Friday, December 18, 2009
My thoughts go out to eveyone in the Cyberworld that read my blog and that have sent me nice words through the year, It was really nice hearing from you and please keep those nice emails coming my way, everyone, including our veternas past and present every human being, all over the globe!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
In quick time we managed to assmble part of our old organisation, obtain some money, a wireless and other necessary tools of our trade. My orders from Malta were to stay in Tunis and gain information.
After three months, i was ordered to cross through the lines and proceed to Algers. My compagnion on the journey was to be a French doctor who had been in Goal for Gaulisme (The Vichy didn't like the Gauliste)
We left Tunis at 11:30 a.m. on the 23rd February, 1943. Our conveyance was a Jewish supply lorry ferrying material to the front. A short distance from Djonzzar (Pont du Fahs) we hopped off the lorry and made into the woods. We changed into Arab dress.
By now it was 2:30 in the afternoon. A five hours walk took us the the front line. It was now dark. We oriented ourselves by the gun fire.
Everything was going well when we were captured by Arabs. Undoubtedly they intented to rob us. As we had several million francs in our possesion it would have not been a bad haul. Happily, i speak Arabic fluently. After a two hours delay we managed to convince them as we were just simple travellers and should be allowed to proceed on our journey. The snag was that while we were past the Arabs, we had lost our two valuable hours of darkness before the moon came up. This meant that we had to pass through German lines in moonlight.
We went on. At Shraa, a German patrol of three soldiers discovered us. We were in "No Man's Land". We tried to withdraw. They fired half a dozen shots in our direction. I asked my friend- "Coggia! Are yout hit?"
"No," he answered.
We pretended we were dead. When the Germans were about three yards from us we instinctively fired from our "Parabellums" (small Italian revolvers we had brought from Tunis). Then all hell broke loose. This small German patrol was supported by a fighting patrol of about 50 men. My compagnion was killed. The three Germans were killed. I was wounded in the leg. I was taken prisonner by the Afrika Korps.
At their headquarters, a German officer demanded my identity. "Dick Jones" He wouldn't believe it. At the time the Gestapo had a price on my head. The officer insisted that he knew Dick Jones quite well and that i was not him. Prospects did not look too bright, captured as i was in Arab dress with a wireless.
On arrival at Berlin i was handed over to the Gestapo. Then began a tour of German Gestapo prisons for the next thirteen months.
Repeatdedly the Germans promised to grant me P.O.W, recognition as a British officer. Eventually, i got fed up and started my hunger strike againts the schocking treatement i found myself put to.
September 20th, 1944 was a great day. I walked through the gates of Oflag IVC. At long last i was with civilized people Allied soldiers, airmen and sailors as a prisoner of war.
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind - swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor eagle flew,
And while with silent lifting mind i've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space
Put out my hand and touched the face of God,
Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee
Royal Canadian Air Force
This is such a beautiful poem writen by an American airman who flew for the RCAF and was killed in the Second World War. I loved it so much that i wanted to share this beautiful poem with the world!
May we never forget their courage and what all of our veterans past and present have done and are doing for us now!
Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee P/O(P) J5823 From Washington, D.C U.S.A. was killed Dec.. 11/41 age 19 #412 Falcon Squadron (Promtusad Vindictum) P/O Magee was killed when his Spitfire aircraft # AD291collided with an Oxford aircraft and crashed at Ruskington Hall, Ruskington, Lincolnshire. P/O Magee was born in Shanghai, China and was educated in Rugby, England and Avon, Connecticut, U.S.A. he is the author of the poem High Flight the original manuscript of which resides in the Unitted States in
the Library of Congress, Pilot officer Magee is buried in the Scopwick Church burial ground, Scopwick, Lincolshire, England.
Taken from the book - They shall never grow old! May we not forget them!
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Britains legendary "Ace of Aces" who commanded the Canadian Squadron in the RAF during the Battle of Britain. Back in December 1931 an air crash cost him both his legs. The "experts" said he could never hope to walk on artificial limbs without crutches. Six months after the accident he walked out of hospital on "tin legs" -- without sticks.
His career with the RAF was finished. Again the "experts" were wrong. They had said he would never fly again.
On the outbreak of the war he stormed the Air Mnistry until they took him back. He inspired, bold and dashing leadership of his squadron during the battle of Britain will never dim his memory.
Then came an air collision with a German fighter during a sweep over the Continent. That was October 1941.
After escaping from German prison camps three times he was sent to Coldits.
