I know this will not be my last post on this blog. I know it because someone will one day share pictures and stories about 23 Squadron like so many people did since 2010.
All the people who have visited this blog since April 2010.
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.
collection Peter Smith
Paul Beaudet who was George Stewart’s navigator.
People who had never heard about this French-Canadian Mosquito pilot, immortalized with a caricature done by Pat Rooney.
Who remembers Donald Hepworth Bentley and Sergeant Causeway?
Theo Griffiths and his son-in-law who has shared all his step-father’s war souvenirs.
Rick Maude and Theo Griffiths
collection Theo Griffiths
Comment from Anders Straarup, www.airmen.dk
AirmenDK now contains www.airmen.dk/grove44.htm as the first of 9 pages describing how George Stewart and Bud Badley of 23 Sqn attacked a JU88 fighter at Fliegerhorst Grove and later a radar tower at the West coast of Jutland, Denmark on 26 SEP 1944.
George sent a page from his photo album and his report. The painting Day Ranger to Grove is very fine. Thanks to Danish Experts the type, serial number and exact position of the radar tower have now been added.
AirmenDK has details about 463 planes and 3.089 Allied airmen – most of them shot down over Denmark.
You may see www.airmen.dk/mosquito.htm
This blog is still alive and well, I am just waiting for someone to find it and contribute.
What follows was written in August 2010.
I sent an e-mail to George Stewart this week after posting Monday’s article…
He answered back and he insists I call him George.
I am not the kind of guy to argue with a Mosquito pilot…
George identified most of the airmen on the pictures that Paul Beaudet’s daughter sent me two weeks ago.
Paul Beaudet was George’s navigator on all his 50 missions. They never suffered any injuries.
I would venture to say that they were each other’s good luck charm.
Getting back to the photographs, I first believed that these pictures were taken at Luqa, Malta, but George told me they were taken in Alghero in Sardinia and also in Naples, Italy.
This is the first picture I posted last time.
This is what George Stewart wrote me…
His answers are in blue…
This photo shows my navigator F/O J. R. Paul Beaudet, beside F/L J. (Jackie) Curd, a squadron pilot who flew with his navigator F/S P.H.Devlin.
This photo shows me with F/O A.L. (Al) Berry, a squadron navigator, whose pilot was P/O R. A. (Ron) Neil, both members of the RNZAF.
The other officer on the left side of the photo escapes my memory for now, but I think he was our engineering officer. This shot was taken in Naples, and you can see Mount Vesuvius in the background.
We landed here off the Italian cruiser Garibaldi, which sailed us here from Cagliary, Sardinia, after we found out that the squadron was going back to the U.K., in the spring of 1944.
We sailed from here to Liverpool on the Strathnaver.
The picture shows a few of us in Sassari (Sardinia), a city close to our base at Alghero in Sardinia, (after we did a bit of shopping. I bought a lovely small oil painting, for 800 lire).
In the dark battledress to my right, is F/O Ken Eastwood’s navigator F/L G.T.(Griff) Rogers.
‘Scappa’ W/O.K.V.Rann, a squadron navigator who flew with Lt. J.H.Christie, of the Dutch Airforce, is on my right, and Paul to his right.
I’m not sure about the chap in the top picture with his right arm around my navigator Paul, but it may come to me later; it may have been taken a the #1 B.P.D. tent camp in Algiers.
Paul Beaudet and the Vesuvius of course.
Al Berry again, likely taken the same day as the photo on page 1, in Naples.
With all these new articles on No. 23 Squadron, I would like to consider myself as being George’s navigator on the Internet…
End ot the original post
Please leave comments when you read some of my posts on 23 Squadron. It’s always interesting to hear from people who are interested in 23 Squadron.
