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HARLAND, Garnet Robert Flight Lieutenant, No.10 (BR) Squadron, J9316 Distinguished Flying Cross RCAF Personnel Awards 1939-1949
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HARLAND, F/L Garnet Robert (J9316) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.10 (BR) Squadron - Award effective 5 May 1944 as per London Gazette dated 5 May 1944, Canada Gazette dated 5 May 1944 and AFRO 1133/44 dated 26 May 1944. Born in Treherne, Manitoba, 2 December 1914. Farmed for several years and then became a teacher (three years, Barclay, Darlingford and Durban, Manitoba). Enlisted in Winnipeg, 3 February 1941 and posted to No.1 Manning Depot. To No.1 SFTS (guard duty), 24 March 1941. To No.3 ITS, 15 May 1941; graduated and promoted LAC, 7 July 1941; to No.9 AOS that date; to No.6 BGS, 27 September 1941; graduated and promoted Sergeant on 7 November 1941. Posted that date to No.2 ANS. Graduated and commissioned 9 December 1941. To Eastern Air Command, 20 December 1941; to No.10 (BR) Squadron, 30 December 1941. Promoted Flying Officer, 1 October 1942. To Station Dartmouth, 24 January 1943. Returned to No.10 (BR) Squadron, 6 April 1943. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 1 August 1943. To Station Dartmouth, 18 August 1944 as Station Navigation Officer. To AFHQ, Ottawa, 12 January 1945. Promoted Squadron Leader, 1 March 1945. To Release Centre, 13 November 1945; released 17 November 1945. Died in Clinton, Ontario, 7 February 1993 as per Royal Canadian Legion “Last Post” website and Legion Magazine of May 1993. Governor General's Records (RG.7 Group 26, Volume 57, file 190-I) has citation; notes indicate that as of recommendation he had flown 1,175 hours, 752 of them operational (94 sorties). This officer, as Navigation Leader of a VLR Liberator squadron, has been outstanding in the organization and administration of his section. His background and ability as a Navigator has been outstanding, under his understanding guidance and example, the Navigators of his squadron have reached a very high standard of efficiency and accuracy under difficult conditions, involving as it does navigation over the entire North Atlantic. To date none of the aircraft of this unit have been lost owing to navigational error. RCAF Press Release 2912 issued 4 April 1944 tells of a crash on Saturday, 19 February 1944 (Liberator 586) and subsequent rescue. Pilot was S/L A.T. T. Imrie, DFC. Warrant Officer A.C Johns was Mentioned in Despatches: An RCAF Station in Newfoundland - Five survivors of an ice-burdened Liberator bomber which crashed in the Labrador wilds with three engines dead and a fourth in flames, came back to their home station here recently after a wee-long struggle with temperatures ranging as low as 55 degrees below zero. The sixth man aboard, Flying Officer David Griffin, RCAF public relations officer, died in the crash and was buried in a flag-draped casket at Goose Bay cemetery. With his comrades trudging behind on snowshoes, his body was taken to Goose Bay by dog teams of the U.S. Army Air Force, flown in to aid in the rescue and driven by veterans of Admiral Byrd’s expedition to the South Pole. The survivors were: Squadron Leader A.A.T. “Al” Inrie, DFC, veteran U-boat patrol pilot and former backfielder with Calgary Bronks, McMaster University, and Balmy Beach (2001 Bloor Street Wrest, Toronto). Flight Lieutenant G.R. “Gar” Harland (formerly of Trehearne, Manitoba and whose wife lives at 113 Villaire Avenue, Riverside, Ontario) - navigator. Flying Officer J.D.L. “Doug” Campbell (Cobourg resident, whose wife lives as 55 Marmore Road, Trenton), co-pilot. Pilot Officer M.J. “Gil” Gilmour (Gravenhurst, Ontario), wireless air gunner, and WO1 A.C. “Johnny” Johns (R.R.1, Harrow, Ontario), wireless air gunner. Word they had been found reached Goose Bay four days after they failed to reach the Labrador airport after a flight from Iceland in the teeth of the most sudden and vicious storm to lash the Atlantic coast this winter. The report of their finding came from two sources almost simultaneously - one a Labrador trapper who had heard them chopping wood and trekked all day on snowshoes to deliver a letter from S/L Imrie; the second, a U.S. search aircraft which spotted their smoke signals and a huge “SOS” tramped out with home-made snowshoes on the surface of a nearby lake. Circling low, the pilot dropped them by parachute large supplies of “K-type” emergency rations, Arctic clothing, snowshoes, sleeping bags, and cigarettes. “Stuff showered down like manna from Heaven - and it was just as welcome”, said Flying Officer Campbell. The crew brought back a detailed record of their experiences in the treacherous icing conditions which had trapped them in its deadly grip over the Straits of Belle Isle and brought them down one hour and 40 minutes later in the trees near a lonely lake 13 miles from safety at Goose Bay, just six minutes flying time away. Even while the ice was choking off their carburettors and piling several inches deep on the underside of the wings and engine cowlings, the pilots kept exact tab on the aircraft’s reaction which