Stuart Newton May


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Stuart May & Jack Ritch with their Erks
22 July 1944 - Stuart May & Jack Ritch flanked by their Erks

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Aylmer Graduation

Aylmer June 5, 1942 (CP) - The following Ontario pilots graduated from No. 14 Service Flying Training School here today: Harvey Freeman, Robert John Currie Gardner, James Gardner Housego, all of Hamilton; Ernest Harry Griffin, Guelph; Donald Edgeworth Hand, Windsor; George Francis Hawtin, Beaverton; Thomas Riley Jackson, Woodstock; William. James Kasubeck, Sault Ste, Marie; George Boyd Lawson, Dundas; Frederick Stanley LeGear, Barrie; Stuart Newton May, Weston; David Malcolm McDuff, Trafalgar; John Dennis Playford, Waterloo; Theodore Milner Potter, Beamsville; George Herbert Speirs, Mount Forest; William Robert Welsh, Fenelon Falls; Leonard Joseph Horrocks, John Russell Irwin; Charles Husband Porter, John Roberts, all of Toronto.


Born in Weston Ontario in 1921
Home at 5 John St. Weston
Joined the RCAF in 1940
After getting winged he was
Retained in Canada as an instructor
Sent to England in 1943
Joined 418 Squadron
Shot down with Jack Ritch 17 Oct 1944
Evaded for 6 months
Sent back to England
Returned to Canada
Joined old friends at 18:00 12/31/2011


Air Force Casualties

Ottawa, Nov. 27, 1944 - The Department of National Defense for Air today issued Casualty List No. 7,081 of the Royal Canadian Air Force, showing next of kin of those named from Ontario as follows [in part] :


Missing After Air Operations

MAY, Newton Stuart, F/L, Mrs. W. S. May (mother), Weston.


Stuart May, Ed Burkhard & Jack Ritch
May, Burkhard & Ritch December 1944

The following story "My First Mission" was written by Ed Burkhard & published in the June 2004 edition of The Liberaider" & is reproduced here in part. Ed was shot down two months after Stuart & Jack & we take up the story here after Ed meets up with them:

"...About three hours after dark, we arrived at a large cabin on top of a mountain where the snow must have been two or three feet deep. I was exhausted and glad to get inside the building. Here I met my first group of Partisans. The group was headed by a Slovak captain. I can't recall the number of people in the group, but I do recall that there were two women — one who seemed to stay with the captain at all times, and the other, a radio operator, who had two men to help carry her equipment. I also met two Canadians in this group, Lt. Stuart May of Weston, Ontario, and Lt. Jack Ritch of Edmonton. Alberta. It sure was nice to finally be able to talk to someone. The Canadians had been with the Partisan group since October 17, 1944, when they crash-landed in a Mosquito. They had been moving from place to place, mostly to keep from being shot or captured by the German SS troops. They had had many close calls and didn't expect things to improve any. We stayed in this area for about a week.
The Canadians warned me that living conditions with the group were horrible and that body lice made it much worse. I didn't have any idea what body lice were, but just a few days later I found out that these creatures could make my nights a lot more miserable than my previous nights in Slovakia had been... [click here to read the rest of the story]


F/L Stuart May Reported Safe

16 May 1945 - A native of this city, Flight-Lieutenant Stuart May, son of Mrs. Mary May, now living on John Street, Weston, has been reported safe, six months after he first was listed as missing. Word was reported yesterday by his mother of his liberation. The telegram read: "Have been released and am in Allied territory. Letter follows."
Flt.-Lt. May was born in Guelph, and attended Weston schools. He enlisted in July 1941, and won his wings and commission at Aylmer in the fall of 1942 He served as an instructor at Camp Borden and Edenvale, going over-seas in February 1943.



