Galeria do Esquadrão No.120

Galeria do Esquadrão No.120



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Muito obrigado a Peter Claydon por nos enviar estas fotos, que pertenceram ao seu tio, C.W.J. Claydon, que passou grande parte da guerra servindo como oficial médico no Esquadrão No.120 em Ballykelly, Irlanda do Norte.


Cronologia da aviação militar canadense 1939-1947

Um destacamento do Esquadrão No. 1 (F) em Calgary foi para Sea Island para receber os primeiros caças Hawker Hurricane emitidos para substituir os obsoletos Siskins. Em 1º de junho, S / L EG Fullerton transportou o primeiro furacão de Vancouver para a base do esquadrão em Calgary.

Durante a visita de Suas Majestades, o Rei e a Rainha, a RCAF forneceu escoltas aéreas e guardas de honra. Três Stranraers escoltaram o Royal Yacht até St. Lawrence em sua chegada a Quebec, escoltaram os navios da RCN transportando o Royal Party para a Ilha do Príncipe Edward e novamente escoltaram o Royal Yacht em sua partida de Halifax. Em Trenton, cinco Wapiti e três aeronaves Atlas voaram em escolta, e em Vancouver três Stranraers e cinco Hurricanes acompanharam Suas Majestades na viagem de ida e volta para Victoria. Enquanto o Rei e a Rainha residiam em Ottawa, a RCAF forneceu a Guarda da Casa Real.

Os esquadrões da RCAF começaram a se deslocar para os postos de guerra. No .. 3 (B) Squadron & # 8217s Wapitis deixou Calgary a caminho de Halifax, seguido cinco dias depois pelo No. 1 (F) Squadron a caminho de St Hubert. O esquadrão nº 2 (AC) começou a se mover de Trenton para Halifax e daí para Saint John. O Esquadrão No. 8 (GP), após chamar sua aeronave de operações fotográficas destacadas, deixou Ottawa com destino a Sydney.

Na véspera da guerra, a força total da RCAF era de 4.061 oficiais e aviadores (Permanentes & # 8211 298 oficiais, 2.750 aviadores auxiliares & # 8211 112 oficiais, 901 aviadores). Tinha 270 aeronaves de 28 tipos diferentes de & # 8220service & # 8221 tipos incluindo vinte e dois Wapitis, vinte Oxfords, dezenove furacões, treze Atlas, doze Deltas, onze tubarões, dez batalhas, nove Stranraers, cinco Siskins, quatro Norsemen e quatro Vancouvers.

A organização da Força era:

  • Sede e cartório, Ottawa
  • Comando Aéreo Ocidental, Vancouver
  • Comando Aéreo Oriental, Halifax
  • Comando de Treinamento Aéreo, Toronto
  • Vancouver
  • Dartmouth
  • Ottawa (estabelecimento de foto, voo de teste e desenvolvimento, voo de comunicação)
  • Camp Borden (Sede da Ala de Treinamento Intermediário, Esquadrão de Treinamento Intermediário, Escola de Instrução Terrestre Intermediária No. 2 Escola de Treinamento Técnico)
  • Trenton (Quartel General da Ala de Treinamento Avançado, Esquadrão de Treinamento Avançado, Escola de Instrução de Solo Avançada No. 1 Treinamento Técnico, Armamento Aéreo, Treinamento de Equipamento, Navegação Aérea e Hidroavião e Escolas sem fio).
  • Furacão nº 1 (F) e nº 8211 na rota St. Hubert
  • No. 2 (AC) e # 8211 Atlas Saint John, NB
  • No. 3 (B) e # 8211 Wapiti, a caminho de Halifax
  • No. 4 (GR) e # 8211 Vancouver e Stranraer Vancouver
  • No. 5 (GR) e # 8211 Stranraer Dartmouth
  • Nº 6 (TB) e nº 8211 Shark Vancouver
  • No. 7 (GP) & # 8211 Fairchild e Norseman Ottawa
  • Nº 8 (GP) e Nº 8211 Delta Sydney
  • Os esquadrões nºs 9, 10 e 11 também foram autorizados, mas não formados antes de 1º de setembro.
  • Aeronave nº 1, Ottawa
  • No. 2 Equipamento, Winnipeg
  • No. 3 Reparação, Vancouver
  • No. 4 Reparação, Dartmouth
  • No. 5 Equipamentos, Moncton
  • No. 11 (Técnico), Montreal
  • No. 12 (Técnico), Toronto
  • No. 13 (Técnico), Vancouver
  • No. 21 (Revista), Kamloops
  • No. 22 (Revista), Debert

Força Aérea Auxiliar Ativa

  • No. 110 (AC), Toronto
  • No. 111 (CAC), Vancouver
  • No. 112 (AC), Winnipeg
  • No. 113 (F), Calgary
  • No. 114 (B), Londres
  • No. 115 (F), Montreal
  • No. 116 (F), Halifax
  • No. 117 (CAC), São João
  • No. 118 (B), Montreal
  • No. 119 (B), Hamilton
  • No. 120 (B), Regina
  • No. 121 (F), Cidade de Quebec

Cada um dos 12 esquadrões auxiliares tinha um Destacamento de FP. Cinco esquadrões (Nos. 113, 114, 116, 117 e 121) ainda estavam em estágios preliminares de organização e foram dissolvidos após o início das hostilidades.

Antes da declaração de guerra, um progresso considerável foi feito no estabelecimento ou melhoria de bases nas costas do Pacífico e do Atlântico. Um depósito de equipamentos foi aberto em Moncton e uma revista em Debert. O serviço meteorológico do Departamento de Transportes foi estendido à costa leste, e foram feitos planos para um serviço completo para todos os estabelecimentos da Força Aérea. A melhoria do armamento de serviço foi ativamente buscada, uma Diretoria de Armamento foi formada no Quartel General, a Escola de Armamento Aéreo em Trenton foi expandida e o armamento em todas as aeronaves de serviço foi modernizado. Uma Seção de Inteligência também foi organizada.

O treinamento de vôo de serviço para o período de 1 de abril a 31 de agosto totalizou 11.924,15 horas (7.104,20 por unidades permanentes e 4.819,55 por esquadrões auxiliares, incluindo
quinze dias no acampamento anual de verão). Conforme combinado no ano anterior, o treinamento elementar foi realizado em clubes de aviação civil, o treinamento intermediário foi dado em Camp Borden e avançado em Trenton. Para treinar instrutores civis elementares, uma Escola de Instrutores de Vôo & # 8217 foi inaugurada em Camp Borden no início do ano.

As operações aéreas do Governo Civil consistiram em fotografia aérea e levantamento para o Serviço Florestal Dominion e o Bureau de Geologia e Topografia. Um destacamento de três aeronaves foi designado em julho para fazer um reconhecimento detalhado da costa do Labrador. O trabalho foi interrompido, porém, quando a aeronave teve que ser enviada em busca de uma máquina civil perdida em Labrador. Todo o trabalho fotográfico foi suspenso em 25 de agosto. Naquela data, 424,35 horas e # 8217 de vôo foram registrados e 25.100 milhas quadradas fotografadas.

A Alemanha atacou a Polônia. O RCAF foi colocado em serviço ativo.

A Grã-Bretanha e a França declararam guerra à Alemanha.

P / O Selby R Henderson, um canadense no No. 206 Squadron, RAF, foi o navegador líder em uma força de bombardeiros que atacava navios de guerra alemães. Ele então se tornou o primeiro canadense a participar de uma surtida operacional na Segunda Guerra Mundial.

O Canadá declarou guerra à Alemanha.

Por Ordem do Conselho a Reserva Especial RCAF foi criada e colocada em serviço ativo.

A caminho de Megantic, PQ para Sydney, NS para assumir funções durante a guerra, um Delta Mk II de série no. A aeronave de reconhecimento 673 (anteriormente Northrop Gamma) desapareceu. Os destroços da máquina foram localizados em New Brunswick em 1958, dezenove anos após o acidente, mas não havia sinal de sua tripulação, FS JE Doan e LAC DA Rennie. (O Sr. Joseph Nelles escreveu uma história de duas páginas intitulada & # 8220First Lost & # 8230Last Found & # 8221 publicada na revista Airforce Volume 19, No 4, pp 3-4, & # 8211 Janeiro 1996 & # 8211 que conta a história completa de Canadá & # 8217s primeiras baixas da Segunda Guerra Mundial. Se você quiser uma cópia da história, escreva para o diretor em airforce.ca por e-mail).

A Diretoria da Força Aérea Manning foi formada no Quartel-General para dirigir a rápida expansão da Força e 20 centros de recrutamento foram abertos em todo o Domínio. Ao final do exercício (31 de março de 1940), foram recebidos 102.777 pedidos.

RCAF Manning Pool (posteriormente No. 1 Manning Depot) foi formada em Toronto.

