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A MILITARY TRIBUTE WEBZINE . . . AS YOU WERE . . .
Compiled by Bill Hillman
FLASH. . . Editor and Webmaster: Bill Hillman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Stranraer 949, #9 BR Squadron, Bella Bella, B.C. December 1941
The RCAF believed that it was prudent to utilize aircraft of British origin. Therefore, in 1939 Canadian Vikers of Montreal received an order to build five Stranraers. The aircraft had been designed in England by R.J. Mitchell – of the Spitfire fame – and was a development of the 1925 Supermarine Southampton Flying Boat. Eighteen twin engine, biplane Stranraers were produced by the Supermarine Aviation Works Limited in Southampton. In 1935 these Flying Boats went into service with the RAF.
Following the test flight of the Canadian prototype, RCAF #907, on October 21, 1938, a total of forty aircraft were ordered from Canadian Vickers. At Jerico Beach, No. 4(BR) Squadron received its first Stranraer, #912 on July 16, 1939. Stranraers were used by eight RCAF Squadrons: Numbers 4, 6, 7, 9, 13, 117, 120, and 166.
RCAF Stranraers had a range of approximately 1,750 miles and were powered by two Bristol Pegasus X or XX11 engines.
Maximum speed – 152 mph; Cruising speed – 135 mph; ceiling 16,100 feet.
During the war 16 RCAF Stranraers crashed; 9 category A, 4 Category B, and 3 Category C.
Ref. JERICO BEACH and the West Coast Flying Boat Squadrons – by Chris Weicht.
A CRANK, A CRANK, MY KINGDOM FOR A CRANK!
(with apologies to Shakespeare)
By Fred Burnyeat
Fred Burnyeat – September 15, 1941, #2 Wireless School, Calgary
Ready to take off in the mighty Tiger Moth
It was a normal patrol from Uclulet on the 8th. Of January 1942 on Stranraer #954 at 0800 hours. We gained altitude and headed down the coast looking for strange boats, subs, or anything out of the ordinary. Our pilot announced that we had iced up. The ice covered the plane and, in particular, the windshields to the point where the wipers could not remove it.
The pilot said he was turning back to warmer air and then we would proceed. This did not work so he decided to land in the ocean and when the ice melted, we would take off and resume our patrol. As we approached for a landing, I thought the waves looked pretty high, but we carried on and hit the first wave with one hell of a bang. The second wave was not so bad and the third one we skimmed over and rode it down into the trough. A Navy Corvette was sitting close by and they asked on their Aldis light if we were ok. We replied that we were, but the Navy said they would stand by.
We were being buffeted around quite a bit so the pilot called for drogues. He then decided to taxi towards the entrance to a harbour but stopped because he was afraid of shore rocks or a shoal. He called for the anchor and shut off the engines.
Things being calmer, I looked around and realized we were drifting out with the tide. The pilot decided to restart the engines. Hearing this, the Gunner in the prow picked up the two cranks that were used for start-up. The engines would not turn over fast enough on the batteries alone so two crew members had to go up on the deck, insert the cranks, and help turn the engines over. The Gunner stepped out to the rail and placed the cranks on the deck momentarily and then climbed up intending to retrieve them. In the heavy seas they didn’t stay on the icy deck long but slid off into the chuck! This was reported to the Pilot who tried the battery but could only get one engine started.
We were then obliged to retrieve the anchor and drogues. These had settled down when we were at rest and when we drifted backwards they moved up towards the prow. The anchor also moved back and was caught up in the drogues. We reached out the window on the starboard side and released the drogue cable then pulled the mess aboard, then we released the anchor and stowed it all in the bow.
A small fishing boat arrived and towed us into Sooke Harbour. We anchored in a shallow area and they chauffeured us two at a time to the shore. They also informed us that the tides coming in and out of Sooke had, over many years, worn it down so that it was over 90 feet deep! No wonder our anchor had been useless. The Captain phoned our Station and they promised to send out two cranks in the morning.
The next morning our engineer was going over the plane and, on lifting the floorboards, announced that we were not taking on any water but the beam across the fuselage had been driven up when we hit the first wave and was badly bent.
