Ernest Archibald "PeeWee" McNab

RCAF   G/C   -   DFC,   OBE,   War Cross (Cz)

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Ernie McNab

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Promote 25 In RCAF

Ottawa, 13 Sept. 1939 - (CP) - The Department of National Defense announced today the promotion of twenty-five flight lieutenants to the rank of squadron leaders. They were:
Flight Lieutenants C. L. Trecarten, R.C. Hawtrey, R. R. Miller, J.L. Hurley of Henlow, England; F.M. Gobeil, W. I. Clements of London, England; C.E. Dunlap, H.R. Carefoot, J.G. Bryans, L.E. Wray, J.L. Plant, W.A. Orr of Ottawa; S.W. Coleman, R.C. Gordon, H.M. Carscallen, W.E. Bennett, R.G. Breise, R.C. Mair of Dartmouth, N.S.; R.A. Cameron, D.S. Blaine, H.L. Campbell, D.M. Edwards of Trenton, Ont.; E.A. McNab, Montreal; J.G. Kerr, Camp Borden, Ont; W.A. Jones, Halifax.


Born in Rosthern, Saskatchewan, 7 March 1906.
Attended the University of Saskatchewan (BSc).
Enlisted in the RCAF, 3 June 1926 as P/P/O.
1st term lasting until 31 August 1926.
2nd term as P/P/O was 6 June to 31 August 1927.
3rd term was 4 June to 28 August 1928.
Received wings at Camp Borden, 17 August 1928.
To be P/O, Non-Permanent List, 1 September 1928.
From Camp Borden to Jericho Beach Air Station (Vancouver)
for a seaplane course, 25 February 1929.
Transferred from Camp Borden to Ottawa Air Station, 6 May 1929.
Transferred from Ottawa Air Station to Camp Borden, 14 June 1929.
Promoted to Flying Officer, 1 September 1929.
Granted leave without pay to continue university education
(12 November 1929 to 30 April 1930).
Returning to Camp Borden 1 May 1930.
On strength of Station Trenton, 22 October 1931.
Member of Siskin aerobatics team, 1930 and 1931.
To strength of Ottawa Air Station, 14 April to 4 December 1932.
To strength of Camp Borden, 4 December 1932.
To Station Ottawa, 4 January 1934.
To No.12 Detachment, 22 October 1934
To Station Ottawa, 13 April 1935.
Promoted to Flight Lieutenant, 1 April 1936.
To No.15 Detachment, 6 April 1936.
In UK for courses abroad, 23 April 1937 to 26 April 1939.
Exchange duties with No.46 Squadron.
To Hurricane Detachment, Vancouver, 1 May 1939.
Promoted to Squadron Leader, 1 April 1939.
To No.1 (F) Squadron, 23 August 1939.
Given command, 1 November 1939.
Proceeded overseas with No.1 (F) Squadron, June 1940.
Promoted to Wing Commander, 7 October 1940.
To RCAF Overseas Headquarters, 8 November 1940.
To No.118 Squadron, Rockcliffe, 26 February 1941.
To No.4 SFTS, Saskatoon, 17 July 1941.
To Western Air Command (Victoria), 24 December 1941.
Promoted to Group Captain, 1 June 1942.
To RAF Ferry Command, Dorval, 21 July 1942.
On Station Digby, 20 September 1942 to 18 April 1945.
Repatriated to Canada, 17 May 1945.
Remained in postwar RCAF including Western Air Command
(18 May 1945 to 28 February 1947).
Northwest Air Command, Edmonton
(1 March 1947 to 20 August 1948).
CJS Washington (21 August 1948 to 23 January 1949).
AFHQ, Ottawa (24 January 1949 to 22 August 1954) &
No.12 Air Defence Group - later No.5 Air Division
(23 August 1954 to October 1957).
Retired 23 October 1957.
Died 10 January 1977.


Behind Lines Training Is Not Enough No Matter How Efficient

(From The Spectator's London News Bureau, by Allen Bill. Copyright, 1940, by Southam Co.)
London, Eng., 12 Aug. 1940 — Some officers of the R.C.A.F. fighter squadron will soon be out hunting German air raiders to gain actual air war experience. They will do spells of protective patrol duty with a crack R.A.F. Hurricane squadron which for some time now has been clawing its share of Huns out of the sky.
The Canadians are nearing the end of their training program and feel even now they could give a respectable account of themselves against the enemy, but air force authorities have no intention of letting them go into action equipped only with behind the lines training and high enthusiasm no matter how proficient they have become.
They want the percentage of Canadian experience in actual battle operations so when the time comes to send them into action as a squadron they will be led by pilots who have learned battle tactics the best way they can be learned — by experience.
The Canadian squadron leader, considered an outstanding fighter pilot of the R.C.A.F., will be first to go out with an R.A.F. squadron. A native of Saskatoon, he has nearly three thousand hours flying with the R.C.A.F., and was a member of the famed Siskin flight of a few years ago. He is looking forward with keen anticipation to the experience of real action, not for any death or glory heroics, but because the experience he gains will be of the greatest value to his squadron. Following his "post graduate" course with the R.A.F., his flight commanders will in turn go through the same seasoning experience.



(By SAM ROBERTSON) London, August 15, 1940 - (CP Cable) - Canada's young aces of the air, a new generation of fliers to follow in the tradition of Bishop, Barker and Brown, are scoring their first successes of the second Great War.
Squadron Leader Ernest (Ernie) McNab of Regina, commander of a Royal Canadian Air Force fighter formation, went into action today and bagged a German Dornier bombing plane.
Other Canadians, members of the Royal Air Force, have already distinguished themselves and won coveted decorations, but Squadron Leader McNab is the first member of the R.C.A.F. to take to the skies against the Germans in this war.
Soon, possibly within two weeks, the Canadians will go into action as a unit, taking their place beside the gallant Royal Air Force in repelling the Nazi air armadas.
The young squadron leader put the guns of his Hurricane fighter into play when the R.A.F. formation with which he was getting "battle experience" sighted a wave of twin-engined Dorniers. The Hurricanes were patrolling the Thames Estuary, water gateway to London.
From a member of the sky patrol The Canadian Press learned McNab, son of Lieutenant-Governor A. P. McNab of Saskatchewan, bagged his bird this way:
He singled out one of the massive raiders and managed to stay on his tail despite the Nazi pilot's frantic efforts to roll and corkscrew to safety. When the raider steadied for a moment, the Canadian was able to get home with a short burst of machine-gun fire.
After another brief spot of hound-and-hare maneuvering, a second blast by the scrappy Regina flier gave the Dornier what airmen call a "pain in his belly." The raider spiraled away to earth, and crashed in a marshland.
While all members of the Canadian formation are experienced pilots, none of them except McNab has had his baptism in aerial warfare. They will be given the "feel" of combat flying by going out in twos and threes with battle-tested British squadrons.