S / L William Isaac Clements, anexado ao Esquadrão No. 53 (Blenheim), RAF, fez um reconhecimento noturno de longa distância de Metz, França, para a área de Hamm-Hanover na Alemanha & # 8211 o primeiro membro do RCAF a sobrevoar território inimigo.

Foi autorizada a constituição da Divisão de Organização e Treinamento na Sede, para a execução do plano de treinamento proposto. (O quartel-general agora constituía quatro Divisões & # 8211 Estado-Maior da Aeronáutica, Pessoal, Engenharia Aeronáutica e Suprimento e Organização e Treinamento & # 8211 cada uma sob um Membro Aéreo. Os novos títulos de & # 8220 Membro Aéreo & # 8221 foram apresentados em 21 de outubro).

Os governos do Reino Unido, Canadá, Austrália e Nova Zelândia assinaram, em Ottawa, um acordo para a implantação de um Plano de Treinamento Aéreo da Comunidade Britânica organizado e administrado pela RCAF (em representação do Governo Canadense). O plano inicial propunha o estabelecimento de três escolas de treinamento inicial, treze escolas de treinamento de vôo elementar, dezesseis escolas de treinamento de vôo de serviço, dez escolas de observação aérea, dez escolas de bombardeio e artilharia, duas escolas de navegação aérea e quatro escolas sem fio, além das escolas auxiliares necessárias e depósitos, um total de 74 unidades ao todo.

O treinamento deveria começar em 29 de abril de 1940 e todas as escolas deveriam estar em operação em 30 de abril de 1942. Quando totalmente desenvolvido, o Plano era para produzir 520 pilotos com treinamento elementar, 544 pilotos com treinamento de serviço, 340 observadores e 580 operadores de artilharia sem fio a cada quatro semanas.

A força do RCAF_ no final do ano totalizou 8.287 oficiais e aviadores, um aumento de mais de 100 por cento em quatro meses. Havia 280 oficiais permanentes, 195 auxiliares e 454 oficiais da reserva especial e 7.358 aviadores.

A força operacional era de quatorze esquadrões, todos estacionados no Canadá: No. 1 (F) Dartmouth, No. 4 (BR) Vancouver, No. 5 (BR) Dartmouth, No. 6 (BR) Vancouver, No. 8 (BR) North Sydney, No. 10 (BR), formado a partir do No. 3 em 5 de setembro, Halifax, No. 11 (BR) Dartmouth, No. 110 (AC) Ottawa, No. 111 (CAC) Vancouver, No. 112 (AC ) Ottawa, No. 115 (F) St. Hubert, No. 118 (B) Dartmouth, No. 119 (B) Hamilton e
No. 120 (BR) Vancouver.

A Sede Overseas da RCAF, Londres, Inglaterra, foi formada sob o comando de W / C FV Heakes, que havia sido oficial de ligação da RCAF. Em 7 de março, G / C MV Walsh, MBE, assumiu o comando.

O London Gazette anunciou que P / O SR Henderson e W / C JF Griffiths, dois canadenses da RAF, haviam recebido a Distinguished Flying Cross por operações aéreas contra o inimigo, os primeiros canadenses a serem condecorados durante a guerra. O prêmio P / O Henderson & # 8217s foi para o ataque a barcos voadores alemães em 8 de novembro de 1939. W / C Griffiths foi condecorado por ataques a navios de guerra alemães em 14 de dezembro de 1939.

O esquadrão nº 110 (AC), acrescido de pessoal do esquadrão nº 2 (AC), partiu de Halifax, sob o comando do S / L WB Van Vliet. Desembarcou em Liverpool em 25 de fevereiro, o primeiro de 48 esquadrões da RCAF que serviram no exterior durante a guerra.

A Wireless School pré-guerra foi transferida de Trenton para Montreal e renomeada como No. 1 Wireless School, a primeira de quatro escolas operadas dentro do BCATP.

No ano fiscal, de 1º de abril de 1939 a 31 de março de 1940, o RCAF voou 69.472,50 horas, incluindo 5.022,10 horas em operações de serviço e 60.316,30 horas em treinamento em clubes de aviação civil, escolas de serviço e unidades. O saldo (4.134,10 horas) abrangeu testes, transferência de aeronaves, transporte, operações do Governo Civil (antes de 25 de agosto de 1939), cooperação com a Milícia e tarefas diversas.

Para implementar o BCATP quatro Comandos de Treinamento foram organizados. O Comando de Treinamento Aéreo (Toronto) foi re-designado No. 1 TC em 1o de janeiro. No. 2 TC formado em Winnipeg em 15 de abril, No. 3 TC em Montreal em 18 de março e No. 4 TC em Regina em 29 de abril.

A No. 1 Initial Training School foi oficialmente inaugurada no Eglinton Hunt Club, Toronto, absorvendo a Ground Training School anteriormente localizada em Trenton. A primeira admissão de estagiários do BCATP, 164 AC2s, chegou em 29 de abril.

A No. 1 Air Navigation School foi formada em Trenton, oferecendo treinamento especializado neste campo para alunos do BCATP.

Um grupo avançado do Esquadrão No. 112 (AC) da Cidade de Winnipeg partiu de Montreal e desembarcou em Liverpool oito dias depois.

Hon CG Power, KC, MC, foi nomeado Ministro da Defesa Aérea Nacional.

Em 23 de maio, S / L FM Gobeil, um oficial de câmbio da RCAF que comandava o Esquadrão No. 242 (canadense) da RAF, enfrentou um Bf.109 perto de Berek, França. Dois dias depois, esse oficial, em outro combate perto de Menin, na Bélgica, abateu um Me. 110

A No. 1 Air Observer School foi oficialmente inaugurada em Malton com a primeira entrada de estagiários do BCATP. Todos os AOSs foram operados por empresas civis sob a supervisão da RCAF.

Esquadrão nº 1 (F), acrescido de pessoal do Esquadrão nº 115 (F), sob o comando do S / L EA McNab, e o partido de retaguarda do Esquadrão nº 112 (AC), comandado pelo S / L WF Hanna , partiu de Halifax e chegou a Liverpool em 20 de junho.

O esquadrão nº 10 (BR) em Dartmouth enviou um destacamento de cinco Douglas Digbys, sob o comando de S / L HM Carscallen, para operar a partir do aeroporto de Newfoundland
(Ganso).

Um Conselho da Aeronáutica foi constituído para assessorar o Ministro da Defesa Nacional da Aeronáutica.

As primeiras quatro Escolas de Treinamento de Voo Elementar (No. 1 em Malton, No. 2 em Fort William, No. 3 em Londres e No. 4 em Windsor Mills, PQ) foram oficialmente
abriu com entradas de 24 alunos-pilotos do BCATP. Os EFTSs eram operados principalmente por empresas civis com equipes de supervisão da RCAF. Uma exceção foi o EFTS em Cap de la Madeleine, operado pela Quebec Airways.

O estandarte RCAF foi aprovado por HM the King. Foi adaptado da bandeira RAF com a substituição de uma folha de bordo vermelha para o círculo vermelho no centro do roundel.

A primeira entrada de alunos do BCATP para treinamento de vôo de serviço reportou-se à Escola de treinamento de vôo de serviço nº 1 em Camp Borden. A escola foi formada no início do ano a partir das unidades de treinamento que operam lá.

S / L EA McNab, enquanto voava com o No. 111 Squadron, RAF, destruiu um Do. 215 e conquistou a primeira vitória do RCAF & # 8217 na Batalha da Grã-Bretanha.

O Esquadrão No. 1 (F) (posteriormente No. 401) tornou-se operacional em sua aeronave Hurricane e começou a patrulhar e escalar sua base em Northolt.

A No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School foi formada em Jarvis, Ontário, a primeira de onze dessas escolas formadas dentro do BCATP para treinar atiradores e atiradores de ar para a RCAF e as Forças Aéreas da Commonwealth.

Por ordem do Conselho, a Junta Conjunta Permanente de Defesa foi formada para coordenar as atividades canadenses e americanas relacionadas com a defesa da América do Norte. Composto por civis e pessoal de todos os serviços dos dois países, o Conselho realizou sua primeira reunião em 26 de agosto. Muitas de suas reuniões subsequentes trataram de assuntos da Força Aérea, incluindo a Rota de Preparação do Noroeste, operações anti-submarinas e suprimentos de aeronaves. O primeiro representante da RCAF no Conselho foi o A / C Albert Abraham Lawson Cuffe (foto acima). Para saber mais sobre o Air Commodore Cuffe, consulte este link aqui.

Interceptando um ataque de 25 ou 30 bombardeiros Dornier, o Esquadrão No. 1 destruiu três e danificou quatro. F / 0 RL Edwards foi morto no confronto & # 8211 a primeira baixa em batalha do RCAF & # 8217. O número 1 permaneceu na Batalha da Grã-Bretanha até 9 de outubro, quando foi retirado para descansar. No período de 53 dias, de 17 de agosto a 9 de outubro, foi creditado a destruição de 30 aeronaves inimigas e danos a 43 outras. Três pilotos morreram em combate e dez ficaram feridos ou feridos.

