I write almost exclusively about unknown service men on this blog which pays homage to the veterans and the fallen.
Arthur James Horrell is one of them.
His name is found here.
The new pilots who joined the squadron at Gander (and remained at least a month) included Sgts G. E. Urquhart and P. G. Bockman (November), F/L Gilbertson, Sgts L. B. Foster, D. F. Bridges and W. I. Williams (December), P/O J. Yule (January 43), F/Os F. W. Ward and C. E. Scarlett and P/O G. F. Ockenden (April), P/O A. J. Horrell and F/S J. C. Badgley (May), P/Os S. Bregman and W. A. Aziz, Sgts H. W. Summerfeldt and M. R. Sabourin (June).
On the morning of December 23, 1943, the advance party of No. 129 Squadron arrived to take over No. 127’s duties at Dartmouth and a happy band of officers and airmen boarded a train to take them home on embarkation leave. So ended No. 127 Squadron’s tour in Canada. The squadron’s flying personnel now included: S/L H. W. McLeod, F/Ls D. M. Walz and M. V. Shenk, P/Os E. H. Fairfield, A. J. Horrell, A. Hunter, G. F. Ockenden and C. E. Scarlett, P/Os W. A. Aziz, S. Bregman, L. B. Foster, W. A. C. Gilbert, T. G. Munro, L. Perez-Gomez, L. P. E. Piché, W. I. Williams and L. H. Wilson, W02 D. F. Bridges, F/Ss P. G. Bockman, P. E. Ferguson and G. E. Urquhart, and Sgt H. W. Summerfeldt.
By this time, the squadron knew that the long expected invasion was only hours away. The invasion markings (broad black and white bands) were painted on the Spitfires. No. 443 Squadron now had twenty-eight pilots on strength. S/L H. W. McLeod, F/Ls A. Hunter, W. A. Prest, W. V. Shenk and D. M. Walz, F/Os W. A. Aziz, E. H. Fairfield, P. E. H. Ferguson, L. B. Foster, W. A. C. Gilbert, A. J. Horrell, R. A. Hodgins, T. G. Munro, G. F. Ockenden, L. Perez-Gomez, L. P. E. Piché, C. E. Scarlett, and W. I. Williams, and F/S G. E. Urquhart had all been with the squadron since the beginning of its overseas tour in February. F/Ls I. R. MacLennan, H. Russel and E. B. Stovel and F/Os R. B. Henderson, J. R. Irwin and G. R. Stephen, had joined in March and April. More recent additions were F/L G. W. A. Troke, DFC (on April 28) F/O W. J. Bentley (on May 16) and S/L J. D. Hall (on May 26).
On the twenty-third, while leading No. 443 and No. 421 on a fighter sweep around Paris, W/C Johnson sighted 60 to 80 enemy aircraft approaching head-on in two groups. Johnson instructed No. 421 to engage the higher group while he led No 443 into the lower formation of 30 or 40 fighters. The next few minutes saw the 20 Canadian Spitfires dogfight their opponents in one of the greatest air battles in weeks. Twelve of the German aircraft were destroyed while our Wing lost only three. F/O G. F. Ockenden was credited with two destroyed and one damaged while Johnson got two and Horrell, Robillard and Fairfield accounted for one each. German road and air activity was now slowing noticeably.
A few days later, on October 11, F/Os Piché and Horrell left for Antwerp in the squadron’s Auster. Horrell was to pick up a replacement Spitfire while Piché flew on to Brussels to arrange accommodation for the servicing personnel when leave finally started for them in mid-October. They were never heard from again although the burned-out wreckage of the Auster was found near Deurne.
I don’t have any pictures of Arthur James Horrell, but maybe someone has some they could share in this homage to the fallen.
For now this is the only thing we have.
The Canadian Virtual War Memorial
In memory of
ARTHUR JAMES HORRELL
who died on October 11, 1944
- Service Number: J/21413
- Age: 24
- Force: Air Force
- Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
- Division: 443 Sqdn.
Son of Herbert John and Anna Horrell, of Windsor, Ontario, Canada; husband of Shirley Edith Horrell, of Windsor, Ontario.
Reading again the article on that site, I am almost sure Arthur James Horrell is on this picture.
His headstone is found here on FlickR.