McNab Gets First Kill During First Fight

(By ANDREW W. HAMILTON, Staff Writer, The Globe and Mail, 16 Aug. 1940)
Those who know Squadron Leader Ernest McNab will not be at all surprised to learn that to him has fallen the distinction of being the first member of the Royal Canadian Air Force to bag a Nazi bomber. Something like this was confidently expected by both his civilian and air force friends. McNab is just that kind of a fellow.
He did it yesterday afternoon when German raiders were swarming dangerously close to London. First of the Canadian force to go into action, first to down an enemy plane, his itching trigger finger proved its accuracy on his first combat flight.
Itching to be in the fight properly describes McNab's emotions since the day war was declared. It is not that he is a blood-thirsty sort of chap. Far from it, in fact, is this descendant of the Laird of Ottawa Valley fame, but the way he put it to this reporter at an East coast air station last December was that if anybody should be called upon to do any fighting for Canada his number should come up first.
Pee-Wee, as he is sometimes affectionately called by his friends, joined the air force as an undergraduate in engineering at the University of Saskatchewan. Since that spring back in the late 20's the air force has been his life, and so he reasoned last fall that, now war had come, he should be given a chance to "do a small job."
Probably it was with these words that he reported his feat of yesterday. A modest individual at all times, he said he was up with a Royal Air Force formation to gain "battle experience" before leading his own Hurricane fighters into combat. McNab always did like to gain his experience the hard way.
But McNab really didn't have to worry about his number turning up. He was marked as a scrapper since the day he socked a playmate on the jaw for making fun of the kilt his parents required him to wear to Sunday School, his parents being Hon. and Mrs. Archibald P. McNab. Mr. McNab is the present Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan.
Short and chubby, McNab gained a reputation of being able to take care of himself in the boxing ring at university, having several times been selected for Saskatchewan's team in intercollegiate competition. His ability to take out his man on the football field must have served him well when the squadron he was with yesterday came upon a fleet of German Dorniers.
He was still a marked man when he entered the Air Force. They put him in a fighter and left him there. Year after year he would see his pals of the force being assigned to much more comfortable and safer types of machines, but McNab remained in the cockpit of a fighter and it almost seemed that they were forever trying to find a faster machine for him to fly.
People of Toronto, of all Canada for that matter, will remember the flying circus that crossed the Dominion some seven or eight sears ago. McNab was piloting one of the three Siskins in the flight and he and his two comrades won for themselves the title of the "Three Musketeers." Siskins were about the last word in aircraft in those days.

Flew in C.N.E. Show
Last year McNab was chosen to give a solo demonstration at the Canadian National exhibition of what Canada's latest fighting machine, the Hurricane, could do. That was just a few days before war was declared, and from Toronto he went almost directly to Dartmouth Station, across the Bay from Halifax, to take command of No. 1 Fighter Squadron, which he took overseas not so many weeks ago.
When McNab went into action yesterday he was not fighting in entirely unfamiliar territory. For two years he was attached to the Royal Air Force, and this reporter can testify to the reputation he established while there. It was during the week of the Coronation, in 1937, and McNab was stationed a short distance out of London.
Though he had hardly time to get settled after his arrival, he was selected one Saturday afternoon to put on a show for some visitors from the Empire and it happened to be our lot to be invited down to spend the weekend with him. The spectators were not disappointed with his performance. They called the fire engines out when he brought his machine so close to the ground that a crash seemed inevitable. McNab loved to give people thrills.
Funny part of it all is that whenever there was a show to be put on McNab was elected. He was sure to give the people what they wanted. But, he had anything but a reputation for being reckless in the air. From the very beginning he was known as a careful flier, and from results achieved it seems that he must have drawn a very careful bead on that Dornier and its crew of four yesterday.


Regina Flyer Makes His Debut by Bagging Big Dornier Ship

London, 16 Aug. 1940 — (CP Cable) — Canadians joined with other Empire flyers in turning back Thursday the greatest air attack this island has ever known. They saw action in at least two of the nine main raids along the coasts and deep inland. Three of the 144 enemy planes destroyed are known to have fallen before their fire.

Canadians Excel
At Croydon airport Sqdn. Ldr. Ernest McNab, of Regina, member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, downed a big Dornier bomber, while a Toronto-born pilot in the Royal Air Force — whose identity was undisclosed — accounted for two of eight bombers his auxiliary Spitfire squadron shot down off the Yorkshire coast.
The eight bombers, Junkers 88's, were sent crashing into the sea and on land, the air ministry said. The Spitfire squadron suffered no casualties.
The Spitfires were patrolling at 20,000 feet when they intercepted an enemy force. As the fighters attacked out of the sun the Junkers pilots attempted to throw off their pursuers by diving into the clouds.
In addition to the bombers downed by this squadron another fighter squadron bagged five Junkers in the same action.
The air ministry gave no details of the Toronto pilot's part in this fight, other than to say that he "destroyed two of the eight enemy bombers."

Gets Ninth Victim
Australians and New Zealanders also saw action in various engagements.
One New Zealand pilot with eight Nazi planes already to his credit got his ninth over the channel when he sent a Junkers spinning down in flames. He was forced to bail out for the first time in his life when his Hurricane was damaged by machine-gun fire, but he returned to his aerodrome uninjured.
An Australian, aged 23, in action for the second time, was forced down by a burst hydraulic pipe line. He returned to the air within three minutes and downed two Heinkels and damaged another.
Another Australian got a Junkers and a Messerschmitt.

Parents Proud

Regina, 16 Aug. 1940 — (CP) — With suppressed excitement and quiet pride, Lieutenant-Governor A.P. McNab and Mrs. McNab today received the news that their son, Squadron-Ldr. Ernest McNab, had bagged the first German plane to be shot down by a Royal Canadian Air Force flyer in the war.
Flying seemed to come naturally to young Ernie McNab and his family accepted the news of his victory in the skies over England just as naturally.
His father could not recall Ernest ever having expressed any ambition to become a flyer. He had just taken it up as a hobby, along with friends at the University of Saskatchewan a dozen years ago, and had kept on with it.
Ernest McNab was born at Rosthern, Sask., where his father owned and operated a grain elevator 35 years ago.