S / L EA McNab, comandante do Esquadrão No. 1 (F), foi premiado com a Distinguished Flying Cross por seus serviços na Batalha da Bretanha. Três dias depois, F / L Gordon Roy McGregor (foto) e F / O BD Russel do mesmo esquadrão também receberam o DFC. (Para saber mais sobre McGregor, visite este link, aqui).

Treinamento e Abastecimento foram separados da AMOT e AMAES, respectivamente, e se tornaram divisões separadas sob os Membros da Força Aérea. Uma Ordem do Conselho autorizou a formação da Liga de Cadetes Aéreos do Canadá, uma organização civil para treinar meninos de 12 a 18 anos de idade para um possível alistamento futuro na RCAF.

O primeiro recrutamento de graduados do BCATP, 12 oficiais e 25 sargentos observadores, chegou a Liverpool. O curso de 37 graduou-se na Escola de Navegação Aérea No. 1 em Trenton em 24 de outubro.

Havia três esquadrões RCAF no exterior: No. 1 (F), No. 110 (AC) e No. 2 (F) que acabavam de ser formados a partir do Esquadrão No. 112 (AC). Em casa havia onze esquadrões: em EAC & # 8211 Nos. 5, 10 e 11 (BR) em Darmouth, No. 8 (BR) em North Sydney e No. 119 (BR) em Yarmouth em WAC & # 8211 No. 4 (BR) em Ucluelet, No. 6 (BR) em Coal Harbour, e No. 111 (F), 120 (BR) e 13 (Treinamento Operacional) em Patricia Bay No. 12 (Comunicação) Squadron estava estacionado em Rockcliffe.

Artigo 15 do Acordo de 17 de dezembro de 1939, desde que & # 8220 alunos do Canadá, Austrália e Nova Zelândia devem, após o treinamento ser concluído, ser identificados com seus respectivos Domínios, seja pelo método de organização de unidades e formações de Domínio ou em alguns outra forma. & # 8221 Pelo acordo Sinclair-Ralston suplementar assinado em Londres em 7 de janeiro de 1941, foi acertado que 25 esquadrões RCAF seriam formados no Reino Unido nos próximos 18 meses (excluindo os três originais enviados do Canadá )

Para evitar confusão com as unidades da RAF, os esquadrões da RCAF no exterior foram renumerados na série 400. Assim, o No. 110 se tornou o No. 400 No. 1 passou a ser o No. 401, e o No. 112, que havia sido reorganizado como No. 2 (F) Squadron, tornou-se o No. 402. Na mesma data, o No. 402 foi aprovado como operacional, o segundo esquadrão de caça da RCAF a entrar em ação no exterior. O Esquadrão No. 403 (F), a primeira das unidades do & # 8220Artigo 15 & # 8221, foi formado em Baginton, Inglaterra. Foi seguido por mais 17 nos próximos dez meses, sendo estes:

  • No. 404 (Coastal Fighter) 15 de abril
  • No. 405 (Bomber) 23 de abril
  • No. 407 (Coastal) 8 de maio
  • No. 406 (Night Fighter) 10 de maio
  • No. 411 (Fighter) 16 de junho
  • No. 409 (Night Fighter) 17 de junho
  • No. 408 (Bomber) 24 de junho
  • No. 410 (Night Fighter) 30 de junho
  • No. 412 (Fighter) 30 de junho
  • No. 413 (Costeira) 1 de julho
  • No. 414 (Cooperação do Exército) 12 de agosto
  • No. 415 (Costeira) 20 de agosto
  • No. 418 (Intruder) 15 de novembro
  • No. 416 (Fighter) 18 de novembro
  • No. 417 (Fighter) 27 de novembro
  • No. 419 (Bomber) 7 de dezembro
  • No. 420 (Bomber) 19 de dezembro

Destes, os n.º 403 a 413 inclusive iniciaram as operações no final do ano.

O esquadrão nº 10 (BR), que tinha vôo em Gander desde junho de 1940, mudou-se para o aeroporto de Newfoundland.

Doze pilotos do Esquadrão No. 402, liderados por W / C GR McGregor, DFC, participaram de uma patrulha ofensiva sobre o setor de Boulogne, na costa francesa. Esta foi a primeira operação ofensiva realizada por uma unidade da RCAF sobre o território controlado pelo inimigo.

O treinamento operacional no Canadá começou com a abertura da Unidade de Treinamento Operacional nº 31 em Debert, NS. Equipada com aeronaves Hudson e Bolingbroke, a unidade foi a primeira de dez OTUs a ser localizada no Canadá sob o controle da RAF e RCAF.

Três bombardeiros Vickers Wellington do Esquadrão No. 405 realizaram o primeiro ataque do RCAF & # 8217s contra a Alemanha, bombardeando os pátios de carga em Schwerte, a sudeste de Dortmund, com um total de 9.000 libras de explosivos e 2.160 libras de incendiários para as três aeronaves.

A formação de uma Força Aérea Auxiliar Feminina Canadense foi autorizada por Ordem do Conselho, para recrutar mulheres para treinamento em vários ofícios terrestres, de modo que os homens pudessem ser liberados para tarefas de combate. Ao final da guerra, havia 17.038 mulheres matriculadas, das quais mais de 1.500 prestaram serviço no exterior. A primeira oficial feminina foi Kathleen Walker, nomeada oficial de voo, 2 de julho a primeira mulher aérea foi Jane Bennett.

PL-6819 23 de fevereiro de 1942
Sgt. Joseph Laurent Guillaume Robillard (DFC)

Enquanto voava em um Spitfire com o No. 145 Squadron (RAF) FS JGL, Robillard foi abatido sobre a França. Fazendo contato com civis franceses, ele evitou ser capturado e chegou a Gibraltar no final de outubro. Ele posteriormente retornou às funções operacionais. FS Robillard foi o primeiro aviador do RCAF a se tornar um piloto de sucesso & # 8220evader & # 8221. (Saiba mais aqui neste link).

Um Catalina do Esquadrão No. 116, capitaneado pelo F / L NE Small, atacou um submarino, mas as bombas não explodiram.

F / O RC Fumerton e o Sgt LPS Bing, pilotando um Beaufighter do Esquadrão No. 406, ganharam a vitória da RCAF & # 8217s na primeira noite de caça destruindo um Ju. 88 sobre Bedlington, Northumberland.

A formação de Esquadrões de Treinamento Aéreo Universitários foi proposta e aprovada.

O Manning Depot para o pessoal feminino foi inaugurado no Havegal College, em Toronto, com 150 aeromoças fazendo cursos administrativos. O depósito foi redesignado posteriormente como Depósito de Manning No. 6.

Apesar dos ferimentos graves, que se revelaram fatais, LAC KM Gravell, um operador de artilheiro sem fio em treinamento na Escola No. 2 Wireless, Calgary, galantemente
se esforçou para resgatar seu piloto dos destroços em chamas de sua aeronave Tiger Moth acidentada. Sua bravura e auto-sacrifício foram reconhecidos pelo prêmio póstumo da Cruz George.

O Canadá declarou guerra ao Japão e medidas imediatas foram tomadas para fortalecer nossas defesas do Pacífico. A formação de novos esquadrões foi instituída e outros foram transferidos do EAC para o WAC.

O Esquadrão No. 404 (Blenheim) ajudou a fornecer cobertura de caça de longo alcance para as forças de Comando que atacavam as posições inimigas em Vaagso (Noruega).

Havia 21 esquadrões da RCAF no Reino Unido e 16 em casa. Dos esquadrões ultramarinos, 14 estavam operacionais (cinco caças, três caças noturnos, um exército de cooperação, dois bombardeiros e três costeiros). Na EAC havia os nºs 5 (BR), 11 (BR), 116 (BR), (formada em 28 de junho) e 118 (F) em Dartmouth, nº 8 (BR) em North Sydney, nº 119 (BR) em Yarmouth, e No. 10 (BR) em Gander, Nfld. No WAC nº 13 (treinamento operacional), 111 (F) e 115 (F), (formado em 1º de agosto) estavam em Patricia Bay nº 4 (BR) estava em Ucluelet, nº 6 (BR) em Alliford Bay, No. 120 (BR) em Coal Harbour, No. 7 (BR), (formado em 8 de dezembro) em Prince Rupert, e No. 9 (BR), (formado em 8 de dezembro) em Bella Bella. O esquadrão 12 (Com) ainda estava em Rockcliffe.

Membros treinados do CWAAF começaram a se reportar às unidades no Canadá. A nº 2 do SFTS, Uplands, foi a primeira estação a receber esse pessoal, inicialmente destacado para as estações do BCATP.

A Força Aérea Auxiliar das Mulheres Canadenses e # 8217s foi renomeada como Força Aérea Real Canadense (Divisão Feminina e # 8217s).

