Featured

Preserving the Past – The V-2 Rocket

Preserving the Past – The V-2 Rocket

Clarence Simonsen has been preserving the past more than 50 years. He has finally gotten recognition for his research on the V-2 rocket.

The original research of Clarence Simonsen on the V-2 rocket

Dr Philipp Aumann sent Clarence three photos of the exhibition and one photo of himself. The book he wrote on the exhibition can be bought at the museum shop.

This is the link to the museum shop:

https://museum-peenemuende.de/educational-offers/publikationen/?lang=enand

 This is the link to the publisher’s website:

https://www.editionbraus.de/Neuerscheinungen/Kunst-und-Waffen::309.html

Both sites are just in German, but the book itself is bilingual.

More contribution by Clarence Simonsen – Ricky Hops the Pond

More contribution by Clarence Simonsen

Transcription

Ricky HOPS THE POND

It was back in the war’s early days when the quickly accelerating air training machine would occasionally slip a cog and fling a temporarily forgotten band of airmen off into space. A flat top from AFHQ was sent to report on the zero-zero morale of one hapless group of cease-training air crew. Things were bad all right till he discovered a bunch of the browned-offers chuckling inanely before a collection of bulletin-board cartoons, each one a grotesque and bitter satire on Air Force life..

Some of them were unprintable. The style was so loose and explosive it threatened to bounce right off the page. But from the caricatured brass hats to the wee, cowrin’, timorous acey beasties who scuttled for cover at the smell of a pair of hooks, the stuff was as Air Force as a pair of issue boots. In the corner of each cartoon was a barely decipherable signature “Ricky”.

Whisked bodily away to Ottawa, LAC Rickard, H., was set before a drawing board and told to go right on cartooning. Soon his audience was broadened to include browned-off joes of every shade. Dazed and befuddled aceys everywhere stopped moaning long enough to chuckle at Ricky’s latest contribution to bulletin board art, hitched up their Police suspenders and went on fighting the war against the enemies of freedom, as represented by the nearest sergeant.

Gradually Rick discovered that everytime he drew a cartoon containing three or more airmen, one of them was a chubby-faced erk equipped with a skyrocketing hank of hair, an easy nack for violating every order in KR (Air), and a wholeheartedly unquenchable spirit. He decided that the little fellow deserved a chance to star in a comic strip of his own. At which appropriate moment WINGS was launched and Joe Erk went solo.

Like the guy who created Frankenstein, Ricky soon found himself being led around by the nose by his dreamchild. No matter how many high-powered directorates were demanding new and funnier posters to promote this and that great cause, always there was Joe, perched on the corner of his drawing board demanding “What am I gonna do in WINGS this month?” But by deadline or the day after – Rick always came up with Joe wangling a weekend pass, doing a tent-trick with a raincoat or brazenly tossing a nickel to the four-striper who served him his Christmas turkey.

The day that DAPS issued notice that AC2 Erk, J., was being posted overseas, Ricky bowed to the inevitable and took off for Y Depot to cover Joe Erk’s latest escapades–see below. By now FO Rickard has set up his drawing board in London, but already Joe has probably stowed away on a landing-barge bound for France to keep one jump ahead of him. If so, Ricky will be hot on his trail, and round one between Joe Erk and the Ersatzians will be seen at the same time, same place, in next month’s WINGS.

Request from Clarence Simonsen – Flight Lieutenant Hugh Rickard (More updates)

Updated 16 January 2022 with new images from Clarence Simonsen’s collection at the end.

Clarence Simonsen wrote with this request…

LAC H. Rickard was an RCAF unknown artist, at some forgotten unit in 1940. He began a cartoon strip on his RCAF duties – “AC2 ERK, Joe” and it became a hit. He was posted to Ottawa, maybe in 1941, then began drawing RCAF training posters, plus his cartoon which appeared in WINGS magazine – RCAF log.

He was posted to London, England in [?], I think 1944, promoted to F/O, serial unknown.

Images shared by Clarence Simonsen

Transcription

Thanks Ricky !

No. 3 I.T.S., and “The Take-Off” in particular, are deeply indebted to Flying Officer H. Rickard, who spent two days at this Station During July and subsequently produced the cartoons which now adorn our magazine.

“Ricky”, as he is known thoughout the Service, is the R.C.A.F. official cartoonist who has drawn hundreds of cartoons of all kinds, single ones and in series, in connection with Air Force matters. Not an Air Force Station in Canada, (and we doubt not, abroad) but has his works on its walls, drawing attention to rules and advice of all kinds in a far more striking way than could ever be done by mere printed words.

Our cover is his product, and we think you will agree that it is a mighty good one! So are the frontispiece and end cartoons. and most of the other drawings. “Ricky” is a quiet man and one didn’t see much of him during his visit, but his eyes were open and he saw things—witness his inimitable cartoons of the “snipe hunt” and the hot July route marches in our first issue.

Having seen things, he returned to Ottawa and went to work. He was shortly afterwards taken ill, but kept at his work and had it in Victoriaville in time for our first issue.

We can never appreciate enough his wonderful contributions to our magazine and we hope to have a lot more of them in the future.

Thanks “Ricky” !

Our First Editor is Posted

“The Take-Off” records with much regret the departure of its first editor, Flying Officer W. F. Burke. Mr. Burke has left oil temporary duty to take the course with the Fighter Command School at Orlando. Florida, subsequent to which he will be posted to other duties.

While envious of Flying Officer Burke’s trip to the Sunny South, where there seems no doubt he will he able to combine some pleasure with his duties (for it is difficult to imagine a month in Florida without some fun, we were sorry to see him leave.

”The Take-Off” was his child. He was amongst those who conceived the idea of publishing a magazine at No. 3 I.T.S., and was its guiding spirit in its earliest days. It followed as a matter of course that. he became the first editor. He did a good job and saw the baby safely born. It was on after the first edition of the magazine appeared that he was posted, but he left knowing that his work was well established.

The best of good luck, Flying Officer Bill!

Transcription

Our congratulations this month to F/Sgt. Pat Winder, who was recently elevated to that rank. Also to Sgt. Errett, a new-comer in our midst. Welcome.

We understand that Sgt. Hankins is quite a ladies’ man. It must be that classic profile.

Attention Sgt “Sandy” Robertson. Is it true what they say about gophers?

Sgt. L’Heureux is speaking with a decidedly English accent these days—the Curle-Salter influence, no doubt.

We hear that W. 0. 2 Kirkham received 2 aspirins and 25c from Drummondville the other day. Better hang on to them Major. You never know, when you’ll need them.

Favourite expressions

Sgt. Howie: “Do you think that’s right ?”
F/Sgt. Gervais: Censored. It could not he printed.
W. O. 2 Blanchette: “Would you like to hear me sing?”
Sgt. MacDonald: “I think I’ll get married.”

What station Sgt. Major had to jump the gate to get in Friday evening? It’s funny how gates can get in the way.

NOTES FROM THE OFFICERS

Postings, marriages, births, promotions, with postings most frequent and promotions least, such is the news of the officers’ mess. Despite their rarity there have been three changes in rank. Allen Hern and Gerard Aubry, who also makes the news with his marriage, have become F/O’s. Our B.O, Mayne has been demoted from S.F.O. to Flight Loot.

F/O’s Ray Cotton and Don Edward each have another mouth to feed. Congratulations.

Friends departing were : F/L “Taffy” Davies to Moncton; F/L Paul Green and Sister Pitkethly for overseas; F/L Gus Dubuc for Lachine “M” Depot: F/O Cliff Church for No. I: F/O’s Burke and Tardif for Florida (yes, Florida) ; and F/O Charlie Young for No. 10 A.O.S., Chatham. We may also have lost, though. we aren’t quite sure F/O Bergeron.

New arrivals are: Padre Curry (May he have luck with our souls); F/O Blackwood and Sister Larose for the Hospital; Lt. Mussels, jaw-breaker: and three officer trainees: P/O’s Zeller, Smith, and Dernier. Bobbie Zeller is no stranger here. He was equipment officer here when No.3 was a pup. So to him and all the newcomers, welcome!

P. S.—There were some parties but everyone who needs to know about them knows already.

Images found on the Internet

Remembering Squadron Leader Carroll McLeod (source Internet)

http://www.hillmanweb.com/rcaf/mag/0703.html

Dick Lidstone ( now of Victoria), with whom I spent the summer of 1957 in Centralia and 1958 in Trenton with the RCAF, wrote to tell me that S/L McLeod’s poem rang a bell with him, and when he checked his collection he found the book of poetry in which the poem appeared,

Dat H’ampire H’air Train Plan. It was first published in 1943 and printed by Gaylord Printing Co. Ltd. of Toronto.

So having the name of the book, I went to http://www.abebooks.com, which I have used several times to locate and purchase used, old, and out-of-print books. I picked up the phone and ordered the book from Alice at Cal’s Books in Saskatoon.

The little hardcover book arrived the next day. It has 7 poems by S/L McLeod, illustrated with 33 cartoons by F/O H. Rickard. The cartoon sent with the poem as it appears in the February Page was not one of those by Rickard. I think it may have been drawn by someone for a station newsletter.

The book is the story of a French-Canadian airman named Joe, who trains in the BCATP, earns his pilot’s wings, is shipped overseas where he flies Halifax bombers, survives a belly landing after a mid-air collision with a German night fighter, is shot down overseas, evades capture, returns to England and is decorated by the king. It is all told in first-person with good humour about a young man who served his country in time of war.

S/L McLeod has inspired me to write my own poetic response to all this. It follows below, and is called, “Dat Poetry Book.”

I know that some folks may take exception to the accent used by S/L McLeod, but I’m sure he meant no offence to anyone. Nor do I. We’re just having fun with words. As McLeod wrote in the book about Joe, “You will find him an earnest, brave, hard-working airman. He trained hard, studied hard, and proved to his superiors that he was the ‘stuff’ of which heroes could be made.”

Following is my response to finding S/L McLeod’s book. I would welcome any information about him or his illustrator, F/O Rickard at…

More images uploaded 16 January 2022

On the right is Clifford MacKay McEwen.

Request from Clarence Simonsen – Flight Lieutenant Hugh Rickard (Updated)

Updated 15 January 2022

Clarence Simonsen wrote with this request…

LAC H. Rickard was an RCAF unknown artist, at some forgotten unit in 1940. He began a cartoon strip on his RCAF duties – “AC2 ERK, Joe” and it became a hit. He was posted to Ottawa, maybe in 1941, then began drawing RCAF training posters, plus his cartoon which appeared in WINGS magazine – RCAF log.

He was posted to London, England in [?], I think 1944, promoted to F/O, serial unknown.

Images shared by Clarence Simonsen

Transcription

Thanks Ricky !

No. 3 I.T.S., and “The Take-Off” in particular, are deeply indebted to Flying Officer H. Rickard, who spent two days at this Station During July and subsequently produced the cartoons which now adorn our magazine.

“Ricky”, as he is known thoughout the Service, is the R.C.A.F. official cartoonist who has drawn hundreds of cartoons of all kinds, single ones and in series, in connection with Air Force matters. Not an Air Force Station in Canada, (and we doubt not, abroad) but has his works on its walls, drawing attention to rules and advice of all kinds in a far more striking way than could ever be done by mere printed words.

Our cover is his product, and we think you will agree that it is a mighty good one! So are the frontispiece and end cartoons. and most of the other drawings. “Ricky” is a quiet man and one didn’t see much of him during his visit, but his eyes were open and he saw things—witness his inimitable cartoons of the “snipe hunt” and the hot July route marches in our first issue.

Having seen things, he returned to Ottawa and went to work. He was shortly afterwards taken ill, but kept at his work and had it in Victoriaville in time for our first issue.

We can never appreciate enough his wonderful contributions to our magazine and we hope to have a lot more of them in the future.

Thanks “Ricky” !

Our First Editor is Posted

“The Take-Off” records with much regret the departure of its first editor, Flying Officer W. F. Burke. Mr. Burke has left oil temporary duty to take the course with the Fighter Command School at Orlando. Florida, subsequent to which he will be posted to other duties.

While envious of Flying Officer Burke’s trip to the Sunny South, where there seems no doubt he will he able to combine some pleasure with his duties (for it is difficult to imagine a month in Florida without some fun, we were sorry to see him leave.

”The Take-Off” was his child. He was amongst those who conceived the idea of publishing a magazine at No. 3 I.T.S., and was its guiding spirit in its earliest days. It followed as a matter of course that. he became the first editor. He did a good job and saw the baby safely born. It was on after the first edition of the magazine appeared that he was posted, but he left knowing that his work was well established.

The best of good luck, Flying Officer Bill!

Transcription

Our congratulations this month to F/Sgt. Pat Winder, who was recently elevated to that rank. Also to Sgt. Errett, a new-comer in our midst. Welcome.

We understand that Sgt. Hankins is quite a ladies’ man. It must be that classic profile.

Attention Sgt “Sandy” Robertson. Is it true what they say about gophers?

Sgt. L’Heureux is speaking with a decidedly English accent these days—the Curle-Salter influence, no doubt.

We hear that W. 0. 2 Kirkham received 2 aspirins and 25c from Drummondville the other day. Better hang on to them Major. You never know, when you’ll need them.

Favourite expressions

Sgt. Howie: “Do you think that’s right ?”
F/Sgt. Gervais: Censored. It could not he printed.
W. O. 2 Blanchette: “Would you like to hear me sing?”
Sgt. MacDonald: “I think I’ll get married.”

What station Sgt. Major had to jump the gate to get in Friday evening? It’s funny how gates can get in the way.

NOTES FROM THE OFFICERS

Postings, marriages, births, promotions, with postings most frequent and promotions least, such is the news of the officers’ mess. Despite their rarity there have been three changes in rank. Allen Hern and Gerard Aubry, who also makes the news with his marriage, have become F/O’s. Our B.O, Mayne has been demoted from S.F.O. to Flight Loot.

F/O’s Ray Cotton and Don Edward each have another mouth to feed. Congratulations.

Friends departing were : F/L “Taffy” Davies to Moncton; F/L Paul Green and Sister Pitkethly for overseas; F/L Gus Dubuc for Lachine “M” Depot: F/O Cliff Church for No. I: F/O’s Burke and Tardif for Florida (yes, Florida) ; and F/O Charlie Young for No. 10 A.O.S., Chatham. We may also have lost, though. we aren’t quite sure F/O Bergeron.

New arrivals are: Padre Curry (May he have luck with our souls); F/O Blackwood and Sister Larose for the Hospital; Lt. Mussels, jaw-breaker: and three officer trainees: P/O’s Zeller, Smith, and Dernier. Bobbie Zeller is no stranger here. He was equipment officer here when No.3 was a pup. So to him and all the newcomers, welcome!

P. S.—There were some parties but everyone who needs to know about them knows already.

Images found on the Internet

Remembering Squadron Leader Carroll McLeod (source Internet)

http://www.hillmanweb.com/rcaf/mag/0703.html

Dick Lidstone ( now of Victoria), with whom I spent the summer of 1957 in Centralia and 1958 in Trenton with the RCAF, wrote to tell me that S/L McLeod’s poem rang a bell with him, and when he checked his collection he found the book of poetry in which the poem appeared,

Dat H’ampire H’air Train Plan. It was first published in 1943 and printed by Gaylord Printing Co. Ltd. of Toronto.

So having the name of the book, I went to http://www.abebooks.com, which I have used several times to locate and purchase used, old, and out-of-print books. I picked up the phone and ordered the book from Alice at Cal’s Books in Saskatoon.

The little hardcover book arrived the next day. It has 7 poems by S/L McLeod, illustrated with 33 cartoons by F/O H. Rickard. The cartoon sent with the poem as it appears in the February Page was not one of those by Rickard. I think it may have been drawn by someone for a station newsletter.

The book is the story of a French-Canadian airman named Joe, who trains in the BCATP, earns his pilot’s wings, is shipped overseas where he flies Halifax bombers, survives a belly landing after a mid-air collision with a German night fighter, is shot down overseas, evades capture, returns to England and is decorated by the king. It is all told in first-person with good humour about a young man who served his country in time of war.

S/L McLeod has inspired me to write my own poetic response to all this. It follows below, and is called, “Dat Poetry Book.”

I know that some folks may take exception to the accent used by S/L McLeod, but I’m sure he meant no offence to anyone. Nor do I. We’re just having fun with words. As McLeod wrote in the book about Joe, “You will find him an earnest, brave, hard-working airman. He trained hard, studied hard, and proved to his superiors that he was the ‘stuff’ of which heroes could be made.”

Following is my response to finding S/L McLeod’s book. I would welcome any information about him or his illustrator, F/O Rickard at…

Request from Clarence Simonsen – Flight Lieutenant Hugh Rickard

Updated 15 January 2022

Clarence Simonsen wrote with this request…

LAC H. Rickard was an RCAF unknown artist, at some forgotten unit in 1940. He began a cartoon strip on his RCAF duties – “AC2 ERK, Joe” and it became a hit. He was posted to Ottawa, maybe in 1941, then began drawing RCAF training posters, plus his cartoon which appeared in WINGS magazine – RCAF log.

He was posted to London, England in [?], I think 1944, promoted to F/O, serial unknown.

Images shared by Clarence Simonsen

Transcription

Thanks Ricky !

No. 3 I.T.S., and “The Take-Off” in particular, are deeply indebted to Flying Officer H. Rickard, who spent two days at this Station During July and subsequently produced the cartoons which now adorn our magazine.

“Ricky”, as he is known thoughout the Service, is the R.C.A.F. official cartoonist who has drawn hundreds of cartoons of all kinds, single ones and in series, in connection with Air Force matters. Not an Air Force Station in Canada, (and we doubt not, abroad) but has his works on its walls, drawing attention to rules and advice of all kinds in a far more striking way than could ever be done by mere printed words.