I TOOK BARB to the Hamilton 2014 Skyfest to see the Confederate Air Force B-24 (Diamond Lil), 419 Squadron Lancaster “Ropey” (temporary conversion of the Mynarski Lancaster), the T-28 Trojan Horsemen Aerobatic Team, and the, then, world’s only flying D.H.98 Mosquito (Military Aviation Museum) and I was very happy to see these rare, and dignified WW II aircraft. And that’s all I expected to see.
I was walking around talking, and taking shots when I thought I heard someone on the PA system say George Stewart.
I mean his appearance here, at Skyfest, made sense since George was consulted during AvSpec’s restoration of the originally Canadian-made Mosquito (Mossie) — so, of course— where else should George be? George flew down to Auckland during the Mossie’s restoration to give advice and flying tips. The Mossie is not easy to fly and will stall below 130mph! Scary? Yes!
And, of course, George was here to go up for a flight in the Mosquito, and of course, there was no one more worthy than THE MAN who flew 50 successful search and destroy missions over Nazi-occupied territory during World War II.
And true to form, George even did a wee bit of flying that there Mosquito (pictured in all 4 pics) when he was up in the wild blue today.
Who is George Stewart?
GEORGE E. STEWART, D.F.C. (Distinguished Flying Cross)
Canadian (born in Hamilton, Ontario)
50 Ops in WW II, in a Mosquito (night/daytime intruder operations)
No. 23 Squadron RAF
Instructor, Nationalist Chinese Air Force
Consultant, AvSpec’s restoration of their DH98 Mosquito
What is the D.H. 98 Mosquito (Mossie)?
The most lethal fighter/bomber/intruder aircraft of World War II!
Maximum Speed: 415 mph (668 kph)
Combat Capability: Fighter, bomber, reconnaissance — the Mosquito was capable of anything.
What the Distinguished Flying Cross Citation folk said about George Stewart:
“Flying Officer Stewart’s eagerness to operate against the enemy, his unflagging zeal and determination combined with his devotion to duty have won the admiration of all.”
What George Stewart said about the Mosquito:
“This is the diamond,”
“The most awesome airplane ever designed.”
“The Mosquito is, was and always will be magic.”
What Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring said about the Mosquito:
In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy. The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that? There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I’m going to buy a British radio set – then at least I’ll own something that has always worked.
What is George Stewart most famous for?:
The late 40s Canadian Government GAVE over 200 battle-ready Mosquitos to the Chinese Nationalists who were fighting a tough, bloody, battle for democracy in China.
…and, as we all know now, a battle they sorrowfully lost.
The Chinese have been fighting for democracy EVER since.
Back in the day, with the sudden acquisition of 200 Toronto-made Mosquitos, the Chinese also a needed flying instructor. They didn’t think so. However, the RCAF knew the Mosquito was tricky to fly under 150 mph and absolutely unforgiving to flight novices. And, truth-be-told, the Chinese had already pranged a number of these gifted beasties, so yes, the Chinese Nationalists desperately needed an willing instructor to come to their war-torn country, but who? Who?
George Stewart that’s who!
It should have been smooth sailing, er, flying … from there.
What isn’t well-known is the Chinese freedom fighters also had a tougher time than most, learning to fly these high-performance Mosquitos. The Mosquito was a flying thoroughbred, far beyond the tin cans the Chinese were used to flying.
Plus, and this was a big negative, actually … learning to fly these high-performance aircraft, the older Chinese pilots deeply resented learning how-to from a brash, noticeably younger (24 years old) Canadian pilot, George Stewart, and his also young assistant. I mean some of the Chinese pilots were almost double his age! In Chinese society one looks up to one’s elders, not, the other way around.
The George E. Stewart D.F.C., Chinese Nationalists, and the gift of two-hundred Canadian Mosquitos is far too big a tale to recount here. One final thing I will mention in lieu of the actual story, the Chinese invited George Stewart back to China (and he went), in the mid 90s, to reminisce about those “training days” with his former students!
What has George Stewart been up to lately?:
Enjoying retirement at 90 years young!
