This is post No.111

This blog has been dormant for quite a while.

It’s perfectly alright because it’s meant to be discovered by relatives of pilots who flew with 443 Squadron.

It would take you many hours to read all that I wrote about that squadron I never knew had existed before Nicole Morley wrote a comment on another blog.

This is how my blogs are created.

This is a great picture of Ivor Williams.

Nicole 001 Ivor Williams

Ivor gave it to Nicole and she scanned it.

When Nicole sent it I did not know where that picture was taken.

Now I know.

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Arrival in Liverpool, January 1944 Redux

I had started this blog with what I could find about 443 Squadron.

I had found this information on the Internet…

On the morning of December 23, 1943, the advance party of No. 129 Squadron arrived to take over No. 127’s duties at Dartmouth and a happy band of officers and airmen boarded a train to take them home on embarkation leave. So ended No. 127 Squadron’s tour in Canada. The squadron’s flying personnel now included: S/L H. W. McLeod, F/Ls D. M. Walz and M. V. Shenk, P/Os E. H. Fairfield, A. J. Horrell, A. Hunter, G. F. Ockenden and C. E. Scarlett, P/Os W. A. Aziz, S. Bregman, L. B. Foster, W. A. C. Gilbert, T. G. Munro, L. Perez-Gomez, L. P. E. Piché, W. I. Williams and L. H. Wilson, W02 D. F. Bridges, F/Ss P. G. Bockman, P. E. Ferguson and G. E. Urquhart, and Sgt H. W. Summerfeldt.

 

The squadron’s flying personnel now included:

S/L H. W. McLeod,

F/L D. M. Walz

F/L M. V. Shenk,

P/O E. H. Fairfield,

P/O A. J. Horrell,

P/O A. Hunter,

P/O G. F. Ockenden

P/O C. E. Scarlett,

P/O W. A. Aziz,

P/O S. Bregman,

P/O L. B. Foster,

P/O W. A. C. Gilbert,

P/O T. G. Munro,

P/O L. Perez-Gomez,

P/O L. P. E. Piché,

P/O W. I. Williams

 P/O L. H. Wilson,

WO2 D. F. Bridges,

F/S P. G. Bockman,

F/S P. E. Ferguson and

F/S G. E. Urquhart, and

Sgt H. W. Summerfeldt.

 

Little did I know back then that this blog would generate some interest among my readers.

In this message, Tara, Paul Émile Piché’s granddaughter wants to know who is the unknown pilot in this picture?

new identification 443 January 1944

I have been trying to figure out who the “unknown” pilot in the first row of the picture is. I have also changed the pilot identified as “Ferguson” in the far right, back row to “unknown” since P.E. Ferguson has been identified.

On Mr. McManus’ website, he identifies the members of 443 Squadron before they left Dartmouth. I put this information in a table to help us identify the “unknown” pilots in the photo.  McManus tells us that there were 23 pilots in 443 Squadron but the photo only has 18 people in it. When I cross-reference the pilots from McManus’ website, I find that six people are not accounted for in the photo:

F/L D.M. Walz

P/O E.H. Fairfield

P/O S. Bregman

WO2 D.F. Bridges

F/S G.E. Urquhart.

Sgt. H.W. Summerfeldt.

If this photo is only of the pilots, can we assume that the two unknown airmen are Fairfield and Bregman?
Would you be able to double-check my work to see if this might be a possibility? I think it is important to put a name to these men. To that end, I would also like to put their full names where possible instead of just initials. Somewhere, someone knew them as “Bill” or “Len” etc. and by giving them a name instead of initials, we make their life more real.
Thanks,
Tara

This is the original picture taken from the archives of the DND.

Squadron photo Jan 1944

I used it to make different montages.

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Paul Emile Piché

Paul-Émile Piché

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Art Horrell

Arthur James Horrell

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Luis Perez-Gomez

Luis Perez-Gomez

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Alex Hunter

Alex Hunter

Squadron photo Jan 1944 C E Scarlet

C. E. Scarlet

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Ferguson

Percival Edward Ferguson

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Gordon Frederick Ockenden

Gordon Frederick Ockenden

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Henry Wallace McLeod

Henry Wallace McLeod

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Ivor Williams

Ivor Williams

Squadron photo Jan 1944 L H Wilson

L. H. Wilson

Squadron photo Jan 1944 M V Shenk

M. V. Shenk

Squadron photo Jan 1944 P G Bockman

P. G. Bockman

Squadron photo Jan 1944 T G Munroe

T. G. Munroe

Squadron photo Jan 1944 unidentified pilot

unidentified pilot

Squadron photo Jan 1944 W A Aziz

W. A. Aziz

Squadron photo Jan 1944 W A C Gilbert

W. A. C. Gilbert

This is Tara’s worksheet about where she stands right now in her search.

