Keith Louis Bate "Hod" Hodson

RCAF   AVM   -   OBE,  DFC   &  Bar,  DFC (US),  CdeG w/ Gold Star (Fr)

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London, April 29, 1942 — (CP Cable) — The King chatted with three Canadian airmen on a visit to fighter command stations in the south of England today. He watched the start and finish of a successful R.A.F. sweep, which took Empire flyers to Dunkerque where they covered bombing attacks.
Inspecting one Spitfire squadron before the takeoff, His Majesty stopped to talk to P/O Frank Jones, of Sherbrooke, Que., a former salesman in Vancouver, and F/L Bill Stock, 20, of Ottawa, the only two Canadian members of the squadron.
He asked them if they had been trained in Canada and the number of sweeps they had been on.
The King motored to another aerodrome where half an hour later he saw the Spitfires roaring back. He congratulated a New Zealand flyer, F/S Tony Robson, who told him he had hit a Focke-Wulf 190 which plunged to earth emitting smoke.
S/L Keith Hodson, 26, of London, Ont., attached to the squadron of famed "Paddy" Finucane which the King also visited, told the King he had "chased a few (enemy planes), but didn't catch anything." Hodson is a veteran of more than 20 sweeps.


Born in Gorey, Jersey (BCI), 12 Sept. 1915
Son of an Army General
Home in London, Ontario
Joined the RCAF 3 January 1938
Trained at Trenton
Got wings 18 October 1938
Commisioned F/O 3 Jan. 1939
Instructed at Camp Bordon
Examined pilots at 2 SFTS Uplands
Chief Flying Instructor at 8 SFTS Moncton
Attached to Ferry Command
2nd Piloted a Liberator To UK, Nov. 1941
Attended OTU &
Posted to
602 Squadron in the Spring of 1942
602 C/O at that time was Paddy Finucane
C/O of 401 Squadron
W/C of 126 Wing

A/V/M Keith Hodson  KiFA  5 July 1960


Fiercest Raids of War Driven Home

By DREW MIDDLETON - London, April 29, 1942 - (AP) - Trondheim and Kiel, important bases for the menacing Nazi naval power, were left blasted and burned today by heavy R.A.F. assaults as Britain relentlessly prosecuted the fiercest air offensive of the war.
Nine British bombers were lost in the overnight raids, which included attacks on Low-Country airdromes and a power plant at Ghent, Belgium.
The R.A.F.'s figure raised its April bomber losses to 137, but the offensive score included a three-hour raid on Trondheim Monday night, four nights of deadly assault which all but erased from the map the German Baltic port and factory town or Rostock, and incessant day and night blows against points along the Nazi "invasion coast."
The blows against German strong points on the French coast continued today. Boston (Douglas) bombers, supported by Spitfire fighters-bombers, lashed at Dunkirk and shot down two Nazi fighters while losing two themselves.
The King visited the airdromes in the South of England from where the Spitfires took off, stopping to chat during his inspection with three Canadian members of the attacking forces — Pilot Officer Frank Jones of Sherbrooke, Que., Flight Sergeant Bill Stock of Ottawa and Squadron Leader Keith Hodson of London, Ont., veteran of more than twenty sweeps across the Channel.
On his return, Hodson told the King he had chased a few enemy planes but "didn't catch anything."
Last night's raid on Trondheim, second in succession, emphasized British concern over the presence in that Norwegian port of the German battleship Tirpitz and several other warships on the flank of the vital supply route to Murmansk, Russia.
The Air Ministry told of great fires started at Kiel, but was hesitant to claim great damage at Trondheim.
Other reports reaching London said Rostock was an ash heap, its 90,000 population fled or dead, with only firemen and a few troops left to rake the ruins and combat looters
Passengers in a plane from Britain to Stockholm were quoted as saying they could see Rostock burning 250 miles distant.
The destruction and death toll were declared in German reports via Zurich to be far above those of Lubeck, which was estimated to have been 40 per cent destroyed in a raid March 28.
Informed British sources said the Lubeck and Rostock raids already had dislocated German transportation to an extent noticeable on the Northern Russian front.
Accompanying the tremendous British raids on the Continent, the R.A.F. Fighter Command is carrying on a steady campaign of attrition against German plane strength in Western Europe.
Thus far in April, fighters have swept across the Channel sixteen times, shooting down fifty-three German planes. The R.A.F. loss was seventy-nine, higher than the Germans primarily because of the greater distance from home bases.
This loss, informed persons said, would have been "catastrophic in 1940," but now can be carried easily because the Fighter Command still has untapped reserves of planes and pilots.
So marked has become the British air superiority within fighter range over the Continent that Major Oliver Stewart, a foremost air expert said, "From the air side alone — and I make no comment on land or sea problems — invasion operations on the Continent seem practicable."
Major Stewart declared invasion would entail heavy air losses meeting the "high mobility" of German air strength, but said, "If the Germans moved many air units from the East our invasion attempt would be justified on account of easing the burden of the Soviet Union."


Went Into Action Two Years Ago, Canadian Fliers Have Won 6 DFC's
Proud Record Compiled by Only R.C.A.F. Unit in Battle of Britain

By FLYING OFFICER BASIL DEAN, R.C.A.F. London, July 17, 1942 — Canada's first fighter squadron to precede overseas — the only R.C.A.F. unit to serve during the Battle of Britain — has just celebrated its second anniversary. It was two years ago in June that the squadron landed in Great Britain.
Since that day, it has carved out a fine name for itself in the Battle of Britain. It accounted for a considerable number of German raiders, and since then took a leading part in the great daylight sweeps over Northern France which Fighter Command has been staging during the summers of 1941 and 1942.
Today it is commanded by Squadron Leader Keith Hodson of London, Ont., former chief instructor at the service flying school in Moncton, N.B., with 2,000 flying hours in his log book. A former commanding officer, who was moved recently, is Squadron Leader A. G. Douglas, an R.A.F. pilot who was awarded the D.F.C. for his work with the squadron. Two other members of the squadron got D.F.C.s at the same time —Flight Lieutenant Eugene (Jeep) Neal of Quebec City and Flight Lieutenant Ian (Ormie) Ormston of Montreal. Seven decorations in all have been awarded to members of the squadron.