may cast considerable light on previous disappearance of other long-rangge aircraft. Imrie’s logbook and the accurate navigation records of F/L Harland contain careful records of each development up to a minute of the crash. Other crews of missing Liberators may have noted similar happenings - but they didn’t live to bring them back. From their messmates of the famed “Dumbo” squadron of submarine hunters stationed here in Newfoundland, Imrie’s crew received a warm welcome when they were flown back from Goose Bay. In the mess that night they were piled with questions. They told how F/L Harland had charted a “spot on” course for Goose which found them, after the crash, within a quarter-mile of their estimated position at the time they were forced down. They told how iced up aerials and snow static rendered their radio useless, how the pilots had wrestled to keep the plunging, wallowing Liberator on course when both starboard motors went dead; how they had peered anxiously through the blizzard’s white pall for high hills ahead when visibility went down to half-a-mile. S/L Imrie was faced with the choice of landing on a lake or in the trees. Realizing the treacherous weakness of the thin ice which tops the spring-fed waters of Labrador lakes, he decided to take his chances of setting down the 27 tons of flying metal in the trees. F/O Campbell and S/L Imrie looked over two possible spots, warned all aboard to take up their crash positions, and S/L Imrie headed for the one with the sparsest growth of scrub spruce and balsam. With a crash of splintering wood and rending metal, the giant aircraft struck. Because the two starboard motors were dead, the pilot came in with his right wing low. Striking a tree 18 inches in diameter, the Liberator spun completely around. The tail thudded against another large tree and broke off, hurling out Griffin and Johns. Unbuckling their safety belts, Imrie and Campbell dived through the holes where their perspex side windows had been. Lunging through snow up to their armpits, thet struggled to reach the fire extinguishers carried on the outside of the aircraft. It wasn’t necessary, however. The snow had put out the engine flames and S/L Imrie had cut his switch just before landing. They helped to haul F/L Harland through a gash in the roof after he had taken off his ice-encrusted flying suit. They found P/O Gilmour trapped against his radio installation by the heavy top gun turret which had broken loose and struck him a heavy blow on the shoulder. Of Griffin and Johns, there was no sign. Just as they started to attack the twisted turret with an axe, they heard a faint tapping, as of wood against the metal fuselage. Outside, beside the broken tail, they found a pair of flying boots upside down in the snow, feebly pressing a balsam branch which, in turn, had rattled on the fuselage. They pulled at the boots, but nothing gave. Dropping to their knees, all three burrowed like gophers with their gloved hands to claw away the snow. They rescued “Johnny” Johns. “I couldn’t have lasted another minute”, said Johnny. Then they returned to free “Gil” from the fallen turret. Griffin, however, was beyond help. They prepared to spend the night beside the plane. The temperature was falling to 41 below zero and Al and Doug each gave “Johnny” a flying glove to warm his frost-bitten hands. Johns had taken off his mitts to change over fuel when the crash came and was flung into the snow in his bare hands. They spread a red-and-white parachute beside the wreck to attract search planes, then built a fire. Under an up-tilted wing they tramped out a sleeping place and laid a layer of balsam boughs, a half-dozen spare suits of flying clothing, three layers of silk parachutes, and greatcoats. They covered Gilmour and Johns, the two casualties, and huddled about them. Afraid the flames might ignite the fuel tanks, still laden with 800 gallons of high-octane gasoline, they let the fire go out the first night. The temperature fell to 45 degrees and all were too cold and miserable to sleep. The spent the next day improving their shelter by carpeting it with flight maps and small sheepskin rugs they were bringing as souvenirs from Iceland. F/O Campbell chopped wood and salvaged necessities from the aircraft. From metal covers of life raft canisters they made cooking tins, to melt snow water and to heat food. From twisted metal bomb doors they made a base for the wood fire. All took turns searching for the “Gibson Girl” portable radio, which would have enabled them to communicate with Goose Bay or sent out a continuous “SOS” in Morse but it was never found, though they dug in the snow with wood and bits of metal. They rationed their meagre supplies sparingly, for three of the six emergency ration kits had been lost in the wreck. Each man was allotted three-quarters of a tin of corned beef, three squares of chocolate, and three or four hardtack biscuits daily, this slender ration permitting a piece of meat about the size of a condensed beef cube for each of two meals. Saturday night the mercury dropped to 55 below and only “Johnny” was able to sleep. Watch was kept all night to stoke up the fire