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

Who?

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Ranger to Grove revisited

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

 

Click here.

01058 Day Ranger to Grove, low res

 

And the answers are… Redux

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.

The original is here.

 

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

Footnote

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.

Day Ranger to Grove

Day Ranger to Grove is the second painting commissioned by Peter Smith who has since 2006 went on a mission to honour all those who served with RAF 23 Squadron, a little known Mosquito Squadron.

 01058 Day Ranger to Grove, low res

Day Ranger to Grove

On 26th September 1944, F/O George Stewart, and his navigator F/O Paul Beaudet flew a Day Ranger with fellow 23 Squadron Pilot F/O D.L,’Bud’ Badley, and his navigator Sgt AA Wilson, to Grove Aerodrome in Denmark, in their FB.VI Mosquito fighter bombers. Arriving abruptly over their target, George spotted a Ju88 sitting by the perimeter track and at once strafed with his four 20mm cannons. He is flying YP-T (HR 201), and Bud, YP-Z (HR 216), seen in the background. Their sudden appearance and departure drew no return fire and, as they raced back to the coast, George couldn’t resist a departing shot at a Freya Radar tower, but got hit by a .303 round in his instrument panel as he flew overhead. Bud, however, received numerous hits on his pass, losing one engine, plus rudder, elevator control and R/T. In a superb display of airmanship, at zero feet, Bud regained control and flew back home to land safely at the emergency airstrip at Woodbridge. George, having plunged into low cloud and therefore lost sight of Bud, was unable to raise him on the R/T and flew on to Little Snoring. George and Paul were awarded DFCs, following their extended operational tour, and Bud an ‘Immediate’ DFC, by W/C ‘Sticky’ Murphy DSO and Bar, DFC and Bar, Croix de Guerre and Palm, Commanding Officer of 23 Squadron, RAF. 

Peter Smith first commissioned Never Say Die.

01048 Never Say Die, low res

Never Say Die

What must surely be one of WWII’s most extraordinary acts of bravery occurred on the night of 16th/17th January 1945 when F/L T A Smith and F/O A C Cockayne were on an ASH patrol over Stendal. Flying Mosquito FB.VI RS507 (YP-C), they inadvertently stumbled upon the German airfield of Fassberg on their return trip, fully lit up with aircraft taxiing. Taking full advantage of this situation, F/L Smith went straight in to attack, destroying one Bf.109 on the taxiway and another two as they attempted to take off. RS507 received ground fire hits to its starboard engine during the chase down the runway, Smith feathering the prop, but continuing to press home his attack. Knowing that there was no way of saving their aircraft, Cockayne was ordered to bale out, but sadly lost his life in the attempt. F/L Smith fought gallantly to bring his Mosquito down into snow with minimum damage, but the aircraft hit trees before striking the frozen ground and a furious fire broke out, Smith trapped in the wreckage. Against all the odds, he survived the crash, albeit with terrible burns, and saw out the war as a prisoner of the Germans. 

Both prints are A3 in size, and numbered, ?/250 in a limited run, they cost £35 and postage is free within UK and standard postal rates outside the UK.

Visit Ivan Berryman Website for more details.

Still Secret?

I got a document last Monday night. It was dated July 1944. I am almost sure it is not a secret document anymore because you can buy copies from the National Archives.

But to be on the safe side, I won’t post it on the blog.

What were Theodore Griffiths and his navigator Eric Maude doing on the night of 18/19 July 1944?

The document says…

At 0015 on July 19th, 1944, Warrant Officer Theodore Griffiths took off from Little Snoring with his navigator Flight Sergeant Eric Maude aboard Mosquito PZ.174. Their mission was to patrol Vechta / Quackenbrouck / Diepholz.

No activity.

mosquito-pff

On that same document we read what George Stewart did early morning on July 20th, 1944.

1943-1944_Plane (bike)

George Stewart collection

The document says he saw a Ju88 that climbed into the clouds…

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My Reward for Writing This Blog?