Our cover is his product, and we think you will agree that it is a mighty good one! So are the frontispiece and end cartoons. and most of the other drawings. “Ricky” is a quiet man and one didn’t see much of him during his visit, but his eyes were open and he saw things—witness his inimitable cartoons of the “snipe hunt” and the hot July route marches in our first issue.

Having seen things, he returned to Ottawa and went to work. He was shortly afterwards taken ill, but kept at his work and had it in Victoriaville in time for our first issue.

We can never appreciate enough his wonderful contributions to our magazine and we hope to have a lot more of them in the future.

Thanks “Ricky” !

Our First Editor is Posted

“The Take-Off” records with much regret the departure of its first editor, Flying Officer W. F. Burke. Mr. Burke has left oil temporary duty to take the course with the Fighter Command School at Orlando. Florida, subsequent to which he will be posted to other duties.

While envious of Flying Officer Burke’s trip to the Sunny South, where there seems no doubt he will he able to combine some pleasure with his duties (for it is difficult to imagine a month in Florida without some fun, we were sorry to see him leave.

”The Take-Off” was his child. He was amongst those who conceived the idea of publishing a magazine at No. 3 I.T.S., and was its guiding spirit in its earliest days. It followed as a matter of course that. he became the first editor. He did a good job and saw the baby safely born. It was on after the first edition of the magazine appeared that he was posted, but he left knowing that his work was well established.

The best of good luck, Flying Officer Bill!

Images found on the Internet

Remembering Squadron Leader Carroll McLeod (source Internet)

http://www.hillmanweb.com/rcaf/mag/0703.html

Dick Lidstone ( now of Victoria), with whom I spent the summer of 1957 in Centralia and 1958 in Trenton with the RCAF, wrote to tell me that S/L McLeod’s poem rang a bell with him, and when he checked his collection he found the book of poetry in which the poem appeared,

Dat H’ampire H’air Train Plan. It was first published in 1943 and printed by Gaylord Printing Co. Ltd. of Toronto.

So having the name of the book, I went to http://www.abebooks.com, which I have used several times to locate and purchase used, old, and out-of-print books. I picked up the phone and ordered the book from Alice at Cal’s Books in Saskatoon.

The little hardcover book arrived the next day. It has 7 poems by S/L McLeod, illustrated with 33 cartoons by F/O H. Rickard. The cartoon sent with the poem as it appears in the February Page was not one of those by Rickard. I think it may have been drawn by someone for a station newsletter.

The book is the story of a French-Canadian airman named Joe, who trains in the BCATP, earns his pilot’s wings, is shipped overseas where he flies Halifax bombers, survives a belly landing after a mid-air collision with a German night fighter, is shot down overseas, evades capture, returns to England and is decorated by the king. It is all told in first-person with good humour about a young man who served his country in time of war.

S/L McLeod has inspired me to write my own poetic response to all this. It follows below, and is called, “Dat Poetry Book.”

I know that some folks may take exception to the accent used by S/L McLeod, but I’m sure he meant no offence to anyone. Nor do I. We’re just having fun with words. As McLeod wrote in the book about Joe, “You will find him an earnest, brave, hard-working airman. He trained hard, studied hard, and proved to his superiors that he was the ‘stuff’ of which heroes could be made.”

Following is my response to finding S/L McLeod’s book. I would welcome any information about him or his illustrator, F/O Rickard at…

Willie the Wolf – PDF and Text Versions

Willie the Wolf – PDF and Text Versions

Research by Clarence Simonsen

Willie the Wolf

Click on the link above.

Excerpt

Wolves were once present in extraordinarily large numbers on the original island of Great Britain, and skeletal remains show they were the same size as today’s Canadian wolves. The species was slowly exterminated from the U.K. through a combination of deforestation and active trapping through bounty systems. According to Scottish folklore the last Wolf was killed in 1743, and their total extinction continues until present day. There still remains a strong resistance to reintroduce the Wolf to Scotland and England, however during the Second World War “Willie the Wolf” was secretly reintroduced to the United Kingdom and he produced a new generation of over two million offsprings, which remain part of their population today.


Text version (with all the images seen in the PDF version)

Willie the Wolf

[Author collection of Willie Wolf Nose Art on an American B-24 bomber in England 1944]

Wolves were once present in extraordinarily large numbers on the original island of Great Britain, and skeletal remains show they were the same size as today’s Canadian wolves. The species was slowly exterminated from the U.K. through a combination of deforestation and active trapping through bounty systems. According to Scottish folklore the last Wolf was killed in 1743, and their total extinction continues until present day. There still remains a strong resistance to reintroduce the Wolf to Scotland and England, however during the Second World War “Willie the Wolf” was secretly reintroduced to the United Kingdom and he produced a new generation of over two million offspring, which remain part of their population today.

The American 8th Air Force Historical Society was founded in 1975, by an original Lead B-24 pilot in the 466th Bomb Group, Lt. Col. John H. Woolnought, USAF, [retired]. That same year, the author was a ten-year veteran of the Metro. Toronto Police Force, employed in the print room [Dungeon] of the Identification Bureau at 590 Jarvis St. My main duties were fingerprinting endless lines of prisoners, learning to classify fingerprints and mastering the art of developing photographs in a dark room, hypo splasher. [replaced by the computer] After ten years of dealing with the dark side of Toronto’s mankind, the only real enjoyment became the few minutes I could spend in the darkroom, all alone, developing my own WWII aircraft nose art 35 mm negatives.  Though your author didn’t know it at the time, this experience proved to be a vital starting point in the next forty-six years of aircraft nose art collection and preservation of WWII aircraft photos. In a 1975 letter penned to Col. John Woolnought, I explained my interest in the subject of 8th Air Force WWII Nose Art, repainting and preserving this lost art, and if I could join the 8th A.F. as an associate member. In January 1976, I became an Associate [Canadian] member 644A, and shared letters with founder Woolnought. To my surprise, I learned Sgt. John Woolnought had become an Air Force photo instructor [hypo splasher] at Lowry Field, Colorado, in 1942, and later went to flying school and became a Liberator pilot in the 8th A.F. At the time, John was collecting original negatives and photos for the future 1978 publication of the first 8th A.F. Album, the story of the Mighty Eighth Air Force in WWII. I wrote back, and asked why not start a nose art column in the 8th A.F. Journal, which was then published four times each year, and learn more about the reasons for painting this art in time of war. I was not prepared for his reply in a following letter. The pilot who founded the 8th A.F. Historical Society, was giving this unknown Canadian his own small nose art column in the Mighty Eighth Newsletter, preserving their WWII nose paintings. By 1977, John had amassed a collection of over 6,000 photographs and hundreds of forgotten nose art images. Next came the formation of the 8th A.F. Memorial Museum Foundation, to establish and maintain a museum plus museum collections of 8th A.F. memorabilia. Another major project was the establishment of the 8th A.F. Collection in the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, England. In the spring of 1978, “The 8th A.F. Album” was published and it contained a section with hundreds of nose art photos. By 1980, the 8th A.F. Historical Society had grown to almost 8,000 members and the photo collection was nearly 10,000 images, with a second book, “The 8th Air Force Yearbook” published [1981] plus another section devoted to American nose art painted in England.  The author’s nose art column in the 8th A.F. News was also growing in both content and hundreds of letters received which preserved vital information combined with the discovery of many forgotten Americans who painted aircraft in WWII. This information was later published in the 1987 book – “Vintage Aircraft Nose Art “Ready for Duty” by Gary M. Valant and the 1991 publication “The History of Aircraft Nose Art WWI to Today” by Jeffrey Ethell and the author.

While my nose art column was small in size, I soon realized it was my choice of subject matter which produced the most interest and welcome stack of letters with attached original nose art photos, which I copied and printed. [learned at Toronto I-Dent. Bureau] This is my original 8th Air Force News Journal story which was published in 1982, and it produced an above normal amount of letters and nose art connected with “Miss Lace” “The Wolf” and also the slang word “Willie.”

Author collection

Love and War represent the two far extremes of our full human experience and combined with death and separation, produced millions of wartime love affairs. While conducting over two thousand Air Force wartime interviews, almost half of these veterans shared [with the author, not his wife] a World War Two sexual relationship which had a profound impact on this man for the rest of his life. [Some good, some bad] From 1939-45, over five million British infants were born and one-third were illegitimate [from a non-British biological father]. These babies were born to every age group of British mothers, and reached their peak in 1945, when 16.1% of 1000 births were illegitimate. The high death rate in the Air Force [RCAF, and USAAF] provided a powerful incentive to make love at every opportunity, and a large percentage of foreign males did just that. Over 22,100 Canadians fathered a child by an English mother, and perhaps the most famous became a world known rock and blues guitarist.

Sixteen-year-old British teenager Patricia Molly Clapton gave birth to a son 30 March 1945, [Eric Patrick Clapton] and his father was a Canadian soldier named Edward Fryer, who had returned back home to Montreal, Quebec. With so many servicemen seeking romantic encounters with British ladies, the slang name “Wolf” or “Wolf-Pack” was soon applied as these soldiers roamed like a pack of Wolves seeking sex. If you study American/Canadian teenage slang for the early 1940s you will find a number of terms were used to describe a male who’s fast with the ladies. B.T.O. [Big Time Operator], Wolf on a scooter, educated Fox, or just Wolf. The American Forces in England created a huge slang of their own and a number of books can be found online if readers are interested. The term G.I. for Government Issue was first used in the magazine “Stars and Stripes” in February 1942, and soon expanded to G.I. Jane [Women’s Army Corps], G.I. Joe [Common Soldier] and G.I. Jesus [Chaplain]. In January 1942, a dark haired, 5’ 1”, baby-faced Lenny Sansone enlisted in the U.S. Army and after training was posted to Fort Belvoir, Va., where he worked on the Camp Newspaper “Duckboard.”

Born in Norwood, Norfolk, near Boston, in 1917, Lenny was a graduate of Massachusetts School of Art and became a commercial artist in his short civilian life. For a gag, he created a cartoon G.I. soldier with a Wolf head, who had a one-track mind [SEX] when it came to women, named “G.I. Wolf.” When the Camp Newspaper Service was created, Pte. Sansone was transferred and his new editors saw the obvious possibilities in the cartoon and the title was changed to read “The Wolf.”

Cartoonist Pte. Lenny Sansone at Camp Newspaper Service.

The new cartoon caught on with Allied troops immediately, and was soon syndicated around the world appearing in over 1,000 service newspapers including those of the RCAF in Canada and England. By 1943, the “Wolf” began to appear in hundreds of different paintings as American aircraft nose art.

Author collection

The Wolf even appeared in Spanish on one American B-24 aircraft nose art. [Author collection]

Author collection

Lenny Sansone was a very talented artist and his cartoon was kept very simple, a well drawn sexy looking American Lady, the facial expression on the G.I. Wolf, with a catch line mostly reflecting on the subject of sex. This comic art [Wolf chasing a pin-up girl] soon began appearing as nose art on many aircraft, and a new trend was being created.

[Internet free domain image]

This happy-faced Wolf praying, dreaming of a nude British lady, was called “Los Lobos” and flew with the 449th B.G. Different Wolf nose art also appeared on the port nose of the same B-24 aircraft.  The effect of “The Wolf” cartoon strip was becoming a humorous, and at the same time, a factual part of wartime European Theatre aircraft nose art. The Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, and most of all the [over-paid] Americans were in fact changing the future DNA of a new generation [Wolves] being born in the United Kingdom. Today hundreds of British citizens are learning of their past [Wolf] roots thanks to modern DNA.

By 1942, American artists George Petty and Alberta Vargas had achieved world fame and public recognition, however another American artist named Gil Elvgren was emerging as the most loved and respected pin-up painter of the Second World War. In 1937-38 he created a series of pin-up paintings and these were reissued in 1942, in a twelve-page booklet form, which could be mailed to American soldiers serving overseas. These reissued American pin-up glamour girls had a major effect on USAAF aircraft nose art in the United Kingdom, and around the world.

The Gil Elvgren pin-girl began appearing as aircraft nose art and many were being chased by a Wolf. The 8th A.F. in England had five B-17 Fortress bombers named “Wolf Pack” including the 384th B. G. serial 42-29723, BK-B, seen above. [Author collection]

The simple Sansone cartoon [The Wolf] produced a wide range of nose art which involved all the famous pin-up girls of the time. In the 8th Air Force alone nine bombers [B-17 and B-24] carried the name “Wolf Pack” followed by Wolf’s Den, Wolf’s Lair, Wolfless, and Wolves Inc., which appeared on four known aircraft.

Author collection

In 1943, two colour photos of waist gunner Frank T. Lusic appeared in front of his B-17F, serial 42-29524, named “Meat Hound.” Today the WWII true sexual meaning has been lost to the newest generation of model builders, and it had nothing to do with Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf.

War and Military breeds a different culture all its own and with it comes a new slang language. The world wide scale of the Second World War inspired thousands of new slang words and a large number found their way to aircraft nose art paintings. In 1962, the author joined the Canadian Army [Military Police] and began basic training at Camp Borden, Ontario, in early July.  Just two weeks into our course, my platoon was ordered by our Drill Staff Sergeant to strip naked and line up in front of a Medical Officer, who sat on a chair, beside a box of large flat wooden sticks. When your turn came, the officer took out a new stick, and then proceeded to pock around your genital organ until he yelled “next.” This was called “Short Arm Inspection” and that was the new Army Medical term for my penis. One of my fellow classmates was found to be infested with pubic lice and it was soon announced he had ‘Crotch Crickets’ and we never saw him again. That was my first recruit introduction to postwar Canadian Army slang.

During the first three months of Canadian Army Basic Training all recruits were confined to camp area, and no 48 hour passes were issued, you had to earn them. [impossible] This meant no drinking, no contact with females and of course no sex. [impossible] The Army slang word for your penis was “Willie” and most mornings you woke up with a “Woody-Willie” the slang for a penile erection. These male sexual slang words originated in the military during WWII and were still very much in use twenty-years later.

Author collection

This B-24J, serial 44-40271 flew with the American 14th Air Force during WWII with nose art showing a G.I. chasing a flying nude who was a “Willie Maker.” Slowly the slang word Willie [for penis] was being added to the Wolf and the aircraft nose art name became very common. By 1944, Leonard “Lenny” Sansone had been promoted to Staff/Sgt. and his cartoon was appearing in over 1,600 Camp Newspapers in U.S., Canada, and Britain. By now his Wolf had caused a major shift in nose art paintings, showing troops and or Wolf chasing nude or topless ladies, with slang catch names – Jamaica? [Did you make her?] Heavenly Body, Sack Time, Miss Slip Stream, Shackeroo, The Peter Heater, and very commonly painted Lakanooki. “Nooki” was military slang for having sex.

Author collection

Even the U.S. Navy got into the act of painting Wolf-Headed sailors. No matter what art form or what name, the Wolf joined the ranks of the Pin-Up girl and Walt Disney characters as possibly the third most painted nose art during the last year of WWII. [Author]

In 1944, S/Sgt. Leonard Sansone created a pun style cartoon directed at USAAF aviation aircraft nose art, showing his Wolf sexual conquests. [Internet]

While RCAF Canadian artists were equal or even better than some American counterparts, the demand for American strips “Male Call” [with Miss Lace] and “The Wolf” allowed both to be published across Canada in RCAF training newsletter magazines. [Author]

No. 4 RCAF Bombing and Gunnery School at Final, Ontario, “Observer” published both American cartoons “The Wolf” and “Male Call” each month.

RCAF artists created many cartoons drawing the aircraft they used in training, like the Avro Anson at No. 7 Bombing and Gunnery School at Paulson, Manitoba. American Coke ads also featured drawings of Canadians in RCAF uniform and a rare few appeared in French language like No. 9 Air Observer School, St. Jean, Quebec, above.

RCAF No. 1 Central Flying School at Trenton, Ontario, “Contact Newsletter” published two Wolf cartoons to one Male Call every month.

RCAF Station Gander, Newfoundland, featured a comedy love column and a cover girl page by none other than their RCAF “Willie de Wolf.”

The American Camp Newspaper strip “Male Call” began in the summer of 1942, with a gal named Burma, [from Terry and the Pirates] but soon ran into trouble with the newspaper syndicate in New York. In short, Milton Caniff then created Miss Lace, his free contribution to the American War effort. Lace soon became an aircraft nose art “Paper Doll” winner. [Internet]

In Milton Caniff’s own words, “Miss Lace was his visualization of the girl back home, the one the American G.I. left to go to war.” She was a “Paper Doll”, a point of view, a wet dream, always there, always available, but yet never available. She always turned the tables on the hot pants G.I. [The Wolves] and hot shot officers who wanted to take her to bed. Miss Lace was always there for the cold, wet, G.I., an average forgotten American guy dumped in some shit-hole part of the world he had never heard of. For two minutes, these WWII soldiers read the strip and then their mind wandered back home, a pretty girl, and it didn’t matter what country they came from. Miss Lace will always be frozen in time, she would never work today, the WWII pin-up girl that became a nose art darling, which was totally a male soldier sexual fantasy.

Miss Lace entered the strip “Male Call” on 24 January 1943, [Pillow Fight] becoming the most delectable American pen-and-ink pin-up lady creation of all time.

In 1943, Leonard Sansone created his most powerful cartoon when “The Wolf” meets “Miss Lace” with a gag line – ‘HAVEN’T I SEEN YOU —-SOMEWHERE—- BEFORE?” [LIFE magazine]

When Milton Caniff replied in “Male Call” it just reinforced Allied aircraft nose art featuring Miss Lace and The Wolf. [LIFE magazine]

Milton Caniff was an aviation buff and a very devoted American patriot. He received thousands of fan letters and requests for his pin-up Miss Lace. He selected three different poses which he signed and mailed away, even to his fans in the RCAF. Today [2022] many of his three poses can be found all over the internet, however one Miss Lace pin-up is missing. The one-and-only cartoon Miss Lace with a drink in hand, which was drawn for “The Wolf” cartoon strip by Sgt. Lenny Sansone. [above left] If this original art survives, it’s a rare “Wolf” collector’s gem.