In Footsteps of Bishop and Barker:
RCAF Bags First Nazi; Regina Flier Downs Dornier Attacking Thames
S/L Ernest McNab, Formerly Stationed at Vancouver, Scores Initial Success

(By SAM ROBERTSON, Canadian Press Staff Writer, LONDON, 16 Aug. 1940) - Canada's young aces of the air, a new generation of fliers to follow in the tradition of Bishop, Barker and Brown, are scoring their first successes of the second Great War.
Squadron Leader Ernest McNab, Regina, commander of a Royal Canadian Air Force fighter formation, went into action Thursday and bagged a German Dornier bombing plane.
Other Canadians, members of the Royal Air Force, have already distinguished themselves and won coveted decorations, but McNab is the first member of the RCAF to take to the skies against the Germans in this war.
Soon, possibly within two weeks, the Canadians will go into action as a unit.
The young squadron leader, son of Lieut. Governor A. P. McNab of Saskatchewan, put the guns of his Hurricane fighter into play when the RAF formation with which he was getting "battle experience" sighted a wave of twin-engined Dorniers. The Hurricanes were patrolling the Thames Estuary, Water gateway to London.
The British fighters and the Canadian dived into the attack immediately and McNab picked out one of the raiders. They rolled through the clouds in a dog fight with the Canadian on the Nazi's tail.

The German rolled and corkscrewed over the sky trying to shake the Canadian, but McNab held him in his sights and when the German steadied for a moment, his plane was riddled by a short burst of machine-gun fire.
It took another burst, after some more maneuvering, to send the raider crashing into a marshland - the first victim of the guns of an airman from the RCAF.
Other members of McNab's formation will get their "feel" of combat fighting with the Royal Air Force before they are sent into the skies together.

Two members of the Royal Canadian Air Force fighter squadron completing battle training suffered superficial head wounds when German bomber planes raided a south England airdrome Thursday.
The injuries, suffered when the airmen were caught in a spray of bomb splinters, were described as "not in the least serious."
The wounds were not serious enough to keep them from an impromptu celebration staged in honor of squadron leader McNab's success.
Other Canadians, serving in the Royal Air Force, also took part Thursday's battles. An unnamed Toronto-born pilot shot down two bombers. Australians and New Zealanders also scored victories.
Sqdn. Ldr. Ernest McNab learned flying as a hobby while attending the University of Saskatchewan.

Born at Rosthern, Sask., where his father, Lieutenant-Governor A. P. McNab of Saskatchewan owned and operated a grain elevator 35 years ago, S/L McNab received his education in Saskatoon public and collegiate schools, and at the University there.
He graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in Engineering 12 years ago and then entered the Air Force.
He was stationed for a number of years at Camp Borden and Trenton, Ont., afterwards going to England for two years on an exchange of officers with the Royal Air Force.

Before leaving for England, he trained for two years (2 years? -jf) with the RCAF at the Jericho Beach air station in Vancouver, learning to handle flying boats and seaplanes.
His father visited him at Vancouver and was given his first airplane ride by his son.
After coming back from England in 1939, Squadron Leader McNab went to Vancouver again, this time to test planes.
On the outbreak of war he was stationed at Halifax and while serving there was appointed to the command of No.1 Squadron which he led overseas as part of Canada's contribution to the support of Great Britain at the time of the German attack through Holland and Belgium.
McNab is well-known in flying circles throughout Canada, as he was a member of the Air Force flight of three Siskin fighters which toured air shows across Canada some years ago, putting on demonstrations of flying.


Group of Canadians Goes Into Action First Time as Unit

(By HAROLD FAIR, London, 25 Aug. 1940, CP Cable) - Roaring into action together as a unit for the first time the first Royal Canadian Air Force fighter squadron to reach England proved itself Saturday by downing two German bombers (Turns out these were RAF Blenheims & will not be counted or mentioned in the papers again -jf).
A brief Air Ministry news service bulletin said: "The first Royal Canadian fighter squadron to reach England went into action yesterday for the first time. Flying their Canadian-built Hurricanes, the pilots yesterday afternoon shot down two Dornier bombers."
No further details were given out for the moment. (This was a mistake on the part of the Ministry because although they were scrambled on the 24th, they patrolled the skies over Northolt and were not allowed to intercept until the 26th when they made their first claims -jf)
It was understood that neither of the raiders was downed by Squadron Leader Ernest McNab, Commander of an R.C.A.F. fighter formation, who drew first blood for Canada in the air Aug. 15. He shot down a Dornier while he was with a British patrol guarding the Thames estuary.
Individual R.C.A.F. members like McNab have served with British squadrons, but today was the first time the Canadian squadron, operating as a unit, took to Britain's skies to engage the enemy.
The first R.C.A.F. fighter squadron to be detailed for active service overseas was inspected at Ottawa by Hon. C. G. Power early in June on the eve of embarkation. Power, Minister of National Defense for Air, assured the unit of the fullest support of the Canadian Government.
Spokesmen of the unit at that time expressed themselves as "thoroughly satisfied" with the opportunity they were being given to emulate the exploits of the Canadian aces who distinguished themselves in the Royal Flying Corps in the First Great War.
Mascots of the unit, "Goebbels," a fighting cock which is "always crowing, like the German propaganda chief," and "Unity" were crated and sent along with the squadron. With the baggage was also a large quantity of assorted musical instruments, indicative of the varied talents of the fliers.


R.C.A.F. Unit in Action Again Knocks Out Two Big Dorniers

(By HAROLD FAIR) London, 26 Aug. 1940 - (CP) - One, and possibly two, Nazi raiders were downed today by the squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force as it went into action as a unit for the second time since Saturday.
The Royal Canadian Air Force fighters engaged a formation of Dornier bombers above the clouds. After the attack, they saw a four-man German crew bail out of one, while another big plane dived out of control through the clouds.
The Canadians, led by S/L Ernest McNab of Regina, went into action when the second of three waves of German bombers and fighters was thrown against England. A new Czech squadron was also among the British forces hitting back at the Nazis.
The second fight in which the Canadians participated occurred in early afternoon and was fought partly above the Thames estuary and partly inland over Essex and Sussex, where the enemy sought to attack an airdrome.
The battle came after the Germans had attacked a Kentish town and airdrome at noon, and was followed later by a raid on the Portsmouth area. In these three battles the R.A.F. destroyed at least thirty-seven enemy planes, while nine British pilots were missing.


Cobourg Pilot Killed in Air, First Battle Loss in R.C.A.F.

