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.

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Trust

Reflecting this morning.

How do you trust someone with very personal information about someone who was dear to you?

On the Internet?

With a complete stranger!

This is what I did back in 2010 and got bitten by it. I won’t go into that story, but only the sequel.

The veteran whom I had trusted was the one who guided me to Marcel Bergeron. Who would not trust a WW II veteran when he asks for your help?

Anyway I got to know Marcel Bergeron who knew Eugene Gagnon whom, at that time, I did not know that Mosquito pilot had ever existed, let alone 23 Squadron. Marcel has been a dear friend since 2010, but not the WW II veteran about whom I never spoke again on my blogs.

Staff Pilot Eugene Gagnon

Eugene Gagnon, staff pilot (Paulson, Manitoba)

So how do you trust someone with very personal information about someone who was dear to you?

On the Internet?

With a complete stranger!

Just like Judy did with me a few days ago…

Trust!

When I met Marcel in 2010, I knew that Eugene had a nephew. Marcel knew about Jacques Gagnon, but I never got around to push further in that direction. Then in 2012 I told Marcel on the spur of a moment…

I have to meet him.

Glad I did…

Sometimes you meet people in life that betray your trust, but down the road you’ll discover that was the price you had to pay to find wonderful people with wonderful stories to tell like the story of Eugène’s fiancée.

Ghislaine Laporte

Ghislaine Laporte, Eugène’s fiancée

F/O Hugh Harold Hirst Redux

Flying Officer Hugh Harold Hirst died in 1941 and he is not the one who owned the Irvin jacket.

7th May 1941. Catalina AH 536 of 240 Squadron crashed on Lough Erne near Gay Island.

Fl/Lt. Peter Cecil Thomas, F/O Hugh Harold Hirst, P/O Kenneth Bernard Fuller, P/O Denis William Hockey, F/Sgt. William Peebles, Sgt. Joseph Leslie Elwell, Sgt. John Sterling Hesk, Sgt. Henry Ernest Wilson, LAC Henry Atkin Cottam, LAC Leslie Roy Holmes. All RAF.

Irvin

I did not know what was an Irvin jacket before I started reading a blog about Flight Lieutenant Jenkins who is in the middle of that group of New Zealanders.

magnificent seven

As I wrote last time this is my favourite blog, and I am not the one writing it.

Pablo found my blog about 23 Squadron, and he asked for my help.

How could I refuse? If you have been reading this blog, you know I am always happy to lend a helping hand.

So I got searching and searching for someone whose name on an Irvin jacket was Harry Hirst.

The only one I could find was this airman…

Iverach2020and20Hirst20L2024020Feb2

Iverach and Hirst in L/240 a Stranraer operating out of Lough Erne in March 1941. Hirst was to be killed in May 1941 when his Catalina crashed on the flarepath , he is one of the “missing”.

That’s Hugh Harold Hirst on the right. The other airman is Iverach a navigator.

I found the above picture on a WW II forum.

As a footnote to all this, click here for information on Iverach.

Excerpt

As battles intensified in the Atlantic in spring 1941, outdated Stanraers were traded for Consolidated Catalinas to face a new German threat to British supply lines – the enormous German flagship Bismarck.  At 823 feet and crewed by more than 2,000 men, the Bismarck was the largest battleship in European waters. It was up to 240 Squadron to track her down. One evening while returning to base, Iverach spotted the British flagship HMS Hood firing its cannons in the distance. “Having gunnery practice,” the crew figured. They later learned to their horror that they had witnessed the final battle of the Hood, which had been sunk by the Bismarck with all but three hands. The next day, 240 Squadron was shadowing the Bismarck from above the clouds, helping to coordinate an ambush with the Royal Navy.  Iverach tried to snap some pictures but, “… whenever we attempted to move in, the giant ship almost blew us out of the sky, so accurate was her gunnery.”

Within days, the Bismarck was swarmed by Swordfish torpedo bombers, which scored a lucky hit on the ships rudder, fixing her in a wide turn. British battleships sunk the Bismarck on May 27, 1941. John Iverach went on to complete nearly four tours of operation before he retired from the service in 1946 and returned to ‘’Civvy Street’’ as an accountant in Winnipeg. John Iverach, a long-time museum member and volunteer, passed away in 1992.

John Iverach went on to complete nearly four tours of operation!

Little visit to Little Snoring

Courtesy of Peter Smith via Tom Cushing.