Sgt. Sansone’s drawing of “Miss Lace” also appeared as nose art on at least two American B-24 bombers. The American USAAF aircrews possibly believed “Drunkard’s Dream” was just another Milton Caniff drawing. Not correct, this was the Miss Lace who was chased by “The Wolf.”  Unfortunately, her bomb group and aircraft serial are still unknown. If anyone knows, please share, the author would like to preserve it in a nose art painting. [Author]

The name Willie and “The Wolf” also had a major effect on many nose art paintings appearing in the RCAF.

American born pilot F/L J.R. Walker [top right] and his RCAF aircrew in front of Halifax B. Mk. III, serial MZ594, No. 420 [Snowy Owl] Squadron, called “Wildcat Willie.” Pilot #R122776, F/Sgt. John R. Walker was one of over 6,129 Americans who joined the RCAF, trained in Halifax bomber at No. 1659 H.C.U. [Topcliffe, Yorkshire] and was posted to No. 420 [Snowy Owl] Squadron 10 January 1944. Assigned Halifax LW373 “W” on 15 February 1944, the aircraft was shot down [with another crew] over Berlin 25 March 1944.

The Walker crew flew a number of other [Snowy Owl] Halifax aircraft until May 1944, when they were assigned a Mark III, serial MZ594 code PT- “W” and named her “Wildcat Willie.” The Halifax was hit by flak, 29 August 1944, Anderbeick, Germany, and made a forced landing at Woodbridge, emergency landing field. Damaged beyond repair the aircraft was scrapped at a British boneyard [possibly No. 43 Group, Rawcliffe] in May 1945.  This replica nose art was painted by the author on original Halifax skin from NA337 and remains in the collection of Canada’s Bomber Command Museum at Nanton, Alberta. Without proper RCAF history this Halifax WWII nose art has very little educational value to future generations of Canadians.

In May and June 1945, RCAF Operations Officer, RAF Bomber Command, F/L Harold Hunter Lindsay C11987, realized it was extremely important that some of the RCAF WWII Halifax aircraft nose art be salvaged and returned to Canada.

F/L Harold Lindsay [above] was granted permission to visit three large Halifax aircraft graveyards [Maintenance Units] in England, where he recorded 63 Halifax nose art images and 54 of these were RCAF painted aircraft. Lindsay then arranged for fourteen panels to be salvaged and shipped back to Ottawa, Canada, in July 1946. The Canadian collection, fourteen original panels cut from thirteen different RCAF bombers, forms the second largest collection of aircraft nose art in the world, plus the world’s largest collection of original Handley Page Halifax nose paintings. These forgotten WWII nose panels went on public display for the first time 8 May 2005, the first time seen as a total collection in sixty years, sadly with no history. Appealing to modern public taste today is considered far more important to our Ottawa War Museum than telling and preserving the facts on their RCAF WWII nose art panels. Today they have three which were inspired by the American comic strip by S/Sgt. Sansone “The Wolf.”

The Canadian War Museum “Willie Wolf “Nose Art collection

“Willie the Wolf from the West” Halifax LW207 No. 426 Squadron

 

S/L Bedford Donald Chase Patterson J10296, D.F.C. was born in Calgary, Alberta, in 1919, and after graduation from High School worked as a foreman in a canning factory. Donald enlisted in the RCAF on 28 May 1941, trained at No. 2 I.T.S., Regina, Sask., No. 19 EFTS at Virden, Manitoba, and earned his Wings at No. 4 SFTS, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, graduated 27 February 1942. F/O B.D. Patterson joined No. 426 Squadron 12 January 1944, during the Battle of Berlin and participated in many attacks on enemy targets all over Germany, at the same time he earned the nickname “Willie Wolf.” On 17 May 1944, [promoted] Squadron leader Patterson tested a new Halifax Mk. III aircraft serial MZ674, and it became his bomber, complete with new painted “Willie Wolf” nose art.

More on Flying Officer Arthur Ryan (Contribution by Pierre Lagacé)

Collection Réal St-Amour via his daughter Chantal

Flying Officer Ryan was part of 425 Alouette squadron.

Flying Officer Arthur Ryan was born on June 24, 1921 in Toronto. He survived the war only to die in an accident on February 14,  1951. He enlisted on February 21, 1942 at Toronto.

Citations: 1939-1945 Star, France & Germany Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-1945, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal.

Source: LONDON GAZETTE, OCT. 13, 1944

Distinguished Flying Cross Award effective Oct. 13,  1944

“Warrant Officer Ryan is an outstanding pilot who has consistently displayed superb captaincy and airmanship. One night in August 1944 he was detailed to attack Forêt de Nieppe in France. During the outward flight two engines became defective and Warrant Officer Ryan was compelled to jettison some of his equipment and to set course for an emergency airfield. Before the landing ground was reached, the starboard outer propeller flew off and damaged the starboard inner engine. Under difficult and hazardous circumstances this airman effected a masterly landing without causing injury to his crew or further damage to his aircraft.”

The Award was presented by the Governor General to next-of-kin, December. 9, 1947.

Service Details :

He flew P-51 Mustang 9551 with 901 Air Traffic Handling Unit, RCAF and was listed as having crashed. Responsible for passenger and freight handling on military aircraft, 2 Air Movements Unit was formed on April 1, 1951 from a detachment of 901 Air Traffic Handling Unit at RCAF Station Lachine (now Montréal-Trudeau Airport).

Son of Edward James and Holly Ryan of Richmond Hills, Ontario. Husband of Winnifred Margaret Ryan. Father of Robert Clay, Lynda Susan Ryan.

Burial: Saint John’s Norway Cemetery and Crematorium – The Beaches, Toronto Municipality, Ontario, Canada – Plot: North Grave, Plot 3, Row 2

Find A Grave Memorial # 162382556

Squadron – Award effective 13 October 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 2534/44 dated 24 November 1944.  Born Toronto, 24 June 1921; home there (salesman); enlisted there 21 February 1942.  Trained at No.6 ITS (graduated and promoted LAC, 28 August 1942), No.12 EFTS (graduated 6 November 1942) and No.9 SFTS (graduated and promoted Sergeant, 6 April 1943).  Arrived in the United Kingdom, 4 June 1943. To No.11 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit, 13 July 1943; to No.21 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit, 15 August 1943. Promoted Flight Sergeant, 6 October 1943.  To No.24 OTU, 16 November 1943.  To No.61 Base, and No.1659 HCU, dates uncertain.  Promoted WO2, 6 April 1944. To No.425 Squadron, 28 April 1944.  To No.420 Squadron, 22 May 1944.  Commissioned 12 June 1944.  To No.425 Squadron again, 25 August 1944, serving there until 17 November 1944.  Repatriated 18 November 1944.  To Rockcliffe Test and Development Flight, 14 February 1945.  Confirmed as Flying Officer, postwar RCAF, 1 October 1946.  To Experimental and Proving Establishment, 14 November 1946.  With that unit until his death, except for a brief spell with No.413 Squadron (30 March 1949 to 1 November 1950, SHORAN support work in a Norseman).  Killed 14 February 1951 near Richmond, Ontario while flying a Mustang; described as a “secret flying project while on strength of No.901 Air Traffic Handling Unit.”

Award presented by Governor General to next-of-kin, 9 December 1957.  RCAF photo PL-33337 (ex UK-15517 dated 4 October 1944) shows him.

Warrant Officer Ryan is an outstanding pilot who has consistently displayed superb captaincy and airmanship. One night in August 1944 he was detailed to attack Foret de Nieppe in France.  During the outward flight two engines became defective and Warrant Officer Ryan was compelled to jettison some of his equipment and to set course for an emergency airfield.  Before the landing ground was reached, the starboard outer propeller flew off and damaged the starboard inner engine.  Under difficult and hazardous circumstances this airman effected a masterly landing without causing injury to his crew or further damage to his aircraft.DHH file 181.009 D.1730 (Library and Archives Canada RG.24, Volume 20607) has the original recommendation raised by W/C Hugh Lecompte on 10 August 1944 when he had flown 27 sorties (128 hours 15 minutes); sortie list and submission as follows:10 May 1944 – Ghent (4.15, second pilot)19 May 1944 – Merville (4.10, second pilot)31 May 1944 – Au Fevre (4.55)2 June 1944 – Neufchatel (3.40)5 June 1944 – Houlgate (4.45)6 June 1944 – Coutances (4.00)7 June 1944 – Acheres (4.55)9 June 1944 – Le Mans (5.45)12 June 1944 – Cambrai (5.35)14 June 1944 – St. Pol (3.30)16 June 1944 – Sautrecourt (4.05)21 June 1944 – St. Martin (3.55)23 June 1944 – Bientques (1.55, duty not carried out)24 June 1944 – Bamieres (3.40)1 July 1944 – Biennais (4.10)5 July 1944 – Biennais (4.10)7 July 1944 – Caen (4.20)12 July 1944 – Thiverny (4.40)28 July 1944 – Hamburg (5.45)30 July 1944 – Amaye-sur-Seulles (4.20)31 July 1944 – Oeuf-en-Ternois (5.10)3 August 1944 – Foret de Nieppe (4.55)4 August 1944 – Bois de Cassan (4.45)5 August 1944 – St. Leu d’Esserent (5.30)7 August 1944 – La Hogue (4.45)8 August 1944 – Foret de Chantilly (5.10)9 August 1944 – Foret de Nieppe (2.05, early return, two engines unserviceable)12 August 1944 – Foret de Montrichard (5.15)14 August 1944 – Bons Tassily (4.10)Warrant Officer Ryan is an outstanding pilot who has consistently displayed suberb captaincy and airmanship throughout an operational career that comprises 27 sorties against enemy targets.On the night of 9th/10th August 1944 he was pilot of a Halifax bomber detailed to attack Foret de Nieppe, France.  Two minutes after take-off, trouble developed in the starboard inner engine.  It had reached such proportions as to necessitate feathering the propeller.  With cool determination, WO2 Ryan decided to complete his mission by setting course for the target fifteen minutes ahead of time, knowing that he could make the target just on time.  Upon reaching the French coast, the starboard outer engine became unserviceable.  Displaying a great presence of mind, this Warrant Officer tried again to bring into play the starboard inner engine, which finally developed only about one-third capacity.  He ordered all bombs to be jettisoned and obtained from the Navigator a course to the nearest emergency landing field.  Before reaching the aerodrome, the starboard outer propellor broke completely, damaging the starboard inner engine and indications were that this motor would not hold out for more than ten minutes.  Under such trying circumstances, Warrant Officer Ryan displayed great calm and resourcefulness.  His presence of mind and cool headedness were an inspiration to the remainder of the crew.  With outstanding courage and ability, he succeeded in making a perfect landing without injury to any member of the crew and without further damage to the aircraft.WO2 Ryan showed exceptional gallantry, leadership and undaunted devotion to duty which are worthy of high praise.  I strongly recommend that he be granted the immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.DHH file 181.009 D.2623 (Library and Archives Canada RG.24, Volume 20628) has letter dated 27 September 1944, Headquarters, No.6 Group, to all Stations and Bases in the Group, signed by S/L T.D. McKee for Staff Officer i/c Administration at Group Headquarters:

LOG BOOK ENDORSEMENT

R.156114 WO.2 Ryan, J.A, (Pilot) 425 (RCAF Squadron1. The above pilot of this Group had his Log Book endorsed in GREEN as follows:“HIGHLY COMMENDED – During an operational flight, while on the outward journey to the target, this pilot was forced to feather the starboard inner propellor of his aircraft. The starboard outer engine failed later, and the starboard outer propellor would not feather, and eventually this propellor came off, further damaging the starboard engine.  In spire of loss of power on the starboard side and excessive vibration, the bomb load was jettisoned and a course was set for an English aerodrome where the pilot completed a masterly landing.  No further damage was done to the aircraft, nor were any of the crew injured.”2. Details of the incident were as follows:Shortly after take-off on an operational flight, the starboard inner engine of this pilot’s aircraft had to be feathered.  The pilot decided to continue on three engines and the course was set 15 minutes early so that the aircraft would reach the target in its wave.  As the aircraft was approaching the French coast the starboard outer engine lost power.  Bombs were jettisoned safe and course was set for the nearest English aerodrome.  An attempt was made to feather the starboard outer propellor, but it continued to windmill. The pilot then unfeathered the starboard inner engine which developed only about one-third of its normal power and was running very rough.  Crossing the English coast the starboard outer engine seized, the propellor and reduction gear were wrenched off and the starboard inner propellor was damaged by pieces of the starboard outer engine.  An excellent landing was made at Manston and no further damage was done to the aircraft.3. The commendation and details of the incident are to be promulgated in Unit D.R.O.s [Daily Routine Orders].

***

No. 426 [Thunderbird] Squadron began converting to the new Halifax B. Mk. VII aircraft and S/L Patterson flew serial LW207, code OW-W, to bomb Bientque, France, on 23 June 1944. He would fly his new bomber on nine more operations, the last on 10 August 1944. His operations in yellow high-light follow.

In late [29-30] June 1944, the second “Willie Wolf” nose art was painted on Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial LW207 and this was called “Willie the Wolf from the West” with a same style Wolf piloting an aircraft. The Willie Wolf pilot nose art was S/L Patterson and the “West” stood for Calgary, Alberta. [photo – F/Sgt. W.F. Bessent, mid-upper and rear gunner on LW207]

S/L Patterson was posted to No. 426 Squadron 14 January 1944, during the Battle of Berlin campaign, flying Lancaster B. Mk. II aircraft. On 20 January 44, while flying over Berlin his Lancaster II, serial DS840 was struck on the main wing by two incendiaries dropped from another bomber. His wing burned fiercely for several minutes, then Patterson put his bomber into a drive, lost 3,500 feet and the fire went out. On 11 August 1944, he was presented with a D.F.C. by the King at Buckingham Palace.

The above photo was taken 17 August 1944, in front of Halifax LW207, with his nose art “Willie the Wolf from the West” as Patterson talks to LAC Don Forester [right]. Patterson was posted to RCAF No. 1666 H.C.U. at Wombleton, Yorkshire, on 1 September 1944. Nicknamed “Mohawk” they began conversion training to the Canadian built Lancaster B. Mk. X in early November 1944. “Willie” Halifax LW207 was now taken over by the aircrew of F/O P. A. Labelle.

Sgt. P.A. Labelle R101191 received his Wings at No. 17 S.F.T.S. at Souris, Manitoba, 21 July 1943. Promoted to P/O J85882 in England, his crew were posted to No. 426 [Thunderbird] Squadron on 25 June 1944. On 28 June 44, P/O Labelle flew second pilot with S/L Patterson in Halifax LW207 “Willie the Wolf from the West” bombing marshalling railway yards at Metz, France. The Labelle crew then flew eighteen operations in “Willie the Wolf from the West.” [below list]

Some date between 15 July and 8 August 1944, the rear gunner of the P/O Labelle crew [Sgt. E.M. Strauss #R205756] had tail art painted near his rear gun position, named “OL’ DAID EYE.”

Operations flown by other RCAF aircrew in “Willie the Wolf from the West”
LW207, with new code letter OW-K.

The file card shows Halifax LW207 remained with No. 408 [Goose] squadron for only four days.

During the four days Halifax LW207 remained with No. 408 Squadron, someone painted over the name “Willie the Wolf from the West” plus the body of the Wolf, leaving only the Wolf Head. Then fourteen new white bombs were painted where the nose art name was originally painted.

On 23 May 1945, the Halifax was flown to RAF No. 43 Group, Rawcliffe, parked ready for scrapping. A few days later F/L Harold Lindsay RCAF arrived, took the above 35 mm black and white image and marked the Wolf Head for salvage and return to Canada. The Wolf Head salvage [cutting from bomber] operation was completed by Mr. Robert Goodwin, a scrapping company employee. The nose art collection [fourteen panels] was then crated by Goodwin, driven to a dock and shipped to Canada, arriving in Ottawa, 7 May 1946. The RCAF Halifax nose art Wolf Head remained in storage in a warehouse at Hull, Quebec, for the next fifty-nine years. Placed on public display in the Canadian War Museum on 8 May 2005, it remains on a cement wall with no history, no reason for the art, no crew members who flew the aircraft, and no mention the Halifax also had rare RCAF tail art.  This is the rarest original WWII Halifax RCAF nose art in the whole world, and the only surviving Canadian flown bomber with both nose and tail art paintings.

A very simple RCAF display showing the Halifax aircraft outline, location [black] of original art on the bomber, original photos, and the two surviving RCAF ‘original’ nose and tail art panels is required to preserve and educate all visitors to our “Canadian” War Museum. The author has painted both replica tail and nose art for our Bomber Command Museum at Nanton, Alberta, but still no display. The Canadian War Museum has both original LW207 panels but they can’t even get them together as one complete Halifax aircraft. This should be embarrassing to all RCAF veterans, historians, and Canadians in general, however they just don’t understand.

In 1994, the author learned that two original WWII Halifax nose art panels were on private display in a small hangar museum of 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, Edmonton, Alberta. The “Goose” Squadron museum was created by a Corporal on his own, who arranged for two original nose art panels to be taken out of storage in [Hull, Quebec] Ottawa, War Museum. This 408 Squadron Helicopter ground crew member needs to be remembered, however, I can not find his name. [I am truly sorry, and if anyone can supply his name, please do so.]

This was the first time the author saw the original tail art [Ol’ Daid Eye] from WWII Halifax Mk. VII, serial LW207, “Willie the Wolf from the West.” I would like to thank all the past members of 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, who removed this panel from the helicopter hangar wall and allowed it to be photographed. Special thanks to Sgt. Glenn Lloyd, [retired] who went out of his way [official duties] to assist the author and provided other Lancaster Mk. II No. 408 [Goose] Squadron nose art images for my research.

The main question remained, why did No. 408 [Goose] Squadron have a rare original Halifax tail art panel from No. 426 [Thunderbird] Squadron hanging on their hangar wall? Answer – They believed this bomber tail art flew in Goose Squadron during WWII, and they had the photo to prove it.

