26 April 2017 – Searching for Jock Muir (Mair)

Jock is on the left according to a caption. Gerard Pelletier had written the name Muir in his photo album.

Jock Muir was in fact Jock Mair.

Honest mistake.

This is what I found on the Internet thanks to a friend who led me to Jock.

RAAF FATALITIES IN SECOND WORLD WAR AMONG RAAF PERSONNEL SERVING ON ATTACHMENT IN ROYAL AIR FORCE SQUADRONS AND SUPPORT UNITS

404565 Flight Sergeant LEWIS, Wallace George

Source:

AWM 237 (65) NAA : A705, 163/137/144 Commonwealth War Graves records

Aircraft Type: Defiant

Serial number: AA 377

Radio call sign:

Unit: ATTD 264 SQN RAF

Summary:

On 26th April 1942, Defiant AA377 crashed at Sheerness, UK, and the crew were killed.

Crew:

RAAF 404565 Flt Sgt W G Lewis, (Pilot)†

RAF Flt Sgt W Mair, (Gunner)†

Flt Sgt’s Lewis and Mair are buried in the Leysdown (St Clement) Churchyards, UK. Leysdown is a coastal parish and village in the north eastern side of Sheppey, six miles NNE of Faversham.

Flt Sgt Corserr a witness to a Court of Inquiry into the accident stated :

“ On 26th April WO Lauder, Flt Sgt Lewis and self were detailed for air to sea firing at the Leysdown range. Lauder was firing and Lewis and I were orbiting the range at approx 2000 feet. Sgt Lewis was approx 500 feet above me and half a mile in front when I observed that his port wing dropped, and he went into a vertical dive travelling in the opposite direction to his original course. It appeared that Lewis tried to pull out of this dive but only partially succeeded in doing so, when the machine turned to starboard and then hit the ground.”

Flt Sgt Rose, Flt Sgt Corser’s Gunner stated : 

“ We were at approx 2000 feet awaiting our turn to do our air firing practice. I saw a Defiant diving past us at a very steep angle about 50 feet away on our port side, this dive continued until 500 feet from the ground. The aircraft then went into a flat spin to starboard doing 3 or 4 slow turns before hitting the ground and bursting into flames 

The opinion of the Court was that : 

“ the accident was due to loss of control by the Pilot, but we cannot determine what caused the loss of control.

Wg Cdr CO RAF West Malling stated,:

“ I concur with the findings. There is no evidence to show whether the loss of control was due to some structural failure or to some temporary physical failure on the part of the Pilot.”

In Memory of Flight Sergeant Wallace George Lewis

404565, Royal Australian Air Force who died on 26 April 1942 Age 22

Son of Thomas Henry and Alice Lewis, of Bardon, Queensland, Australia.

Remembered with Honour Leysdown (St. Clement) Churchyard

In Memory of Flight Sergeant Air Gnr. William Mair

971422, 264 Sqdn., Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve who died on 26 April 1942 Age 27 Son of David and Marion Mair, of Swinhill, Lanarkshire.

Remembered with Honour Leysdown (St. Clement) Churchyard

Flight Sergeant William “Jock” Mair

The History of No. 264 Night Fighter Squadron of the Royal Air Force – Version 3

This is the story you will find on the RAF 264 Website. There are three versions.

Geoff Faulkner wrote version 3 in July 2004.

This is the original that I will use as a template for my ongoing research on unsung heroes, correcting typos along the way and adding photos.

 

The History of No. 264 Night Fighter Squadron of the Royal Air Force

264 Squadron, Royal Air Force

Madras Presidency

Royal Air Force

Whenever mention is made of No. 264 (N/F) Squadron the talk invariably turns to the Squadron’s claim of 37 enemy aircraft destroyed on the afternoon of May 29th, 1940, and though the survivors of this famous action KNOW that the figure is correct, there is no corroboration of their claim in the “Royal Air Force 1939/45”, Vol.1.

There is nothing strange about this however. For since the end of the war, we have witnessed a continual reduction in the claims of the “Fighter types” until by now, the absolute minimum must have been reached. Any further reduction and, on some days, it could only mean that our chaps shot each other down. And the proof that our figures are up the creek is, we are assured, to be found in German Records. The Nazis, it seems, never lost any records when they were on the run, except those at Belsen, Dachau, etc. Had none destroyed by bombs, and never stooped so low as to “cook the books” when it suited their purpose. Strange, too, that all, those gallant lads who failed to return from Ops. and bomber escorts across the Channel went down empty-handed. However, to get back to the point, if you believe those things then you accept the fact that “264” did not destroy 37 enemy aircraft on May 29th.

But do we believe them ?……..

Do we hell!

The R.A.F. historians approach the problem from the other end. They quote their own pilots first, and in some cases, add what was witnessed from the ground and then follow up with the enemy records. The beginnings of history for No.264 Squadron can be traced back to a time when it is admitted that our own record keeping was not too good, to 1918, and, as a result, knowledge of its work is limited, to coastal and sea patrols in the Mediterranean. That it did serve for a few months is well-known, but it appears to have been disbanded by the end of the year.

Gone and forgotten, the Squadron remained off the active list until war came again, and towards the end of 1939 it began to re-form at Sutton Bridge — a well-known Armament Training Camp before the lights went out. It was here in December, that Cpl. C.S. Bourne, of Kinestanding, Birmingham joined them, and they were then employed in a training role and had 3 Magisters on strength. “From Sutton Bridge” continues Cpl. Bourne, We moved to Martlesham Heath to crack on with our training, Fairey Battles were added to our strength early in 1940, then Defiants, and it was here that S/Ldr. P. Hunter took over. My promotion to Sgt. came through before we became operational and moved to Duxford to work alongside No.25 Squadron. The war moved from Norway to the Low Countries and France, and I remember only too well the early hour in the morning, it was around 5.00 hrs. And we were waiting for the dawn patrol to return, when the C.O. informed me that I was to be ready to fly to Manston in an hour’s time with 2 fitters, 2 riggers, some armourers and a few ACH/GDs, to set up an advanced base for the squadron. Lobbing in at Manston we were soon caught up in the organised chaos and to try and describe just the difficulties caused by the shortage of petrol bowsers would take pages. From here our crews were doing 3 sorties a day and then returning to Duxford at night. Always raring to go, I can well remember the day when they shot down 37 enemy aircraft – and. the day when practically the whole of “B” Flight failed to return, I remained at Manston until the evacuation of Dunkirk was complete, then left the squadron on posting to Kirton Lindsey around September, 1940.”

In the short space of time described by Cpl J Bourne the Squadron had made history. When the command passed to 32081 S/Ldr. P. A. Hunter, the men of “264” had no knowledge of the actions they would be called upon to face, but under his leadership they trained to meet any eventuality. Of Frimley, Hants., S/Ldr. Hunter was considered by those who knew him, to be a keen and efficient officer with a most charming personality, and “264” soon became known as “Hunter’s Circus’. Respected by all who served under him, to him must go the credit for the plan to mix the Defiant with single seaters during patrols to catch the enemy, as they came in on their line astern attacks. With the power-operated turrets these tactics were not expected to have a long life, but they lived a little longer than many Nazis pilots.

Brought into line when it became obvious that Operation “Dynamo’, the evacuation from Dunkirk, could no longer be delayed, the crews of “264” began to join the Hurricane patrols on May 26th, 1940. The first patrols had little to report, and it was not until the next day, May 27th, that they opened their score with a modest claim of 5 e/a destroyed. On the following day they knocked down six, but no mention could be made of the work of Phillip Hunter and L/ACF H King, F/Lt. N.G Cooke and Cpl. A. Lippert, Sgt. E.R.Thorne and L/ACF. J Barker and other crews at this time. On the ground the Army and the Navy complained at the lack of air support, but as Air Vice marshal Park was satisfied that his men had done more than was expected in view of their strength. On the 29th, Intelligence were well aware of the fact that an enemy force of 300 bombers with fighter escort was laid on to attack our ships, but clouds limited the ceiling throughout the morning. To counter the enemy the R.A.F. laid on patrols at four-squadron strength, and, as the cloud lifted, No.264, waiting at Manston, was ordered off at mid-day. In their first encounter with 7 Me.109’s they reduced it to 6, and then shook a small force that came in down sun. Hurricanes took care of some He’s doing a spot of dive bombing and the Defiants mixed it with a strong force of Me110s and Ju87s until, with their ammunition exhausted, they were forced to return to re-arm and re-fuel. With a score of 18 to their credit in the first patrol the crews were soon ready for a second “bash”, and turning round as quickly as possible, they were soon winging their way back to the battle area. Making contact with a large force of Ju.87’s they needed no encouragement to wade right in, and when they left the Luftwaffe were deficient of 18 dive-bombers. To round off a busy an exciting day they destroyed a lone Ju.88 to add to the total of 19 Ju.87’s, 15 Me110s and 2 Me109s. P/O.D.H.S.Kay, though he missed the thrills and fears of continual combat, was having his own fun and games. With little rudder controls and tail left, his gunner dead in the turret, he pulled off a forced landing on the other side and, having been able to “borrow” some fuel, took off from a small field, and flew back at “0” feet. In this action F/Lt. Cooke, of Cambridge, with No.348039 Cpl. Lippert, from Yarmouth, claimed 5 e/a destroyed to bring their total to 8, and Ted. Thorne, with Freddie Barker, again proved their skill as a balanced team.