and pull covers over anyone who might doze off with an arm or a leg outside. Sunday [20 February] they tried to make snowshoes from the “catwalk” and cartridge belts but failed. “Johnny’s” idea of making them, Indian-fashion, from evergreen boughs and parachute cord, was successful and plans were made to make snowshoes for all later. They saw aircraft directly overhead Sunday, but it was so cold the Very pistol and marine signals failed to go off until the searchers had passed out of sight. A brisk wind whisked away smoke signals as soon as they topped the trees. Cold jammed their machine gun after two shots. On Monday morning [21 February] they were found by a trapper, Jim Goudie, who heard them chopping wood while touring his traplines. Carrying a letter from Imrie setting forth their position and the state of the crew, he set out on snowshoes for Goose Bay. He arrived there about the same time that an American DC-3 sighted their smoke signals and immense “SOS” on the nearby lake. Soon Group Captain Hanchett-Taylor and S/L Ross Robertson, medical officer, landed in a ski-equipped Norseman with food, sleeping bags and six thermos jugs of steaming coffee. The skiis dug into the treacherous, soggy snow , and the rescuers, too, were marooned. But all knew rescue was just a matter of time. A Piper Cub flown by Americans was mired a day later, though it eventually got off with Gilmour and Johnson.[sic - Johns]. Imrie, Campbell and Harland were all strong enough to make the journey to Goose Bay on foot and Friday morning [25 February] the little party set off on snow with U.S. Army dog teams in charge of Captain Ed Goodale of Ispwich, Massachusetts, and Master Sergeant Dick Moulton of Wonalancet, New Hampshire, both of whom had been with Admiral Byrd at the South Pole. Making camp in mid-afternoon, the party reached Goose Bay at noon Saturday. Application for Operational Wing Document prepared 24 November 1944 listing the following sorties (all to 13 January 1943 were on Digby aircraft; later flights on Liberators): 15 January 1942 - convoy escort (5.40) 20 January 1942 - anti-submarine sweep (3.45) 26 January 1942 - convoy escort (8.00) 5 February 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (1.45) 16 February 1942 - Convoy escort (3.15) 29 March 1942 - Convoy escort (10.15) 30 March 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (9.40) 4 April 1942 - Convoy escort (11.35) 5 April 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (6.00) 7 April 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (8.30) 21 April 1942 - Reconnaissance (11.45) 26 April 1942 - Convoy escort (10.35) 29 April 1942 - Convoy escort (7.05) 4 May 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (4.35) 5 May 1942 - Convoy escort (4.05) 6 May 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (6.20) 7 May 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (10.00) 16 May 1942 - Convoy escort (10.15) 17 May 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (9.45) 18 May 1942 - Reconnaissance (9.30) 20 May 1942 - Convoy escort (11.00) 26 May 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (7.20) 31 May 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (4.35) 3 June 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (8.40) 8 June 1942 - Convoy escort (5.00) 9 June 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (6.25) 14 June 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (10.20) 16 June 1942 - Convoy escort (7.35) 18 June 1942 - Convoy escort (12.45) 19 June 1942 - Convoy escort (7.55) 23 June 1942 - Convoy escort (6.25) 25 June 1942 - Convoy escort (7.45) 28 June 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (10.10) 29 June 1942 - Convoy escort (4.35) 30 June 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (10.40) 28 July 1942 - Reconnaissance (11.00) 29 July 1942 - Reconnaissance (4.35) 31 July 1942 - Convoy escort (50 minutes) 31 July 1942 - Convoy escort (12.20) 1 August 1942 - Reconnaissance (5.05) 2 August 1942 - Reconnaissance (6.20) 3 August 1942 - Reconnaissance (6.10) 3 August 1942 - Reconnaissance (3.05) 4 August 1942 - Reconnaissance (4.15) 5 August 1942 - Reconnaissance (3.20) 8 August 1942 - Convoy escort (9.15) 11 August 1942 - Reconnaissance (5.40) 16 August 1942 - Reconnaissance (40 minutes) 16 August 1942 - Reconnaissance (4.10) 19 August 1942 - Reconnaissance (6.55) 20 August 1942 - Convoy escort (10.35) 22 August 1942 - Reconnaissance (8.35) 27 August 1942 - Convoy escort (9.30) 28 August 1942 - Convoy escort (12.30) 29 August 1942 - Convoy escort (8.10) 30 August 1942 - Reconnaissance (8.40) 6 September 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (8.45) 7 September 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (8.00) 9 September 1942 - Reconnaissance sweep (8.35) 1 October 1942 - Convoy escort (10.15) 7 October 1942 - Reconnaissance sweep (4.05) 10 October 1942 - Convoy escort (2.20) 11 October 1942 - Convoy escort (8.10) 13 October 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (10.00) 8 November 1942 - Convoy escort (6.30) 9 November 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (6.25) 19 November 1942 - Convoy