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Clarence Bentley "Larry" Sutherland

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Larr Sutherland

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THREE AIRMEN IN HONOR LIST

Ottawa, July 10, 1944 - (CP) - Air force headquarters announced tonight the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross to a member of the RCAF serving overseas. The award went to P/O C. B. Sutherland, R.R. No. 2, Truro, N.S.

P/O Sutherland, a mid-upper gunner, downed three enemy aircraft within a half hour together with his rear gunner F/O W. McIntosh of the R.A.F., who also received the D.F.C.

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Home in Truro, Nova Scotia
Enlisted in Halifax, 29 July 1942
Trained at No.9 BGS

Bar presented 9 April 1948
Not clear if DFC was presented earlier

Cited with F/O W. McIntosh, DFM (RAF, awarded DFC)

Died 23 May 2012, one month before his 90th birthday

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SUTHERLAND, P/O Clarence Bentley (J86114) - DFC - No.207 Squadron
Award effective 11 July 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 2052/44 dated 22 September 1944

One night in June 1944, Flying Officer McIntosh and Pilot Officer Sutherland were rear and mid-upper gunners respectively of an aircraft detailed to attack Cerisy. Just after crossing the enemy coast, Flying Officer McIntosh sighted a Junkers 88 coming in to attack. He promptly warned his pilot who took the necessary combat maneuver.
Both gunners then opened fire, hitting the enemy aircraft with well placed bursts, causing it to spin towards the ground with both its engines on fire.
Almost immediately another Junkers 88 was sighted. As the enemy aircraft came into range, Flying Officer McIntosh and his co-gunner met the attacker with devastating bursts of fire which caused it to explode in the air.
Half an hour later, these gunners engaged yet a third enemy aircraft. Following their accurately placed bursts of fire the enemy fighter fell away and was seen to catch fire before it hit the sea.
Flying Officer McIntosh and Pilot Officer Sutherland defended their aircraft with great skill and resolution and undoubtedly played a large part in its safe return. Their achievement was worthy of high praise.

(Sutherland & McIntosh were cited together, both receiving the DFC)

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Excerpt from the book "One Eyed Gunner" by Gary Chisholm :

