A Hampden of 32 OTU makes
a dummy torpedo drop near Pat Bay, BC
in this photo used to
assess the drop.
and Restoration of Handley Page Hampden bomber P5436
RAF P5436, Manufactured
2 1000 hp Bristol Pegasus
Maximum Speed 254 mph
Empty Weight 11780 lb.,
Loaded Weight 18756 lb.
Some of the following material
was taken from an article written by Paul Seguna published in the AVIATION
HISTORY November 2002 magazine, and material supplied by Canadian Museum
of Flight, Langley, BC.
On November 15, 1942, a Hampden
bomber with serial number P5436, attached to No. 32 O.T.U. Patricia Bay,
BC, took off on a practice torpedo-drop sortie. All went well and the crew
managed a successfully torpedo drop, but when the pilot banked at low altitude
to observe the torpedo run, he lost control and the twin engine bomber
with crew of four side slipped into the water. All crewmembers survived
the crash with minor injuries. They were picked up within minutes by a
passing RCAF Stranraer flying boat whose crew had seen them go into the
In 1985 the underwater recovery
team of the Canadian Museum of Flight (CMF) in Langley BC, pin pointed
the sunken Hampden with sonar. The well defined sonar images showed it
was intact, a rare find.
CMF volunteers next mobilized
to gather necessary resources for a salvage effort. A Recovery Crew from
the Canadian Lake and Ocean Salvage Team led by Jerry Olsen and the Thompson
family of Tillicum Towing in Pender Harbour added their considerable reclamation
experience to the worthy cause.
The fragility of the wreckage
made for a demanding salvage operation using remote-controlled submersible,
guided by operators using on-board video camera and robotic manipulators.
The aircraft, although being reasonable intact when it was gingerly lifted
out of the water, was badly corroded and suffered crash damage. Certain
parts of the bomber remained in good shape. Its compass still functioned
as did greased drive chains and bearings. There was even air left in the
At this stage CMF volunteer
Fred Gardham became involved in the Hampden’s rebirth. Along with other
helpers he would spend hundreds of hours reclaiming the aircraft.. Gardham
was uniquely qualified for the tasks he had worked on Hampdens during his
civilian aircraft maintenance career. He had even logged post maintenance
time in this aircraft. (Fred Gardham served in the Merchant Navy shipping
out between Halifax and the UK.)
Using creativity, imagination,
and sometimes Gardham’s own money, the volunteers managed to put the bomber
back together. They applied metal skin, reattached wings that had been
ripped during the crash. Other parts came from two other Hampden crash
sites. AN136 which had crashed into Mount Tuan on Salt Spring Island, and
ANH132 that crashed near Ucluelet on Vancouver Island. They also attached
a glass nose brought over from England (courtesy of the RAF. This item
had been used as a greenhouse in the wars aftermath.
What of the 4-man crew of
the P5436? We have traced down members of the RCAF and RAAF, who died in
Canada and Australia in recent years. The other two were RAF, and one is
thought to have visited Pat Bay in the mid-1980’s. We are still searching
The familiar lines of the
bomber slowly returned – the bulbous nose with its cockpit perched on top,
the twin radial engine nacelles, the ranked wings and pencil like rear
fuselage ending in a twin tail, responsible for the aircraft’s nickname
By 1998 the outdoor display
lot of CMF became the new home of Handley Page Hampden Bomber P5436. The
late W/C T.C. “Cam” Weir, who had flown Hampden aircraft at RAF Waddington,
Lincolnshire, and who became part of the restoration team, found in the
Hampden a visible reminder of friendships forged in good times and bad,
achievements and tragic loss in the crucible of war.
In June 2000 a ceremony at
the Museum officially welcomed back Hampden bomber P5436 as a tribute to
Canadian Aviation History. Today the rebuilt bomber serves as a connecting
link with the past for those who have worked to restore it as well as those
whose wartime service brought them into contact with Hampden bombers. Many
dedicated people had come together in a lengthy endeavour to restore this
bit of aviation history so that it could tell its story to a new generation.
This aircraft is dedicated
to Mr. Fred Gardham of Vancouver, BC.
