Chronology: 535 Squadron RAF Ercall, Shropshire from 2 September 1942 to 21 January 1943

George Stewart Hough’s relatives have been found…
Well it’s more they found this blog.


RAF 23 Squadron

Always interesting to receive information from Robert Harris. It’s a great way to reach out for people related to the airmen found in R.C. Harris’ s logbook or on a few of his pictures.

535 airmen pilots

We now know that the picture above is about 535 Squadron.

Robert added this information about this squadron.

R.C Harris – 535 Squadron RAF Ercall, Shropshire from 02/09/1942 to 21/01/1943.

Aircraft/glider flown in:

Havoc II,

Boston III,

Tiger Moth,

Airspeed Horsa,

Havoc flights x 14

Boston flights x 63

Tiger Moth x 1

Horsa x 1

Aircraft numbers:

Havoc – AH450 , AH479. 

Boston – AL707, W8309, Z2214, W8227, W8393, Z2214. 

Tiger Moth – DE489. 

Horsa – no number.

Number of flights (in all aircraft): 79. 

Flights lasting one hour or less:  30.

Night flights: 35.

Flying Hours:-

Total Flying Hours with 535 Squadron







View original post 308 more words


Who remembers Eugène Gagnon?

Eugene Gagnoncollection Ghislaine Laporte, Eugène’s fiancée

All the people who have visited this blog since April 2010.

Little Snoring - June or July 19451945

collection Tom Cushing via Peter Smith

All the people who have visited this blog since April 2010, and found relatives who were associated with 23 Squadron like Paul Beaudet’s daughter.

Paul Beaudet group picture

collection Peter Smith

Paul Beaudet who was George Stewart’s navigator.

Paul Beaudet and George Stewart 1

People who had never heard about this French-Canadian Mosquito pilot, immortalized with a caricature done by Pat Rooney.

caricature d'Eugène Gagnon

Who remembers Donald Hepworth Bentley and Sergeant Causeway?

Bentley and Causeway

Theo Griffiths and his son-in-law who has shared all his step-father’s war souvenirs.

Rick Maude and Theodore Griffiths mod

Rick Maude and Theo Griffiths

collection Theo Griffiths

a-flight-23-squadron-naples-10-november-1943-bwcollection Theo Griffiths




Chronology: No. 51 O.T.U. Update – Redux

Another update about this post on No. 51 O.T.U. with this comment just received…

John Kelly was my father. After the war he went to become a Professor of Pathology at Tufts and then the Head of Pathology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC. He eventually quit that profession to go to become an author. He penned several articles for the Navy’s Tailhook magazine and wrote a novel called “The Wooden Wolf” which was published. The plot was about an attempt to kill Hitler while he was on Hermann Goering’s train Asia with an attack from a “Mossie”. I have his manuals supplied to him while in 68 Squadron of the flight manuals for the Mosquito and Blenheim. In additional to these his letters home recounting his time there. His Squadron mates were Black & Aitken as well as Karl Seda. To read these letters are like steeping back in time.

Source Internet


Update with this comment…

no information about the crew of Lt. Kelly / Lt Martin.

Czech pilot Karel Kuttelwascher DFC & Bar was posted to 23 Sqn.
July 9, 1942 – October 1, 1942

Crew F / Lt Kuttelwascher – P / O Palmer 6x Night Intruder over France and the Netherlands
Navigator P / O Geoffrey Ernest PALMER (116970) DFC

Regards Pavel

This picture could have been taken at No. 51 O.T.U. but I am not sure.


No 51 O.T.U. was stationed at RAF Cranfield.  From 27 March 1944 to 16 October 1944 R.C. Harris was posted there.  He was a navigator radar operator and flew on Beaufighters, Wellingtons, Beauforts, and Airspeed Oxfords.

This page from the logbook is interesting in a way as well as the message from Robert.

Hello Pierre!

I have learned so much from reading the latest blog update.  I had never heard of the Havocs with searchlights linked to the Hurricanes!

One log book scan shows my father as instructor to an American – wonder what happened to him! I have attached some other log book extracts which I hope you will find of some use.

Can’t thank you enough for all the work on 23 squadron and beyond.

Kind regards – Rob

One log book scan shows my father as instructor to an American – wonder what happened to him!

51 OTU August 1944

Four entries from 14 August through 18 August 1944. Richard Harris is an instructor to Ensign Grinndal, U.S. Navy on August 14. Squadron Leader Macandrew was the pilot.

Who was Squadron Leader MacAndrew? I found nothing about him on the Internet.

Who then was Ensign Grinndal? Was he Richard Eric Grinndal who died on November 22, 1944?

Click here for the source and the complete history of RAF 68 Squadron.

During October 68 Squadron made up for all the frustration of the two previous months as they shot down 13 Flying-bombs. The crews were as follows: Fg Off Haskell/Plt Off Bentley – three; Fg Off Humphrey/Fg Off Robertson – two; F/Sgt Bullus/Fg Off Edwards -one; W/O Lauchlan/F/Sgt Bailey – two; Fg Off Gibson/Sgt Lack – one; Sqn Ldr Wright/Fg Off McCullough – two; and Sqn Ldr Mansfeld/Flt Lt Janacek – two.

