TWENTY PILOTS GIVEN TRAINING FOR WAR DUTIES
Aero Club Provides Important Stage of Tuition — Many Flying Hours
Five More Future Aerial Warriors Here Now — Civilians Take Courses
(23 February 1940) - The Hamilton Aero club had more flying hours last month than in the first three months of 1939. No less than 338 hours were flown, with 128 dual hours and in all, 560 flights. In the previous year the hours flown in January were 110, February 94 and in March 106.
The great increase, not only in January, but also in months prior to this date, has been directly due to the advanced training of provisional pilot officers, 20 of whom have already received their complete instruction and five more recently arrived to take the course.
The local Aero club, it will be remembered, was one of the first clubs in the Dominion to be chosen, with six others across the country, as a location for advanced training for R.C.A.F. pilots under the National Defence scheme. Four pilots arrived here last June; in September nine others came and by November had completed the course. These were followed by seven others who left the airport last week after being fully trained by four instructors headed by Ernest Taylor, one of the foremost flying teachers in Canada. Under him are Donald Rogers, Arthur Leach and Norris Hart. The club has now received five new students who will study and train for the Royal Canadian Air Force examination which terminates their instruction here in two months' time, after which they are moved to Ottawa, Trenton or Camp Borden.
The five new men here are: Herbert E. Mitchell, Kingston; Douglas G. Chown, Winnipeg; Eugene L. Neal, Quebec City; Hubert H. Gilchrist, Toronto & Frank E. Grant, Brockville.
Civilians Also Train
The fact that provisional RCAF pilots are being trained at the club does not mean that civilians may not learn to fly. To the contrary, the club has just purchased a new 50 horse power cub plane, the second in a year, with the anticipation of greatly-increased business in civil aviation. Four other instructors are now taking a course at the airport and will be qualified to instruct within a month or so, making one of the largest groups of instructors at any aero club in the country.
Stewart S. MacNaughton, president of the Hamilton Aero club, stated this morning, "Each year we improve the club's facilities to handle civil aviation training, not only for private pilot's licenses, but also commercial, transport and instructor's tickets. Last year, for instance, 18 members received their private pilot's license, six their commercial, six others became qualified instructors and four more gained their transport license. The club now has seven planes of its own, not counting several others which are used solely to train the RCAF students."
Born in Montreal
Son of Robert Shaw and Mary Ann Welsh Hart
Raised in Hamilton
Instructed at the Hamilton Aero Club
Commissioned July 7th
Reported to 242 Squadron 18 July 1940
Sent to 5 OTU 19 July for Hurricane experience
Rejoined 242 on 12 August
KIA 5 November 1940
Shot down while flying Hurricane P2806
His name is on the RUNNYMEDE MEMORIAL
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH
The undermentioned are granted commissions for the duration of hostilities as
Pilot Officers on probation:— 7th July 1940 - Norris HART (81879)
SEVEN AIR FORCE STUDENTS TAKING TEST AT LOCAL PORT
Aero Club of Today Far Cry From Embryonic Steps Taken By Jack V. Elliot
Jean Cowman Has Seen It All
20 July 1940 - Seven young R.C.A.F. student flyers will take their tests tonight at Hamilton Aero Club from Chief Instructor Ernie Taylor. Those passing — and from marks they have established all through the eight weeks' course, none should have difficulty — will join the legion of skilled airmen Hamilton has contributed to the aviation world.
Since Jack V. Elliot, father of commercial aviation in Canada, started his Elliot Air Service here and later merged it with International Airways, aviation has made tremendous strides in this locality. Hamilton Aero Club and the commercial schools have turned out scores of pilots who hold important posts in the department of transport, R.C.A.F., R.A.F., Trans-Canada Airlines, and in commercial aviation. The city has two aeroplane factories, Cub Aircraft Corporation and White Canadian Aircraft.
No person has watched this development closer than Miss Jean Cowman, secretary of the Hamilton Aero Club, who during the days of the first airmail here had the teletype signature of "Sunshine." No less an aviation personage than J. B. Wilson, controller of civil aviation, paid tribute to Miss Cowman's contribution to the flying game here when he stopped at Hamilton during the weekend while en route to Windsor to open an extension of Trans-Canada Airlines to the border.
Literally hundreds of gallant young flyers in all branches of aviation, military and civil, testify to Miss Cowman's helpful interest in their progress.
She is truly an aviation pioneer here. She served with International Airways around the time that Jack Elliot asked and got $1,000 cash as a first payment on a course in flying. She witnessed first flying efforts on the old Beach road fields and later saw the transfer of activities to the present civic airport.