George has ALSO been providing consultation to AvSpec’s Mosquito restoration project, and as well, giving flying tips to that Mosquito’s future pilots. Remember, no one has flown, or seen a flying Mosquito in almost 20 years! and George has over a 1000 hours flying time on the Mossie. AvSpec’s Mosquito was later sold to
And this folks, this is the Canadian hero, George E. Stewart, D.F.C. you all saw at the 2014 Hamilton Skyfest this Father’s Day and probably knew nothing about. He fought the horror of the Nazis, and after a little break, took on a dangerous mission against Chinese Communism during the Cold War!
But, you know, that’s how real heroes are.
Humble, approachable, and often passing by in our midst, unnoticed —
AND SEE more about George and the Mosquito – thru a child’s eyes: www.canadashistory.ca/Kids/YoungCitizens/Profiles/2014/Ben-S
AND ALSO SEE: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu5B03SqrAE
AND FINALLY, about the DH98 Mosquito: www.mossie.org/Mosquito.html
(Hamilton’s George Stewart, D.F.C. with Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum photographer, “Kool Shots” Annette Koolsbergen)
Each artifact I posted a picture of yesterday is important.
We all know by now that Hugh Boland had no fear.
This is what is written in this book.
This is the post I wrote back on June 6, 2012…
It was about Cricket, a call sign used by 23 Squadron.
This is what I wrote.
It’s about Cricket 23. I did not pay that much attention to the Cricket call sign.
George shed light about it on this post.
This is what I wrote later about another crew brought to life with this artifact which indicates that Boland’s Mosquito was Cricket 39.
I was about Cricket 23.
This is a good time to remember the valiant ones who served in World War II.
Tim Dench is sharing Bill Goody’s account of a raid on Munich Riem.
Courtesy Tom Cushing via Peter Smith
Munich Riem Raid – 25 April 1945
The following account was dictated by Bill Goody to Tim Dench in 1977. At the time, Bill was a much loved officer of 97 ATC squadron, and I was doing a school project on the Mosquito.
It was decided that No 23 Squadron being experienced in the low level intruder role, and flying their Mosquito MkVI aircraft with Merlin 25 engines, would act as “Pathfinders” in that they would navigate precisely to the airfield and go in first to the attack dropping their 80 x 4lb incendiary bombs which would burn with a vivid white light to mark the area where the normally high level Mosquito Mk XXX’’s with their Merlin 76 engines would make their own low level attacks lobbing onto the incendiaries their 100 gallon drop tanks, 1 to each wing rack, filled with petroleum jelly (Napalm) to effect maximum damage to the parked enemy aircraft.
Mosquito YP-N flown by Flight Sergeant Goody took off from Little Snoring airfield in Norfolk and followed the prescribed route. The weather was clear with very little high level cloud and the moon was quite full, not ideal weather for low level operations as flak gunners on the ground with light anti aircraft weapons could fire visually at the aircraft. The crew relied on the superior speed and maneuverability of the Mosquito to combat such defensive actions, but as these missions where never flown higher than 2,000ft above the ground the risk was always present of the aircraft being flown into the ground or striking trees, pylons or high buildings during this type evasive action.
The purpose of the low level operation was to allow for accurate map reading from ground features, rivers, lakes and railway lines etc, the task being made easier on the Munich Riem raid by good night visibility. “Gee”, a radar navigation aid was also used but mainly by the Mosquito XXX’s crews who flew high level to the target area.
The Merlin engines of the Mk xxx’s had two stages of super charge and gave their best performance and heights of 10,000ft to 20,000ft hence this tactic. The 23 Squadron aeroplanes had single stage super chargers and where fastest at 2,000ft to 5,000ft.
Accordingly the overall plan called for the attacking aircraft to rendezvous at a lake close to Munich and the flight planning allowing for some 5 minutes “stooging” there to allow for discrepancies in times of arriving. The senior officer of 23 Squadron, Squadron Leader Griffiths DFC was appointed Master Bomber whose duty required him to mark the target and direct the attacking aircraft during their attacks.
