In the crew photo Eddy’s Uncle is on the right, in the centre is the pilot, Flt/Lt A.J. (Jack) Love and on the left is F/Sgt Malcolm Bunting their Air Gunner.
Eddy wrote back about his uncle.
Family anecdotes state that Harry told my Dad late in 1941 that his crew was being posted from 23 Squadron to 418 Squadron “to train up the Canadians on intruder missions”
From the web (a site called WWII Stories) entries by a Harold Stone, a pilot on 23 Squadron, states that his crew (two New Zealanders) and my Uncle’s crew were transferred to 418 on the 15th of December, 1941. In February 1942 he changed Observer to a Canadian, Sgt. Doug (Ollie) Allcorn, with whom he carried out 25 sorties. Sgt Allcorn is mentioned on page 21 of the RCAF Honours and Awards 1939-1949 and Harold Stone is the pilot he mentions in that citation.
Stone states that, apart from his crew and my Uncle’s crew, all the Canadians on 418 Squadron then were new to squadron flying and that the good old English weather severely restricted flying practice from December 1941 until March 1942. During this time 418 Squadron received a mixture of Boston IIIs and Havoc IIIs.
A letter I received back in 1981 from a K. S. Thompson (Flt. Lt. R.A.F. Retired) told me that in December 1940, Air Vice Marshall Leigh Mallory visited R.A.F. Digby. During that visit he told the C.O. of 29 Sqdn that the Air Ministry were concerned over the large number of aircraft being lost due to German intruder operations over our airfields. He was urgently trying to organise an intruder force of our own. He went on to say that the only suitable Squadron he had available was 23, then flying out of Ford Airfield in West Sussex.
As a result, a whole bunch of 29 Squadron Observers were immediately packed off to Ford!
They were crewed up with pilots and sent out on intruder operations without delay, losing 3 of Flt. Lt. Thompson’s friends over that Christmas period.
It was decided to form another intruder squadron at Bradwell Bay, Essex using Canadian aircrew and forming 418 Squadron R.C.A.F. which is where my Uncle and the others came into the picture.