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BREEN, Roy Frederick Pilot Officer, No.438 Squadron, J92935 Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm (deceased) RCAF Personnel Awards 1939-1949
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BREEN, P/O Roy Frederick (J92935) - Belgian Croix de Guerre 1940 with Palm (deceased) - No.438 Squadron - Awarded 17 July 1948 as per Canada Gazette of that date and AFRO 455/48 dated 23 July 1948. Born 1 February 1923. Home in Comber, Ontario where he was educated. Enlisted in Windsor, Ontario, 22 April 1941 and posted to No.1 Manning Depot. To No.1 BGS (guard), 16 May 1941. To No.3 ITS, 20 June 1941. Graduated and promoted LAC, 25 July 1941 when posted to No.17 EFTS. To No.8 SFTS, 13 September 1941. Graduated and promoted Sergeant, 5 December 1941. To “Y” Depot, 8 December 1941; to RAF overseas, 31 December 1941. Disembarked in United Kingdom, 19 February 1942. To No.2 Flying Instructor School, Montrose, 20 March 1942. Promoted Flight Sergeant, 5 June 1942. To No.5 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit, 29 June 1942. To No.53 OTU, 21 July 1942. To No.416 Squadron, 20 October 1942. Promoted WO2, 5 December 1942. Promoted WO1, 5 June 1943. To No.1490 Flight (fighter affiliation duties), 7 June 1943. To No.14 Armament Practice Camp, 18 October 1943. To No.667 Squadron, 20 May 1944. To No.61 OTU, 22 July 1944. To No.3 Tactical Evaluation Unit, 12 August 1944. To No.83 Group, 1 September 1944. To No.438 Squadron, 2 September 1944. Commissioned 11 November 1944. Killed in action with No.438 Squadron, 24 December 1944, Typhoon MP178. Buried in Belgium. RCAF photo PL-15851 (ex UK-3727 dated 20 April 1943) shows him as Flight Sergeant in No.416 Squadron. Notes: Not clear why he was sent to No.2 Flying Instructor School (where he flew 85 hours 20 minutes on Magisters) but he did not impress. "This pilot's airmanship and general flying ability are at present of too low a standard for him to become an instructor. He finds it impossible to give intelligible patter whilst making his demonstration, and his flying suffers as a result of the effort to produce the patter. Recommend that he be sent to a single engine AFU for further training." (S/L R. Symondson, 19 June 1942). Course at No.5 (P) AFU was 30 June to 21 July 1942. Previously he had flown 92.20 day dual, 129.40 day solo, 2.15 night dual, 9.45 night solo. At the AFU he flew Masters (6.20 day duak, 2.45 day solo, 2.05 night dual, 35 minutes night solo) and Hurricanes (one hour 35 minutes only). Course at No.53 OTU was 21 July to 13 October 1942. Flew 2.05 dual and 57.05 solo by day of which 45 minutes were on instruments and 21 hours were in formation. Also logged 11.40 in Link. Fired 5,894 rounds air-to-air (5.4 percent hits) and 800 rounds air-to-ground. "An average pilot with no outstanding faults." A record of his air-to-air firing with No.416 squadron inducates that he did a camera gun assessment on 14 December 1942 (25 feet exposed) and 24 February 1943 (five feet exposed). On 5 April 1943 he fired 700 rounds in exercise (2.29 percent hits). Another camera gun exercise on 20 April 1943 (20 feet exposed) and an engagement with a FW.190, also on 20 April 1943. On 21 April he had another air-to-air firing exercise (600 rounds, 4.17 percent hits), followed by two camera gun exercises on 5 May 1943 (20 feet and eight feet exposed). Accident on 16 May 1943, No.416 Squadron, Spitfire AR404. While at Dunsfold doing deck landings, noticed he had no brake on port wheel and while taxying about ran off taxi strip and got stuck in loose dirt. Upon returning to base (Kenley, Surrey) and making precautionary approach, knowing he had no brake on one wheel, cut the throttle when he thought he was five feet up (actually was ten feet up). Aircraft stalled and on hitting the runway the port oleo leg broke off at the wing. Aircraft skidded to a halt on one wing tip and the starboard wheel. This incident probably led to his being posted away. S/L R.W. McNair opined (17 May 1943) that the undercarriage had been abused during deck landings and that the pilot showed poor judgement in height. "This pilot has not shown much ability since being posted to this squadron. It is recommended that he be posted to a non-operational unit." Assessed on 4 November 1944 as "A capable pilot. Average ability. Keen to engage the enemy." (S/L R.F. Reid). On 24 December 1944 he was engaged in an armed reconnaissance. Took off at 1215 hours. At about 1245 hours, while in a dive and strafing enemy motor transport, the aircraft was seen to be hit by flak and dove into ground. He had no opportunity to abandon his aircraft. Letter to his mother stated he had flown 59 operational sorties (85 operational hours).