Os Scharnhorst, Gneisenau e Prinz Eugen escaparam de Brest, onde foram frequentemente atacados por unidades da RCAF do Comando de Bombardeiros, e fugiram pelo Canal e pelo Estreito de Dover sob ataque de aeronaves da Fleet Air Arm and Coastal, Bomber and Fighter Comandos da RAF. Nove esquadrões canadenses (quatro bombardeiros, quatro caças e um costeiro) participaram da ação do dia & # 8217s, sete aeronaves foram perdidas e três caças inimigos foram destruídos e três danificados.


Conteúdo

O AH-64D Apache Longbows do esquadrão, armado com sua carga útil variada de mísseis AGM-114 Hellfire, foguetes Hydra 70 e um único 30 mm M230 Chain Gun, pode ser convocado para apoiar o SAF em qualquer operação que o requeira. Também foram tomadas providências para integrar os helicópteros à rede de Comando e Controle Integrado da SAF, um conceito semelhante à doutrina de guerra centrada em rede do Departamento de Defesa dos Estados Unidos. Este sistema de gerenciamento de combate desenvolvido localmente integra todos os sensores e sistemas de armas a bordo, aumenta a consciência do espaço de batalha e permite pouco tempo para o inimigo reagir devido aos curtos loops sensor-to-shooter, uma vez que efetivamente compartilha informações entre seus homólogos do exército e da marinha.

Quando os britânicos decidiram em 1967 retirar suas forças do Extremo Oriente, Cingapura viu a necessidade de construir suas próprias forças armadas. O Comando de Defesa Aérea de Singapura (SADC) foi formado como parte da configuração inicial. O Esquadrão Alouette, estabelecido em setembro de 1969, lançou assim as bases para a força de helicópteros da RSAF. [2]

Edição do Esquadrão Alouette

O Esquadrão Alouette foi inicialmente baseado no Aeródromo Seletar, ocupando o hangar da Lockheed (agora ST Aerospace). Em janeiro de 1971, o Esquadrão tornou-se a primeira unidade da SADC a ser implantada no exterior, quando quatro de suas aeronaves participaram da operação de alívio de inundação de Kuantan na Malásia. Pouco depois, o Esquadrão Alouette ganhou status operacional tornando-se a primeira unidade operacional da SADC. Transferido para a Base Aérea de Changi logo após o Dia de Ano Novo de 1972, as principais funções do Esquadrão incluíam busca e resgate, reconhecimento aéreo, segurança interna, rapel, transporte de tropas e apoio logístico.

Nova Edição de Designação

Em 16 de dezembro de 1973, a designação do esquadrão foi alterada para 120 Esquadrão (120 SQN). O esquadrão continuou a operar os Alouette IIIs até 1977, quando as aeronaves não eram mais capazes de atender às crescentes necessidades da SAF. Em 1977, três Bell 212s e dezessete UH-1Hs foram adquiridos, e os helicópteros se juntaram ao esquadrão em fevereiro e agosto, respectivamente. [2]

O 120 SQN iniciou o primeiro destacamento permanente da RSAF no exterior em setembro de 1978, quando três UH-1Hs foram implantados em Brunei pela primeira vez. Seu papel era principalmente apoiar o treinamento da SAF na selva realizado ali.

Com a tarefa de busca e resgate aerotransportado ao redor de Cingapura e partes do Mar da China Meridional, os Bell 212s operaram de 1977 a 1985, quando os helicópteros Super Puma do Esquadrão 125 assumiram o serviço.

Em 1983, o esquadrão foi realocado pela última vez e se estabeleceu na Base Aérea de Sembawang quando os helicópteros deixaram Changi e se estabeleceram no acampamento Kangaw. Kangaw foi então usado como base de artilharia, embora tenha sido anteriormente um campo de aviação britânico - RAF Sembawang ou mais conhecido como HMS Simbang. Quando a artilharia de Cingapura mudou para o acampamento de Khatib em 1983, o acampamento de Kangaw foi entregue à RSAF e renomeado como Base aérea de Sembawang (SBAB). Desde então, o SBAB se tornou o ponto focal das operações de helicópteros e uma das cinco formações da RSAF. [2]

Edição de implantações notáveis

Na década de 1980, três eventos dramáticos colocaram 120 SQN nas manchetes. Em outubro de 1980, o esquadrão estrelou um drama de resgate em um arranha-céu na inacabada Raffles Tower em Battery Road. Um Bell 212 foi enviado para resgatar um operador de guindaste do telhado do prédio depois que um incêndio no 18º andar o prendeu. [2]

Então, em janeiro de 1983, três pessoas tiveram que ser içadas para um local seguro do Teleférico de Cingapura por um Bell 212 depois que um navio-sonda acidentalmente colidiu e cortou os cabos das águas do World Trade Center, Cingapura. [3]

A terceira ocasião foi o desastre do Hotel New World em março de 1986. Depois que o hotel desabou, 120 SQN implantaram três UH-1Hs no local do desastre para fornecer evacuação de vítimas 24 horas por dia. [2]

Editar outros reconhecimentos

Em outubro de 2002, 120 SQN desdobraram um destacamento de quatro UH-1H para Timor Leste em apoio à missão de manutenção da paz da ONU lá. [4]

Também entre suas conquistas, o 120 SQN venceu vários campeonatos de helicópteros da ASEAN e vem conquistando o melhor suporte tático SQN nos anos 88/89, 91/92, 94/95, 95/96 e 99/00.

  1. 8 × SA316B Alouette III (1968-1978, posteriormente transferido para a Força Aérea Real da Malásia)
  2. 3 × Bell 212 (1978-1985, posteriormente vendido para a Força Aérea do Sri Lanka)
  3. 24 × UH-1H (1978–2005) 17 × UH-1H entregue em 1978 com outro 2 × UH-1D (posteriormente modernizado para o padrão UH-1H) e 5 × UH-1H fornecido em 1984. Em 2003, 7 fuselagens foram modernizadas e vendidas para as Filipinas Força Aérea em um negócio de US $ 12 milhões.
  4. 20 × AH-64D (2006-presente) [1]

O antigo remendo de ombro 120 sqn com o Skylark (Alouette em francês) como peça central.

Primeiro helicóptero RSAF em serviço - o Aérospatiale Alouette III (fora de serviço em 1978) com rodelas de estilo RAF de 1ª geração.

Exibição estática do RSAF AH-64D Longbow Apache durante a visitação pública.

Dois dos 120 Sqn's AH-64D Apaches escoltando um helicóptero 127 Sqn's CH-47SD Chinook durante o ensaio para o NDP 2006.


Inaugurado o memorial do aeródromo de Ballykelly

CURADOR e guardião do Shackleton and Aviation Museum Norman Thorpe revelou um memorial permanente para o papel instrumental que a base aérea de Ballykelly desempenhou na Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Após anos de campanha de Norman, junto com Kenneth Bannerman, o Diretor Geral da ABCT revelou uma nova pedra memorial na Igreja Paroquial de Tamlaghfinlagan, lembrando a presença da RAF na vila de 1941 a 1971.

O Sr. Thorpe gostaria de agradecer a Claire Sugden MLA, Kenneth Bannerman Diretor Geral dos Aeródromos da Grã-Bretanha Conservation Trust, Ellen Harper Head Girl Ballykelly Integrated Primary School e Caileam Gallagher Head Boy da Ballykelly Integrated Primary School dando seu tempo para apoiar o Memorial da RAF revelado na Igreja Paroquial de Tamlaghfinlagan .

A base aérea de Ballykelly foi construída como um satélite para a vizinha Limavady, com inauguração em 1º de junho de 1941.

Como a construção das três pistas e edifícios de apoio não foram concluídos, o campo de aviação estava inicialmente silencioso até que um destacamento de caças noturnos de Ballyhalbert chegou no outono.

A Coastal Command Development Unit (CCDU) ​​seguiu em dezembro de 1941 e voou de vários tipos até se mudar para Tain em junho de 1942.

As Fortalezas Boeing do Esquadrão Nº 220 e os Libertadores Consolidados do Esquadrão Nº 120 realizaram surtidas de patrulha marítima do verão de 1942 até o início de 1943, quando foram transferidos para Aldergrove.

Vários esquadrões do Fleet Air Arm passaram curtos períodos em Ballykelly durante o desembarque, principalmente envolvendo unidades Fairey Swordfish. Os esquadrões nº 59 e 86 chegaram de Aldergrove em setembro de 1943 por dois anos e seis meses, respectivamente, e o esquadrão nº 120 voltou na primavera de 1944 até ser dissolvido em junho de 1945.

A Escola Conjunta Anti-Submarino (JASS) foi formada em novembro de 1945 e permaneceu até o início da década de 1970 para táticas anti-submarino.

Os Shackletons estavam baseados em Ballykelly durante este período de 1952, com o Esquadrão Nº 204 em residência entre 1954 quando foi reformado e 1971.

Nos 203, 240 e 269 tornaram-se outras unidades Shackleton que passaram períodos significativos neste campo de aviação movimentado, que foi remodelado bastante durante o início dos anos 1950.

