Typhoons and CF-100s: 440 Squadron Gets Together in Ottawa, September 2010

 

Jay Hunt (orange shirt) of Vintage Wings has the attention of a crowd of 440 CF-100 era guests during the squadron reunion. A Finch, Beaver, Tiger Moth and Fox Moth form the backdrop. (Photos by Larry Milberry unless noted).

One of the RCAF‘s renowned combat squadrons of WWII and Cold War days was 440, which had its beginnings as 11 (Army Co-operation) Squadron in Vancouver in October 1932. Initially without airplanes, the squadron didn’t get airborne until delivery of its first D.H.60 Moths in October 1934. It carried on with training through the Thirties to the eve of war, when it received its first combat types — the Atlas and Lysander. On June 29, 1940 F/L W.J. McFarlane flew 11 AC’s first wartime operation — a patrol in Lysander 428 scouting for a reported Japanese submarine from RCAF Station Patricia Bay, near Victoria.

440 Sqn grew out of 11 (AC) Sqn, which formed in 1932. One of the squadron's first combat types (1939) was the Westland Lysander, still a frontline plane at the time. This fine "Lizzie" greeted the 440 old timers for their visit to Vintage Wings.

11 (AC) Sqn disbanded on February 1, 1941. Its successor, 111 (Fighter) Sqn, formed the following November 3 at Rockcliffe under S/L A.D. Nesbitt, DFC, a Battle of Britain veteran. Equipped with Kittyhawks, 111 went to the Pacific far northwest to bolster defences against the Japanese, who had occupied the Aleutian Islands. 111 flew its first “ops” on September 25, 1942, when four of its Kittyhawks escorted USAAC B-24s bombing Japanese positions at Kiska. On this mission S/L K.A. Boomer, 111’s CO, shot down a Japanese fighter — the first and only RCAF kill in this theatre.

Veteran Canadian aviation artist Graham Wragg created this lively scene depicting S/L Boomer's Aleutian kill. The painting appears in 440 Squadron History.

111 withdrew from Alaska in August 1943 to resume operations at Patricia Bay. It disbanded in January 1944, then proceeded overseas, where it formed anew, this time as 440 Squadron at Ayr, Scotland. It briefly flew Hurricanes, then converted to the mighty Typhoon. Along with 438 and 439, 440 was one of three RCAF Typhoon squadrons comprising 143 (RCAF) Wing, part of RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force. 440 soon moved south to Hurn to begin tactical operations against German targets in France in the lead-up to D-Day.

A 440 Squadron Typhoon taxies on operations at Eindhoven, Holland over the spring of 1945. Minutes later it would have been delivering its two 1000-lb bombs. Typhoon I8-P/RD389 was Harry Hardy's last Tiffie of the war -- he christened it "Pulverizer IV". Harry attended this reunion. (RCAF)

440 Squadron flew to the Normandy Beachhead at B.9 Lantheuil on June 28, 1944. Moving frequently hereafter, it operated non-stop to war’s end, busy days seeing each of its dozen or so “Tiffies” flying 4, 5, 6 or more sorties daily. Many aircraft fell to German flak and far too many 440 pilots were lost. The squadron disbanded at B.166 Flensburg on August 26, 1945. Its record included 4213 operational sorties with 2215 tons of bombs dropped. These efforts resulted in 420 rail cuts and hundreds of enemy troops, vehicles, barges, etc. blasted. The brutal cost? 32 Typhoons lost, 28 pilots killed. Five 440 pilots received the DFC for their good efforts. The details of this amazing RCAF era are best read in Hugh A. Halliday’s 1992 book, Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story, which anyone with an interest in 440 will want.

440 Squadron CF-100 Mk.III fighters on the flightline in Bagotville circa 1954. Then, a 440 Mk.IV during NATO years. (RCAF)

With the Cold War, 440 re-formed in October 1953. Stationed initially at Bagotville with the machine-gun armed CF-100 Mk.III, in February 1955 it re-equipped with the Mk.4B, which added air-to-air rockets to the arsenal. In May 1957, 440 flew that Atlantic to take up residence at RCAF 3 Wing at Zweibrucken, West Germany. There it bolstered NATO’s all-weather fighter bastion against the Warsaw Pact forces. The squadron again disbanded in December 1962. 440s CF-100 era is covered in good detail in Larry Milberry’s 1981 book The Avro CF-100. This classic title is out-of-print, but copies can be found on such used book internet sites as abebooks.com or bookfinder.com. Another essential book is 440 Squadron History published in 1983 by The Hangar Bookshelf.