After a. break on the 30th they were back in the air again, but this time the German were wise to the game, and though the men of “264” chalked up another 9 e/a destroyed they also took a beating. F/Lt. Cook and. Cpl. Lippert died in the encounter, E.G.Barwell was forced to ditch and “Bull”. Whitley collided in mid-air over Dunkirk with Mike Young. Flg/Off. Barwell’s A/G, Sgt.B.Williams, climbed clear of the turret before they hit the “drink” and was thrown clear, but the pilot went down with the Defiant, struggled clear, and on reaching the surface found Williams out for the count and supported him until picked up by a naval vessel. On board the ship was M. H. Young, but his A/G had not been as fortunate as Bruce Williams, and Whitley came out with some of the brown jobs (Army) from Dunkirk to re-join his squadron. 7 Defiants were lost on this day. Popular P/O. Samuel R.Thomas, (Tommy), and the Thorne/Barker team had had their moments before the flap died away and they moved back to Duxford to re-build and prepare for the next round. In June and July came their first awards, S/Ldr. Hunter received the DSO. Flt. Lt. Nicholas, G. Cook and P/O. Desmond, H.S Kay the D.F.C, and Edward.M.Thorne, Frederick.J.Barker, Albert Lippert and Frederick.H.King, the D.F.M. It was early In July that P/O. F.C.Sutton was informed that he was Posted to “Hunters Circus”, and with D. Smythe, R. Moore, F. Toombs and W.Ponting, reported at Duxford on July 6th, l940, for duty as Air Gunners. P/O.Sutton remained with the Squadron, first as A/G then, with the rank of F/Lt., as the Squadron Gunnery Leader, until April 1942, when he was posted to Canada. During quiet hours in Canada he re-lived his days with “264” over again, jotting down many notes under the heading “We Defy”, and thus provided a first hand account of days long past. “Arriving at Duxford we found that only HQ. was based here. The Squadron was operating from a satellite a few miles away, and living conditions were not exactly first class, The Mess, in fact, was on a pig farm, the Nissen huts being three yards from the pig sty’s — and it was a nice hot summer! Clifford Ash, who had dropped from W/Cdr, in the Equipment Branch to become a F/Lt. A/G, was the Squadron Gunnery Leader, and the `Adj’ was John Kimber, an ex-school master, and a grand chap. Teamed up with F/O Peter Bowen we flew on convoy patrols and night recce’s until early August when the squadron moved to Kirton-on-Lindsey to give cover to the East coast convoys, and as we followed events down south it was hard to hide our disappointment. But it was not for long; for without any warning, and just sufficient time to pack our small kit, we were ordered to fly to Hornchurch on August 21st.

Early next day “A” Flight came into readiness and, under Ted Benharn, were soon in the air. When they came back Ted Thorne had another victory to add to the score and “Bull” Witley, with a large hole in his tail-plane and his rudder fin just a skeleton, just made it. In the evening Squadron Leader Hunter took the whole squadron off, but we had no luck. The weather continued to be the deciding factor throughout the 23rd, though on this day “Bull” and his Gunner did not come back and the squadron claimed one in return, but it was a poor bargain. Cloud broke up on the 24th and we were in our aircraft by 05-00 hours, took off for Manston at 05-30 hours to re-fuel, and were caught on the ground when 3 Me.l09’s came in low to beat-up the place. Off again at 08-00 hours we had to leave Campbell Colquhoon behind with engine trouble, but the fault was soon rectified and, he decided to chase after the squadron. He soon picked up a section, but found, too late it was the wrong section, and spent a hectic few minutes trying to shoo off the l09’s”. A burst set the Verey cartridges on fire, and Robinson, his gunner, was too busy dodging the balls of fire to worry about the enemy aircraft they managed to return to Manston O.K. We were caught on the deck again the next day, at Hornchurch this time, and though ordered off, lost two aircraft when one ran into the other through a dust cloud from a bursting bomb. Paddy O’Connell, one of the gunners, was badly injured. On the 26th we took a beating, and of the 12 Defiants that took off, only 8 came back. The C.0. went down over the Channel with Freddie King firing his guns to the last. Artie Shaw (F/0.I.G.Shaw) and his gunner followed. Stevenson, his aircraft on fire, gave the order to bale out, but his gunner failed to make it, and “Steve was picked up by the Air Sea Rescue. types, (Headlines for this day being” 47 enemy aircraft downed for loss of 15 aircraft and. 4 pilots)” The command now passed to S/Ldr. Garvin and we flew over to Southend-on -Sea to operate from there on the 27th. Scrambled at breakfast time on the 28th, we were airborne in 4 minutes, only 11 Defiants formated on the C.0. as the twelfth member, Mike Young, had to return with engine trouble.

Near Canterbury we came up against some 40 plus He’s with 80-100 Me.109’s milling around them. Making a climbing turn to intercept we flew parallel with the enemy force at about 500 yards range, but the Hun did not seem to be keen to close the range. Flying with P/O. Bowen in L.6963 in the tail-end position we could think of many other places we would rather be in, and when the Huns attacked, though we did damage a He.lll, it did seem as if all the enemy hate was directed at “L6963”, As the attacks seemed to increase “Ponky’s” voice penetrated above the din with, ”You know, old boy, I think we’ll get out. All the others have gone”. At this point the pilot of a Me.109 realised, too late, that our aircraft was not a Hurricane, and as he tried to pull out of his dive I was able to get a good burst. Suddenly, there was a mighty thud and I was pushed up tight against the top of the turret. l heard the pilot say,” Hit-Fire-Jump” but it was impossible to get out. “Ponky” realised that I had not been able to get out and, in the face of many difficulties, managed to regain control and we were able to return to base ”L.6963” had 3 cannon shell and 120 bullet holes in her. Once again the squadron had been hard hit. The C.0., his aircraft on fire, had baled out after Cliff’ Ash, though badly wounded, had left. But F/Lt. Ash was dead before he reached the ground. The famous pair, Thorne and Barker, had knocked down a “109” even though their engine died on them, and Barker managed to pull off a landing as the e/a crashed nearby. P. Kenner and “Johnny” Johnson died, Gaskell crashed in a field and took over a car to get his wounded A/G to hospital, but it was too late and F/Lt, J. Banham, with a German pilot, was pulled out of the ”drink” and returned to the squadron. Only three Defiants returned to base in a serviceable condition, and these had to be flown off immediately by T.Welsh, W.Carnaby and J.Bailey, as a raid on the airfield developed. At mid-day what was left of the squadron flew back to Hornchurch, and early the next morning, under F/O.Thomas, took off for Kirton-on-Lindsey, In the one-week at Hornchurch we had destroyed 16 e/a for the loss of 14 aircrew, all first class, good courageous men and rumours that we had been withdrawn because we could not cope did not improve our tempers, Rumours that were quickly dispelled by a special visit by Air-Vice. Marshall Leigh Mallory to give us the true facts. For the time being, however, 264’s flash of action was over. Switched to meet the attacks by night, they also covered convoys by day. Early in their role of night-fighter, they claimed an e/a destroyed. “B” Flight, under F/Lt. Thomas, was detached to Luton in September, and “A”, under F/Lt. Smith, remained at Kirton and used Caistor as a satellite for night ops. F/Lt. Sutton and F/O. Bowen were posted to “B” Flight at Luton, which was a bad airfield and often visited, by the enemy bombers. Here he continues,” on about the. 14th, we suffered our first loss by combat night. Goodall, the pilot, announced that they had picked up a Hun and were going in to attack, and the next news we received of the crew was that they had crashed near Marlow. A night or two later F/O. Hughes, with Sgt. F.Gash destroyed, a He.111, and at the end of the month the whole squadron moved to Southend, Here, gallantry of the finest order was displayed in an effort .to prevent death reaching out to take away a good comrade, but it was all in vain. In November Knocker’s engine caught fire soon after take-off, and to avoid crashing in the town he tried to return to the airfield. Pushed for time he had no option but to land down wind, overshot, and crashed on an old golf course. Knocker, half standing in the cockpit, was thrown clear, but Frank Toombs was trapped in the blazing wreckage. F/O K.L.G.Nobbs the squadron Medical Officer, hastened to the scene of the crash and although the aircraft was burning fiercely and bullets flying in all directions, he went straight in and pulled Toombs clear. In the meantime we had been detailed to take over their patrol and had also crashed when we hit an old bomb crater. Unhurt, and given another aircraft, we eventually got off O.K. Frank Toombs died four days later, and, the award of the George Medal to F/O.Nobbs for his gallantry was announced in March, 194l. On the night that we lost another crew in a prang. F/O.Hughes, with Freddie Gash as his A/G, made contact with an e/a but found that their guns would neither elevate nor depress. “Des” waggled his wings in an effort to spray the fire, but the Hun got away”. Awarded the DFC for this effort, and Sgt. Gash the DFM, F/O. F.D.Hughes later saw service in North Africa with No.600 Squadron, was awarded two Bars to his DFC for his skill and gallantry as a. night fighter. With a total of 16 e/a destroyed, 13 by night, he took over command of No.604 Squadron to lead it throughout the busy period following “D—day”, was awarded the DSO, and later took command of his first love — “264”.

