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Castle Archdale, Northern Ireland Coastal Command

423 Faces

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Here is an assortment of photos / items of 423 Squadron members. In many cases, the persons in the photos are not identified, if you happen to be able to identify any persons found in the photos, please contact me and I will have their names listed appropriately.
 
 
Reminiscence in Verse

From the Pen of Roy Pinder, veteran of 423, the RCAF Eagle Squadron

Memories of an X-Eagle

 
 
I’m a 423 X-Eagle ‘twas my task to search and strike
the dreaded Nazi U-boats that lurked by day and night
under the salty surface, waiting to attack
our helpless Merchant Navy ships
when e’re they came in sight.
Aboard a Sunderland we’d roar of Lough Erne
before the dawn, aloft all day and after dark return.
But often due to weather or Pegasus distress
We’d be diverted to Oban or Alness.
and sometimes even Iceland and sometimes Pembroke Dock .
If further south we’d have to land beside Gibralter’s rock..
Our homes at Castle Archdale were what’s called Nissen huts
with half moon ends a door or two and a rounded tin on top.
The furniture was Spartan, a lamp, a chair a cot,
with little room for treasured things from back home we brought.
Our pin-ups and snapshots were openly displayed
but letters from our loved-ones were under cover laid.
The facilities at Archdale were really not that bad
a mess, a bar a bath hut and a movie house we had.
Sports were not bad either, baseball, tennis, squash
and if we felt aggressive we could have a boxing bash.
Of course there was a chapel where we could meditate
and silently pray we would some day, be it soon or be it late,
safely return to families who wait by the garden gate.
All this is now a memory, but we’ll always yearn to fly
until the day we fly to that mooring in the sky.
 
 

 

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Roy Pinder 423 R.C.A.F. and author of the above poem.
 
The poem was used with the kind permission of
Stephanie Pinder, who is Roy's grand-daughter.

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Roy Pinder 2001 in Ottawa

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Roy Pinder, his wife Elva and 3 of their kids,  late 1950's.

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F/L A.R. (Roy) Pinder

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Roy and  Elva Pinder early 1940's.

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The above is a copy of Mr. Roy Pinder's flight log from March, 1944.

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My grandfather, Fl/Lt. F.G. "Jerry" Fellows

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Jean Archambault, was the CO of 423 Squadron during 1943-44. He passed away in Ottawa in 2002. He is buried at the National Cemetery.
His brother was captured during the Dieppe raid, and his 2 sisters both served with the RCAF Women's Division - an entire family enlisted.

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Jean Archambault

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Front Row, second from left, 423 Squadron Pilot Sam Taylor.

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Sam Taylor in Sunderland.

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Sam Taylor and crew

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Sam Taylor 3rd one back sitting on the wall

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Sam Taylor receiving his wings, after his training in Brantford, Ontario, Canada.

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Photo of Sam Taylor and his wife Audrey taken sometime in the 1940's.

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F/O  T.H."Harry" Paulton
Born in Wolverhampton Eng. and emmigrated to Canada as a boy.
Following highschool, he enlisted in the RCAF.
Trained in his hometown of Windsor Ontario at EFTS 7
 
A page from Harry's flight-log can be seen below.

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The contents of a footlocker belonging to a Canadian WWII pilot, Harry Paulton, were revealed to a Grade 1 class at Essex Public School, during a special class presentation, Nov. 5.
 

Canadian airman's footlocker examined at Essex Public School

By Andy Comber - November 11, 2009 Essex Free Press.

 

Grade 1 students at Essex Public School could hardly contain their excitement as a footlocker once used by a Canadian WWII pilot was opened by their teacher, during a special class presentation, Nov. 5.

"My grandfather was an airman, and he flew a very cool airplane," said teacher Christian Paulton, telling the students the story of his grandfather, Harry Paulton, who flew Sunderland aircraft during the Battle of the Atlantic in WWII.

