This blog started small after Nicole contacted me on my blog about RCAF 403 Squadron.
My name is Nicole Morley and my Great Uncle Arthur James Horrell was in the 443 squadron. I don’t know if my Great Uncle ever knew William Irvine Gould but I imagine he probably did. I’m doing some research on my Uncle and was wondering if there was anyone who had pictures or information about the 443 squadron or anything related to my Uncle. You can reach me at my e-mail address.
You have to start somewhere. So I started looking and looking, and looking.
This Website has a lot of information about RCAF 443 Squadron. This is where I got this picture from.
Not many names…
Until Nicole went to see Ivor Williams a former Spitfire pilot who flew with RCAF 443 Squadron.
Ivor Williams gave Nicole this picture. He is posing in a Hawker Hurricane training at RCAF Bagotville, Quebec, in the fall 1942.
This picture is also found on this Website.
Ivor Williams tells part of his story.
I joined the RCAF on the day after I was 18 in Windsor, Ontario. My parents lived at that time in the place called Tilbury which is very close to Windsor and so I joined the Air Force at Windsor, the very day after I was 18. Well everybody was doing it. We were all joining up, and I suggested that I was would be an air gunner, and I went to the recruiting office, and the sergeant in charge of the recruiting and saw my papers and that I was wanting to be an air gunner, and this man happened to be a man who my father had married a few days before, and he said, “You’re old enough, you’re smart enough you can be a pilot,” and I said, “well that’s just fine,” so I became on the stream to be a pilot.
I remember my very first flight I had about nine hours, and my instructor let me fly solo and I remember going down the runway and shouting and cheering and clapping my hands, so happy to be in the air by myself.
We were posted to a place called Digby in northern part of Yorkshire [England], and we went from there, we learned to fly the [Supermarine] Spitfire. Up to this point we had only learned in training planes, but the Spitfire was pretty up to date. And the squadron was changed around and it became 443 Squadron instead of 127 Squadron. It was, the wing commander was Johnnie Johnson [highest scoring Western Allies flying ace]. Johnnie Johnson was the top scoring Canadians; he was a Brit, but he liked to fly with Canadians. And we learned to fly the Spitfire in about three or four weeks, and then we went down to the south part of England and we were ready to go on operations.
In England I had a mid-air collision one day. I was doing en engine test and I had my head in the cockpit, checking the instruments and I looked up and in front of me was this Spitfire coming like this straight, and it went over my head, it took the radio antenna off, and I was underneath this other Spitfire, kind of hairy. Johnson was playing Rummy, a card game with the other squadron commanders when I came in and I said, “Sir, I’ve had a mid-air collision,” and he said, “Well congratulations Williams, I have never known anybody to survive one.”
It was amazing, I flew the last patrol at night on June the 5th , and we were, in the south of England, and in five minutes we were over the [English] Channel. It was the most fantastic sight that I will ever see, all these boats coming out of little harbours and around the south coast of England and they were in formation. And we saw this, all these little arrow heads coming over the Channel, we knew that the beach invasion was on, and so we were not allowed to go over the German lines, because obviously reasons, but we had the aircraft were painted with black and white stripes at that point, so that there were no mistaking the Allied aircraft. And we did a recce and returned late at night, and then had a few hours’ sleep and took off the next morning, that was, and then we knew the invasion was on.
And the sky was full of airplanes of course. We were circling back and forth over the beachhead, we didn’t go back, we were making sure that the German aircraft didn’t get to strafe our own troops, so it was a recce to make sure the sky was kept clear of enemy aircraft. We were back and forth, we could see there was fighting on the ground, we could see tanks blazing and trucks, we really knew the invasion was on at that time.
He gave her more than a picture.
The names of the pilots in the group picture with the original.
I will tell you more tomorrow.
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