Historical Aircraft

June 1945


Friday, June 1, 1945

J6718 F/L W.I. Gordon has been posted to the Squadron from No 416 to take over the Flight Commander position, ‘A’ Flight.  ‘Rocky’ is well known to the boys of the Squadron, and a welcome addition to our depleted strength.  After nearly two weeks of practice formation flying, 403 is making some fine efforts in the air, and it’s believed that some important formation fly pasts are coming up in the near future, displaying fighter strength.  A leave centre for a limited number of officers has opened up at Biarritz on the Rivera which, in peacetime, was rated as one of the finest.  The Mollyneux Estate is the name of the buildings taken over, and a few of the fellows are anxious to get down there before the possibility of leaving the Continent.  F/L E.O. Doyle and F/O A.V. ‘Van’ Sainsbury have been recommended as Flight Commanders, both have considerable operational experience.

Saturday, June 2, 1945

P/O K. Lindsay brought back a scrounged engine for our German Blucher aircraft.  With an engine change now in the making, the kite should be in top shape.  Many of the boys can been seen doing their own laundry jobs out in the field on the warmer days, now that working hours are very light.  Weather remains warm.  Baseball is still going strong and, while some of the days are deadly quiet for the boys, morale is good and, somehow or another, they manage to put in their time reading, playing cards and with station entertainment.  Flying the Blucher is also putting in quite a few of the after supper hours.  One formation fly-past at Kiel to-day, 12 sorties.

Sunday, June 3, 1945

A quiet day of rest for the Squadron, some attending the morning Wing Church parade service.  A motor trip was organized to Bremen, six of the boys going down in the Jeep.  Dispersal readiness was called at 04:30 am for the first shift, 08:30 to noon on the second shift.  Pretty early for a Sunday, but then most dragged their blankets down to dispersal and finished their snooze there.  No flying carried out this day.

Monday, June 4, 1945

More practice flying, weather remaining fair.  Warrant Officer R.C. Neitz received notice of his commission to-day, dated back to 28th February/45.  ‘Dick’ was dragged down to the bar, and on account of all that back pay, a few bottles were opened in his room.  He sure is proud of that thin stripe – it’s been more than five months since a commission has occurred in the Squadron.  What a gang – several beautiful women are appearing on the walls of our Jerry camp quarters, anything to keep occupied – some say the place is ‘getting to them’.  A little fraternization would be the answer to all the pilots’ hearts, or a move to a livelier spot.

Tuesday, June 5, 1945

The Canadian Government policy on the future of the RCAF serving overseas has been announced, with all personnel having to sign a declaration showing their preference of continuing service either in the Far East, Occupation of Europe, or Western Hemisphere.  Also, whether releases from the Services was desired.  Most of the fellows showed a marked preference for release and return to the Western Hemisphere.  Still have only three pilots who have shown a desire for continued service and have volunteered for the Eastern Theatre.  Lectures are going strong in the Unit in all subjects, which are compulsory for the pilots to attend.  Armament, Flying Control, Maintenance, Sighting are but a few of the subjects covered.

Wednesday, June 6, 1945

An uneventful day in the Squadron.  83 group, having declared a day of rest in remembrance of ‘D’ Day.  It is a good hot day, some rain.  Swimming and other competitive sports having been arranged between the different sections of the Wing.  The little Blucher aircraft which the pilots snatched from a nearby ‘drome has had her engine-change and overhaul, and practically every pilot in the Squadron is being checked out.  Even the adjutant is becoming ‘air-minded’ with this new aircraft, and getting a little dual time.  Many of the Echelon boys are being taken up in the off hours in the evening, getting their first trip in a German aircraft.

Thursday, June 7, 1945

A hot summer day, and very quiet in the Squadron.  The latest Canadian policy on the RCAF overseas has more or less blown over, with F/L W.I. Gordon in addition to F/O Neitz, F/O Baker and F/L Rispler signing up for the Far East, making a total of four from the Squadron who have volunteered.  None of the pilots have shown a first preference for remaining with the Occupation Forces on the Continent.  Formation fly-past over Copenhagen – 12 sorties.

Friday, June 8, 1945

A fair day, but still the monotonous and quiet in the Squadron.  The general topic these days is repatriation to Canada and the pros and cons for volunteering for the Far East.  Pilot’s lectures are still continuing as is regular practice in formation flying.  The boys have worked on the kites, and have painted all the nose spinners red, white and blue.  Looks very effective when flying in formation at low level.  Some of the other Squadrons are following our idea, with different colour schemes.  The Wing mobile laundry is now taking ten pieces of clothing a week, but ironing remains the responsibility of the fellow.  Some of them should make good wives when they get home.