15 November 1944, tail-gunner #C89652 P/O C.L. Humphries, No. 408 [Goose] Squadron. [RCAF PL40133] Photos record the past but only good research can dig out the truth.

The RCAF aircrew of P/O Barber were posted from No. 61 [Training Base] Topcliffe, to No. 408 [Goose] Squadron on 15 June 1944. They flew two operations in Lancaster Mk. II aircraft, LL725 “Z” – 6 July 44, and LL617 “F” the following day.

On 15/16 July 44, P/O Barber flew Lancaster II serial LL725 “Z” and a new eighth crew member joined their team. Sgt. C.L. Humphreys was trained as a mid-under gunner who manned a single 50 cal. machine gun which pointed downwards from the belly of the bomber.

Mid-upper gunner Jean-Paul Corbeil and Navigator Pierre Gauthier (425 Alouette Squadron)

They flew two more operations in the Lancaster II [3 Aug. – DS651 “X” and 4 Aug. DS841 “Q”] then converted to the Halifax B. Mk VII aircraft, flying NP713 “X” on 5 August 1944.

During WWII, two RCAF Bomber Squadrons shared one British Base, with No. 408 [Goose] Squadron assigned No. 62 [RCAF] Base, Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire, 27 August 1943 to 13 June 1945. No. 426 [Thunderbird] Squadron was assigned No. 62 Base, Linton-on-Ouse, 18 July 1943 to 24 May 1945.

As the P/O Barber crew approached their final 30th operation [flown in Halifax NP718 “Z” on 27 November 1944] it appears the mid-under gunner [now promoted] P/O Humphries walked over to No. 426 Squadron hangar and had his photo taken with LW207 “Ol’ Daid Eye” tail art. It is possible he returned to Canada and showed off his tail art photo, and it was assumed he flew with this very rare RCAF tail art. While the fact remains, P/O Humphries [No. 408 Squadron Air Gunner] never flew operations in No. 426 Squadron Halifax LW207, the power of this photo has confused many over the years.  Humphries did fly in Halifax NP717, “Willie Wolf.”

RCAF Operations Officer, F/L H. Lindsay photo May 1945, Roll #6, Print #1.

“Willie Wolf” Halifax NP717 – No. 408 Squadron

Constructed 13 July 1944, Halifax serial NP717 arrived with No. 408 [Goose] Squadron on 1 August 1944. Assigned the code letters EQ-W [Willie] the first operation was flown by F/O E.B. Gilson J26151 on 4 August 44 to Bois de Cassen, France. The date and crew who painted the nose art “Willie Wolf” is unknown, but the reason for the art is very clear – “The Wolf.” The funny part is the little furry animal is not even a Wolf but a Fox, from “Tru Val” Shirts in New York, Fifth Avenue, dated 11 December 1944.

This LIFE magazine ad appeared 25 February 1944, thus the RCAF nose art could have appeared a short time later, at least 21st October, operation number twenty. [see below]

On 16 May 1945, Willie Wolf was ready for disposal and flown to the aircraft graveyard RAF No. 43 Group, Rawcliffe, parked on 2 May. A few weeks later F/L Harold Lindsay arrived, took two photos, and marked the nose art for salvage and return to Canada. The little Fox named “Willie Wolf” arrived in Ottawa, 7 May 1946, and was placed into storage at Hull, Quebec.

The following photo was taken by F/L Harold Lindsay in late May 1945, 35 mm film, Roll #5, Print #8, and the original negative was in the War Museum in 1977.

On 8 May 2005, the original nose art panel from Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial NP717, went on public display in the Canadian War Museum. No RCAF WWII Halifax aircraft history, no record of the aircrews who flew in her, and no reason for the painting. Just a forgotten Canadian nose art original on a cold cement wall in Ottawa.  Out of sight, out of mind, our Canadian – “you guess what it is” museum, which can’t understand this 1944 war paint, is rare “Wolf” RCAF history.

“Willie the Wolf” Halifax NP707 No. 432 [Leaside] Squadron

Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial NP707 was constructed 5 July 1944 and flew her first operation 11 July to bomb Thiverney, France, J8973 F/L D. von Laufer.

The Halifax nose art was painted in early August 1944, by RCAF Fitter II, R86146 LAC Thomas E. Dunn from No. 432 [Leaside] Squadron, East Moor, Yorkshire, England. The full history can be found in Preserving the Past Part II, RCAF artist Tom Dunn.

No. 6 [RCAF] Group flew 40,822 operations in WWII, with 28,126 [73%] flown in the Handley page Halifax bomber. No. 6 [RCAF] Group lost 814 aircraft over enemy territory and most were the Halifax aircraft. RCAF aircraft missing in action, Wellington Bomber [127] Lancaster Bomber [149] and Halifax bomber [508]. Halifax NP707 was a survivor and that is the reason her original nose art was saved by F/L Harold Lindsay in May 1945. The list of “Willie the Wolf” 67 operations follows:

Ready for disposal on 18 May 1945, the aircraft was flown to No. 43 Group for scrapping on 25 of May and parked. Saved by F/L H. Lindsay in the last few days before she was chopped up on 29 May 1945.

Thanks to Mr. Daniel Glenney, [past] Director of War Museum Collections Management and Planning, the fourteen original RCAF Halifax nose art panels went on public display 8 May 2005. Without a proper display, with full historical background, the nose art means nothing to a new generation of Canadians. Three of the panels painted in 1944, preserve the largest original collection of “Wolf” nose art in the world.

Tom Dunn painted this art in August 1944, for the RCAF aircrew who flew NP707, that’s what they picked, and he painted it twice on two different Halifax aircraft. In total artist Tom made $50 Canadian for both paintings, and today only one survives in the Canadian War Museum. It’s the war paint expression of young Canadian men who flew and died in the Halifax aircraft, never officially RCAF approved, but fully accepted as a moral builder. With the real threat of death and extinction from a flak burst in the next cloud, the comfort and scent of a woman takes on a much greater importance. The word “Willie” was the military slang for penis, the “Wolf” was the RCAF aircrew on leave, chasing a nude British Blonde lady, who has lost her clothing as she flees the Wolf Pack. The whole humorous art subject is about sex, and it came from the American Camp Newspaper cartoon created by S/Sgt. Leonard Sansone called “The Wolf.”

The beauty of this Canadian nose art is in the eye of the beholder, so is the WWII RCAF history – like them or not, these three War Museum “Willie Wolf” nose art panels are original RCAF aviation history. Now, readers know the real history, even if it’s never displayed on the War Museum cold cement wall in Ottawa, Canada.

Dedicated to American cartoonist Leonard Lenny Sansone and…

 

Eldon Kearl’s RCAF Log Book – “Bug on a Bomb”

Research by Clarence Simonsen

Eldon Kearl’s RCAF Log Book – “Bug on a Bomb” PDF version

Eldon Kearl’s Log

Click on the link above.

Excerpt

Eldon Eastham Kearl was born at Cardston, Alberta, on 26 January 1920, he died 28 January 1944, 26 hours after his 24th birthday. F/L [pilot] E.E. Kearl J18810 and his crew took off from England at 17:50 hrs in Lancaster Mk. II aircraft serial DS709, his eighteenth operation, but they never returned to base.

Eldon Kearl joined the RCAF on 5 September 1941, at Edmonton, Alberta, when the main criteria in selecting RCAF pilot candidates was physical fitness, education, and learning ability. If an applicant scored well on his test, he was acceptable as a pilot even if he left school without a diploma. Before a selected recruit was definitely assigned to pilot training he appeared before an RCAF board of two or three officers. These officers examined his medical reports, personal history form, classification test scores, results of various aptitude tests and finally questioned the candidate himself. If there was any doubt, the board would select another RCAF aircrew category and the candidate had no choice other than accept the board’s decision.


Text version (with added images)

Eldon Kearl’s RCAF Log Book – “Bug on a Bomb”

Eldon Eastham Kearl was born at Cardston, Alberta, on 26 January 1920, he died 28 January 1944, 26 hours after his 24th birthday. F/L [pilot] E.E. Kearl J18810 and his crew took off from England at 17:50 hrs in Lancaster Mk. II aircraft serial DS709, his eighteenth operation, but they never returned to base.

Eldon Kearl joined the RCAF on 5 September 1941, at Edmonton, Alberta, when the main criteria in selecting RCAF pilot candidates was physical fitness, education, and learning ability. If an applicant scored well on his test, he was acceptable as a pilot even if he left school without a diploma. Before a selected recruit was definitely assigned to pilot training he appeared before an RCAF board of two or three officers. These officers examined his medical reports, personal history form, classification test scores, results of various aptitude tests and finally questioned the candidate himself. If there was any doubt, the board would select another RCAF aircrew category and the candidate had no choice other than accept the board’s decision.

LAC Eldon Kearl #R130549 was selected for pilot training and his new RCAF path took him to three different training schools: an initial flying training school (I.T.S.), an elementary flying training school (E.F.T.S.), and finally a service flying training school, (S.F.T.S.), where he received his wings. In 1942, the time taken to complete the three training schools was up to thirty weeks, and then the recruit became a fully trained RCAF pilot, with the rank of Sergeant.

In December 1941, student pilots spent only four weeks at initial training school learning classroom instruction in aerodynamics, engines, navigation, meteorology, mathematics and ground drill marching ‘square bashing.’ Next came the elementary flying training school where the student came face to face with his first aeroplane and the civilian flying instructor who would teach him to fly it.

LAC Kearl was posted to No. 6 E.F.T.S. located far north at Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, run by the Prince Albert and Saskatoon Flying Clubs, and his civilian instructor was Mr. MacLeod. Eldon trained in Tiger Moth aircraft serial numbers – 4057, 4106, 4037, 5047, 4262, and 4060.

Photo of Tiger Moths (Fort Williams 1941)
Collection Frank Sorensen (courtesy Vicki Sorensen)

After eight hours of flying instruction the student pilot was ready for his first solo flight, which student Eldon flew on 28 February 1942 in Tiger Moth #4060. The full course included sixty hours of flying time interspaced with one hundred and twenty-four hours of ground school lectures. The RCAF failure rate at the elementary flying school was 23 per cent, which did not include failure for sickness, injury, or death. At the end of training the student pilots were divided into two groups, fighter pilots and bomber pilots. Potential fighter pilots were now posted to a service flying training school with Harvard aircraft, the others were selected for bomber, coastal, or transport operations and sent to a SFTS which flew Ansons, Cranes, or Oxford twin engine aircraft.

Eldon was selected to become a bomber pilot and was posted to No. 7 S.F.T.S. at Macleod, Alberta, very close [36 miles – 61 k/m] to his birth town of Cardston, Alberta.

Arrival at No. 7 SFTS was a memorable first step for pilot trainees as they moved to a twin-engine aircraft which was a giant leap for many. The larger size of the SFTS airfield was noticed at once, with six hangars, concrete runways and a large sprawling RCAF base camp area. The students had become accustomed to the more relaxed civilian life at the elementary schools which was free from drill and discipline, but now that all changed. The SFTS was all business with strictly enforced RCAF rules, hours of drill, and Flight Sergeants always on the prowl for students with hands in their pockets, in need of a hair cut or having his RCAF tunic undone.

Photo from Flying Officer LeVerne Haley’s collection via Pierre Lagacé

This photo shows seven student pilots at No. 7 SFTS Macleod, Alberta, in front of their Avro Anson trainer aircraft. The pilot flying course consisted of twenty-six clearly defined sequences which ended seven weeks later with exercises in aircraft formation flying. All student pilots were under strict RCAF orders on what they were not allowed to perform during training flights, but that did not prevent these teenage boys from showing off their flying skills.

Eldon began Course #59 on 5 July 1942, and by October 1942, LAC Kearl was flying solo or with only one other student pilot [LAC Slipp] on most of his assigned training flights, October 7, Anson 7496 – solo, 8 Oct. Anson 7496 – solo, 9 Oct. Anson FP715, – solo, 10 Oct, Anson 7487 – solo. This allowed Eldon to “shoot up” his home town of Cardson and when he buzzed the Kearl homestead his mother Rose, came out and waved her apron in proud acknowledgment to her son.

In a 1942 letter to younger brother Harold, he described how he dove his Anson aircraft down on the home of his close pal Russ, “I about blew the roof off his house and barn.” On 10 October 1942, LAC E. Kearl took his Wings Test in Avro Anson #7487 under instructor F/L Riddell, and he passed. Graduation took place on 22 October 1942, and 54 pilots graduated. Few pilots missed this opportunity of having their photograph taken wearing their brand-new wings. In a week, a package arrived at the Kearl home containing the proud portrait of RCAF pilot Eldon Kearl wearing his RCAF graduation wings. The RCAF also took ID photos of the new Sgt. pilot and these were much more serious looking then the one sent home.

RCAF Official ID photo
Sgt. Eldon Kearl #R130549

The civilian photo sent home.

Sgt. E.E. Kearl was now a fully trained twin engine Avro Anson pilot, posted to No. 1 “Y” Depot, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 6 November 1942, where another ID photo card was required before sailing for U.K.

Eldon Kearl was one of very few student pilots who earned his Wings flying over his Canadian birth place where he spent his boyhood summers hiking and fishing in the streams flowing around Old Chief Mountain in Southern Alberta. The sprog pilots, like Eldon Kearl now faced the excitement and danger of overseas posting to wartime Britain.

Many new pilots expected to be shipped immediately to RCAF Squadrons and operations. They soon found themselves in a south coastal seaside resort town called Bournemouth, where the climate was mild and the British female company was quite willing for good times. Some RCAF aircrew spent three months at Bournemouth, [No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre] which was a holding reservoir for [Allied] Canadian aircrew production line.]

On 23 May 1943, twenty-six Luftwaffe aircraft made a surprise raid on No. 3 PRC, twenty-two buildings were destroyed and over 200 Allied airmen were killed]. Luckily, Eldon was posted out on 9 February 1943, and arrived at No. 15 A.F.U. [Advanced Flying Unit] RAF Station Acaster Malbis, North Yorkshire, the following day. Here he began flying Airspeed Oxfords with camouflaged upper surface and underside painted bright trainer yellow. This unit was formed to teach “Dominion” sprog pilots how to fly in wartime and weather conditions in the U.K., which saved many lives.

The first three flights were made with RAF Sgt. Richardson in Airspeed Oxford #6015, 11 Feb. Oxford #3722, 11 Feb. and Oxford #6282 on 13 Feb. The remaining flights were solo in Oxfords #6282, #417, #6054, #1077, #794, and four flights in #4617. Training was completed in Oxford #6015 on 3 March 1943, and a posting to No. 1512 B.A.T. [Beam Approach Training] RCAF Dishforth on 5 March. Eight [blind instrument] training flights were conducted from 7 to 12 March 1943, with RCAF Sgt. Owen in charge, Oxford aircraft # V4082 and V4132.

Next came RCAF No. 23 Operational Training Unit, Pershore, Worcestershire, where airmen ceased being an individual and became part of their first RCAF crew. The RCAF ushered groups of pilots, navigators, bomb-aimers, wireless operators and air-gunners into an aircraft hangar and told them to “get on with it.” These young airmen were meeting each other for the very first time, asking a stranger if he wanted to ‘crew up’ and if he shook his head “no”, they moved on to another stranger.

The food at Pershore was hated by all new arrivals, even the British, as it remained the same day after day, greasy mutton and Brussel sprouts. Poor food, old worn out RAF Wellington aircraft and a few RAF officers who just hated Canadians became the norm. Most RCAF young pilots wore sergeant’s stripes, but they soon found themselves barred from the RAF Sergeant’s Mess, which only allowed RAF British Sergeant pilots.

Pershore was where new RCAF aircrew formed a band of comrades in the sky and together learned the dangers of operational flying. A large number of Canadians never left RAF Pershore, they were killed in Wellington training accidents.

Eldon Kearl and crew made their first flight on 26 April 1943, RAF Sgt. Maitland in Wellington Mk. II code “T” for Tom. On 29 April, the new aircrew flew solo for the first time in Wellington code U, and continued training flights once or twice everyday.

The Eldon Kearl [top center] aircrew Sgt. Adamson, Brown, MacManus, and McLean.

The final stop in the RCAF aircrew training process was the ‘finishing school’ officially called the Heavy Conversion Unit, with the Kearl crew posted to RCAF No. 1659 H.C.U. on 1 July 1943. Formed at Leeming, Yorkshire, on 6 October 1942, No. 1659 moved to Topcliffe, Yorkshire, on 14 March 1943, providing conversion training on veteran Halifax bombers. Halifax bomber training began on 2 July with four flights, under command of instructors P/O Marment and Sgt. Holland, with up to six training flights per day.

Beginning 2 July and ending 13 July, they completed twenty-nine training flights and twelve were flown in Halifax code letter “P” which became their assigned aircraft code letter. The Kearl aircrew and most likely Halifax code “P.”

Posted to No. 408 [Goose] Squadron at Leeming, Yorkshire, 14 July 1943.

Before a new ‘sprog’ crew flew their first operation they were assigned a training exercise designed to prepare them for the real combat conditions, this was called “Bulls-eye.” The Kearl crew flew their first on 16 July 1943 in Halifax code “R.” Before a new skipper was permitted to fly his crew on ops he was required to fly at least one trip [sometimes two] as Second Dickey. Eldon Kearl flew as Second Dickey to F/O Whiston on 24 July 1943, Halifax serial JB893, bombed Hamburg, Germany.

On 25 July the crew of F/Sgt. Kearl were assigned ‘their’ Halifax serial JD326, with code letter “P” the same letter they trained with at Topcliffe.

The next four operations are recorded for pilot ‘skipper’ Sgt. Eldon Kearl, as his crew in fact flew one less operation, 1, 2, 3, and 4.

