Preserving the Past – Toronto, September 1941

Richard Cooper and I are preserving the past. I have been doing it since 2009. Richard joined me in February 2013 when he found this blog and started contributing stories and pictures.

My father-in-law is Theodore Griffiths DFC. He was a Mosquito pilot with 23 Squadron and his navigator was a Rick Maude. Any memories copies of photographs would be much appreciated. Theo suffers from Alzeimer’s and vascular dementia but is still able to recall his time with the squadron.

Richard Cooper

This is another day in the life of Theo Griffiths whose life has been touching so many people’s lives.

group-picture-toronto-september-1941

Click on the image to get a closer view…
Collection Theo Griffiths DFC (courtesy Richard Cooper)

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Theo Griffiths DFC

Theo was one of 90 cadet pilots from England heading down South.

Now look closer at the group picture…

group-picture-toronto-september-1941-george-rushbrook

George Rushbrook

George Rushbrook was also one of the 90 cadet pilots from England, with a friend…

Look closer…

group-picture-toronto-september-1941-bunty

Gerald Thomas Padden
“Bunty”
1921-1942

bunty-and-george

What’s next on this blog?

90 cadet pilots are going south of the border…to Souther Field, Georgia, USA!

Theo in training mod

We will be October 24, 1941…

Another day in the life of Theo Griffiths whose life has been touching so many people’s lives.

Day I soloed 24 October 1941

solo-drink-list-mod

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Souther Field, Americus, Georgia Revisited

This picture was taken in 1942…

Theo in training mod

Collection Theo Griffiths DFC

These were also taken in 1942…

bunty5

Courtesy Graham Padden (paddeng@padden.eu)
Collection Gerald Thomas Padden (1922-1942)

bunty3

Courtesy Graham Padden (paddeng@padden.eu)
Collection Gerald Thomas Padden (1922-1942)

bunty7

Courtesy Graham Padden (paddeng@padden.eu)
Collection Gerald Thomas Padden (1922-1942)

Theodore Griffiths

Collection Theo Griffiths DFC

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Courtesy Graham Padden (paddeng@padden.eu)
Collection Gerald Thomas Padden (1922-1942)

class-42-d

In 1942, both Theo Griffiths and Gerald Thomas Padden were in the same class at Souther Field, Americus, Georgia.

Theo Griffiths’ story is here on this blog.

Gerald’s story will be told here.

July 1945

Little Snoring - June or July 1945

This is the last group picture taken of 23 Squadron. I have been using it since 2010 to remember these heroes.

Some are still unknown.

Little by little people who are related find this blog created in 2010 and leave a message…

Hi, My grandfather recently passed away and I am in the process of scanning and copying all of his things. I have come across lots of old photos of him in 23 Squadron and I also have his Flying log book. Would you be interested in copies of these for your blogs if you are still doing them? My grandfather is John William Thompson (Jack) he is the photo above middle row 6th person in. We will be saying our final farewell to him on Tuesday 13th September and would love to know if you have any more information on him.

Regards

Debbie

I always write back like I did with Theo’s son-in-law…

Theo in training mod

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?

image

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Theo’s Record of Service – First Solo Flight

Since last year Rich Cooper has sent more and more pictures he found in Theo’s old WWII album.

He did not ask for any money, and I don’t get paid for writing my blogs.

Rich sent this particular picture a few months ago, and I forgot to post it. It is most fitting to add it to this post I wrote in 2012.

It was Theo’s first solo flight.

 Day I soloed 24 October 1941

You can read what I posted last year if you want, or jump to the end.

Start

These two pages tell a lot about Theo’s flying career in the RAF.

Where he was… and with what unit.

logbook1

Which planes he flew.

logbook2

For someone like me who has been interested in airplanes since he was 10 years old, and who became a history teacher along the way, all this information is most interesting…

Theodore Griffiths was in Georgia on December 7th, 1941!

He had been flying PT-17s since October 1941.

logbook3

October 6th, 1941 – Stearman – No. 30 – Pupil – Level – Gliding – Taxing

The Stearman is also named PT 17.

DSC05076

PT-17 at Gatineau Airport (September 2012)
author’s collection

All the plane numbers are there in the logbook. His first solo was on October 24th on a PT 17, No. 17.

Make no mistake about it, learning to fly was a deadly affair.

Source

On December 9th 1941, two days after Pearl Harbor, Theodore Griffiths left Americus, for Macon. He was posted there from December 18th, 1941 to February 9th, 1942.

Rich should fill me in on that part of Theo’s career by looking at the training logbook.

End

I was looking more closely at what Rich sent earlier this month.

photo 1

Rich Cooper scanned all the document, and I posted tt.

Here are two pages taken from this document. It’s about a cadet’s first solo.

solo

solo 2 last fight