Lewin Henry "Bunny" Curphey

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Vancouver Flier Given Credit for Sinking Axis Tanker With Torpedo

London, Nov. 4, 1942 - (CP) - Canadians flying in fighters, fighter-bombers and torpedo-carrying planes are playing a "prominent part" in the Middle East operations which have beaten Axis airpower in the desert to a standstill and forced Rommel's army into "full retreat." An R.C.A.F. press release from Cairo tonight said that in addition to the Canadian fighter squadron which went to Egypt last June there are a number of Canadians fighting with the R.A.F. and a few with the United States army air forces in the desert.
"The Canadians have taken a prominent part in terrific troop strafing of the enemy's lines, have harassed his supply columns further back, have bombed his dumps and strong points and have battered his shipping," the R.C.A.F. release said. "In unprecedented blasting from the air to which Rommel's lines were subjected before the latest British advance began, Canadians took a particularly prominent role. The individual exploits of Canadian fliers already are being recorded in large numbers on the Egyptian front and daily are being augmented."
The R.C.A.F. named Pilot Officer R. V. Manning of Vancouver, who wrecked an Axis tanker with a torpedo hit and Sergeant K. B. Taylor of Priceville, Sask., who fought three Italian planes with a spare machine gun stuck out of an open turret after the rear guns of his machine were knocked out of action. Pilot Officer L. H. Curphey of Ottawa also was mentioned for destroying an Italian fighter while escorting Allied bombers on a raid. "Canadians of both air and ground crews shared the work and credit during the tremendous and intensive bombardment of the enemy's positions at El Alamein, and during the ceaseless night and day attacks on the enemy's vital supply columns and landing grounds," the release said.
"Tired ground crews working in close harmony with their flying comrades have maintained all types of aircraft to a high degree of serviceability under harassing conditions of desert warfare."
The release concluded that all men wearing the "Canada" badges on their shoulders—including cooks, wireless operators, clerks, telephonists and others whose jobs are not spectacular—are helping the "big drive" after weeks of painstaking preparation.


Curphey, Lewin Henry J/7769 - 112 Sq. RAF
Son of Robert Lewin & Gabrielle Perault Curphey
of Sherbrooke, Quebec
Home in Ottawa, Ontario
Flew with Gary Wright in N. Africa

KIA  January 13th 1943

Buried at the Alamein War Memorial - column 271


R.C.A.F. Squadron Helping To Decimate fleeing Army of Axis on African Front
So Many Bombers Taking Part, Loads Released in Shifts on Foe

Cairo, November 5, 1942 - (CP Cable) - Endless relays of Canadian aerial scrappers joined in mass formations of allied airmen and pounded relentlessly at axis forces fleeing in disorder on the Egyptian desert before the victorious British 8th army.
F/S C. L. Shaver, of Cornwall, Ont., said there were "so many bombers operating we were dropping our loads in shifts."
"On our third trip of the day we had to wait until other bombers had completed their work before we could make a run at the target," he said.
Similar stories were told by other Canadians who described the aerial onslaught on the tattered forces of Field Marshal Erwin Rommel as an amazing sight."
The condition of one road along which the axis soldiers were fleeing was a "shambles," said F/L R. R. Smith, of London, Ont.
These airmen are members of the R.A.F. One complete Royal Canadian Air Force squadron also is operating on the desert front.
The famous desert "Shark" squadron of fighter-bombers has played a brilliant role since the offensive started. The squadron includes many Canadians who have engaged in bombing axis landing grounds and transports and fought hundreds of dog-fights.

Inflict Heavy Losses
During one 48-hour period the squadron destroyed 13 axis planes and suffered in exchange only two wounded pilots.
During recent heavy fighting R.C.A.F. members of the squadron, accounted for at least eight Stukas and one ME-109. F/S Brown of Virden, Man., destroyed two Stukas, while F/S Dick De Bourke of Boston, Mass., also knocked off a pair.
Sgt. R. C. C. Smith, of Windsor, Ont., bagged one Stuka and also got credit for a probable. P/O Joe Crichton, of Chapleau, Ont., destroyed a Stuka and P/O L. H. Curphey, of Ottawa, got the Messerschmitt.
Most of the dive-bombers were destroyed when the squadron intercepted a formation of 30 escorted by 15 Messerschmitt fighters. The allies tore in and forced the Germans to jettison their bomb cargoes over their own lines.