Mr. Gardham landed his first
job in the airplane industry in 1937, building Blackburn Shark’s at the
Boeing Canada plant near Stanley Park in Vancouver. When WWII started,
Mr. Gardham moved to Ontario where he worked for Canada Car and Foundry,
which was building Hawker Hurricanes. Upon his move back to Vancouver,
he worked at the Boeing plant on Sea Island and then joined the Merchant
Navy. After a year in the Navy, he went to work at Boeing’s Seattle plant,
building B52 bombers and then for Canadian Pacific working on commercial
When the Canadian Museum
of Flight lifted the Handley Page Hampden out of the Pacific Ocean in 1985
Mr. Gardham was chosen as head restorer as he had worked on this exact
aircraft before its crash in 1942 off of Pat Bay. With no diagrams of the
aircraft, only his memory, photos, and sketches for reference, Fred started
the amazing task of taking pieces of bent corroded metal and once again
bringing her to life.
What you see before you today
is the culmination of many volunteer hours by many individuals, but had
it not been for Mr. Fred Gardham who spent over 15 years dedicated to the
restoration of this aircraft, this project may never have been completed.
(Ed. I have been in touch
with Fred Gardham, who is now 90, and asked him for some input on this
project plus a picture of himself. Stay tuned)
The Late W/C T.C.
who flew Hampdens during
also helped restore Hampden
3/12/42 102 Squadron RAF Pocklington
The following made up the
crew of Halifax shot down by two night fighters .
|May Frank S. Sgt.
|McKim Donald William P/O
|Nutter George Edward (wounded)
|Charman Ernest W/O
|Edwards “Ted” Mardon
|Pope Cyril Sgt.
Back row – Ted Edwards,
Front – George
Edward Nutter, Frank May, Donald William McKim.
Picture was taken on
a beach near St. Eval, Cornwall,
when they were flying
Whitley a/c on Coastal Command.
Nielsen and Pope joined
their crew when they were posted to 102 Squadron, Pocklington.
When Ernest Charman returned
to England he wrote a letter dated 2/10/45 to Ted Edward’s mother, Mrs.
F. Edwards, Sechelt, BC. The following is part of this letter.
“……..No doubt you know by
now that I have returned to England from Germany. I only wish that Mardon
(Ted) had come back with us. I wrote to you a few times from Germany but
could not tell you much or else it would have been censored, but now I
can tell you what happened.
We were attacked by two night
fighters but I’m afraid to say that none of us saw the second one until
it was too late. Both Mardon and Cyril Pope saw the one that attacked us
on our own level and engaged him. However, the second one came up underneath
us and raked us along the bottom setting all our bombs alight. In the meantime
the first one was still attacking and killed both Cyril and Mardon and
wounded Ted Nutter our wireless operator very badly. By this time we were
well and truly on fire so I decided to abandon ship as it was impossible
to put out 10,000 lbs. of incendiary bombs that were all alight.
This happened December 3,
1942 and it was not until February 1943 that I found
out where they were both buried. They were both given a full military funeral
and buried in the same grave. The place is Saumershiem in the Phalz. All
this information I managed to get from the Camp Commander at Stalag Luft
1, a Hauptmann Von Muller who was a pretty decent guy. Sometime in
the near future I can get over to Germany and I will try and get a snap
of the grave for you. …………………”
While the surviving crew
members were in Sagan POW camp they wrote letters to Mrs. Edwards and we
are fortunate to have access to the originals. Ex POWs will remember these
Common Grave of
“Ted” Mardon Edwards
and Cyril Pope
POW Letter Form
To Mrs. Edwards
(in part) from George Nutter in POW camp May 20, 1944.
“…………… May I convey my sincere
and deepest sympathy for poor Eddy, your son, who was so close a friend
of mine for quite a while. Cannot say a lot about the incident, only that
everything happened so quick. I was hit myself in the back by bullets,
did not feel much pain but was incapacitated a bit but managed, after a
struggle to get out. I am feeling comparatively fit now after quite a spell
in hospital. Have still one bullet in my back but it does not trouble me
much. The others were extracted………………………..”