Such is his personality that it is impossible to think of him as a "cripple". He isn't. Tennis is one of the games. "stool ball" and hockey found him in the goal. As a concession he was permitted "parole walks". No matter how inclement or cold the weather he would walk up to 10 kilometers. When food got short he always smuggled in several pounds of wheat traded from the farmers in special sacks about his legs. This would be distributed among the camp.
"Wings" Bader typifies a trait common to all British - no matter the odds, they stay in there punching.
This is a beautiful article that was published in the London news in 1942. For some reason, i love couragous Men and Women like Douglas Bader and all veterans of past and present. They signify courage and i truly admire them. Douglas Bader died in 1982 but his memory lives on the hearts and minds of all those who truly understand the courage and sacrife of our veterans.
Thank you Douglas!
Sunday, June 07, 2009
Monday, June 01, 2009
The Amazing George Frederick Beurling. The Falcon of Malta.
What more can be said about George Beurling that has not been said or written? He was liked, he was disliked by some of his superiors and fellow pilots. I would like to give my own opinion to all, that's if you don't mind? Not the opinion of historians and scholars but my own opinion on George "Buzz" Beurling! He was a heck of a pilot and when i come to think of it, i am so glad he was on our side! (The Allies, that is!) The aircraft he mostly flew in World War 2 was the Spitfire MK. VC. He had a grace to manoeuvre an airplane quite like no other fighter pilot but George unfortunatelly died at the young age of 27 years old. During World War 2 George was shot down four times and was injured but made it through his injuries. This is quite amazing that he lived through the four crashes! The way he handled an airplane was quite dangerous and couragous at the same time. George had a very good eyesight and his manoeuvres were quite, if not incredible and judged by many to be lunatic and crazy! I think he simply did his manoeuvres out of shear courage and many airmen were envious of his amazing stunts and couragagous manoeuvres. He did this for the war effort, so the allies could win the war. I believe he risked his life doing all those crazy stunts for our freedom! Mind you that when falling out of the sky on a roll and gaining control of your aircraft at the very last moment requires quite a bit of skill and courage but these stunts did out manoeuvre the ennemy on many occasions. His stunts and manoeuvres, he did them at his own risk because he was couragous and knew that it could make him crash and be killed! Everyone knows George Beurling was born in Verdun, Québec, Canada. Everyone knows that George Beurling did not always follow orders and was somewhat of a rebel in the Air Force. Everyone knows he would leave his squadron on combat missions to knock the heck out of the Luftwaffe and Regia Aeronautica (Italian Air Force) with 32 kills over Malta and George came to be known as screwball Beurling for all his amazing war stunts over Malta and the Mediterranean.
Earned World War 2 awards to George Beurling, The distinguished service order, The Distinguished flying cross, The Distinguished flying medal and bar. Quite an accomplishment for a World War 2 Canadian RCAF pilot!
George was given an honorable discharge from the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1944.
Many in the RCAF and RAF did not like George Beurling because he did not always follow the orders of his officers. I agree that we must, in life follow the orders of our superiors. This goes for the average Joe like myself. But after all the amazing feats and courage he achieved over Malta in 1942, i still believe George Beurling is a true Canadian war hero. George Beurling is buried in Haifa, Israel because he wanted to fly for the Israeli Air Force after World War 2 but he never made it alive to Israel. When i think that no one claimed his body at the time of his death kind of makes me sad! His body was not claimed for three months after the time of his death in Italy in 1948 when his Norseman aircraft crashed on take off killing himself and WW2 United States RAF volunteer veteran Leonard Cohen. George Beurling was buried in Italy until 1950 and then his remains were transfered to Israel in 1950.
George wanted to fly for the Israeli Air Force because when i think of it, he couldn't live without the rush of combat. I have heard that there is some kind of adrenaline rush that goes through your body while you are in combat that is so hard to replace once the battle is over and can become addictive? This is probably what happened to George Beurling, he wanted to fly for Israel to protect the Israeli territory and to get that rush of adrenaline he would not get in civilian life? This is my assumption? I have heard that no one claimed his body when he died in May, 1948, not his family? Although, i am very sceptic about this information that no one in his family claimed his body when he died? Not the Canadian Gouverment either? How can this be when you are a National war hero here in Canada? George flew for the RCAF and RAF. If i were living in 1948 and would have known that George Beurling were dead, i would have been the first Canadian to want to have this war hero buried in our Canadian soil. What ever the case may be, this is only known to history?