Two Squadrons Merge
The squadron was born from the amalgamation of two pre-war Canadian squadrons, No. 1, which was based at Calgary, and No. 115, which had its headquarters at Montreal. The boys first got together on the boat early in June, and by the time they landed at an English port, were fairly well acquainted. First, they were at "A" for a couple of days after landing, and then went to a station in the vicinity of "B" for three weeks. July 7 saw them at "X," not far from London. It was at the latter station, they say, that "we found out what the war was all about."
A day or two before they were scheduled to leave for still another station Jerry came over to leave his visiting card with the Canadians.
"That night we really got a pasting," the veteran members of the squadron recall. There were no casualties, however, although a bomb went right through the orderly room. Some members of the squadron will tell you that this bomb was the only "good" one the Nazis have dropped in the whole war. It destroyed, it seems, many squadron records, including the crime sheets. All petty offenses any one had committed prior to that date, therefore, were wiped out and forgotten.
The squadron moved on to another station according to schedule, however, and it was at this new station, Aug. 26, that it first went into combat as a unit. A few days previously Squadron Leader (now Group Captain) Ernest McNab, who later won the D.F.C., Went on an operational trip with another squadron "just to see what it was like," and managed to shoot down an enemy aircraft. The first action as a squadron, however, was on Aug. 26 and it was the date they lost their first pilot, Flying Officer Robert L. Edwards.
It was a grand record for the first time out, however. The squadron was ordered to intercept twenty-five enemy bombers raiding Britain, and they did so with a vengeance. They destroyed three Do215’s and damaged three others, and pretty well broke up the formation.
In the show that day were a number of pilots whose names have since become bywords in Canada in this war. There were Flight Lieutenants G. R. McGregor, A. Dean Nesbitt and V. B. Corbett, and Flying Officers Jean Paul Desloges, H. de M. Molson and D. B. Russel. Including the squadron leader, six of these men now wear the Distinguished Flying Cross.
Two of the first Focke-Wulf 190's shot down by Allied airmen went to the credit of the squadron on Nov. 22, when the total score was four destroyed, one probable and four damaged. On that day Flight Lieutenant Ian Ormston, later to become a flight commander and holder of the Distinguished Flying Cross, got his first enemy aircraft. It was the first aerial combat, too, for another who was to become a Flight Commander with a D.F.C., Flight Lieutenant E. L. (Jeep) Neal. Flying Officer H. A. (Hank) Sprague was reported missing in that day's operations, and is now a prisoner of war.
Then on Feb. 12 of this year the squadron took part in the "Scharnhorst do," up the English Channel, and in this affair raised a score of two destroyed and two damaged. Many times, this spring and early summer, they have gone out over the Channel or over France without seeing an enemy. At other times he has fled home.
While many former members have gone to other squadrons, the "Newcomers" still carry on. There is Sergeant Don Morrison of Toronto, who has destroyed two enemy aircraft and helped destroy another, besides between two and three damaged on his board. There is Ian Ormston, who destroyed two and helped destroy another, besides a probable and a damaged. And there are many others.


Nazis' New Focke-Wulf Drubbed by Spitfires
Canadian Fighters Down 1, Damage 4

London, July 26, 1942 - (CP) - Two Canadian Spitfire squadrons helped the R.A.F. account for its big bag of nine new Focke-Wulf 190s during today's sweep over France.
It was a hard-hitting assault in which R.C.A.F. squadrons, commanded by Squadron-Leader R. C. Weston of Saint John, N.B., and Squadron-Leader K. L. B. Hodson of London, Ont., followed their bomber brethren's excursion Saturday night over Duisburg and it brought the Canadians credit for one enemy destroyed, one probably destroyed and at least three damaged.
Simultaneously with the announcement of the fighters' success it was made known that three R.C.A.F. bomber squadrons participated in this third attack on Duisburg in a week.
They were led by Wing Commanders Johnny Fauquier of Ottawa, D. A. R. Bradshaw of London, Ont., and John (Moose) Fulton of Kamloops, B.C.
The Canadian bomber squadrons who helped carry two-ton "block bombs" to dump on Duisburg suffered no casualties.
Weston, describing the fierce afternoon engagements with the highly touted Focke-Wulfs, said: "It was definitely our turn. We jumped them and had the best of them, though there were plenty of Huns in the sky."
Top scorer in Weston's squadron was Flight Lieutenant F. E. Green of Toronto, who destroyed one Nazi fighter and damaged a second. Pilot Officer G. G. Davidson of Brantford, Ont., got one probable and Pilot Officer K. I. Robb of Duchesnay, Que., claimed two damaged.
"The Nazis were flying at about 200 feet — in fact, lots of the fights took place that low." Weston said.
"Flight Lieutenant Green got a Focke-Wulf right in his sights and gave him a good burst. He had the satisfaction of seeing him crash into the trees. There can be no doubt about that one."
Davidson saw his bullets entering a twisting enemy fighter, but the engagement moved so rapidly he was unable to follow the damaged Nazi,
Robb took on two Germans, one after the other, and once he got them in his sights he succeeded in pouring bullets into both of them. However, he was unable to observe the results.


Four R.C.A.F. Squadrons Are Included in
Forces Raiding Submarine Yards
Twenty-Nine Aircraft Fail to Return —
Germans Strike at England Early Today Bombing 23 Districts

July 27, 1942 - A special communique issued by Major-Gen. Carl Spaatz, commander of U.S. army air forces in the European theatre, disclosed that seven American flyers accompanied R.A.F. fighter squadrons in a series of daylight sweeps over northern France yesterday, during which nine of Germany's vaunted new Focke-Wulfe 190 fighters were shot out of the skies, one by F/L S. E. Green, of Toronto.
Green was among the two squadrons of Canadian fighters commanded by Squadron-Ldrs. R. C. Weston, of Saint John, N.B., and K. L. B. Hodson, of London, Ont., who helped smash the vaunted Focke-Wulfes. P/O G. G. Davidson of Brantford, Ont., got credit for one Nazi probably destroyed, and P/O K. I. Robb of Duchesnay, Que., for two damaged.

Dogfights at 200 Feet
Weston said the R.A.F. squadrons, with Canadians, Americans and Poles, as well as Britons, pounced on the Nazis at 200 feet. Many of the dogfights took place at that altitude.
The allies lost three planes, including one of three piloted by the Americans. Five of the German planes were shot down by a crack Polish squadron.
While the allied fighters were busy over occupied territory, single British bombers made daylight attacks on industries in the Ruhr yesterday and reported that great fires which R.A.F. and R.C.A.F. raiders had started in Duisburg the night before still were raging.


Every Fighter Unit of RCAF Employed Supporting Attack

London, Aug. 19, 1942 - (CP) – One-third of the German Air Force's fighter-plane strength in the West probably was destroyed or damaged today in the fierce ski battles that raged over Dieppe on a scale comparable to the titanic struggles of the Battle of Britain two years ago.
The Germans are believed to have had a force of about 300 fighters based in the West zone, and it is known that 82 (48 -jf) of these were certainly destroyed today, and 100 others were probably destroyed or damaged.
United Nations planes provided a great canopy over the Commando landing and land operations beneath were estimated to number more than 1,000 - the largest daytime air armada ever sent up from this island.
Every Canadian fighter squadron was in action. Canadian Army cooperation squadrons were in action for the first time, possibly supporting Canadian troops who spearheaded the nine-hour assault on Nazi installation in the Dieppe area. This was not certain, however, as the co-operation squadrons may have been used on Channel patrol duty.
There was this difference between the fighting today and that in the Battle of Britain: The Germans lost for to five machines for every British one lost in the RAF defensive battle two years ago. And today the losses given so far indicate the Nazis could do little better than claim one Allied machine for every one they lost.