Praised By Students
Perhaps the best tribute to her was the attitude of the seven young student flyers as they concluded their day's stint at the airport yesterday. They included her in their comment on the day's progress in piling up the desired 50 hours' flying time. They mentioned problems they had encountered in the courses in rigging, aero engineering, theory of flight, airmanship, air navigation and signalling.
"We should get through okay tomorrow, eh Jean?" one of them inquired.
"I hope so," Miss Cowman smiled in return. The seven, J. M. Bradley, A. S. Johnston and D. J. Smith, Toronto; A. S. Burrill, Oakville; K. W. McLaren, Sarnia; D. E. Filer, Niagara Falls, and J. W. St. John, Grimsby, will be succeeded by another class, just as eager in their studies, and just as appreciative of the friendship of Jean Cowman.
Jean is especially proud of the record that Chief Instructor Taylor has piled up for the Hamilton club, which is participating in the flying clubs' program of training under the R.C.A.F. Others taking part are Windsor, Brantford, St. Catharines and Kitchener. The local club has turned out pilots of uniformly high rating, departmental reports show.
Graduating here as leading aircraftsmen with a thorough course of instruction in flying and ground school training back of them, they can aim at some of the records established by other products of Hamilton aero activities.
Other Hamilton Aero Club men in the R.C.A.F. in various capacities are Oscar Feast, bandmaster of the 119th Bomber Squadron; James Frame, Robert Tilbury, Harry Pattinson, Jerry Bell, Glen I. Wonnacott, Joseph Reid, Dr. R. Matchett, Dr. J. W. Tice. Dr. Henry Peacock, Alex R. McDonald, Jack Brittan, Gordon Hunter, Laird Jennings.
Now in England
With the R.A.F. in England are Basil Vansickle, Ray Tufford, Bud Keller, A. W. Lawson, Norris Hart, J. L. Leeds, G. S. Levy and Paul Delorme.
Two club instructors who leave to take up duties at the Windsor club are Albert J. Lewis, and Jack Bradford, who have done splendid work here. Lloyd Dean leaves for Trenton shortly to take a special course lasting three weeks.
November 1940 - The first loss of the war to hit our town was in "Norrie" Hart. Norrie was not a native son, nor even an old-timer here, but in the few months between August, 1936, and March, 1937, he made many friends who felt his loss keenly. He was a clean-cut, likeable lad, and was very popular during his sojourn here.
Norris Hart was the son of Mr. & Mrs. R. S. Hart, of Hamilton, Ontario, to whom we extend our sincere sympathy. Mr. Hart is Vice-President and General Manager of the National Steel Company.
When Norrie left here he went to California and attended a flying school and technical school for about two years. From there he went home to Hamilton and applied to Trans-Canada Airlines for appointment as a pilot. He waited for some time, and hearing nothing from T.C.A., he enlisted in the Air Force. The following day his acceptance by T.C.A. was received, but he had then thrown in his lot with the thousands of other Canadian boys who are serving so creditably with the R.A.F.
Norrie duly arrived in England and was posted to the famous "Canadian" Squadron under Commander Bader. The story we received was that Norrie was returning with his squadron from a raid over France, where they accounted for two enemy planes, when a Messerschmitt was seen following them. Norrie wheeled out of formation and turned back to engage the enemy. That was the last seen of him, and whether he was killed or taken prisoner in Occupied France is not known. We sincerely hope that the latter may prove to be the case, or better still, that he is in hiding and gradually working his way back, as has happened on several other occasions, and that he will eventually return to his family and friends.
Airmen Who Met Huns During Battle of Britain
Paved Way For Offensive
Some of Canada's First Aces of This War Still Are in Action
- Pilots Now Seek Out Enemy Over His Own Territory
(Written for the Canadian Press by F/L Basil Dean, R.C.A.F.)
Fighter Command, Somewhere in England, Sept. 8, 1943 — (CP) — There are still some of the few left, some of those hard-fighting combat pilots of Battle of Britain days, but mostly it is a new brood of pilots who fly from the air bases hereabouts in Britain's Fighter Command. Three years ago, when the first few of Canada's aerial aces were fighting their way to fame, the battles were over British soil. Now, with greater numbers of Canadians than ever before in Fighter Command, the pilots are going out to seek the enemy over his own territory. This air fighting of today is offensive, not defensive, as during the Battle of Britain, but it was the fighting then that made the current offensive possible.
