Historical Aircraft

May 1945


Tuesday, May 1, 1945

A fair flying day, with a little rain in the morning.  The Squadron had a really big thrash at the Hun this morning with two enemy aircraft destroyed, on e probable destroyed and eight damaged.  Victories as follows: J87255 F/O D. Leslie – 1 FW 190 Damaged; R176795 WO2  Neitz R.C. – 1 FW 190 destroyed and two FW 190’s damaged; J88366 F/O R.C. Shannon – 1 FW 190 probable destroyed and 3 FW 190’s damaged; J39160 F/O R. Young – 1 FW 190 destroyed; J222XXX F/L C.L. Rispler – 2 FW 190’s damaged.  Seven patrols carried out on the Bridgehead – 1st operation – 6 sorties; 2nd operation – 6 sorties; 3rd operation – 6 sorties; 4th operation – 6 sorties; 5th operation – 6 sorties; 6th operation – 6 sorties; 7th operation – 6 sorties.

Wednesday, May 2, 1945

A fair flying day with another victory scored in the Squadron.  J29144 F/O F.W. Town who has now been given an extension on his tour, bagged an HE 111, his first destroyed after completing over 210 operational hours.  We’re all thinking that this business will fold up shortly.  Eight Patrols and one escort carried out this day.  1st operation – 2 sorties; 2nd operation – 6 sorties with 2 early returns, one mechanical, one escort; 3rd operation – 6 sorties; 4th operation – 6 sorties; 5th operation – 6 sorties; 6th operation – 6 sorties; 7th operation – 6 sorties; 8th operation – 6 sorties; 9th operation – 6 sorties.

Thursday, May 3, 1945

A cloudy day, with armed recces and dive bombing sorties carried out in the Schleswig area and Lubeck Bay. 1st operation – 6 sorties; 2nd operation – 6 sorties with 1 early return, one mechanical trouble; 3rd operation – 6 sorties; 4th operation – 6 sorties; 5th operation – 6 sorties; 6th operation – 6 sorties; 7th operation – 6 sorties.  Much flak encountered, with MET, shipping attacked.

Friday, May 4, 1945

Five shipping strikes carried out, 1st operation – 6 sorties; 2nd operation – 6 sorties; 3rd operation – 6 sorties; 4th operation – 6 sorties, 5th operation – 6 sorties.  That evening, there was a celebration with the news of the Canadian Armies in the north being victorious and the surrender of the enemy.  Just Norway and southern Germany to clean up now.  The bar was thrown wide open, and guns of every description were firing away in the small hours in celebration.

Saturday, May 5, 1945

A rather wet, rainy day, and a rest for the Squadron after the heavy night spent celebrating the armies’ victory.  The day was spent in quarters, reading, playing cards and a general discussion on the future of our Squadron, and the occupation of Germany.  No operational flying carried out this day.

Sunday, May 6, 1945

Another rest day for the Squadron, most of the pilots remaining in quarters reading and playing cards.  A few of the nearby towns visited by motor to pick up a few war souvenirs.  No operational flying carried out this day.

Monday, May 7, 1945

The war in Europe is over, the much-awaited announcement regarding Norway and southern Germany’s surrender coming through to-day.  Much discussion on what’s to become of the Squadron now, as a move to a new location had been pending up Denmark way.  J19939 F/O A.J. MacLaren who went missing on the 23rd April has been reported safe, ex-prisoner of war.  The boys were really glad to hear this news.  J29144 F/O F.W. Town proceeded on a No. 2 Fighter Leader’s Course at Tangmere.  One escort of Dakotas to Copenhagen – 12 sorties.

Tuesday, May 8, 1945

One escort of Dakotas to Copenhagen this day – 6 sorties with 2 early returns; mechanical trouble, with the flying down to practically nil, the boys are stepping out and seeing a bit of the country around here, Hamburg, Hanover and many other places in the vicinity.  This day has been declared the official V-E Day.

Wednesday, May 9, 1945

No. 83 group has declared to-day and tomorrow a holiday for the Wing, with just skeleton staffs working, as a result of the Victory in Europe.  No operational flying this day.  The Squadron is to be decreased to 18 pilots, giving those with long service overseas preference and those near tour completed.  Most of the old gang will be leaving now for repatriation in the near future.