Saturday, June 9, 1945

More forms to be filled out, this time by repatriation group members and preferably showing all personnel by trades, ranks and order of priority in repatriation groups and continued school preference.  Let’s get started with the repats and forget the paper work is the general cry.  Several of the fellows have taken up the cue, displaying latent artistic qualities decorating their rooms with gorgeous women.  What with fraternization and outside social life completely cut off, who can blame them.  J90428 F/O J.R. Thomson and J29646 F/L P.C.V. Martin reported to the Squadron, being transferred from 443 to bring up our strength.

Sunday, June 10, 1945

Briefing at 0730 this morning – seems they like to pick Sundays for the bigger events.  Strength display in formation fly-pasts for the Russian Forces at Frankfurt, landing twice at Venlo.  Otherwise a quiet day on the Station, usual church services being attended, reading, and cards still occupying most of the spare hours.  Total sorties – eight.

Monday, June 11, 1945

Rumours are going around about our Squadron’s early return to Canada, now that 126 Wing have been slated as the Occupation force to remain on the Continent.  Too good to be true is the general belief.  A fair day, usual routine, no flying this day.

Tuesday, June 12, 1945

No flying again, weather is remaining very unsettled, raining off and on.  Day was spent attending lectures and around the billets, which fortunately are quite comfortable and cosy on these wet damp days.  J42953 F/O L.A. Pike reported to the Squadron from No. 443.  We are gradually getting our replacements in for all the lads repatriated last month.

Wednesday, June 13, 1945

Another rainy and stormy day, no flying carried out in the Squadron.  More sitting around and generally, pretty monotonous for the fellows.  Cards, reading, and listening to our several radios are the favourite pastimes.  J85322 F/O Ditchburn transferred from No. 416, and J93433 P/O E.C. Trumble transferred from No. 421 Squadron, reported in to-day.

Thursday, June 14, 1945

Another windy and stormy day, no flying done.  F/O Silver went on leave to Copenhagen; it has been some little while since anyone has been able to leave, being short-handed before the new arrivals reported in.  Our adopted City, the City of Calgary, has not been sending much in the way of smokes, and generally very quiet out Canada way.  The Squadron has had a group picture printed, and are sending that along with an autographed Squadron crest, to remind them we’re still our here, and the war far from won.  Generally very quiet around the airfield.’

Friday, June 15, 1945

A little practice flying carried out to-day, the beginning of a training plan to go into effect right away.  Several ground subjects, as well as gunnery and navigation will be included in the training scheme while remaining here on the Continent.  More vacancies for officer’s leave at Paris, Cannes, Biarritz and Brussels are eagerly looked forward to, but as yet only very limited numbers have been able to get away with the small quotas allotted to the Wing.

Saturday, June 16, 1945

A little practice flying this afternoon, the weather still not settled, windy and cool.  Very quiet around the Squadron generally.  F/S Barbour R.E. and WO Watchorn K.S. have been called for interviews by the A.O.C. with respect to commissioning.  Both Bob and Ken got their little bit of ops in before the show closed down in this country, and it is hoped that the P/O comes through for them both.

Sunday, June 17, 1945

Very quiet around here, with the usual Church Service for the fellows in the morning.  The Squadron was on dispersal readiness from 12 noon to 22:30 hrs.  A dull day, and little doing in the way of activity outdoors.

Monday, June 18, 1945

A practice formation trip from base to Lubeck for a Copenhagen flypast rehearsal.  On the return from Lubeck a practice interception exercise was carried out with Mustangs between Bremen and Flensburg.  This is being marked up as operational time for the fellows.  First operation – 11 sorties, second operation – 11 sorties.

Tuesday, June 19, 1945

A very hot day with the Copenhagen fly-past pulled off.  First operation, base to Lubeck – 10 sorties with one early return – mechanical trouble; second operation Lubeck, fly-past Copenhagen and back to Lubeck – 9 sorties; third operation from Lubeck to base – 9 sorties.  A laundry service for the officers has been organized on the Unit, with half a dozen German girls brought in to do the work.  At last the fellows are walking around with ironed shirts on their backs.

Wednesday, June 20, 1945

A very quiet morning with some practice flying carried out.  The afternoon was spent in competitive sports against the sections of the Wing.  Still no definite news of a move from our present location, or what’s to become of ‘403’, which is the topic of much discussion these last days.