Bob Edwards
P/O Edwards
Cobourg, Ontario, 29 August 1940 (Special) — Pilot Officer Robert Leslie Edwards of Cobourg was killed in an aerial battle the third day after the Royal Canadian Air Force went into action as a unit in England, it was revealed here today in a telegram from Ottawa. Pilot Officer Edwards is believed to be the first casualty of the RCAF overseas unit.
Last Saturday the R.C.A.F. squadron engaged German fighters for the first time, and bagged two big Dorniers (one by McNab & one by Edwards. Edwards was brought down by the rear gunner of his bomber -jf). They were flying Canadian-built Hurricane fighters. The authorities at Ottawa informed Mrs. R.L. Edwards that her son had been killed in action on Monday.
There have been several casualties among the Canadians who are serving in the Royal Air Force, but this was the first time a Canadian had met death while fighting in an R.C.A.F. unit.
On Aug. 15, Squadron Leader Ernest McNab had the distinction of being the first R.C.A.F. flier to bag a German. He went up with an R.A.F. patrol to gain combat experience and shot down a Dornier.
Pilot Officer Edwards was 28, a graduate of Cobourg Collegiate, Albert College and Victoria University. He was born in Roseneath, Ont. Edwards joined the R.C.A.F. at Trenton two years ago and went overseas this spring.
Besides his mother, he is survived by his widow, Ruth, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Brownley of Toronto. They were married last November.


Dominion Airmen Increase Bag of German Planes to At Least 12 After Week of Action
Forty-Two Was Official Count of Nazi Machines Downed During Today's Fighting
Thud of Bombs Is Heard in Center of London As Dogfights Wage Overhead

London, August 30, 1940 — (CP) — The fourth of the day's air raid warnings was sounded tonight in London. The 1st Fighter Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force was reported tonight to have fought a bitter battle with a large force of raiders miles over a London suburb today, and to have increased its bag of German planes to at least 12 after a week in action.
The Canadian aviators, commanded by S/L Ernest McNab, of Regina, are said to have sailed into action when the Nazis attempted to strike at a factory located only a few minutes as a hurricane flies from their air base.

Hot Dogfights
Bomber formations were quickly broken up in a hot series of dogfights which started so high in the sky that the planes looked like tiny moths as they rolled and dived in life-and-death struggle.
The number of casualties inflicted was not determined immediately, but it was understood three German bombers crashed within a few miles of the suburb.
Flying made-in-Canada planes, the Canadians had their maiden fight against the enemy on August 26, when McNab, shot down two planes (another mistake or ? -jf).
It is not known how many times their Hurricanes have been flown against the Germans since then, but it is learned reliably that five more raiders had been definitely added to their "kill" up to yesterday.

Bombs Heard in Capital
London's third air raid warning of the day sounded late this afternoon as waves of Nazi aircraft roared over southeast England —the United Kingdom's air front line— in a series of thrusts at the metropolitan area.
Fighters engaged hostile planes over the London area in the third raid. Dogfights developed and bombs were dropped. The sound of enemy machines and the faint thud of bombs were audible in the center of the capital.
The ministry of information announced tonight that in the day's operations over Britain 42 German aircraft were brought down. Ten British machines were lost.
A formation of 20 bombers flying at great height was broken up by a swarm of British fighters during the hour-long raid. One was sent spinning to earth with smoke pouring from its tail and two others were forced from the formation and flew from sight with fighters following close behind.
The Luftwaffe's bombers unloaded their bombs in earlier attacks aimed at aerodromes in the vicinity of the metropolis and the home counties. The sky battles were fought at tremendous heights both morning and afternoon over various parts of the southeastern front line.
The thud of bombs was heard in suburban sections during the first raid. The second, lasting less than 20 minutes, sounded when the raiders again approached the capital. Fighters intercepted and chased them off.


RCAF Boosts Bag to 15 Nazis, McNab Gets 3; Pilot Missing

(By SAM ROBERTSON, London, 1 Sept. 1940 - (CP Cable) - The 1st Fighter Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force was understood today to have a total bag of fifteen German planes after their latest sky skirmishes against Nazi raiders.
They shot down three in engagements high above the London area Saturday when the Luftwaffe staged a series of determined assaults on an apparent effort to wreck the airports and docks along the Thames.
It was reported that one of the Canadians was missing after dogfights in a cloudless sky during which two Messerschmitt 109's and one Dornier 215 were brought down.
There was no immediate announcement as to which members of the squadron clipped the Nazis' wings.
It was understood, however, that Squadron Leader Ernest McNab of Regina, first member of the R.C.A.F. to go into action in this war, had accounted for three (one? -jf) of the raiders downed by the Canucks in the eight days they have been operating as a unit.
McNab also shot down a Dornier bomber on his first combat fight Aug. 15 when he flew with a Royal Air Force formation.
McNab's fighting unit today received three volunteer reinforcements from the R.C.A.F. Army Co-operation Squadron, commanded by Squadron Leader Wilbur Van Vliet of Winnipeg.
Canadian and other army co-operation groups which are stationed in the United Kingdom are not likely to see action until the British Home Forces enter into battle. That will not be until the Axis powers gamble on an invasion or Britain launches her promised offensive.
The three young pilots, whose names were not disclosed, were impatient to see action. They asked Van Vliet if a transfer to McNab's Hurricane squadron was possible and their sympathetic commander quickly arranged the details.
Van Vliet's Army Co-operation airmen have been here six months sharpening their flying skill for the day when they will meet the enemy. The inaction naturally has caused some of the young fliers to feel restless.


12 September 1940, Members of No.1 Squadron gather around S/L McNab. From the left: F/O Bill Sprenger, F/O Otto Peterson, F/L R.W. Pollock, F/O Paul Pitcher (behind McNab), S/L Ernie McNab, F/O Pete Lochnan, F/L Ed Reyno, F/O Eric Beardmore, F/O S.T. Blaiklock & F/O Bob Norris.