Peter had this message to go along…

Pierre,

Tommy did something really special for me in January, he took me up in his plane, from yes you guessed it, see the pictures…

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To really enjoy these pictures, you have to read this I wrote when I first met Peter on the Internet…

Now a little drive down memory lane…

tarmac

More information coming

This picture was taken around July 1945.

A lot of airmen have been identified since 2010.

Boland

Collection Johnny Rivaz via Peter Smith

1945

Collection Tom Cushing via Peter Smith

23 Squadron was disbanded in September 1945.

logo

One new face has emerged thanks to Dean and Peter.

Dean is our new contributor to this blog. The story will be told later.

In the meantime meet H.G.A. Boland fourth from the right.

July 1945 Boland

I hope I am right on this one.

A Flight 23 Squadron Naples 10 November 1943 Redux

Rich Cooper had sent this picture part of Theodore Griffith’s collection.

Donald Hepworth Bentley has to be on this picture if he was with A Flight.

A flight 23 Squadron Naples 10 November 1943 bw

A Flight 23 Squadron
Naples 10 November 1943

Theo Griffiths is the fourth man second row on the left.

Donald Bentley died on November 20, 1943.

photo 2

He has to be there with his navigator Sergeant Causeway.

If you have any information, please feel free to contact me.

Bud Badley Redux

Few people know or remember who Bud Badley is.

One of my latest readers does and he posted a comment on this post about Bud Badley.

I know a little bit more about Bud Badley than ordinary people. George Stewart told me all about that picture taken in 1944. George is there fourth on the right last row.

Georges Stewart group picture

George’s navigator was Paul Beaudet.

Paul Beaudet group picture

They flew 50 missions together on Mosquitoes.

Now take a good look at Bud who was quite a character.

Bud Badley group picture

Look again…

Bud Badley group picture toast

To be continued…

Very Rare Indeed

Post no. 200

Hi Pierre

Thanks for keeping the blog going, it is a great source of info regarding the squadron.

I have recently purchased a couple of photos of 23 Squadron Mossies in Malta. They are copies of originals that were taken by a soldier in the Royal Engineers who was stationed in Malta in ’43 and was a keen photographer. I thought you may like them for the site.

Best regards

Marten

May like?

Malta Mosquito 1 Malta Mosquito

How Much This Document Could Be Sold on E-Bay?

PUN INTENDED!

I don’t sell anything on this blog. I share all the information I can gather about 23 Squadron just like Robert Harris is doing right now.

This is a precious artefact to anyone related to these airmen.

G RS  517 F/O GAGNON  F/O HARRIS       17        553  OPS

J PZ  446 F/O Mc ALPINE F/O GIBBONS 20        553  OPS

W RS  515 F/O BIRD  F/O THOMPSON     29        553  OPS

Robert Harris flight roster document

It’s the night flying programme for December 31, 1944. So many information to digest for someone who has scant knowledge about 23 Squadron.

One information is quite easy for me to remember because I was born exactly 4 years later in Montréal, Québec, Canada.

How I came about to write about 23 Squadron is explained in this blog. I like to remember things about WWII and to pay homage to the men who gave so much like Eugene Gagnon’s navigator.

It all started back in 2010 when people started sharing what information they had on 23 Squadron. Along this journey through time I had the privilege to meet a Mosquito pilot in 2011.

George Stewart DFC

He was Cricket 34. (Click on that link)

Now I know Eugene’s call sign!

Cricket 17…

I wonder how much I could get for these pictures I took with my cellphone when I visited Cricket 34?

The instruction for flying a HS-126 if he was shot down… (Click on the link) 

 George Stewart plane instructions

The letter he sent to his parents telling them he was going home…

George Stewart letter 22 December 1944

PUN INTENDED!

Training Days?

I guess so… but then I might be way off course.

Who, When, Where?

Robert wrote:

Hello Pierre!

Robert Harris group picture 

I have attached a photo of flyers in front of an FB VI.  I am guessing that this is 1943 as my father (3rd from left top row) is a Flight Sergeant so is therefore in the earlier stages of his RAF career.  This is a shame as it means that Eugene won’t be present. 

3rd from left top row…

Of course!

Robert Harris group picture RC Harris

This is a shame as it means that Eugene won’t be present…

This is not a shame at all because we now have so many other airmen to identify. 

Pilots and navigators from which squadron flying Mosquitoes?

Robert Harris group picture pilots navigators

Who, When, Where?

But the big question is how many survived the war?

Next time a chronology from Robert to help us finding who, when and where.

I think I know. I was way off course.