Weston, May 17, 1945 – After six months of fantastic adventure in hills of Czechoslovakia, where Russian doctors and nurses cared for him, and where Russian Partisans rescued him several times from Nazis, F/L Stuart N. May, St. John., is now safe in England.
While attacking an enemy airfield in Czechoslovakia on October 17, 1944, May’s Mosquito was riddled by flak, forcing a crash-landing. With him was his navigator, F/O Jack Ritch, Edmonton.
“We ran from the wreckage and kept going all day, hiding at intervals as German search planes passed over head,” May said. “We found two children that night who brought their father to us. He was a Czech who lived in the U.S. 30 years ago. He accompanied us for two days going deeper into the woods until we contacted two Russian Partisan officers.
“The Russians took us to their headquarters at the top of a mountain, 2,500 feet up. They told us we could escape from an airfield in the hands of the partisans. They sent two civilians ahead to make sure Partisans still held the field. The civilians never came back. Later we heard the Germans had taken the airfield.”

Wrapped feet In Bags
For weeks on end after that the pair trekked over mountains, across rivers and plains, trying constantly to find a way of reaching Allied lines. “My shoes were almost gone and my feet were wrapped in rags,” May related. “Once we were practically surrounded by Germans. We could hear them firing in woods on every side. Partisans found us and slipped us out of that trap.”
Christmas and New Years they spent in the Czech hills, Germans plundered the town from which they drew supplies and they had to move on through deep snow with the Partisans or starve.
Other Allied fliers and 150 Frenchmen escaping from forced labor camps joined their band. “German deserters who still wore their uniforms joined us,” May said. They always went ahead as an advance party, for they could pass unsuspected through Nazi patrols.”

Reach Russian Lines
By this time, May had a badly infected arm. Once the swelling reached my shoulder and I thought I was done for,” He recalled, “but the Russian doctors saved me.”
Through intense cold and blinding blizzards, they continued across the mountains and on March 19 reached the Russian lines. Weakened, May became ill with pneumonia.
A horse-drawn cart filled with hay as his ambulance, May was taken to a Russian hospital, while his British friends continued on to Odessa. Russian doctors and nurses brought him back to health and he was flown back to England.


Dodged Nazis 6 Months Hiding In Partisan Lairs
Toronto Flyer Downed in Raid on Czech Field
Finally Reached Red Lines and Hospital

17 May 1945 - F/L Stuart N. May, 23, son of Mrs. Irene May of Weston, who was shot down after a daylight sweep against a Czechoslovak airfield more than six months ago, is returning home with a string of adventures with which few Canadian airmen can compare. For half a year this young Mosquito pilot lived a fantastic existence with Partisan bands of Russians, Serbs, Tartars, Hungarians and even Germans, who defied Nazi patrols and sometimes whole divisions as they dodged through the mountains of Eastern Czechoslovakia
Accompanied by another Mosquito piloted by F/L Stan Cotterill DFC, of 30 Claxton Blvd., F/L May set out to blast an enemy airfield in Czechoslovakia on the morning of Oct. 17. His aircraft ran into heavy flak near the field and crash-landed. Neither May nor his navigator, F/O Jack Ritch of Edmonton, was seriously injured.
"We ran 30 yards to an orchard where a civilian was standing," the Weston flyer related. "He gave us each an apple, but we kept going into the hills. Half an hour later a German observation plane was on the search for us and came directly overhead without spotting us."

Thus the adventures of the two young Canadian airmen started. They kept on the move until nightfall, when they came upon two children. Using sign language, May sent them off for food and a map, and a few minutes later, they returned with a loaf of bread a man of the district and their father, who spoke a little English.
The Czech immediately befriended the two flyers. For two days he accompanied them, going deeper and deeper into the hills, until two Russian Partisan officers were contacted. Their guide left them there.
"The Russians led us on up to their headquarters in a house at the top of the mountains, about 2,500 feet up," May recalled. "There was a Russian officer there who spoke a little English. He had been trained in a partisan school in Russia and he outlined our plan of escape."
This plan centered around an airfield thought to be held by Partisan forces. But when scouts were sent out to make sure, they failed to return. The Russians later heard that four or five German divisions had overrun the field.
With their only escape gap closed, the two Canadians decided to stay with the Partisans and try to reach the front lines.

