Canada 150 Vignette Series
The Tribute to the Prince Albert Fallen
Continued from Vignette No. 34 in
MOORE, JOHN IRWIN (JACK) WO1(NB) R80156. From Brandon, Manitoba. Killed In Action Jul.10/43 age 21. #8 Squadron (Uspiam Et Passim), Khormaksar, Aden. The crew of Hudson aircraft FH 285 were returning from convoy duty in the Gulf of Aden when they encountered some bad weather and crashed eight miles west of Rasut near Salalah, Sultanate of Oman, Saudi Arabia. WO.s C.A. Jones, T.J. Duggan, and F.S. Jamieson were also killed. Warrant Officer Class 1 Navigator/Bomb Aimer Moore was buried at the crash site, exhumed, and reburied

 Air Observers were later called "navigators". For recruits in this stream, the training path after ITS was 8 weeks at an Air Observer School (AOS), 1 month at a Bombing & Gunnery School, and finally 1 month at a Navigation School. The Air Observer schools were operated by civilians under contract to the RCAF. For example, Nos. 7, 8, and 9 were run by CP Airlines. However, the instructors were RCAF.[4] The basic navigation techniques throughout the war years were dead reckoning and visual pilotage, and the tools were the aeronautical chart, magnetic compass, watch, trip log, pencil, Douglas protractor, and Dalton Navigational Computer.[11] They trained in the Avro Anson.

PG Cameron, RN Grest, VR Miller and HM Pettigrew perished while serving at No. 6 EFTS, while OA Ness was with No. 6 AOS.
A monument for the killed airmen
14 killed – LAC Leonard Raymond Meere

MEERE, LEONARD RAYMOND LAC(P) R205555 - under training. From Sarnia, Ontario. Killed Sep.23/43 age 19. #6 Elementary Flying Training School, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. LAC. Meere was killed when his Tiger Moth aircraft # 1168 crashed ten miles north-west of the aerodrome at Prince Albert. Leading AirCraftman Pilot Meere is buried in Lake View Cemetery, Sarnia, Ontario.

P/O John Stanley Butler
From Orillia, Ontario. Killed Nov.24/43 age 26. #6 Elementary Flying Training School, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.Tiger Moth aircraft # 1142 and Tiger Moth # 5944 collided in mid-air and six miles north-west of the aerodrome at Prince Albert. LAC. P.R. McLean and F/O. Butler were killed in aircraft # 5944. LAC. E.G. Henderson, and F/O. R.N. Grest were killed in aircraft # 1142. Flying Officer Pilot Butler is buried in the Forest Lawn Cemetery at Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
LAC Edward Gyon Henderson
F/O Ralph Nicolaus Grest
LAC Paul Roger McLean
F/L Douglas Harold Burr
LAC Elmer Stephan Beingessner
Douglas Erwin Hall
Robert Henry Hendrix
Phillip Gordon Cameron
Lloyd Reginald Alexander Burns – F/O
LAC Charles McNaughton Miller

MILLER, CHARLES MCNAUGHTON LAC(P) R191243 - under training. From Winnipeg, Manitoba. Killed Jul.20/43 age 32. #6 Elementary Flying Training School, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. LAC. Miller and F/O. H. Pettigrew were both killed when Tiger Moth aircraft # 4220 crashed fifteen miles south-west of the aerodrome at Prince Albert. Leading AirCraftman Pilot Miller is buried in the Elmwood Cemetery at Winnipeg, Manitoba.

MILLER, VERNON RUSSELL LAC(P) R196677 - under training. From Smeaton, Saskatchewan. Killed Sep.16/43 age 20. #6 Elementary Flying Training School, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. LAC. Miller was killed when Tiger Moth aircraft # 1205 crashed twenty miles north-west of Prince Albert, cause obscure. Leading AirCraftman Pilot Miller is buried in the South Hill Cemetery, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
LAC Vernon Russell Miller

Prince Albert Daily Herald  – Nov 10 2012
6 AOS – 615 navigators 226 RCAF 84 RAF 229 RNZAF ? RAAF and 3 Norwegians
World War Two – Prince Albert
Remembering Those Who Fell Here

Several of the aircraft at the Centennial of Flight Airshow last August were the types used in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan training schools during World War 2. Prince Albert had two of those schools; the No. 6 Elementary Flying Training School and the No. 6 Air Observer School.