I am very happy to let you know there is the George Beurling Academy in Verdun, Québec and the Beurling park and also Beurling boulevard, in Verdun, Québec . I don't know if there is any other monument or street named after him in Verdun? What ever the case maybe, i live in the Montréal area and will some time this summer get pictures and information from Verdun, Québec to post on my blog. Pictures of where George lived, his neighbouhood, his city and the park named after him. Please stay tuned because, hopefully i will have some interresting pictures and stories to share about our great Canadian War hero, George ''Buzz'' Beurling sometime this summer.
Click on the link below to see the George Beurling avenue and parc in Verdun, Québec on Google earth.
If there are any pictures or stories or opinions you would like to share about this amazing World War 2 Canadian war hero, please let me know and i will gladly post it on my blog!
Thank you George for your courage and efforts you have given us! Rest in Peace George.
More tributes to RCAF and RAF pilots will be done in the future. Stay posted for more great historical stories of our heroes to follow!
Saturday, May 09, 2009
In Their Memory - RCAF Supermarine Stranraer #935
Greetings to all
As you might know, this is an opened WW2 RCAF, RAF blog. This means that anyone wanting to post a story of a loved one or of someone missing in action during the Second World War is more than welcomed to let me know and i will gladly post it on my blog.
Here is the story of a Supermarine Stranraer that crashed in British Columbia 1943 and we are looking for anyone who can help us find relatives or acquaitances of the airmen that crashed on RCAF Supermarine Stranraer serial number 935 on Febuary 14, 1943.
Please do not hesitate to write if you have any informations what so ever on this historical event!
Thank you very much,
Told by Shirley Gilmour Santini. My father, Joseph Orr Gilmour was born in Glasgow, Scotland on Oct 6, 1904. He emigrated to Toronto Canada with his parents when he was in his twenties. I believe he was a metal worker by trade and employed by a bus company as a mechanic. When Canada became involved in the second World War in 1939, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on Oct 17, 1939 in Vancouver, BC. He married my mother Mary Veronica Mulvihill in 1931, in Vancouver and my sister Patricia was born in Sept 1932, I, Shirley Gilmour Santini arrived in August of 1936.
When my Dad was stationed with the RCAF in Trenton, Ontario in 1939, we travelled by train to join him and live in that area, until 1941 when he was once again Stationed at Jericho Beach, Vancouver, BC. in/on or about 1943? From there his next and final station was Alliford Bay, BC. on the Queen Charlotte Islands. He was attached to #6 Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron flying "coastal watch" missions.
**Only recently we discovered the following info. Mother passed away in 1991 and was not in possession of any of Dads military records***"On February 14, 1943 the RCAF Canadian Vickers Stranraer serial number 935 crashed in Skidgate Channel between Maude and Leading Islands at position 53.12N and 132.92W.
""The crew had been on a training flight when they attempted a landing. Due to gusty conditions, the Stranraer bounced a number of times with each bounce getting more severe. The aircraft nosed under and the 4 depth charges on board exploded, killing all 5 crew members and one RCAF passenger, (total 6 men).
In the winter months the waters in that area can be extremely choppy with huge swells and the conditions are often worsened by dense fog. It has been difficult to obtain information regarding the "flying accident" and the records I requested and received had been on microfishe and had not copied well, making it very difficult to read. Many of the pages had many details blacked out line by line.
In the past 5 years I have met with and become a member of AWON - American War Orphans Network and have heard their stories of their loved ones lost in WW II. Through these wonderful people, most of whom are WWII kids, many have found the gravesites of their parent and visited National Cemetaries in many countries. I am not aware of any Canadian counterpart to AWON but the assistance offered to the American members is so helpful. Many of them never knew their fathers. I am fortunate in being able to remember my father, as he was 39 at the time of his death. My sister was 10 years old and I was 6. My memories of him are very vivid--always in uniform and so often we were saying good bye, when he was leaving again. In those days we made many trips to the train stations as all of my Uncles were in the service and being sent overseas.
On February 14, 1943 the Crew Members who gave the Ultimate Sacrafice along with my father were:
Pilot J13672 Pilot Officer Donald Stuart MacLennan of Montreal, QuebecSecond Pilot J13697
Pilot Officer Lorne Gregory Thompson from Chance Harbour, St. John County, New Brunswick
Wireless Air Gunner (W A G) J13153 Pilot Officer Frederick William McConkey from Calgary, Alberta
Airframe Mechanic - R50522 Sergeant Joseph Orr Gilmour from Vancouver, British Columbia (MY FATHER).Aero Engine Mechanic - R94622
Corporal John Paul Sperling from Chamberlain Saskatchewan.