In intense cold and blinding blizzard, the party made its way over the mountains, losing eight men on the way. Without gloves or warm clothing, the men suffered terribly from frozen hands, noses, cheeks and feet. They came through safely.
On March 19, the party reached the front line near Brenzo, and flanking the enemy's line, made its way to the Russian headquarters in town. They had their first hot baths in months, had their clothes deloused and were well fed by the political commissar.
"Even the Partisan bands had commissars with them," May explained. "He kept them informed on political developments and Russian war news."
By the time May reached the next main stop, he was suffering from a severe fever. It was pneumonia. He was sent to a Russian hospital near Budapest, from where, on recovery, he was flown back to England, where he is at present, at an RCAF Release Prisoner-of-War Centre, awaiting repatriation.
Summoning up his adventures he concluded with: "I've had enough mountain climbing, cold weather, goulash (a meat stew, favorite Balkan dish), boravice and slivovice (two Czechoslovakian drinks) to last me my lifetime."
Later they again made contact with the Russians who accompanied them until another group headquarters was reached, this time a Czech unit. It was suggested that the Canadians should strive to reach the main Partisan headquarters and again they set out.

The ground was wet, muddy and cold. May's shoes were almost gone by then, and his feet were wrapped in rags. Before their objective was reached, they were forced to detour. The Germans were said to be making a huge encircling movement and the small group was just about in the middle of it.
Again they were on the run, crossing rivers climbing mountains and plowing through deep snowfalls. May and Rich spent Christmas and New Year's in the hills. An American air gunner and 150
Frenchmen, who had escaped from forced labor in the Skoda Works, joined them. May narrowly escaped capture when Germans attacked a Partisan held village where he and his companions were stopping over. The two Canadians and the American succeeded in getting away. They later joined another group in which there was a selection of German deserters, still wearing their army uniforms.
"They always went ahead, as an advance party," the Weston flyer said. "We were moving up a road when a German cyclist came down the hill and saw our Germans. He kept on coming. He and his bike were gone in a wink. He was carted off to the hills and shot."

May was suffering from a badly swollen arm, caused by a festered finger and several times had it lanced by the Russian doctor in their group. At one time he thought that he'd "had it" when the swelling reached his shoulder, but it healed up after several treatments.


Victories Include :

22/23 June 1944

14/15 July 1944

5/6 Aug 1944

7 Aug 1944

3 July 1944

2 V-1s

1 V-1

1 V-1
1 V-1

1 V-1

1 locomotive
1 locomotive



destroyed  &


destroyed  &

All with John Derver "Jack" Ritch as Navigator


In 2003 amateur historian Bohuslav Ferianec published "Mosquito over Piešťany" the story of Stuart May & Jack Ritch's ordeal following their attack on Piešťany airfield. The book sparked some interest in the area about the incident. After learning that Stuart was still living in Canada, Bohuslav was able to contact him & with the help of a bunch of other people, was able to arrange a reunion. 60 years after he was shot down - 2004- Stuart was back in Slovakia seeing people who had helped him so many years before - most of whom had no idea what had happened to him. He was welcomed like the hero he is & treated to a flight over the Piešťany airfield as well as over his Mosquitos crash site. The following photos were supplied to me by Ludo, one of the people involved with this event.

May & the girl who helped him after the crash
News crew interview
May gets interviewed by the local news
May & parts of his Mossie
May & parts of Flame McGoon. A crankshaft and most of a cylinder head attached to about half an exhaust manifold
How cool is that?? The actual note Stuart & Jack left behind with some locals. Looks good after 60 years eh? And with modern technology, you can actually see these places on google street view

Piestany airfield
Piešťany airfield - how it looks today. The trucks are there for an airshow

Crash site
The crash site as it looks today

Some of the people that made the trip possible

group 2
Author Bohuslav Ferianec, May, his daughter Lou & Ludo

Stuart May
Stuart May, April 2010


A Canadian shot down and saved in Slovakia

Stuart May's War




Thanks to Ludo & Stuart for the stuff !

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