Paulton revealed each of the items found in the footlocker, including a pilot's licence, a radio headset, a compass, uniforms, hats, medals, badges and insignias, photographs and a bomber jacket.

"The footlocker is full of all the important things my grandfather needed to be a pilot," he said.

Paulton said his grandfather was with the 423 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force, flying Sunderland aircraft over the North Atlantic in long-range air and search, and anti-submarine missions. Harry Paulton's squadron was based for most of the war at Castle Archdale in Northern Ireland.

The Sunderland aircraft also called a "flying-boat"� took off and landed on the ocean surface and specialized in long-range surveillance. It was heavily deployed to search and destroy German U-boats, which were inflicting massive losses on Allied shipping. It could carry 10,000 pounds of freight and armaments, or up to 20 passengers, in addition to fuel and the normal crew of eleven.

The 423 Squadron saw considerable action, escorting over 300 Allied convoys, and was credited with destroying numerous German U-boats before being disbanded in 1945.

Harry grew up in Amherstburg and moved to Windsor following his service in the military.

His grandson said Harry brought home a war bride, Gwen Holmes, who he had met and married in Britain.

"My grandmother worked on the aircraft. Her job was to climb into the wing and repair bullet holes in the gas tanks."

The presentation of the footlocker was part of the students' education and involvement in the school's Remembrance Day events.
 
"First, it is what it means to remember, and then it is why and who we are remembering," said Paulton, who works closely with Shelley Smith, the other Grade 1 teacher, to give the young students a better understanding of Remembrance Day.

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Reg Firby- Reg was an instrument technician with 423 Squadron from January 1944 until the wars end. Like my grandfather , Reg also met his bride to be in Ireland and was married on August 4, 1945. 
 

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Reg Firby in 2008. In June of 2009, I had a most pleasent phone conversation with Mr. Firby who now resides in London, Ontario.
 
The following text is taken from a letter written to me by Mr. Firby:
 
I went overseas in March of 1943 and was transferred to 424 Squadron in Yorkshire.  That Squad had been transferred to Africa so I was transferred to Topcliffe a training station converting from 2 motor to 4 motor planes.  In January 1944 I was transferred to Castle Archdale and 423 Squadron.
I found Ireland as a wonderful land so green and interesting and we were only 7 miles from the free state which we visited frequently.
We certainly had different living conditions from the air crews but of course did not have the risks they lived with.  It was a great time for young Canadians just cycling down the road was a great education.
Castle Archdale was on Lock Erne and all our planes were flying boats.  A daily inspection was done on all planes after every trip and water taxis took us to the planes.  After 500 hours of flight a major overhaul was necessary and the planes were brought up on land.
For me, my time in the British Isles was a wonderful time.  I met a girl who became my wife on August 4, 1945.  I was sent to Canada 2 weeks later and she didn't arrive in Canada until April 1946.  We have had a very good life and raised 5 children all well and comfortable.

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F/L F.G."Jerry" Fellows and friend.

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Front and back of photo. Back written by Jerry Fellows.
F.G."Jerry" Fellows receiving the Order Of St. John from Governor General Of Canada Roland Michener.

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F/L F.G."Jerry"Fellows

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F/L F.G."Jerry"Fellows

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Front and back of photo of F.G. Fellows and crew.

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Front and back of photo. Jerry Fellows, front row, third from right.

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Harold "Bud" O' Brien and son Gary ready for the Fredericton, New Brunswick Nov 11th parade 2008.
I have had the pleasure to speak with Bud over the phone and have also received many interesting photos from Mr. O'Brien which he graciously donated to this website.

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Morley Cohen from Calgary Alberta. According to Bud O'Brien, Morley was called "Corney Cohen" because of his corny jokes!

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L-R - Harry Wooland, Pointe Claire, Quebec. Morley Cohen, Calgary, Alberta

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John Brownsey from Victoria, British Columbia

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L-R - Harold "Bud" O'Brien from Fredericton, New Brunswick and Pete Novac from Toronto, Ontario.