'Scramble, Angels,' Is Signal For R.C.A.F. Unit to Soar; Bags Three Nazi Raiders

(By SAM ROBERTSON) A Royal Canadian Air Force Station, Somewhere in England, Sept. 4 (CP Cable) — The command, "Scramble, Angels," sent the Royal Canadian Air Force Hurricane Squadron into a short, sharp battle today, in which they blew at least two, maybe three, Nazi raiders out of the sky and damaged others.
Twelve keen young Canadians faced the same number of Germans in a hot fight three miles over a London suburb. Compared with a recent row when they were outnumbered by more than five to one, but not outfought, today's skirmish was "duck soup" and "just like eating cake," they said when they came down — with bullet holes through two planes, but their manpower complete.
The latest success in the string they have registered since they first flew to battle nineteen days ago increased the Canadians' kill to ten German planes definitely destroyed, several others probably destroyed and many damaged.
Several of the damaged planes threw off so many splinters that it is doubtful they could have reached home.
I was sitting in a tiny hut among the men commanded by Squadron Leader Ernest McNab of Saskatoon, exchanging the latest news from Canada, fighting off the noonday heat with a soft drink, when the station's operation post telephoned: "On your toes, boys."
It meant that the Nazis were flying toward the area, though still many miles off.
The fliers had barely pulled themselves to their feet, picked up their helmets and gauntlets, when the phone tingled again. This time the man who answered it dropped his earpiece and shouted: "Scramble, Angels, 18."
It meant that the Germans were still pointing toward the airdrome and were dangerously near. The order meant that the squadron was to soar to 18,000 feet and set up a reception committee.
In exactly 100 seconds the boys had raced to the widely separated points where their comet-like Hurricanes were dispersed, climbed into their kit and cockpits and sat ready to take off. In another minute they had rolled to the end of the field and the first section of three started lifting toward the sky.
For tense minutes we waited on the ground scanning the sky, seeing nothing. Occasionally the faint drone of motors reached us but nothing more.

Start Drifting Home
Then the planes started drifting home, one closely following another. The paper which protects eight small circles on the wings from which as many machine guns spit hot lead had been torn and that told us that the boys had been in action.
A broad grin on the face of a Montreal red head who was the first man to dismount told us that the action had been successful.
The grin spread among the ground-bound waiters. Red's grin was duplicated by every other cloud jockey as he hoisted himself from his cockpit.
We soon learned that our twelve, sailing four miles up in a hot misty sky, spotted an even dozen Jerries a mile below.
"The sun was right at our elbow and smack in Jerry's eye," Red said. "We dived dash foomp," — dash meaning with the nose straight down and at scorching speed six to eight miles a minute.
The German Messerschmitt fighters, Jaguar fighters and bombers apparently were caught in the deafening roar of the rocketing Hurricanes. The Nazis formed a circle in an effort to protect each other's tail before the circle came apart in the face of the Canadians' concentrated fire.

"Ring Round the Rosy"
A blond, rugged-jawed youth of 20 from London, Ont. (Dal Russel), wormed inside it and played a hellish game of "ring round the rosy." Circling in the opposite direction so that the enemy could not pop him without breaking the protective formation, he poured bullets into several raiders. One went down in flames. Another rolled over on its back "like a very sick gull."
With characteristic care to be on the safe side, the young Londoner was credited with only one bird and another "probable."
Another certain kill went to a tall Montrealer (Deane Nesbitt) whose thinning hair says he is in his early 30's. He, too, saw flames break out in a Messerschmitt after he had sent two bursts "smack into his belly."
Every manjack who went up returned with the satisfaction of knowing he had ripped at least one hail of bullets into an enemy in a skirmish that had lasted less than two minutes.
After that the Germans who were still able turned tails for home.
The Canadians had another look around. The sky was clear, so they wheeled back to their station.
I was not permitted to disclose the names of those who definitely knocked out raiders. For the present the squadron wants to emphasize its team spirit.

Sprenger Checks In
There was a brief dramatic interruption in the general jubilation after the flight when it was realized that Flying Officer Bill Sprenger, member of one of the units of many Montrealers, hadn't checked in. Only a couple of days before he had been forced to bail out when two Nazis shot his plane into flames while he was popping at a third.
But almost before there was time for worry, Bill telephoned from another airdrome to say he had come down to cool off an overheated motor. The fight, while it lasted, was that hot. That news sent the boys off to lunch with their spirits turning up a couple of thousand revolutions per minute.
Over their roast beef and Yorkshire pudding they talked little else but of the "duck soup" battle. You learned why it was duck soup. In the last brush they had with the enemy nine of them faced about fifty Jerries. Even at those odds they made four raiders "hit the deck" without losing a man of their own.


Hurricane Squadron of R.C.A.F. Shows Rare Ability in Sky Tilts

(By Allen H. Bill, London, Eng., 4 Sept. 1940) - Sixteen to one. That's the score up to today of the RCAF Hurricane squadron that is making a name for itself in helping beat back German air raids of London.
In addition to sixteen German raiders that the squadron knows for certain it has knocked down, there were several others which limped away and were not likely to reach their bases.
This is considered a remarkable record for the short length of time the squadron has been in action under the command of Squadron Leader Ernie McNab. So far the squadron has lost only one officer, Flying Officer Edwards, shot down in action. Four others, however, it is understood, have had to break off engagements in the air and one, at least, forced to bail out. He landed a bit harder than expected but escaped with nothing worse than a few bruises.

One For Each
Averaging out the number of victories the squadron now has to its credit, makes it almost one for every pilot, although one officer is credited with two Germans and possibly a third.
One thing noticed in talking with others is their admission they still have a lot to learn and they are ever eager to listen to the advice of R.A.F. pilots of long experience. They have been quick to bring "book training," which they learned in Canada, up to date since being in the thick of things here. The manner in which they are rapidly hitting the groove indicates their record of victories will continue to mount.


Air Marshal Bishop Visits Canada Fliers
Great War Ace Aids In Celebration Of Triumph

London, Thursday, 26 Sept. 1940 - (CP Cable) - Air Marshal W. A. Bishop, V.C., on Wednesday dropped in on the hustling fighter station of The Royal Canadian Air Force Hurricane squadron just in time to help them celebrate their 50th triumph over the German air force.
Two young Montreal members of the unit had glided back to the field after knocking down a big Nazi bomber and its crew of four a short time before the Air Marshal arrived.
Members of the unit and their commander, S/L Ernest McNab, of Regina, were grouped around a table in the hut at their dispersal point, toasting the latest success in the air.
It was the afternoon tea hour — and the air hero of the last war offered a toast to "your continued success and glory."
Then the Air Marshal wanted a first hand story of the scrap fought miles over London's outskirts.
The two Canadians were on patrol when they spotted the lone raider far below them. Diving together in an attack, each poured in a number of bursts before the bomber flipped over on its back add "dived to the deck," as one of the Montrealers put it later.
McNab & Billy Bishop
S/L McNab Chats with A/M Bishop


Talks With Number of Lads Who Have Been Shooting Nazis Out of Sky

The King's Visit
King George speaks to members of No.1 Sqn. while S/L McNab looks on

Somewhere in England, 26 Sept. 1940 — (CP Cable) — The King paid an informal visit to the fighter squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force at their station today and talked with a number of S/L Ernest McNab's lads who have been shooting Nazi planes out of the sky or crippling them at a rate of more than one daily.
Accompanied by S/L McNab, His Majesty inspected the Canadians drawn up outside their dispersal point. The King wore the uniform of an air marshal. The Canadians —pilots and rankers alike— were in off-duty uniform.