In August two major changes came to No. 408 [Goose] Squadron, they had a change in aircraft, converted to Lancaster Mk II, and on the 26th of the month they moved from Leeming to No. 62 [RCAF] Base at Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire.

Almost all of the Lancaster aircraft built in WWII were powered by four Rolls Royce Merlin in-line, liquid-cooled engines. The exception was the Lancaster Mk. II which was fitted with four Bristol Hercules radial air-cooled engines. Three RCAF Squadrons are closely identified with this obscure Lancaster Mk. II aircraft, and of the 301 built, 120 bombers served with No. 408, 426, and 432 Squadrons, where 82 were lost on active operations, most during the Battle of Berlin. No. 408 Goose Squadron lost 32 Lancaster Mk. II aircraft during the Battle of Berlin.

Conversion training in the new Lancaster Mk. II began in late August and during the passing weeks new RCAF nose art began to appear on the bombers, many connected to the Canada Goose. Lancaster EQ-S [above cutaway drawing] was serial DS692 flown by P/O John Douglas Harvey, DFC.

Lancaster Mk. II serial DS707 was called Our Mary II, having completed twenty-one Ops. with No. 426 Squadron code D, then transferred to No. 408 where she became EQ-M for Mary, a Canada Goose. Flew 25 additional operations until 14 August 1944, pilot is P/O C.A. Reid.

Three Lancaster Mk. II aircraft carried the code EQ-G [for Goose], the first serial DS712 arrived in October and completed seven operations from 8 October to 26 November 1943, crashed in training 27 November at Lincoln, U.K. The second to wear “G” was LL631, flew six ops., shot down over Berlin 2 January 1944. The third, and last, was LL636 named “Miss Kingsville” which completed 48 operations 26 March to 14 August 1944. The proud RCAF ground crew seen in June 1944, top left down are – LACs H. Truax, H. Arnold, and Sgt. J. Godfrey, on the right top down – LACs R. Ferry, Sgt. S. McCracken, and K. Cinnamon. The aircraft carried the name Goose with nose code letter, the unofficial red, white and blue Maple Leaf roundel, and the nose art of the squadron badge, which was not painted but riveted on the nose section. [important for model builders] Collection of Sgt. Glen Lloyd 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, Edmonton.

This close-up of the 408 badge on LL636 clearly shows it was painted on metal, then riveted to the nose skin and possibly had been on the nose section of another aircraft. Maybe the art first appeared on Lancaster DS712, which crashed near Lincoln, England, 27 November 1943. [Collection Sgt. Glen Lloyd, 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron]

Eldon and crew began Lancaster conversion training on 2 September 1943 and flew their assigned aircraft EQ-P [P for Peter] serial DS709 two days later.

EQ-E was named “Old Faithful” and she lived up to her name. DS763 completed 35 operations with No. 426 Squadron and then was transferred to No. 408 Goose Squadron flying another 37 operations between 10 May to 15 August 1944. This is possibly P/O E.G. Vaughan in the cockpit as he flew her on most of the operations. Seventy-two operations were the top completed for a Goose Squadron Lancaster Mk. II which survived the RAF air campaign in the Battle of Berlin. Though the Lancaster was constructed strong and could absorb terrible combat damage and return to England, it was designed with awkward escape hatches. Five of the aircrew in the front had to use the emergency escape hatch on the floor of the nose, and the last to leave was the pilot, who attempted to keep the aircraft steady for his crew. Only eleven per cent of Lancaster aircrew survived compared to twenty-nine in the Halifax bomber, and fifty per cent in the American B-17 Flying Fortress.

On 8 September Sgt. Kearl was assigned a training flight in Lancaster EQ-Q, DS767, [completed eleven operations] later shot down Brunswick, Germany, 14 August 1944. EQ-O, DS731, came next, [completed twenty operations] shot down Schweinfurt, Germany, 24 February 1944. EQ-V, DS761, was flown training on 16 September, she completed 15 operations and survived the Battle of Berlin.

16 September 1943, Sgt. Eldon Kearl has flown 575 hours in the RCAF.

The last three training operations flown by the Kearl crew took place on 26 and 27 September 1943, in Lancaster DS692 EQ-S, which carried the nose art of a Monk with wine flask and 500 lb. bomb.

Lancaster Mk. II serial DS692 EQ-S came to No. 408 Squadron in September 1943 and was assigned to P/O John Douglas Harvey, DFC. This ‘lucky’ bomber completed 49 operations until 24 July 1944, when she caught fire and burnt on the runway.

The nose art was a Monk with a wine flask around his neck, holding a 500 lb. bomb. [author sketch] Sgt E.E. Keal and crew flew this bomber training on 26 and 27 September 1943.

 Sgt. E.E. Kearl aircrew flew their last training operation in Lancaster EQ-V, serial DS761, on 30 September 1943. This was one of the few Lancaster Mk. II aircraft to survive the Battle of Berlin, possibly due to the fact she was used mainly for training and only completed 15 operations from 1 August 1943 until January 1944. It appears this aircraft carried no nose art painting or known name.

Public Domain image from Imperial War Museum collection showing the bombing up of No. 408 [Goose] Squadron Lancaster Mk. II, serial LL725. First flew two operations with No. 432 Squadron, then transferred to No. 408 Squadron, coded EQ-Z, completed 42 operations, shot down Hamburg, Germany, 28 July 1944.

With over 600 hours in his log book Sgt. Kearl and crew were ready for air combat in the new Lancaster Mk. II aircraft, and they were now assigned to fly EQ-P [for Peter].

Fifteen Lancaster aircraft were ready for a training exercise on 4 October, however due to weather it was cancelled, [Not Fit for Training]. The following day fifteen aircraft were prepared for a “Bulls-eye operation, but again it was cancelled due to weather conditions, [Not Fit for Training]. Sgt Eldon Kearl was officially assigned to fly Lancaster Mk. II, serial DS709 in early October, and his crew were no stranger to EQ-P, they had flown her six times during training, Sept. 4, 5, 15, 18, and twice on 21 of the month. Now is was time to give ‘their’ aircraft a nose art painting, and they selected a cartoon insect character, “Bug on Bomb.” The reason for the art, the date it was painted, and other information is still unknown. It is possible something occurred during the first two operations flown on the 7 and 18 of October to inspire their artwork, however it will never be known for sure, you can only guess. It is clear the insect is attacking Germany with a machine gun and 500 lb. bomb, and the face could be Eldon Kearl.

Sgt. Kearl [middle] aircrew photo [mailed home to parents in Cardston, Alberta] under the nose art of ‘his’ Lancaster EQ-P serial DS709 displays eight [Red Maple Leafs] likely taken around 25 October 1943. The nose code letter “P” also contains lettering, which could be [for Peter]. The large winged bug, riding a 500 lb. bomb and carrying a machine gun, has a human style face, wearing an RCAF tunic and cap. The reason for the art and correct nose art colors are unknown.

Each completed bombing operation was recorded by a Bright Red Maple Leaf.

Operation #10 was flown in Lancaster EQ-O, serial DS731, which was damaged by a Ju-88 Night-fighter. This RCAF aircraft completed 20 operations until 24 February 1944, shot down over Schweinfurt, Germany. November 1943, was the beginning of the “Battle of Berlin” which ended five months later, 30 March 1944. In a letter home to his younger brother Harold, Eldon wrote – “Completed nine operations, things are the same over here, women are plentiful and willing as ever. Maybe this time next year I’ll have a tour completed.”

The first attack on Berlin for Sgt. E.E. Kearl aircrew came on 26 November, where they lost one port engine, and half power on the other, Lancaster EQ-K, serial DS705. Eldon made it back to England on two and a-half, landing at RAF Station Chedburg, Suffolk, home to No. 1653 H.C.U. flying Stirlings. DS705 flew 32 operations, crashed in Dalton, England, 23 July 1944.

The second trip to Berlin for the Eldon crew came on 2 December 1943, two bombers were lost. EQ-Q flown in training [10 Dec.] would complete eleven operations, lost Brunswick, Germany, 14 August 1944.

LAC Sidney Moore from Montreal, Quebec, 408 Sqn. electrician, in cockpit of DS737 [PL28448]

No. 408 Squadron Lancaster DS737, EQ-C “The Countess” came from the December 1943 Esquire Magazine “Varga” pin-up girl, with a Christmas poem. She began operations in October 43, completing ten, when the nose art was painted. After take-off for Berlin, 17 December, the Lancaster flew into high ground, [foggy weather] one and a-half miles S.W. of Hawnby, Yorkshire. Pilot R.S. Clark J201183 died in RAF hospital on 21 December 1943.

For model builders, please note, this RCAF nose art flew with the American “Star and Bars.”

RCAF F/O Michael Marynowski, F/Sgt. J.O. Boily and two RAF crew were killed on impact. Canadian R163586 F/Sgt. L.J. Yeo survived with serious injuries.

This very famous Walt Disney creation, Stork from the movie Bambi, was painted for an American B-17 Squadron, borrowed by the RCAF but the serial is unknown. Photo RCAF PL26028 could be EQ-B [for Baby] DS723, which flew seven operations and was lost over Berlin 27 January 1944, the same operation Eldon Kearl and crew were lost. Airframe Mechanic LAC J.A. Talbot, Pictou, Nova Scotia sits in the cockpit.

The third trip to Berlin came on 16 December 1943, the unlucky 13th operation, and they survived.

Lancaster Mk. II serial DS726 was first assigned to No. 426 Squadron and completed one operation Sgt. Grifton on 23 August 1943. Transferred to No. 408 Squadron in September, she flew her first operation on 7/8 October as code EQ-T for “Titus.” The nose art was painted in 408 Squadron and the aircraft was involved in an accident. Code “T” was assigned to Lancaster DS845 in November and when “Titus” was repaired she received the new assigned code letter “Y” flying first operation on 2/3 December 1943. The E.E. Kearl crew flew Titus for training on 19 and 27 December 1943. This aircraft completed 36 operations, shot down Cambrai 12 June 1944.

No. 408 [Goose] Squadron lost thirty-two Lancaster Mk. II aircraft during the Battle of Berlin, twenty-nine were shot down and three crashed in England. Due to the large loss of aircraft, bomber code letters were always changing and today that causes many problems in RCAF nose art research.

No. 408 Squadron assigned the code letter “M” to six Lancaster II aircraft, and two bombers carried the same Donald Duck art work.

The first Lancaster to wear the letter “M” was DS729, flying one operation on 8/9 October 1943. The code letter was changed to “D” and DS729 completed 41 operations, ground looped 7 June 1944.

Lancaster DS758 flew two operations wearing “M”, first trip on 20/21 October 1943, second 18/19 November, code letter changed to “H” [flew six Ops.] went missing over Frankfurt, Germany, 21 December 1943.

The next Lancaster to wear the letter “M” was DS797, first operation 29/30 December 43, flew thirteen, missing over Frankfurt, Germany, 23 March 1944.

The fourth bomber to wear the letter “M” became Lancaster II, serial LL687, first trip on 5/6 June 44 [D-Day invasion of Normandy, bombed Longuis, France] pilot Sgt. D.R. Andrews. On 6/7 June 44 she flew to Coutances, France, bombed railway junction, pilot F/O H.E. McKinley. Third operation was flown by the Commanding Officer of No. 408 Squadron, W/C A.R. McLernon, DFC, bombed Acheres, France, 7/8 June 1944. For unknown reasons the Lancaster was now taken off operations, possibly damaged over France or in training.

Lancaster Mk. II serial LL675 became the fifth to wear the letter “M ” and was assigned to pilot F/O D.T. Ryan, bombed Mayennce, France, railway junction 9/10 June 1944. The aircraft completed fourteen operations until 15/16 July 1944, and F/O Ryan flew her eight trips, and had his bomber painted with Donald Duck, named “Berlin Special.”

This RCAF image PL30770, [date unknown] where three Saskatchewan born RCAF members have a reunion. Left is LAC William Rose from Longbank, Sask., middle is Sgt. Harold Cline, Zelma, Sask., and right LAC Don Smith from Allan, Saskatchewan. It is interesting to note the nose art Donald Duck has been blocked out [censored by RCAF] but the nose code letter “M” and four red Maple Leafs are captured in the photo, plus the toque on Donald Duck, facing backwards from the nose of the Lancaster aircraft. [that is important]

I believe RCAF photo PL30770 is in fact No. 408 Lancaster Mk. II serial LL675 with the name Berlin Special and the first nose art of Donald Duck wearing Santa style toque. This Lancaster II caught fire in the air and crashed seven miles N.E. of Melton Mowbray, on 17 July 1944. The nose art of Donald Duck was lost and no RCAF photos were taken of the complete art image.

The sixth Lancaster Mk. II assigned code EQ-M became LL687, which in fact flew three operations 5, 6, and 7 June wearing the code letter “M.” On 18 July 44, F/O D.T. Ryan was assigned Lancaster LL687 and flew her to Caen, France. On 18/19 July she went to Wessling, Germany, with F/O G.A. Boehmer, F/O Ryan flew her on 20 July and Boehemer on 23/24 July. F/O Ryan took her to Stuttgart on 24/25 July and then the squadron ‘stood down’ for four days.

During this break in operations F/O Ryan had the squadron artist repaint his Donald Duck nose art, which was the reverse of the above image. This second “Donald Duck” nose art was captured in RCAF photo PL28041, LAC Stanley Peacock from Almonte, Ontario, [aircraft instrument mechanic] in the cockpit of LL687. This mix of nose art name and photos with no date or aircraft serial number has confused historians. This RCAF information is only important today for model builders.

The 408 Squadron Lancaster LL687 did not receive her name “Berlin Special” when this image was taken, around 26-27 July 1944. The eleven Maple Leaf operations have confused many historians, and the letter “B” has also been confused with attacks on Berlin. That is not correct.

Lancaster LL675 and LL687 [both named “Berlin Special”] did not fly any operations to Berlin; the Battle of Berlin ended on 30 March 1944. I believe the eleven Maple Leafs stood for the operations flown in both Lancaster LL675 [8] and LL687 [3] by the crew of F/O D.T. Ryan, all targets in France, in support of D-Day invasion of Normandy.

The complete nose art painted on Lancaster Mk. II, serial LL687, 27 July 1944. The 12th operation will be flown by the aircrew of F/O Donal Ryan on 28/29 July 1944.

F/O [pilot] Donal Thomas Ryan J216090 from Westmount, Quebec, 24 years, and his crew were killed in action 29 July 1944 flying Lancaster LL687, code “M” named “Berlin Special.” The bomber was shot down by a German night fighter thirty-five miles south of Bremervorde, Germany. RAF Air Gunner Sgt. David Scott was the only survivor, taken Prisoner of War. Three of the RCAF crew were flying their 25th operation, with only five trips to go.

EQ-B serial LL642 was the third to wear the code letter “B” in 408 Squadron. DS790 was lost on 21 January after flying 10 operations as EQ-B. DS723 flew 7 operations, lost Berlin 27 January 1944. LL642 [above] flew her first operation on 30/31 January and soon carried a rare nude lady as nose art with name “Aurora.” This aircraft completed a squadron record flying 60 operations up to 14 August 1944. The three RCAF aircrew never flew in LL642, [left] F/O R.L. Black, Brussels, Ontario, navigator F/O C. Harder, from Lethbridge, Alberta, and right is F/Lt. A.M. Herring from Long Branch, Ontario.

Eldon and his crew bombed their assigned target area in the “Big City” Berlin and turned south-east for the return to England.

Suddenly, out of the dark sky a German night-fighter aircraft appeared ahead of Lancaster EQ-P on the port side, and the RCAF bomber was rocked by explosions. With two starboard engines on fire, Eldon ordered his crew to jump, however only RAF Flight Engineer Sgt. Alfred Charles Brown made it out of the nose escape hatch, interned as a POW No. 39979. Sgt. Brown had no idea how it made it out of the Lancaster or how he strapped his parachute on, he was unconscious and came to be tangled in a tree. The Lancaster plummeted on fire, out of control, into a forest near the village of Bugk, Germany, 35 k/m south-east of Berlin Schoenefeld airport.

A local Bugk German farmer witnessed the fiery crash and located five of the RCAF aircrew bodies on his property. They were not burned and it appears two possibly made it out of the aircraft, but were too low to be saved by their parachutes. The five were buried in a local German cemetery near his farm home and reported to the German S.S. authorities.

Three RCAF Lancaster bombers failed to return from Berlin and twenty-four aircrew members were killed or prisoners of war. This map appeared in Time magazine February 1945, showing the advance of the Red Army [Russian Bear] and the beginning of the Soviet Cold War era.

In 2008, the author was conducting research on the nose art painted by No. 408 Squadron during the Battle of Berlin, at which time phone and email contact was made with an expert, W/C Ronald William Butcher J209961.

Ron was born in Sackville, New Brunswick, and enlisted in the RCAF on 20 January 1942, trained as a navigator, graduated No. 4 A.O.S. 20 November 1942. His aircrew were assigned a new Lancaster Mk. II aircraft, serial LL722 on 14 January 1944, and flew twenty-two trips during the Battle of Berlin, including nine to the German capital. This bomber carried nose art of a very suggestive pin-up girl [topless] laying across a bed, with crossed legs and her feet touching the floor. This nose art was painted for their pilot F/L Norman Sutherland, DFC, and flew operations until June 1944, when the King, Queen, and Princess Elizabeth were making a Royal Visit. The Goose Squadron C.O. [W/C A.R. McLernon, DFC] ordered “Put some clothes on her” and the lady was painted over by F/O Butcher, [who stated – “We rebelled against the C.O.s order and removed our topless lady completely”] and I replaced her with large white letters ‘Lady Be Good.’ The Crew Chief artist was away on leave at the time, so I did the painting.”

This Lancaster went on to survive 55 operations and was later flown by pilot F/L Robert Clothier, DFC, famous for his postwar character “Relic” in the CBC Beachcombers T.V. series. During one email, I asked Ron Burcher if he recalled the aircrew of Eldon Kearl, and this was his reply in 2009. Ron Butcher passed away in 2018, he was 97 years of age.

