I wrote this before I posted Monday’s post.


More information taken from an e-mail Robert Harris sent me last week. You can click on the links for more information on each unit his father was posted with.

Robert has produced a chronology for his father that will obviously link Eugene into his chronology and help us with the pictures he has sent me. 

His father did his initial navigation course at RAF Staverton from 13 October 1941 to 26 October 1941. He flew mostly in Avro Ansons as an observer. I have found some pictures of that airbase on FlickR. I wrote John Donkersley for permission to use them. Meanwhile here is one with full credits given to John.

RAF Staverton October 1942

collection of John Donkersley

This picture is dated October 1942 by the owner. This is what R.C. Harris was probably seeing when he was posted there.

R.C. Harris moved to No 3 Radio School. He flew mostly in Bristol Blenheims from 25 November 1941 to 7 December 1941.


He then went to No. 54 Operational Training Unit (O.T. U.) from 12 March 1942 to 22 April 1942 based at RAF Church Fenton. He flew in Blenheims and Beaufighters.

He was then posted with 456 Squadron RAAF mostly in Beaufighters from 2 May 1942 to 30 August 1942.

He joined after 535 Squadron on 2 September 1942 to 21 January 1943. Aircraft types flown in: Havoc, Tiger Moth, Boston.

Then back again to 456 Squadron at RAF Valley and RAF Colerne from 4 March 1943 to 30 September 1943.  Aircraft types – Mosquito NF MkII, occasional Anson.  He completed 259 day hours and 150 night hours of flying.

Robert Harris group picture

Déjà vu…

Off next to 62 O.T.U. from 25 October 1943 to 30 December 1943. Aircraft type: Anson.

Then to 63 O.T.U. from 3 January 1944 to 29 February in Beaufighters, Beauforts and Ansons.

Next to 51 O.T.U. at RAF Cranfield (just five miles from where Robert lives now).  From 27 March 1944 to 16 October 1944.  Aircraft: Beaufighters, Wellingtons, Beauforts, Airspeed Oxfords.

He then joined B.S.T.U. Flight (Bomber Support Training Unit) on 22 October 1944 when he was teamed up with Eugene Gagnon. They were with this unit until 1 November 1944 when they joined 23 Squadron.  There then obviously followed some more training as he spent some more time in Avro Ansons.

Robert will take the chronology direct from the log books from this point and will send what he considers particularly pertinent/interesting extracts to find more about the 33 missions his father and Gene flew together.

logbook 1943 (2)


Now we know when that picture was taken don’t we?

Robert Harris group picture


2 thoughts on “Chronology

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