Saturday, May 09, 2009

In Their Memory-RCAF Supermarine Stranraer #935

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,

Lucky Luke

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

Looking for information RCAF Manning depot Lachine, Québec, Canada

Greetings to all!

I am looking for information about the Royal Canadian Air Force Manning depot in Lachine, Québec, Canada.

Would anyone have any information on the RCAF manning depot in Lachine? This depot was used as a training station for WW2 RCAF, RAF, RAAF aviators in Lachine, Québec, Canada. The base was in service for training wireless air gunners, (WAG'S) radio operators and navigators from 1942 to 1959. It would be very interresting, if you could possibly share any stories that you might have, pictures or any other experiences what so ever from that era about the manning depot in Lachine! I do wish to keep the history of the RCAF manning depot alive and you folks could possibly help me! There is nothing left of the base today, but maybe, with your help i can keep history alive for future generations to come through your pictures, relics and stories!

You can email me at: with any information what so ever that you might have, it would be greatly appreciated.

The depot was unfortunatelly demolished in the 1960's and early 1970's. Lachine is my hometown where i grew up. I still can remember some of the hangers from the depot as a young boy. Many of the men that were trained at the manning depot have died in Europe in the Second World war or are still missing in action to this day and this is the least i can do for their memory! Many people in Lachine, the Province of Québec and Canada don't even know there was an RCAF base in Lachine, training aviators to fight for our freedom in these perilous times of fear for our freedom during the Second World War!

If you can possibly help me on this matter i would be very greatful!

Thank you very much for your help!

Lucky Luke

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sea Rescue FL/Lt. Cenek Chalupka-RAF

This is the true story of a Czechoslovakian officer in the Royal Air Force in 1941.

Four hurricanes flying low on the water, skimmed over the English Channel bound for Belgium. It was somewhere near twelve, midday, on the 29th August, 1941, a lovely war day with a soft haze cutting down on our visibility. We carried assorted armament between us. Two of the "Kites" with 12 machine guns each, one with four cannons and one, myself with two 150lbs bombs.

We crossed the coast with no opposition from hostile flak and wheeling left soon picked up a canal which we were to follow inland for some twenty miles before reaching our target, a concentration of German flak ships in some small harbour.

The unexpected always occurs, however! Some miles before reaching our objective we came over a single flak ship in the canal. Immediately the C.O's voice came over the radio: "Attack...Attack...Go..!

Down we went one after another, myself with the eggs last. I pressed the button and down went a bomb scoring a hit on the flak ship. Contrary to expectations however the bomb burst immediately instead of the usual seven second delay before detonation which enables the aircraft to reach a safe distance before the explosion. My aircraft rocked violently in the explosion and i caught the sound of the false note of the engine. I reported this to the C.O. and duly received instructions to join the formation and continue to the target.
Soon the harbour and six falk ships appeared and in we went once again to the attack. After a fast and furious engagement we pulled away and headed for the coast. Things were going from bad to worst, howeveer, with my engine and with my speed down to 140 m.p.h. It was decidedly unpleasant when a heavy barrage opened up at us as we crossed the coast. The old "Hurribus" staggered on until some thirty miles from the English coast the inevitable happened. Smoke and fire began to come uf from the cockpit floor.

I did not waste much time in pulling onto my back and dropping out of the aircraft. My parachute had hardly opened when i hit the water. Down and down i went swallowing most of the English channel before reaching the surface again. My C.O. was circling overhead and sending back my position by wireless as i got into the collasible dinghy. A little later two spitfires were overhead patrolling. Two and a half hour later, by means of a smoke flame dropped by the Spitfires, i was picked up by an R.A.F. sea rescue boat and taken to Ramsgate in nice time to a celebration party that night.

"Cheko" (A regular Czechoslovakian Airforce officer) joined the Polish Air Force after Munich, after the French and then the to RAF after France. In each case, he rose from the ranks to commissioned rank. He was decorated by most governments for his war efforts.