Stories

Stories From 408 Squadron Members

Watching The Russkies by Moe Gates

Painting   “Watching the Russkies”   [ by Don Connolly ] In mid September of 1954, in my last 30 days on 408 (Photo) Squadron, I was informed by my Nav Leader, F/L Andy Clarke, that I was to go on a final trip for which the crew would be briefed that afternoon. I reminded him that I was to attend the School of Instructional Technique in preparation for my posting to the SNIN Course in Winnipeg. Notwithstanding my point, I was advised that the Squadron Commander, W/C Jack Showler, had selected…

The Rockcliffe Years - The Photo Mapping

The Rockcliffe Years – The Photo Mapping By Squadron Leader Morris Konick, (Ret‘d), CD       As a former Photo Officer with 408 (Photo) Squadron, and you will note I purposely emphasized Photo Squadron, because I wanted to differentiate if form its original inception as a Bomber Squadron, and its subsequent endeavors to which it gravitated in its long and illustrious history. This being said, I wish to make the point by stating what a pleasure it was for me to be engaged with the squadron in this position, when it…

408 Returns to Oudenburg

408 Returns to Oudenburg By Captain Jeffrey Bird    408 SQN At 17:55 local time on November 9, 1941 a formation of nine aircraft took off for a night raid from Syerston airfield, ten miles to the north east ofNottingham.  One of these aircraft was a Handley Page Hampden bomber from 408 squadron with the following four crew members: Douglas Victor Markall –England, Sergeant, navigator, Royal Air Force volunteer reservist, 21 years of age; Evan Bertram Te Makahi Robertson – New Zealand, Sergeant, Observer, Royal New Zealand Air Force, 29 years…

Diary of a Snake Charmer 408 Sqn RCAF By M. Ridgeway

Diary of a Snake Charmer 408 Sqn RCAF  By M. Ridgeway Manning Pool, where good boys were made better Manning Pool , or Manning Depot , makes no never mind, was located in the mouldering pile known as the Agricultural Buildings in the Exhibition Grounds, Toronto. A place to cause the strong to know fear and turn the weak into gibbering idiots. The former occupants of cattle, sheep and swine had been hastily evacuated but their memory lingered on. The floors had been hastily scraped and scrubbed and it ‘s…

Our First Mission by Bruce Wallace

Our First Mission by Bruce Wallace The target was a flying bomb site (V1) at or near L’HEY just over the coast of France. Exactly where doesn’t matter to the event. It was our first operation (OP), as a crew, over enemy occupied territory and I guess we were all “on our toes” and somewhat nervous. We crossed the coast in an easterly direction and north of the target. We turned south at the appropriate point to head directly toward the target. The bomb aimer (Hamish) took over from the…

The Little Old Lady

The Little Old Lady By Wally Kasper It was a raw November night with just enough broken cloud to reveal a full moon so we aircrew types had been stood down from ops. The Bomber squadrons didn’t operate during the full moon period, they had enough hazards without giving the enemy night fighters the edge which a full moon would provide. So four of the crew shrugged our way into our raincoats and decided to go to a pub which had been discovered by Larry, our expert on pubs and…

Shoran recollections of a 19-year old Airman

Shoran recollections of a 19-year old Airman – the kid in the Squadron By Ron Blessin I was only a short-timer in the RCAF.   I joined at the age of 17, right after High School graduation in Chilliwack, B.C.   There were a number of reasons why I chose to join – a spirit of wanderlust as I’d never been anywhere in my life and the offer to put me through No. 1 Radar and Communications school in Clinton, Ont. I graduated as a “Radar Technician Air” having taken extra courses…

SHORAN OPERATIONS

                                                       408 (P) SQUADRON                                         SHORAN OPERATIONS 1949 –  1957   As previously stated, the airborne photography program conducted for many years by the Air Board and then the RCAF, provided a picture of the ground features but the position of those features were not established accurately on the earth’s grid nor in relation to other geographical points.  The traditional method of Geodetic survey; that of triangulation, i.e. precisely measuring all the angles of a triangle and calculating the position of the vertex when the positions of the other two…

