The Battle of Midway 1942: US Navy Flying Legends

The Battle of Midway 1942: US Navy Flying Legends

About the Battle of Midway

Aces Flying High

On December 7th, 1941 the Imperial Japanese Navy conducted a surprise attack on Pearl Harbour in Hawaii which was intended to cripple the US Navy Pacific Fleet and ultimately started the Pacific War. The stunning and brazen attack saw the entry of the United States into World War Two and very quickly Japanese forces had overrun or attacked US, British Commonwealth and Dutch forces across the South West Pacific region (the Philippines, Guam, Wake Islands, Hong Kong, British Malaya, Singapore, New Guinea etc.).

The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour (Image Source: Reuters) The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour (Image Source: Reuters)

The Japanese advance of 1941-1942 World War Two The Japanese advance of 1941-1942 (Image Source: Australian War Memorial)

As we know, the attack on Pearl Harbour did not truly cripple the US Pacific Fleet. The Japanese had not taken out the US Navy aircraft carriers stationed at Pearl Harbour, as the carrier fleet were safely out at sea on routine maneuvers and many of the ships that were hit in the attacks were able to be repaired…

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Off to the Great War (Part One)

The sequel…

John Knifton

I have already mentioned in a previous blog post that my Grandfather, Will Knifton, emigrated to Canada in an unknown year before the Great War. Conceivably, he was with his elder brother, John Knifton, or more likely perhaps, John went across the Atlantic first and then Will joined him later on. I have only two pieces of evidence to go on.

Firstly, it is recorded that a John Knifton landed in Canada on May 9th 1907. His ship was the “Lake Manitoba” and he was twenty three years of age. His nationality is listed in the Canadian records as English.

On the other hand, I still have an old Bible belonging to my Grandfather, which says inside the front cover,

“the Teachers and Scholars of the Wesleyan Sunday School, Church Gresley, given to him as a token of appreciation for services rendered to the above School, and with sincerest wishes for…

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My Grandad in the First World War

A story about the war to end all wars

John Knifton

My grandfather had a very eventful journey through the First World War. He joined the Canadian Army on June 12th 1916, and fought at Vimy Ridge, Passchaendale and the Somme. The highlight, though, was when he married his childhood sweetheart, on July 15th 1917,  I am writing this account on his 97th wedding anniversary.

Will has left an enormous amount of material behind him, including a piece of German shrapnel, his leather dog tags, and a piece of camouflaged fabric he cut off the wing of a German aircraft which had crashed in front of him in no-man’s-land.

He was, as can be judged from the surviving photographs, a hard man. He was one of what must have been the thousands of impoverished Englishmen who all set off to make their fortune in the distant reaches of the British Empire

A1  hard man

He lived at 266, Symington Avenue, Toronto.

symington avenue

He was employed…

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RAF Elsham Wolds: Part Four

Safe return from hell?

John Knifton

I wrote a previous article about the, sadly, rather typical loss of an Avro Lancaster of 103 Squadron, based at Elsham Wolds. The aircraft took off from north Lincolnshire at precisely one minute past midnight on February 20th 1944. It was on its way to bomb Leipzig, a very, very long trip lasting eight hours, most of it over the Third Reich itself. This raid involved more than 900 aircraft with the highest losses of the war so far, 78 aircraft destroyed, a loss rate of 9.55 %.  The previous worst total was the 58 aircraft lost over Magdeburg on January 21st-22nd 1943:


I was saddened to see however, during my researches into the fate of PM-I, JB745, that, on that very night, an even more tragic incident had occurred, not over Germany, but over the airfield itself. As they returned unscathed from this rather unsuccessful raid on Leipzig, therefore, two…

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