Remembering Michael Rico Sharun DFC

I found Michael Rico Sharun’s name on this post I wrote about Paul Piché a few years ago.

The post was titled Paul Piché Killed.

The original post follows…

I had never noticed this before on these two pages sent by Arthur Horrell’s grandniece Nicole…

One picture is missing from this page of Art Sager’s pictures of the men under his command.


In fact two pictures are missing.


I wonder who was Chuck Charlesworth?

Is it him mentioned on this Website?

Weather clear and warm, visibility very good. Squadron took part in front line patrols again today without incident. This airfield was subjected to an attack by enemy anti-personnel bombs at approximately 1100 hrs. It is likely that only one large container of these bombs was dropped; there were two casualties among our pilots, W/O Gaudet received a slight cut on one arm which was treated immediately and this pilot cleared as fit; F/L H. C. Charlesworth was injured in the left arm and has been transferred to Casualty Clearing Station at Eindhoven for X-Ray to determine the extent of his injuries which at present are considered only slight. There were two other attacks later in the day but not in our immediate vicinity. P/O P.C. Bookman returned this evening with a replacement Spitfire for the Squadron. Personnel busily engaged in “digging-in” around their living quarters as only protection against enemy attack by missiles from the air.


buzzing the airfield

Two Spitfires of 443 Squadron take off
at radio-mast height of flying control van in Holland.


Is it just another name popping out also on this Website…?

Course 17: January 4 – March 7, 1941

Group Captain Frank McGill presented wings and addressed the graduates.

“The army, navy and air force all have an equal job to do in winning the war and no service alone will achieve the victory.”

(J/4554) Douglas Bruce Annan (DFC, AFC), (J/4556) John Wylie Wood, Shawness, Alberta; (J/4557) Cyril Victor Mark – AFC, +(J/4560) Arthur Williams – 74 Sqn.; (J/4561) Roderick Illingsworth Alpine Smith – DFC & Bar – 126 Sqn.; (J/4562) John Eric Hockey – POW 434 Sqn.; +(J/4563) George Ketchen Graham, Belleville; +(J/4566) Warren Ainsley Roberts – 405 Sqn.; (J/4567) James Weir Clarke; (R/60421) Robert Clarence Pearson, (R/60522) Louis Rolston Babb, (R/74146) Robert Kennedy Storie, John ‘Jack’ Robertson, Hammond, Indiana; Arthur Pratt Harrison, Owen Sound; George L. Sprague, Ottawa; (R/71258) Francis Hugh Belcher – POW; Chuck McLean, Brockville;

Harold Clinton Charlesworth – 412/601/443 Sqns., Chemainus, B.C.,

+(R/74596 – J/15097) Thomas Douglas Holden – 411 Sqn., Chilliwack, B.C., Charles A. Rainsforth – 198 Sqn., Edmonton; (J/18793) Michael Rico Sharun – DFC 416 Sqn., St. Paul, Alberta; J.G.K. Barrie, Edmonton; James Weir Clark, Hezenmore, Alberta; +(R/54314) William George Pavely – 615 Sqn., Ottawa; R.G. Smith, Chatham; James Cartwright Uniacke Bayly – 402 Sqn., Toronto; E. Heid, Toronto; Herbert Hugh Hinton, Streetsville; J.D. Marsh, Ft. William; J.W. Munro, Madoc; +(J/13467) William Robert Widdess – 198 Sqn., Peterborough; (R77007 – J/15970) William Frank Kenwood – 411 Sqn., POW 92 Sqn., Westmount, Que.; L.B. Madden, St. Laurent; +(J/23021) Walter Gerard O’Hagan – 402 Sqn., Montreal; +(J/13996) Arnold Ridgway, Outremont; M.A.C. Smith, Rougemont Station; (J/15056) Richard Attwill Ellis – DFC 412 Sqn., Montreal West; J.C. Marshall, Montreal; (R/74035) Joseph Bernard Marius Vilandre – POW 111 Sqn., Montreal; R.S. Bowker, Granby; (J/21668) Bernard Bryce Miller – DFC 428 Sqn., Carman, Manitoba

Not much information, but at least I know he did not get killed.


After writing this article, I found more information about F/L Charlesworth on this Website.