Thursday, May 10, 1945

The recent holiday for the Squadron, no operational flying carried out.  A very warm day, many of the boys scouring the country in motors that didn’t have the chance to do so before.  The swimming pool that Jerry had here is being put into shape for the use of the Wing, and some activities are being organized to keep some of the idle hands busy.  Baseball, educational classes and entertainment.

Friday, May 11, 1945

No operational flying to-day, but a lot of practice formation flying was done in the area.  A beautiful warm summer day and the swimming pool is now in use.  A grand place to spend a hot sunny day.  F/L L. Foster, F/L J.C. McLeod, F/L R. Morris, F/L R.A. Morrison, F/L F.B. Gillis, F/L J.W. Gilmartin, F/O R.C. Shannon, F/O Leslie have all been slated for repatriation with the decrease of the Squadron which will soon come into effect.  P/O G.K. Lindsay has been recommended to be taken off the Squadron for non-Operational flying.

Saturday, May 12, 1945

A formation show was pulled off today, flypast in parade at Bremerhaven in combination with 126 and 122 Wings, 12 sorties.  Another clear and very hot day, the pilots all putting on their trunks for a half a day at the swimming pool.

Sunday, May 13, 1945

No operational flying, a very hot day was spent around the quarters and lying in the sun.  Much discussion continued about the Far East campaign and what part this Squadron will take in the post war period.  We all want a change of location, since the airfield is far away from any towns and we are pretty well confined to the station area for our amusement.

Monday, May 14, 1945

Another formation show in List area; 12 sorties.  A very hot day, and a new baseball team emerging from the Squadron.

Tuesday, May 15, 1945

One formation fly-past in the Kiel-Schleswig-Hohn area – 12 sorties.  The weather remains beautiful, and a practice of the ball team was organized this afternoon.  The boys are showing off some nice sunburns from the hot sun and getting that healthy look.

Wednesday, May 16, 1945

F/L L. Foster flew back a brand new FW 190 to the aerodrome today, making his appearance with a beautiful roll over the deck.  The weather remains hot, and the swimming still in full swing.  No operational flying, but a little practice formation flying was carried out.

Thursday, May 17, 1945

A very hot day, this German sun is sure creating some healthy looking tans.  403 Squadron was victorious over 416 Squadron in the league game, winning 8 to 4.  The old timers on the Squadron are anxiously waiting word on their repat’s now, but the Far East question seems to be causing the delay in the final word coming through.  More practice flying, no operations.

Friday, May 18, 1945

F/L A.E. Fleming is making an excellent job of Squadron Commander, in the absence of our C.O. S/L Zary, who is in hospital suffering from pleurisy, and will be laid up for quite some time.  F/L Dove, who was involved in a motor accident, is still seriously ill and not expected to return to the Squadron.  No operational flying, but more practice flying to keep the boys occupied.

Saturday, May 19, 1945

S/L Zary and F/L Dove have both been requested to be posted non-effective, as there isn’t much hope of either recovering within a reasonable time, or returning to the Squadron.  A very warm day, more practice flying, with no operational flying.  The baseball team has scored a few more victories, 403 keeping well to the top of the league.  Just the old spirit in everything tackled.

Sunday, May 20, 1945

A quiet Sunday, with no flying carried out in the Wing.  A few of the pilots out on the Wing Church Parade, the rest of the day was spent in reading and playing cards.  The weather is turning a little cooler and no one is using the swimming pool to-day.

Monday, May 21, 1945

XXXXXX  a Blucher aircraft for its use, and given its first test flip today.  A little faster than the Auster and a few will be checked out on her this week.

Tuesday, May 22, 1945

A quiet day in the Squadron, weather remaining cool with some rain.  Paris and Brussels leave is opening up on a little larger scale, which gives some of the boys the preference of seeing some of the Continent rather than the U.K.  No operational flying, some more practice.

Wednesday, May 23, 1945

A dull, rainy day, low clouds and drizzling most of the day.  The boys were down to get a little more practice flying in, but were in the air but for a short time due to weather.  A Squadron party is being planned for the sake of the old timers who will be leaving us in the next few days and it is intended to be a real bust-up.