To Mrs. Edwards
(in part) from Ernest Charman in POW Camp. July 28, 1943
Dear Mrs. Edwards, I can
see from your letter to Frank May that Ted probably mentioned me in his
letters home. I have been wanting to write to you ever since he was killed
but couldn’t get your address. Believe me he died doing a good job of work.
He was killed in the turret as was the other gunner, Cyril Pope, so he
couldn’t jump by parachute.
I am writing my mother asking
her to send you some copies of the photos Mrs. May showed you. They were
happy days for us all…………………..”
In Frank May’s letter
from the POW Camp to Mrs. Edwards he refers to her son as Jim. July 28,
“………………….Jim was a grand
fellow and we got along very well together as did the rest of the crew.
Gwen Williams had a girl friend (Audrey) and whenever Jim and Gwen were
to be found you could almost always find Audrey and myself. The four of
us spent the happiest five weeks together – five weeks that I will never
forget. You may not know Mrs. Edwards, but Jim and I were billeted together
at one of the training schools in Canada, so that we were not strangers
when we met in England.
Things happened very quickly
that night last year, and the aircraft burst into flames almost immediately
we were hit. Jim was cut off from the rest of us, being at the rear. McKim
left the aircraft first and I followed him as we were both in the nose
of the kite…………… Jim and Cy Pope are buried at CENSORED………………”
The above original pictures
and documents were provided by Mr. Robert J. Henderson founder and proprietor
HOMEFRONT ARCHIVES AND MUSEUM
6015 – 5th Ave., Regina,
Sk. Canada. S4T 6V4
Ph. (306) 543-5822
Fax (306) 789-2468
Robert Henderson is still
researching this incident and the crew, so if you have any information
to add, please contact Bob.
Facts still not confirmed:
Was Engineer Nielsen British or Norwegian? In Ernest Charman’s letter to
Mrs. Edwards he says, “I decide to abandon ship.” This statement would
lead one to believe he gave this order as Skipper. Was he the Pilot and
Frank May the bomb aimer?
The Memorial Book THEY SHALL
GROW NOT OLD lists Mardon Edward’s burial location as Rheinberg, Germany.
I have been reading Short
Bursts for some time through the courtesy of Jack Denmee of Calgary. I
meant to contact you for some time to let you know how much I have enjoyed
the issues, but as the saying goes, procrastination is the thief of time.
At Christmas some of my family
bought me part of a computer and I got the rest, so I have been endeavouring
to learn the secrets of this new toy. It is not easy when you’re 85.
I was interested in the articles
that have appeared about Castle Archdale, Northern Ireland. I had finished
my second tour ( 115 and 432 Squadrons) in February 1945 and, to keep me
out of harms way I was sent to London. From there I was posted to Northern
Ireland to sell War Bonds to Canadian Personnel stationed in Northern Ireland.
There were somewhere around 600 stationed at Castle Archdale and all around
Ireland there were groups of Canadians stationed at Radar stations situated
here and there. My headquarters were in Belfast and the Air Force provided
me with a car and Driver (who was from Toronto), and it was our job to
visit these stations by going around Ireland, and my job was to sell the
One very dark, foggy night,
we got a little off track and got ourselves in Southern Ireland (which
was Neutral). We stopped at a pub to get something to eat and find out
where we were. We were served the most delicious meal and when we were
almost finished, who should appear, but two of Southern Ireland’s finest.
They sat down and explained that we were about 10 miles out of Northern
Ireland territory, and that we could have been interned. However
they were not very anxious to pursue the matter. They had us take off our
tunics and put our caps away. Of course I had to buy them a brew. We had
a fine visit and they explained to the driver how to get back – we shook
hands and were on our way.
We arrived at Enniskillen
a little later than we planned but none the worse for wear. We laughed
about it and decided not to let any of the authorities know, it might have
gone hard on the driver. What they didn’t know didn’t hurt them. I am sure
the Statute of Limitations has long since expired.