Talks to Canadians
His Majesty shook hands with and spoke to each pilot individually. He told McNab: "Your squadron is doing a fine job of work. Congratulations." He then walked through the ranks of the non-commissioned officers and airmen.
He spent ten minutes with the bustling Canucks in the course of a tour of an entire station lasting more than an hour.

Besides the R.C.A.F., the King saw the Polish squadron of the Royal Air Force, some free French airmen, several squadrons of the R.A.F., including one which has not yet been in battle, and the station's anti-aircraft defences.

Ordered To Stand By
Before the King left the station a squadron of fleet Hurricanes roared into the sky and circled the airport, heading into the blue. A few minutes later an order came for the "R.C.A.F. fighter squadron to stand by," and S/L McNab and his youngsters hurried into flying kit.
As they awaited further orders the Canadians clad themselves in vivid yellow "Mae Wests" and sat or stood in the dispersal station. A stout, black-moustached lad complained good humouredly that he had been unable to finish writing a letter home. Another flicked a few darts into a dart-board.
A pair who intercepted and downed a lone bomber —a Junkers-88— in one of the most recent flights gossiped about their experiences while they were waiting for a possible call to hop into their Hurricanes for another tilt at the enemy high above embattled Britain.

Signed Logbook
After inspecting the Polish squadron, the King signed their logbook, in which the exploits of the hard-fighting Poles will be recorded. While a squadron officer held the book, His Majesty wrote on a blank page, "George R. I., September 26." The opposite page bore the squadron's coat-of-arms.
Before he took off, the King saw a battered Dornier bomber and a Messerschmitt-109, both downed in recent air battles. He also saw other interesting souvenirs of the air blitzkrieg. He took a keen interest in part of a bomb rack from a downed Dornier as station officers explained how it worked.


Total Bag For R.C.A.F. Unit Is Thought More Than 175 Foe Ships

London, 26 Sept. 1940 — Six times in the last fortnight the Royal Canadian Air Force fighter squadron and the Royal Air Force's all-Canadian squadron have helped save London from air attack, it was disclosed last night in an air ministry statement which credited the two units with destroying more than 100 German raiders.

May Reach 175
Add to these the planes known to have been damaged so severely that they can be classed as probably destroyed, and the bag of the two squadrons is likely to reach 175. The R.A.F. unit which fought in France over Dunkirk is believed to have accounted for more than 100 alone. In their last six fights, they destroyed 55 German bombers and fighters.
Detailing the Canadians' part in the struggle for supremacy in the air over Britain during the last fortnight, the air ministry statement said: "Most of their finest fighting had been over the streets, docks and houses of London."
On September 7, when Goering threw 350 raiders at the capital, it was revealed that the R.A.F. Canadians chased a large formation from London to the coast and shot down 12 of them.

Individual Successes
"Two days later," the report continued, "when over the streets of London itself they met the enemy and chased them over the houses of parliament and Westminster abbey to Hammersmith. One pilot officer, who was once a commercial salmon fisherman in British Columbia, shot down one of the six bombers which the squadron destroyed. Another was shot down by a pilot from Saskatchewan and the home of a third successful pilot (Lochnan) is Ottawa."
Among the exploits of the R.C.A.F. Hurricane unit commanded by S/L Ernest McNab, of Regina, the statement revealed, was that on September 9 they destroyed three German bombers over Kent in dispensing a formation which was trying to get through to London. This unit has been in active service five weeks.
The air ministry issued details of two air actions in which S/L McNab came out on top. The official narrative follows:
"One flight of his squadron had already been ordered up and had disappeared from sight before he took off. He patrolled high above his aerodrome looking for trouble.

Leader in Battle
"Sighting some Messerschmitts many miles away he flew to attack them. The rear one at which he fired climbed violently, fell over and then went straight down with smoke pouring from exits in its belly.
"On another occasion the R.C.A.F. squadron sighted 15 or 20 bombers approaching the southeast of London. The S/L, making the first attack, saw a Heinkel at which he fired, drop its bombs, turn out of formation and dive for a cloud. He then was attacked himself by Messerschmitt fighters and could not wait to see what happened to the Heinkel.
"A few minutes later he joined forces with two other Hurricane pilots and with them sent a second Heinkel diving down to crash on a muddy field."
The air ministry statement said that in the same row "the youngest pilot in the squadron also destroyed a Heinkel."
The statement gave this identification of the youngest pilot:
"He had been meant for a business career, but was working in the warehouse of a steel firm in Montreal when he decided he would rather fly."
A burly Ottawan (Lochnan) who transferred to the fighter squadron from one of the Canadian army co-operation units this month has a pair of German field glasses as a souvenir of a successful fight against a Heinkel and its crew of five.
With another Hurricane pilot of the R.A.F. squadron, the young Canadian attacked a bomber and saw one of his bursts set the Nazi starboard engine afire.
The Germans made a forced landing on an airfield and the Ottawan set his plane down beside them. The German pilot was able to walk, although half of a bullet was protruding from his back. When the Canadian removed it, the Nazi asked for it for a souvenir.
In exchange, the German handed the Canadian his field glasses.


Canadians Join in Defense of London for Seventh Time

London, 27 Sept. 1940 - (CP Cable) - The Royal Canadian Air Force squadron participating in today's giant air battle spread across Britain's skies knocked down six raiders during a dogfight south of London.
The attack against the raiders by Squadron Leader Ernest McNab's men was made in the company of one of the Royal Air Force Polish squadrons, which accounted for ten Germans during the day.
The Canadians' latest action came two days after Air Marshal W. A. Bishop, V.C., had helped them celebrate their fiftieth victory over the Nazis. It marked the seventh time in the last fortnight that the Canadians had been called on to help defend London from attack.
Announcement of the R.C.A.F. squadron's success was made in the Air Ministry's news service account of the day's fighting. The Air Ministry said today's attacks were the largest yet made on Britain.
"There were about thirty Heinkel bombers," one of the pilots said. "They were protected by fifty to sixty Messerschmitt 109's. We attacked the bombers from astern and were ourselves attacked by Messerschmitt fighters from above. We turned toward those and they broke up in disorder and we got four of them.
"In the meantime the bombers had wheeled and were heading south back to France. We again went into attack against them from astern.
"Just afterward we saw another formation of forty Dorniers approaching head-on. These formed a defensive circle, as also did some Messerschmitt fighters above them. Two more Hurricane patrols came in to attack them, as we had no more petrol and had to go home."