F/L Don Gordon Registers Ninth Kill Supporting Canadians
in West Front Drive

9 Feb. 1945 – F/L Don C. Gordon, D.F.C., shot down two German Stukas Thursday, shared in downing a third, and brought his score to nine planes destroyed, at least four probables and at least nine damaged.

Son of Mr. and Mrs. R. D. Gordon, of 3812 West Sixteenth, he was flying in support of the Canadian offensive. The “kills” were made over the front southeast of Wesel.

Two other B.C. flyers, F/L Phil Blades, Victoria, and F/L H. C. Charlesworth, Chemainus, took part in the destruction of two locomotives and damaged two more southwest of Hamm.

They were part of a group of Canadian Typhoons and Spitfires who flew more than 300 sorties from dawn to dusk Thursday, striking German rail and road systems and border towns.

F/L Gordon, 25, flying with the Caribou Spitfire squadron, adopted by New Westminster, is a veteran of Channel dogfights, El Alamein and Ceylon.

His Distinguished Flying Cross award, mentioned in a report from London, is a surprise to his mother. She heard some time ago, however, that he had been recommended for the award.

F/L Gordon was born in Vancouver and educated at Kitchener, Point Grey Junior High and Lord Byng High schools. He enlisted in June 1940; went overseas in the summer of 1941. He was home on three weeks’ leave last summer after completing two tours of operations in three different theatres of war. He is now on his third tour.
A brother, F/O Merritt Gordon, is stationed at Dauphin, Man., and his sister, F/Sgt. Margaret Gordon, is with the R.C.A.F. overseas.

F/L Blades and F/L Charlesworth are both flying with the Red Indian Spitfire squadron. F/L Charlesworth is also a veteran of the North African campaign.

More here.

Waterdown Flyer Mentioned
Green, recently appointed flight commander, also saw fragments fly off the aircraft he attacked but lost sight of it later and could only claim it as “damaged.”

Other Canadians from the squadron who helped repel the Nazi attackers included Flight-Lieut. John P. McColl, Waterdown, Ont.; Pilot-Officers R.I. Alpine Smith, Regina; Jack Brookhouse, Montreal; Lloyd Stewart, Fair Hills, Sask.; Harold Charlesworth, Chemainis, Vancouver Island; Richard A. Ellis, Montreal; Warrant Officer J.D. Stevenson, Winnipeg; Flight-Sgt .Stewart Pearce, Toronto, and Sgt. W.F. Aldcorn, Gouverneur, Sask. Warrant Officers Francis MacRae, Montreal navigator, and Sgt. Pilot Albert Attwell, of Toronto, both agree “you’re safer in the air than on the ground.”

MacRae came back from a hazardous bombing trip to a French arms center. After reporting to the intelligence officer, he went to the officers’ mess for a hot drink before retiring. The mess floor had been freshly polished and as he walked in the door he slipped and fell and fractured his left knee.

Attwell also came through the perils of a bombing attack across the channel. Returning from St. Nazaire, his aircraft crashed into a hill in England and he suffered a fracture of the left leg.

The two Canadians share neighboring beds in the same hospital.

I have a feeling someday a relative of Chuck Charlesworth will write a comment or contact me like Paul Piché’s granddaughter did this week.


Now what about Michael Rico Sharun from Alberta?

This group picture on the left was once shared by Buck McNair’s son. 

This picture is from Gordon McKenzie Hill’s collection.

This colorised version I did to thank Gordon Hill for sharing his collection of pictures…

More on “Mush” Sharun…

Michael Rico Sharun DFC

SHARUN, F/O Michael Rico (J18793) – Distinguished Flying Cross – No.416 Squadron – Award effective 23 March as per London Gazette dated 3 April 1945 and AFRO 765/45 dated 4 May 1945.

Born 19 April 1915 in Mundare, Alberta; home in St.Paul, Alberta (clerk). Enlisted in Edmonton. Posted to No.2 ITS, 14 October 1940; graduated and promoted LAC, 15 November 1941; posted next day to No.2 EFTS; to No.2 SFTS, 4 January 1941. Graduated and promoted Sergeant, 17 March 1941. To Embarkation Depot, 18 March 1941; to RAF overseas, 29 March 1941.