Some Still Flying
Some of the Canadians who fought with honor and glory in those grim days three years ago are still flying. Wing-Cmdr. D. B. Russel, D.F.C., of Montreal, who now leads an R.C.A.F. Spitfire wing in Britain, was then P/O Dal Russel and a member of Canada's No. 1 Fighter Squadron, which arrived in England in June, 1940 — just in time to get trained for the fierce tests of August and September of that year.
Russel's old commanding officer, Ernie McNab, now is Group Capt. Ernest McNab, D.F.C., of Regina, commander of an R.C.A.F. fighter station.
In Sicily, Squadron-Ldr. Stanley Turner, D.F.C. and Bar, of Toronto, led the R.C.A.F.'s City of Windsor fighter squadron through the island campaign. In 1940, he was a flight commander in the R.A.F.’s famed "all-Canadian" squadron led by Wing-Cmdr. Douglas Bader, D.S.O., D.F.C., which destroyed 63 enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain and shared three with other squadrons.
The squadron was composed mainly of Canadians who had joined the R.A.F. before the war, and fought nobly during the Battle of France and over Dunkerque.
Its achievements during the Battle of Britain, indeed, brought from the air officer commanding of the group in which it was serving at the time a message which said that its efficiency as a squadron was "equal, if not superior, to any squadron in the R.A.F." The British chief of air staff signaled: "You are well on top of the enemy and obviously the fine Canadian traditions of the last war are safe in your hands."
Greatest pilot of the "all-Canadian" squadron—apart from the legless commander, Bader (who was not Canadian)—was P/O W. L. McKnight, D.F.C. and bar, of Calgary, who was reported missing some months after the Battle of Britain ended. McKnight destroyed 16½ enemy aircraft, and was the first (2nd, Hilly Brown was 1st -ed) Canadian ace of the war.
The "all-Canadian" squadron's first Battle of Britain engagement was August 30, when Bader, now a prisoner of war, led a formation of 14 Hurricanes against a "vast number" of German aircraft, two swarms of 70 to 100 each. Detaching one section to investigate a third formation of aircraft some distance away, Bader led the rest of his pilots to the attack. As a result, 12 enemy aircraft were destroyed; not one of the Hurricanes had so much a scratch.
Similar engagements followed. On September 7, Bader and his Canadians destroyed 10 enemy aircraft without losing a pilot, although seven of the squadron's Hurricanes were damaged. On September 19, when the wing in which the squadron was flying destroyed a total of 18 enemy aircraft, the "all-Canadians" were credited with 11 of these for the loss of one pilot killed.
And then, in the greatest day's fighting of all on September 15, the squadron destroyed 12 enemy aircraft. This was the day on which Bader described the fighting as "the finest shamble I've ever been in."
"The sky," he added, "was full of Hurricanes and. Spitfires, queuing up and pushing each other out of the way to get at the Dorniers. I was seldom able to hold my sights on a target for long for fear of colliding with other Spitfires and Hurricanes anxious to get in a burst."
Among the Canadians P/O J. B. Latta, D.F.C., Victoria, B.C., had knocked down five enemy planes; F/L Turner had five; so had P/O N. K. Stansfeld, D.F.C., Vancouver. P/O H. N. Tamblyn, D.F.C., North Battleford, Sask., and P/O N. Hart had four each. Altogether Canadian pilots in the squadron had destroyed 45 of the total of 65 credited to the squadron; Bader had scored 11.
Canada's own No. 1 fighter squadron, which although its personnel have completely changed; is still flying in Britain with fighter command, had scored a total of 31 victories during the battle under McNab's leadership. McNab himself had scored the first victory to be credited to a member of the squadron when, in order to gain combat experience, he flew as a supernumerary officer with an R.A.F. squadron before No. 1 fighter was ready for front-line duties.
In the squadron's first engagement as a unit, on August 24, it destroyed three Dorniers for the loss of one pilot. By the end of its first week in action it had destroyed eight enemy aircraft for the loss of one pilot killed. The score continued to mount until September 27, when the Canadian squadron destroyed seven enemy aircraft out of about 70 engaged during the day; one pilot of the squadron was killed. In the day's first fight, Russel had destroyed an ME 109 and an ME 110 and had shared with a Polish pilot the destruction of a third enemy fighter.
McNab, F/L G. R. McGregor and Russel were each awarded the D.F.C., having destroyed between them, 11½ of the squadron's total. McNab and McGregor now are both group captains; Russel is a wing commander.