After the short channel crossing, routed to avoid the continental coastal areas still in German hands, the route was straight across Europe to Bavaria and Flt. Sgt. Goody remembers nothing of particular importance that occurred on the 2hr flight other than the signs of frontline fighting still going on, trace machine gun fire, burning buildings etc. Enemy reaction to the intruders was not as fierce as they had experienced from previous raids prior to this date. On identifying the small lake the Mosquito pilot reported over the radio to the Master Bomber their arrival by using the coded call sign “cricket 23”. “Cricket” identifying the squadron and “23” the pilot. After orbiting the lake for some 7 minutes (YP-N arrived a few minutes early) the Master Bomber dived over the airfield and dropped the incendiaries on the tall control tower at one end of the large civil combined hanger and control building.
These bombs burnt brightly on the tarmac apron and building roof and “Cricket 23” was called on to follow this first attacking aircraft to mark the tower at the other end of the hanger complex. Flt. Sgt. Goody carried out this attack from about 150ft and whilst pulling up and away noted further incendiaries bring dropped all along the complex by successive aeroplanes from 23 Squadron. The Master Bomber then called on the lightened Mosquito fighters to fire their cannon at the sources of the small amount of defensive flak being thrown up by the airfield defence gunners.
Flt. Sgt. Goody remembers vividly the awesome sight of the Mosquito XXX’s lobbing their deadly load of Napalm onto the tarmac apron and the tremendous sheets of flame that erupted from the bursting tanks, resulting in the entire complex and apron flaming up.
During this frenzied activity over an airfield the size of Croydon Aerodrome a pilot called out that he had seen trace shells from an attacking enemy aircraft fired at one of our Mosquitos and after the last Napalm was dropped, Squadron Leader Griffiths instructed all attacking aircraft to go home, which Flt. Sgt. Goody says was acted on by all aircraft without delay!!!! He recalls the return trip as being without incident, no German intruders awaited the returning aircraft over the home bases in Norfolk as had been the case some months or so previously.
Mosquito YP-N of 23 Squadron landed at Little Snoring at 05.15 the following morning as evidenced by the entry from Flt. Sgt. Goody’s log book, a total flying time of 5 hours, 45 minutes typical of the range of this mission for advanced fighter aircraft. This type of offensive operation ended when the European fighting finished on 5 May a few weeks later.
The attacking crews heard nothing of the effect of the raid until Frank Ziegler who carried out early interrogations of enemy airmen after the war wrote an article about Col. Steinhoff and the revolutionary ME262, one of the first successful jet aircraft to be evolved. Col. Steinhoff related how JV44 the “Squadron of Aces” had achieved numerous victories by shooting down American daylight bombers from Munich Riem until the squadron was put out of business as a result of the Mosquito attack on the night of 25 April. The unit was commanded by the General Adolph Galland and other Aces flying with it were Lutzow with 120 victories and Col. Steinhoff another veteran fighter leader and author of the ‘Straits of Messina’.
Flt. Sgt. Jacobs (by then a civilian at the end of the war), Flt. Sgt. Goody’s navigator, wrote a letter published by the RAF News which resulted in a reply being passed to him by Col. Steinhoff, by then Gen. Steinhoff of the postwar Luftwaffe, giving the results of the raid as seen from the German viewpoint. The Cricket 23 crew were pleased to note Gen. Steinhoff’s “warm greetings from your former adversary”.
Footnote (by Tim Dench 1977)
Many cadets in the ATC (Air Training Corps) may have assembled the plastic model Mosquito kit of the 23 Squadron night fighter version bearing squadron letters YP-A without realising that this aircraft was originally flown by an officer of my squadron no 97 (Croydon) of the Surrey wing ATC. Flt.Sgt. Goody tells me that he enjoyed the use of this aeroplane as his “own” aircraft for a while whilst flying intruder operations in support of bomber command operations towards the war’s end.
Courtesy Tom Cushing via Peter Smith