Nazi Loss Heavy
Condition, today were even less favorable for the United Nations air forces than they were for the Germans who came over the England in swarms in 1940. For one thing, they were met by a Nazi force big in numbers and for another, their chief task was the protection of the Allied ground and sea forces.
The German losses must he considered "very heavy" in the view of qualified observers, especially in relation to the total air strength in this theater. It was believed these losses would produce some strain on German air strength in other areas. Allied losses were ninety-five planes
One indirect outcome of the air successes over Dieppe will probably he a softening of German air power against Russia, particularly if the Nazis find it necessary to withdraw fighters from the eastern front to replace losses in the West.
The air protection afforded to the ground forces was unparalleled in British fighting history.
"It is a very gratifying feature of the raid,” an RAF commentator said. “Both the nation and the RAF have been waiting for the day our troops would get the support they deserve. They got it today.
There was no doubt that a number of British planes were lost giving protection to the troops by low-flying attacks. But those air assaults must have eased the position for the ground forces.
The protective planes zoomed thick and fast over the Channel.
By mid-afternoon several squadrons had made as many as six sweeps, pausing only to refuel and rearm. Action throughout the day was fast and heavy.
Under the command of Squadron Leader Keith Hodson of London Ont., a fighter squadron also formed part of the escort for American Flying Fortresses which blasted at the Nazi fighter base at Abbeville, France.
After the attack on this base, the fighter squadron flew over the Dieppe sector. There it fought several Dornier 217's, the latest Nazi dive-bomber.

Constant Procession
Hodson, from fifty yards got in one long burst at a Dornier and Sergeant M. Zobell of Raymond, Alta., fired all his cannon and machine-gun ammunition into a second dive-bomber. Meanwhile, Sergeant Stanley Cosburn of Calgary attacked two other Dorniers and was rewarded by seeing bullets rip into both.
A Focke-Wulf 190 was sighted by Hodson during the flight. He fired a burst of cannon fire into the enemy's fuselage.
Throughout the day, beginning with the first grey streaks of dawn, there was intense aerial activity over the Channel. Off the South coast, air battles were going on almost continually. Observers reported a constant procession of aircraft flying over the coast and explosions on the other side.
Important in the Allied air action was the work of twenty-four American Flying Fortresses, which, at the start of the Dieppe action, raided the German fighter ‘drome at Abbeville before many planes could leave the ground.
All the Fortresses returned home after all but one had dropped their bombs on or near the target.
Three were damaged by anti-aircraft fire and the radio operator of one was the only casualty. He had an injured kneecap.
Runways fuel dumps and plane dispersal areas were hit.
Abbeville is thirty-eight miles from Dieppe.


Score 15 Direct Hits On Vital Rail Junction
Smashing Victory Over Luftwaffe at Dieppe
Will Force Nazis to Withdraw Planes From Russian Front,
British Observers Declare

LONDON, Aug. 20, 1942 - (CP) - In the Greatest daylight aerial offensive of the war, 300 (? text unclear) Allied fighter planes raided the invasion coast of France today while Flying Fortresses bombed the Amiens railway yard, scoring fifteen direct hits on their target. Previously the Allies have limited the number of planes in a similar day time operations to 200 (? text unclear). The widespread attack too was a continuation of the daytime use of the huge four-motored bombers, a recent innovation.
The fact that not a single plane was reported lost and only slight fighter opposition was encountered was regarded by British authorities as further indication of the severe mauling the Nazi air force took in the battles over Dieppe.
In fact some quarters in London believed the German losses yesterday included at least one-third of the Nazi fighter strength in the western occupied zone of Europe.
Four Canadian squadrons, in the forefront of yesterdays titanic air duel over Dieppe, were in action again today, escorting the Flying Fortresses to Amiens.
A communique announced that one German aircraft was destroyed during the operation but did not indicate whether it was shot down by the Canadians or by one of the bombers.
The Canadian squadrons were commanded by Squadron Leader Keith Hodson of London, Ontario, Norm Bretz of Toronto, Knobby Fee of Toronto and R. B. Newton, an Englishman in the R.C.A.F.
The operation, extended from Le Havre up the French coast to Futnes (? text not clear), above Dunkirk.
Direct hits were scored on numerous targets attacked by the raiders.
The intensity of the raiding was disclosed by the story of the Belgian pilot of an RAF Spitfire plane.
“I saw fifteen bursts on the target and most of the hits were on yards and locomotive depots,” he said. “Great mushrooms of grey smoke went up after the bombs were dropped.”
All Allied planes returned safely.


Many of Raiding Planes
Packed With Eight Tons Of High Explosive Bombs
Thirty Aircraft Fail To Return
Large Fires Set In Both Regions
Canadian Flyers Take Part In Big Attack

London, Aug. 29, 1942 - (CP) - Nuremberg, a great war industries centre and the rally ground of Hitler's Nazi party, and the Saar steel centre of Saarbruecken were attacked heavily by a strong force of British and Canadian bombers which left large fires burning in both cities last night. The heaviest assault was on Nuremberg, the air ministry said. Thirty bombers were lost from the "large force" of perhaps several hundred, many of which packed eight tons of explosives each. Objectives in northern France were raided by the smaller and swifter fighters during the night.

Saturation Technique
The heavy bombers used the "saturation" technique of attack by which great numbers of bombers crowd into the air space over their targets.
The extent of losses was ascribed by observers to the brilliant moonlight and cloudless skies, highly favorable to anti-aircraft and night fighter defence.
While the strength of the raiders was not officially disclosed, it was understood to have run well into three figures but not to have been near 1,000-bomber proportions.
The bombers flew nearly 500 miles to reach Nuremberg, deep in southern Germany, once a peaceful old city and now a centre of Nazi war production. Saarbruecken, on the French border and only about 35 miles from Metz, is a rich coal and iron-producing centre.
An air ministry communique said 30 bombers failed to return from the mission. On the basis of average five-per-cent losses on similar large-scale raids in the past, this would put the number of participating planes at 600.
The attacking force was understood to have included one and possibly more Canadian bombing squadrons.
The assault was the third this week against German industrial centers. On Thursday night a force of approximately the same strength smashed at the former Polish port of Gdynia, only a few miles west of Danzig on the Baltic Sea, and at Kassel, a locomotive-building centre. Monday night Wiesbaden and Frankfurt were the targets.

Home of Tank Industry
Nuremberg is the home of the Nan tank factory and has a large aluminum works manufacturing piston rods and castings. The Siemen-Schuckert factory there makes heavy electrical equipment.
The quaint old German city is also an important railway centre and has large repair shops for locomotives and rolling stock. It is on the Ludwig canal, connecting the Main and Danube rivers.
In striking at Nuremberg, Britain was attacking one of the best-known German garrison towns. In recent years, it had acquired considerable notice as the parade ground and sounding board for the annual Nazi party conventions, but these have been suspended for the duration of the war.
Saarbruecken, in the rich Saar valley, is in the centre of some 70 square miles of coal mines. It has gigantic iron works and steel mills.
RCAF men on the raid reported conditions so nearly perfect that every detail of the streets and buildings of Saarbruecken stood out in relief.
"We took three runs over the target before dropping our stuff, and we just couldn't miss," said Pilot Ronald Bell, of Victoria, B.C., who flew with Sgt. John Bell, of New Glasgow, N.S., and Sgt. Arthur Dorey, of Tantallon, N.S.
F/S Daniel Allen, of Lennoxville, Que. hopping from his plane in the early-morning darkness, said "it was a marvelous trip as far as flying and bombing conditions were concerned."
“The place was afire in a number of spots when he arrived and there was no mistaking the target," Allen added.
The Quebec flyer had his usual crew along —P/O Alan Hill, Vancouver; Sgt. Tom Reeves, New Westminster, B.C., and Sgt. Glen Scott, Fredericton, N.B.