On 11 August 1944, King George VI was photographed presenting a DSO to P/O J.L. Webb in 408 Goose Squadron. The Lancaster Mk. II in the background is EQ-N, serial LL722, “Lady Be Good” last flown by Norman Sutherland, 24/25 May 1944, and later by F/L Robert Allan Clothier, DFC, J15680 [Relic] pilot inset when above photo was taken. Clothier was on his second tour of operations when he flew Lancaster Mk. II, serial LL722 to Stuttgart 24/25 July 1944, the 3,000th operational sortie for No. 408 [Goose] Squadron. Clothier finished his second tour [56 operations] on 10 September 1944, flying Halifax serial NP761, code letter “A.”

The aircrew of P/O Norman Sutherland finished their tour in June 1944 and had their photo taken. [above]. Eldon Kearl and crew flew five operations beside Lancaster EQ-N, serial LL722, with topless girl nose art, 3 and 16 December 43 to Berlin, 20 Jan. Berlin, 21 Jan. Magdeburg, and the last trip to Berlin for Eldon Kearl on 27 January 1944. I am still seeking an image of the nose art lady.

Top row L to right – F/O Ron Butcher, Navigator, Sgt. Art Hampson, Mid-upper gunner, Sgt. C.A. [Dusty] Claus, Mid-under gunner, Sgt. J.H.R. [Les] Bore RAF Flight engineer.

Front row L to right –P/O Roy Hobbs, Wireless Operator, P/O Al Demille, Rear gunner, P/O Norman Sutherland, Pilot, and P/O Clive Boulton, Bomb aimer, [KIA 15 March 1945]

In 1939, the RCAF set high education standards [grade 11-12] and did not accept ethnic applications, which closely followed the codes and policies of the Royal Air Force. Aboriginal peoples were an exception to this rule but the Indian Affairs Branch lists only twenty-nine servicemen in the RCAF. Most applicants were eliminated early due to their lack of formal education, as during the war years, seventy-five per cent of First Nation peoples had only grade three to five education and thus most served in the Canadian Army Infantry as foot soldiers.

Sgt. R190789 C.A. [Dusty] Claus was a Mohawk from the aboriginal reserve near Oshawa, Ontario, trained as an Air Gunner, and arrived with No. 408 Squadron 10 September 1943. He flew with a number of Goose Squadron crews as a Mid-Under gunner trained in a single 50 cal. machine gun which fired down from the belly of the Lancaster bomber. His first operation was flown in Lancaster Mk. II, EQ-S, serial DS692 on 7/8 October 1943, and he had completed nineteen operations when his photo was taken as part of the Sutherland crew above. W/C Butcher stated he was the very first aboriginal member commissioned by the RCAF during WWII, however I can not verify that information. The Sutherland crew made nine trips to Berlin and I’m sure Sgt. Claus completed a number. The history of this First Nation [officer] has been lost with time, and the author would like to publish his RCAF story. Any information or photos would be most welcome to preserve the record of this indigenous hero who also flew in the “Battle of Berlin” and I’m sure knew pilot Eldon Kearl.

Back in Cardston, Alberta, [30 January 1944] younger brother Harold Kearl, age 21 years, had enlisted in the RCAF and was in his final pilot training at RCAF No. 15 S.F.T.S. at Claresholm, Alberta. Harold was just two weeks away from receiving his RCAF Wings and was eager to join his older brother Eldon in the air war over Europe. Harold was home on a weekend pass the morning of 30 January 1944, when a knock came to the front door of the Kearl home. There stood a CPR agent on the family doorstep with a telegram in hand, and the family received their worst words imaginable, “Missing in Action.” The author has known Harold Kearl for thirty years and he described the family feelings on that tragic morning many, many, times, which are impossible to put into simple words. The family gathered in silence, Mother Rose cried, they had lost a loving son, brother, and there stood Harold in his RCAF uniform about to depart for England and the same air war which claimed Eldon. At that moment, Harold Kearl understood his war would never be over until he stood at the grave of his older brother Eldon Kearl, somewhere in a forest east of Berlin, Germany.

Harold Kearl completed his training, [Course #90, 11 February 1944] received his RCAF wings, and followed his brother’s footsteps to England, and the bloody air war over Europe, flying Halifax aircraft in No. 432 [Leaside] Squadron. [Brother Eldon Kearl had completed six operations over Germany flying the same Halifax bombers from 24 July to 2 August 1943, wearing the code letters EQ-P]. Harold now flew regular operations over the same German cities bombed by Eldon and his thoughts always drifted back to that night over Berlin and what occurred in his brother’s burning Lancaster bomber.

The aircrew of P/O Harold Kearl completed their conversion training to four engine Halifax Mk. VII aircraft at RCAF Station Dishforth, and were posted to No. 432 [Leaside] Squadron 23 February 1945. Harold flew his first operation [Day] as 2nd pilot to S/L K.A. France on 1 March 1945 in Halifax “O” PN229. He again flew [Night] second pilot to F/L Clarke in “D” PN233 on 5 March 45. The first Kearl aircrew operation was flown in Halifax “B” NP736 on 7/8 March. On their fourth operation, 8/9 March to Hamburg, Germany, they flew a famous veteran Halifax Bomber Mk. VII, serial NP755, QO-A, named “The Avenging Angel” painted with a fully nude lady for nose art. This RCAF bomber aircraft went on the complete 70 operations, the most flown in No. 432 Squadron, and today the original nose art can be seen in the Canadian War Museum at Ottawa. On their sixth operation [8th for Harold] they flew another most famous Halifax aircraft, “W” serial NP707 with name “Willie the Wolf” and another nude lady being chased by a Wolf. This rare RCAF nose art flew 67 operations and also survives today in the War Museum collection at Ottawa, Canada. On 8 April 1945, [crew operation #9] the Kearl crew were assigned Halifax “G” PN208 which they flew five times, their last operation on 22 April 45. On 8 May 1945, the war in Europe [V-E Day] ended, and P/O Harold Kearl had completed fifteen operations in six different Halifax aircraft; his crew had completed thirteen operations.

The blonde haired nude “Avenging Angel” Halifax Mk. VII serial NP755, flew the most operations in No. 432 Squadron, completing 70 trips between 31 August 1944 until 25 April 1945. P/O Harold Kearl flew her on 8/9 March 1945 to Hamburg, Germany, the aircrafts 55th operation. This original nose art survives today in the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, wearing a green two-piece bathing suit. The original RCAF nose artist is still unknown.

Halifax Mk. VII, serial NP755, QO-A, “Avenging Angel” as she is seen today in the Canadian War Museum at Ottawa, sadly with little educational value. P/O Harold Kearl flew the 55th Red Heart painted on the nose, 8/9 March 1945, however this section of operational [bomb] art was not salvaged at No. 43 Group [Rawcliffe] Yorkshire, England, in June 1945.

In July 1990, the author conducted a five-hour interview with No. 432 [Leaside] Squadron ground crew member, 79-year-old nose artist LAC Thomas H. Dunn, #R86146. Tom had no idea his original nose art WILLIE “The Wolf” survived until I told him I had seen it in 1977, hanging in the RCAF Officer’s Mess on Glouster Street in Ottawa. He was more than thrilled, and the following year [7 August 1991] two photos were received from artist Dunn, reunited with his original [believed scrapped] Halifax nose art. Halifax NP707 was constructed in late June 1944, and delivered to No. 432 Squadron on 5 July 1944, assigned the code letters QO-W [for Wolf]. LAC Tom Dunn was posted to No. 432 Squadron at Skipton-on-Swale, on 16 September 1943, Fitter Class II A, assigned to “M” Flight, moved to East Moor, Yorkshire, 19 September 43. Tom was a sign painter by trade [high School training] with limited artistic talent, but soon discovered he could make good money [five quid $25 Canadian] painting RCAF nose art. When NP707 arrived in July 1944, Tom had completed seven Halifax nose art paintings and now the crew of P/O A. Potter J87003, requested the new art of Willie “The Wolf” a running nude lady being chased by a Wolf. The British ladies stated when the RCAF aircrew went on leave they chased them like a pack of hungry Wolves, with only one thing on their mind. This famous bomber flew the second most operations in No. 432 Squadron and today survives as the largest original RCAF nose art in the world, 11 feet 3 inches wide by 5 feet 1 inch high.

25 March 1944, P/O Harold E. Kearl J91181 in the cockpit of Halifax B. Mk. VII, serial NP707, after flying a day trip to bomb Munster, Germany, the 60th operation flown by this famous RCAF aircraft. When the war in Europe came to an end, 8 May 1945, Harold Kearl had completed fifteen combat operations, just two short of the number his brother Eldon had completed when he was killed in action. Harold was given the choice of returning to Canada or flying C-47 aircraft in Transport Command, delivering passengers and freight in northwestern Europe. Harold knew he couldn’t return to Canada, he had to find a grave site located somewhere East of Berlin, Germany, in the Soviet Zone, during the early dark days of the Cold War.

Harold Kearl faced an impossible task, and he knew the odds were against him, it was very risky, but he had to find his brother’s resting place. He arranged for an RCAF transfer to Brussels, and from there got a free ride to West Berlin, landing at RAF Gatow, on 25 February 1946. For the next three days he had little success and then he made contact with Lt. Gen. Maurice Pope, the officer in charge of providing support for Canadians in West Germany. Pope explained to Harold the relations between the Soviets and Allied Forces [Canadians] had deteriorated and he would not be welcome or safe in the Soviet Zone, he could be arrested, imprisoned, or even killed by Russian troops. Harold was determined to go and eventually Pope relented and turned to his deputy, Col. McQueen, to arrange for the trip into the Soviet Zone of East Berlin. McQueen provided Harold Kearl with an official black staff car, a driver, and a German speaking translator. Next, McQueen’s secretary, a young charming lady [the words of Harold] named Alla Jacobs, from Montreal, Quebec, typed a letter in Russian. A colorful official looking Canadian stamp was placed on the bottom of the letter and it was signed by McQueen, as requested by Harold. The letter was bogus and contained no Soviet signature or authority, it just appeared to be an official Russian issued document, and the success of the trip now depended on the goodness of the Russian troops he might come in contact with.

The three passed through the bombed remains of the Brandenburg Gate into East Berlin on the morning of 28 February 1946, and for the next five hours drove by trial and error on blocked and bombed streets.

Brandenburg Gate in June 1945.

Harold had learned from the Canadian Red Cross, his brother Eldon and crew were interred near the village of Bugk, Germany. Eventually they broke free of the bombed City of Berlin and drove south-east towards Bugk. To this point they had not been stopped, but ahead lay a Russian check-point and the troops trained their weapons on the approaching staff car. The interpreter rolled down the window and at once a Russian sergeant jammed the barrel of a machine gun to his head. He attempted to explain their mission but the illiterate Russian refused to listen and they were ordered from the car and marched to his superior officer. The fear which Harold felt was soon overcome with the sense of his mission, and being in the Russian Zone, nothing could change what was about to occur, it all depended on a single bogus Russian letter. The three were brought before a tough combat looking Russian Captain and the German interpreter explained their story. The Russian officer carefully examined the fake letter and after some time took it as being legitimate, and to the relief of all, nodded his head in approval.

The original Russian letter was donated to the RCAF archives in the Military Museums of Calgary, Alberta, by Harold Kearl in 2012.

Then the Russian officer surprised Harold by giving directions to the village of Bugk, and the three drove off. Upon their arrival at the small village of Bugk, at 2:30 pm, the interpreter suggested they stop at the local pub where the German farmers would be drinking beer. In German he asks if anyone knew the location of a bomber crash on 27/28 January 1944, and where the fallen Canadians were interned.

One old German farmer stood up, and came forward with answers. He was named Karl Konig, and on the way to his farm he explained he had seen the burning bomber fall from the night sky. The following morning Karl found four bodies, which were not burnt, and he buried them in the local cemetery near his farm. He gestured with his hands as he related to Harold what he had seen and yes, he recalled he found the pilot’s body [Eldon Kearl]. He further explained, later he found a fifth body and placed crosses on all five graves. This was reported to the German S.S. who in turn destroyed the crosses. On arrival at the grave site Harold Kearl was immediately flooded with emotion as he looked at the perfectly manicured plot of his brother Eldon, surrounded with planted flowers. Harold offered to pay Konig, but the German farmer refused. Harold stood alone at Eldon’s grave, said a silent prayer, then stepped back and saluted. The three then returned to West Berlin and for Harold Kearl the Second World War had finally come to a close.

In the summer of 1945, the British Occupation Forces [Authorities] in Berlin selected the location for the 1939-45 Commonwealth Berlin War Graves Cemetery, Charlottenburg, Germany. Bodies of fallen airmen were removed from burial sites around the German capital and interned in the Berlin War Cemetery. Today 3,595 graves are located in the Berlin Cemetery, with 397 unidentified. Eighty percent of these young men were killed in air raids conducted over or around the City of Berlin, mostly during the RAF “Battle of Berlin” November 1943 to March 1944. This became the final resting place for F/Lt. Eldon Kearl, DFC.

Harold and wife Marilyn Kearl visited the grave of Eldon in 1992, recorded as row Five, section “D” number twenty-three.

On 20 November 2010, the author was invited to a special screening of a film titled “Brothers in Arms” held at the Royal Canadian Air Force Museum, which is part of the Military Museums of Calgary, Alberta. I was honoured to be seated with the Kearl family members and relatives from both Canada and the United States.

This touching historical RCAF film on the Kearl “Brothers in Arms” plays regularly in the Military Museums of Calgary, 4520 Crowchild Trail, S.W., and educates thousands of school children every year. The RCAF museum was designed by Mr. Don Smith from Nova Scotia and the “Brothers in Arms” film was produced by Mr. Robert Curtain from Calgary, Alberta.

My last visit to the Kearl home was 24 December 2019, where I recorded four images of pilot Harold for my RCAF research. In one photo [above] I captured the image of wife Marilyn in the living room mirror. Marilyn passed away 14 January 2020, at the age of 95 years, the loving wife of Harold for the past 72 years. Harold gave his permission to publish this image.

Due to the Covid-19 virus I am still unable to visit Harold Kearl, however we do keep in contact by phone. On 10 December 2021, Harold turned 99 years of age, and I called to wish him a Happy Birthday and a Merry Christmas. He is in fact older than the Royal Canadian Air Force where he served during WWII, and he did fly Halifax Mk. VII serial NP707 called “Willie the Wolf” and Halifax Mk. VII, serial NP755 called “Avenging Angel.”

On 30 October 2011, the Ottawa Citizen newspaper printed a story titled – Dave Brown: “Bomber nose art carries a story” – which can be read in full online. The column recalls the RCAF storyline of 88-year-old RCAF pilot Ron Sierolawski, who flew 33 operations with No. 415 [Swordfish] Squadron during the last year of WWII. The RCAF nose art research came from the Canadian War Museum resident historian Mr. Jeff Noakes, and sadly, he made a mistake when he guessed the nose art WILLIE “The Wolf” in the Ottawa collection was the same Halifax flown by Ron Sierolawski. That is not correct, and this historical error is still being repeated and read online by a new world generation and it should be changed.

This is the second WILLIE “The Wolf” nose art painted by Thomas Dunn on Halifax serial MZ632 code 6U-W, in No. 415 [Swordfish] Squadron. F/O Ron Sierolawski J27553, flew this Halifax four times, 25 Aug., 12 Oct., 14 Oct., and 14/15 October 1944. Ron finished his last operation [#33] on 2 December 1944, posted to RCAF “R” Depot on 23 January 1945. After flying 42 operations, Halifax MZ632 was transferred to No. 1665 H.C.U. for training and burst a tire landing at RAF Station Tilsock, [Operational Training Unit] 17 March 1945. Aircraft and nose art scrapped at No. 43 Group, Rawcliffe, [near Clifton] Yorkshire, May 1945.

Thomas Dunn [photo] and his original nose art painting taken in RCAF Officers Mess, Glouster St. Ottawa, 7 August 1991. Halifax NP707 painted at East Moor, Yorkshire, England, in August 1944, assigned No. 432 [Leaside] Squadron.

This original nose art panel from NP707 went on public display for the first time at the Canadian War Museum in 2005, clearly showing the 65 bombs for operations flown in No. 432 Squadron. The last two operations, R189599 F/Sgt. P.C. Neville to Bremen on 22 April 1945 and J41957 F/O A.R. Nicholson to Wangerooge on 25 April 1945 were never painted on the bomber. The War in Europe had come to an end and so had the life-span of the Canadian flown RCAF Halifax bombers.

Halifax NP707 [WILLIE “The Wolf”] completed 67 combat operations in a nine-month period, 11 July 1944 until 25 April 1945. During this time frame, 112 RCAF bombers were shot down over Europe, with at least 784 young Canadians lost, a few became prisoners of war, but most were killed in action and have no known grave.

Twenty-five different aircrews flew in Halifax NP707 WILLIE “The Wolf” with the following breakdown.

1 operation 13 RCAF aircrews. [P/O Harold Kearl – 25 March 1945]

2 operations 5 RCAF aircrews.

3 operations 1 RCAF aircrew.

4 operations 4 RCAF aircrews.

5 operations 1 RCAF aircrew.

24 operations 1 RCAF aircrew.

Halifax QO-W, serial NP707 completed five operations, 11 July, 15/16 July, 18 July, 20 July, and 25/26 July 1944, then was involved in an accident and repairs took one month. It is believed the nose art was painted on the bomber by Thomas Dunn while the aircraft was in the hangar for repairs. [He could not recall] NP707 returned to operations on 27/28 August 1944 and was assigned to the aircrew of J87003 P/O A. Potter at the end of August. They flew their first operation on 3 September 1944, [above] to bomb Volkel Air Base in Netherlands, used by Luftwaffe night fighter units. [Today 2021, Volkel Dutch Air Field stores NATO nuclear weapons in secret underground bunkers, keeping the Russian Bear in check]. The Potter aircrew completed 23 more operations in “Willie” the last on 1 March 1945, bombing Mannheim, Germany.