8 August 1944 - "Lancaster LL973 - M for Mother is the lead bomber of many waves of bombers that have just taken off from the 207th squadron based in Spilsby, England.
It is part of massive Allied raid coordinated by Bomber Command including elements of the 207th Squadron and the U.S. Eighth Air Force.
For the British and Canadian crews from the 207th Squadron this is their first daylight raid.
Their target is a V-l rocket installation 30 miles north of Paris in the Oise Valley at St-Leu-d-Esserent.
This complex has been built underground in caves that were once used for production of mushrooms and fortified by the Germans.
The French resistance has spirited out of France the architectural drawings of this complex.
It helps to know how it was built if you want to take it apart.
Nestled in the cavernous bomb bay of Lancaster M are three four thousand pound cookies intended to pulverize this concrete structure.
All bombers following are carrying similar ordinance.
There is not a doubt in anyone's mind that this target will be well defended by ground batteries and the last of the Luftwaffe's best and newest pilots.
Strangely enough the Germans did not lack aircraft. They lacked the pilots (and fuel) to fly them.
Lancaster M is cruising at 18000 feet, has just crossed the North Sea and has entered French air space east of Dieppe which is still occupied by the Germans.
The crew onboard Lancaster M is battle hardened.
The tail gunner and the mid upper gunner are the two top gunners in bomber command.
Larry Sutherland and Wallace Macintosh are decorated aces.
During the last three months the crew has delivered their bomb loads on target consistently and they have been attacked nine times.
The mid upper gunner and tail gunner have driven off three of the German night fighters and shot down the remaining six.
The old man; Wing Commander John Grey D.F.C. is the pilot and is 36 years of age.
He is considered by many in the 207th Squadron to be one of their most competent and experienced pilots.
Wing Commander Grey is a career officer and will fly ‘till the war is over or until he is shot out of the sky.
The rest of the crew are in their mid twenties and are working toward completing their individual tours of duty or starting on their second tour of duty.
A tour of duty was 30 missions or as the British and Canadians referred to them as Trips. This is Larry Sutherland's 35th Trip.
He has won the Distinguished Flying Cross twice with this crew.
He comes to the crew of Lancaster M with one kill and one damaged.
Mid upper gunner Larry Sutherland is settled into the gun turret and watching the French country side slide by below him.
All of their raids have been at night and today is unsettling in the bright light of day.
Larry's big advantage has been his phenomenal night vision and today he is on an even footing.
It's a beautiful day without a cloud in the sky.
Lancaster-M is the lead bomber and Larry, turning in his mid upper turret, can see the endless waves of bombers flying behind them.
It's not long before they begin to enter the ring of defenses surrounding their target.
The Germans are very determined to defend this target because it's their last ditch effort using their incredible new technology to try and stop the Allied invasion or at least negotiate some sort of piece agreement avoiding total capitulation.
Bursts of flack are soon all around them.
The large puffs of black have their own surreal beauty suddenly appearing in the air surrounding the big Lancaster.
They look similar to the beautiful green clouds of algae that one can see diving in a clear mountain lake suspended just below the surface.
Inside the large black puffs is a hail of deadly sharp shrapnel that can knife through the thin skin and Plexiglas of the Lancaster doing incredible damage to machinery, flesh and bone.
The flack gets progressively heaver as the Lancaster approaches its target and the aircraft is rocking with each successive explosion.
Looking ahead Larry can see that the Pathfinders, or as the Germans refer to them; the masters of ceremonies, have marked the target with incendiaries.
Larry hears Wing Commander Grey give the command to Tommy Young the flight engineer ordering full power and full boost.
The four beautiful twelve hundred horsepower Rolls Royce Merlin engines snarl like caged tigers.
The target is within range and the man of the hour now is the bomb aimer gunner Bob Cook.
Bob is now totally involved with his bomb sight, guiding Lancaster-M to the target.
Steady-Steady and then bombs away.
With the release of the massive payload the Lancaster pops up like a cork in the water.
Bob has just selected the control to close the bomb bay doors when there is an incredible explosion directly below him.
The Lancaster is blown upwards and then starts to go into an uncontrolled spin.
Larry is pinned to the rear of his mid upper turret and the centrifugal force of the spin is tugging at his face.
He has a chill in his stomach; black oil is splattering all over his turret and looking at the starboard wing he can see that they have received extensive damage to the leading edge of the wing and the starboard engine has been blown apart.
Smoke and flame are leaping from it.
Looking at the port side he can see the port inner engine has been hit and is still running but trailing black greasy smoke.
He listens to the calm steady voices of Wing Commander Grey and the First Engineer Tommy Young as they discuss options and remedies with precision and discipline.
Wing Commander Grey has corrected the wild spin but now the Lancaster is in a screaming dive.
The tremendous airflow over the wings has extinguished the fire.
Strangely enough Larry feels no panic, just a cold acceptance of things he can not alter and he thinks to himself — So this is it.
This will be Larry Sutherland's last trip."

Crew of M for Mother

August 5th 1944 - The crew of "M for Mother" standing from Left to Right - P/O Bob Cook DFC, P/O Bob Jack (Bomb Aimer), P/O Alfred "Happy" Hall (Navigator), W/C John F. Grey DSO, DFC (Pilot), Larry Sutherland DFC & Bar (Mid Upper Gunner) & Wallace McIntosh DFC, DFM (Rear Gunner). Missing is Tommy Young (Flight Engineer) who took the photo. It was taken moments after the pilot landed on one engine. They had just dropped their bomb load when they were hit by flak. Damage to the aircraft was extensive. The starboard inner was blown apart. In this photo the damage is apparent. Wing Commander John Grey flew this Lancaster for 3.5 hours on two engines. On approach to the crash runway, Wing Commander Grey told the flight engineer, Tommy Young, to assume a crash position and when Tommy stopped nursing the port inner, it quit and left Grey with one engine and with that he greased it in for a perfect landing.

" "No-one was pleased to hear that Grey would be leading a daylight raid on the massive V1 site at Saint Leu d'Esserent, just north of Paris, on 5th August. They led 208 aircraft of 5 group and as they were approaching the target they were hit by Flak which tore off the starboard outer engine, set the starboard inner alight and turned the aircraft over. With two remaining engines screaming they pulled out at 2000' and got the aircraft stabilised over the channel. As they sat ready to bail out McIntosh spotted four men in a dinghy and the wireless op radioed it in. Amazingly, Grey managed to nurse the aircraft back for a crash landing on two engines on the grass at Manston-the runway having been closed for early op flights of the Gloster Meteor jets. the guys in the dinghy were picked up by MTBs and the crew got a commendation from the Americans for it."