The station told us that, when the cranks arrived, to fly the aircraft to #3 Repair Depot at Vancouver. They said they would send a plane down to Vancouver to fly us back to the station. This pickup did not happen for three days because the coast was fogged in. On the third day, as three of us were not on hand, they flew back without us and we were left to find our own way back to Uclulet. By then we were broke so we asked the adjutant for a transport warrants. He obliged saying it would be taken off our next pay. In my case, that did not happen.
#954 was returned to #4 BR Squadron and flew many more ops.
Fred Burnyeat, Class Senior 20 A Flight, giving command “EYES RIGHT”,
Calgary Wireless School, Sept. 1941
Another Stranraer Story
The following is taken from JERICO BEACH and the West Coast flying Boat Squadrons
Published February 1997
By Chris Weicht ~ Box 85 ~ Chemainus, BC ~ V0R 1K0
This 288 page work is an excellent coverage of West Coast air defences during WWII.
F/L F.S Carpenter, 1940
On December 9, 1941, S/L Carpenter assumed command of 9 BR Squadron, and immediately commenced operational patrols with the two Stranraers #949 and #936. The Stranraers took off from Bella Bella in response to a report that a Japanese submarine was sighted North of Vancouver Island in the Queen Charlotte Strait. The search was uneventful, but the sighting was real and underlined the urgency of bringing the Squadron up to full strength. Four more Stranraers were taken on strength.
Just before Christmas 1941, the first contingent of airmen disembarked from the Union Steamship into the cold and unpromising December darkness. Assembled under the stark illumination on the lighted jetty, the group was inspected by S/L Carpenter who ordered the Station Sergeant Major and his crew to complete a thorough kit search. All liquor found was emptied over the side of the jetty, taking with it any preconceived notions of a “merry” Christmas.
F/Sgt. Guy LaRamee arrived as a corporal with this first group and put in many long hours as a Flight Engineer for the Stranrear patrols.. After a patrol returned to base, the ground crew refuelled the aircraft at the bouy from 45 gallon drums – and still faced a pre-flight inspection of the aircraft at the crack of dawn on the following morning.
F/Sgt. laRamee had just completed one of these early morning inspections and was about to step into the motor boat to return to shore when another boat arrived and S/L Carpenter jumped out, The S/L ordered LaRamee and a rigger, Corporal Asselin, back on board the Stranraer with the sharp command, “Get Cranking! – a ponderous task necessary due to the “Stranies” lack of a self starter. There was a slight delay because Carpenter did not notice that the master switch was not on, but they finally got both engines running and took off. Over the roar of the engines Carpenter yelled at LaRemee to get the Navigator and Wireless Operator, to which the Flight Sergeant truthfully responded, “not on board Sir.”
Carpenter shot back, “Well, get me one of the Gunners!”
Again the puzzled reply was, “No Gunners on board Sir.”
Carpenter exploded in frustration, “Who the Christ is aboard this aircraft?” and took off his service hat and stomped on it.
Flt./ Sgt. LaRemee had no choice but to inform the Squadron Leader that the head count was only three. Carpenter was still barking out orders, “Can you man the machine guns?”
“Well put them on Sergeant!”
They flew on and on through dense fog but LaRemee had no idea where they were going. Suddenly they heard a deafening bang, after which Carpenter cranked the Stranraer into a steep turn, and dropped all the depth charges.
Somehow S/L Carpenter found his way back through the fog, and on their return to base the angry Squadron Leader called a meeting of all aircrew members. He severely raked them over the coals for their lack of organization; this action produced looks of consternation on many sleepy faces.
Flt./Sgt. LaRemee learned nothing conclusive about his mysterious patrol, but he firmly believed that they had responded to a Japanese submarine sighting and had been fired on by the enemy.
Years later, LaRemee, an RCN Lieutenant, met Air Commodore Carpenter at Shearwater, Nova Scotia, in the station’s Ward Room. LaRemee approached Carpenter and recounted the incident, but the mystery was to remain a mystery, the Air Commodore flatly denied any knowledge of the occurrence.
A Sentimental Journey
By Eric Woodnutt
Sept. 1939 Proud 16 yr. old
July 1945 Glad to be
A WAG that made it.
April 2003 Still able to
Get into it!
On May 13th I took off for my “Sentimental Journey” to England via Air Canada from Kelowna, B.C.
