No. 1 Manning Depot – Toronto 1941 March 1941

Security Guard Training

Security Guard Training, #1 Manning Depot, Toronto, 1941 (Frank Sorensen, kneeling, 2nd from left) - Copy

Frank Sorensen - Security Guard Training, #1 Manning Depot, Toronto, 1941

Dad - #1 Manning Depot, Toronto, 1941

Dad - #1 Manning Depot, Security Guard Training, 1941

All these photos are part of Frank Sorensen’s collection of WW II photos. Frank Sorensen became a Spitfire pilot, and he survived the war. His daughter is now sharing her research about her father on this blog.

This is one letter her father wrote…

March 26, 1941

Security Guard Training

#1 Manning Depot, Toronto

Dear Mother & Dad;

Oh, I’m tired tonight, good and tired. I just came from a free show here in the building, it wasn’t much of a show hardly worth while seeing.

Get up at 6:00, make my bed, polish my boots and buttons, wash and go for breakfast. P.T. parade at 7:45 in fatigue clothes, we are marched outside and the Corp. chases us round the place. It’s just wonderful to have P.T. in weather 10 degrees above. One really has to work to keep warm. After P.T. we have squad drill until 11:30. Then I go to my bunk and rest a bit. I am a little tired especially my shoulders but the more it hurts the more I work with it. Tomorrow I don’t think I’ll feel anything. After dinner I have to be at another parade or route march at 1:30 and at 4:15 we are through for the day. I go to my bunk, rest, shine my buttons, I am awfully tired but after my daily shower I feel perfect. I shave twice a week. Supper at about 5:00, then I line up for my mail if any and I wish again that my name began with anything but S.

I go to my “home” again (bunk) play the banjo or I go to the lounge to write. I might also go for a walk along Lake Ontario – alone – believe me or not. You see, I realize now how expensive it is to fool about with women and what a lot of waste of time. Of course I wish I knew a real girl, but I’ve got plenty of time.

If I keep on spending money at the rate I am now I should be able to send ¾ of my money home. I’ll get $40 a month, $1.20 a day. It’s not much money, but I don’t see why I should spend it on food or anything of the kind when I get all the food I can eat (plenty of butter and apples). For the last week or so I have had 38 cents in my money belt and yesterday I spent the last bit as I missed my supper (because I have no watch). We’ll get paid next Monday for the first time. The $5 Dad gave me soon went on a money belt, boot polish, Brasso, etc. You don’t get everything in the army. It’s lights out now so goodnight.

Friday – I didn’t get my mail yesterday so I got your letter today. I was going to make this one a long letter but your letter reminded me that Dad was soon leaving so I’ll send it now. I just had my dinner and I have about ½ hour to get ready for the afternoon parade. I’m on what is called Security Guard Training which lasts for about 10 days so I won’t be here very long. The day Wilkins was in town we all marched down town. He stood on a platform as we marched past. In the evening we got free tickets to hear his speech and I went. As he was through he got up on the table and he nearly fell down. I went out before the others and stood in the front row as he got in the car.

Last week I went to “Lille Norge” and had a talk with them. They also take Danish subjects. I spent an evening with a fellow Nielsen. I must go.

Love Frank

RCAF joins the American Ninth Air Force – More updates

This story never dies…

Ken Muska’s cousin was one airman mentioned in an update. Ken Muska is sharing more about his cousin at the end of this post.

The first to comment was Carl Fleck. He had commented on a research done by Clarence Simonsen about the RCAF joining the American Ninth Air Force. Carl Fleck had 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.


 Carl Fleck (Jr.)

Collection Carl Fleck

This is the original article.


Research by 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.


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


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.



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


Collection 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.


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.


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

The nose art was impressive


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.


Ken Muska’s comment…

I have attached my cousin (once removed) Major Albert P. Muska’s navigation school yearbook and newspaper article of his missing in action notice. There are many strange things we are finding out about his missing status. The first is it took 17 days to send a search party to locate his plane a crew. The plane took off on 11/3/1943 but a search party was not dispatched until 11/20/1943. They never found the plane or crew. The second mystery is it took over a year after Albert’s death to issue his mother a Purple Heart Medal. If there are any experts out there in WWII Army Air Force protocol, I’d like to hear their theories why these delays took place. It was almost like they took the plane out for a joy ride. My cousin, Gary recalls as a small boy his father, another uncle and family friend said Albert and crew were on a highly confidential mission.
Ken Muska




Searching for George Glen Harrison Cowper

I had been in contact with someone on Facebook.


Do you have any training record mentions of a George Glen Harrison COWPER from England, who later flew Lancasters with 550 Squadron in Lincolnshire?

I was just sent this photo.

BCATP Tiger Moth

I was not told if he is on the left or on the right. My guess is that he is on the right. These two airmen are in front of a Tiger Moth. George Glen Harrison Cowper’s son told that his father got his training in Canada which would make sense since we see the enclosed cockpit added for flight training during winter.

George Glen Harrison Cowper’s son will be looking for his father’s log book.

This story will be updated.

Updated 2019-08-19 11:30

Flying Officer Cowper DFC was the pilot.



Now we know he was on the right.

BCATP Tiger Moth

November 9, 1941 – Paulson, Manitoba – More Update

This blog is all about remembering and sharing stories about the BCATP.

There is one more update to this tragedy that occurred at Paulson.

My father Sgt.Lloyd Brown was the pilot of this Fairey Battle We were out at Paulson Mb. in 1986 to see his old base and to talk a walk. When we were walking along the taxi way this was the first time he ever talked about this accident This incident really had a bad effect on my father as he felt it was his fault as he couldn’t see Mr. Heal After this my Father never mentioned this accident ever again I only wish I could of found this accident report before his passing for him to see it was not his fault.

There was another previous comment made about this post:

This is somewhat unsettling to me and very strange. My father, David L. « Bud » Quinn, who was a Flight Lieutenant at the time of the death of LAC Heal, may have witnessed this accident. He was the Armament Officer in Charge of Gunnery at No. 7 B&GS at Paulson from June 1941 until the end of July 1942.

He described to me once seeing one of his armourers turning without looking and walking into the rotating prop of an aircraft. He called out to him, but not in time. The description of the accident in the medical examiner’s official report above is consistent with how my father described it, namely « partial decapitation & decerebration ». He said that at the time it shook him to the core. Decades later he could still not get the memory out of his head.

May they all now rest in peace! Lest we forget.

log 2

Remembering LAC Kenneth Edgar Heal…







Still unknown RCAF photographer

Chris wrote this earlier in 2018. He has even more photos to share. Click on the link at the end of this post.

Hello Pierre,

I have attached the photos of the fellow who I believe took the rest of the pictures that I have. The one picture shows him as an AC at #1 AOS Malton.

I have one post card type photo that says the photographer is Claude Hannan but no association to the rest of the photos. I’m not sure if that’s who I’m looking for.

I have no other information beyond that.



Fleet Finch by Paul Tuttle

The painting was created for the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum’s collection. It depicts a BCATP Fleet Finch in the circuit at EFTS No. 17 Stanley Nova Scotia.

Paul Tuttle has won awards with his artwork and it has also been collected and published internationally. He concentrates primarily on aviation or nature/wildlife subject matter. In regards to aviation art, Paul Tuttle’s objective is to preserve aviation history with his work. Many of his paintings can be found in a number of aviation museums including the Smithsonian in Washington DC.