Hamilton Flyer Present
"Twenty-one is my lucky number and this is my 21st birthday, so I was hardly surprised it went so well, said Sgt. Robert Berry, of Hamilton, Ont.
Other Canadians pounding Saarbruecken included F/S Jack Price, Indian Head, Sask.; Sgt. John K. Knight, Calgary, and Sgt. William Rowland, of Brussels, Ont.
In addition to the massive night assault, the Germans have suffered under daylight precision raids in occupied territories by Flying Fortresses of the United States air forces and extensive sweeps by British and Canadian fighter squadrons.
Apparently roused by this round-the-clock schedule, the Germans struck back last night, dropping explosive and incendiary bombs in northeast and eastern England, mostly in coastal areas. The Germans said Sunderland was one target.
Eight persons were killed in one town in northeastern England when a bomb destroyed four homes. Workers dug in the debris throughout the night and rescued a baby boy alive. He was the only survivor.
Bombs were dropped during daylight today on a West England town. Two Nazi bombers were destroyed.
The German attacks, however, bore no comparison to the massive RAF attacks against the Continent. Last night's smash was the third of the week.
On Monday night, Wiesbaden and Frankfurt were the targets. On Thursday night, the powerful bombers, escorted by Canadian Spitfire squadrons, flew hundreds of bombs to the former Polish port of Gdynia a few miles west of Danzig while other planes blasted the German locomotive-building centre of Kassel.
United States Flying Fortresses filed in between the raids with a daylight attack on Meaulte, an important aeroplane centre in northern France yesterday.
RCAF Spitfire squadrons escorting the Fortresses scored one probable down and also damaged several Nazi planes in heavy fighting. Other British and American Spitfire squadrons and fast Boston attack-bombers swept the invasion coast from Calais to the Seine.
One RCAF fighter was lost out of the two escorting squadrons led by Squadron-Ldrs. Norman Bretz, of Toronto, and Keith Hodson, of London, Ont.
Returning Canadians said opposition for a few minutes was almost equal to that encountered over Dieppe.
P/O B. (Scotty) Murray, of Halifax, who scored a probable, said he saw a Focke-Wolf 190 attacking another aircraft in his squadron. He climbed to get above it and opened fire at 50 yards. "I saw my cannon fire entering his fuselage and wing," he said. "He rolled over twice and went into a spin, pouring black smoke from his engine.”


Nazi Positions Battered For Two Days and Nights
By Allied Aerial Forces
Operational Flight Is the Longest Recorded Of This War to Date

London, Sept. 8, 1942 - (CP) - British, Canadian and American air forces, continuing their day-and-night assaults on the Nazis, climaxed two days of intense activity yesterday with raids on the railroad yards at Utrecht and Schledam shipyards at Rotterdam - the longest recorded operational flight of the war.
American Flying Fortresses followed up R.A.F. daylight raids on Emden, Bremerhaven and other targets in western Germany with a smashing attack into Nazi-held territory. The American bombers returned intact by fighting off a swarm of German fighters and shooting down 12 of them.
It was the tenth attack in Europe by the giant bombers since they entered the European theatre August 17th.
"With more crews and aircraft like these, there can be no doubt about the mastery of the air over Europe," said Major-Gen. Carl Spaatz, commander-in-chief of United States air forces in the European theatre.

Fortresses Amaze Experts
"The Fortresses have amazed the experts again," the air correspondent of the Daily Mail wrote.
One Canadian fighter squadron was among the escort for the Fortresses, two others made diversionary attacks. The Spitfires swept to Utrecht, a 300-mile round trip, while escorting and carrying out diversionary raids. The Canadians were led by Squadron-Ldrs. Norm Bretz, of Toronto; John Fee, of Calgary, and Keith Hodson, of London, Ont.
Sunday night a "strong force" of R.A.F. bombers, escorted by two R.C.A.F. squadrons, battered Duisburg, at the junction of the Rhine and Ruhr rivers, and started tremendous fires in the important traffic and metallurgical centre. Nine planes were lost in that and related operations, indicating that hundreds of bombers participated.
German bombers made their appearance over England last night, planes being noted over East Anglia, the Home Counties and London, but a communique said the few bombs dropped caused slight damage. One person was reported injured. Flares were dropped in the London area, but heavy antiaircraft fire drove off the planes before bombs were released. One invading bomber was reported destroyed.

Story of Gallantry Told
The Flying Fortress raid yesterday brought forth a new story of a gallant crew and a sturdy plane. "In returning from the attack at Rotterdam," a statement issued by United States army air forces headquarters said, "a formation of B-17's encountered enemy fighters and the engine of one aircraft was damaged.
"The pilot, Capt. Aquilla B. Hughes, of Waco, Texas, endeavored to keep up with our formation by diving his aircraft, but in doing so the Flying Fortress fell behind and became a special target for 12 Focke-Wulf 190's which dived at tremendous speed from a higher altitude.
"On a second attack of 12 enemy aircraft, Sgt. Gilbert Goar, of Clarkesdale, Miss., himself wounded, shot down a FW 190, which caught fire as it fell. Then Sgt. Jerry D. Johnson, of Milwaukee, fired a single burst from his .50 calibre machine gun into a second FW 190, which also burst into smoke. The navigator, Lieut. Morris E. Mansell, of Houston, Tex., put a burst of .50-calibre bullets into a third FW 190, but could not confirm its destruction."
Captain Hughes fought off all attacks and brought his bomber back to his home aerodrome. The running battle lasted 15 minutes.
"During this raid," the statement said, "twelve German fighters were destroyed and many others probably destroyed or damaged…"
The Daily Mail's air correspondent, in writing that the Flying Fortresses had "amazed the experts again," said "it is highly probable that the achievement of the great American bombers in close cooperation with the R.A.F. fighter command will now convince the authorities both here and in Washington of the opportunity provided for a great new daylight blitz against the enemy."
Against the stray raiders which appeared over the London area during the night, it was recalled that two years ago last night the German air force launched the first great fire raid on Britain's capital, starting conflagrations in east end dock areas.
The raiders which appeared last night dropped flares of an unusual type. Thousands who watched in the streets described them as resembling “silver rain.”
The only bombs, however, were in two areas of the Home Counties. It was considered likely the planes there were attempting to locate air bases of night bombers and fighters.


HODSON, S/L Keith Louis Bate (C807) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.401 Sq.
Award effective 15 September 1942 as per London Gazette dated 2 October 1942 and
AFRO 1653/42 dated 16 October 1942.

This officer has participated in a large number of sorties. He is a skilful pilot whose personal example has inspired the squadron he commands. Much of the success it has achieved can be attributed to Squadron Leader Hodson's excellent leadership.