Moving to Debden the command passed from S/Ldr. Garvin to S/Ldr. A.T.D.Sanders, No.33095, who, after service at No.11 F.T.S., Wittering, as an Instructor, had taken part in the Egypt-Australia record flight by Wellesleys in 1938. On Blenheims at the outbreak of war, he joined “264” when casualties were due to prangs, not e/a. With them too, according to F/Lt. Sutton, was F/O.S. Carlin, MC, DFC. and DCM. , better known to all as “Timber-toes”, Born at Lissett, a small village near Bridlington, and the site of one of Bomber Commands airfields, his people later moved to Hull, and Sidney Carlin, a farmer by profession, joined the local Company of R.E’s before the first war. In the Retreat from Mans his gallantry earned for him the DCM, and. a little later the M.C. before he was badly wounded end lost a leg. Though fitted with a wooden leg he learned to fly at his own expense, and his determination and hatred of the Hun helped him during his efforts to transfer to the R.F.C. Joining No.74 Squadron, he was nicknamed ‘”Timber-Toes” by the great Mannock, he knocked down 4 e/a and 5 balloons before being taken prisoner on September 21st 1918. After the war he went back to farming, workng for a German firm in Kenya at one period, but when war became obvious, age proved no bar to this gallant fighter. A member of the RAFVR, he was killed during an air attack on Wittering in May 1941.

From Debden they moved to Gravesend to serve alongside No. 141, and a few days later left for Biggin Hill. In February the awards of the DFC to F/O’s Young and Barwell, and P/O. T.D.Welsh, were announced, and B.Thorne and F.Barker added a Bar to their DFM’s when their score reached 12 e/a destroyed. The former, commissioned in the squadron, eventually left to take command of No.32 Squadron and lead it into action at Dieppe. Promoted to W/Cdr he was in action over the beaches on “D” day and, after surviving many actions, died in an accident after the war. Barker from Bow is still with us. After attending a course at C.G.S., Warmwell, Fl. Lt. Sutton came back to continue the nightly search for e/a and, flying with the C.O., scored a victory on the night of April 8th.”Flying in N~3377 we were vectored onto an e/a and had to go flat out through a box barrage, which threw us about a bit, before we obtained a visual and identified a “He”. After killing the Hun gunner the pilot tried to ram us, but this we avoided, and. when we picked up the Heinkel again the pilot, his gunner dead and one engine u/s, was still heading for Coventry. Attacking again we got it in flames and it crashed near St. Albans. Visiting the scene of the crash we came away with a trophy for the squadron in the shape of the gun and. pan. Moving to West Mailing I had to take over the post of Gunnery Leader when Roy Moore was posted, and. “B” Flight was detached to Nutt’s Corner, N. Ireland. Intruders began to produce results and in 3 nights “A” Flight claimed 3 destroyed and 2 probables. Guy Curtis and ”Bob”Martin got a Heinkel over Lille and Mike Young, following the same track the next night, knocked off a “Me110” on the flare path. The Thorne/Barker team added one by night to their list of daylight victories. In the moonlight of the night of May 10/11th the whole Flight was off to try and spoil the Huns aim, and in N3313 with S/Ldr. Sanders we picked up a Heinkel over the Thames. The e/a immediately went into a steep dive, but we remained with it until our shots took effect and it went down in flames. This was “264’s” third victory for the night; Curtis had got one again near Lille and “Steve”, with Harry Maggs, shot another down”, “Bob”Martin had left India and returned home to see what he could do. Though clocking on for 5O he managed to make the grade and after service in “264” was posted to Bomber Command and was killed in a Stirling. F/Lt. Mervyn Henry Maggs had served in the RAF in 1918 and with No.605, was awarded the DFC in March, 1943, for his destruction of 2 e/a.

The success of the night-fighters had gradually increased with the introduction of GCI, and skill improved with experience. Kills had increased from 3 in January to 22 in March, in April, 48 were claimed, and in May 96, but “Trade” now declined and very few ”Intruders” were flown by Defiants. On May 18th “B” Flight returned from its short stay in Ireland, and S/Ldr. Sanders, awarded the DFC, moved off on promotion to “Winco” and S/Ldr. Sanders took his place. ”Scruffy” being replaced by “Sandy”. Patrols continued but there was “no joy”, and though F/Lt. Sutton, with the new C.0. in T3944, was vectored on to an e/a on June 19th they lost it in the low haze prevailing at the time. Patrols continued throughout July and August, with a daily routine following more on the lines of a training Programme. Thorne, now a S/Ldr., was posted in August, and they began to re-equip with Defiant Mk.II’s, but there was little to report, Air .Sea, Rescue duties took on a more personal note in November when they took off to assist in the search for their old C.O., W/Cdr. Sanders who had sent a message saying they wore baling out after their Havoc had been set on fire in combat with a Ju.88. Taking over from No.29 Squadron aircraft they continued the search, but it was all in vain, ”Scruffy” had crossed the line to join many other gallant souls. In December, on the l9th, in the absence of the C.O. F/Lt. Thomas took a party of men down to Boulton & Paul to be presented with a silver salver by Lord Gorell to commemorate the destruction of its 100th e/a, and the honours awarded in the same period included a DSO, six DFC`s and. 8 DFM`s and two Bars. Amidst a spate of rumours from the “Duff gen” merchants regarding the future of the squadron a change of command was recorded in January, l942, with the arrival of S/Ldr. C.A.Cook. In March rumour ran true to form when they moved to Colerne and on arrival, found Mosquitoes awaiting them, For many of the old A/G’s in the squadron, this was the parting of the ways, from now on it was Nav.Rad/Ops and postings in an out became the order of the day. F/Lt. Sutton left them at this point and S/Ldr. Cooke reverted to Flight Commander with the arrival of W/Cdr.Kerr. Training and Conversion kept them busy for a time, but the lack of action was hard to combat. In May official recognition of the good, work carried out by F/Lt. S, R.Thomas was at last recognised with a well earned D.F.C and, though “trade” was hard to find S/Ldr. Cooke managed to find and destroy a Ju.88 in July. Intruders and Rangers were laid on in the search for action as the year passed by, and the winter weather reduced activity. Attacks against the enemy lines of communications, trains and rail centres, power houses, etc., added a new category of targets to the score board, and in October S/Ldr. Cooke, with many e/a to his credit, was awarded a DFC.

1943 brought a change in routine for many of the crews, when they here called upon to give support to Coastal Command aircraft in the Bay of Biscay area. Repeated attacks on aircraft detailed for anti-U Boat patrols by packs of Ju.88’s were met by patrols from the Mosquito squadrons employed on “Insteps”, and a detachment from “264” operated on this task under the command of S/Ldr. M.H.Constable-Maxwell from Portreath. Working in support of the Sunderlands, Wellingtons and Whitleys, they did, a good job, and Air Commodore Basil Embry at Group H.Q. flew many “Insteps” at this time. In March,1943, a flight from No.456 Squadron, R.A.A.F, moved into Colerne, and. on March 21st the command of “264” passed to W/Cdr.W.J.Alington. On the following day W/O. D.McKenzië knocked down Ju.88 over the Bay to add another e/a to the detachments score. W/Cdr. William J. Alington, A.F.C., D.F.C., R.A.F.O. now living at Rosetta, Natal, had carried out a tour with No.25 Squadron during which he had destroyed two e/a at night for which he was awarded the DFC, and had left them for a spell at Wingfield before being posted in to command No.264. Speaking of this period W/Cdr.Alington states: “The Flight Commanders at this time were M.H.Constable-Maxwell (later to command No.604 Squadron, destroy its 100th e/a, and working along side “604” during the defence of the bridge-head in Normandy) and S/Ldr. L.T.Bryant-Fenn, and the morale of the detached flight was as high as it was low in the rest of the squadron rotting at Colerne. In view of this I appealed, to Air/Cdr. Embrey, who was then at our Group H.Q., for a move to a more active spot than Colerne, and as a result we moved to Predannack on April 3Oth, 1943, to work in support of Coastal Command on sweeps with not less than three aircraft. “Rangers”, of which the primary targets were aircraft, were to be carried out in suitable weather. Gradually, our aircraft were fitted with long-range tanks, and patrols lengthened to something around the 5-hour mark. A decision was then made that the effort should be stepped up and, our establishment was increased with the addition of four aircraft from three other squadrons.(12 in all). Some of these boys had a bit of luck, and one of the pilots attached, I think it was F/Lt Joe Singleton — managed to bag a Condor, but I’m not sure of it. It was only natural that some of the section leaders, being unaccustomed to flying over the sea, got a bit lost on these five hour patrols and would call up for homing vectors. The wily Hun listening on our frequency gave them courses to bring them into the arms of the fighters off Tishant. We lost a complete section one day due to this little ruse. My first “Ranger” was on May 11th, target being the power station at Vitres, but I was intercepted by FW.190’s before I could reach the low cloud forecast over France and the battle ended in a draw. Not being fully conversant with the Mosquito I feel sure that I missed being the first Mossie pilot to destroy a “190” by a few days. The work carried out by the fighters over the Bay soon knocked a lot of enthusiasm out of the “88 boys”, and soon the ambitious ones amongst us were laying on “Rangers” down amongst the Pyrenees – quite a long way away. One of these, Porter, was killed when they had to ditch, and his observer, F/0.Clarke, who had been with me on May 11th, became a POW. On May 22nd, with my observer F/Lt. Georgeson, we laid on a special Ranger with a view to getting amongst the training aircraft, which were reputed to operate from airfields in the Bordeaux area. We planned to cross the coast south of Bordeaux, but when we got there we found no cloud cover so had to go in between Bordeaux and the Gironde estuary. There was a decent size ship moored in the river, but we had no bombs so we proceeded in search of aircraft. None were seen, but we attacked and badly damaged 7 locomotives, and. the smart manner in which the French disembarked had to be seen to be believed. Time of flight for the trip was 5h.2Om.” Attacks against targets on shore and. at sea were pressed home on every sortie, and the award of the DFC to S/Ldr. Constable-Maxwell was announced, soon after leaving “264”. During the return of H.M.the late King George VIth, from N. Africa the squadron was ordered to provide an escort for York LV.633. W/Cdr. Alington took off with two other pilots to pick up, what they had been told, was a civil version of the Lancaster. Unaware that it was a York, or that the York had three rudders, it was probably fortunate that W/Cdr.Collins had “warmed the bell” and the Mosquitoes failed to make contact. The squadron’s most successful “Ranger”, and one that merited, a B.B.C. recording, was the attack on Biscaross on June 2Oth, 1943, Continuing the story at this point W/Cdr. Alington states:-”Taking four aircraft I led Red. Section with F/0.Pudsey (killed at a later date) as my No.2, and S/Ldr.L.T.Bryant-Fenn led Blue section with F/O. Mason as his No.2.Turning in 60 miles west of Biscaross we met an unsuspecting BV.l38 and, though I reckon he had had his chips when I broke away, all the other had a bash at him just to make sure. Flying on to Biscaross we sighted four BV,