440 Typhoon pilots on the Vintage Wings tarmac on September 10, 2010: Alex "The Beast" Scott, Harry Hardy, John Flintoff, Ted Smith and Wally Ward with Michael Potter (in flying suit) and Pearl Hayes, whose late husband Bob, also flew Typhoons.

This illustrious squadron again re-surfaced in 1968, this time as a transport, and search and rescue unit operating the H-21, Dakota, Buffalo and Twin Otter over the decades. 440 still does good work with Twin Otters from its home in Yellowknife.

The 440 gang is briefed by Paul Manson at the start of their tour of the impressive new Canadian War Museum.

CF-100 era 440 aircrew Cliff Cassidy (All-weather interception navigator), Bob Hyndman (pilot) and Clive Loader (pilot). Clive had joined the RCAF in the 1950s following an RAF career flying such fighters as the Hunter. This weekend Cliff briefed the reunion about plans to permanently display the 440 Sqn crest in the Royal Air Force Club in London. On the spot this evening half the money needed to get this done was raised.

September 9 to 12, 2010 former squadron members gathered in Ottawa for what was one of the great RCAF squadron reunions. The 80 or so attendees included Typhoon pilots plus CF-100 pilots and navigators and their ladies. Excellent sessions were organized in some of Ottawa’s best military messes, the RCAF Gloucester Mess included. Half a day was spent at Vintage Wings in Gatineau, where we enjoyed informative guided tours in small groups. The icing on this cake was a wonderful air display put on by Michael Potter in his pristine P-51 Mustang.

CF-100 AI navs, Lonnie Maudsley and Ron Williams, meet at the bar of the Navy Mess in Ottawa. Their squadron mate Ron Leather (pilot) looks on. At the end of the bar Gord Smith (CF-100 pilot) chats with Ted Smith (Typhoons).

An afternoon was spent at the Canadian War Museum, where the new establishment’s first CEO, Gen Paul Manson, was our chief tour guide. Paul had flown CF-100s with 440, later flew CF-104s, then rose to be Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff. The reunion finished on another high note — a send-off breakfast back at the Gloucester Mess, from where everyone dispersed until next time.

Duane Sharpe as he was checking out some other memorabilia. His photo as a young CF-100 AI navigator is on the cover of Canada's Air Force at War and Peace, Vol.3.

Ron Bell (AI nav), Jim Terry (AI nav) and Gord Smith (pilot) look over an old copy of the 440 history book as they reminisce about CF-100 days.

15 responses to “Typhoons and CF-100s: 440 Squadron Gets Together in Ottawa, September 2010

  1. Hello,

    My name is Rene Vos and I ‘am living in a place called Budel in Holland. I ‘am writing a book about airplane crashes in our village during WO II. One of the planes witch crashed during World War II is on the 24-DEC-1944 the Hawker Typhoon IB PD462 Royal Air Force (RAF) at Maarheeze. In this crash F/O DUNKELD , WILLIAM THOMAS was killed.

    From eye witnesses I ‘ve learned that a Canadian Pilot was involved in this incident. The airplane was shot down by an FW 190 whitch crashed at a nearby place called Maarheeze.

    My question is if the are any photo’s of F/O DUNKELD , WILLIAM THOMAS in youre archieve. Maybe there is more information about this crash.

    Thanks

    Rene Vos
    Budel Holland

    • Hi Rene, no, I do not have a photo of Dunkeld. He is mentioned in the book I published by High Halliday, “Typhoon and Tempest the Canadian Story”. Quite a few copies ended in Holland, so you might search for a used copy. Hugh is at 1594 Delia Crescent, Orleans, Ontario K4A 1W9 Canada. Drop him a line. Maybe he can look up Dunkeld’s file in the Canadian archives for you. As you likely know, Dunkeld was an American from Michigan. I see that in his book, Hugh names the attacking plane as an Me.109, but this could be an error.

