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Mid-under gunner station on the Halifax
This is a post written in 2013.
Jack McLean had shared his story. He knew all about the mid-under gunner station.
The View From A Ringside Seat
Reprinted with the express permission of Airforce magazine
By Jack McLean — as told to Paul Nyznik
Halifax Mk III “Willie the Wolf” of 415 (Swordfish) Squadron which would carry mid-under air gunner Jack McLean on his tour-completing 32nd trip – a raid on a synthetic oil plant at Castrop-Rauxel, Germany on November 21st 1944. Note the mid-under gun position.
On the morning of a scheduled night mission, life on a bomber squadron in 1944 England stirs before dawn. And as the “new boy” on the squadron, I have already heard it all — about the crew failing to return from its first mission, from its “unlucky” 13th, its 31st — or any other number in between. In 1943-44 aircrew losses reached 55…
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Some war stories never die…
I wrote a post in April 2010 about Tommy Smith’s navigator. I don’t a picture of Arthur Cockayne just a painting commissioned by Peter Smith, Tommy Smith’s son.
Arthur Cockayne did not survive the war. There is a follow-up to what I wrote back in 2010.
Peter received this e-mail from someone in December 2008. It all about his father’s navigator. If you are related to Arthur Cockayne, write me a comment and I will get in touch.
Here is the e-mail he got about Cockie…
Arthur Clarence COCKAYNE
Flying Officer 157435
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Died on sortie to Germany on Tuesday 16 January 1945
Arthur was the eldest son of William Charles and Alice Barker Cockayne of 73, Darlaston Road, Walsall.
He was educated at Queen Mary’s Grammar School, where he was a member of the O.T.C., and later took a position as a student…
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Scary…when you think of it nowadays.
The following may be a little contentious. It may offend and annoy some people. I don’t intend that. I just thought that maybe there are some things that need saying. If you don’t like it you don’t have to say. Just wait a little and I’ll write something about birds or sunsets.
The 1930s saw a great depression, world-wide, and at the same time the rise of Nazi Germany. Hitler, and his National Socialist party needed a scapegoat and this was found by playing on the deep-seated antagonism many held for the Jews. Now notice he didn’t talk about the money lenders and the industrialists who were accused of undermining the economy. No. Hitler lumped ALL Jews together and blamed them.
Years went by and millions of Jews and Communists and Socialists and Gypsies and the physically and mentally handicapped were destroyed , executed, massacred or starved to death. Then…
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In my search for more information to use on my blog paying homage to VF(N)-101 I had found this Website earlier this week.
It was about the Battle of Midway.
There was something that caught my attention.
A painting and the story behind it. I had to look and read the story.
“The Other Sole Survivors”Torpedo 8 TBF Avenger at Midway – June 4, 1942
All paintings © John Greaves Art (used by permission)
Now the story behind the painting.
The only survivor of a flight of six TBF Avenger torpedo planes struggles to return home to Midway Atoll after attacking the Japanese fleet. Flown by ENS Albert Earnest with radioman Harry Ferrier RM3c and turret gunner Jay Manning Sea1c, the badly damaged TBF has hydraulics shot out causing the tail wheel to drop and the bomb bay doors to open. Without a working compass, Earnest flew east towards the sun and climbed above the cloud deck where he could see the column of smoke rising from Midway in the far distance. Earnest managed to bring back the TBF using only the elevator trim tab for altitude control and successfully landed. Manning died in his turret and Earnest and Ferrier were wounded.
There is another story behind this story.
I wrote John Greaves to get his permission to use his painting on my blog.
But little did I know…
GREAVES, John Leonard
John Greaves died unexpectedly and peacefully at home on Monday, January 9, 2017 in Airdrie, AB at the age of 52 years. John is lovingly remembered by his wife Janet, and their 2 daughters; Emma and Katy of Airdrie, his parents; Len and Eleanor, brother; Stewart of Abbotsford, B.C., Janet’s sister; Sandra (Sam) Hamilton and family of Saskatoon, SK. John was born in Calgary, AB on September 1, 1964. John and his family moved to B.C. prior to John and his brother starting school, eventually settling in Abbotsford where John attended Abby Jr and Sr High School. John attended Fraser Valley College where he pursued his passion in Art, then went on to further study in graphic arts and business at BCIT. A Memorial Service will be held at Aridrie Alliance church, 1604 Summerfield Blvd, Airdrie, AB., on Saturday, January 14, 2017 at 1:30, with a reception to follow. Sandy Isfeld and Nathan Kliewer will be officiating, please join us in Celebrating John’s Life In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in John’s memory to the Canadian Diabetes Association, 240, 2323 – 32 Ave. NE, Calgary, AB, T2E 6Z3.
Messages of condolence may be left for the family at http://www.myalternatives.ca.
John Greaves’ artwork is being used on this blog by special permission of his wife Janet…
In Memoriam of John Leonard Greaves (1964-2017)
All paintings © John Greaves Art (used by permission)