138’s moored in pairs on the water and in my attack I set two on fire, One of the others did the same. Another aircraft, a BV.222, on the slipways was attacked without conclusive results. As it was almost dark at the time I claimed my two as 138’s, although they looked like haystacks, but a subsequent P.0.W. Interrogation revealed that they were, in fact, 222’s. On the way home Mason attacked an armed minesweeper, Flak had holed one of my elevators and Bryant-Fenn, his aircraft damaged during the attack on the airborne “138”, had an engine failure on the return trip. He pranged the kite on landing at Predannack. ( W/Cdr.Alington was awarded a Bar to his DFO towards the end of the month). In July we were allowed to carry Mk.IV radar over enemy territory, and a new job, ”Distill”, was passed to us. The idea of the latter was for us to go out to the localities where Bomber Command had been “Gardening”, (Mine laying) and try to meet up e/a carrying gear to detonate these magnetic mines. On July 2nd I led the first “Distill” to the Girondo Estuary. It was a cloudless day at the appointed spot and I think we were all biting holes in the seats because there were some enemy fighters based very near by. However, we did our patrol and saw nothing as we turned away for home it clouded over and started to rain. In the murk I saw two armed trawlers, and though my radio had packed up I made an attack on one and the rest of the chaps twigged the form. When we left’ one was listing and settling, the other had a fairly decent fire going. Moving to Fairwood Common on August 12th we were fitted with bomb racks in place of long-range tanks and told to get cracking with dive-bombing without any form of sights. Considerable accuracy was achieved in a very short time and we were then allowed to use the new weapon in addition to cannon, on “Rangers”. Attacks were now pressed home against railway viaducts around the beachhead area, and soon we were carrying out all sorts of odd tasks by day or night. Morale was at its zenith now. We were then fitted with wing tip bombs for night intruder, and also were employed on Bomber support. In November I learnt that we had been picked, with “604”, to defend the bridge-head on and after D-day, and to this end we moved to Coleby Grange on the 17th for training and await the availability of Church Fenton. (By this time S/Ldr. Bryant-Fenn and F/Lt. J.L.Mason had been awarded the DFC). In December, we moved to Church Fenton to complete our training and convert to Mk.V111 radar, and throughout the winter of 1944 worked with radar controlled searchlights on some new scheme, and also had a spell under canvas. Mention must be made at this point of the Engineer Officer, F/Lt. Lines, and I certainly hand it to him for efficiency. On April 25th, 1944, I was relieved by W/Cdr. Smith”. W/Cdr.E.S.Smith, and his Nav. F/Lt. O’Neil-Dunne, left No.488 (NZ) Squadron to lead “264” during a busy period, and. joining “6O4” it was the second night/fighter unit to be based in the Cherbourg Peninsular. Forming part of No.85 Group, it was, with No’s 29, 409(RC), 410(RC), 488 (NZ) and 6O4. Squadron, responsible for defence of the overseas base on ops. by day and night. In June 1944,the squadron was employed on night defence work only, adding 22 e/a to their score in a very short time, and during this phase operated from A9.Cherbourg, Carpiquet. Attacks against lines of communications, and. a visit from H.M. the late King George VI th. and the Queen were recorded before they were returned to England to assist in the defeat of the flying bombs. The good work carried out by the Flight Commanders, S/Ldr’s Paul Ellwell and. F.J.A Chase, and F/Lts.J.H.Corire, I H Cosby and E.R,Murphy, and F/O’s C.A.Bines, R.L.J.Barbour, G.Paine and P.de L.Brooke, was rewarded with the award of the DFC The Mosquitoes, operating by night in front of the ack-ack defences, but were not fast enough to catch the flying bomb except in a dive, but in spite of this the squadron destroyed 19 in 9 days, Based at Predannock, then Colerne, the men of “264” did a good job of work before returning to Vendeville to rejoin No.142 Wing. Additional awards of the DFC to F/Lt.D.J.Donnet and F/O.A.F.Watson were promulgated before 1945 brought the last few months of the war. Enemy aircraft were hard to come by in the last few months, but the search never ceased, as they moved up through Gilze-Rijen and Rheine, etc. to keep up the pressure until Victory in Europe was assured – at least for the tine being. Moving up to Twente in June the squadron, having operated as far east as Berlin during the closing stages of the war, now flew in peace over areas it had so often disputed. Closing its list of “Honours and Awards” with the Promulgation of the D.F.C. to W/Cdr.Smith. F/Lts. R.L.Beverloy, J.Daber and P.C.Stur1ey and W/O.J.Heathcote, and its list or successes with a total of 148 e/a destroyed, 13 probables and 40 damaged, a claim has been made that it had the second highest score (night) in Fighter Command. So many claims have been made that it is difficult to make a firm statement without a full check on Official records. No.604, for instance claims 134 e/a destroyed, and No.410 (Cougar) Squadron, RCAF claims the distinction or being the top-scoring night fighter squadron in 2nd TAF with 75 – 2 – 8, 488 (NZ) Squadron claims to have destroyed the 100th e/a destroyed by squadrons of NO.149 Wing, thus creating a new record in 2nd TAF. And so the claims go on with various shades of distinction. Disbanded in July, 1945, it was re-formed at Church Fenton from No.125 Squadron in the following November and equipped with Mosquito NF/30’s, Moving to Wittering it received Mosquito Mk.36, then joined No.141 at Coltishall in 1947, to Church Fenton in 1949, moved around to Acklington, Coltishall again in 1950, then to Linton-on-Ouse to settle down, except for detachments, for a few years. Reequipped with Meteor NF11’s in 1951, it eventually received NF/14’s and, under Squadron Leader H.M.H.Tudor DFC won the Ingpen Trophy (most proficient all-weather Squadron) in 1954. Thus, briefly is the history of a fine Squadron, at a re-union in 1946 were many of the old hands, W/Cdrs. Hughes, Barwell, “Sandy” Sanders, Sqdn. Ldr. Thomas, Flt. Lt. Sutton and Smythe, Jack Candy, Terry Welsh, Freddie Gash, Harry Maggs, being amongst those present. They returned again in 194? and many attended a dinner held last year to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the squadron becoming operational.

This history was re-typed from a history issued in June 1956 It is attributed to F.C. (Dude) Sutton And compiled by J L Dixon However the story didn’t quite end there! Because in the year 2000, one of the ex-264 ground crew, a National Service airman, who had been an Aeronautical Engineer at the time of joining the squadron, back in 1954. Was prompted to help an ex 264 member, search for a friend, also from the Squadron. An advert was put into the RAF Association magazine, `Air Mail’. From the replies received, the Association was reborn and now has about 70 members and has an annual reunion and a quarterly newsletter.

Geoff Faulkner

July 2004

About Johnnie Horan

Sharing part of my research with you this morning while having my coffee which is turning cold…


I had seen that face before… I mean the air gunner on the right.

The pilot on the left is Michael Lister Haigh. On the right is the AI operator air gunner who is unidentified of this Website.

http://264squadron.co.uk/gallery/1940-1942/

It’s image 17. No caption but you have the file name that gives you the name of the pilot.

Johnnie Horan’s face is in Flight Sergeant Gerard Pelletier’s photo album.

The Boys at “264” Dispersal

Flight Lieutenant Pelletier added captions to most all the pictures he took.

Bill Moncur and Johnnie Horan

I got more and more curious about Johnnie…

This is what I found out about him on the Internet.


Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 16, 19 January 1945, Page 7

SAVED THE CREW

COURAGEOUS GUNNER

DIED AT HIS POST

(R.N.Z.A.F, Official News Service.) AIR COMMAND, STH. EAST ASIA, January 16 [1945].

How the supreme courage of an R.N.Z.A.F, gunner; Flying Officer John Spencer Horan (Auckland), who even though he was fatally wounded, remained at his post, undoubtedly saved the lives of the remainder of the crew of the aircraft, was related at a forward airfield on the Burma front yesterday, by the-pilot of the aircraft concerned.

A Sea Otter rescue aircraft was on a reconnaissance trip off the Akyab coast when it was suddenly discovered that eight Japanese Oscars were on its tail, two of which came in to attack. Flying Officer Horan, gunner in the Sea Otter, opened fire. Two minutes later he reported that he was hit. The first navigator went aft and found him unconscious with his left hand blown off. Recovering consciousness as he was being dragged back into the fuselage, Horan insisted on returning to the guns He jammed them against his chest and continued to hold off the enemy.