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Jim Pringle from Calgary, Alberta.

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Harold "Bud" O'Brien and Harry Wooland on leave in Edinburgh, Scotland 1944

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Bud O'Brien with pipe and Harry Wooland, 1945

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Back Row, left to right:
 
A. Knepfler - Stratford, Ontario
S. Matkin - Cardston, Alberta
J. Pringle (squatting down) Calgary, Alberta
J. Brownsey - Victoria, British Columbia
R. Armstrong - Botha, Alberta
S. Niven - Nelson, British Columbia
B. O Brien  - Fredericton, New Brunswick
 
Front Row, left to right:
 
E. Box - Grenfall, Saskatchewan
S. Murphy - Toronto, Ontario
Burnette ( first name unknown) Toronto, Ontario

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L-R :
 
J. Brownsey, B. O Brien, E. Box, J. Pringle, unknown

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Brownsey, Box, O Brien, Burnette, Wooland and unknown

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S. Murphy - Toronto, Ontario. According to Bud O Brien, they always kidded him about which one was Murphy and which one was the donkey!

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Murray Wettlaufer and crew.

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Rear row- R.Bockos , J.Creighton,D.Donaldson,H.Duquette, L.Dufton,K.McLeod.
Front row J.Christian L.Bossenberry, Art Lee , Alex Aitkens.
 
Alex lives in Oakville, Ontario with his wife of nearly 68 years, June, and he will celebrate his 90th birthday in November of 2010.

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Taken on "The site of two large hangers before they were built.
The "T" Sheds - which would put this as being the summer of 43.
Left to right
Les Bossenberry , Crpl. Eldrose , Bub Caldwell , Don Donaldson , L.Dufton

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Photo from Mr. James Newall. James stated to me:
 
"We started flying at C/A on 31/1/44, we were all rookies than, the promotions came after we got to C/A.
 
I was put on to another crew ,the Co/Pilot (ART FIELD) I think went on
a course also the A/G M.Wilbee,all I know is we three were not on that plane when it crashed and Bob Voyce was the only survivor."
 
 
F/O. Frederick W. Greenwood, F/O. Edwin E. McCann, (Captain), F/L. George F. Cornwell- (body recovered and buried at sea), F/O. Herbert S. Subold, W/O. Joseph A.D. Dore, all RCAF.Serg. Lawrence Quinn, F/O. Liddle, Sgt. Anderson, Sgt. Canton all RAF. All killed .W/O R.H. Voyce survived. Sunderland ML 823 – 423 Sq. Crashed at sea N/W Bloody Foreland, Donegal due to engine failure on 6th September 1944.(Lough Erne based)
 
 
 

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The two above photos are both pictures of Mr. James (Jimmy) Newall, taken in March 2010.
 
Mr. Newall was with 423 Squadron R.A.F.
 
He currently resides in England.

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Photo of flight log belonging to Mr. James Newall

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F/Lt Grant and crew

This  is a picture of F/Lt Grant and crew,I am sorry to say I
can't remember any names, all I remember is back row -2-L-is Aust.,man in
front of him is American. (I am on end right, behind me I  think was
South African.)
Regards Jim.
 
Above is a copy of an email from Mr. Jimmy Newall
 
 
 
 

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The Wetlauffer Brothers.
Murray (right) and his brother.

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Don "Red" Macfie who came from Dunchurch Ontario - Don's first impressions of Lough Erne in September 1942 was that it was "a hole" - he came to love the station. Don  served with both 423 and 422 squadrons.

His aircraft had a minor engine problem and was held back on 3rd August 1943 , Al Bishops aircraft went off in their stead - Cooks crew followed shortly afterwards - fate put Al. Bishop and crew on U-489 instead of Cook's crew - who never encountered a U-Boat , in all hours they flew - almost 800 operational hours.