      Cheers … Larry Milberry

  2. Grant Workman

    Hi Rene: In the book “They Shall Grow Not Old” is a list of 18,000 Canadian airmen, airwomen and other nationals wearing the uniform of the R.C.A.F., who lost their lives between September 3, 1939 and August 12, 1945.
    In it, it has the following:
    DUNKELD, WILLIAM THOMAS F/O (P). J25085//R146455.
    From Pontiac Michigan, U.S.A. Killed in Action Dec 24/44 age 23.
    #440 Beaver Squadron. F/O Dunkeld was flying Typhoon aircraft #PD 463 and was providing escort for a morning strafing operation when he was shot down by an enemy FW-190 fighter aircraft six miles south-east of Eindhoven. No parachute was seen. Flying Officer Pilot Dunkeld is buried in the Jonkerbos War Cemetary, Nijmegan, Holland.
    Grant Workman.

  3. Hi Larry
    I’m writing to let visitors to this site know of the website http://www.RCAF111fSquadron.com which celebrates and honours the achievements of 111 Sqn in the Aleutian Campaign (before it became 440 Sqn and went to Europe).
    The site is trying to identify with photos and facts, every one of the members of the Squadron. I hope members and relatives of members of 111 will join me in this effort to commemorate their service in that odd and little-known corner of WWII.
    Thank you, Larry, for your contributions to celebrating Canadian aviation.
    Best regards,
    Bill Eull

  4. My grandfather flew with S/L Kenneth Boomer on September 25, 1942, in the first fighter escorted bomber mission over Kiska harbor, and only air kill from the RCAF in that campaign. There were 4 Canadians flying that day with the 11th Pursuit, S/L Kenneth Boomber, F/O Robert W. Lynch, F/O Hal Gooding and F/O Jim Gohl. They were all awarded the American Air Medal for their participation.
    After that campaign he was assigned to #1 F.I.S in Trenton, many of his fellow airmen went on with the 440 and sadly, many did not come home. He had many pictures of them in his memorabilia. Our family was lucky.

    My family is planning a trip up to Alaska to tour some of the old WW2 Air bases, and I have started a blog about our journey. But what is really special about the blog is that I use also use it as a place to honor all faces and memories of those who served in the Aleutian campaign. I am looking for more families of RCAF Aleutian Island WW2 veterans who would like to share their story on the site. http://www.floridabeachestotheberingsea.com

    Thank you for this post, it was wonderful to read, and that picture from Graham Wragg brought tears to my eyes.

    God bless our veterans.

    • Karen , the only person I know who would know a lot about the second world war & the RAF & RCAF would be Grant Workman who I note has left you a reply .He & I went to Great Britian on an RCAF tour & to visit our lost
      ones graves ,several years ago .W.E. ( Wally ) Peacock

      • Thank you Wally, I do not seen his reply. I imagine that trip for the two of you must have been a difficult one. Do you know what year your brother was stationed in the Aleutians?

  5. oh and any idea how to get a copy of that print from Graham Wragg??

  6. F/O William Dempsey (Billy) Peacock a Canadian was my brother & flew in the Aleutian Islands & was finall y killed in England on May o4/1944 I was 8 at that time but remember it like yesterday .

  7. Hi Wally
    Pleaase see http://www.RCAF111fSquadron.com I have a spot for your brother (#059) in which I show a photo which you have probably never seen taken by one of his flying mates, George Schwalm. I would be delighted to place any other pictures or information you might have of your brother. Contact me through the website.
    Thanks, Larry; hi Karen.
    Bill

  8. Wally,
    Do you happen to have any pictures of Billy? I would love to honor him on my site. Please email me kabel56@yahoo.com

  9. Dear …,
    I saw on the internet that the 440 Sqdn veterans visited Juno Beach last May. It is a pity that they did not visit any other locations in the Netherlands.
    I am the author of “Battle for the Roer Triangle” and love to get in contact with pilots of 440 Squadron. Could you help???
    Regards, Har Gootzen

  10. I located your site while researching the RCAF 111 (f) Squadron. Looks as though they enjoyed their reunion.

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