Thursday, June 21, 1945

Another hot day, more practice flying, firing into the sea, and simulating ship attacks.  The boys are being right up to the mark with the present training program.  Swimming is going strong with this hot weather upon us, as well as sun bathing around the pool.

Friday, June 22, 1945

No flying carried out to-day.  G/C Turner is attending a conference in London, and on his return a lot of questions pending are expected to be answered.  Especially what the policy is for fighter pilots in the Far East, and whether the Squadron is going to wind up.

Saturday, June 23, 1945

More practice flying in the morning, and an exceptionally hot day.  Everyone was outdoors in the afternoon, with the whole Squadron down at the swimming pool.  Sailing is also being organized around Hamburg, and the Squadron has produced two or three who have some gen about the handling of sailboats.  Generally, it’s very quiet, with not enough to keep the fellows fully occupied, due mainly to our location.

Sunday, June 24, 1945

A restful Sunday around the quarters, with cards and reading taking up the good part of the day.  Quite a lot of swimming is going on.  Some of the boys are even more ambitious, and are making up their own swimming trunks with some scissors, thread and cloth.  No flying this day.

Monday, June 25, 1945

To-day we finally learned that NO. 403 is to be disbanded around July 1st.  Two of the Squadrons of the Wing are to make up the Occupation Wing remaining in Germany, the other Squadron remaining attached to the Occupation Wing for a short indefinite period.  We are to move direct to England, and eventually return to Canada, less those who have volunteered for the Occupation Forces, and possibly those with low priority on the repatriation scheme, who are expected to be posted to the Occupation Wing NO. 126.  About half of the fellows should be returning home to Canada almost immediately, and a few later on.  Postings and further movement orders are being anxiously awaited.  A few trades are also not being released for reason of replacements, which is pretty hard to swallow for those affected.

Tuesday, June 26, 1945

A little more practice flying.  A very unsettled day, cloudy and windy.  Generally a quiet day, with the posting advices eagerly awaited.

Wednesday, June 27, 1945

An unsettled day, raining the greater part of the daylight hours.  The Squadron Orderly Room preparing for the closing down of the Squadron, generally getting all records and documents sorted for eventual disposal.  Nil Flying this day.

Thursday, June 28, 1945

A Board for the Disposal of Records and Documents and Correspondence for 403 has been formed to examine all such documents prior to disbandment.  Posting advices have been received for the pilots, seven posted to No. 421 Squadron as follows: F/O E.C. Trumble, F/L A.V. Sainsbury, F/O A.A. Roy, F/L W.N. Dove, F/O R. Young, WO Hallett D.H. WO Ryder L.C.  Seven pilots posted to 443 Squadron as follows: F/O J.R. Baker, F/O M. Silver, P/O G.K. Lindsay, WO Arsenault J.A. WO Barbour R.E. WO Pickering J.C. WO Watchorn K.S.  The other pilots have either a very high repatriation priority or volunteered for the Far East and Occupation of Europe.  S/L A.E. Fleming, F/L E.C. Doyle and F/L C.S. Yarnell are the only three shown with high priority for repatriation and are expected to return to Canada.  Twenty other officers and two airmen pilots have been posted to the Squadron and will return to England for sorting out.  No more practice flying.

Friday, June 29, 1945

A dull rainy day with a little practice flying.  Most of the fellows are cleaning up and running around with clearances, in preparation for leaving the Wing.

Saturday, June 30, 1945

The fellows were up at 0345 hours this morning to take their turn at dispersal readiness.  No flying whatsoever carried out this day, the weather remaining unsettled, with many rain storms.  A circus is being presently being put on for service personnel at Hamburg and a number of the boys have taken this in.  Pretty fair entertainment and an opportunity for some time off the Station.

Total number of Operational Sorties for the Month of June 1945 – 82.

No. 403 Squadron strengths and flying times for the month of June, 1945

Officer Flying – 30        Officer Ground – 2
Airmen Flying –  2        Airmen Ground – 3
U.S.A.            – nil

Flying Times for Month
Operation Hours          88:25
Non-Operational Hours    218:20
Auster – Nil            306:45

Casualties – Nil
Aircraft on Strength
TD114        RK893        TD289
TD141        SM308        TB922
TD257        SM316        TB130
SM285        TD286        TB752
TD343        SM421        TB300
TD229        TB630