Rank 127 Squadron – December 1943

Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

(From: http://www.mcmanus.ca/02CofC/443history_files/history1.htm)

23 pilots, 3 airmen and 1 medical officer

January 31, 1944

Liverpool, England

(From: photo edited by Ivor Williams)

First and middle names? Notes
S/L H.W. McLeod Henry Wallace McLeod   Took over leadership of Squadron from Paul Gilbertson Dec  1943
F/L D.M. Waltz     One of original 13 pilots of 127 Squadron
F/L M.V. Shenk M.V. Shenk Vince? Joined squadron  in July 1943 now back in Dartmouth
P/O E.H. Fairfield     Not sure when he joined 443
P/O A. J. Horrell Arthur James Horrell   Joined squadron at Gander in May 1943
P/O A. Hunter Alex Hunter   Joined squadron  in Sept.  1943 now back in Dartmouth
P/O G. F. Ockenden Gordon Frederick Ockenden   Joined squadron at Gander in April 1943
P/O C.E. Scarlett C.E. Scarlett   Joined squadron at Gander in April 1943
P/O W.A. Aziz W.A. Aziz Bill? Joined squadron at Gander in June 1943
P/O S. Bregman     Joined squadron at Gander in June 1943
P/O. L. B. Foster Les Foster   Joined squadron at Gander in Dec 1942
P/O W.A.C.Gilbert William Alonzo Cramner Gilbert   Joined squadron  in Nov. 1943 now back in Dartmouth
P/O T.G. Munro T.G. Munro   Joined squadron  in July 1943 now back in Dartmouth
P/O L. Perez-Gomez Luis Perez-Gomez   Joined squadron  in Nov. 1943 now back in Dartmouth
P/O P.E. Piche Louis Paul Emile Piche   Joined squadron  in July 1943 now back in Dartmouth
P/O W. I. Williams Ivor Williams   Joined squadron at Gander in Dec 1942
P/O L. H. Wilson L.H. Wilson Len? Joined squadron  in Nov. 1943 now back in Dartmouth
WO2 D.F. Bridges     Joined squadron at Gander in Dec 1942
F/S P.G. Bockman P.G. Bockman (Vickers)   Joined squadron at Gander in Nov 1942
F/S P.E. Ferguson Percival Edward Ferguson   Joined squadron  in July 1943 now back in Dartmouth
F/S G.E. Urquhart     Joined squadron at Gander in Nov 1943
Sgt. H.W. Summerfeldt     Joined squadron at Gander in June 1943
December 23, 1943 – Jan ? 1944  Embarkation Leave

Depart Lachine on ship, “Pasteur” on Jan 20, 1944

 Arrive Liverpool, England January 31, 1944

Once in England they were joined in approximately March 1944 by:
F/S R.A. Hodgins      
F/L W.A. Prest      
Further joined in approximately April 1944 by:
F/L I.R. MacLennan      
DFM Hugh Russell      
  E.B. Stovel      
F/O J.R. Irwin      
F/O G.R. Stephen      
P/O R.B. Henderson      
“A” Flight – Ian MacLennan “B” Flight – Bill Prest
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   

 

Post 75 – About this picture

Squadron photo Jan 1944 W A C Gilbert

This is a montage I made using Paint from Windows.

Simple to make. Just copy a section, paste it, resize it (400%), and move it where you want to place it.

Take this image sent in 2013 by Nicole Morley, whom I never met.

Nicole 001 (2)

Nicole is the person behind the idea of this blog. She shared what little she knew in 2013 about her granduncle, and I got curious and created this blog about 443 Squadron.

Arthur James Horrell

In April 2013, Nicole met Ivor Williams, another Spitfire pilot with 443 Squadron, and he identified for her most of the pilots on this picture.

Nicole 001 (2)

Nicole wrote everything down and passed it on.

Nicole just wrote me about it.