Just fooling around on here
and found your short bursts web site. Very interesting especially
as I was at High River to a BMW motorcycle rally and went to Nanton to
see the Lancaster. As I was a B-24 gunner in the US 8th Air Force
in England the people there took me on a tour of the plane. I had
always admired the Lancaster and Lincoln. We flew home by way of
the Azores with Canadian Lancaster's, but they were faster than us. I may
be back up there in July and will go back to Nanton, by the way I live
in Nebraska in the US so it is about 1500 miles for me, old age is catching
Attached are some images
from the RCAF Log Book and of my father Philip D McQuellin (F/Lt RAAF)
I have scanned the entire
book and will send it on to the museum for their records.
It would be interesting
to find through your Short Burst readers if Pilot Officer Murray G Hall
RCAF is alive or a contact with a member of his family so I might share
some images and information with the Hall family.
Regards Chris McQuellin
Philip D McQuellin
I just wanted to let you know that because of the many
heartfelt emails that I have received, I have added a free download link
to my poem pages so they can obtain a printable copy. They seem to
mean so much to the people who have sacrificed tremendously through their
service or their family losses that I would not want a single one of them
to not have a copy if they want it.
Perhaps, in some small way the poems will help keep alive
the memory of those losses and maybe help some of our younger citizens
to realize that freedom is far from free.
The RAF Ex-Air Gunners
now have a Web Site
Macfie tells us about his Pilot C.H.E. “Ted” Cook, 423 and 422 Squadrons
Cook was a wild character,
especially when having a brew. Once I saw him chew off the necktie of a
Flight Commander – right at the knot. Another night when the drinks were
being spilt at the bar, he appeared wearing his Mae West. He was so double
jointed he got bags behind his knees. He couldn’t run and one day
at Oban we were ordered on a five mile run. Half (of squadron) in the morning
and half in the afternoon. Our crew was on the morning run and our Air
Gunner was wildly cheered as he came into town leading, and Cook was wildly
cheered coming into town leading the afternoon run.
He was completely night blind.
One clear night, after take off, I was in he mid-upper and I heard him
ask the co-pilot if that was the flare path over there. It was a line of
I did a tour of 800 hours
with Cook on 423 Squadron and was with him on 422 Squadron, and on Liberators
at Bassingbourne where he had his motorcycle accident. After he recovered
he decided it was ‘home for him’. We got to be pretty good pals.
He begged me to climb on
the back of his bike and ride with him the day he got schmucked by the
big lorry and ended up with his head in front of the real duals. Fortunately
I had other things to do.
Well, he straightened out
a bit, married, and raised a family. He continued to fly on glider towing
and crop duster testing until past 60 years of age. Cook died of stomach
He was an American (in the
RCAF) from Syracuse N.Y. but never put up USA patches. He refused to re-muster
to the USAF and never boasted about the ‘good old US of A’. He was just
One of Us!
Ted Cook Proud owner
following purchase of
And after his argument
with the lorry
COLBORNE, L. C.
Mbr. #0107, WINNIPEG, MB: Born March 12, 1917, Lloyd Cambrai died
May 6, 2004. After graduation from High School and some service with
the Hudson's Bay Company at various northern posts, he enlisted in the
RCAF - Service No. R130098. Selected for Wireless Gunnery Training
he attended #4 W/S at Guelph, ON and #7 B&G at Paulson, MB. where he
earned his WAG Brevet. He was commissioned as J95414 and served overseas
with #354 Squadron in India and #160 in Ceylon - both in Coastal Command.
After discharge he became a member of the Wartime Pilot's and Observer's,
500 Wing RCAF Association, and United Services. Until his retirement he
worked as a carpenter and a Stationary Engineer. He also was a member
of the Ex Air Gunner's Association and shared in many of their functions
over the last 20 years.
WILLIAMS, M. A. #0079,
CALGARY, AB: Myron Allen was born July 16th, 1917 and passed away May 7th,
2004 at the Rosedale Hospice in Calgary. Myron enlisted in the RCAF
as R113236 and became an Air Frame Mechanic before remustering for Air
Gunner training. Overseas he was posted to 103 Squadron. Shot
down over Germany in late 1944 he became a Prisoner of War. Upon
his return to England he married Violet Irene East who joined him seven
months later in Calgary. He was an active member of the RCAF ExPOW
Association, the RCAF Ex Airgunner's Association a founding member of the
So. Alberta Air Crew Association and a member of 263 Royal Canadian Legion.