Two thousand, four hundred and sixty seven aircrew came to Prince Albert to do their elementary flying training and six hundred and fifteen to do their air observer training. They were from all over Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Not all of them left. Those who died during training operations are sometimes overlooked in the light of those who died overseas and in combat. These people are commemorated in a monument in front of the main terminal building at Glass Field, Prince Albert Airport. Here are the details behind those names.

No. 6 Elementary Flying Training School
Nine accidents killed five instructors and nine students at the No. 6 Elementary Flying School in Prince Albert during its operation from July 22, 1940 until it closed November 15, 1944.

June 21, 1941 Sergeant Douglas E. Hall was killed instantly when the Tiger Moth he was in, crashed out of control at 7:45 p.m. at Round Lake, sixteen miles north-west of Prince Albert. At the time he was instructing Leading Aircraftman D. H. Read who was seriously injured but survived. Twenty nine year old Hall was due to leave shortly for overseas service as a commissioned officer. Sgt. Hall was the son of William and Margaret Hall of Danville, Quebec. He is interred at Danville Protestant Cemetery in Danville.

July 27, 1941 Leading Aircraftman Robert H. Hendrix lost his life in a drowning accident at Waskesiu Lake. He succumbed to a seizure while swimming with his twin brother LAC Ralph M. Hendrix and fellow American students; LAC S. M. Benford of Florida and LAC W. Alsworth of Texas. Twenty year old Hendrix was the son of William and Mary Hendrix of Walsenburg, Colorado. He is interred at the Masonic Cemetery in Walsenburg.

August 15, 1942 Leading Aircraftman Philip Gordon Cameron was electrocuted when the aircraft he was flying with his instructor hit high tension wires. They were attempting a night landing at 2:15 a.m. just west of Melfort, Saskatchewan. Twenty-three year old LAC Cameron was killed instantly. He was the son of Gordon and Delphine Cameron of Shamrock, Saskatchewan. He is interred in the St. Charles Cemetery in Coderre, Saskatchewan. Cameron Lake in northern Saskatchewan is named in his memory.

October 25, 1942 Leading Aircraftman Lloyd Reginald Alexander Burns was killed as the result of a mid-air collision during formation training north-east of White Star (north of Prince Albert). The twenty year old student was solo at the time. The student pilot of the other aircraft parachuted to safety. LAC Burns was the son of Thomas and Ethel Burns of Vancouver, British Columbia. He is interred at Ocean View Burial Park in Burnaby, BC.

July 20, 1943 Thirty-four year old Flying Officer Harold Mathew Pettigrew and his thirty-two year old student; Leading Aircraftman Charles McNaughton Miller, were killed in a crash six miles west of Prince Albert. FO Pettigrew had been instructing at the school since September 1942. He was the son of Bernard and Annie Pettigrew of Hamilton, Ontario. He is interred at Eastlawn Cemetery in Hamilton.  LAC Miller was one week from graduating the EFTS course. He was the son of William and Mary Ann Miller, husband of Catherine Miller and father of a two year old son; all of St. Vital, Manitoba. He is interred at Elmwood Cemetery in Winnipeg.

September 16, 1943 Twenty year old Leading Aircraftman Vernon Russell Miller was on a solo training exercise when he crashed twenty miles northwest of Prince Albert. He was the son of Russell Duncan and Ena R. Miller of Smeaton, Saskatchewan. He is interred at Southill Cemetery in Prince Albert.

September 23, 1943 Leading Aircraftman Leonard Raymond Meere was the solo pilot and died instantly when his aircraft dove into the ground at high speed five miles north of Prince Albert. He was the nineteen year old son of Thomas and Edith Meere of Sarnia, Ontario. He is interred at Lakeview Cemetery in Sarnia.