Machine-Guns Town
Residents of Dover reported that just before the German shelling today, a German fighter plane machine-gunned the town with armor-piercing bullets "three times the size" of those usually fired from German planes.


Bishop Tells of "Listening In" on Canadians' Sky Battle

Ottawa, 10 Oct. 1940 — "Prime Minister Churchill was immensely cheered at the news I brought him of the progress of the air training project in Canada," Air Marshal Bishop said here today. "Like everyone in England, he is certain Britain cannot be overcome.
"Everywhere you go in Britain you see damage and everywhere the people are in a cheerful mood. They want to be certain the Germans are getting two blows for every one received, in England. As long as the enemy is getting it, they don't seem to care how much they are bombed or pounded."
England, he said is expecting much worse and is completely ready for it. "There is no doubt at all in their minds that they can hold out. Nine people out of 10 would welcome an attempted invasion."
Air Marshal Bishop described with what anxiety he watched the Canadian fighters take off to intercept attacking German planes. He sat at the main control board and heard calm orders issued for Canadians to go into action and to join the Polish fighter squadron. Lights flashed on to indicate the position of the McNab squadron and to indicate the exact second they saw, and later encountered, enemy planes.
"I was biting my lips," he said. "They were sent up to intercept a raid of 175 machines. The orders were passed: 'Tell No. 1 Canadians to take the air. Tell them to rendezvous with the Polish Squadron on such a line.' Then ... 'Tell them to move to another line.'
"Then ... 'Canadians have sighted the enemy — tell the Canadians and Poles to attack'."

"Fights All Time"
"There is no finer man than Air Vice Marshal Keith Park, who is the Canadians' group commander," Bishop related. "When I talked to McNab he told me: 'I want you to meet our group commander. He fights with us all the time.' I got McNab into a corner and asked him what was the trouble between the Canadians and Park. 'What do you mean trouble?' answered McNab. I mean he goes up into the air and fights with us'."
Air Vice-Marshal Park is about 50 years of age, a New Zealander and a veteran airman of the last war, said Bishop. Despite his age and position he often goes into action with the Canadian squadron." "I just want to make sure our signal system is working perfectly," he explained to the Canadian visitor with a smile, when Bishop tackled him about the propriety of the group commander going up into the air to smash at the enemy.
Bishop said "surprisingly little damage" has been done to British air bases by bombing. A number of German pilots, brought down, had demanded to be taken at once to German headquarters in England, One young pilot, when captured, said: "Chamberlain very bad man. Hitler dove of peace."
Another said: "I was shot down in Poland, and my leader came and got me. I was shot down in France and my leader got me back. Now I'm shot down in England. My leader will come here too and bring me back."


Squadron Leader And Two of His Pilots Awarded Coveted D.F.C.
Daring and Skill of Canadians Bring Reward—
Formation Destroyed 30 German Planes in Few Weeks

London, Oct. 10, 1940 — (CP Cable) — S/L Ernest McNab, of Regina, and two members of the Royal Canadian Air Force squadron he commands have been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for the daring and skill with which they are helping beat back the German air attacks on Britain.
F/O Rod McGregor and F/O Dalzell Russel, both of Montreal, are the pilots who are honored with their "chief."
The Canadian formation which has destroyed 30 Nazi bombers and fighters in less than the seven weeks it has been in action, thus wins its first awards for valor.
Add to the raiders known to have "hit the deck" those classed as probably destroyed or so badly damaged by the Canucks' accurate fire that it is doubtful they could have returned to their home stations and the squadron's bag borders on 75.
McNab, described by one of his men as a "helluva scrapper who is a handful for any three Germans he meets upstairs" — upstairs being air force jargon for the sky — shot down a Nazi bomber and its crew of four on his first battle in the clouds, August 15. The doughty veteran of the R.C.A.F. was flying with an R.A.F. formation at the time to "get the feel of things."
When he led his squadron into its first engagement August 24, they destroyed two raiders, and have been going strong ever since.


McNAB, S/L Ernest Archibald (C134) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.1 (C) Squadron
Award effective 22 October 1940 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 867/40 dated 15 November 1940.

Squadron Leader McNab has led his squadron with great success. At least twenty-three enemy aircraft have been destroyed by the squadron. This officer has destroyed four of these.


Montreal Flier New Leader of R.C.A.F. Fighter Squadron

Ottawa, Nov. 4, 1940 - (CP) - S/L Ernest McNab of Saskatoon, leader of a Royal Canadian Air Force fighter squadron in the United Kingdom, has been named an acting Wing Commander, it was learned at the Air Ministry today.
McNab, recently awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, has led his squadron to several victories over German planes, the tally of his squadron being something in the neighborhood of seventy-five Nazi planes, according to word at the Air Ministry.
Gordon McGregor of Montreal has been named acting squadron leader, succeeding McNab in his old post.


Officials Maintain Silence Pending Further Word From Canada

By ALLEN H. BILL, Special Correspondent of The Hamilton Spectator and Associated Southam Newspapers, London, 20 Nov. 1940 — Air Minister Power's statement in the House of Commons on Tuesday that the 112th army co-operation squadron of the R.C.A.F., is being transformed into No. 2 fighter squadron came as a complete surprise to R.C.A.F. headquarters here. No indication that such a change was to take place was given London officials, it is understood.

Officials in Dark
It is known that some time ago it was proposed, from this end, that the army co-operation squadron here be made into a fighter unit, but this plan is said to have been vetoed by Ottawa. Power's reported statement thus comes as a complete surprise and officials here are in the dark as to what it portends in reorganization of R.C.A.F. units here. Officials would make no comment whatever.
Changes are pending in No. 1 Fighter Squadron, it is learned, but whether the two developments are connected is not revealed. When Commander Ernest McNab, who has led his Hurricanes with such outstanding success —unofficial victories are said to total around 70— is being given command of a Royal Air Force squadron and it is expected his second-in-command, McGregor, will take over the command of the Canadians.
It was published some weeks ago in Canada that McNab probably would be returning home to give the benefit of his fighter experience to the Empire air training scheme.