Official Website of
The 'TURRET', until
2003, was the official publication of the national AIR GUNNERS' ASSOCIATION
until that association was dissolved at executive level. TODAY it carries
on in the same tradition, is produced three times per year by a team of
ex-Air Gunners and their associates from the AIR GUNNERS' ASSOCIATION NOTTINGHAM.
The 'TURRET' COMMITTEE is
run as a non-profit making organisation and promises to use any superfluous
income to assist the maintenance of the AIR GUNNERS' Memorial Room in the
Yorkshire Air Museum, Elvington, Yorkshire.
The new 'TURRET' aims to
uphold the same objectives as its predecessor: to foster good fellowship,
to perpetuate and enjoy the friendship born in times of conflict, to bond
together its 1600 readers in close harmony even though they live remotely
from each other, especially those far away readers in Australia, Canada,
South Africa, New Zealand etc.,
The 'TURRET' edited by Ron
'Bram' Bramley will continue the familiar mode of reporting: Branch News
from Air Gunners' Associations, Reports on recent events, Reader's stories,
Letters to the Editor, Forthcoming events, Search for pals, 'Last Post',
News from Overseas and many other items.
The subscription rate for
UK & Europe is £5 per year including postage.
Overseas rate is £7.50
per year including Airmail postage.
Cheques for renewal of subscriptions,
and donations etc., should be made payable to TURRET ACCOUNT and sent to
the Hon Secretary Bill Bailey.
Articles for publication
in the 'TURRET' should be sent to the Editor
Ron 'Bram' Bramley.
Enquiries and all other
correspondence to the Hon Sec. 'Bill' Bailey, or by e-mail to Dennis Cooke.
NEW SUBSCRIBERS ARE ALWAYS
WELCOME TO JOIN OUR
FRATERNITY OF EX-AIR GUNNERS,
AND HELP TO KEEP THE "TURRET" ALIVE!
Ron Bramley (Bram)
35, Morley Road
Tel: 0115 956 9266
We need Branch Reports
to keep in touch
Again our only Branch report
comes from “Smokey” Robson, President of the Northern Saskatchewan Group.
Smokey reports that their monthly luncheons are well attended and enjoyed
Let’s hear what is happening
in other parts of our great land.
In the May 2004 Page we announced
the Air Gunner’s Day being hosted by the Nanton Museum. I have had a number
of phone calls from members who hope to attend this ceremony. Here is part
of the letter of invitation:
“Our “Salute to the Air Gunners”
will take the form of a luncheon in the museum followed by various tributes
to the Air Gunners. As part of the program we will be unveiling a commissioned
painting by well-known aviation artist John Rutherford depicting Sgt. Engbrecht
and Sgt. Gillanders in action. Following the ceremonies flypasts of various
vintage and modern aircraft will salute the air gunners.
For additional information
regarding our museum please visit www.lancastermuseum.ca and in particular
our “Past Special Events” section that documents our numerous successful
special events of previous years and our “Air Gunners” section.
Please let us know if you
will be able to join us on August 14th. I can be reached through the addresses
listed or directly by telephone at (403) 646-2681 (evenings).
Dan Fox, President
PO Box 1051, Nanton, Alberta Canada T0L1R0
Fax: (403) 646-2214
Inquiries and Information:
Member Jim Coles loaned me
77 Squadron RAF Association newsletter NICKEL LEAFLET N0. 31 - 1
April 2004. I was surprised to see seven letters to the Editor as well
as a number of new members. One article records a night raid on the Synthetic
Oil Plant at Huls, Sept. 6/7 1941 (the same day the Sqdrn. was transferred
from RAF Topcliffe to RAF Leeming). Ten Whitley V Bombers took part with
the loss of two A/C.
Harry Shinkfield, Editor,
does a great job on this Newsletter. If there are any Ex-77 Squadron types
who would like to join the Association the address is:
77 RAF Squadron Association,
154 Broadway, Wakefield
West Riding of Yorkshire,
Good Lord Willin’ and if
the creek don’t rise, and if our volunteer Web Master, Bill Hillman, is
not vacationing in some exotic Isle, we will publish in July.
John & Doreene - Editors.