MODELAND, Norman Russell Flight Sergeant, No.90 Squadron, R162554 Distinguished Flying Medal RCAF Personnel Awards 1939-1949
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MODELAND, FS Norman Russell (R162554) - Distinguished Flying Medal - No.90 Squadron - Award effective 1 September 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 2373/44 dated 3 November 1944. Born in Winnipeg, 13 November 1922; home in Vancouver (deck hand); enlisted in Vancouver 8 April 1942. To No.3 Manning Depot, 30 June 1942. To No.4 ITS, 26 September 1942; graduated and promoted LAC, 18 December 1942 but not posted to No.5 EFTS until 27 December 1942; graduated 19 February 1943 and posted next day to No.7 SFTS; graduated and promoted Sergeant, 11 June 1943. To “Y” Depot, 25 June 1943. To RAF overseas, 29 June 1943. Commissioned 30 July 1944 (J88487). Promoted Flying Officer, 30 January 1945. Repatriated 3 May 1945. Released 21 June 1945. Medal presented 29 January 1947. Died in Vancouver, 18 December 1999 as per Vancouver Sun but that may be just date of obituary as ancestry website gives 12 December 1999. // In July 1944 this airman was captain and pilot of an aircraft detailed to attack a target near Caen. It was his first operational mission. Whilst over the target area the aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and sustained damage. The elevator trimmer controls were severed, causing the aircraft to go into a steep dive. With great difficulty, Flight Sergeant Modeland regained a measure of control and went on to bomb the target. On the return flight, the strain of keeping the aircraft in level flight became so great that two members of the crew had to assist by pulling the ends of a rope which had been lashed to the control column. Base was finally reached and in spite of difficulties a safe landing was effected. Flight Sergeant Modeland set an excellent example of skill, determination and devotion to duty in most difficult circumstances. // RCAF Press Release No.28 dated 8 September 1944, transcribed by Huguette Mondor Oates, reads: // WITH CANADIANS IN THE RAF: -- The rare distinction of winning the DFM on his first operational flight has come to Flight Sergeant Norman Russell Modeland of Vancouver, RCAF pilot of a Lancaster bomber. // Thanks to a piece of rope and quick thinking, the Canadian not only saved his aircraft from destruction, but the lives of his crew, consisting of five Canadians, an Englishman and a Welshman, all on their first operation. // Modeland, aged 21, son of Mr. and Mrs. S. Modeland, 3339 Twenty-seventh Avenue West, Vancouver, B.C., was approaching a target near Caen when his “Lanc” was hit by flak which cut the elevator trimmer controls and sent the aircraft into a steep dive. With an almost superhuman effort the Canadian regained control and, by using great force on the control column, held the aircraft level until the bombs were away. But the strain was too great for Modeland to keep all by himself. In fact, he would have been justified in giving the “bail out” order. The crew, however, were determined to make their first operational mission a success. // Then came Modeland’s great idea. Securing a piece of rope, he lashed it around the control column and told the navigator Flight Sergeant J.F. Hartford, of Port McNicholl, Ontario, and bomb-aimer F/O Ronald G. McKenzie, of Saint John’s, N.B. to hold the rope ends and take the strain. This improvised control permitted Modeland to keep level flight until base was reached. There, as he glided in, he maintained an encouraging and confident commentary, and supervised the pull on the rope so ably that the Lancaster landed perfectly. // Born in Winnipeg, Flight Sergeant Modeland joined the RCAF in 1942, trained as a pilot in Canada and reached Britain in July, 1943. He attended the Mord Dyng High School at Vancouver, worked in his vacations as a dock hand, and was a keen sportsman. He played Canadian football for the Mord Dyng High School. Lacrosse for the Canadian Linen Co. team, and basketball for the Guadar Heights United Church team.