Vários esquadrões do Fleet Air Arm também se juntaram de tempos em tempos, mas Ballykelly começou a desacelerar no sentido de voar no final da década seguinte.

A última unidade a partir foi o No 204 Squadron na primavera de 1971 e o campo de aviação foi fechado no início de junho daquele ano.

Tornando-se o quartel Shackleton nas mãos do Exército naquele mês, o local foi usado como tal até 2008.

Uma parte significativa do local do aeródromo permanece, incluindo as três pistas, uma das quais cruzou de forma incomum uma linha ferroviária.

Alguns edifícios também sobreviveram, incluindo um hangar cantilever do pós-guerra especialmente criado na década de 1960 para os Shackletons que se tornou um dos maiores do Reino Unido e a torre de controle.

O local agora pertence ou é administrado pelo MJM Group - adquiriu o aeródromo de 2016, o Shackleton and Aviation Museum e a Tamlaghtfinlagan Church of Ireland Ballykelly.


Relembrando Don O & # 39Hearne

Foi um grande dia para as crianças da turma da escola de Donald O’Hearne em Edmonton: eles estavam tendo a chance de ver alguns desses filmes da moda, tirados em sua própria cidade.

O assunto era aeronave no aeródromo local - e ali, em meio aos intrépidos aviadores, estava o rosto do próprio colega Donald, numa época em que ele deveria estar na escola.

Don nasceu em Edmonton em 1916, o mais velho de quatro filhos. “Acho que sempre me interessei por aviões, desde modelos de construção movidos por elásticos a jatos.”

Seu pai serviu no 202º Batalhão da Força Expedicionária Canadense com um jovem chamado Wilfred “Wop” May, que mais tarde se juntou ao Royal Flying Corps, sobreviveu a um ataque do “Barão Vermelho” e passou a fazer muitos tipos de história da aviação em Canadá.

Don tem idade suficiente para se lembrar de ter visto Curtiss Jenny, construída no Canadá, "Cidade de Edmonton" pendurada nas vigas dos "celeiros" da capital Albert. Quando Don adoeceu na primavera de 1927, um amigo trouxe para ele um rádio de cristal com o qual Don acompanhou o progresso do vôo épico de Charles Lindbergh através do Atlântico. Ele ainda tem um livro de aviação que seus pais lhe trouxeram naquela época. He found his way out to Cooking Lake, the floatplane base near Edmonton, where he saw Bellancas and Fokkers. Much nearer was Blatchford Field (now the Edmonton City Centre Airport), where he had his “butt kicked” by pioneering bush pilot Matt Berry for hanging around when he should have been in school -- hence the film incident mentioned above.

Of course, Edmonton was not immune to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Don’s father lost his job and moved to take another in Saskatoon.

Don was enrolled in 1931 in The Bridge City’s King Edward School, where another of the students was a lad named Ray Crone -- by coincidence, another buff of Canada’s aviation history.

Sadly, the second job of Don’s father disappeared, too, so the age of 16 saw Don out working to support his family. He was a delivery boy and also worked in an abattoir, then a meat market. He eventually joined the local militia (army reserve) unit, the Saskatoon Light Infantry, where the attractions included pay of 75 cents for each day training. When he became aware that the RCAF had a new auxiliary (reserve) unit at Regina, No. 120 Squadron, he wangled a transfer to it -- even though he was too far away to join other members for their weekly training sessions. He also joined the Saskatoon Flying Club, taking flying lessons under Dave Dyck and even parachuting lessons under George Bennett, who offered not only instructions, but three jumps, for $10 Don still has the crest he received for completing the course.

“As far as the parachuting goes, they [the students] were scared -- but you couldn’t back out because the others were all doing it!” he chuckled. “You HAD to go along. They said. ‘You’ll get used to it, but after the third jump, it was still pretty scary!”

Some of the other members of the Saskatoon Flying Club joined Britain’s prewar Royal Air Force, which even then was building up its strength for the looming war in Europe. When it finally arrived in the late summer of 1939, members of the SLI and No. 120 Squadron were told to report for duty. Don’s membership in these units now became important, for he was considered to be an experienced recruit.

Don, as a new member of the RCAF, soon found himself at what became the air force’s manning depot at Toronto, in the “showplace for animals” at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds.

For such an early intake of men, preparations were crude. Food was poor and “there were literally hundreds of beds, but very little else,” he recalled. Soon, though, he was transferred to the RCAF Station at Camp Borden, then to the RCAF’s new technical training school at St. Thomas, Ont. He was to train as an instructor in airframe mechanics.

St. Thomas was one of those little-known, but vital, military training facilities that made an impression on all those who passed through it. “Anyone who’s ever been there will never forget it,” he said. “We were in a former mental home -- the windows still had bars on them!”

It was also huge: 25 buildings over 487 acres -- big enough that it took 10 minutes to walk across above ground and much longer in the underground tunnel system. “Honestly, you really didn’t know where you were,” he said. “We got smart after a while and stayed out of them.”

As a future instructor, Don got pretty good treatment at St. Thomas. The quarters were “elegant” and there were extra meals and passes. “Quite a change from Toronto!” There was also considerable flexibility in passes, which explains how he was able to use a three-day leave to take a train back to Saskatoon, marry his girlfriend Frances and get back. It actually took more than three days to do all this, but strings were pulled in the right places.

Before he could instruct, Don needed some practical experience, so he was assigned as a crewman to the RCAF’s No. 4 (Bomber Reconnaissance) Squadron at Uculet, B.C., located on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. It flew Blackburn Sharks, a couple of Northrop Deltas and several examples of magnificent old Stranraer flying boats, a huge biplane with two 875 Bristol Pegasus radial engines and an 85-foot wingspan. So many wires braced it that, “you could hear it coming for miles, screaming because of the wire,” he said.

On Don’s first shift on guard duty aboard a moored flying boat, he fell asleep. What woke him up was the sound of a small boat bringing a junior officer out. “The office cautioned me -- and didn’t do anything!”

The Stranraer was not amphibious, but a true flying boat. Beaching it -- pulling it onto shore -- meant attaching heavy beaching gear to the fuselage, which in turn required two swimmers and one more airman to guide the process. “It was very tricky with a running sea,” Don remembered. “You had to be a very good swimmer.”

The Blackburn Shark, a large single-engine biplane used for coastal patrol, was easier just a large dolly was used.

The work that these aircraft did was of patrolling “and checking on fishing boats -- time-consuming and monotonous with the continuous watching.”

“We never did see very much and I don’t know what we would have done if anyone had taken a shot at us,” he added. “One of the other crews claimed they did see a sub . we had to believe them, although it wasn’t confirmed.”

Don’s next postings was the brand new RCAF station at Coal Harbour, B.C., on the northern tip of the Queen Charlotte Islands near the site of the present-day CFS Holberg electronic eavesdropping post. Coal Harbour was on a coastal inlet about 12 miles inland from Port Hardy. “It was isolated as hell,” Don said.

“Almost nothing there, just seagulls and bears.” Getting there meant sailing to Port Hardy, then driving (or more likely walking) along the logging road to the station, which, “didn’t look that good at night -- and in the morning, it didn’t look any better.”

It was cold and muddy, with wooden “duck walks” connecting buildings. Two Stranraers sat on the inlet. Duties, initially, were mainly guard duty (“with Lewis guns -- with no ammunition”) plus “a lot of foot drill and exercise and not much else. Coal Harbour consisted of a house, a store and not much else . we really didn’t know why we were there, because nothing was ready.”

Power came from two Caterpillar tractor generators and heat from two boilers. Thus, one duty was shoveling coal and another was working in the station’s kitchen. “Every now and then, there’d be a [RCAF] Delta or Goose. We were glad when the navy came in because they had a lot of booze on board!”

Because wives and families were expected, some of the airmen decided to build a “condo” for them. They secured the services of a bulldozer and its operator and some of the construction workers on the station helped, too. Doors and windows were a problem, but the big day came when a squadron leader came to see their work. His suggestion: “To turn the plywood around so that the “GOVERNMENT” stamp couldn’t be seen!”

Finally, with Christmas 1940 approaching, an expedition was mounted to find suitable trees. Don remembers trekking through the area around the base and eventually finding a fine specimen that was cut and brought back to the apartments. Decorated, it was proudly shown to the owner of the local store and his wife they mildly commented that they’d had an identical tree growing in their backyard -- until somebody had recently cut it down!

Was there a sense of foreboding about a war with Japan during 1940 and 1941? ”I can’t honestly answer that question because we didn’t give it that much thought. We knew we were there for a reason. But as far as anything happening, I’d have to be honest and say that we didn’t really think about it.”

Don and his new wife, Frances, had left the West Coast and were at the BCATP station at Fort MacLeod, Alberta, when history intervened.

“’Where’s Pearl Harbour?” ela disse.

“I said, ‘I don’t know where the hell Pearl Harbour is. “

“Something happened there,” Frances continued. “The Japanese bombed it.”