WOUNDED AGAIN.
The engine was now on fire, the instrument panel shattered, the flaps shot away, and the tail ablaze. Bullets from the enemy were continually passing through the aircraft. Horan received further wounds on his head, but although these totalled up to seven, his fire never failed. He fired 800 rounds, and was still firing as the pilot managed to land the blazing aircraft outside the breakers and beach her. Flying Officer Horan died immediately.

Two hours later, the remainder of the crew, including the navigator, who also belongs to the R.N.Z.A.F., Flight Sergeant J. A. Lawson (Onehunga) were flying again, and succeeded in rescuing a Spitfire pilot from the sea. The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Peter Almack, of Christchurch, England, insists that Flying Officer Horan saved the lives of the remainder of the crew- Flying Officer Horan, who was 24 years of age, leaves a young wife and infant son in England. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. P. Horan, reside at Manurewa, Auckland. Before he joined the R.N.Z.A.F. in February, 1940, Flying Officer Horan was employed on farm work with Mr. P. N. Anderson at Okoroire. His education was received at the Matamata District High School, and he was prominent in several sports, including cycling. He left New Zealand for the United Kingdom in April, 1940.


 

 

                                  Michael Lister Haigh and John Spencer Horan


I also found this article…


DIMINISHED VALOUR?

Warrant Officers Frank Watkins and John Horan gave their lives to save their crewmates, but were each denied the Victoria Cross because of insufficient evidence. Instead both were mentioned-in-despatches, the only other recognition which could be given posthumously.
Despite considerable lobbying after World War Two, neither award was upgraded, leading to criticism that this diminished their valour and sacrifice.

Frank Watkins was working as a Government clerk when he enlisted into the RNZAF in 1940 as a pilot and was sent to Europe mid-1941.

While attacking Duisberg, Germany, on the night of December 20, 1942, Watkins’ Wellington bomber was seriously damaged from a direct hit. His friend and bomb-aimer Sergeant Brooke-Norris was wounded and could not be removed from the stricken aircraft. Watkins ordered the rest of the crew to parachute to safety while he stayed with the aircraft and tried to crash land it in an attempt to save his friend’s life. Sadly, both men died.

Writing from within captivity Watkins’ crewmates described his actions as the “most outstanding example of love and sacrifice”. These sentiments were echoed by senior officers who all recommended him for the Victoria Cross. However, Air Marshal Arthur “Bomber” Harris did not endorse the recommendations due to insufficient evidence and Watkins was later mentioned-indespatches.

Share-milker John Horan had arrived in Europe earlier in the war, and served as an air-gunner with No. 256 Squadron during the Battle of Britain. Throughout the war, he served with RAF pilot Peter Almack. After completing three tours together, Almack talked Horan into volunteering for a fourth in the Far East.

It was during that tour that Horan’s Sea Otter aircraft was attacked by six Japanese Oscar fighter bombers while conducting reconnaissance in the Bay of Bengal on January 9, 1945. Part of Horan’s left hand was blown off during the fight, but he refused medical aid. He instead returned to his guns, jamming them against his chest and fired over 800 rounds, until he was hit in the chest and head as the aircraft crash landed. The remainder of the crew made it ashore, while Horan could not be freed from the fuselage and sank with the damaged plane.

When his body was washed ashore the following day, he was buried with full military honours. Air Commodore Keith ‘Grid’ Caldwell, the RNZAF Liaison Officer in South East Asia, requested that the award of the Victoria Cross be investigated. However, Base Air Force South East Asia considered there was insufficient evidence to do so, and Horan was instead mentioned-indespatches.

While it is unfortunate that neither servicemen received the Victoria Cross— despite their actions clearly warranting such an award—we should not allow this to diminish their valour and self-sacrifice. Instead it is up to us as an Air Force to preserve their memory and honour their deeds.

Wing Commander Mark Brewer, currently serves in the NZDF Institute for Leader Development. He has a long-running interest in the medallic recognition of service personnel and is currently Vice President of the New Zealand Military Historical Society.

                                  Michael Lister Haigh and John Spencer Horan


I found even more information.

What follows was on a WWII forum.

Hi everyone, I’m new here, and would also be interested in any photos of Sea Otters from 292 Squadron.

My Great Uncle, John Horan (RNZAF), who was an Air Gunner with Pilot F/Lt Peter Almack with 292, was killed in operations on 9 January 1945 in Akyab. They took off from Cox’s Bazaar and were supposed to be undergoing ASR readiness and experimental water landings when 8 Oscars attacked them. There was also a second Otter on operations that day, piloted by F/O Barnett, who had just delivered a Wing Commander and Brigadier to Akyab. On board both Otters were photographers from the Air Ministry film unit.

Uncle Johnny was the only one killed that day, his body found washed up on a beach by members of No 3205 Royal Air Force Servicing Commando.

I would also like to get photos of a Spitfire named “Kiwi’s Revenge”, which was named after Johnny and which flew with 292 after he was killed.

SE Asia was Johnny’s 4th tour, so if anyone knows of any other stories of Johnny during his first three tours these would be greatly appreciated (264 and 277 Squadrons).

Cheers
Wendy

Then a Web article…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hometruths/0312amazing_coincidence.shtm

Les Horan had been searching for 50 years to find out how his father had died during the Second World War…and little did he know that he would find the answer when he got called out to fix Joe’s washing machine.

Joe and Les holding the plaque that caught Les’ attention

It all began with a broken washing machine.

As an electrician, Les Horan wasn’t surprised to be called to the home of Joe Grainger to fix the washing machine. But when he arrived he noticed an RAF plaque in Joe’s entrance hall.

On enquiring he was told that Joe had been in the Air Force from 1939 to 1946. Les said that his father, a New Zealander, had also been in the Air Force in Burma. Joe was writing the section of his autobiography about his time in Akyab – a tiny island off the coast of Burma. Les knew that his father had died there – he’d been shot down and was buried on the island when Les was only 8 months old.

Les’s father’s grave on Akyab which he hopes to visit one day

By an amazing coincidence Joe was able to give Les detailed information about how exactly his father had been killed. Akyab was an important strategic point for the allied forces during the Second World War. On 9 July 1945 the Japanese shot down a Sea Otter plane which were used for air sea rescue. It had been looking for a suitable landing area at the island when it was attacked.

Les’ father, John Horan, was the air gunner on the Sea Otter. Two out of the three crew members managed to survive the crash land in the sea. But Les’ father was in the rear cabin which was engulfed in flames. Some time later, Joe discovered the wreckage of the Sea Otter and recovered the body of Les’ father. This was an incredibly distressing thing to have to do because he had suffered terrible injuries.

On searching his body, Joe found documents saying that the man was a Warrant Officer called John Horan of the Royal New Zealand Air Force. They took his body back to Akyab and buried it in the civic cemetery.

Les holds a photo of his father together with his father’s medals

Les recalls how he felt when he found out this information: “Lucky I was on my knees fixing the washing machine, otherwise I would have fallen there”. Les didn’t know very much about his father prior to this. Unfortunately, the information about his father had died was never passed on to the New Zealand Air Force and so on enquiring Les couldn’t find out any news.

Since this amazing coincidence eight years ago, Joe and Les have become firm friends. Les calls Joe ‘The Corporal’ and calls his wife ‘Lady Patricia’. Joe has almost become a substitute father to Les. Joe told me that Les’s kindness shows itself all the time.


Finally all this on another forum…

I think it is time to highlight some of the exploits of New Zealanders in the forgotten theatre of India, Burma and Ceylon. Here are soMe Official RNZAF news items to kick the thread off:

Evening Post, Volume CXXXVII, Issue 107, 8 May 1944, Page 4

BURMA BORDER

JAPS SCATTERED

N.Z. FLYERS PLAY BIG PART

(R.N.Z.A.F. Correspondent.) NEW DELHI, April 20.

Hill tribesmen who still fight with old-fashioned muskets, and British and Indian troops side by side with them in a grim patrol war against the Japanese on the Assam-Burma border, have just been helped by one of the R.A.F.’s fiercest air attacks of the campaign on this front.

New Zealand flyers had a big part in the offensive. Every step the Jap takes—and they take him many weary miles along mule tracks and rough mountain trails from his railhead at Wuntho, north Burma, and other supply bases before he can provision his forward troops – was harassed by dive-bombers, fighterbombers, and fighters from an advanced group of Sir John Baldwin’s Third Tactical Air Force.

Meanwhile, supplies went forward to our own troops without interference. Over the mountain ranges and tangled network of rivers in the upper Chindwin area, and for more than 100 miles around, his vital communications were disrupted.

Pilots reported that Japanese transports were rarely being seen on the roads in northern Burma. It was known that the enemy was maintaining some supplies with difficulty, so a special offensive was directed against them.

SPLENDID RESULTS.
The results were splendid. Bridges were blown up by ‘”deck-level” bombing, troop concentrations scattered, river craft on tiny streams hunted out and sunk, and motor transport dispersed. Many squadrons took part and over 100 sorties a day were made against targets as far apart as Tamanthi in the north and Fort White in the south.

Bridge-“busting” was carried out by one squadron whose pilots excelled at it. To celebrate its 100th raid on this front, it raided Pinlebu, an important enemy point. After they had finished with one bridge capable of carrying heavy traffic, its west side collapsed under four direct hits by bombs. Another solidly-built river bridge fifty to sixty yards long was badly holed and two columns of black smoke rose from it. Said the 25-year-old Tiverton (Devon) squadron leader who led his Hurribomber squadron in the attack: “We dived on the bridges from 3000 feet and let go our bombs almost from deck level. It was a lovely show.”