Hi
I just wanted to let you know that after doing some digging I learned that Philip Bockman changed his last name to Vickers after the war. I originally had put the name Bickers underneath his full name but I realize afterwards that I misunderstood Ivor Williams. Also where you listed the name Ferguson with regards to Squadron 443 it should read Percival Edward Ferguson.
Take care.                           
                                             
Nicole Morley
There was another correction made earlier by this pilot’s daughter…
Squadron photo Jan 1944 W A C Gilbert
Rooney Alexander Hodgins should say instead William Alonzo Cramner Gilbert aka “WAC Gilbert”
How can I make that correction?
Simple…
new identification 443 January 1944

 

Arrival in Liverpool, January 1944

From this picture found on the Internet in 2013…

443 Squadron Pilots arriving in England in 1944

To this when Nicole Morley met Ivor Williams…

Nicole 001 (2)

And to this from Tara, Paul-Émile Piché’s granddaughter…

Squadron photo Jan 1944

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Paul Emile Piché

Paul-Émile Piché

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Art Horrell

Arthur Horrell

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Luis Perez-Gomez

Luis Perez-Gomez

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Alex Hunter

Alex Hunter

Squadron photo Jan 1944 C E Scarlet

C E Scarlet

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Ferguson

Percival Edward Ferguson

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Gordon Frederick Ockenden

Gordon Frederick Ockenden

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Henry Wallace McLeod

Henry Wallace McLeod

Squadron photo Jan 1944 Ivor Williams

Ivor Williams

Squadron photo Jan 1944 L H Wilson

L H Wilson

Squadron photo Jan 1944 M V Shenk

M V Shenk

Squadron photo Jan 1944 P G Bockman

P G Bockman

Squadron photo Jan 1944 T G Munroe

T G Munroe

Squadron photo Jan 1944 unidentified pilot

Was an unidentified pilot…

Sidney  Bregman

Squadron photo Jan 1944 W A Aziz

W A Aziz

Squadron photo Jan 1944 W A C Gilbert

W A C Gilbert

Chirp

I never paid much attention to W.A.C. Gilbert’s name before.

Chirp

Chirp

Until Jean commented yesterday, and some more today.

Comment:

Thank you for making such a quick correction! If anyone who frequents this forum has any memories of my father, Lon (but they called him Chirp, too) Gilbert, I would be very interested in hearing any tidbits about him. I know he was a great Spitfire pilot and the historical account on the site credits him with at least two kills and one shared kill.

Cheers,

Jean MacFarlane

More about Chirp…

Taken from this Website:

http://www.mcmanus.ca/02CofC/443history_files/history1.htm

On July 23, No. 126 Squadron exchanged duties with No. 127 Squadron and the squadron returned to Dartmouth. Aircraft strength increased to fifteen Hurricane XIIs and four Harvards. Personnel strength averaged 120, of which 23 were pilots. It was now a full-sized squadron and was averaging about 500 flying hours a month.

While at Dartmouth, P/O M. W. Brown, Sgt Frombolo, F/O P. C. Holden, F/S H. L. Eakes and P/O Humphries departed on postings, leaving only D. M. Walz of the original thirteen pilots. F/O F. W. Ward also left the squadron in the Fall of 1943. Newcomers were F/L W. V. Shenk, P/Os T. G. Munro, P. E. Piché and F/S P. E. Ferguson (July), F/O A. Hunter and P/O A. G. McKay (September), P/Os L. Perez-Gomez, W. A. C. Gilbert and L. H. Wilson (November). The squadron adjutant, F/O J. G. B. Lawrence, re- mustered to aircrew and left in November.   F/O C. E. Scarlett took over his duties temporarily.

[…]

On the morning of December 23, 1943, the advance party of No. 129 Squadron arrived to take over No. 127’s duties at Dartmouth and a happy band of officers and airmen boarded a train to take them home on embarkation leave. So ended No. 127 Squadron’s tour in Canada. The squadron’s flying personnel now included: S/L H. W. McLeod, F/Ls D. M. Walz and M. V. Shenk, P/Os E. H. Fairfield, A. J. Horrell, A. Hunter, G. F. Ockenden and C. E. Scarlett, P/Os W. A. Aziz, S. Bregman, L. B. Foster, W. A. C. Gilbert, T. G. Munro, L. Perez-Gomez, L. P. E. Piché, W. I. Williams and L. H. Wilson, W02 D. F. Bridges, F/Ss P. G. Bockman, P. E. Ferguson and G. E. Urquhart, and Sgt H. W. Summerfeldt.

[…]

 

Prelude To Invasion April – June 1944

Two months after arriving at Digby, 443 Squadron pilots S/L McCleod, F/Ls Prest, Walz, MacLennan, and Stovel, F/Os Perez-Gomez, Scarlett, Fairfield, Gilbert, Hunter and Stephen, and P/O Bockman left Westhampnett to provide top cover for a formation of Bostons bombing a target at Dieppe. D-Day preparations continued in earnest between April 13 and June 5 with more than 487 sorties being flown.