“Well,” said Don, “Then we were glued to the radio.”

Even bases quiet inland stations like Fort MacLeod were put on alert, though, “we were sitting there, at Fort MacLeod, with just a bunch of Ansons.”

When the Japanese rampaged throughout the Pacific and even shelled the lighthouse at Estevan Point on Vancouver Island, “we knew damned well that something was happening -- though we didn’t give it that much thought.”

But by the spring 1945, Western Canada was under actual attack. That spring saw him seconded to No. 11 SFTS at Yorkton, to which the RCAF’s 135 (Fighter) Squadron had sent three Hurricane fighters and their pilots to search for, and hopefully, shoot down Japanese balloon bombs that were then being launched over western Canada. The detachment had only about a dozen airmen, but “we used to pride ourselves on the time that we could get them off the ground. There were times when it took an hour there were other times when it took 10 minutes. It depended on when we got the call. They (whoever spotted the balloon) had to telephone and we’d have to find the pilots.”

The men operated from a “blister” or a small room on the side of one of the hangars. The Hurricanes -– one of which survives today in the collection of Gatineau’s Vintage Wings of Canada flying museum -– were kept fully armed and fuelled their pilots were supposed to sit in readiness, playing cards drinking coffee. As for the Hurricanes, “they were always armed and fueled and ready to go.”

If a call came in, “a fitter would usually start it up and have it running then the pilot would get in there -- and away they’d go. We could see the odd one (balloon) flying over, but they (the Hurricanes) could never get up there in time.”

“We had a little hut we called them blisters. Usually, the pilots would sit in there and drink coffee and play cards.” There were only about a dozen groundcrew, but they “did a helluva job”, he said.

When a balloon was spotted, a call was made to 11 SFTS, then put through to the mini-dispersal area, a klaxon would go off. “We used to make sure that we had a fitter available to start the engines.”

He heard a rumour that a Yorkton-area farmer brought in a suspicious device, supposedly from a balloon bomb. Part of the hangar was immediately blocked off. The security surrounding the entire balloon bomb operation was “so tight that a mouse couldn’t even have got there.

He recalls that 11 SFTS at Yorkton flew Mark 5 Ansons and had recently taken over all of the Cornell trainers that had been operating from the EFTS at Davidson, plus some Mark 2 or 3 Ansons.

Don remembers being at Yorkton on VE Day – the cessation of hostilities in Europe. I asked him if there was a party. “There sure as hell was! Ele disse.

“The mayor of Yorkton wasn’t very impressed. The guys had strung toilet paper all over the town and the restaurants and hotels were just booming.”

What would be next? “We were all set we’d had our shots and had our tropical gear and we were ready to go east when they (the American armed forces) dropped the atomic bomb and, of course, they (RCAF brass) cancelled everything.”

Don remained in the postwar RCAF and, at one point just after the war headed a reserve equipment maintenance unit (REMU) team with a truck, about 15 men and a “Queen Mary”, a long, specially built trailer that could carry the fuselage of an aircraft needing repair or salvage. They went from closed BCATP base to closed base, preparing aircraft for storage or sale. He remembers presenting the team at the guardhouse of what had been Moose Jaw’s 32 SFTS, where a fiercely mustachioed British service policeman barked, “Where you going?”

Where the ground instruction building is now located, there were barracks. They were “absolutely filthy” and the men initially were billeted in the downtown Grant Hall Inn before suitable quarters were found in what had been the station’s chapel. He recalls Moose Jaw as being a collection point for RCAF Cansos, Ansons and Oxfords. For the record, he remembers Mossbank was a storage site for Cornells and Hurricanes, while Swift Current had Cranes, Ansons and Cornells, all lined up”. Some aircraft –- like those that had to be returned to the U.S. or were needed by the postwar RCAF –- were ferried away by the RCAF’s No 170 Squadron, which specialized in such work. But as for the rest, “they’d bring in the accounting people and the supply people and you could buy whatever you wanted.”

By 1951, Don was stationed at the RCAF training base at Centralia, near London, Ont., when a W/C Miles, a senior engineering officer, asked him, “How would you like to go to Moose Jaw with me?”

“He said, ‘They’re going to open up Moose Jaw for a training school.’ He said, ‘We’ve got to do some evaluation, to see what’s required.”

Thus it came to pass that Don, W/C Miles and a few others were bundled into an RCAF Expeditor and went to the site of the wartime 32 SFTS south of Moose Jaw. It was, as he recalls, November or December of 1951 and “it was cold, cold.”

Don’s impression of the state of the base was blunt: “It was a mess.”

The wartime barracks, for example, were so shabby that the evaluation team could not stay in them, so they once again headed to the Friendly City’s Grant Hall Inn.

Their work eventually done, Don and the rest of the team returned to Centralia. But in February or March of 1952, the same wing commander appeared again and told Don he was returning to Moose Jaw –- permanently. “My exact words were, ’What the hell did I do to you?’” Don remembered.

Renovations to the old 32 SFTS to convert it into RCAF Station Moose Jaw (and ready it for a new generation of pilot trainees) were by the spring of 1952 well under way -– though there were no training aircraft at the base yet. “First of all, we had to set up maintenance.“

Access to the station was via Highway 2, which went south from the east side of downtown Moose Jaw the new highway that went from the city’s west side to the base was still under construction.

No. 7 hangar (now home to the Snowbirds air demonstration team) was then occupied by civilians: specifically, charter pilot Don Walz and his family, which was living in the northern part of the hangar, while the southern half of the hangar was used to marshal passengers for a civilian flight. Don thinks it was Pacific Western Airlines, but this firm did not yet exist. But Canadian Pacific Airlines flew from Moose Jaw to Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and North Battleford, eventually adding Edmonton to this route. In this period, Don’s own family remained in Centralia, while he lived in a barracks at Moose Jaw.

The mess hall was in Hangar 4 while a permanent one was being built. Hangar 5 housed supplies and CPR staff handled landline telecommunications until the RCAF’s own personnel arrived. Don’s impression of the reopened base during this perioid was, “an awful lot of mud … it was an awful mess.”

“It was just mud. Everything was under construction. When we moved into the married quarters in 1953, we had to have a bulldozer pull the moving truck down the street. It was all mud!”

The main fleet of Harvard training aircraft arrived from RCAF Station Gimli, Manitoba, in Operation GIMJAW, which spanned May and June of 1953. The station had its own small fleet of Expeditors for transport duties, such as flying the commanding officer to RCAF Training Command headquarters in Winnipeg. “They were more of communications aircraft than anything else. The CO had to go to Winnipeg? He’d go on an Expeditor. He had his own we kept it pretty well polished.”

Don stayed at RCAF Station Moose Jaw until the summer of 1957, when his family’s vacation of Waskesiu was cut short by another airman’s news: Don was being posted overseas – specifically, to the RCAF’s 2 (Fighter) Wing at Grostenquin, France. He would be working on the CF-100 all-weather fighter. Don was surprised. Putting his fingers together he said, “I knew THAT MUCH about jets”

But orders are orders, and the family soon got into action. After packing their goods, they took a train east to Toronto, where they visited Don’s parents in Toronto, then preceded to Montreal, where they boarded the ocean liner SS Hibernia. It took them and a number of other families across the Atlantic to Le Havre, where an RCAF officer met them and got them onto a train to Paris, from which they caught another train to the northern city of St. Evaux and then the base at Grostenquin.

Don’s posting was to 423 Squadron, which flew grey/green/light grey camoflauged CF-100s alongside two squadrons of Sabres. “We were armed all the time,” Don said. “We were on 24 hours readiness and the pilots slept in the hangars. When we’d get an alert – what they called a ‘yellowjacket’, and when it was yellow, they’d sit on the cockpit right in the hangar.”

Don took particular pride in the ability of RCAF personnel to work minor miracles while on deployments to other NATO bases to -– a tribute to the RCAF system of cross-training personnel in each other’s groundcrew specialties.

As for the CF-100s themselves, Don said, “we called them ‘the Clunk’ and a lot of other bad names, but they were a good airplane.”

The ‘Clunks’ were not without quirks, though. Fuel normally was carried in two places –- fuselage tanks and wing tanks -– with wingtip tanks replacing rocket pods when long flights were planned. The price of the complicated fuel system was that when maintenance personnel would pull down the CF-100’s internal gun pack of eight .50-calibre machine guns, “there would be a fuel leak”. Overall, though, “it was an easy plane to work on it wasn’t difficult. Canadians built it and it was built for ease of maintenance.”

One weak point was the CF-100's radar, which wasn’t “all that reliable –- at least that’s what the radar people would tell us.”

And aircrew had to make sure that they’d drained the fuselage tanks before emptying the wing tanks. There were, sadly, quite a few casualties, including one spectacular accident that saw two aircraft collide right over RCAF Station Grostenquin and crash into the station’s hospital, with several fatalities. There were frequent rotations to the NATO air gunnery range at Decimomannu (nicknamed “Decchi”) in Sardinia, where a deal had been struck with local fishermen: aircraft would have to be airborne by 0400h, then finish early, giving the fishermen time to work. There was a benefit, though: the Canadian airmen thus had each afternoon off and were free to go to the local beach –- which Don recalls as being superb.