Citations For Canadians Praise Bravery Under Fire

Ottawa, Oct. 3, 1942 — (CP) — Citations for S/L Keith L. B. Hodson, of London, Ont., and P/O W. E. King, of Alton, Ont., who recently won the Distinguished Flying Cross, and for F/S H. F. Watlington, of Hamilton, Bermuda, who won the Distinguished Flying Medal, were announced by Royal Canadian Air Force headquarters here last night.
Announcement of the awards was made September 25, but the actual citations accompanying the awards were not made public then. The official citation for S/L Hodson read as follows:
"This officer has participated in a large number of sorties. He is a skilful pilot whose personal example has inspired the squadron he commands, and much of the success it has achieved can be attributed to S/L Hodson's excellent leadership."
P/O King's award resulted from the part he played on a raid on Duesseldorf. The citation said: "P/O S. Watt and P/O King were captain and navigator, respectively, of an aircraft detailed to attack Duesseldorf. When nearing the target area, the aircraft was held in a concentration of searchlights and hit by anti-aircraft fire. The intercommunication was rendered unserviceable and P/O King was wounded in the leg and stomach. Despite this he bravely continued his duties. His subsequent navigation was of the greatest assistance to P/O Watt, who succeeded in flying his damaged aircraft back to this country.
S/L Keith Hodson
S/L Hodson
"These officers, both of whom have completed many successful sorties, displayed outstanding devotion to duty in difficult circumstances." (P/O Watt, of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, was also awarded the D.F.C.)
The third citation, covering the award of D.F.M. to F/S Watlington, said: "This airman has displayed exceptional ability and his courage has been an example to his fellow pilots. In September, 1942, he was pilot of an aircraft in the leading flight of a force detailed to attack an enemy convoy with a formidable escort of destroyers and fighter aircraft.
"Despite the opposition F/S Watlington pressed home his attack from short range and although both of his air gunners were wounded during attacks by fighters, this airman succeeded in evading the attackers and flew his aircraft back to base safely."


Canada's Airmen Get Chance To See How the Army Works

With the RCAF somewhere in England, Dec. 15, 1942 - CP) - Canadian airmen are being given a chance to see how the army works, with the object a closer liaison between the forces when the combined operation season opens again. Pilots in the R.C.A.F. fighter squadrons commanded by S/Ls Knobby Fee of Calgary, Keith Hodson of London, Ont. and Bud Malloy of Halifax, have been asked which army unit they would like to visit, giving each man a chance to spend a week with army men from his own district.
Each squadron plans to send one man each week to organize the army this winter. . . . F/O Alex Ince of Toronto was first to leave this station, going to a brigade headquarters for posting to two or three units for a few days each. . .
Among others expected to visit the army soon are Sgt. Bill Ferguson of Peterborough, Ont., who has asked for the Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders; Sgt. B. W. Evans, Porcupine, Ont, who wants to see some Ontario tank men, and Sgt. John Chapin, Brantford, an Ontario battery.
The main problem in an operational squadron is to work out a plan whereby enough seasoned pilots will be kept on duty while the army visits are taking place.
Commanding officers also have to consider other men being away on leave. The army will return the compliment, sending men to air stations for a. better understanding of the air force's problems.
It sounded like a terrific battle the way F/L Frank (Bitsy) Grant of Brockville, Ont., was describing it to a group of officers in the mess. . . He was waving his arms excitedly
"This big job flew up right in front of us," he said. "We let him have it with everything we had, but he got away."
It turned out that Grant, a former boxing star at Queen's University, Kingston, Ont., was telling about a pheasant-shooting safari he and several other Canadian pilots had organized that foggy afternoon, when all fighter planes on the station were grounded. . . . They saw lots of birds, but didn't bring any down.
"We didn't get a single destroyed," he said. "I don't think we even got a probable. I think we did have one damaged."
Accompanying F/L Grant on the shooting trip (to a near-by estate which had been made available to Canadian airmen) were S/Ls Knobby Fee of the Engine-Busters and Keith Hodson of another Canadian Spitfire squadron, F/L Fred Kelly of Beaverton, Ont. and Sgt. B. W. Evans of Porcupine, Ont.




Bombing Trains, Buildings, Battling Foe in Dogfight
Day’s Work For Canadians
Four German Fighters Shot Down,
Others Damaged in Sunday Operations
— Boys in Great Spirits On Return

With the R.C.A.F. Somewhere in England, Jan. I8, 1943 - (CP Cable) - Adding to the fury of Britain's renewed aerial assault on the enemy, Canadian Spitfire pilots Sunday destroyed four German fighters, damaged a number of others and successfully attacked several locomotives inside France in their biggest day's operations of recent months.

Three Planes Missing
Pilots from three Canadian squadrons took part in the operations, which ended in what several described as one of the biggest dogfights they had been in.
Three Canadian planes are missing.
The Canadian squadrons were led by S/Ls Bud Malloy, of Halifax; Fred Kelly, of Beaverton, Ont., and Keith Hodson, D.F.C., of London, Ont. While some planes remained thousands of feet over France to guard against enemy fighters, designated pilots dived for attacks on trains and buildings with cannon and machine-gun fire. In some cases a lone pilot would attack a locomotive. Varying the technique for other cases; a succession of machines streaked in for one attack after another, and pilots on watch high up reported plumes of steam from damaged engines rising up at a number of points.
Kelly; F/L Dick Ellis, of Montreal; P/O M. Johnston, of Selkirk, Man., and P/O Ed Gimbel, of Chicago, shot down the fighters.
"I got in about a three-second burst at one coming almost head-on," said Ellis. "I saw him go right into the ground!”
P/O L. W. Powell, of Edmonton, a D.F.C.-decorated engine-buster with more than a score of locomotives to his credit, added another when he raked a freight train from end to end.
Sgt W. J. (Jock) Kinniard, of 12424 102nd street, Edmonton, flew No. 2 with Powell, and said: "I saw only a big cloud of smoke on the first run and could not see anything to shoot at after Powell had gone over the engine ahead of me.”
On the second run Kinniard managed to get in a burst of fire at the engine, while Powell was strafing a gun post near the tracks.

Had to Race For Home
P/O Bob Earle, of 60 East Drive, Victoria, B.C., and Sgt. A. M. B. Ketterson, of 3652 Northcliffe Avenue, Montreal, damaged an engine at the outskirts of a shunting yard. On the way out Earle fired at three Focke-Wulf 190's and later was attacked by three others when without ammunition. He had to race for home.
F/L Barry Needham, of Wynyard, Sask., shared in attacks on two locomotives with Sgt. G. L. Marshal, of 2982 West 3rd avenue, Vancouver, and P/O K. I. Robb, of Lachine, Que.
F/L J. D. Hall, of 3 Ridgeway road, Toronto, attacked three trains. Other locomotives were fired on by F/O Hugh Godefroy, of 3 Oriole Parkway, Toronto; F/L Frank Grant, of Brockville; F/O Dave McKay of Winnipeg, and Sgt. E. J. Levesque, of 71 Melrose Avenue, Ottawa.
Up top, engagements with enemy fighters were going on while the Spitfires thundered back and forth at a low altitude for their strafing activities.
"The one I got came at me from an angle," said Johnston. "I pulled away from him and saw tracers going by me. Then I got behind him and got in a long burst."
P/O E. J. Roff, of Richmond, Que., scored damage on two enemy aircraft during the fray, and Malloy and P/O D. J. McCrimmon, of Sylvan Lake, Alta., each scored a single damaged.
Godefroy notched strikes on two enemy fighters in addition to a locomotive he hit earlier. Others damaging Nazi fighters were F/L D. G. Murray, D.F.C., of Halifax, and Sgt. Frank B. Evans, of South Porcupine, Ont.
Altogether it was a great day for Canadians in the fighter command and the boys were in great spirits as their planes shuttled off for the channel crossing after news got around that the R.A.F. had been over Berlin the previous night.


HODSON, W/C Keith Louis Bate (C807) - Bar to DFC - No.401 Sq.
Award effective 17 April 1943 as per London Gazette dated 27 April 1943 and
AFRO 985/43 dated 28 May 1943.