Army gunners 8000 feet high on Kennedy Peak looked down on a joint attack by R.A.F. and U.S. medium and fighter-bombers in the Fort White area. After witnessing the havoc caused among Jap troops, they sent back messages praising the pilots’ accuracy.

A 22-year-old New Zealand flight sergeant, formerly in the New Zealand Army, flashed over the target at 100 feet and reported that the whole area was pitted with bomb craters. His squadron later went into action with Vengeances to break down a bridge link. “The Japanese keep their heads well down when we arrive, for they know we strafe as well as bomb,” he said.

LONG, HAZARDOUS MISSIONS.
To hit the Japs hard and often, pilots go on long missions over winding rivers and “chaungs” (tiny streams), searching enemy-traversed roads for supply columns. They have nicknamed one place “Pink Gin” and given it a severe shaking. Some of the trips are hazardous because of the mountainous terrain. After one of the longest trips in a Hurricane over Burma which lasted over three hours, a 23-year-old Brazilian flying officer landed with fuel for only four more minutes’ flying. He had spent his time searching for enemy river craft.


Dave Homewood added a few comments

Jan 26, 2012 at 6:47am

Evening Post, Volume CXXXVII, Issue 111, 12 May 1944, Page 4

EXCITING CAREER

DOMINION PILOT DUTY IN 21 COUNTRIES

(R.N.Z.A.F. Official News Service.) NEW DELHI, April 3.

Twenty-one countries lived in and operated over within two and a half years—that is the record of Flying Officer Peter Jordan, of Palmerston North. Leaving New Zealand- with a party of pilots, he went to England via Canada and became operational after a period at an operational training unit.

Later, he was a member of the first fighter squadron to fly off an aircraft carrier to the aid of hard-pressed Malta. After two months’ ceaseless air battles over that bomb-torn island the squadron was withdrawn to Egypt for a rest. Then came the short but bitter Syrian campaign, where New Zealand troops were in action, and the squadron operated there. That affair successfully concluded, they moved next to Irak for a while, and then into Iran.

IRANIAN CAMPAIGN.
They were the only fighter squadron to take part in the brief Iranian campaign of August, 1941. It will be remembered that the Iranian Government was at that time reluctant to co-operate with us regarding our supply lines to Russia and our oil weils. The Russians moved into Iran over the northern frontier, and simultaneously we came in at Abadan in the south, where we own large oil interests. Lord Wavell —now Viceroy of India, but then Commander-in-Chief Middle East Forces—arranged treaty terms at Teheran, for Iran was then part of the Middle East Command.

North again went the squadron, this time to Mosul on the Turkish border. Old soldiers will remember Mosul as the scene of sandy battles fought by New Zealanders during the Mesopotamian campaign of the last World War.

Later they were stationed at Haifa in Palestine. Then at Beirut in Syria for a short while. Next they flew to Cyprus, to defend that island. Later still they went back again to Egypt.

Then Japan suddenly came into the war and quickly over-ran Malaya and the Dutch Indies. It was obvious that an attack on Ceylon was imminent. Once again Flying Officer Jordan’s squadron flew off an aircraft-carrier, arriving just in time to help defend the naval base of Trincomalee. All but five of the squadron’s planes were knocked out during the desperate air battles of that grim day. But the invaders were repelled. Nine months later they flew up to India where they were engaged on fighter sweeps over Burma, and defence work.


Again…

Jan 26, 2012 at 6:58am
Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 16, 19 January 1945, Page 7

SAVED THE CREW

COURAGEOUS GUNNER

DIED AT HIS POST

(R.N.Z.A.F, Official News Service.)
AIR COMMAND, STH. EAST ASIA, January 16.

How the supreme courage of an R.N.Z.A.F, gunner; Flying Officer John Spencer Horan (Auckland), who even though he was fatally wounded, remained at his post, undoubtedly saved the lives of the remainder of the crew of the aircraft, was related at a forward airfield on the Burma front yesterday, by the-pilot of the aircraft concerned.

A Sea Otter rescue aircraft was on a reconnaissance trip off the Akyab coast when it was suddenly discovered that eight Japanese Oscars were on its tail, two of which came in to attack. Flying Officer Horan, gunner in the Sea Otter, opened fire. Two minutes later he reported that he was hit. The first navigator went aft and found him unconscious with his left hand blown off. Recovering consciousness as he was being dragged back into the fuselage, Horan insisted on returning to the guns He jammed them against his chest and continued to hold off the enemy.

WOUNDED AGAIN.
The engine was now on fire, the instrument panel shattered, the flaps shot away, and the tail ablaze. Bullets from the enemy were continually passing through the aircraft. Horan received further wounds on his head, but although these totalled up to seven, his fire never failed. He fired 800 rounds, and was still firing as the pilot managed to land the blazing aircraft outside the breakers and beach her. Flying Officer Horan died immediately.

Two hours later, the remainder of the crew, including the navigator, who also belongs to the R.N.Z.A.F., Flight Sergeant J. A. Lawson (Onehunga) were flying again, and succeeded in rescuing a Spitfire pilot from the sea. The pilot, Flight Lieutenant Peter Almack, of Christchurch, England, insists that Flying Officer Horan saved the lives of the remainder of the crew- Flying Officer Horan, who was 24 years of age, leaves a young wife and infant son in England. His parents, Mr. and Mrs. P. Horan, reside at Manurewa, Auckland. Before he joined the R.N.Z.A.F. in February, 1940, Flying Officer Horan was employed on farm work with Mr. P. N. Anderson at Okoroire. His education was received at the Matamata District High School, and he was prominent in several sports, including cycling. He left New Zealand for the United Kingdom in April, 1940.


Jan 26, 2012 at 7:03am
Quote
Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 15, 18 January 1945, Page 5

AKYAB LANDING

AIR AMBULANCE SERVICE

(R.N.Z.A.F. Offloiar .News’ Service.)

NEW DELHI, January 16.
“It was not the sight of the Jap gun emplacements and strong-points, but the shoals of! basking sharks moving through the water less than, half a mile from our men that made me thankful that the landing was straightforward,” said Flying Officer D. W. Chapman, R.N.Z.A.F. (Auckland), who was over the liberation forces at Akyab on D Day.

When engaged on ambulance flying, during the landing on Akyab Island, Flying Officer Chapman landed and took off with wounded British and West African troops from jungle clearings in the lulls between mortar fire. Pitched battles were going on less than 400 yards away. He evacuated between 30 and 40 wounded men in nearly 190 “mercy” flying hours.

Flying Officer Chapman piloted an Auster aircraft at Akyab. It is a small, unarmed, single-engined monoplane manufactured, in England. His experiences range from shipping protection in the Mediterranean to strafing the Japanese in central Burma and casualty evacuation in the Kaladan. He stated that-the Akyab mission would probably be his only job of the kind in Burma, as his three year tour was nearly up.

Little unarmed Austers, the “maids of all work,” are proving their worth in the Burma war. Until two days before the seaborne landing at Akyab, they were used for evacuating wounded airborne troops. They are now providing a communication link between Akyab and the mainland. The first Auster landed 24 hours before the sea landing and others have kept up a taxi service ever since, in spite of the weather.


Jan 26, 2012 at 7:08am
Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 20, 24 January 1945, Page 4

RAMREE LANDING

NEW ZEALANDERS IN EVERY SQUADRON

Probably one of the greatest air armadas yet put up by the Eastern Air Command in the Burma war attacked enemy shore fortifications on Ramree Island a few minutes before the landings were made by our troops today says a message, in the R.N.Z.A.F. Official News Service, dated Eastern Air command, South-east Asia, January 22.

New Zealanders flew with every R.A.F. Liberator Squadron taking part and with every R.A.F. fighter squadron. The operation was a marvel of timing. First, the Navy laid down a mighty barrage which let up for a few minutes as the bombers went in. Other aircraft strafed the beaches. Fighters daringly attacked enemy installations barely a hundred yards from the bomber objectives. Landing craft moved in towards the beaches as the bombers turned away.

Flying Officer J. A. Wilkinson, D.F.M. (Auckland), who was flying as head aircraft of his squadron, said: “We got a great kick out of helping the Army right on the spot. Much of our work has taken us far into Siam, hitting at Jap communications, and has not the same thrill as what we experienced today.

“Naval vessels lying off-shore stopped shelling as we came in, and opened up again a few minutes later. Our bombs were dead on the target. As we turned away, we could see the landing craft moving in towards the beaches. It was an easy job, for we encountered no opposition.” A great many New Zealanders took part in the air attack. They included Flight Lieutenant R. C. Wallace (Auckland), Warrant Officer P. W Werby (Wairoa), Warrant Officer John McPhee (Christchurch), Flying Officer R. M. Knewstubb (Dunedin), and Flight Sergeant R. J. Iremonger (Wellington).


Jan 26, 2012 at 7:11am
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Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 18, 22 January 1945, Page 6

GOT TWO JAPS

N.Z. PILOT IN BURMA

(R.N.Z.A.F. Official News Service.)
AIR COMMAND (South-east Asia), January 20.

After a lapse of nearly three years, Flight Lieutenant Clyde Simpson, a New Zealand pilot, has returned to Akyab. Within 24 hours of his return to his former fighter base he celebrated the occasion, by destroying two Japanese fighter-bombers out of a force of six that attacked a harbour and airfields.

Flight Lieutenant Simpson, who is 22, is with an R.A.F. Spitfire Squadron, and has served in the East throughout his service career.

