Who remembers Flying Officer Rooney Hodgins?

Someone who commented on this original post.

As an 8 year old lad and my dad with 412 Transport Squadron in Rockcliffe, I sat on the hill overlooking the runways and witnessed the crash of Vampire jet #17037 on June 11, 1948, piloted by F/O Rooney Hodgins approx. 1/2 mile off the east end of the runway in the bush. Now in my mid 70’s, I never forgot that horrible site. Also, I finally flew in a Vampire T-11 in UK in 2012. What a memory.


Who remembers Flying Officer Rooney Hodgins?

Paul-Émile Piché’s  granddaughter sent me this message.

Hi Nicole and Pierre,

This is some brief info that I found on Rooney Alexander Hodgins. Please see below.


Find a Grave

April 3, 1923 Campbell’s Bay, Québec – June 11, 1948 in Ottawa, ON


Birth: 1922
Death: Jun. 11, 1948

Hodgins – As the result of an accident on Friday, June 11, 1948, Flying Officer Rooney Alexander Hodgins, DFC and Bar, beloved son of Mrs. Moletta Hodgins, of 123 Albert street and of the late Alexander E. Hodgins, in his 26th year.

Virtual War Memorial


Canada Veterans Hall of Valour


Hodgins modified picture

Hodgins was repatriated to Canada in December 1944. He retired from the RCAF in September 1945, but rejoined in May 1946. On June 11, 1948, Flight Lieutenant Hodgins was killed in a flying accident with a Vampire Jet which crashed


The Problems With Vampires: Air Force, Part 38


The first two fatalities involved very experienced pilots. They were Flying Officer Rooney Hodgins, killed June 11, 1948, and Squadron Leader Stanley Broadbent, killed June 18, 1948. Not surprisingly, pilots soon expressed misgivings. Wing Commander R.W. McNair, writing on Aug. 31, 1948, reported: “During recent flights at 25,000 feet for periods up to one and a half hours, I experienced serious deteriorations of vision due to frosting of the inside canopy and windscreen. In fact, during one flight the restriction became so great that I was totally unable to map read or see other aircraft in the formation.”

3 thoughts on “Who remembers Flying Officer Rooney Hodgins?

  1. More information

    Rooney Hodgins was a fighter pilot during the Second World War, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, 1939-1945 Star, Air Crew Europe Star with France and Germany bar, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with bar and 1939-1945 War Medal. He served with distinction during D-Day and the Normandy campaign. Rooney continued to serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force after the war until he was killed in a flying accident in 1948 during the trials of the Vampire fighter jet.

  2. Rooney Hodgins est né le 3 avril 1923 à Campbell’s Bay au Quebec. Il s’engage dans la RCAF en septembre 1941 et se voit affecté au 2 MD de Brandon de novembre 1941 à mars 1942 lorsqu’il débute son entrainement avec le 1er Training Command de Toronto. Il poursuit au 6 ITS jusqu’en août puis à l’EFTS 10 de Mount Hope avant de terminer au SFTS 2 d’Uplands où il obtient ses ailes et ses galons de Sergeant en janvier 1943. Il est alors attaché à l’OTU 1 de Bagotville jusqu’en mai lorsqu’il est affecté au Squadron 126 / RCAF. Promu F/Sgt en juillet, il est affecté au Squadron 129 / RCAF en novembre 1943. En janvier 1944, il rejoint la Grande Bretagne avec le grade de W/O et obtient sa promotion au grade d’officier en février 1944 en même temps qu’il est affecté au Squadron 443. Promu F/O en avril 1944, il vole au sein de l’unité jusqu’en novembre et retourne au Canada le mois suivant. Il reçoit la DFC dont l’annonce parait le 2 février 1945 alors qu’il est affecté, dans le même temps, au SFTS 2 comme instructeur jusqu’en avril 1945. Il quitte alors la RCAF mais se réengage en 1946.
    Il se tue dans un accident de Vampire à Rockcliffe le 11 juin 1948.

  3. Sgt

    RCAF 09/41 01/43 Elève Pilote Canada

    OTU 1 01/43 05/43 Conversion Canada

    Sq 126 / RCAF 05/43 11/43 Pilote Canada

    Sq 129 / RCAF 11/43 02/44 Pilote Canada

    Sq 443 02/44 11/44 Pilote Grande Bretagne

    SFTS 2 01/45 04/45 – Canada

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