This officer has commanded the wing for nearly two months and during that time has led it on eighteen operational missions. He has had a long and distinguished operational career during which he has proved an excellent leader. His keenness and efficiency have been outstanding and are reflected in the high standard of operational efficiency achieved by his unit.

NOTE: Public Record Office Air 2/8945 has the original recommendation - for a Distinguished Service Order - submitted by the Wing Commander in charge of RAF Sector Kenley (undated):

This officer has been on operational flying without a break for just over a year. He commanded No.401 (RCAF) Squadron for eight months and brought it up to a very high standard of efficiency and morale. He took over the Kenley Wing nearly two months ago and since then has led them on some 18 sweeps, making for him a total of 120 sweeps since arriving in England. He is a born leader and demands and gets an exceptionally high standard of efficiency. His great keenness, efficiency and natural abilities have made him a Wing Leader of no ordinary value, and I cannot recommend him too highly for the Distinguished Service Order. he has done 250 operational hours without a break.

On 11 March 1943 the Air Officer Commanding, No.11 Group, rote:

Wing Commander Hodson has had a long and distinguished career, during which he has shown himself to be a very good leader. I do not, however, consider that his record quite merits the award of the Distinguished Service Order, but I strongly recommend him for the immediate award of a Bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross.

On 23 March 1943 the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Fighter Command, concurred, writing, "Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross recommended".


Five Canadian Pilots Awarded Decorations

Ottawa, April 26, 1943 - (CIP) - Air force headquarters tonight announced award of a bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross to Wing Cmdr. Keith Louis Bate Hodson of London, Ont., and the award of DFC's to F/O George Lawrence, Bowsman River, Man.; F/O Gustave H. E. Maloney, Los Angeles, Calif. and F/O Gordon Leonard Shemilt, Heewatin, Ont.
The D.F.M. was awarded Sgt. Joseph Charles Lepine, of Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Que. All those receiving decorations are serving with the RCAF overseas. Hodson won the D.F.C. in September, 1942, when he was cited for his skill as a pilot and the leadership of his squadron. He held the rank of squadron leader at the time.

The citations:
Wing Cmdr. Hodson, D.F.C.: "this officer has commanded the wing for nearly two months and during that time has led it on 18 operational missions, during which he has proved an excellent leader. His keenness and efficiency have been outstanding and are reflected in the high standard of operation efficiency achieved by his unit."
F/O Lawrence: "F/O Lawrence has been flying with this squadron since March, 1942, and has destroyed three enemy aircraft in combat at night. These engagements took place under, difficult circumstances, when this officer proved himself to be a skilful pilot and gunner. He has invariably displayed great keenness for operational flying and has fulfilled his duties most commendably."
F/O Maloney: "This-officer has completed 84 flights, including a, number of sorties over Germany, Northern France and Holland. In the Middle East he has rendered valuable service. Photographs which he obtained over the El Alamein battle zone were an important contribution to the pictorial record, on which the advance was planned.
"On a recent occasion he dived under the balloon defenses in the face of heavy antiaircraft fire to obtain photographs of Italian naval units. This officer is an outstanding pilot whose courage and devotion to duty have been of a high order.
F/O Shemilt: "This officer has completed 42 sorties, including a number of attacks on airfields and lines of communication in Northern France and the Low Countries. In the Middle East he has achieved much success in attacks on road and rail transport.
"In a sortie in February 1943, P/O Shemilt shot down a Junkers 88. The same night he reported the presence of a big convoy near Maritimo. The convoy was later attacked with great success by torpedo-carrying aircraft. This officer has at all times displayed great skill, determination and devotion to duty."
Sgt. Lepine: "This airman participated in operations over Europe before being posted to North Africa. He has proved himself to be an efficient wireless operator and fully contributed to the successes achieved by his crew. Sgt. Lepine has constantly displayed courage and devotion to duty."


Population Said Swelled By 20,000 — Industry Grows Apace

London, Ont., June 29, 1943 — (CP) — An estimated 20,000 persons — one in every four here — have moved to London during the past three years, a shifting population being war's most visible mark in this city. A further 14,000 left the city during the same period for service with the armed forces.
At least half a dozen Londoners have gained the Distinguished Flying Cross for service against the enemy and scores of others have received efficiency medals and citations of one kind or another. Those awarded the D.F.C. were F/L Robert R. Smith, W/C D. A. R. Bradshaw, W/C Keith Louis Hodson, F/L John Ingamells, F/L R. D. Grassick and F/L Bradley Walker.
An additional half-dozen from the city have been awarded the Order of the British Empire.


HODSON, W/C Keith Louis Bate, DFC (C807) - Distinguished Flying Cross (US) - Overseas
Award effective 17 July 1943 as per London Gazette dated 20 July 1943 and
AFRO 644/44 dated 24 March 1944.

Public Records Office Air 2/ 9599 has USAAF 8th Air Force General Order No.104 dated 16 July 1943 which gives citation.

For extraordinary achievement while participating in more than twenty combat missions in conjunction with United States Army Air Force bomber operations. Displaying great courage and skilful airmanship, Wing Commander Hodson has zealously sought out the enemy and engaged him in aerial combat. His actions on all occasions reflect the highest credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of His Majesty's government.





With the RCAF in Britain, July 6, 1944 — Many Canadian ground crew were flown to the fighting front when units of the R.A.F. Tactical Air Force were getting established at airfields in France. They are the members of the “air lift” parties and were flown to the front in Dakota transports instead of waiting for the slower surface trip cross the Channel.
In charge of "air lift" arrangements on the R.C.A.F. airfield commanded by W/C Keith Hodson, D.F.C. and Bar, is F/L W. V. Rintoul, Creemore, Ont., former munitions inspector at Ottawa.
Rintoul and a few key men remained behind after the advance party went in to prepare landing strips on the Continent to super vise maintenance of Spitfires still operating from Britain. As soon as a permanent base was established in the invaded territory the "air lift" men were transported by Dakotas to their new base.
Prior to invasion the crews had made practice flights and they arranged to carry their own personal kit and that of the fighter pilots.
"The boys like the idea,” said Rintoul. "Many of them have been trying to make aircrew, while some who were on bomber squadrons were complaining that they never got any flips at fighter stations."
Crews primed for the move included those of F/S R. H. D. Miller, Glencoe and F/S M. L. Lang of 385 Olive Ave., Oshawa, Grizzly Bear Squadron ground crewmen. Working with F/L Rintoul is F/O T. R. Yaeger, 2578 Dundas St. W., Toronto, permanent force engineering officer.
Other ground crewmen who eagerly anticipated their air trip info the battle area were Sgt. J. A. McMullen, 1529 Gladstone Ave., Windsor, and LAC. K. Snowball, 98½ Eaton Ave., Toronto.


Why Not? Not Strange English Ace With RCAF

By KENNETH C. CRAGG, Ottawa, July 9, 1944 — (Staff) — Take it from one who has flown and fought with him, W/C James E. (Johnny) Johnson, leading Allied ace in the Western European theatre, comes as fine as they're made in a field in which there is tough competition.
Which is simply a prelude to the question of why an R.A.F. man is commanding an R.C.A.F. Spitfire formation that is so full of Canadians that it could he called an all-Canada outfit with only the slightest exaggeration. Johnson, who at the latest reading had 35 Nazis to his credit, is the exaggeration.
When it was put to S/L D. G. (Bud) Malloy at R.C.A.F. headquarters, who has a D.F.C. and won’t admit it, that one-time fighter pilot immediately assumed a frankly pained expression and barely caught himself from snapping back: "Why not?"