[…]

 

Bomber escorts for Bostons and Mitchells over the Crecy area, St Omer, and as far as Coblenz, Germany, fully occupied the squadron, which moved to Funtington, Sussex on the 22nd. On the morning of the 25th, W/C Johnson led No. 441 and 443 Squadrons on a sweep around Paris. They encountered six FockeWulfs and destroyed them, two kills by “Johnny”, one by F/L Hugh Russel and F/L Walz and two by No. 441 Squadron. Only three of 443 pilots returned directly to base; four ended up in Exeter, and “. . . two crashed near Warmwell when their fuel ran out.” Later that evening, the squadron flew close escort to Marauders over Cherbourg.

F/Ls Prest, Russel and Walz, F/Os Gilbert and Scarlett, and P/O Hodgins practiced dive-bombing on a flying-bomb site south of Dieppe on the 26th; more bombs were dropped on railway bridges south of Cherbourg. Then, on May 3 and 4, the final full-scale dress rehearsal prior to invasion occurred.

[…]

 

In the early evening of June 4, S/L McLeod led a formation of eleven aircraft on the squadron’s last pre-invasion operation. The task was to knock out an enemy radar post on the coast ten miles west of Fecamp, and as was to be expected, the ground defences put up an intense, although futile, barrage. Four direct bomb hits were seen, in addition to other near misses within damaging distance.

By this time, the squadron knew that the long expected invasion was only hours away. The invasion markings (broad black and white bands) were painted on the Spitfires. No. 443 Squadron now had twenty-eight pilots on strength. S/L H. W. McLeod, F/Ls A. Hunter, W. A. Prest, W. V. Shenk and D. M. Walz, F/Os W. A. Aziz, E. H. Fairfield, P. E. H. Ferguson, L. B. Foster, W. A. C. Gilbert, A. J. Horrell, R. A. Hodgins, T. G. Munro, G. F. Ockenden, L. Perez-Gomez, L. P. E. Piché, C. E. Scarlett, and W. I. Williams, and F/S G. E. Urquhart had all been with the squadron since the beginning of its overseas tour in February. F/Ls I. R. MacLennan, H. Russel and E. B. Stovel and F/Os R. B. Henderson, J. R. Irwin and G. R. Stephen, had joined in March and April. More recent additions were F/L G. W. A. Troke, DFC (on April 28) F/O W. J. Bentley (on May 16) and S/L J. D. Hall (on May 26).

[…]

 

On June 24, the squadron began armed reconnaissance (A/R) along roads behind the lines in search of enemy motor transport. Scrambles to intercept enemy raiders provided more instances of dust clogging aircraft guns.

While on an A/R mission, intense and accurate flak forced abandonment of that task. Ground control reported enemy aircraft in the vicinity and vectored No. 443 to intercept. F/O G. R. Stephen followed a group of eight or ten FockeWulfs and was able to close within 300 yards for a kill. Blue section meanwhile was in hot pursuit as F/O W. A. C. Gilbert, F/L G. W. A. Troke and F/O R. A. Hodgins combined for a kill. F/L W. V. Shenk was also inflicting damage to a FockeWulf when his gun failed thereby robbing him of a sure kill.

[…]

 

Reorganization broke up 144 Wing in July. No. 443 joined 127 Wing with Nos. 403, 416 and 421, and moved from St Croix to Crepon on the afternoon of July 14.

During its time with 144 Wing, S/L McLeod’s squadron destroyed thirteen enemy aircraft (McLeod 6, Walz 2, Hodgins, Gilbert, Stephen, Russel one each and Russel and Ockenden sharing one) and damaged five, (Prest 3, Shenk 2). In ground attacks, the squadron destroyed two locomotives and 42 vehicles, and damaged 15 mechanized enemy transport (MET) “smokers”, two engines, a barge, a signal house and 42 mechanized vehicles.

[…]

 

After uneventful patrols on the morning of September 27, W/C Johnson destroyed his 38th (highest total in RAF) enemy aircraft in a melee over Rees on the banks of the Rhine. F/O Rooney Hodgins forced another Messerschmitt away from his commander and got another destroyed for himself. F/L H. P. Fuller gave the “tail-end Charlie” of the German formation bursts of cannon and machine-gun fire to do it in. F/L E. B. Stovel, F/O Gilbert and F/L Walz also tallied one each.

[…]

 

Squadron flying for 1944 terminated after missions on the fifteenth and eighteenth of December in the Aachen to Trier area of the Siegfried Line. Here Von Rundstedt launched the famous “Battle of the Bulge”, but weather and cloud prevented 443 from being effective, and premature removal of radio transmitter crystals in anticipation of Air Gunnery Practice in England, resulted in missions on the eighteenth being complete fiascos.

December departures from the squadron included F/Os G. F. Ockenden and W. A. C. Gilbert, both who had joined the squadron in Canada, and F/O A. M. F. Thomas.