This photo shows "Red" before he went to aircrew training.
 
Mr Macfie was kind enough to write to me in the summer of 2009, which has since led to a visit with him at his home where his family has lived for 145 years. Don kindly gave to me much valuable material to sort through and use for the purpose of this website. I am looking forward to a return visit in the spring.

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Photo of Don "Red" Macfie taken on my visit to his home near Dunchurch, Ontario. October 2009.

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Don Macfie with 423 squadron

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Don Macfie doing galley duty.

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Gord Rosenthal

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Gord Rosenthal

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Jack Ritchie

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Terry Reeves

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George Irving

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Don "Red"  Macfie

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Cook and Ritchie with two briefing officers for a trip.

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Jack Ritchie photo taken in 2006

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Letter from Brant Howell to Don Macfie

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Back row left to right , J.Sharpe , L.Bossenberry , R.Books ,L.Abrams.
front- L.Dufton , ?? , D.Morris.
"The Bomb up crew".

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4th from left , front row, Mr. Harold O'Brien.

 
 
 
423 Armament Section

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F/L F.G. "Jerry" Fellows atop his Sunderland DD862.
The Island in the background is Lusty Beg across the Lough from the mooring areas.

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F/L F.G."Jerry" Fellows at doorway of his Nissan hut, Castle Archdale, leaving for flight. Accomadation for those in huts - cold , never warm and rats proved a huge problem.
 
So much that at Killadeas the New Zealanders there scavanaged fuel from the tanks of the aircraft and poured it into the undercuts around the trees to burn out local rat populations killing them by the hundreds - the officers on base ( 1941) having been unable to address the problem.
For men who received food parcels from home - everything had to be kept in tins and these were often hung from the frame of the hut , more than once a man awoke to find a rat sitting on his bed or even to be in it.
The "Canucks" at Castle Archdale had a grand rat hunt - it's even recorded in their ORB - warning that all pets ( squadrons mascots , of which there were a few) had to be kept indoors as poison was set down and the base hunted for unwelcome guests.

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Jock Sumner ( seated front row , 2nd left).- last seen in 240 Squadron - now with 423 RCAF , on his left George Holly .
When on patrol he was notified of the birth of his son , according to James Stewart,  he never got to see him.
George Holly was shot down off Norway by flak from U- 921 ( Ob.lt. zur See Wolfgang Leu.
George Holly ( flying R/422 DV990) caught U-921 on the surface and attacked. His aircraft was shot down with the loss of all on board - the body of one crew member Claude Senton was washed ashore and he is now buried in Norway.
A 423 Sunderland ( S/423 DW111) piloted by Fl/t. Nesbitt saw a puff of smoke and on going to investigate found 921 and attacked , the commander saw the Sunderland attacking ordered his gun crew down (the 3.7mm having jammed) and as the water flooded over the "turm" he closed the hatch from the exterior , saving his boat and crew but at the cost of his own life.
For his action Wolfgang Leu recieved not a thing - several of his crew were wounded amongest them Rainer Lang his 2nd offcier who commanded the flak which shot George Holly down - Rainer surived the war but lost his friend Wolfgang Leu - who had asked that Rainer to be assigned to his boat.
U-921 put into trontiem for repairs - the wounded went to hospital and in due course a new commander was appointed - U-921 was sunk by a Fleet Air Arm Swordfish on her next patrol , there were no survivors.

On Sumner's left Art Mountford.
Art flew with Sumner before joining Al. Bishops crew .
Art survived being shot down south of Iceland by U-489 in August 1943.
Gentleman at the back right - Sgt Lancaster
 
 
 
The 423 crew that attacked U-921, a few minutes later were all killed when their aircraft crashed in February 1945 - an engine fire following reduction gear failure.

The aircraft crashed in Knocknagor Bog approx. 4 miles North of Irvinestown , the majority of the crew are buried in Irvinestown's two Commonwealth plots.