Just Natural
Instead, he took this reporter gently by the hand and, with all the authority of an officer who is now in charge of flying training, made it clear that Johnny Johnson is just as naturally with an R.C.A.F. wing as a lot of R.C.A.F. men are with R.A.F. formations — and commanding them too.
It all goes back, so far as this particular wing is concerned, to the days when there were not enough Canadians to make it an all-Canadian formation. They started off with W/C Brian Kingcome, D.S.O., D.F.C. and Bar, one of those hardy Battle of Britain fighters. Kingcome is a group captain in Italy now.
Then, when he went off for a rest, there was W/C Clarke (Knobby) Fee, D.F.C. and Bar, of the R.C.A.F. Fee came from Winnipeg and when he went missing, he was succeeded by W/C Keith Hodson, D.F.C. and Bar, and D.F.C. (U.S.), also of the R.C.A.F. When Hodson was taken off operations, Johnny Johnson took over. He did one tour with the wing, went out for a rest, and came back for another tour.
"Now," suggested Malloy "what is there more natural than that."

Popular With Canadians
To make it more natural, he told how Fee was the first Canadian to lead an R.A.F. squadron and how Hodson once flew as No. two to the late W/C Paddy Finucane, who had a score of 33 before he was knocked down in action.
And to make it clearer, or at least to indicate that there is something closer between the airmen of the Commonwealth than the cut and color of their uniforms, Malloy himself used to fly off Finucane's station.
"Johnny," said the squadron leader, "first came to the wing in April, 1943. He was very well liked by the Canadian boys, and he struck me as being very much like Paddy Finucane who was one of the best men who ever lived and a marvelous kid on top of that.
"Johnny is like Paddy in this; he seems to be almost able to smell them out and wherever he is you can count on a good scrap. Like Paddy, he seems to have that faculty of being in the right place at the right time."

Escorted Fortresses
Johnston had a fair score when he came to the wing. He won his D.S.O. with the Canadians, and got many of his credits while escorting Flying Fortresses.
"And," said Malloy, "don't let anybody kid you, that is a tough job."
Malloy remembers well the day Finucane was knocked down. They had been shooting up transportation and Finucane's plane was hit at a low level and he crashed into the sea. The squadron's main task was to protect the rescue boats from Nazi planes. There were 10 R.C.A.F. Spitfires and about 25 Huns.
"It was," said Malloy, "a hell of a scrap."
Malloy is a Halifax man and joined up the day war was declared. He trained at Camp Borden and instructed for some time at Uplands. He got his transfer to operational in January, 1942.


Wing Commander Keith Hodson, D.F.C. and Bar, Is Back Home on Furlough

Grimsby, Ont., July, 31, 1944 — Veteran of 140 operational flights and former commanding officer of the first Royal Canadian Air Force fighter squadron overseas, Wing-Cmdr. Keith Hodson, D.F.C. and Bar; also the United States D.F.C., is back in Canada on furlough. He arrived at the home of his parents, Brigadier Vernon Hodson and Mrs. Hodson, of Grimsby, on Saturday night. One of Canada's noted airmen, Wing-Cmdr. Hodson was in command of one of the first Canadian wings to go to France following the invasion.

Hard Fighting Ahead
"In my opinion," he said last night, "there's a lot of hard fighting to be done yet. Victory is not yet in the bag and the idea that the war is just about over can be dangerous. The people of London had that idea before the London bombs started. It's not fair to the Canadian army to say it's all over neither is it fair to the people of Canada. I think there's a lot of hard fighting ahead before victory is complete."
Asked if he had had any experience with the robot bombs, he replied, "On my way back from France I spent a few days in London and all I can say is that it's a lot safer in France than it is in London."

Wing Commander Hodson
Hodson in earlier days
"The German pilots, he said, are no match for Spitfires and, man for man, the Canadian pilot is far superior at the moment. He believes the training given the Canadian pilot is far superior to that of the enemy.

Won't Discuss Exploits
The tall, curly-haired, quiet-spoken wing commander just would not talk about any of his own exploits in the air. About all he would say was: "I was on fighter sweeps over France and escorting United States Fortresses on their early raids — nothing outstanding at all." He didn't tell about leading his squadron in attacks on German trains or about leading the squadron over Dieppe on an escort assignment with American Flying Fortresses, then, after meeting stiff opposition going out on a second assignment to add five probables to the squadrons score. Nor did he tell about his own fights with Focke-Wulf 190's, Dornier 217's and other enemy aircraft; or about the part he played in the Battle of Britain.
There is one thing he is really proud of and that is the fact that he flew into battle many times alongside the late Paddy Finucane, ace RAF flyer of this war.
Wing-Commander Hodson is one of a military family. His father Brigadier Vernon Hodson, who was in command of the 1st Canadian Brigade overseas for a time, is a permanent force officer, and formerly commanded the Royal Canadian Regiment. He has two brothers, Major V. N. Hodson and Major I. A. Hodson, both permanent force officers in the regiment formerly commanded by their father. Major V. N. Hodson has returned from overseas and is now stationed on the east coast. Major I. A. Hodson is at present overseas.

Has Been Honored
Decorations was another thing, he wouldn't talk about. "I had a good squadron and got paid for it, that's about all," he said. The official citations tell the tale.
The award of the Distinguished Flying Cross, made in September, 1942, when he held the rank of squadron Leader, was referred to in the following terms: "This officer has participated in a large number of sorties. He is a skilful pilot whose personal example has inspired the squadron he commands. Much of the success it has achieved can be attributed to Squadron Leader Hodson's excellent leadership."
The award of the bar to the D.F.C., made in March, 1943, was accompanied by this citation: "This officer has commanded the wing for nearly two months and during that time has led it on 18 operational missions. He has had a long and distinguished operation career during which he has proved an excellent leader. His keenness and efficiency have been outstanding and are reflected in the high standard of operation efficiency achieved by his unit."
The United States D.F.C. was awarded "for an extraordinary achievement while participating in more than 20 combat missions in conjunction with United States Army Air Force operations. He displayed great courage and skilful airmanship."
A pre-war pilot, he joined the R.C.A.F. permanent force on January 3, 1938. He took his training at Trenton, graduating as a pilot tin March, 1939. He then took an instructor's course at Winnipeg. In May of the same year he was sent to Camp Borden as an instructor, and later to the Central Flying School at Trenton. In December, 1939, the Commonwealth Air Training Plan came into being and he was on the staff at Uplands - the first Service Flying Training School opened. From there he went to No. 8 S.F.T.S. at Moncton, where he became chief instructor. He went overseas in November, 1941, as second pilot of a Liberator. After a period at an operational training unit, learning tricks of the fighter pilot's trade, he was posted to an R.A.F. squadron commanded by Paddy Finucane. Three months later he was posted to the 1st Canadian Fighter Squadron which he later commanded.




HODSON, W/C Keith Louis Bate, DFC (C807) - Officer, Order of the British Empire
No.126 Wing (now Overseas Headquarters, attached 9th USAAF)
Award effective 1 January 1945 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 132/45 dated 26 January 1945.