Promoted Flight Sergeant, 1 October 1941; commissioned 2 August 1943. Promoted Flying Officer, 2 February 1944. Repatriated 6 February 1945. To Station Edmonton, 14 February 1945; to Northwest Air Command, 7 June 1945; to Release Centre, 11 June 1945; retired 14 June 1945.

RCAF photo PL-2713 shows Sergeants M.R. Sharun (St. Paul, Alberta), H.V. Peterson (Calgary), L. Smitten (Edmonton) and L. Bolli (Jasper, Alberta). Photo PL-7161 shows him inspecting tail of Spitfire.

Credited with the following aerial victories:

14 July 1944, one Bf.109 destroyed north of Lisieux;
28 July 1944, one Bf.109 destroyed near Caen;
28 August 1944, one Bf.109 destroyed near Forges.

This officer has now completed his second tour of operations. During his first tour he was engaged in fighter operations from Malta, proving himself to be a gallant and courageous pilot and leader. Since June 1944 he has served with his squadron from bases in France, Belgium and Holland and during the German retreat.

In August 1944 he destroyed more than 60 transport vehicles and nine locomotives. He has also destroyed three enemy aircraft.

RCAF Press Release No. 1495 dated 27April 1943, drafted by F/L Kenneth A. MacGillivray, Public Relations Officer, RCAF, Middle East. Malta

– Scrapping with a bunch of Me109s under ordinary conditions is a tricky enough business for any fighter pilot. But when he is trying to protect both himself and a pal floating in the sea below him in a rubber dinghy, it gets a bit complicated. Ask Sergeant Pilot M.R. “Mush” Sharun, of St. Paul, Alberta, one of a number of RCAF lads in a RAF fighter squadron in Malta. Sharun found himself in such a position a few weeks ago, after an English flying-mate had been shot down into the sea in a “dog-fight” off the island. “It was a bit tricky,” he recalls, “but it had its funny side –like a strange game of tag in the air. There were several of us trying to circle over the lad in the water, and the Runs kept attacking us, and then scooting off, as though they were trying to lure us away from the spot. But we didn’t fall for that, and soon our R.A.F. launch came out and picked up our pal. Then the Runs lost interest and went off.” Sharun, who, before the war worked at a mining job in the far northern Yellowknife District, has had 80 hours of fighter operations, of which he has put in 50 in Malta. In addition to fighter sweeps here, he has taken part in “train-busting” and straffing. Another Alberta lad flying fighters in Malta is Sergeant Pilot Gordon Cameron of 11010 – 87th Avenue, Edmonton, who by a coincidence also was in the Yellowknife District as a diamond driller before he joined the R.C.A.F. Furthermore, Cameron and Sharun both served on the same R.C.A.F. fighter squadron in Britain before coming to Malta. Cameron has had 60 hours of operations, including numerous sweeps and patrols, and finds Malta very much to his liking.



Lost somehow in translation…


Hi Nicole and Pierre,

I misunderstood your email Nicole. I will make the correction. Therefore, the last unknown pilot (originally identified as “Ferguson” is in the back row on the far right.

This must be E.H. Fairfield.


new identification 443 January 1944


Squadron photo Jan 1944 Fairfield

Hal Fairfield modified picture

RCAF 443 Squadron pilots (Art Sager's collection)

Final answer – Sidney Bregman

Squadron photo Jan 1944 unidentified pilot


Just to let you know the unknown squadron 443 member kneeling in the front row beside Luis Perez Gomez is Sidney Bregman (not EH Fairfield). When the Step-Daughter of Sidney e-mailed me she confirmed that after looking at the photo copy of the squadron picture I sent her she knew right away that Sidney was the unknown squadron member. I was saying to Tara that I’m curious now to figure out which one is EH Fairfield in the squadron picture?