On 29 May 1945, P/O Harold Kearl and his navigator were ordered to fly Halifax NP707, WILLIE “The Wolf” on her last 30-minute flight to the huge aircraft graveyard RAF No. 43 Group at Rawcliffe. Harold Kearl wrote in his log book the following –

“Willie The Wolf, ‘W’ graced the sky for the last time. She was no longer needed as the war was over. I flew her to Handley-Page, Clinton Dome, near Yorkshire, her birthplace and to her end. Hundreds of aircraft were assembled there to be scrapped, bulldozed, and burnt. Such a fatal ending for a Halifax bomber that gave so much to so many Canadians in Yorkshire, and over the wartime skies of Germany and Europe.”

This became the last entry in the RCAF log book of P/O Harold Kearl, and it would take another fifty years before he learned the original nose art of WILLIE “The Wolf” was in fact salvaged and returned to Canada. It was saved by F/L Harold Lindsay in May 1945, to educate future generations of Canadians and RCAF veterans, however the Canadian War Museum has failed all Canadians and even managed to confuse the history of the nose art WILLIE “The Wolf.”

Ninety-nine-year-old Harold Kearl keeps his RCAF war records and photographs in a large red binder and taped across the front cover is a Russian proverb. Harold will translate it into English:

“Dwell on your past and you’ll lose an eye; forget your past and you’ll lose both eyes.

Lest We Forget – Photos from the Collection of Gaston Lamirande

There’s a story behind that photo of a Hawker Tempest Mk. V Series 2. Warrant Officer II Gaston Lamirande, who had this photo in his collection, was not the pilot flying ZD-V.

At first I thought Warrant Officer II Gaston Lamirande was sitting in the cockpit of his Tempest. It made sense. However Squadron Leader Emanuel Barnett Lyons was the pilot who was flying Tempest Mk. V ZD-V.

What had happened to Squadron Leader Emanuel Barnett Lyons’ plane?

Squadron Leader Emanuel Barnett Lyons is seen in front of a Hawker Tempest Mk. V Series 2. He is on the right with another pilot.

Both pilots are also together on the group photo taken probably on the same day.

I found more information on Flight Lieutenant Lyons here.

http://www.bbm.org.uk/airmen/Lyons.htm

Emanuel Barnett Lyons was born in London in 1918. While studying at Magdalene College, Cambridge in June 1939 he joined the RAFVR as an Airman u/t Pilot.

Called up on 1st September 1939, he completed his training at 22 EFTS and 5 FTS before joining 65 Squadron at Turnhouse on 2nd September 1940.

Lyons remained with the squadron until July 1941, when he moved to 222 Squadron at Manston. When 243 Squadron was reformed on 1st June 1942, Lyons joined it as a Flight Commander. He went with it to North Africa in November and took part in operations in support of the 1st Army.

In 1944 Lyons was posted to 33 Squadron in France as a supernumerary Flight Lieutenant. Soon afterwards he rejoined 222 Squadron, also on the continent, as a Flight Commander. Lyons took command of 222 in January 1945. It was then at Predannack, having returned to England to convert to Tempests.

He took the squadron to Holland in February and led it until being seriously wounded on 11th April 1945.

His Tempest V SN165 ZD-V was hit by flak during an attack on Fassberg airfield.

The canopy, armored headrest and horizontal stabilizer were badly damaged and Lyons was wounded in the head. He was able to fly 200 miles back to his base.

Awarded the DFC (gazetted 8th May 1945), Lyons was released from the RAF in 1946 as a Flight Lieutenant.

He was awarded the Netherlands Flying Cross (gazetted 21st April 1947) for gallantry, initiative and determination as commander of a squadron in which a number of Netherlands pilots were serving during March and April 1945.

He died in 1992.

Source of the medals https://www.gorringes.co.uk/news/battle-britain-dfc-group-squadron-leader-butcher-lyons

I wish I could identify who was with him.

I wish I could also identify all these airmen one day.

 

“Sleepy Boy” U-Boat Stalker – No. 407 Squadron

Research by Clarence Simonsen

Sleepy Boy U Boat Stalker

Click on the link above for the PDF version

Text version

“Sleepy Boy” U-Boat Stalker – No. 407 Squadron

No. 407 [Demon] Squadron RCAF was formed at Thorney Island, Hampshire, England, 8 May 1941, as the second Canadian coastal squadron formed overseas. They first flew as a Coastal “Strike Force” in Blenheim Mk. IV [training only] and American Lockheed Hudson Mk. III and MK. V [in June 1941], carrying out attacks on enemy shipping between the Bay of Biscay and Heligoland. The term ‘strike’ was applied to all operational aircraft in RAF Coastal Command which carried bombs or depth-charges on regular patrolling or for attacks on special targets, enemy shipping or German warships. These aircraft first flew in markings of RAF day bomber markings with assigned RCAF aircraft unit code “RR” for 1941-43. These surface markings began to change from temperate land colors to temperate [Coastal White] beginning in March 1942.
On 29 January 1943, No. 407 Squadron was re-designated General Reconnaissance, flying Vickers Wellington Mk. XI, Mk. [Feb. 43] XII, [March 43] and Mk. XIV in June 1943. This was the second part special history of the Canadian 407 Squadron [U-Boat Killers] as they now flew Vickers Wellington [L.L.] aircraft which were painted Coastal White and were equipped with Leigh Lights for secret night enemy anti-submarine operations.

RAF No. 1417 Flight was formed at Chivenor, Devon, to develop the Leigh Light Wellington aircraft and to form the nucleus of No. 172 Squadron, the first RAF unit to use the new aircraft. Four months of intense training began in February 1942, and on 3/4 June 1942, four Wellington took off on their first operation and the Italian submarine “Luigi Torelli was surprise in the dark and damaged. The [secret] success of the Leigh Light Wellingtons would continue until the end of WWII, [Europe] 8 May 1945.

The first Canadian operation by No. 407 was flown on 7 March 1943, Wellington XI, serial MP534, coded C1-E, F/O M.P. Jordon and crew. The aircraft were coded C1 with aircraft assigned letter as seen on Mk. XII, serial HF113/G, aircraft “P” of 407 Squadron.

In 1944, No. 407 began to use the code number 2 with assigned aircraft letter, however it is not recorded officially in any records the author can find. This image from the Imperial War Museum [FLM1995] captures Wellington “P” serial MP774 with No. 179 Squadron and the remainder are from No. 407 [Demon] Squadron with code number 2. Aircraft C-2 is serial HF127 and A-2 is MP587, while the other aircraft carry the codes together such as 2J which could possible be serial HF171 or NC512. Very confusing photos still exist concerning the markings of aircraft code letters used by the RAF during the war years and at times only a general rule can be expressed. Most No. 407 Wellington [Leigh Light] aircraft carried the “G” after the serial number and the [L.L.] in record books but the use of number 2 is still confusing. [Any info. would be appreciated by the author]

More RCAF photos showing the code number 2 used on Wellington aircraft in No. 407 Squadron, also wearing D-Day stripes on the fuselage. [Likely the same aircraft, serial NB858, used for P.R. photos, same aircrew, with aircraft code letter never shown] Note – this aircraft serial number did not carry the letter “G” [for Guard on ground]. Aircraft NB858 was possibly a [Leigh Light] RCAF training aircraft, which never flew ops. [DND RCAF photos]

Wellington Mk. XIV, serial NB811 which carried the letter “S” for [Walt Disney] “Sleepy Boy.” [What was the code “I” – S or “2” – S]? [DND RCAF photo]

Rare RCAF No. 407 nose art which also recorded each operation [eleven] with the same nose art replica painting. This Wellington Mk. XIV, NB811 completed twelve operations between 6 July 1944 to 26 September 1944, force landed on the coast of Norway, in German occupied territory. The Canadian crew escaped back to England thanks to the Norwegian Underground. This image was taken after operation #11, between 13 to 25 September 1944.

Due to the “Top Secret” classification, the contribution of the Leigh Light Wellington bomber in attacking enemy submarines was restricted and received very little wartime publicity. It took forty years for the true history to emerge in regards to the significant part the [L.L.] Wimpy played in Coastal Command and the defeat of German and Italian U-Boats. They seriously damaged at least 51 submarines [212 U-Boats were sunk 1942-45] in recorded attacks and saved countless possible attacks on merchant shipping convoys, which were vital to the whole war effort. Two Canadian RCAF pilots were involved in the original RAF No. 1417 Flight [Wellington] testing in early February 1942, plus the actions of No. 407 [Demon] Squadron [1943-45] have almost been forgotten with the passage of time. The most vital ingredient to their success was the invention of the Leigh Light, a moveable swivelling searchlight which operated remote from the pilot and cockpit.

The Leigh Light was proposed by Squadron Leader H. de V. Leigh, who took his idea to the C-in-C of Coastal Command, ACM Sir Frederick Bowhill.

The idea was first tested [March 1941] in a Wellington [magnetic minesweeping] aircraft which had a generator installed. RAF No. 172 Squadron was next formed at Chivenor on 4 April 1942, for the testing of the Leigh Light Wellington Mk. VIII, and flying the first Wellington [L.L.] operations in WWII.

The Leigh Light was a 22-million candlepower, 24-inch searchlight manufactured by Savage & Parsons, which was installed in a retractable section under the middle fuselage of the Wellington aircraft. This was called the “Dustbin” by the RAF and was a super hush-hush “Top Secret” invention in January 1942, thus protected by a 24-hour guard while on the ground. All Wellington aircraft equipped with ASV Mk. II Radar and the [L.L.] received the letter “G” [Guard] at the end of the aircraft serial number.

This original Leigh Light is preserved in the RAF Museum at Henden, as it would have been installed in a Frazer Nash FN77 gun turret.

This British Vickers Armstrong ad was based on the real attack by RCAF No. 407 [Demon] Squadron Wellington MP578, 10/11 February 1944, when German U-283 was destroyed, and a large dull red glow was observed under the submarine. Published in “Evening Standard” 25 May 1944. The true under fuselage location of the Leigh Light was top secret and could not appear in this censored British drawing.

On 1 March 1943, No. 407 [Demon] Squadron began Wellington Mk. XI bomber training at RAF Station Skitten, Caithness, Scotland. The first training operation was flown on 7 March, and after 43 Sorties, [518:00 hrs.] the squadron arrived at Chivenor, Devon, on 1 April 1943, ready for anti-submarine [Leigh Light training] operations. The first Wellington Mk. XII [L.L.] to wear code letter “S” was serial MP652, flying first operation on 22 April 1943, where they surprised and damaged two German U-Boats running on the surface at night.

MP652 was lost on her third operation, 29 April 1943. The bomber crashed into the sea at Morte Point [meaning Death-Point] which is famous for numerous ship wrecks. Morte Point is on the north coast of Devon, near the seaside resort of Woolacombe. No. 407 Squadron first U-Boat kill came on 6/7 September 1943, when Wellington Mk. XII, serial HF115 destroyed German U-669.

Four months later Wellington [L.L.] Mk. XII, MP578 sent U-283 to a watery grave.

The third kill took place on 3/4 May 1944, when Wellington Mk. XIV, serial HP134 surprised another Sea Wolf, U-846.

The squadron fourth and last kill came on 29/30 December 1944, when U-772 was attacked by Wellington Mk. XIV, serial NB855.

No. 407 [Demon] Squadron flew 1,987 anti-submarine sorties, dropped 331, 250-pound depth charges, destroyed four enemy U-Boats, and damaged three U-Boats. They lost 42 aircraft, 197 aircrew members, of whom 24 were confirmed killed in action and 151 presumed killed, no body was ever recovered. Another 64 personnel were killed in non-operational flying accidents. The squadron was disbanded at Chivenor, Devon, on 4 June 1945.

This is LAC Norman Hughes, No. 407 Squadron ground crew member who painted the rare Coastal Command Wellington Mk. XIV, serial NB811 [L.L.] nose art, but nothing else is known about the artist. Author collection from Leo Tiberio, [gunner] No. 407 Squadron. Norman had no idea he was painting a Wellington aircraft whose aircrew would make some unusual RCAF escape history.

Four different Wellington [L.L.] aircraft flew combat operations wearing the unit aircraft code letter “S.” The first was Wellington MP652, which completed three operations and failed to return [crashed into sea] 29 April 1943. The next aircraft to wear the letter “S” became Wellington Mk. XIV, serial MP756, which completed six operations, 7 February 1944, 13/14 February 1944, 11 March, 19/20 March, 25/26 March, and 26/27 March 44. Wellington HF135 was the third painted with the letter S and she completed ten operations, 12 June 1944, 13 June, 15 June, 16 June, 22 June, 29 June, 6 July, 7 July, 9 July, and 11 July. The fourth Wellington became Mk. XIV, serial NB811, completing 12 Ops., August 8, 9/10, 12, 15,26/27,30/31, September 7/8, 8/9, 9/10, 12/13, 24/25, and her last on 26 September, a crash on German occupied territory in Norway. This last operation was a total success in more ways than one, and yet, it has been totally forgotten by RCAF historians, due to the secret nature of the Leigh Light operations in WWII.

On her 13th operation, Wellington “Sleepy Boy” developed engine trouble and around 06:22 hrs. force landed on German territory in Norway. The German guards did not notice the landing [morning shift change] and the crew not only destroyed the secret radar equipment, they escaped back to England, [arriving 13 October] thanks to the Norwegian underground.

His WWII underground actions possibly helped Norwegian Mr. Kjell Harmens to immigrate to Canada in 1949. Maybe a relative will read this rare RCAF history and make contact.

Copy of original photo of Wellington Mk. XIV, serial NB811, for possible model builders.

This replica Wellington [Leigh Light] aircraft nose art [Mk. XIV, serial NB811] was painted on original WWII RCAF Norseman skin in 1993, [author] and donated to CFB Comox Museum.

A Lancaster Bomber named “Dumb Dora”

Research by Clarence Simonsen

A Lancaster Bomber named Dumb Dora (click on the link)

Text version

An RCAF Lancaster Bomber named “Dumb Dora”

The year 1920 became a momentous year for women’s rights in the United States, as they finally won the right to vote. The effect on comic strip artists was seen almost at once, as suddenly more and more women began appearing in comic pages, and more importantly, many new strips now starred women as the title character. In 1920 “Winnie Winkie” set the pattern, followed by “Tillie the Toller” [1921], “Boots and Her Buddies” [1924], and “Dumb Dora” in [1925].

Dumb Dora 1

Murat “Chic” Young was a young enterprising cartoonist who made a huge career out of depicting a number of frivolous young ladies [The Affairs of Jane and Beautiful Bab] in the 1920’s. In 1925 he created his most famous [to date] innocent college-age girl, a lively, brunette named Dora Bell, and nicknamed “Dumb Dora.” Her adventures were quite popular, and the nickname proved to be most undeserving, as Dora had her good points and was quite bright on occasions. In September 1930, Chic Young created “Blondie” a new exceeding cute fiancée of Dagwood Bumstead, which went on to depict humor in average American family life. This became the most widely syndicated comic strip of all time, and Dumb Dora came to her demise in the fall of 1930. Dora was drawn by cartoonist Paul Fung and last Bill Dwyer in the final few weeks of the strip, August and September 1930.

This growing power of women in American comics and comic strips also had a major effect on young male readers in both United States and Canada. When these young men went to war in 1939 [Canada] and 1941 [U.S.] many of the comic strip ladies came along and appeared as aircraft nose art or as mural art in military buildings around the world.

Dumb Dora 2Dumb Dora 3

In early June 1945, “Dumb Dora” was painted wearing a bright red bathing suit on the nose of RCAF Lancaster Mk. X, serial KB965, code letters LQ-D of No. 405 [Vancouver] Squadron.

Formed at Driffield, Yorkshire, England, on 23 April 1941, the first RCAF bomber squadron on active service overseas in WWII. First equipped with Vickers Wellington B. Mk. II twin-engine aircraft, No. 405 carried out its first operations on 12/13 June 1941, when four aircraft bombed the marshalling yards at Schwerte, [near Dortmund] Germany. After being operational on Wellington bombers for ten months, the squadron converted to the heavy four-engine Halifax aircraft in April 1942, the first RCAF unit to be so equipped. The following month of April became a very significate date in the unit’s history when they became the only RCAF squadron selected to serve with the famous No. 8 [Pathfinder Force] Group, RAF, on 19 April 1943.

Dumb Dora 4

During WWII a special gilt [gold leaf wire] badge was worn by all Pathfinder Force aircrew on the flap of their left-hand uniform breast pocket.

In preparation for the RAF’s “Battle of the Ruhr” in March 1943, two new squadrons were required to strengthen Pathfinder Force, with No. 97 squadron [flying Lancaster’s] and No. 405 [RCAF] squadron [flying Halifax’s] selected. No. 405 [RCAF] flew their first Pathfinder operation on 26 April 1943, when eleven Halifax’s marked the target of Duisburg, Germany. Conversion to the British built Lancaster Mk. I and Mk. III began in August and by the 30 September 1943, No. 405 had nineteen Lancaster Mk. III aircraft on charge. The last bombing operation was flown on 25 April 1945, thirteen Lancaster Mk. I and III’s from Gransden Lodge, Beds., where nine aircraft bombed Hitler’s refuge at Berchtesgaden and four bombed gun positions on the Island of Wangerooge. The Pathfinder Force had gradually expanded, and by May 1945, comprised 19 operational squadrons, but only one was Canadian.

Dumb Dora 5

Dumb Dora 6

The official RAF Pathfinder Force badge was not in use during WWII, authority: Queen Elizabeth II, March 1955.