My cousin met me at Heathrow and took me to his home in Wimbonne, Dorset. My first objective was to visit the Royal Bath Hotel in Bournemouth. My cousin and his wife drove me there and when we pulled up in front of the hotel two doormen came out to greet us. We went in and had a good look around the lobby, reception area, and large dining area and patio. Believe me when I tell you that the Royal Bath bears no resemblance to the basic accommodation we were given during the war. Any way it was good to see that and the “Pleasure” parks nearby – they are somewhat the same.
The next trip was to Chivenor in North Devon from which our Squadron, 407, did much of its operations. Imagine my surprise to find that it is now a Royal Marine base, complete with married quarters and obstacle courses. A kindly Marine Corporal drove me around the base. There are vestiges of the old runways our Leigh-light Wellingtons used to roar down as we headed out to the Bay of Biscay, but very little else remains.
My final objective was to go to the church at Heanton-Punchardon to lay some flowers on one of the graves up on the hill overlooking Chivenor. It is a beautiful resting place for those who didn’t make it. All the servicemen’s graves are beautifully cared for. I left flowers on the grave of a 407 WAG named Albert David Telford. I took a picture and would really like to contact any of his relatives to tell them his grave is given the best of attention and he is not forgotten by the Brits.
In Memory of Albert David Telford
From Montreal – WAG
took a picture of the 407 Plaque
which adorns one of the inside walls
of this ancient building.
Plaque InscriptionIn proud and honoured memory of the Canadian Air Crew who laid down their lives for King and Country in the Second World War and are buried in this Churchyard. This tablet was erected by their Comrades of 407 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force AD 1944. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori
That was the object of my “Sentimental Journey” – to see from where we had operated and to pay my respects to those we left behind. It was a great and moving experience.
The April 2003 Page of Short Bursts reviewed George Olson’s book, No Place to Hide.
BOMBER CREW GREETED BY OLD FRIEND
This is a follow-up telling of how George and his Crew were reunited with their favourite aircraft – The B25 Mitchell Bomber.
Pilot Cy Poissant and his Wireless Air Gunner, Fred Bing in cockpit of Mitchell
It was a reunion that brought tears to the eye of four grown men.
Cyrille “Cy” Poissant - Pilot, Peter “Doc” Ryan - Navigator, Fred Bing – Wireless Air Gunner, and George “Ole” Olson, Air Gunner, are the surviving members of a second World War Bomber crew. The men were part of 98 Squadron Second Tactical Air Force.
But it wasn’t just the reunion of the Crew that hadn’t been together since 1944. They were surprised by the arrival of a B-25 Mitchell bomber, the same type of plane they flew nearly 60 years ago. The Mitchell landed on the runway in front of the unsuspecting Crew members and another 50 veterans.
The reunion, organized by the Second Tactical Air Force Medium Bombers Association, Canadian Wing, brought the plane from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario.
As a Crew they were like brothers and this bond formed during the war has been maintained through letters and phone calls.
(It is suggested that you go to the Archives at the bottom of this page, click on April 2003, to see wartime and present pictures of this Crew, and refresh your mind regarding George Olson’s nostalgic work, No Place to Hide.)
REMEMBER THE PENNY MATCH COVERS FROM TRAINING DAYS?
S.W.Tennant - Tobacconist
133 Main St. Welland, Ont.
Buy War Savings Stamps
They have become very collectible in their own right! Samples were made available by Bob Henderson. There were also covers featuring No. 11 SFTS; MacDonald B& G; No. 3 Wireless School; No. 8 Repair Depot; Britannia Branch Legion No. 7, Victoria, B.C. These did not scan clear enough to print. If you have trouble turning your monitor upside down to read the topside of the match cover, just stand your grand child on his or her head.
Bob has been a generous contributor to our Page. He can be contacted at:
SRIGLEY, A. J. #0331, RICHMOND, BC: Albert passed away May 13th, 2003. Service #146064. From a civilian occupation of Butcher, he was Posted to #3 Manning Depot from where he was posted to Stores at Jericho, Vancouver as an Equipment Assistant. After postings to a variety of locations on Vancouver Island he remustered to Aircrew Category and attended Gunnery Course at #3 MacDonald B&G. Posted overseas he joined 428 Squadron in 6 Group where he served till war's end. Bert was an active member of his community and his Coffee Shop was well patronized by the locals. He was a Past President of the BC Restaurant Association, a member of the Royal Canadian Legion, the ANAFA and an active volunteer of the Meals-on-Wheels program. He is survived by Agnes, his wife of 57 years, two sons, their wives, four Grandchildren and one Great Grandson.