Wallace McIntosh recalls by Peter Bevan (Plane talking n°55 dec.2004) "

Quoted from here

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SUTHERLAND, P/O Clarence Bentley, DFC (J86114) - Bar to DFC - No.207 Squadron
Award effective 1 December 1944 as per London Gazette dated 8 December 1944 and
AFRO 293/45 dated 16 February 1945.

Read the letter to his parents

Pilot Officer Sutherland is an air gunner with a fine operational record. He has participated in the destruction of seven enemy aircraft and damaged one. Three have been destroyed since the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. His aircraft have been in combat on other occasions and his accurate gunnery and coolness under fire have been outstanding. In July 1944 the bomber in which he was flying was attacked five times by enemy fighters near Stuttgart. This officer assisted in destroying two of them and driving off the remainder.

NOTE: Public Record Office Air 2/8881 has the original recommendation drafted 21 June 1944, at which time he had flown a total of 36 sorties (221 hours 20 minutes) of which six sorties (31 hours 45 minutes) had been since the recommendation for the Bar to his DFC. It also included his sortie list as follows :

Missions -  Date, Target, Time (H.mm)

16 Dec 43
23 Dec 43
29 Dec 43
02 Jan 44
05 Jan 44
20 Jan 44
21 Jan 44 *
27 Jan 44
30 Jan 44
15 Feb 44
19 Feb 44
20 Feb 44
24 Feb 44
25 Feb 44
10 Mar 44
15 Mar 44
18 Mar 44
22 Mar 44
24 Mar 44
26 Mar 44
30 Mar 44
05 Apr 44
18 Apr 44
20 Apr 44
22 Apr 44
11 May 44
26 May 44    
04 June 44
05 June 44
07 June 44
09 June 44
14 June 44
27 June 44
12 July 44
28 July 44
05 Aug 44

Berlin (7.45)
Berlin (7.50)
Berlin (7.05)
Berlin (8.10)
Berlin (8.45)
Berlin (6.25)
Magdeburg (2.45)
Berlin (8.45)
Berlin (6.05)
Berlin (7.25)
Leipzig (7.40)
Stuttgart (7.40)
Schweinfurt (8.20)
Augsburg (7.20)
Clermont Ferrand (6.25)
Stuttgart (8.05)
Frankfurt (5.15)
Frankfurt (5.10)
Berlin (7.25)
Essen (5.05)
Nuremburg (7.25)
Toulouse (7.25)
Juvisy (4.55)
La Chappelle (4.35)
Brunswick (5.20)
Bourg Leopold (3.10)
GARDENING (4.35)
Maisy (4.10)
La Parnelle (4.15)
Balleroi (4.10)
Etamps (4.35)
Aunay-sur-Odon (4.30)
Marquis (2.30)
Charlindrey (8.35)
Stuttgart (7.45)
St.Leu d'Esserent (3.50)

* Unsuccessful sortie; coolant in starboard outer engine unserviceable

Nine attacks on Berlin are included among the 35 successful sorties completed by this Air Gunner who has proved himself an invaluable member of his crew.
This officer has shared with the other gunner seven enemy aircraft destroyed and one damaged, three of these being destroyed since his last award for destroying three in one night.
On the 28th of July the aircraft in which he was flying was attacked five times by fighters near Stuttgart. Pilot Officer Sutherland assisted in destroying two of them and in driving off the remainder. This officer's coolness under fire and the accuracy of his shooting has been an example to the remainder of the squadron.
Pilot Officer Sutherland has proved himself a keen and reliable gunner whose outstanding coolness and courage in the air have been a great asset to his captain.

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Victories Include:

14 Dec. 1943

07 June 1944


13 July 1944
18 July 1944

1/2 Ju88
1/2 FW190
1/2 Ju88
1/2 Ju88
1/2 Me410
1/2 Me109
1/2 FW190
1/2 Ju88
Destroyed &
Damaged
Destroyed,
Destroyed &
Destroyed
Destroyed
Destroyed &
Destroyed

3.5 / 0 / .5

All shared with Wallace McIntosh (RAF)

Relevant Log Book Entries are:

December 10, 1943

June 4, 1944

July 4, 1944

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Larry and the Governor General
On the beaches of Normandy in 2004
Larry with Canadian Governor General Adrian Clarkson & her
husband John Ralston reminiscing over the "Landing and Flying"

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John, the grandson-in-law of Happy Hall (NAV)
[who celebrated his 90th last Febuary 2011],
sent me these links of interest:

Painting of Lancaster EM-M

Another with some operational info

Some recordings made during actual missions

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