Passenger was C3378 Flight Lieutenant Charles William Thomas Field (RCAF Accounting Officer). He was originally from Chicago, Illinois. USA.
I am looking for any type of information anyone has, reference this accident, or can help me get in touch with any of the families of these men.
Looking for anyone who knew of my father during that time?
The bodies of these men were never recovered to our knowledge due to the "conditions" in that area. The Official paper work read "killed" as a result of a "flying accident--body not recovered presumed dead". This info was given to my mother in a letter dated May 21, 1943 from the Wing Commander H.J. Winny Dads, first station I believe was Trenton Ontario 10-21-1939 until 1940.
We lived at 65 Queen Street, Trenton Ont.Rank of CPL was made on 12-12-1941 RCAF Station, Vancouver BC Jericho Beach -
VancouverRank of SGT. was made on 4-4-1942.
Assigned to Alliford Bay Station on 10-21-1942. Squadron 6
Thank you so much.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Monday, May 04, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Mr. Landers is a very nice man that i happen to know and admire. Although, i do not see and speak to him often enough due to the distance that seperates us, i still admire him for his courage that he has demonstrated during the Second World War and i would like to share the story of his imprisonment during the war, the year was 1945. Mr. Landers was a Flight Lieutenant and navigator with the Snowy Owl Squadron #420 from 1942 to 1945.
On the evening of January 5, 1945, Halifax bombers of the RCAF were dispatched from Yorkshire, England to Hanover, Germany, laden with 4000 lbs of incendiaries which were to be dropped on the target between 19:30 and 19:40 hours.
Flying officer Ken Landers was a navigator on one of the bombers. At 19:37 hours, while on the bombing run, his aircraft was attacked by a Junkers 88 night Fighter and struck three times. On the third attack, both port engines became inflamed causing the pilot to order the crew to "abandon aircraft". We bailed out, landing a few minutes later in the city of Hanover as the civilians were coming out of their bomb shelters. I was immediately attacked by the throng, suffering several blows and having my dog tags, watch etc, stolen. In the mindst of the beating, a Gestapo officer appeared and took me away. He was joined by three Home Guardsmen and they proceeded to take me to a jail in the town of Wanstorff, a suburd of Hanover. I learned later that four of my crew were listed as missing in action, they were never found and two others were captures.
While proceeding to the jail that night, the Lancaster bombers attacked Hanover at 21:30 hours, bombing the fires from their ealier raids with blockbuster bombs. The Gestapo agent and guards became very excited and beat me unmercifully with their weapons during the latter raid, which could be seen and heard befind us.
I was jailed that evening and the next morning, along with eight other allied airmen we began a two day forced march at times and sometimes in railcars to Frankfurt at the "DU LAG LUFT" Air interrogation centre. During this time, we were shackled and monitered by Home Guards. As we went through cities, we were stoned and verbally abused by German civilians and certainly were fearful of our lives.
On arriving at the interrogation Centre, i was put in solitary confinement for eight nights and seven days. On the eight day, i was ushered into a major's office and a two hour question period began, i was in real rough shape - i had hardly eaten for ten days and my face and head were bloodied from my beating. Amazingly, the major knew the names of my crew, my RCAF Station, where i lived in Canada, the name of my fiance and that of my two brothers who were in the Air Force, among other data. I had not givin any information to the Germans other than my name, rank and serial number and i was dumb-founded at the interrogator's knowledge!
When i would not answer any of his questions concerning muilitary matters, he informed me that since i had no I.D. he would have to inform his superiors that i was a spy and therefore could expect to receive a spy's sentance - -death at sunrise.
The next morning, i along with some 40 other Air Crew prisoners, many American, were lined up. We all expected to be shot! However, we were marched across the city to a prisoner of war reception area, run by the International Red Cross. What a relief to have a shower and food!!!
After four days there, some 100 of us spent five days-marching, in box cars, etc.. Travelling some 300 miles to Stalag Luft One in Barth, Pomerania, where i was imprisoned until liberated by the Russian army on May 3rd, 1945. I was finally able to enjoy my freedom and i was able to return to England on May 13, 1945....
This is the TRUE STORY OF A TRUE HERO. Thank you Mr. Landers for what you have done for our FREEDOM. Men and Women like yourself will never be forgotten for generations to come! Thank you Mr. Landers and God bless yourself and your loving family!