HOME FRONT ARCHIVES AND MUSEUM
Robert J. Henderson
Regina, SK S4T 6V4 Canada
NEILSEN, W. #0326, REGINA, SK: Bill passed away June 22nd, 2003. His Service Number was R265956. Selected for Air Gunner training he earned his brevet at #3 B&G at MacDonald, MB. Overseas he served in the Burma Theatre with 355 and 356 Squadrons. In civilian life he was a business associate of our National President, Doug Penny, working for the same company. He in Regina and Doug in Calgary
Thanks to Fred Burnyeat, Eric Woodnutt, and Bob Henderson, for their contributions to this Page.
We would like to hear from Members and readers who have pursued hobbies on retirement. I became involved with woodcarving. This started by accident when Doreene and I attended a craft show in Saskatoon. A carver displayed a number of poplar logs on which he had carved faces. Doreene wanted to buy one but I said, “No way, I’m not paying $50.00 for a piece of firewood. I’ll make you one when we go home.”
I finally got around to duplicating the ‘man in the log’. From there the hobby took off and we enjoyed displaying our crafts at shows in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and I found myself charging big bucks for ‘pieces of firewood’. Doreene excels in spinning and weaving.
If you have any interesting hobbies, share them with us.
Our condolences go out to Member Sven Jensen and family on the loss of Elizabeth. We cherish the memory of your visits. Our thoughts are with you.
To all Members, drop us a line for the Short Bursts August Page.
John and Doreene Moyles.
Ste. 233 - 1060 Dorothy St.,
Regina, Sask. S4X 3C5 CANADA
Ph. (306) 949-6112
Southern Ontario Chapter
Royal Canadian Legion
Wilson Branch 527
948 Sheppard Avenue West
We meet the first Wednesday of each month at the Legion hall 1:00 pm.
No meetings July, August, September.
Ken Hill ~ President ~ 905.789.1912
Bill Cockburn ~ Secretary ~ 416.492.1024
Location - Royal Canadian Legion Br.#4 St. James Legion.
Date - Third Thursday of each month.
Time - Luncheon meeting (provide your own lunch).
Contact Member - Charlie Yule Ph. (204) 254-6264.
Location - Lynx Wing Ave. C North, Saskatoon.
Date - Third Monday of the month.
Time - Luncheon meetings.
Contact Member - C.A. "Smokey" Robson Ph. (306) 374-0547.
Northern Alberta Branch
Location - Norwood Branch 178, 11150 – 82 Street, Edmonton, AB
Date - The first Thursday of each month.
Time - 12:00 hours.
Contact Members - E. H. "Ted" Hackett (780)962-2904
or Sven Jensen (780)465-7344.
Location - Royal Canadian Legion #264
Date: Second Monday of each month.
Time - 11:30 hours.
Contact Member: Dave Biggs Ph: (403)236-7895
or Doug Penny Ph: (403)242-7048.
October meeting time moved to third Monday.
Also there are no meetings in July and August, however, a Barbecue is usually held at Larry Robinson's ranch in Okatoks during that time.
British Columbia Branch
Meeting time and local: 2nd Tuesday of each month at 11:30
send current information regarding
regular meeting places, dates, and Contact Members, to
John and Doreene Moyles,
Members are requested to send their experiences, articles, anecdotes, pictures, etc., to John Moyles and I will forward them to our Web Master in Brandon. Articles and Last Post items will be deleted from the page each month after the designated Member in each region has had an opportunity to copy the material for their Members. Notices of deceased Members are to be sent to Charlie Yule who is still our 'Keeper of the Rolls'. This is your SHORT BURSTS with no printing or mailing costs, and no deadlines!
We thank our Web Master, Bill Hillman, for his volunteer time and expertise.
As You Were . . .
Hillman WWII Tributes
RCN HMCS PRINCE ROBERT
Ex-Air Gunners Association
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