What’s my reward for writing about 23 Squadron since 2010?

Paul Beaudet and George Stewart

Just this comment I want to share.

Too precious to leave unread in the comment section.

And what a blog it is. We found my dad’s (JRP Beaudet) pilot through this blog: George Stewart, and what a gift this has been. My brothers and sisters have met George and his wife three or four times in the last two years and he gave us a part of dad we knew so very little about. George is an amazing man with an incredible memory. He has shared his stories, his photos, his writings and most importantly given us his friendship.

Thank you Pierre for doing this blog. I love ‘meeting’ the men of the 23 squadron. Can you believe Pete Smith even sent me chapters of his book.

You have done an incredible ‘chef d’oeuvre’.

Hope we get to meet one day.

Cheers

Diane Beaudet Carlucci

George Stewart on nose

George Stewart collection

Post no. 126

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.

Never_Say_Die

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…

Paul Beaudet and George Stewart 1

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.

Paul Beaudet DFC

Paul Beaudet

 

Members of the Gosling family also found it.

23 Squadron end of the war 3

Robert Harris is one of the latest to have done so. His father was Eugène Gagnon’s navigator.

No. 23 Squadron Aircrew 1945 R. Harris

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 at the crash scene

Marcel Bergeron

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! 

numérisation0011

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.

photo 23 Squadron Crest

Another View From His Grandad Mossie

Marten is this navigator’s grandson.

Click here to get reacquainted.

Marten wrote back to contribute more to this blog.

Hi Pierre

It’s great to continue to read about the squadron, so keep up the good work! I have attached a better quality scan of the photo my grandfather took, as well as a scan of the 23 squadron entry from Martin Streetly’s ‘Aircraft of 100 Group’. I will get around to photographing my model, I promise.

Regards

Marten

This is a very picture of a Mosquito equipped with the ASH radar.

Grandad Mossie

page from book

About St. Chris…

1943-1944_Plane (bike)

We all know who flew St. Chris don’t we…Paul Beaudet and George Stewart 1About Marten’s grandad picture… I did a little touch-up.

ASH Radar

ASH Radar notes

He Went in for a Second Pass…

I never got around to post this back in 2011. Now I think the time is right

This is what happened when Tommy Smith was shot down.

Tommy Smith

This is what George Stewart told me.

George told me a lot of things during our little five-hour chat. We were sitting side by side just like in a Mosquito.

Mossie in flight 23 Squadron

Unlike the crew of a Mosquito, I was sitting on the left and George was on the right. His lovely wife had prepared some snacks. I did not have time to grab a bite. I was too enthraled by what George was telling me.

Everything is in my head. I would have wished I could have taped the conversation. I had my tape recorder but it never crossed my mind to use it or I did not have the guts to ask him.

We talked about Paul Beaudet, George’s navigator.

Hey we're a team

George had just kind words for him. Paul is now deceased, but his memory still lives on with his daughter Diane and his granddaughter Sonya.

Sonya is the one who found my blog Lest We Forget two years ago… just like Robert did this week.

Pilot Officer Robertson

On April 26, 1943, Alec joins 605 Squadron. 

He is checked out on an Oxford by Squadron Leader Stubbs on April 26, and he then soloed on the 29th.

Airspeed Oxford

On May 3, 1943Alec flies a Miles Magister and Pilot Officer Robertson is a passenger in the front seat.

Miles Magister

On May 7, Flight Lieutenant Green introduces him to the Mosquito, a Mk III.

The Mark III was a dual control variant without armament. The prototype was a converted NF Mk II which flew on 30 January 1942 and first deliveries were to the Mosquito Training Unit in September 1942. The T Mk III remained in service until 1955. 

Click on the image for the source

On May 11, 1943, Alec flies a Mosquito with P/O Robertson as the passenger. Pilot Officer Robertson would become his navigator and will become part of a team just like George Stewart and Paul Beaudet were. 

Hey… We’re a team…!