Part of the Squadron’s training programme at this time was devoted to cross-countrynavigation exercises, and these included trips over France, recently cleared of Germans. Sqn Ldr Evans of ADGB came to give a lecture on ‘Intruding Over Enemy Territory’. The aircrews were shown three films: ‘The Nazis Strike’, ‘The Battle of Russia’, and ‘Divide and Conquer’. Earlier, three American Navy aircrews had been assigned to the Squadron, they were: Lt Peebles/Ens Grinndal; Lt Black/Lt Aitken; and Lt Kelly/Lt Martin. On 27th October the Squadron moved back to Coltishall having had a very good series of farewell parties at Castle Camps. The Squadron continued to fly anti-diver patrols over the North Sea, but seemed to be selected by Control to operate against Heinkels carrying the flying-bombs.

On 5th November F/Sgt Neal/F/Sgt Eastwood caught a He 111 just releasing its bomb and after a long chase shot it down into the sea, and on the 11th F/Sgt Brooking/PIt Off Finn also dealt with a Heinkel in similar circumstances at 700 ft above the sea. W/O Cookson/W/O GravelI claimed a Heinkel probably destroyed. On the 8th the first V2 rocket was seen by a 68 squadron pilot as it was launched from a site in Holland, it was described as a ‘red glow with flames on the outside shooting straight up into the air at great speed and to a great height’.

The Squadron had really taken to the American crews, who though more formal than the RAF, were super chaps, and 68 were most upset when Joe Black and Tom Aitken were killed pursuing a flying-bomb. Apparently they followed the bomb into the gunstrip and tragically the guns missed the bomb, but brought down the Mosquito. Soon after this there was another tragedy when Sam Peebles and Dick Grinndal, having been scrambled for anti-diver activity at 22.30 hours and just airborne, reported going over to channel ‘D’ on the R/T, but crashed near Horstead at 22.33 hours, both were killed. It is good to be able to say that John Kelly and Tom Martin survived the War.

On Find A Grave Website

Ens Richard Eric “Eric” Grinndal

Birth: Jul. 19, 1918
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Death: Nov. 22, 1944
Norfolk, England

Casualty of WWII, he was an Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve and worked as a ‘navrad’ (Observer) on de Havilland Mosquito NF.Mk.XVII Registration: HK344, 68 Squadron RAF. It was described as Britain’s “Wooden Wonder”-it featured two Rolls-Royce Merlin engines and was constructed of plywood and balsa wood.He entered the Service from Illinois. His parents were Vidar and Frieda Grinndal from Sweden. His service number was O-325953. He was awarded the Air Medal. He was flying with Lt. Samuel Warmuth Peebles (pilot) US Navy; the aircraft lost an engine on take-off from RAF Coltishall, Norfolk and crashed onto the lawns of Horstead Hall after hitting trees. Sam Peebles was initially interred in Cambridge,England, near Eric but his remains were subsequently repatriated to USA.
  The pilot…


Ensign Grinndal and his pilot were flying Mosquitoes that were shooting down Flying-bombs carried by He 111.


Ensign Grinndal is not just a name in a logbook entry anymore…

51 OTU Ensign Grinndal

Last Mission: N.F.T. Last Trip With Gene

Robert Harris has shared almost all he had about his father.

This is the last comment Robert made.

Their last flight together was also on the 12th June starting at 16.05 and over by 16.25.  The extract from the log book reads as follows: “N.F.T.  Last trip with Gene”.  

They flew for 20 minutes!

20 minutes… after 33 operations on a Mosquito most over Germany at night.

That’s the last thing Robert shared with me.

The Last Operation Flown by Our Two Men

Robert Harris has been looking at his father’s logbook.

The last operation flown by our two men was on 2nd May 1945 and lasted for 3 hours and 50 minutes.  They dropped 80 X 4 Ib incendiary bombs on an airfield called Hohn. 

Last Operation of Bomber Command 2 May 1945

This was the last operation of 23 Squadron against the Third Reich and also the last operation of Bomber Command. 


They must have been glad to be alive…

There were a further 7 flights together with the last significant one being : “ASH Check.  Flew over London, Cambridge and Norwich to see the lights” – verbatim from log book. 

On 12th June, they flew low level to Langrick, a round trip of one hour and 5 minutes.  Langrick was significant – a little village/hamlet near Boston in Lincolnshire which is where my mother lived with her mother and father who were farmers. My brother John was born by now and my father and Eugene would often fly over the house to see my mum and John in the garden below!! 

Richard Craig Harris’ children and grandchildren will always remember him when they hear a Mosquito high in the sky.

Click here


Keeping Jet Fighters Off Berlin?

This was in the draft section of my blog with two more articles. I was waiting to post them because Robert Harris had more to share with us. I have not had any more contact with Robert since last year. I have thus decided to post these as an homage to his father who was Eugene’s navigator for all the 33 operations they flew together as a team.


You can’t make up such a story…

Found in R.C. Harris’ logbook.



me-262 plane

Taken on this Facebook page.


From Lisa Sharp’s collection

On April 4, 1945, Gene and Dick flew a mission that lasted 5 hours and 50 minutes. WWII was not over yet and danger was always present over Germany even if you were flying a Mosquito.

Gene was flying YP-J. They were on an Intruder Patrol over Rechlin/Larz airfield and then over Burg airfield. Bombs were dropped on latter airfield and flash were seen. No activity seen at Rechlin/Larz.

I wish I had a picture of YP-J with Gene and Dick like I have one with George Stewart and Paul Beaudet.

Paul Beaudet and George Stewart 1