wing South African Air Force on 25 August, attacking targets in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. No. 3 Wing was made up of South African, British, Australian, and Canadians in RAF squadrons flying Boston and Baltimore aircraft. At first there was friction when the Americans thought their training was superior to the British. Although the Americans had never experienced anything like the North Africa combat conditions, it took time to convince them the British and Commonwealth veterans knew a little more than they did. To aid American radio operators to learn British radio procedures, 23 [cousins] RCAF wireless/gunners were freely loaned to the 12th Bomb Group, and four would be killed in action.

The USAAF crews soon welcomed the new Canadian radio operators who also prevented ‘friendly fire’ incidents from British anti-aircraft gunners, unfamiliar with the new B-25 bombers. The 23 Canadians served one year in their four respective bomb squadrons, first located in two airfields in the Nile delta, – the 81st and 82nd B.S. at Deversoir and the 83rd and 434th B.S. at Ismalia.

Under command of Col. Charles Goodrich, the 12th B.G. took the unofficial name “Earthquakes” and sported some very impressive nose art on their desert pink aircraft. The first mission was flown on 16 August, two days before the full complement of ground crew arrived. By the end of September 1942, the 12th B.G. had flown 21 missions and dropped 139 tons of bombs, with the loss of only six B-25 aircraft.

B-29

This early 12th B.G. nose art paid tribute to the new B-25C Mitchell bomber.

Earthquakers

Sahara Sue

This photo shows one of the RCAF Canadians pointing to the American nose artist in the 12th Bomb Group “Earthquaker’s”.

This is a list of the RCAF airmen who participated and four who died with the Earthquakers

ANDERSON, Sgt. Trevor Maxwell [promoted to P/O] R87853 – officer J17875

BROWN, F/O Joseph Alfred, J17884 – Sarnia, Ontario.

CARR, P/O Alexander Lawrence J17877

CRUIKSHANK, P/O Donald Herbert, J17887 – St. John, New Brunswick.

EMERY, F/L Charles Emile Michel, J18025 – Westmount, Quebec.

FLECK, P/O Carl Sidney,J17125 – Middle Stewiake, Nova Scotia.

NO57

CASTBEN

Carl Fleck’s plane over Tripoli (source Carl Fleck Jr.)

left to right: Lt. Muska, Lt Wilson, Capt Young, Sgt Fleck, Sgt Wilson

left to right: Lt. Muska, Lt Wilson, Capt Young, Sgt Fleck, Sgt Wilson

LOG4 LOG3Collection Carl Fleck

FRASER, F/L David Scott, J17879 – Calgary, Alberta.

FRY, F/Sgt. Cyril James Howard, R67842 – Amherstburg, Ontario, KIA

Killed in action at age 25 years, Boston medium bomber missing 14 September 1942, 12th Air Force

GALL, P/O Robert Davidson, J17127 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

GALLIVER, Sgt. William Thomas, R86558

HALL, F/L Stewart Llewelyn, J17882 – St. Catherines, Ontario.

HENRY, Sgt. Hank, Montreal, Quebec, POW

KELLY, Leonard Thomas, J17885 – Ottawa, Ontario. KIA

Wireless air gunner 27 years old, B-25 Mitchell bomber shot down while attacking Adrano, south of Mount Etna, Sicily, 5 Aug. 1943. No Known Grave.

LAMOUREUX, P/O Alexander Paul, J17130 – Edmonton, Alberta.

MACLEAN, F/L Cornelius, J18373 – Stelerton, Nova Scotia.

MARTIN, F/O Anthony Arthur, J17876 – Squamish, British Columbia.

MARTINO, P/O George William, J17880 – Montreal, Quebec.

MIRON, F/O Wilfred Arthur James, J17883 – Toronto, Ontario.

PARADIS, P/O Joseph Jean Paul, J17129 – Quebec.

RENNIE, P/O Henry Thompson, J17129 – Elora, Ontario, KIA

Medium bomber Boston aircraft shot down 12 March 1943, Sidi Barrani, Arab republic. Reburied National Cemetary at Fort Scott, Kansas, USA.

ROBERTSON, P/O Forbes, J17881 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, KIA

Wireless air gunner 23 years old, went overseas in October 1941, assigned 12th A.F. December 1942, flew 22 missions in B-25 Mitchell. On return from mission on 29 April 1943, hung-up bomb fell on landing, exploded. War cemetery Tunisia.

ROBERTSON, P/O Ronald Douglas, J17128 – Roblin, Manitoba.

SIBBALD, P/O Roy Everett, J17878 – Cochrane, Alberta.

B-25

This is the image of the famous “Desert Warrior” taken at Red Sea base of Desouire as it prepared to leave on the first B-25 promotional tour of the United States.

Crew – [back row left to right]

Capt. Ralph Lower, [pilot] Lt. W.O. Seaman, [co-pilot] Lt. Lloyd Pond, [navigator] Lt. T.R. Tate, [bombardier]

[front row left to right]

Sgt. Pat Garofalo, [top turret gunner] Pilot Officer Anthony Arthur Martin [RCAF] wireless air gunner, Sgt. John Dowdy Crew Chief.

B-25-1

Press release error – F/O Anthony Arthur Martin was “Canadian” from Squamish, British Columbia.

The nose art was impressive

B-25-3

This memorial to the RCAF members killed in action while flying with the American “Earthquakers” is painted on original skin from the B-25 in Alberta Aviation Museum at Edmonton, Alberta. This B-25 flew with the U.S. Navy during WWII. Thanks again to pilot Tony Jarvis.