Dumb Dora 7

The last operation [evacuate prisoners] was flown by No. 405 Squadron on 15 May 1945, and now it was time to fly back to Canada in new Canadian built Lancaster X’s. The main party of No. 405 proceeded by rail from RAF Station, Gransden Lodge, Bedfordshire, to RCAF Station, Linton-on-Ouse, Yorkshire, on 26 May and the Rear Party proceeded by road on 29 May 1945. The squadron was now introduced to twenty-two new Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X aircraft, which were taken on charge I June 1945. Flight testing began for the trip to Canada.

It is interesting to note No. 405 Squadron were in fact the first unit to operate a Canadian-built Lancaster Mk. X in 1943, when KB700, was painted as LQ-Q and flew two operations, one was aborted. The only Lancaster Mk. X to fly out of No. 6 [RCAF] Bomb Group, completing one operation with No. 8 [Pathfinder Force] 22/23 November 1943, to Berlin, Germany.  This was all staged for a Canadian Press release and a war propaganda film to be shown to the Canadian public in movie theatres. This most famous RCAF bomber was soon transferred to No. 419 [Moose] Squadron where she completed 47 more operations until she crashed at Middleton St. George on 2/3 January 1945. The full history is found on many, many, websites, books, and historical films.

Dumb Dora 8

No. 405 Squadron also flew two Lancaster Mk. VI, with Merlin 85 engines, [serial JB713, coded LQ-Z] [JB675, LQ-P] on a number of Pathfinder raids March-June 1944. Nine built, only six of these conversion Lancaster ‘test’ bombers entered service with RAF Pathfinder Force.  [IWM]

Dumb Dora 9

The twenty-two new Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X’s assigned to No. 405 [Vancouver] Squadron after 1 June 1945. Twenty-one left England for Canada at 09:00 hrs. 16 June 1945. These aircraft never flew operations in WWII, however a few had been painted with pin-up girl nose art for the return flight to Canada.

LQ-A  KB961

LQ-B  KB964

LQ-C  KB997

LQ-D  KB965           Dumb Dora

LQ-E  KB977            Easy Elsie

LQ-F  KB973

LQ-G  KB991

LQ-H  KB967

LQ-K  KB976           Sold in 1975, survives today Scotland.

LQ-L  FM122           The Lady Love [rare art]

LQ-N  KB956           Natural [Dice]

LQ-O  KB950

LQ-P  KB968           Passionate Peggy

LQ-R  FM110

LQ-T  KB945

LQ-U  KB949          Bomb doors in Calgary Lancaster

LQ-V  KB955

LQ-W KB957

LQ-X  KB952

LQ-Y  KB959

LQ-Z  FM115

LQ-M KB999          “Special” Malton Mike – last Lancaster X to leave England, 28 June 1945.

Dumb Dora 10Dumb Dora 11

A.V.M. C.M. McEwen, CB, MC, DFC and Bar under his No. 405 Squadron Lancaster “Malton Mike” specially painted for his return trip home to Canada. Better known by the men under his command as “Black Mike” his Scotish Terrier carried the same motif. The cartoon [right] was created by one of the RCAF airframe mechanics who served under his command in England, nose artist and friend “Muff” Mills. The nose art on Lancaster KB999 [M for Malton Mike] was painted at Victory Aircraft in Malton, Ontario, in March 1945, where AVM McEwen christened ‘his’ 300th Lancaster Mk. X constructed in Canada. Assigned to No. 419 [Moose] Squadron she flew one operation in WWII as VR-M, [25 April 1945] then was transferred to No. 405 [Vancouver] Squdron and repainted LQ-M for the return flight to Canada. Crashed in lake north of Churchill, Manitoba, 22 October 1955, where she still remains. Now, if you want to recover an important and historic Lancaster, this is the rare bird, but first you will have to talk to the First Nations people who own the salvage rights.

Four of the other No. 405 Squadron Lancaster aircraft carried impressive RCAF nose art ladies, including a rare nude painted on FM122 called “The Lady Love.” In July 2005, I spent an evening with the nose artist Robert Douglas Sneddon in his home at Calgary, Alberta.

Robert [Bob] Sneddon was born in Taber, Alberta, 21 September 1921 and moved to Calgary with his family in 1932. He graduated from Central High School in 1939 and joined the RCAF in 1940. Bob was born with music and artistic talents, which allowed him to decoriate RCAF aircraft with nose art paintings during WWII. In 1942, he was posted overseas with No. 405 [Vancouver] Squadron where he served as airframe mechanic, promoted to rank of Corpoal in 1943.  On 19 April 1943, No. 405 Squadron joined No. 8 [Pathfinder] Group at Gransden Lodge, Bedfordshire, and Bob painted RCAF nose art on some of the British aircraft, both Halifax and Lancaster bombers. Sadly, Bob was in the early stages of Alheimer’s when our interview took place and so parts of his past were totally blank. In early June 1945, No. 405 received twenty-one new Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X bombers, and Bob did recall he painted female nose art on a few, but again, the name or how many was blank. Robert Sneddon passed away 25 August 2010, and I feel it is correct to credit him with painting the postwar RCAF Lancaster nose art in 405 Squadron titled- LQ-D “Dumb Dora”, LQ-E “Easy Elsie”, LQ-L “The Lady Love”, and LQ-P “Passionate Peggy.”

Dumb Dora 12

The postwar nose art on KB968, “Passionate Peggy” taken Linton-on-Ouse, England, around 2-10 June 1945. [Author collection]

Dumb Dora 13

This small photo [3” X 4”] was taken by Cpl. George Wright R76190, Calgary, Alberta, who was in charge of the RCAF ground crew assigned to British Lancaster Mk. I serial PB627, No. 405 [Pathfinder] Squadron. The lettering on KB968 appears to be red; Peggy has red hair and is wearing a yellow bikini. Photo taken in first week of June 1945, as the new Canadian Lancaster X’s were being prepared for the return flight to Canada, and duty in the Pacific against Japan.

Dumb Dora 14

The Canadian ground crew of British Lancaster Mk. I, serial PB627, LQ-J No. 405 [Pathfinder] Squadron RCAF, March 1945. SOC September 1947 and scrapped. Collection Cpl. George Wright.

Dumb Dora 15

The only known postwar RCAF nose art to appear on No. 405 [Pathfinder} Squadron Lancaster FM122, LQ-L, “The Lady Love” painted by Bob Sneddon of Calgary. Possibly a nude, and the bombs were from the British Lancaster ops flown during WWII.

Dumb Dora 16

This image comes from the collection of Col. Ken Allen, Base Commander of Greenwood, Nova Scotia, obtained in 1993. The line up of No. 405 Squadron Lancaster Mk. X aircraft at Greenwood, N.S., taken sometime after 21 June or early July 1945. The ground crews are working on the bombers in preparation for the air war against Japan, [RAF Tiger Force, No. 664 RCAF Wing] and the aircrews are on thirty days leave in Canada. The nose art by Bob Sneddon is another pin-up lady named “Easy Elsie!” KB977, LQ-E for Easy, with yellow hair and a red bathing suit.

Dumb Dora 17

In the darkness at 1:20 am 13 June 45, Lancaster KB934 KW-I, was the first to take-off for Canada. A second No. 425 Lancaster KB936 taxied into the rear of the first bomber and the rear gunner was struck with the propellers. His last words to his pilot [F/L H. C. Chappel] were – “Pull up, Pull up. “He died on 16 June 1945, the last RCAF casualty in WWII.

Dumb Dora 18

When Germany surrendered on 8 May 1945, RAF plans for the air war against Japan [Tiger Force] were stepped up. All RCAF bomber squadrons were equipped with Canadian built Lancaster B. Mk. X aircraft and 164 returned to Canada. [105 were lost to enemy action or accidents] The sudden American bombing of Hiroshima [6 August 45] and Nagasaki [9 August 45] resulted in the surrender of Japan on 15 August [signed 2 September 1945]. Tiger Force, No. 644 [Heavy Bomber] Wing, formed 1 August 1945, at Greenwood, Nova Scotia, was disbanded 5 September 1945, the world believed it was at Peace. The Russian Bear, [Stalin] like a hungry Canadian Polar Bear, was in no mood for world peace and had to be watched day and night.

The Second World War marked the emergence of the Canadian Northern Arctic as a new military frontier, and new airstrips with living quarters would be constructed. But first, the RCAF was given the task of photo-mapping the far north, which required aircraft with a long range for this most remote and inhospitable part of the world. RCAF 13 [photo] Squadron was given this role and selected Lancaster KB884 and KB917 for photo field testing based at Churchill, Manitoba, which began in September 1945. These first two veteran WWII bombers were in exceedingly poor shape and experienced many cold weather problems during the winter trials. At the same time, the RCAF learned the value of these flying camera platforms and from these arctic experiments, Avro [Canada] Ltd, was contracted to modify a new prototype Lancaster serial FM212. From this small beginning, 288 Lancaster 10 WWII bombers would be modified and fly a second life in the RCAF in eight different designations.

Four joint American/Canadian Arctic weather stations [JAWS] were constructed in the Queen Elizabeth Islands of Northern Canada, Eureka and Resolute in 1947, and Mold Bay and Isachsen in 1948. In the summer of 1948 two U.S. Navy icebreakers “Edisto” and “Eastwind” reached Dumbbell Bay on Ellesmere Island and deposited material for construction of a fifth Canadian Weather Station named Alert. One of the most important construction items delivered was a Caterpillar Diesel D-4 Tractor, “Betsy” which would be used to build the first gravel airstrip. Construction could only take place in the summer months, and many equipment problems, and supply problems caused months of construction delays. The Canadian [Ground] Station Alert was finally established by April 1950, however the airstrip was still under construction, and material was still being dropped by mostly American aircraft from Thule, Greenland. Col. Charles Joseph Hubbard, 48 years, had been Chief of the U.S. Weather Bureau Arctic Section since 1946, and he was mainly involved in setting up the five Canadian far-northern weather and observation posts. The American government knew more about our Arctic than the leaders in Ottawa, and were much more interested in what the Russians were doing than Canadian weather reporting. Alert is much closer to Moscow, Russia, than any other part of Canada and it is still a Top Secret listening post today manned by RCAF personnel and Russian speaking specialists. For most of his life Charles Hubbard was an explorer, and during his first visit to Alert found a flask containing original documents left by Admiral Peary during his dash to the North Pole in 1905-07. Later an unknown marker left by the 1875-76 British Admiralty Expedition was also discovered by Col. Hubbard. Makes for very good reading if you are interested in past historical history.

In April 1947, the RCAF Director of Air Operations was inspired by what was taking place in the UK in regards to modifications of their WWII RAF Lancaster Mk. III bomber aircraft. He flew to England to see this new RAF General Reconnaissance aircraft and was very inspired by what the British were doing. The original Victory Aircraft Ltd. plant at Malton, Ontario, was now officially called Avro [Canada] Ltd and they were the contractor who modified the first nine RCAF Lancaster 10 [B.R.] Bomber Reconnaissance aircraft.  The serial numbers were: KB907, KB919, KB925, KB946, KB957, KB965 [Dumb Dora] KB973, KB995, and KB996.

Dumb Dora 19

In 1949, Lancaster Mk. X KB965, “Dumb Dora” was flown to Avro Canada and the modification began with the removal of all WWII paint. The original RCAF Nose Art painted by Bob Sneddon had lasted for some 60 months. The new modified Lancaster emerged as a Lancaster 10 [BR] Bomber Reconnaissance, high and low-level, all-weather, long range bomber and reconnaissance, anti-submarine attack aircraft.

Under the RCAF postwar establishment, there were no plans to use the RCAF in the defence of Canada’s coastline; it was the responsibility of the Royal Canadian Navy. By late 1947, the growing strength of the Russian submarine fleet, and its presence in Canadian Coastal waters became a real threat to Canadian and North Atlantic sea-lanes. This caused many problems in Ottawa and plans [in-fighting] for the formation of the RCAF to join RCN anti-submarine forces took time. No. 405 [Bomber Recon.] RCAF formation orders were first issued on 1 April 1947, then on 1 October 1947, all were cancelled.

Dumb Dora 20

On 1 April 1949, No. 10 Group was re-designated Maritime Group, and on 1 November formed No. 2 [Maritime] Operational Training Unit at Greenwood, Nova Scotia. They would be specialized in training all the new Lancaster maritime aircrews. On 31 March 1950, No. 405 [MR] Maritime Reconnaissance Squadron was formed at Greenwood, Nova Scotia, and the C.O. was W/C D.T. French, DFC, a WWII veteran.

Dumb Dora 21

The first Lancaster 10 [BR] to arrive on strength was serial #965 [Ex-Dumb Dora]. Other WWII veterans were: KB857, KB868, KB920, KB925, KB929, KB945, KB946, KB950, KB964, KB966, KB995, and KB997.

Dumb Dora 22

On 26 July 1950, two RCAF Lancaster aircraft left Frobisher Bay to take part in operation “NANOOK 50” the resupply of Joint Arctic Weather Stations. W/C French flew Lancaster 965 and S/L Dagg flew Lancaster 925. These two flight crews would be living in RCAF tents on the American base at Thule, Greenland. The first ice reconnaissance flight in Lancaster 965 took place on 27 July 1950, and the following day Col. Charles Joseph Hubbard, Chief of U.S. Weather Bureau, Arctic Section, came along for observations.

Dumb Dora 23

No flying took place on Sunday 30 July 1950, due to the weather conditions. Weather Station Alert was still under construction but the air strip was not completed, and the last spark plugs in the D-4 Cat tractor were fouled. A radio request was sent to air drop two containers of supplies at Alert, one containing urgently needed new spark plugs for the tractor “Betsy.” On 31 July 1950, Lancaster KB965 departed Thule air base at 15:39 Hrs. and headed for Weather Station Alert. The dropping of supplies took place just after 17:00 hrs. and the first container with spark plugs exited the aircraft with no problems, however, the second container parachute caught on the left elevator of the Lancaster fouling the pilot controls. The aircraft crashed and exploded just 2000 feet from the ground JAWS base on Alert, with all personnel killed. The ground members at Alert had no means to fight the fire, which burned for twelve hours, before the bodies could be recovered.

Dumb Dora 24Dumb Dora 25

Impact of Lancaster KB965 from Tony Jarvis

Dumb Dora 26

The crash site fire was still burning on 1 August 1950, when the skeleton remains were recovered.

Dumb Dora 27

Tony Jarvis images taken in 2009

Dumb Dora 28Dumb Dora 29Dumb Dora 30Dumb Dora 31

L. to R. F/O T.D. Martin, LAC Noselski [not in crash] LAC R.L. Sprange, Dr. Kirk, F/O J. E. McCutcheon, F/O J. R. G. Dube, F/O L.M. MacLean, F/Lt. J. F. L. Swinton, W/C D.T. French, DFC.

Dumb Dora 32

When the remains could not be removed, [the Canso aircraft hit ice on take-off 7 August 1950] they were interned on Joint Arctic Weather Station Alert, 12 August 1950.

Dumb Dora 33Dumb Dora 34Dumb Dora 35

The original burial site in 1950 was moved during reconstruction of the CFB Alert runway.

Dumb Dora 36

Tony Jarvis photo

Dumb Dora 37

No. 405 Squadron RCAF Memoriam 5 August 1950.

Over the past seventy-two years, many strips of skin have been removed from Lancaster KB965, and even the rear tail turret has disappeared from the crash site. These were taken by military personnel stationed on the base [or aircrew visitors] as few civilians are allowed. The author wanted a small section of skin to repaint the postwar nose art of “Dumb Dora” but how could it be obtained? Well, I just placed a call to Santa Claus, who is a pilot friend of mine.

Dumb Dora 38

Anthony “Tony” Jarvis [Santa] joined [NWT] Northwest Territorial Airways as a C-130 Hercules pilot in 1981. We made letter contact in 1988, when I joined ‘his’ Ventura Memorial Flight Association, and then we met in person a few days before Christmas 1990. Tony was flying Christmas mail from Yellowknife-Edmonton-Calgary and I joked he not only flew the arctic like Santa, he even did his work for him. Tony goes by the handle “Hercrat” and has over 20,000 hrs in his log flying bush/arctic environment, including 11,400 hrs in Hercules, mostly serial 4799, C-GHPW. This renowned long-distant arctic aviator is also a man without vanity, a gentleman who has time for a nose art researcher. A rare Bush/Arctic pilot unspoilt by praise, a true professional, who also knows all the crash sites in the Canadian Arctic, and has visited many preserving their history in his photographs.

Beginning 20 August 2009, Tony made seven “Boxtop” RCAF fuel resupply flights to CFB Alert, and was kind enough to retrieve one section of Lancaster KB965 skin from the 1950 crash site.

Dumb Dora 39

Tony Jarvis is the expert on the crash site locations in the far north and has visited many wrecks during his 39 years of Arctic flying, taking many photos for his own records and research. The following images of KB965 were taken by Tony at different years up to 2009, shared for my history.

Dumb Dora 40Dumb Dora 41Dumb Dora 42Dumb Dora 43Dumb Dora 44Dumb Dora 45Dumb Dora 46Dumb Dora 47Dumb Dora 48Dumb Dora 49Dumb Dora 51

This history is dedicated to Cpl. Robert [Bob] Sneddon, the forgotten RCAF ground crew nose artist who painted an unknown number of Canadian No. 405 Squadron nose art images during WWII. He also confirmed to the author he painted the art on KB965 “Dumb Dora” in June 1945.

Dumb Dora 52Dumb Dora 53

The postwar RCAF Lancaster Mk. X nose art is long gone; however, the Ghost of Dumb Dora still remains at the loneliest graveyard in the whole world, CFB [Burr] Alert.

Dumb Dora 54

This RCAF history could never be preserved without the years of assistance and friendship from Captain “Ice Pilot” Tony Jarvis who today flies a Lockheed L-188 Electra for Buffalo Airways. Captain C-130 Hercules, 32 years, Captain Lockheed L-188, 5 years, and Captain B-737-200A, one year four months. I’m sure once again this Christmas he will be hauling Santa’s presents to far points in the Arctic, almost to the North Pole.

Dumb Dora 55

A million “Thanks” to Santa.