Sidney Bregman

127772_BREGMAN , sidney_0001

Beloved husband, dear father, founding partner of Bregman and Hamann Architects (B+H). Many years of his young life he spent flying his Spitfire in World War 2. He received great pleasure from racing his sailboats. His contribution to the City of Toronto in the Arts and Architecture is immeasurable. A valuable life has left us forever. Passed away on Sunday, February 9, 2014 at West Park Long Term Care in Toronto. Beloved husband of Gladye. Loving father and father-in-law of Ross (Caryl), Lloyd, Nina, Susanne (April), and step-children Noni and Lynn. Dear brother and brother-in-law of Harry and Bernice, and brother-in- law Morley Diskin. Predeceased by his brother Joe and sister Jean Diskin. A special thanks to his caregivers Irene and Julius. At Benjamin’s Park Memorial Chapel, 2401 Steeles Avenue West (3 lights west of Dufferin) for service

E. H. Fairfield?

Squadron photo Jan 1944 unidentified pilot
E. H. Fairfield?
Tara’s Notes 
E.H. Fairfield:

Service No. J20018

127 Squadron: May 1943 to Dec.1943

443 Squadron: Feb 13, 1944 – Feb 13, 1945

He was in Course No. 51 (March 14 – July 13, 1942) at No. 2 SFTS – Uplands. There was a photo of this class, so if we can compare the unknown pilot from the 443 photo with the attached photo, perhaps we can confirm that this is in fact E. H. Fairfield. 

Uplands - Course 51 (EH Fairfield)

The Names – Comment


I wanted to comment on your post from the 21st of April, 2013, which includes the photo of Squadron 443 with names inked in to identify the pilots. One pilot, fourth from the left, in the front row, is incorrectly identified as R A Hodgins. This is, in fact, W. A. C. Gilbert. I am his daughter.


Jean (Gilbert) MacFarlane

This is the original post


Why wait for tomorrow…

Life is too short.

Nicole 001 (2)

Can’t get better than this…

You can click on the image to zoom in.

This blog started to pay homage to this pilot

Arthur Horrell

Arthur James Horrell

I knew from the start it would not end with only one post just like when I started my blog about RCAF 403 Squadron in 2011. Or its sequel about 128 Squadron.

Just like when I started my blog about the sinking of the Athabaskan back in 2009.

Where this blog about RCAF 443 will go, I have no idea. I know that I will do next though. Paying homage to the pilot who died with Arthur on October 1944.


Next time I will look for more information on W. A. C. Gilbert

To contact me, please use this form or write a comment.

In search of Paul Cole Holden – Redux

Comment made about this post…

This reader has found a great link to the past.

I don’t know if you are aware of this, but I believe that Paul Cole Holden was an American, serving in the RCAF before transferring to the US AAF. Here is a link to a newpaper article (subscription needed to see the original) but you can read the text concerning Holden in the bottom half of the screen.
This article appeared in the Harrisburg Telegraph, 22 May 1944.

Lt. Holden Receives Medal and Cluster For Aerial Combat An Eighth AAF Fighter Station, England, May 22.

First – Lieutenant Paul C. Holden, 1829 Whitehall street, was recently awarded an Air Medal and one Oak Leaf Cluster for, meritorious service in aerial flight in the completion of twenty operational missions over occupied continental Europe,” at a ceremony held on his Eighth AAF Fighter Command air base, “Somewhere in England.”

A P-47 Thunderbolt fighter pilot, Lt. Holden, 30 years old, has been .flying on combat operations since this past winter. He received the medal from his commanding officer, Colonel James J. Stone, Jr., of Westfield, N. J. Lt. Holden’s group has now flown over 180 combat missions to the most heavily defended territory in the world, and has been “operational” since April of 1943. The group has accompanied American Flying Fortresses and Liberators to targets deep within Germany, France and a good section of occupied Europe, and has protected the huge bombers while they made their bombing runs, then ‘taken the B – 17′s and B – 24′s all the way back to English bases in the face of concerted attacks by hordes of German fighters. The group has now destroyed more than 175 German planes, and has maintained an impressive ratio of wins to losses since going into combat over here in England.

Recently Lt. Holden’s group has gone out as “Thunderbolt – dive bombers, hitting air fields in France while carrying 500 lb. bombs. Lt. Holden was a flying instructor prior to enlisting in the RCAF, He transferred to the U.S.A.A.F in December, 1943. His wife, Mrs. Menzenita E, Holden resides in Harrisburg and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. F. J Holden at 126 North Front street, Wormleysburg PA.

Holden died in 1986.