In July, 1941, he was attached to an Australian squadron in Singapore, and later he transferred to an R.A.F. fighter squadron which moved to Mingaladon, near Rangoon, at the end of the same year In March, 1942, he arrived in Akyab where his squadron was in the front line of the fighter defence. A year later, after being evacuated for medical reasons, he returned to the Burma front with a Hurricane squadron and was then transferred to a Spitfire squadron in Bengal, where he has been ever since.

Flight Lieutenant Simpson is an Aucklander.


Jan 26, 2012 at 7:15am
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Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 25, 30 January 1945, Page 6

TROPHY FOR R.A.F. SQUADRON

(R.N.Z.A.F. Official News Service.)

ARAKAN FRONT, January 26.

For the great part they played in helping the army to capture a heavily defended Japanese position in Burma, one of the oldest R.A.F. squadrons in existence today had the distinction of being presented with a captured Japanese sword by the air-officer in command of the group, Air Commodore the Earl of Bangor. The squadron, which is commanded by Squadron Leader J. M.- Cranstone, of Wanganui, operates with the Eastern Air Command.’ Another New Zealander, Flight Lieutenant R. S. Jenkins, Manurewa, is one of the squadron’s flight commanders.


Jan 26, 2012 at 7:23am
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Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 36, 12 February 1945, Page 3

SEARCH FOR HOSPITAL SHIP

(R.N.Z.A.F. Official News Service.) ARAKAN FRONT, Feb. 9.

In the first rescue of its kind on this front, a resourceful New Zealand air-sea rescue pilot made a gallant effort to save the life of his seriously wounded navigator. Flying with the air-sea “Manna from Heaven” Squadron in Sea Otter amphibians which are new to this theatre.

Flying Officer Charlie G. Beale. of Marine Parade, Napier, was engaged on air-sea rescue work when he was suddenly attacked by six Japanese Oscars. His navigator was seriously wounded.

“Recollecting that I had seen a hospital ship in the vicinity some time previously, I realised that I must try and find it as quickly as possible,” said Flying Officer Beale. When he finally located the hospital ship it was escorted by destroyers. Replying to signals from the aircraft, she instructed the pilot to put down beside a destroyer. A doctor and medical orderlies were pulled across to the aircraft. After one glance at the patient, the doctor decided to make for the hospital ship immediately. So while he stayed aboard the aircraft, the destroyer’s boat filled with medical orderlies was hitched on behind and towed to the miles-distant hospital ship.

Leaving New Zealand for the United Kingdom in April, 1941, Flying Officer Beale arrived in India in February, 1942, with the first fighter wing, proceeding straight to Burma under the command of the celebrated top-scoring fighter ace, Wing Commander “Chota” Carey. Later, while a member of the first Spitfire squadron to operate on this front, Flying Officer Beale shot down two Japanese aircraft. Speaking of the recent recapture of Akyab, he said: “After the bitterness of being pushed out of Burma, I felt that it was some redress taking part in the recapture of Akyab, if it was only rescuing pilots shot down in the sea.” During the Akyab operation, Flying Officer Beale picked up a Canadian pilot from the sea.


Jan 26, 2012 at 7:31am
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Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 52, 2 March 1945, Page 6

RAIDERS OVER SIAM

RAILWAY YARDS BOMBED

(R.N.Z.A.F. Official News Service)
EASTERN AIR COMMAND SOUTH-EAST ASIA, March 1

“I could see hot pieces of metal flying towards us as the trucks were split open, was the description given to a raid on the Korat railway yards in central Siam by Warrant Officer P. W Webby, of Wairoa. a wireless operator on one of the Liberators that took part.

Other members of the crew described the raid as “bang on,” and said the railway yards were full of rolling stock and the explosions provided a “multi-coloured pyrotechnic display”. They mentioned how girders from wrecked buildings, debris from wagons, sections of the permanent way, the walls of workshops, and engine sheds were piled in a tangled mess over the whole station area.

The Japanese have been using Korat as a key-point in the supply route from Indo-China through Bangkok to Burma. Several Royal Air Force Liberator squadrons hit Korat late in the afternoon as the sun was in the west. They flew all day to reach the little town which nestles deep in the forested hills of central Siam, and they returned to base after midnight, having completed nearly 2500 miles.


Jan 26, 2012 at 7:34am
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Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 67, 20 March 1945, Page 7

RANGOON RAID

DUMPS OBLITERATED

IMPRESSIONS OF N.Z. AIRMEN

(R.N.Z.A.F. Official News Service.)

BURMA FRONT, March 17.
Scores of heavy bombers of the Eastern Air Command today attacked the greatest Japanese supply base in Burma, which is located in the northern suburbs of Rangoon.

Carrying the maximum load of high explosives and incendiaries, they lived through flak to the most heavily defended area on this front to obliterate cleverly camouflaged supply dumps. Since the cutting of the Burma-Siam railway, the Japanese have been drawing heavily on carefully-hoarded supplies. Today’s raid deprives the Japanese desperately defending Mandalay, of urgently needed supplies.

Making his first operational tour as captain of a Liberator, Warrant Officer Desmond R. Lee (Brunnerton) said: “It was successful, but an unexciting trip. Fires from our bombs were just starting when we turned away.” Captain of another bomber, Warrant Officer Desmond Appleby (Timaru) said: “We bombed from 15,000 feet. Enemy flak was moderate. The target was difficult to find owing to clouds, but our bombs went right down into the centre of it.”

Warrant Officer G. G. McKay (Wyndham) was a wireless operator in another formation. His aircraft was holed by flak, but none of the crew was injured.


Jan 26, 2012 at 7:37am
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Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 81, 6 April 1945, Page 4

“RETURNED TO BASE”

NELSON PILOT’S FEAT

(R.N.Z.A.F. Official News Service.)
BURMA FRONT, April 4.

Flying Officer Johnny Haycock, of Richmond, Nelson, has “made it” again. With his Liberator bomber completely collandered, his rudder controls shot away, his elevator controls almost destroyed, and his rear-gunner seriously wounded, he brought his aircraft staggering over the mountains and paddy fields of Burma to a successful landing at base.

While the Eastern Air Command was staging an attack on Rangoon, Flying Officer Haycock’s squadron ran into devastating flak. Hit just at the end of the bombing run, his machine lost speed rapidly as Haycock momentarily lost control. Flak was still coming up. As the Liberator lumbered out of range, the crew took stock of the situation. In addition to the damage to the rudder and elevator controls, both servometers were shot away and the control wires were shattered.

As Haycock struggled to keep the aircraft flying, the flight engineer working desperately, managed to tie the elevator and rudder controls with string, thus giving the pilot just sufficient control to keep the aircraft in the air.

Four hours later he made a shaky but safe landing at base. The reargunner is recovering. With 159 holes in it, the aircraft was so badly damaged that it was consigned to the scrap heap.


Jan 26, 2012 at 7:49am
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Evening Post, Volume CXXXIX, Issue 105, 5 May 1945, Page 8

AIR PREPARATION

NEW ZEALANDERS PART

(R.N.Z.A.F. Official News Service.)

BURMA FRONT, May, 4.

Large numbers of New Zealanders took part in the recapture of the port of Rangoon. In the race against time, as the monsoon is expected to break at any moment, British air, sea, and land forces were thrown into tne offensive in one of the largest combined operations of tne Burma campaign. Thunderbolt squadrons served as mobile artillery, sweeping up and down the beaches and silencing many fire points that had survived yesterday’s heavy bombardment by Liberators and fighter-bombers.

At 7 a.m. yesterday seaborne forces landed on each side of the wide Rangoon River and established a bridgehead between the estuary and the city. They were then 15 miles from Rangoon. An armada of destroyers and cruisers escorted the landing force and minesweepers preceded the landing craft into the river mouth.

For the first time in a seaborne attacK there was no shelling of the beacn from the sea. Instead, Thunderbolts, Spitfires, and Beaufighters patrolled continually in support of the landing. Carrier-borne aircraft gave cover to the convoy as it came south from Ramree and Akyab.

Within half an hour of the announcement of the success of the initial landings, two heavily-loaded squadrons of Dakotas had taken off from advanced headquarters with supplies to be parachuted to the troops on the beach.

“NO TURNING BACK.”
At their briefing the air crews were told that no matter what difficulties were encountered it was imperative that they should reach the dropping zone. “There must be no turning back,” was the final order.

One of the suppiy squadrons was the famous “Flying Horse” Squadron which supported Marshal Titos forces in the Middle East. The captain of the aircraft in this squadron was Warrant Officer F. Gulliver, of Manaia. In another squadron were Warrant Officer D. Tebbutt, of Whangarei, and Flight Sergeant A. McLeod, of Athol.

The first step in the operation was carried out at daybreak on Monday, when Indian Army paratroops landed at Elephant Point, 25 miles south of Rangoon. They had orders to silence the guns defending the entrance to the port. This was the Indian Army’s first paratroop operation, and provided an excellent example, of Allied integration. American aircraft and air crews carried the Indian paratroops and British officers and n.c.o.s, while the jump-masters superintending the drop were nearly all Canadians. Every man landed safely. The first wave of Indians, smiling as they emplaned in the moonlight, were keen to prove that they could be good paratroops. Some hours later a second wave comprising Indian sappers and miners, a full medical unit, and other technicians was successfully dropped, and almost immediately the trusty Dakotas were dropping supplies to them.