Public Records Office Air 2/8872 has recommendation.

Wing Commander Hodson had commanded No.126 (RCAF) Wing for a period of twelve months when he relinquished it shortly after successfully establishing it on the Continent. Despite great difficulties he organized it with extreme efficiency and he was one of the first commanders to operate aircraft from an airfield in France. He was then transferred to another wing and moved on to the third airfield to become available, where he again displayed outstanding energy and enthusiasm, on occasions under enemy shell fire. His determination and tireless devotion to duty contributed greatly to the successful early operations of aircraft from Normandy.


Noted Airman

Jan. 2, 1945 - Wing Cmdr Hodson is a son of Brigadier and Mrs Vernon Hodson, of Grimsby. One of Canada's noted airmen, Wing Commander Hodson, previously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and Bar, and also the United States Distinguished Flying Cross, enlisted in the RCAF permanent force on January 3, 1938. He graduated as a Pilot at Trenton in March 1939. After (five words unreadable) he served at Camp Borden and at the Central Flying School, Trenton. In December 1939, after the Commonwealth Air Training Plan came into being, he was on the staff at Uplands — the first school open under the plan. From there he went to No. 8 SFTS, Moncton where he was chief instructor. He went overseas m November, as second pilot of a Liberator, and after a period at an operational training unit was posted to an RAF squadron Three months later he was posted to the first Canadian Fighter Squadron, which he later commanded.
A veteran of 140 operational flights, he spent a month's furlough at the home of his parents in Grimsby last summer. He was in command of one of the first Canadian wings to go to France following the invasion.
He comes of a military family. His father, Brigadier Vernon Hodson, was in command of the First Canadian Brigade overseas for a time, and formerly commanded the Royal Canadian Regiment. His two brothers, Major V. N. Hodson and Major I. A. Hodson, are both permanent force officers in the regiment formerly commanded by their father


Keith Hodson

Victories Include :

17 Aug 1942
19 Aug 1942

10 Nov 1942

one FW190
one FW190
one Do17
1/2 FW190
10 miles W of Rouen
Over Dieppe &
10 miles N of Dieppe
shared w/ Ed Gimbel

0.5 / 0 / 3


Air Force Dependants Are Due on Aquitania

Feb 28, 1946 - When the SS Aquitania docks at Halifax on March 3, she will be carrying 286 dependants of Royal Canadian Air Force men. The following will be coming to Hamilton or district.
Mrs. Margaret Inez Armstrong, wife of Cpl, J. C. Armstrong, 96 Balsam avenue south; Mrs. Mary-Kathleen Davis, wife of L.A.C. B. H. Davis, 48 Ottawa street south; Mrs. Edna Hodson, wife of W/C K. L. B. Hodson, O.B.E., D.F.C. and Bar, Grimsby, Ont.; Mrs. Elsie Hopkins, wife of P/O D. L. Hopkins, 159 Prospect, street south; Mrs. Dorothy Jamison, wife of W/O2 R. A. Jamison, Milton, Ont.; Mrs. Catherine L. Lefroy, wife of F/L H. K. Lefroy, Oakville, Ont.; Mrs. Clarice McComb, wife of W/O2 S. R. McComb, 23 Oak avenue.
On the SS Letitia, which its scheduled to dock at Halifax on March 4, carrying 179 dependants of Royal Canadian Air Force personnel, the following will be coming to Hamilton or district:
Mrs. Kathleen Gladman and her son, Timothy, wife of Cpl. E. J. Gladman, 21 Tuckett street; Mrs. Brenda Mary White and her son, N. Robert, wife of W/O1 F. F. White, 166 Burris street; Mrs. Audrey Barbara M. Woods and her daughter Patricia M., wife of Cpl. D. S. Woods, 320 Main street west.


HODSON, G/C Keith Louis Bate, OBE, DFC (807) - Croix de Guerre with Gold Star (France)
AFRO 485/47 dated 12 September 1947.


Ranking Airman Dies
Keith Hodson Chute Mishap Victim

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. 6 July 1960 — Air Vice-Marshal Keith L. B. Hodson of the R.C.A.F., one of Canada's most promising air staff officers and the second highest ranking Canadian with NORAD, was killed late Tuesday while parachuting from a disabled jet trainer a few miles from this huge Strategic Air Command base.
A spokesman for the North American Air Defence Command said Air Vice-Marshal Hodson, who served 22 years with the R.C.A.F., either broke his neck or was strangled in the cords of his parachute.
An autopsy was scheduled today to determine the exact cause of death.
This is the second tragic incident this year to reduce top ranks of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Air Commodore J. G. Stephenson, formerly of Windsor, was killed this spring when his plane crashed in Lake Michigan, near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Stephenson, formerly of Windsor, was killed this spring when his plane crashed in Lake Michigan, near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The handsome and popular Hodson, who looked much younger than his 44 years, was being checked out on a training flight by Col. Harry B. Allen, also 44, of Portland, Ore., when the engine of their T-33 jet trainer failed at about 13,000 feet.
Both men jumped 12 miles south of here and landed in an open field. But gusty winds hampered their landing. Col. Allen said he saw the Canadian being pushed along in the tangled lines of his parachute.
The Canadian was dead when the American reached him. Col. Allen suffered cuts and bruises and was taken to hospital for observation.
Acquaintances considered Air Vice-Marshal Hodson one of the most promising of younger R.C.A.F. officers, and there had been speculation he was in line for the post of chief of air staff in the not-too-distant future.
The picture type of airman in this modern-day jet age, he had a warm personality and was well liked and respected within the service.
He came to NORAD 20 months ago, and as deputy chief of staff of the joint Canadian-American defense body was the second highest ranking Canadian behind Air Marshal C. Roy Slemon of the R.C.A.F., deputy commander-in-chief of NORAD.
Before that, he was commander of the R.C.A.F. staff college in Toronto and was chief of R.C.A.F. organization and management at Ottawa.
His jet flight Tuesday was for proficiency and familiarization purposes.
He is survived by his widow and two children, Robert, 13, and Suzanne, 5, and his mother, a resident of Vancouver.
He had been in the R.C.A.F. since 1938, and served in Europe during the war as commander of 401 R.C.A.F. Fighter Squadron and 126 Fighter Wing. He led 126 to the continent after the Normandy invasion and served with the U.S. 9th Tactical Air Force toward the end of the war as liaison officer.
Air Vice-Marshal Hodson returned to the continent in postwar years to organize the Canadian air division in NATO and became its chief staff officer in 1952, with headquarters at Metz, France.
In 1954, he took over as chief staff officer for the air defense command at St. Hubert, Que., and then was commander of the R.C.A.F. staff college. He was assigned to NORAD Oct. 31, 1958. He held the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Canadian Air Force Decoration and the Order of the British Empire.
His father, Brigadier Vernon Hodson, at one time commanded the Royal Canadian Regiment, and two brothers, Major V. N. Hodson and Major I. A. Hodson, were both permanent force officers in that regiment.



July 15, 1960 - AVM Keith L. B. Hodson, RCAF, who lost his life in a T-33 accident near Colorado Springs on July 5, had been Deputy Chief of Staff at North American Air Defence Command (NORAD) headquarters since 1958. After experiencing engine failure and bailing out, his parachute caught on the tailplane and he was dragged down with his ship.

AVM Hodson during WWII

Keith Hodson during WW2




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