Original post

Nicole Morley 001

Paul Cole Holden was a Flying Officer with 443 Squadron. Nicole Morley whose uncle was Arthur Horrell had this card in her possession. She wants to find this pilot’s relatives.

Please use this contact form to contact me.

Flight Lieutenant Ian MacLennan – obituary

Source here.

Flight Lieutenant Ian MacLennan was a Spitfire pilot who applied his duck-shooting skills to destroy seven enemy aircraft during the Siege of Malta


Flight Lieutenant Ian MacLennan, who has died aged 94, was one of the last surviving fighter “aces” who engaged in fierce air battles during the Siege of Malta to secure the island’s survival.

MacLennan was a sergeant pilot flying Spitfires with No 401 (RCAF) Squadron in Britain when he crashed an aircraft. At the subsequent reprimand, his flight commander, rather pointedly, commented that “they are looking for volunteers for Malta”.

A few weeks later MacLennan was on board the carrier Eagle in the Mediterranean. On the morning of June 9 1942 he took off with 31 other pilots and headed for the isolated island. Four hours later, with very little fuel remaining, the Spitfires landed at Ta Kali airfield; within minutes, they were airborne with Malta-based pilots to repel a large raid by Luftwaffe bombers.

Before arriving in Malta, MacLennan had not fired his guns in anger – but he had figured out the grim business of shooting down the enemy: “I’d shot at ducks when I was a boy – I knew about deflection.” By the time he left Malta six months later he had become an “ace”, having destroyed seven enemy aircraft and damaging at least another eight.

After damaging a Junkers 88 in July, MacLennan claimed his first success on August 10 when he shot down a Messerschmitt Bf 109 which was escorting a bomber force attacking Luqa airfield. Four days later he shot down an Italian fighter; its pilot was rescued from the sea.

With Malta suffering, living conditions for everyone, including pilots, were primitive. They faced relentless attacks, and few fighter pilots were under greater pressure. The intensity peaked on October 11 when “The Last Blitz” began.

MacLennan was in action immediately and damaged two enemy fighters over Grand Harbour. Later that day he intercepted a large force of Junkers 88 bombers as it approached the island. He dived into the formation, set one bomber on fire and shot down a second before attacking a third. He was hit by return fire but pressed on until his ammunition ran out.

On October 16 he was forced to crash land his badly damaged Spitfire but he returned to the battle and, by the end of the month, had accounted for three more fighters and some damaged bombers. He was awarded an immediate DFM for his “great courage and tenacity”. Commissioned, he returned to Britain.

Ian Roy MacLennan was born in Regina, Canada, on April 4 1919. He attended school in Gull Lake, Saskatchewan, and studied engineering at Saskatchewan University before enlisting in the RCAF in October 1940. After training as a pilot he arrived in England in the summer of 1941.

He flew Spitfires on sweeps over France and on May 24 1942 damaged a Focke Wulf 190 off Calais. Shortly afterwards he left for Malta, where he joined No 1435 Flight.

After returning from Malta and a period of rest in Canada, MacLennan joined No 443 (RCAF) Squadron as a flight commander. On June 7 1944, whilst covering the D-Day landings, he was on his third sortie of the day strafing enemy positions when his Spitfire was hit by ground fire and he was forced to crash land on the beach behind enemy lines.

MacLennan was sent to Stalag Luft III. In January 1945 the camp was evacuated as the Soviet army approached. He was in the camp hospital at the time and was put on a train, which headed southwards. Nearing the Austrian border, he and a colleague escaped and hid in farms until they were able to reach the American lines.

On his return to Canada, MacLennan attended Toronto University before embarking on a long and distinguished career as an architect, initially in Venezuela and the United States before returning to Canada. He focused on creating housing for low-income families and became chief architect, and later senior vice-president, of the Central and Mortgage Housing Corporation. In 1961 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada.

For many years he shunned any publicity. But in 2009 a television company flew him to Malta, where he was given a hero’s welcome. A quiet, courteous, but plain-speaking man, his consuming passions included double bridge – he was a Life Master – and boating on French waterways in his 100-year old Dutch barge.

Ian MacLennan’s wife of almost 70 years, Nina, predeceased him. His son and daughter survive him.

Flt Lt Ian MacLennan, born April 4 1919, died November 6 2013