The Bochum Raid

The Bochum Raid Certain periods in our lives were experienced with such intensity that they remain deeply etched in memory. The short time that Emmy and I were at Linton-on-Ouse was such a time. There was only the present, and it was full of excitement fear and for me, glory.      David Sokoloff February 1996   On  November 4  1944 at 5.30 pm , a four-engine Halifax heavy bomber of 408 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force, took off from its base at Linton-on Ouse in Yorkshire in the north of England. It’s mission…

The Course of True Love Never

The Course of True Love Never Did Run Smooth      By Wally Kasper True love in Jolly Olde England was hard enough to find in the wartime years without its path being fractured by a thundering mighty Lancaster early in the morning. The night before had been “a dark and stormy night” to say the least.  The sort of night when pilots wish they were in some cozy pub getting wrapped around a pint or two, but alas and alack destiny would have it otherwise so when briefing was over…

THE KINGSVILLE CONNECTION

THE KINGSVILLE CONNECTION 1941-45 and Beyond by Gary R Tetzlaff The Squadron’s first CO, W/C Nelles Timmerman has explained how he chose a goose for the heraldry–as a second choice. What remains unclear, is how in his mind, the Canada Goose became such a matter-of-fact symbol of Canada. Only Air Commodore Timmerman is likely to know or recall that influence.      For thirty years prior to the existence of 408 Squadron, the continuing work of Jack Miner, a.k.a. ‘Wild Goose Jack”, made the Canada Goose a symbol of conservation in…

Piloting a heavily-armed Griffon helicopter over Afghanistan

Piloting a heavily-armed Griffon helicopter over Afghanistan By Gary Lewchuk “The ability to prevent troops from being fired upon just by our presence, not even having to  fire a round, is something to take pride in,” said Captain  Jason Marchinko, who flew a heavily armed CH-146 Griffon helicopter for his second tour in Afghanistan during the summer. CAPT  JASON MARCHINKO “With the armament we had on the Griffon, the Griffons became feared by the insurgents,” the former Canora resident said. “When our ground troops requested our support, the insurgents would stop…

The Lancaster Era - Memorable Operating Considerations

The original Lancaster, of yesteryear, was designed for only one purpose, that of conducting the operations of mid-latitude heavy bombers; it was not really designed for activities in the high latitude winter arctic; but, it was all we had at the time. In these high technology days of satellite communications and precision navigation systems, it’s interesting to remember that earlier matters were not always so simple. In 408 Squadron’s Lancaster era the majority of Squadron operations were not in the mid-latitudes; but, rather in the low and high Arctic. Normal…

How The Lancaster "Miss Kingsville" Got Her Name

How The Lancaster “Miss Kingsville” Got Her Name by Bob Swaddling In 1974 I was in a hobby shop in Detroit and bought a Profile Publications book on the camouflage and markings of the lesser known Lancaster Mk II with Bristol Hercules radial engines. On looking through the pictures used in the book I was shocked to see a posed photo of a proud ground crew with their charge, an RCAF 408 Squadron Mk II Lancaster named “Miss Kingsville”, after my home town.   408 Squadron was the “Goose Squadron” and…

Dunwoodie Crew 24 Dec 1944

[gview file=”http://forfreedom.ca/newsletters/408DunwoodieCrew24Dec1944.pdf”]    

One Thought to “Stories”

  1. We are happy to report that the crash site of Lancaster LL687 has been found in the village of Spreckens Germany. Today,Sept. 24 2015 the Bremervorde Newspaper (Brewmervorde Zeitung) is running a two page story on the search for the lost bomber. The field where the plane crashed was identified by a Mrs Weiss who on July 30 1944 was witness to the events following the crash . At 82 years old she still remembers being awoken by the tremendous noise of the explosion. For more details you can contact me at the above email or view : http://www.davidscottdiary.com/

    JC Charlebois.

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