Another person commented…

Apr 8, 2012 at 1:44pm
Quote
“Naval vessels lying off-shore stopped shelling as we came in, and opened up again a few minutes later. Our bombs were dead on the target. As we turned away, we could see the landing craft moving in towards the beaches. It was an easy job, for we encountered no opposition.” A great many New Zealanders took part in the air attack. They included Flight Lieutenant R. C. Wallace (Auckland), Warrant Officer P. W Werby (Wairoa), Warrant Officer John McPhee (Christchurch), Flying Officer R. M. Knewstubb (Dunedin), and Flight Sergeant R. J. Iremonger (Wellington).

On a wet bank holiday weekend i’ve found time to read some of the older posts noting a mention to a pilot whose uniform i own, Flt/Lt Robert Cecil Wallace, 118490. The service tunic is RAF badged (wings & buttons) with FIJI national titles. Indeed he is mentioned in the 1946 publication “New Zealand at War” pg 101 as being from Fiji & Epsom NZ.
Many years ago i tried to access his service records through NZDF Archives to be told as he wasn’t a NZer they didn’t hold his records.

Great posting Dave to those airmen who served on the Forgotten Front!!


Apr 8, 2012 at 9:23pm
Quote
wanganui said:”Naval vessels lying off-shore stopped shelling as we came in, and opened up again a few minutes later. Our bombs were dead on the target. As we turned away, we could see the landing craft moving in towards the beaches. It was an easy job, for we encountered no opposition.” A great many New Zealanders took part in the air attack. They included Flight Lieutenant R. C. Wallace (Auckland), Warrant Officer P. W Werby (Wairoa), Warrant Officer John McPhee (Christchurch), Flying Officer R. M. Knewstubb (Dunedin), and Flight Sergeant R. J. Iremonger (Wellington).

On a wet bank holiday weekend i’ve found time to read some of the older posts noting a mention to a pilot whose uniform i own, Flt/Lt Robert Cecil Wallace, 118490. The service tunic is RAF badged (wings & buttons) with FIJI national titles. Indeed he is mentioned in the 1946 publication “New Zealand at War” pg 101 as being from Fiji & Epsom NZ.
Many years ago i tried to access his service records through NZDF Archives to be told as he wasn’t a NZer they didn’t hold his records.

Great posting Dave to those airmen who served on the Forgotten Front!!

I am fairly certain that Wallace is the same as the Robert Cecil Wallace, solicitor, who died on 25 Apr 82 and is buried at Kaikohe. Age given as 69, indicating born c.1913. He appears in NZ electoral rolls in 1935 and 1938, but not 1946 (indicating overseas service?), then again regularly from 1949.

‘Werby’ is Phillip Walter Webby.

John Clutha McPhee later flew with British South American Airways and was lost on 17 January 1949 with the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ disapperance without trace of Avro Tudor Star Ariel (G-AGRE).


DIMINISHED VALOUR?

Warrant Officers Frank Watkins and John Horan gave their lives to save their crewmates, but were each denied the Victoria Cross because of insufficient evidence. Instead both were mentioned-in-despatches, the only other recognition which could be given posthumously.
Despite considerable lobbying after World War Two, neither award was upgraded, leading to criticism that this diminished their valour and sacrifice.

 

 

Sergeant Frederick James Barker

How to go about remembering the airmen seen in the photo album of Flight Sergeant Gérard Pelletier missing and start sharing?

Searching on the Internet… 

source: Internet

Frederick James Barker was born in Bow, London on 16th March 1918 and attended Old Palace School and Coopers’ Company School. He joined the RAFVR in April 1939 as an Airman u/t Wop/AG.

Called up on 1st September 1939, he joined 264 Squadron when it reformed on 30th October 1939. He teamed up with Sgt. ER Thorn. Over Dunkirk on 28th May 1940 they destroyed three Me109s, the following day two Ju87s and a Me110 and on 31st May a He111 and another shared. Barker was awarded the DFM (gazetted 14th June 1940).

Above: Barker entering his turret with Thorn at left.

When 264 moved south to Hornchurch on 21st August 1940, Thorn and Barker were again in action. On the 26th they destroyed two Do17s and as they went for a third they were attacked by a Me109. With their aircraft damaged, Thorn spun down and prepared to make a crash-landing. At 500 feet the Me109 attacked again, this time setting the Defiant on fire. Before crashing, Barker shot the enemy fighter down and it crashed a short distance away.

Thorn and Barker escaped with slight injuries. For this action they were each awarded a Bar to the DFM (gazetted 11th February 1941).

They destroyed a He111 at night on 9th April 1941. The partnership broke up when Thorn was posted to 32 Squadron in October 1941.

Barker remained with 264 until 1943. He was then posted to the Middle East as an air gunnery instructor.

He was commissioned in April 1944 and released from the RAF in 1946, as a Flying Officer.


Joint citation for DFM’s. 562610 Sergeant Edward Rowland and 747751 LAC Frederick James Barker both of 264 Squadron.

Gazetted 14th June 1940

These airmen have shown considerable determination and skill when engaging the enemy. On one occasion when three Defiants behind them had been shot down, leaving their aircraft the last in the , three Me 109’s, which were concentrating their efforts on the rear of the squadron, were shot down due to the skill of Sergeant Thorn and the Good shooting of LAC Barker, forcing the remaining enemy aircraft to break off the engagement. Sergeant Thorn and LAC Barker have, upto date, accounted for six enemy aircraft.

Joint citation for Bars to DFM’s. 562610 Flight Sergeant Edward Rowland DFM and 747751 Sergeant Frederick James Barker DFM both of 264 Squadron.

Gazetted 11th Febuary 1941

Flight Sergeant Thorn and Sergeant Barker have constantly operated together as pilot and Air Gunner in Defiant aircraft and were awarded the DFM after shooting down six enemy airaft. As a team, they have now accounted for six further enemy aircraft. Subsequently on 31st May 1940, operating with their squadron from Duxford over the beaches of Dunkirk, they detroyed two He 111’s. On 24th August, they took off from Manston to patrol the coast and encountered 20 Ju 88’s escorted by Me 109’s and He 113’s and destroyed one Ju 88. On 26th August, operating from Hornchurch, they patrolled Dover with their squadron and made combat with a formation of 12 Do 17’s escorted by Me 109’s and succeeded in destroying two Do 17’s and one Me 109. The Defiant took fire and the pilot dived it so to put out the flames. On coming out of the dive the Air Gunner, Sergeant Barker, found an Me 109 on his tail and with the aircraft still on fire, they manoeuvred so as to engage the enemy and assist a Hurricane which came to do combat with the Messerschmidt, and it was not until the Hurricane had shot down the Me 109 that they abandoned their machine, making successful parachute drops. Altogether, Flight Sergeant Thorn and Sergeant Barker have destroyed 12 enemy aircraft, 6 of these being subsequent to their receiving the DFM. They were strongly recommended for immediate awards of a Bar to their Distinguished Flying Medal.

Remarks by AOC:

On 26th August 1940, in particular, those gallant young airmen scored a magnificent success by shooting down three enemy aircraft. In the course of the engagement, their aircraft was set on fire but they continued to assist a Hurricane in combat with an enemy fighter until the pilot bailed out from the burning aircraft. Over a period of intense aerial activity, Flight Sergeant Thorn and Sergeant Barker have shown themselves to be a magnificent combination, having between them destroyed 12 enemy aircraft, 6 of these being subsequent to receiving the Distinguished Flying Medal. Awards recommended.

Non immediate Bars to DFMs awarded.



We Fight by Night! – “Bubbles” Chandler

We Fight by Night

I could not find more information about “Bubbles” Chandler,

Who was “Bubbles”?

RAF West Malling

I would have like to tell you more about him. At first I thought he was an airman buried in Holland, but it did not make sense since the airman was a pilot who died in 1940. Click here for more details.

Bubbles most probably survived the war and had descendants. We will just have to wait and see.

Fred Gash and “Bubbles” Chandler

Jock Mair, Gerard Pelletier, and “Bubbles” Chandler

Lou Butler, Jock Mair, and “Bubbles” Chandler.


Note

Flight Sergeant Gerard Pelletier’s niece has scanned her uncle’s album, and she is sharing it with everyone. If you use these images, please give due credit to Chantal St-Amour, and please don’t use them for commercial purposes.

To contact us, please leave a comment or use this contact form below.

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We Fight by Night! – Sergeant William Louis Butler

We Fight by Night

On page 3 of Gerard’s album we have captions to guide us in our time travel!

We are thus able to pay homage to some of Gerard’s friends who were probably stationed also at West Malling with 264 Squadron. Clues are plentiful as you can see if you click on the image for a larger view. They seem to have visited The Monastery at West Malling in the winter of 1941-1942.

Just a wild guess…

Collection Flight Sergeant Gerard Pelletier courtesy Chantal St-Amour

The names of Lou Butler, “Bubbles” Chandler, Fred Gash, and Jock Muir were written down by Gerard for posterity.

Who was Lou Butler?

Lou Butler

Lou Butler, Jock Muir, and “Bubbles” Chandler

I was lucky to find him on the Internet.

This is part of the PDF document below where we have a list of New Zealanders who fought in the Battle of Britain..

Lou Butler nz-battle-of-britain-list

Sergeant William Louis Butler is nowhere else to be found on the Internet except now on this blog.


Note

Flight Sergeant Gerard Pelletier’s niece has scanned her uncle’s album, and she is sharing it with everyone. If you use these images, please give due credit to Chantal St-Amour, and please don’t use them for commercial purposes.

To contact us, please leave a comment or use this contact form below.

.