Back at Grostenquin, Don recalls the dispersal for the station’s two Sabre squadrons, Nos. 421 and 430, was close to the station, while 423’s was “way out in the boondocks, as we called it.” This, and the long road to the dispersal area – which even had traffic lights controlling the passage of cars over a runway -- set the stage for an unusual incident involving Don’s wife, Frances. Two things happened on the same day: Frances needed the family car for an errand and heavy fog was blanketing the area around the station, so flying was temporarily suspended. Frances and Don drove to dispersal, whereupon Don got out and Frances departed, secure in the belief that no aircraft would be flying that day when she headed for the road that crossed the runway.

Alas, “one guy decided he’d go out and check the weather,” Don recalled. “She said the wheels rolled over the roof of the car.” I said he wasn’t THAT low, but she said it WAS – and she remembered that.”

In 1962, Don and his family were posted back to Canada. Initially, he was told he’d be going to RCAF Station Saskatoon, home of 1 Advanced Flying School. But the station was soon to close, and Don received word he’d be going back to Moose Jaw. “I went right back to Moose Jaw – and back to the same office that I’d left.”

Fontes: Will Chabun's Aug. 27, 2008 interview with Don O’Hearne, plus follow-up e-mails as well as the author's notes of Don's talk on his career to the Regina Chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society (CAHS) in 1994.

Here is the second article I wrote in 2007 after interviewing Don about his work with the Vintage Aircraft Restorers group at the Western Development Museum in Moose Jaw:

The story of the Vintage Aircraft Restorers volunteer group that has operated from the Moose Jaw branch of the Western Development Museum starts only a few years after the museum itself opened in 1976.

Inside the large, new, pyramid-shaped museum building on the northern edge of Moose Jaw there was clearly display room for additional aircraft to supplement the Norseman and Swallow biplane that entered the museum right after it opened. Asked to help secure and restore additional aircraft was RCAF veteran Don O’Hearne, who had served in the RCAF as a maintenance NCO from 1939 until 1965, then joined what used to be called Canada Manpower. His team’s first project, around 1980, was overseeing the restoration of a Cessna Crane twin-engine trainer for the museum. “I took on the job and gradually took on some people and we restored the Crane,” he said 28 years later.

That led to the restoration of two Canadian-built trainers of the Second World War: an Avro Anson and a Cornell. A Stinson 108 was restored in the markings of the Saskatchewan Flying Farmers -- by the Flying Farmers themselves), a Tiger Moth, a Funk high-wing monoplane and a Piper J-3 Cub.

Also constructed by VAR members were the front section of a Tutor and Airspeed Oxford (as children’s’ hands-on displays, a scale-model dioramas of a Snowbirds formation display and the wartime No. 5 Bombing & Gunnery School at Dafoe, replica (overhead in Snowbird Gallery) and a pair of Link Trainers, the state-of-the-art air training simulators of 1940.

Being restored by the VAR in 2008 were a complete Airspeed Oxford (for Saskatchewan aircraft historian/collector Frank Thompson) and a Canadian-built Vickers Vedette used by the RCAF in the late 1920s and then by the fledgling air service of the Saskatchewan Government in the mid-1930s.


France, 1940: 1 Squadron

In October 1939, the squadron moved to Vassincourt, where it became a part of the AASF, ready for operations over the front line. This force included ten squadrons of Fairey Battle light bombers, together with the Hurricanes of 1 and 73 squadrons, which were to escort them and to provide protection.

On 30 October 1939, the squadron's Pilot Officer PWO 'Boy' Mould shot down a Luftwaffe reconnaissance Dornier 17, which was the first RAF fighter claim over France. However, opposition in the air was rare during this 'phoney war' period, and by the end of the year only four victories had been claimed.

During the spring of 1940, clashes with the Luftwaffe became more frequent as the weather improved, and by 20 April the squadron 'bag' had risen to 23, for the loss of five Hurricanes and one pilot killed.

On 10 May 1940, the great German offensive in the west (which rapidly became known as the blitzkrieg, or 'lightning war') began. Wehrmacht airborne troops landed in Holland and Belgium, as German tank columns and infantry crossed the frontiers into these neutral countries. At once elements of the French northern armies and the BEF moved forward into Belgium to intercept these invasions.

Meanwhile strong formations of Luftwaffe bombers and fighters launched a series of surprise attacks on Allied airfields, catching many units on the ground. 1 Squadron was fortunate not to be one of those caught, but was swiftly in action, flying many patrols and engaging in frequent fights with opposing formations.

Although almost always outnumbered, the squadron's well trained and experienced pilots did well from the start, and by the close of 13 May had claimed some 40 German aircraft shot down, for the loss in action of nine Hurricanes, but of only one pilot - young Pilot Officer Billy Drake, who was shot down and wounded by a Messerschmitt Bf 110. He baled out of his burning Hurricane, but did not rejoin the squadron until after its return to England.

On 14 May it became clear that German forces had made their way through the Ardennnes forest - thought by the French to be virtually impassable to armoured units - and were in the Sedan area, threatening to outflank the massive fixed defences of the Maginot Line, and to tear a great hole in the Allied lines. French and RAF bombers were thrown in here in a desperate attempt to stop the rot, but huge losses were suffered to Luftwaffe fighters and flak (anti-aircraft fire).


Early life and education

George Johnson (known within the family as Leonard) was the sixth and last child born to Charles and Ellen Johnson. He was born in the village of Hameringham in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. His mother died when he was three, leaving his father, a farm foreman, to bring up the family in somewhat poor conditions. The family lived in a tied cottage, his oldest sister Lena largely being responsible for his early upbringing.

Johnson attended school in the village of Winthorpe until the age of 11. Through a bursary scheme set up for the children of agricultural workers, he was sent as a boarder to the Lord Wandsworth Agricultural College in Long Sutton, Hampshire. He was active in sport, playing football, cricket and participating in athletics, winning several events. He passed his School Certificate, leaving school in December 1939.


  • Based at RAF Lossiemouth, 120 Squadron is the RAF&rsquos first operator of the Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA)
  • 120 Squadron began its long association with anti-submarine warfare and maritime patrol when it began operating the Liberator GR.Mk I from RAF Nutt&rsquos Corner, County Antrim, in 1941
  • 120 Squadron was RAF Coastal Command&rsquos highest-scoring anti-submarine warfare squadron in World War II
  • Became the first Avro Shackleton operator
  • Flew the Nimrod from 1970

1918 &ndash 120 Squadron stood up 1 January as a Royal Flying Corps unit at RAF Cramlington, Northumberland. It disbanded in October 1919

1941 &ndash Also known as CXX Squadron, the unit began flying the Consolidated Liberator in the Battle of the Atlantic

1942 &ndash Deployed detachments to Reykjavik, Iceland and the Middle East, before relocating to Iceland in 1943

1944 &ndash Returned to Ireland, stationed at Ballykelly

1946 &ndash Re-equipped with the Avro Lancaster

1951 &ndash First squadron to operate the Avro Shackleton MPA

1970 &ndash Began operating the Hawker Siddeley Nimrod jet MPA. Disbanded, still on the Nimrod, in 2010

2017 &ndash Announced as the first Poseidon MRA1 squadron, receiving the UK's initial example in 2019

2020 &ndash Flew the first UK-based Poseidon to Kinloss Barracks while upgrade work at RAF Lossiemouth was completed


Closing the 'air gap'

Northern Ireland’s primary role in relation to the air-war was to come through its port and airfield bases, mainly as Coastal Command due to Ireland’s geographical position to the North Atlantic, with a later role being extended to facilitate United States Army Air Force Combat Crew Replacement Centres (USAAF CCRCs).

By late 1940, the Allies were in a dangerously critical position in the Battle of the Atlantic. The German U-boats were going through the ‘happy time’ with Britain’s merchant fleet suffering a casualty rate of frightening proportions. In these early days there were little signs of the forthcoming tactics of joint Naval/Coastal Command co-operation, but signs began to appear to close the gap where no air-cover from east to west existed, and that meant building airfields as far west as possible to Britain.

For this reason an airfield building programme was commenced in Northern Ireland. Convoy protection and anti-U-boat patrols were already underway with No.502 Squadron from Aldergrove, an established pre-war airfield, whilst airfields built early in the war were Limavady, for aircraft engaged in convoy escort and reconnaissance patrols, and Ballyhalbert, for fighter protection of the Belfast area deemed urgent after the German raids of April/May 1941.

There was also a need for flying boat bases which had the advantage of no runway construction. Earmarked for one such base was Lough Erne in Co Fermanagh and despite an unfavourable report of the area in December 1940, the war situation dictated otherwise and work began around the Castle Archdale estate in January 1941. Lough Erne would provide an extra 100 miles of air-cover over the squadrons currently sited at Loch Ryan in SW Scotland.