November 24, 1943 A mid-air collision between two Tiger Moth aircraft took the lives of four airmen; two instructors and two students.
Pilot Officer John Stanley Butler was the twenty-six year old instructor of one aircraft and had been stationed in Prince Albert since March. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. William John Butler of Orilllia, Ontario and husband of Etoile V. Butler of Detroit, Michigan who was residing in Prince Albert. He is interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Detroit.
 The other instructor was twenty-six year old Flying Officer Ralph Nicolaus Grest. Seriously injured, FO Grest escaped the crash by parachute. However, he succumbed to his injuries 10 days later. He was the son of Nicolaus and Lydia Grest of Humboldt, Saskatchewan and husband of Dorothy Grest of Maidstone, Saskatchewan. He is interred at the Watrous Cemetery. Grest Bay on Highrock Lake in northern Saskatchewan is named in his memory.
Leading Aircraftman Paul Roger McLean was the twenty year old student in one plane. He was the son of Martin and Greeta McLean of Toronto, Ontario. He is interred at Mount Hope Cemetery in Toronto.
Leading Aircraftman Edward Guyon Henderson was the nineteen year old student in the other plane. He was the son of Roland and Euphemia Henderson of Windsor, Ontario. He was a graduate of J. C. Patterson Collegiate in Windsor. Just months before his death LAC Henderson had been refused service in a downtown Windsor restaurant because they did not serve ‘coloured people’. He is interred at Grove Cemetery in Windsor.

June 17, 1944 The last accident in the school’s history took the lives of an instructor and student. It occurred seven miles north of Prince Albert and was the result of an in-flight break-up of their Fairchild Cornell airplane. The right wing separated from the aircraft during spin training.
 The instructor was twenty-eight year old Flight Lieutenant Douglas Harold "Hal" Burr. He was the son of Frederick and Mary Burr of Vancouver and husband of Euphemia Marquis Burr of Kelowna, British Columbia. He is interred at Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery, Kelowna, BC.
 The student was twenty-one year old Leading Aircraftman Elmer Stephen Beingessner. He was the son of Frank and Mary Beingessner of Brant, Alberta. He is interred at Highwood Cemetery in High River, Alberta.

No. 6 Air Observer School
There was one accident at the No. 6 Air Observer School in the eighteen months that the school operated at Prince Albert from March 17, 1941 to September 11, 1942. Four people lost their lives on the night of March 18, 1942. Avro Anson Mk. 1 R9740 crashed at 8:30 p.m., forty miles south-east of Prince Albert (six miles south of Kinistino) during a night navigation exercise.
Mister Glen Kenneth "Doc" Hyer was a thirty-four year old civilian Instructor who had been at the school since June 1941. He was the son of Dr. Irving and Maude Hyer of Clarendon, Pennsylvania. He was living in Prince Albert with his wife, Helen Ann Hyer and their children Craig and Dennis. He is interred at Oakland Cemetery in Warren, Pennsylvania, USA.
Flying Officer Olav Alfred Ness was the navigation instructor. FO Ness was thirty-three years old. He had been instructing at the school for several months and was residing in Prince Albert with his wife Pearl. He was the son of John and Gunda Ness of Sturgis, Saskatchewan. He is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in Saskatoon.
The two student observers were:
Leading Aircraftman Harvey William Hurst, age twenty. He was the son of Albert and Ida Hurst of Gravenhurst, Ontario. He is interred at Lakeview Cemetery in Gravenhurst.
Leading Aircraftman Cyril Samuel Lapp, age twenty-seven. He was the son of Samuel and Mary Lapp and husband of Mildred Lapp of Dunnville, Ontario. He is interred at Riverside Cemetery in Dunnville.

We sometimes forget the hazards incurred during the intense training undergone by aircrew, especially during the first few years of the war. The students were young, the instructors not much older and the pressure to get things done was great. The next time you are at the airport, pause for a moment in front of the monument to consider the lives and stories that are behind the names on the plaque.

~ Bob Spracklin, November 2012

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