Canadian Fliers Played Leading Role in Desert

Ottawa, November 26, 1942 - (CP) - Men of the R.C.A.F., flying with the R.A.F.’s famous Shark Squadron in the British offensive which routed Rommel's Africa Corps, "accounted for" nine enemy planes in two days, R.C.A.F. headquarters said today.
The squadron's total bag in that period at the start of the 8th Army's westward surge was thirteen enemy aircraft.
The activities of the Canadian airmen - one and perhaps two of them citizens of the United States - were cited as an instance of the leading part R.C.A.F. fliers are playing in the current African operations.
These are the R.C.A.F, men flying fighter-bombers with the Shark Squadron, oldest air force unit in point of service on the desert front, who accounted for the Nazi machines:
Flight Sergeant D. Brown, Virden, Man., two Stukas destroyed.
Flight Sergeant Dick DeBourke, Boston, two Stukas destroyed, one probably destroyed.
Flight Sergeant, E.C.C. Smith, Windsor and Detroit, one Stuka confirmed, one probable.
Pilot Officer L.H. Curphey, Ottawa, one plane destroyed.
Flying Officer Joe Crichton, Chapleau, Ont., one plane destroyed.
The basis for the Air Force statement was a report from an R.C.A.F. public relations officer with the Canadians in the Middle East. The statement said Canadian airmen were "well to the fore" and "accounted for eight Stukas and one Messerschmitt 109.
While the statement did not list a Messerschmitt specifically in the bag of the Canadians named, an Air Force spokesman said possibly Curphey or Crichton got it.
The Shark Squadron gets its name from the jagged shark’s teeth painted on the noses of its aircraft, which became the "nemesis of the Germans both in the air and on the land."
"One of the great battles (of' the squadron) was on a day when they encountered a group of thirty Stukas with an escort of fifteen ME 109's," the R.C.A.F. officer said in his report.
"This was while they were returning to base after bombing an enemy airfield. Out numbered as they were they did not hesitate. They tore into the Germans with such speed that they forced the Nazi dive bombers to jettison their cargoes of bombs on their own trooplines.”
Mass formations of aircraft roared through the skies carrying tons of destruction in the early stages of the offensive, the report said, comparing the air traffic in some sectors to rush hour at the corner of King and Yonge Streets in Toronto.
It quoted Flight Lieutenant C.L. Shaver of Cornwall as saying; "There were so many bombers operating that we were dropping our loads in shifts. On our third trip we had to wait around until other bombers had completed their bombing before we could make a run at the target."
Flight Lieutenant R.R. Smith of London, Ont., who was on his second tour of operations after a layoff, described conditions in some enemy sectors as a "shambles."


Public Relations Officer Gives Account to R.C.A.F. Headquarters

Ottawa, Nov. 26, 1942 — (CP) — Canadian airmen took a prominent part in the air side of the operations which put the German Africa Corps to rout, R.C.A.F. headquarters said today in a report from a public relations officer with the Canadians in Egypt.

Got Eight Bombers
Canadians in one squadron, the famous Shark squadron of the R.A.F., shot down eight Stuka dive bombers and one Messerschmitt 109 fighter in two days. The squadron's total bag was 11 Stukas and two ME 109's.
The public relations officer, whose name was not given, described the early aerial onslaught on the united nations from Egypt as a "terrific sight" and said "traffic in the rush hour at the corner of King and Yonge streets, Toronto, could not have been heavier than that which filled the sky over certain sectors."
The Shark squadron, the oldest in point of service in the desert, uses fighter-bombers with jagged rows of sharks' teeth painted on the nose. Canadians flying in these machines from daylight to darkness escorted heavy bombers, and bombed enemy landing and transport facilities.

Matched Tactics
"In the first few days of the offensive they (the Shark squadron) matched tactics with the Luftwaffe to the tune of 11 Stukas and two ME 109's destroyed over a period of two days," said the report. "Their own losses in the same period were two pilots wounded.
"Canadian members of the squadron in that fighting were well to the fore. They accounted for eight Stukas and one ME 109.
F/S D. Brown, of Virden, Man., had two Stukas to his credit in this fight, while F/S Dick DeBourke, of Boston, Mass., had two Stukas confirmed and one probable. F/Sgt. R.C.C. Smith, of Windsor, Ont., and Detroit, destroyed one Stuka and probably destroyed another, while P/O L.H. Curphey, of Ottawa, and F/O Joe Crichton, of Chapleau, Ont., each destroyed one.
"One of the great battles was one day when they encountered a group of 30 Stukas with an escort of 15 ME109's. This was while they were returning to base after bombing an enemy landing field.
"Outnumbered as they were, they did not hesitate. They tore into the Germans with such speed that they forced the Nazi dive-bombers to jettison their cargoes of bombs on their own troop-lines."
Describing the mass of aircraft employed, F/S C.L. Shaver, of Cornwall, Ont., said:
"There were so many bombers operating, that we were dropping our loads in shifts. On our third trip of the day we had to wait around until other bombers had completed their bombing before we could make a run at the target."
Of another trip F/S R.C. Lecrous said. "The squadron, while proceeding to bomb German transport troops moving from the south, passed two lots of bombers on their way out and on reaching the target, found there still others."
F/L R.R. Smith, of London, Ont., a Canadian in the R.A.F., who is on his second tour of operations after a lay-off, described conditions in some sections as a "shambles."


Air Force Casualties

Ottawa, Feb. 22, 1943 - (CP) - The R.C.A.F. in it's 505th casualty list of the war reported 10 men killed on active service overseas; one missing and believed killed during overseas air operations, and five missing after overseas air operations, including Wing Cmdr. John Clarke Fee, D.F.C. and Bar, of Calgary. The list of casualties with next of kin includes –

CURPHEY, Lewin Henry, F/O, killed on active service overseas. R. L. Curphey (father), Sherbrooke, Que.


Victories Include :

31 July 1942
1 Oct 1942
22 Oct 1942
27 Oct 1942
31 Oct 1942
5 Nov 1942
13 Dec 1942
one Me109
one Ju87
one Me109
one MC202
one Me109
one Me109
one Me109

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