Sadly,February and March would see the burials of two complete crews from 423 RCAF - Nesbit's crews and that of F/LT Hatton which crashed on the mountains above Donegal Bay overlooking Killybegs Harbour.

Hatton attacked and sank U-297 off Cape Wrath, Scotland, in early December 1944 , it is only in recent years that his crew was given credit for the sinking.

The guncrew of U-821 identified the aircraft shot down as being a Catalina - a type based at Sullon Voe and one often seen by crews in or around these waters, certainly a type they would have been aware of and were alert for.
A check of all squadron records for Squadrons based at Sullom / the surrounding area shows no Catalinas lost or unaccounted for the only aircraft missing was the 422 Sunderland flown by George Holly - when Nesbit flew in on his approach to U-921 they overflew aircraft wreckage which was painted white - that of an Allied aircraft.
 
 
 
Below is a letter written to Mr. James Stewart by Herr Rainer Lang, he was an officer aboard U-921 it is a fascinating account from the perspective of the U-boat. It is also the ONLY account of it's kind found to date on this website.

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Cook and Rosenthal's Crew circa 1943 at Castle Archdale:
 
Back row.
Milligan , McKinley , Kilgour, Irving, Reeves, Macfie, Blades.

Front Row.
Snelus, Rolls , Cook , Rosenthal, Richie.
 
Sgt. Senlus from Wales - he was at Archdale in 1941 with 240 Squadron.
 
 

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A view from wing tip to wing tip of Murray Wetlauffer's Sunderland.

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ORB Enteries for 1944  RCAF 423 Squadron
 
 
 
CLA "Creeping line ahead" - a zig zag pattern of flight.
MTC "Message to control"
MFC "Message from control"
More often than not it was radio silence unless there was something urgent to report - eg a Submarine contact or  to report survivors sighted  etc.
there was a list of codes for these so no lenthy message as required.
 
S.C Set course
W/B Waterborne.

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More ORB Enteries for 1944  RCAF 423 Squadron

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More ORB Enteries for 1944  RCAF 423 Squadron

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More ORB Enteries for 1944  RCAF 423 Squadron

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More ORB Enteries for 1944 RCAF 423 Squadron * Note Attack On U-Boat

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423 armouers
This photo was taken just to the right of the slipway

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Ronnie Woltman , whom Jim Wright (423) described as "an ace navigator"
Woltman had a cousin , who flew with the Luftwaffe and both men kept in touch via an aunt who was in a neutral country.
Some of the crew knew about this and asked Ronnie what they would do if they met him in the air - "we will have to shoot him down" came the reply.

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Mess party thrown for Jack Sumners departure from 423

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Clare Bradley and Peter Frizell on the steps of Castle Archdale
Peter Frizell was to later sink U-675 ( Oblt.zur-See Karl-Heinz Sammler) on 24th may 1944 when instructing with 4 OTU. He was awarded a DFC for his success.

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423 RCAF Officers at Castle Archdale.

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Art Mountford "on the set" Al Bishop's crew.
Flying Officer A.A. Bishop and crew sank U-489 at 61-11N 14-38W. AA fire from the U-boat shot the aircraft down and five of the 11-man crew were lost; the other six, all wounded, were rescued by a destroyer along with 23 survivors of the U-boat.
Art was one of the survivors.