In other squadrons of the R.A.F., Canadians had also distinguished themselves. One of the flight commanders in the R.A.F. squadron was a Canadian, F/L R. A. Barton, Kamloops, B.C., who later became squadron commander of his unit. He was awarded the D.F.C. for his "outstanding leadership" on September 27, a day on which the squadron destroyed 21 enemy aircraft for the loss of two pilots killed. The total bag during September was 48, a total exceeded only by the famous No. 303 Polish squadron, in which another Canadian, F/L (now Wing-Cmdr.) John Kent, Winnipeg, was at that time a flight commander.
Victories Include :
30 Aug 1940
15 sept 1940
18 sept 1940
|crew lost *
4 / 0 / 0
* Uffz. Burger & crew missing from 5/KG 1
Battle Of Britain Service Planned Here For Sunday
Pay Tribute To Heroic Airmen
On Sunday, September 21, (1947) Across the whole Dominion of Canada congregations in churches will bow their heads in prayer in tribute to the valiant members of the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force who gave their lives for freedom in the Battle of Britain waged over the skies of that island from July to October 1940.
In that epic struggle for supremacy of the air Canada was represented by several hundred officers and airmen who served as air crew and ground crew in Fighter, Bomber and Coastal Commands. The great majority of these Canadians who fought in the Battle of Britain were young men who had crossed the Atlantic in pre-war days to enroll in the R.A.F. and served in units of that force. There were, however, two fighter squadrons which bore the name Canadian. One was 242 (Canadian) Squadron of the R.A.F., composed of Canadian fighter pilots in the R.A.F.; the other was No. 1 (Fighter) Squadron of the R.C.A.F., (later designated No. 401) which arrived in Britain on the eve of the battle.
Hamilton today mourns the loss of one of her sons who fought in this heroic battle. P/O Norris Hart, son of R. S. Hart, 90 Stinson Street, was shot down in the first week of November 1940 after having served with 242 Squadron under the famous leader S/L Douglas Bader for two months.
Speaking of 242 Squadron R.A.F., on September 15, 1940, the official R.A.F. records state "September 15 marked the climax of the battle, the historic day on which 85 enemy aircraft were shot down. When, just before noon on that sunny Sunday morning, the first great waves of raiders began to cross the Channel, No. 242 Squadron took off to engage them. Over Gravesend, east of London, the squadron, accompanied by four other fighter units, found about 30 Dorniers escorted by Messerschmitt fighters flying 6,000 feet below. S/L Bader led his pilots in a diving attack out of the sun and the enemy force was all but annihilated. Bader described the action as "the finest shambles" he had been in. For once the British had the advantage of height, position and numbers; indeed the sky seemed to be full of Spitfires and Hurricanes who queued up and pushed each other out of the way to get a shot at the Nazi bombers. The German fighters judiciously stayed out of the way. Stansfeld and Turner each destroyed a Dornier; F/O Tamblyn shared another with a companion; S/L Bader shot down a fourth and a Fleet Air Arm pilot in the squadron accounted for a fifth. F/O Hart shot down an Me-109 in flames. In addition, several Dorniers were damaged. The four squadrons flying with No. 242 claimed 23 destroyed and eight probables in the action.
This is but the account of one squadron in one day of those terrible four months that finally hammered the Hun into submission so far as striving for the conquest of Britain was concerned. It is for the heroism of those pilots who fought those grim battles high above the British Isles that Canadians everywhere will offer a prayer of thanks on Sunday as will the people of Great Britain.
Here in Hamilton the occasion will be marked by a church parade of 424 Fighter Squadron R.C.A.F. (Auxiliary) and the Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadrons of Hamilton to the Church of St. Thomas. At this special service Wing Cmdr. Douglas H. Wigle, commanding officer of 424 Squadron will read the lesson and Rev. Dr. R.C. Blagrave, rector of the church, will deliver a special sermon.
Following the service the squadron and cadets, led by the Air Cadet Trumpet Band, will march west on Main Street East to James Street, north on James to King Street, and east on King Street past a saluting base near the Cenotaph. Here the salute will be taken by Commander Sam Ross R.C.N. (R), commanding officer of H.M.C.S. Star; Lt.Col. A.E. Bliss, E.D., commanding officer of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada, and Group Captain Norman S. McGregor, president of the Hamilton Air Cadets.
Following the march past the squadron will return on the north side of King Street and halt in front of the Cenotaph where a wreath will be placed and Last Post and Reveille sounded. The parade will then move off south on Hughson Street to Hunter Street for dismissal.
In the afternoon at approximately 4 o'clock two flights of the squadron, commanded by S/L Douglas Annan, D.F.C., A.F.C., and S/L William A. Olmsted, D.S.O., D.F.C. and Bar, will fly in formation over the city.