However, there was one major problem that needed to be overcome for the base to fulfill its intended use – the aircraft needing to fly straight out into the Atlantic over Donegal Bay and hence over Free State territory. Sir John Maffey, the British representative to Eire, began a series of delicate negotiations with the Taoiseach, Eamon de Valera, to ask that aircraft be allowed to fly that route. On January 21, 1941, he received permission with limited conditions. Flights were to be at good height and were not to fly over the Irish Army camp at Finner, near Ballyshannon. Later, many more concessions were granted to the Allies as de Valera’s government engaged in a policy of benevolent neutrality.

The scope of arrangements were later widened. By February 5, 1941, No 240 Squadron RAF began to use Lough Erne. No 240 Squadron had converted to Catalinas and in those early days these aircraft would leave Lough Erne at dawn, patrol the Atlantic as far as Newfoundland and return to Wig Bay at Stranraer in Scotland usually around 04:30 hours, as it was a 21-hour patrol.

Upon arrival at Wig Bay, they would rest until later that morning, then fly over to Lough Erne and fuel up for another patrol the following morning. The reason for this diversion was that landings on Lough Erne at night were, in those early days, considered unsafe owing to the mountainous nature of the district.

May of 1941 was to prove eventful for No 240 Squadron when firstly on the 16th, a Catalina depth-charged an Italian submarine. The escorting naval corvettes confirmed the kill. However it was the sighting of the battleship Bismark on the morning of May 26 by Catalina ‘Z’ flown by Flying Officer Briggs and carrying an American co-pilot, Ensign Leonard Smith, that brought Castle Archdale into the history books within months of its opening. Ensign Smith was one of a group of US Naval personnel familiarising RAF pilots with the Catalina, whilst at the same time gaining operational experience. Their presence, as the United States was still neutral, was kept a secret, as was their intention to establish a flying boat base at nearby Killideas to accommodate four Catalina squadrons. A pressing need for US Catalinas in the Pacific put that plan on ice and Killideas became an RAF Operational Training base with No.131 OTU flying Catalinas.

In February 1942, the slipway at Lough Erne was used for the first time to beach a Sunderland.

Also significant for February was that the ‘happy time’ for the U-boats was ending. With the establishment of a Western Approaches command centre in Liverpool, new convoy escorts and an intensification of coastal command patrols, a significant turning point emerged.

March 1941 saw the German U-boat command lose four boats, commanded by ‘aces’.

No 221 Squadron RAF moved to Limavady in May 1941 from Bircham Newton in Norfolk England with their ASV equipped Wellingtons, whilst No.254 Squadron whose Beaufighters had come from Sumbridge at the end of May, took over patrols from Aldergrove until December when it left for Dyce in Scotland.

No 245 Squadron, who had been at Aldergrove with Hurricanes, left on July 15 as Fighter Sector HQ was transferred to Ballyhalbert on June 28, 1941. Aldergrove was then allocated to Coastal Command and No 233 Squadron, who were also stationed there with Hudsons, shot down a long range Condor which was attacking a convoy on July 23.

Further runway construction at Aldergrove began in September 1941, but the airfield remained operational with No 206 Squadron also flying Hudsons based there. Aldergrove was one of three airfields being upgraded in terms of runway length and layout, the others being Ballykelly and Ballyhalbert.

The creation of Ballykelly was clear from the start – to base long range reconnaissance aircraft to operate out into the Atlantic to cover ‘the Mid Atlantic Gap’ - ‘The Black Gap’ – where no air-cover could be provided allowing the U-boats to track the convoys with impunity.

The answer was the American built B24 Liberator bomber! No 120 Squadron, RAF was already forming up at Nutts Corner, ten miles North of Belfast with the Mk 1, but the specialised maritime equipment needed for the conversion of this ‘bomber’ to a maritime role was still in short supply, so for the next year, until August 1942, the squadron would remain the only Liberator squadron. Two further squadrons, Nos 59 and 86 would also later operate from Aldergrove and Ballykelly flying Mk V Liberators. Ballykelly’s first operational Coastal squadron was No.220 Squadron, flying B17 flying fortresses.

The following year, in July 1942, No 120 Squadron joined No 220 at Ballykelly, as No 120 Squadron had occasionally used Ballykelly as a landing ground during their time at Nutts Corner after sweeps out into the Atlantic. (Ballykelly aircraft used Bishopscourt in Co Down in a similar way.) During the summer of 1942, later versions of the Liberator, the Mk II and Mk III were joining No 120 Squadron and they were now able to patrol out to 30 degrees west and beyond with an endurance of over 16 hours. This now ensured that the squadron would be able to encounter U-boats in the notorious ‘air gap’.

All Liberators up to the Mk III standard were equipped with ASV Mk II radar, with a range of some ten miles. Transmitter aerials were located obliquely at the front on the outer wing and looking out sideways on the rear fuselage. When a contact was picked up, the aircraft would turn on to the relevant bearing and home in with an aerial on the nose.

The Mk III aircraft retained the two .50 calibre machine guns in the rear ‘Glen Martin Turret,’ instead of the four .303 machine guns and the ‘Bolton Paul’ turret of the more extensively modified aircraft. A more important feature was the American H2X centimetric radar whose scanner was housed in the ventral ball turret position, the first Coastal Command aircraft to use the new radar operationally.

Construction standards at airfields were modified as the war developed. The largest and best equipped airfields were Cluntoe, Toome, Greencastle (all three later passing to the USAAF as CCRCs) and Bishopscourt, which were all built to 1942 Class A Bomber Standard which stipulated optimum runway length and gradients enabling operation of the heaviest aircraft then in service.

After a spell at the Dumlambert Hotel in Belfast, No 82 Group Fighter Command set up HQ in the Senate Chamber in Northern Ireland’s one-time seat of Government, Stormont Castle, with an ‘emergency’ underground HQ bunker sited at Kircubbin in Co Down. Three fighter stations were set up at Ballyhalbert, Eglinton and Kirkistown, with a fourth station Maydown earmarked for USAAF use.

Many famous Battle of Britain squadrons were to find themselves at these bases over the years, such as No 152, who whilst based at Eglinton in 1941 lost two DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) holders in crashes, Flying Officer Williams, DFC, and Squadron Leader Bodie, DFC. They were buried in St Canin’s Church, Eglinton.

Several Polish squadrons of the RAF such as No 303 and No 315 saw service at Ballyhalbert, as did No 504 squadron, who shot down a Ju88D which was on a return leg from a photographic reconnaissance patrol on August 23, 1942. They shared the ‘downing’ with No 315 Squadron (RAF Valley) and No 152 Squadron (RAF Angle) both in Wales. At this stage of the war, German aircraft were running the gauntlet through British airspace and such flights were becoming very hazardous. The Ju88D crash-landed near Tramore, Co Waterford, and the crew survived.

By March 1943, despite the U-boats still marking up the successful sinking of British and Allied merchant shipping, there were signs of the Allies taking the upper hand in the North Atlantic. Long range aircraft had closed the gap across the Atlantic.

In May 1943, U-boat command suffered its worst setbacks of the war and would lead them to contemplate defeat. They lost 41 boats, sank in that ‘one month’. Their total loss for 1943 had totalled 237, of which 148 were credited to joint Royal Navy/RAF Coastal Command operations. The tide had turned and the hunters had now become the hunted.

Leitura adicional:
Down in a Free State – Wartime Air Crashes and Forced Landings in Eire 1939 – 1945 (1999) by John Quinn


120 Squadron RAAF

No. 120 (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron was formed at RAAF Station Fairbairn in Canberra on 10 December 1943. As a joint Australian-Dutch unit, the Dutch authorities provided all the squadron's aircrew and aircraft while the RAAF provided its ground crew. This arrangement had been previously used for No. 18 (NEI) Squadron and the short-lived No. 119 (NEI) Squadron. It was originally intended that once formed, No. 120 (NEI) Squadron would be deployed to northern Australia and operate alongside No. 18 (NEI) Squadron. However, it was later decided to deploy the unit to Merauke, on the south coast of New Guinea, which formed part of the pre-war Netherlands East Indies (NEI).

The Squadron completed its training in early 1944. During December 1943, the No. 120 (NEI) Squadron pilots who had been trained in the United States received training at No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit to familiarise them with RAAF procedures. The squadron acquired its full complement of P-40 Kittyhawk fighters by 22 January 1944 at this time it was manned by 28 Dutch pilots and 213 RAAF personnel. In mid-March 1944 No. 120 (NEI) Squadron made an emergency deployment to 'Potshot' airfield in Western Australia in response to a feared Japanese attack on the Perth area. The squadron's aircraft began to depart Fairbairn on 9 March and returned on the 28th of the month after the crisis had passed.

More to follow. like to contribute?

We would particularly like to encourage individual historians researchers or members of unit associations to contribute to the development of a more detailed history and photographs pertaining to this unit and its members.


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