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Perhaps the most fortunate of crews ever to fly from Castle Archdale - Washington's crew from 423.
In one of the final patrols from the base they were tasked to patrol the Irish sea searching for U-Boats yet to surrender.
In bad weather they tore the hull out of their aircraft on a peak in the Mourne Mountains in County Dwon , now this was not just a bump, they tore the hull apart lost floats and God alone knows why they were not all killed .
The pilot knew he was on borrowed time , a crippled aircraft hemorraging fuel , hull torn to bits surfaces damaged control just about impossible in the distance they saw the Isle of Man - landing on water was out so they headed for the Island in the hope of being able to put down.
This they did attempting a once only approach to land on the grass adjacent to the runway on Jurby.
Well they got down but on the concrete , they got out ....just ...before the charges and fuel exploded .
They didn't leave a window intact within five miles , hangers were damaged , control tower windowless and station Co not a happy camper.
No one was killed but lucky was on their side each man used up "8" of his "9 lives" that day.
423's Co flew to Jurby to see the crew and to "make peace" with Jurby's CO , whom be knew.
In Sunderland circles their "landing" is legendery.

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This is Mel Lee's 423 RCAF crew.
They crashed in bad weather on the flare path on 11/11/43 , five of the men in the photograph were drowned.

The aircraft was recovered from the Lough a week later and the body of the navigator was still strapped into his seat.
The flare path was closed and remaining aircraft were diverted to Pembroke Dock.
Mel Lee was not informed of the water conditions prior to his landing and no blame was attached to him, Mel went on to complete his tour with 423 as did his twin brother (Cal) who was also pilot.
Photo.
Back from the left
Win Birch , Scotty Scott, Les Hobbs, Mel Lee ( Unknown , unknown)
Jock Preacher , Grey Arnold, Charlie Hardcastle, Shef Sheffield.
Scott , Hobbs and hardcastle are buired in Irvinestown .
Arnold is "missing"

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Goose Benn RCAF 423

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Bev MacDonald from 423

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Mr. Jim Wright , a flight Sgt. with 423 RCAF

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CLARK, Chester Earl Lloyd 423 RCAF Sqdn

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FIELD, ARTHUR EDGECOMBE P. ENG

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Bottom right Claire Bradley's crew 423 squadron. The other photos are unidentified 423 members. If you can identify any of the men , please contact me.
 
Recentley indentified in the above photos is James Patrick LESLIE (Pat)
Top Left=4th from right,
Top Right=5th from Left,
and lower right=front row, 2nd from left, holding cap.
 
Mr. Leslie always talked fondly of the men he served with, and his love of boats and flying led to a wonderful career later in life with Air Canada.
He built and sailed many boats over his life, and parted with his 42' sailboat just 2 years before his death. This information was provided by his son, Cam Leslie.


 
Special thanks to:
 
 James Stewart     N.Ireland 
Joe O'Loughlin     N.Ireland
    Breege Mc Cusker  N.Ireland 
John Newall         Canada
                               Richard Lebek  Canada ( crew member U-672)
Norman Lebek   Canada
 Roland Berr      Germany
                                Harry Lorkin   U.K. (RAF 226 Squadron)          
     John Rogers          UK            
                                    N.Jack Logan       Canada   (RCAF 422 Squadron)
              Les and Maureen Ingram  Scotland
   Bill Barber            Canada    
  Robert Walsh        N.Ireland  
                         Capt. Jerry Mason USN (ret.)  Canada         
             Blake Wimperis      Canada              
                                   Robert Quirk     Canada                                          
                                    Norm Muffitt          Canada                                      
                         Lt/Col S. Beaton     Canada  (Camp Borden)
       Stephanie Pinder     USA            
    Alec (Johnny) Johnston    N.Z.
                 Stephen Kerr           N.Ireland             
                                   Reg Firby               Canada (RCAF 423 Squadron)
         Maurice Duffill         Australia     
                   John Hartshorn              UK                     
                                  Don Macfie      Canada ( RCAF 422/423 Squadron)
                               Frank Cauley   Canada  ( RCAF 422 Squadron)
                                Harold O'Brien  Canada  ( RCAF 423 Squadron)
                                   James Newall          UK        ( RAF 423 Squadron)
      Ian Meadows                    UK
                     Bill Baker                 Canada               
John Taylor      Canada
            Gordon Burke              Canada
          Carol Whittle                    U.K.

Last Update on Dec 07 , 2010