Thursday, May 24, 1945

A big night in the Squadron, holding a special dinner and celebration for the send-off of the seven pilots who are getting their repatriation to Canada.  A real success, with F/L Fleming, our acting CO, presiding over the dinner as Master of Ceremonies.  All the old ‘characters’ were made to give a speech, after a bottle or two of champagne, with singing over the piano and jokes afterwards.

Friday, May 25, 1945

Many sore heads around from the night before.  A rather dull day, scattered showers.  More practice flying, it is getting a bit monotonous for those who have to remain here.  Much discussion taking place on the coming announcement on the repatriation policy for the Canadians, which is expected to appear in the next copy of Wings Abroad.

Saturday, May 26, 1945

The Squadron and Echelon had a group picture this afternoon, prior to the departure of the pilots leaving here.  F/L L. Foster, F/L R. Morris, F/L W. Gilmartin, F/L J.C. McLeod, F/O D. Leslie, F/L P.A. Morrison, F/O R.C. Shannon departed by Dakota for the U.K. and will be repatriated – all of them have been credited with first or second tour completed.

Sunday, May 27, 1945

A complete day of rest in the Squadron, with a Church Service conducted in the morning.  A dull day, with a few of the pilots taking the afternoon for motoring and seeing a little more of the country around here.  The repatriation scheme has been published, and much discussion on when we’re all going to get out of this country.  Three pilots, F/L C.L. Rispler, F/O J.R. Baker and WO R.C. Neitz have indicated their desire for volunteering for the Pacific Theatre of War.

Monday, May 28, 1945

The weather still unsettled, but warming up considerably.  Posting advice for F/L F.B. Gillis has been received for repatriation to Canada.  He will be leaving May 31st.  More practice flying, but not enough to keep the fellows fully occupied.  The Squadron is hoping for a move into more civilised parts soon, anywhere away from the desolation of the airfield.

Tuesday, May 29, 1945

Advice has been received that F/L A.E. Fleming, former Flight Commander of  ‘A’ Flight, is being slated for Squadron Commander, to replace S/L H.P.M. Zary who is being posted non-effective sick.  Official confirmation hasn’t been received of this change yet, but all the fellows are keen on ‘Al’ taking over, rather than some outsider.  S/L Zary has been moved to England and will remain there until sufficiently recovered from his ailment.

Wednesday, May 30, 1945

A very hot day, with the boys getting just a little ‘bored’ in being kept at this airfield with no more ops to fly.  Baseball and swimming are filling up the idle hours amongst the pilots, and leaves on the Continent are being taken advantage of more so than in the past.  More practice flying, the Squadron strength now being down to 20, with four non-effective, making it possible to fly pretty well all the pilots on every show.

Thursday, May 31, 1945

S/L A.E. Fleming officially takes over the Squadron, his promotion and effective date going back to the 16th of May.  This should call for a party, say the fellows.  A formation practice carried out, in combination with the other Squadrons, making a very nice show.  Nothing exciting happening these last ten days, but the boys are in good spirits and ready to tackle anything that may come along.

Total Number of Operational Sorties for Month of May, 1945 – 218

No. 403 Squadron strength and flying times for the month of April 1945

Officer – Flying     11        Officer Ground –  2
Airman – Flying    7        Airman Ground – 3
U.S.A. Personnel Nil
Flying times for Month            Aircraft on Strength

Operational Hours    281.30         TD 114    SM 316
Non-Operational Hours     204.30        TD 141    TD 286
Auster                      Nil           TD 257    SM 421
486.10    SM 285    TB 630
SM 190    TD 289
TD 229    TD 130
SM 308    TB 752
TB 340

Casualties for Month

Enemy Casualties for Month
1 FW 190 Damaged    J87255 F/O D. Leslie       1-5-45
1 FW 190 Destroyed    R176795 WO Neitz R.C. 1-5-45
2 FW 190 Damaged    R176795 WO Neitz R.C. 1-5-45
1 FW 190 Probable Destroyed J88366 F/O R.C. Shannon 1-5-45
3 FW 190 Damaged    J88366 F/O R.C. Shannon 1-5-45
1 FW 190 Destroyed J39160 F/O R. Young 1-5-45
2 FW 190 Damaged J22222 F/L C.L. Rispler 1-5-45
1 HE 111 Destroyed J29144 F/O F.W. Town 2-5-45

signed by
(A.E. Fleming), Squadron Leader,
Officer Commanding,
No. 403 Squadron (RCAF)