A Website dedicated to remembering aircrews.
This is one from 23 Squadron.
This is post no. 126.
If you are interested in 23 Squadron a little known Mosquito Squadron in the RAF during World War II, then you should read this blog from the start.
One post a day will take you more than four months. Of course you don’t have to read everything.
But then you will miss a lot of great stories…
Just use the search engine and type in a name of someone you know who could have been related to that squadron. That how people find about their relatives.
Diane Carlucci was the first one to do so.
Members of the Gosling family also found it.
Robert Harris is one of the latest to have done so. His father was Eugène Gagnon’s navigator.
R. C. Harris
He can now share with all of us what stories his father told him about 23 Squadron.
I don’t have any relatives related to 23 Squadron. In fact I never knew that squadron existed in the first place.
I owe it all to this man. He wanted me to help him find more about his hero when he was young.
Marcel Bergeron, who is now 85 years old, is seen here in front of Eugène Gagnon’s Republic Seabee.
Eugène died on October 21, 1947. Very little was known about Eugène during WWII. So I started looking in 2010 and wrote about it here on this blog.
Everything is on this blog!
But this blog is not just only about Eugène Gagnon a little know French-Canadian Mosquito pilot, it’s about all those whose relatives are sharing what they know about 23 Squadron and thus will keep this squadron operational forever.
Jake Drummond who has done extensive research on some British airmen killed in WWII contacted me this week.
He had a picture of Al Berry with two of his friends. One friend was killed when his Lancaster shot down over Sweden.
But Jake had something more than that picture to share with me…
Alden Berry was President of IPS in 1971 before going to Japan for some years.
He was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1920. A strong family man, father of three sons, he was a devout Christian and loving husband of Setsuko.
His early years in Japan saw him taking many portraits of children and weddings. We often had a laugh about the ‘fathers’’ of the bride making Alden repeat the whole session if the Bride and Groom were smiling!
His beautiful photos taken around Kobe and Japan often won him honours at club level and in national exhibitions. I remember the night Alden brought his young son, Ian, to join IPS whilst still in school uniform.
Alden was in the group of IPS members who travelled to China for a month some years ago. Shaw Tan, Joan Carson and Rob Burkitt all enjoyed his company on that trip.
My memory of Alden will be of a gentleman of high honour and great integrity towards his fellow man.
Editor’s Note: Alden Leonard Berry passed away peacefully on April 3, 2012.
As a final farewell to Alden Leonard Berry, these two pictures from George Stewart collection when George and Alden were together in Course No. 6 at No. 60 O.T.U.
George Stewart collection
George Stewart collection
Lest we forget.
I wrote George Stewart about my post on Alden Leonard Berry.
George remembers Al and wrote this a few moments ago…
Al flew with Ron Neil, his pilot, and was in our hut, operating with us in our time. Always the gentleman always a friend.
We’ll miss him.
Susan had information and pictures about Flight Lieutenant Griff Rogers’ training in Canada.
Griff was stationed in Mount Hope, near Toronto.
This is what Susan writes about her grandfather’s training days.
Marjorie always said that the two events which frightened her most were the abdication and the fall of France. It soon became very obvious that the war was very real and would continue for some time. In spite of having pacifist principles Griff enlisted the Royal Air Force Volunteer reserve as an aircraftman 2nd class aircrafthand observer (1255177) on 1st July 1940. At first he was told he was too old to be a pilot but as soon as the age was raised, he asked to be trained to fly and attend the bombing and gunnery school in Canada from 20th May 1941 until 7th December 1941. They went over to Canada in the hold of a ship forming part of a convoy, and the effect of so many men suffering from sea sickness in crowded conditions, and the fact that the convoy was several times under attack made it seem like real hell. He spent the time writing six page letters to Marjorie every day. She ended up with a suitcase full of them. They were all destroyed when she married again years later, much to my sorrow, but she said that the letters were very personal to her and she wouldn’t want anyone else to read them.
Here are some pictures of Griffs’ training days…
Halifax, June 1941
train en route to Toronto
Toronto, August 15, 1941
lunch in Toronto
barrack at Mount Hope
control tower and hangars Mount Hope
no. 3 hangar Mount Hope
lecture room Mount Hope
Mount Hope, July 1941
Griff Rogers in an Anson
Want to learn more…?
Click on this image.
Susan told me I could use any info she has on her grandfather.
Griff Rogers was with No. 23 Squadron and was Ken Eastwood’s navigator.
This is part of what you can read on her blog.
Griff’s last flight was in Mosquito P 2177 of No. 23 Squadron based at Royal Air Force Little Snoring. It began at 20.42 hours on the evening of 18th September 1944 to carry out intruder patrols in the Gutersloh area.
No communication was received from the aircraft. His friend who saw him crash said that the flak that day was longer range than they expected and his plane was seen to crash at 23.30 hrs and totally disintegrate on impact on the Reich motor road six kilometers south of Gutersloh.
In normal circumstances he would not have been flying, for he had finished his “tour of ops”, but he told Marjorie that there was a ‘big push on’ and he had agreed to carry on rather than let a green crew go into a situation of extreme danger. Marjorie had no idea what this action was, and in fact, after Griff’s death shut out as much of the war as possible, so that even afterwards she had never heard of the Battle of Arnhem which must have been the big push of which Griff Spoke. His squadron was not directly involved, but was obviously being used to try to incapacitate the German planes flying from Gutersloh.
The famous Market Garden operation began on September 17th, and we have one long sheet where Griff is flying over Eindhoven and attacking a train.
It was only natural that in the hubbub of troop and vehicle movements it was impossible to do more than bury Griff and Ken by the side of the road where they remained for a week. After which they were moved to a temporary war grave until the fighting was over and the War Graves commission sorted things out.
Although Griff’s friend was able to tell Marjorie he was pretty sure there was no chance of Griff having survived, the official term was ‘missing’ and it was years before all the ins and outs of his death and last resting place were settled.