escort (4.45) 20 November 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (9.30) 21 November 1942 - Convoy escort ( 7.10) 29 November 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (6.15) 4 December 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (7.45) 5 December 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (7.15) 6 December 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (10.20) 7 December 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (10.00) 9 December 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (6.55) 10 December 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (6.55) 17 December 1942 - Convoy escort (8.30) 18 December 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (6.30) 19 December 1942 - Anti-submarine sweep (7.50) 24 December 1942 - Convoy escort (9.30) 25 December 1942 - Convoy escort (10.00) 13 January 1943 - Convoy escort (8.00) TOTAL DIGBY TIME - 622.15 17 June 1943 - Convoy escort (13.10) 21 June 1943 - Convoy escort (11.40) 25 June 1943 - Convoy escort (11.10) 1 July 1943 - Convoy escort (14.30) 4 July 1943 - Convoy escort (13.30) 11 July 1943 - Convoy escort (12.35) 29 August 1943 - Convoy escort (13.20) 4 September 1943 - Convoy escort (11.30) 24 September 1943 - Anti-submarine sweep (10.00) 3 October 1943 - Convoy escort (13.35) 30 October 1943 - Anti-submarine sweep (1.55) 25 August 1944 - Anti-submarine sweep (8.10, with No.11 Squadron) Training: Interviewed 2 July 1940 by F/O H.F. Gyles - “Rugged, mature, confident. Conscientious. Sincere. Good pilot material.” Course at No.3 ITS was 16 May to 21 June 1941. Courses in Mathematics (83/100), Armament, practical and oral (93/100), Signals (100/100), Drill (86/100), Law and Discipline (49/60), and Hygiene and Sanitation (39/40). Placed sixth in a class of 26. “Serious minded. Has splendid educational background. Neat, keen and alert. Splendid appearance and personality. Solid type. Responsible, recommend for commission.” Course at No.9 AOS was 7 July to 29 September 1941. Anson aircraft (28 hours as first navigator by day, 38.15 as second navigator by day, 7.20 hours as first navigator by night, 8.20 as second navigator by night). Proficiency as Navigator graded as 420/500. Courses on ground were DR Plotting (113/150), DR and DF, W/T written (182/200), Compasses and Instruments (126/150), Signals (80/100), Maps and Charts (87/100), Meteorology (86/100), Photography (85/100), Reconnaissance (81/100). Placed third in a class of 39. “A good leader, class senior throughout course. Cautious and dependable in the air. Would make a good instructor and a very fine officer.” (F/L K.S. Petersen). Course at No.6 BGS was 29 September to 7 November 1941. Battle aircraft (13.45 bombing by day, 11.25 gunnery by day). Dropped 53 bombs high level and eight low level. In gunnery scored nine percent hits in Beam Test, 6.4 percent in Beam Relative Speed Test and 8.6 percent in Under Tail Test. Fired 1,094 rounds air-to-air. Examined in Bombing, written 101/150), Bombing, practical (132/150), Gunnery, written (78/100) and Gunnery, practical (74/100). “His bombing results are very good and his low level will improve in time.” “His air firing results are very satisfactory.” Placed tenth in a class of 36. “One of the best type of airmen in his class. He has much personality and is recommended for commissioned rank.” Advanced Air Observer Course at No.2 ANS was 10 November to 8 December 1941. Flew 7/05 hours as first navigator by day, 10.35 hours as second navigator by day, 8.15 hours as first navigator by night, 13.50 as second navigator by night). Ground courses in Astronomical Navigation, Plotting (121/150) and Astronomical Navigation, written (71/100). “Should do well on operations and should exert a steadying influence on his crew. Plenty of common sense.” Placed tenth in a class of 77. Commanding Officer (F.R. Miller) wrote, “Good background and personality. Popular with his classmates. Has all the requirements of a good officer.” Selected Assessments: “As yet relatively inexperienced. Nevertheless displaying commendable enthusiasm and aptitude for his work.” (W/C C.L. Annis, No.10 Squadron, 9 June 1942). “This officer has good knowledge of his work and is a very practical navigator.” (S/L J.M. Young, Gander, 5 November 1942) “This officer is over a year on service with this unit; has shown marked ability as a Navigator. As Navigation Officer he has carried out his duties of administration and lecturing in a capable manner.” (S/L A.M. Cameron, 23 January 1943). “Has had Operations Room experience at Eastern Air Command Headquarters. Will make a good staff officer on conclusion of tour of duty here. Is slated for position of Navigation Leader in this squadron on conclusion of tour of duty here of F/L Layton. (W/C C.L. Annis, 21 June 1943). 11 January 1944 - Recommended for Air Force Cross by W/C M.P. Martyn; concurred in by A/V/M G.O. Johnson. Not approved and otherwise does not appear on file. “This officer is Navigation Leader in this squadron and as such has organized this branch until it is one of the finest in Eastern Air Command.” (S/L R.F. Milne, No.10 Squadron, 10 April 1944).