Anxious to Fight
This, it is understood, was never officially decided upon and those who know McNab say he would not be at all pleased by being pulled out of the scrap while the fighting still is continuing. Knowing McNab myself, since he was knee high to a grasshopper, and following his career through school and sports, particularly hockey, that is an understatement.
He has recently had a much-deserved leave and his quick grin and ready chuckle are again as spontaneous as they ever were. The courage and dash with which his squadron played their part in the battle of London has drawn loud praise from all who had an opportunity to assess their work. Their recent period of "rest" at a station far from London, where their duties mostly consists of patrols in a quiet sector, is richly deserved.
If Air Minister Power's reported plan of making the 112th squadron into fighters goes through, it is believed the new unit will draw its commanding officer from number one fighter, but R.C.A.F. officials here are in the dark even on this aspect of the reported development.


R.A.F. Is Well Prepared To Meet Nazi Hordes
Famous Canadian Ace Who Won Distinguished Flying Cross in England
Tells How Greatly R.A.F. Has Been Strengthened Since It Won the Battle of Britain

This is the first of a series of articles by Wing Commander Ernest McNab, D.F.C., and other members of the R.C.A.F. who took part in the Battle of Britain McNab was the first officer of the R.C.A.F. to get into action, shooting down a German bomber on his first combat flight. In this and subsequent articles Canadian flyers tell of their experiences in Great Britain, of victories and narrow escapes.

(By W/C E. A. McNab, D.F.C., 5 May 1941) - This vast, sprawling Dominion of ours has lived in peace in the shadow of the most terrible war in the history of the human race. Canada has not experienced the shattering blasts of high - explosive bombs, the searching heat of the fire bombs, the earth - shaking thunder of antiaircraft guns and the vicious ripping of machine guns. Britain has felt all these things. People like you reading this article have gone through it all.

Ordinary people of London — people going downtown daily to work in their offices and in their shops — housewives going about their daily chores. Germany unleashed the might of its air fleets on London.
These people saw their offices dissolve in clouds of debris — returned home to find their dwellings in a disorderly rubble of bricks and beams. There were gaps in their families — in their circle of friends — each time the raiders droned away and the "all clear" signal brought London's millions up from the shelters.
This has been the battle of London — an unremitting nightmare of screaming bombs, falling masonry and crackling flames under a ruddy sky. With scores of other Canadians, I took part in that sky-high battle. In our fighting aircraft we perched up there five miles above the city and did our best to drive those masses of German bombers back from the heart of the Empire.

Ernie McNab
Ernie McNab

Britain Is Ready
Britain is well armed for any invasion attempt. The people are confident and determined. The Royal Air Force is stronger than ever before. Production of aircraft has been stepped up to a remarkable degree, swelled by a steady flow of aircraft from United States factories. The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan schools here in Canada send excellent aircraft crews overseas in streams.
I can tell you from personal observations of the vast difference from last summer. Today the British sky seems literally full of R.A.F. machines — and there is a formidable reserve of both men and aircraft.
There have been other improvements. Training has gone forward steadily since Jerry grew tired of his air blitz. Organization is better — the organization of defence, the organization of supplies, maintenance and replacements. There are other improvements of which I may not speak — such as new tactics, new aircraft, new weapons and new devices of many natures.
The R.A.F. entertains not the least doubt of its own ability to cope with anything Jerry can send over. The air force shattered the massed formations of last September with far fewer machines than are now available, and can, with better and more aircraft than ever before, repeat the performance with the biggest air fleets Goering can put in the air.

Fully Prepared
The air force is ready for clouds of bombers and fighters, for the much-talked-of German device of motorless gliders filled with troops and towed by bombers. Britain's defences on the ground are ready for parachute troops and for what forces escape the navy in a seaborne invasion attempt.
The second round of the battle of Britain — if second round there is to be — may be upon us at any day. But that lies in the future, of which I do not pretend to have any knowledge.
I can tell you something of the first round, for I was lucky enough to be one of the players. Let me explain the nature of this fighting in the sky.
There are marked differences from the war in the air over France and Belgium in the war of 1914-1918. The day of the lone knights of the air, or individual combat, of "aces," of impressive strings of personal victories — is lost forever. This, of course, does not detract one bit from the courage and the skill of those air fighters of the first war. They needed all the skill and courage in the world to fly the aeroplanes of that day, let alone to fight in them. I do not need to tell you that their deeds will live forever.
Progress in aircraft and engine design, mass production and better armament have changed the complexion of sky fighting. Now the individual counts for nothing. As a matter of fact, he dare not sally forth alone. Team play is the whole thing in air combat today. We fight in units. The smallest unit is a section — that is, three aircraft. Then there is a flight of two sections — that is, six aircraft, and a squadron of two flights, or twelve aircraft. Sometimes we even fight in wings, that is, three squadrons, or 36 aircraft.

Speak by Phone
The wireless telephone has changed the form of air fighting. As squadron leader, I am enabled to lead my unit into battle with all the precision and co-ordination of a cavalry squadron on maneuvers. I can talk to my flight commanders or to my section leaders. I can talk to any particular aircraft, or to all aircraft at once.
In actual combat we use the wireless to warn each other of an enemy aircraft about to take us by surprise from the rear or from above or beneath. You are twisting and turning amid a tangle of enemy and friendly aircraft in a sky laced with criss-crossing trails of tracer bullets. You concentrate on your reflector sight, striving to catch your quarry squarely within the sight so that you may turn upon him the full blast of the eight machine guns in the wing of your Hurricane. Suddenly a casual voice says in your earphones: "Say, Ernie, there's a Jerry diving on your tail." You forget your target for a moment, take a glance over your shoulder and wrench your aircraft out of the path of cannon shell and machine-gun fire from the black-crossed Messerschmitt streaking through the air you had just vacated.
In tomorrow's article Wing Commander McNab tells of the equipment used by fighter pilots and pays tribute to the Polish, Norwegian, French, Czech, Netherlands and Belgian flyers now fighting with the British.


Pilot Needs Oxygen For Fighting at Great Heights
Engines of Aircraft Also Have To Be Supercharged With Air -
By Powerful Blowers to Keep Them Functioning in Rarefied Atmosphere

(This is the second in a series of articles by Wing Commander Ernest A. McNab, D.F.C.)
We were in the battle of London, but we saw little of the city from the air. We fought habitually at high altitudes, usually far above the clouds in a world of our own — a world of freezing cold, of limitless space and traced with white - plumed trails of condensed exhaust left by the wheeling aircraft as they fought. It was like sky-writing gone mad.
We had to go to between 25,000 and 30,000 feet to engage the German fighters. The bombers they were escorting flew at anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 feet. Of course both men and aircraft had to have special equipment to fight at those altitudes. We had an oxygen mask over our nose. The oxygen mask and the wireless microphone were part of the flap of our leather helmet. The flap covered our faces from nose to chin just beneath the goggles.
Our aircraft engines, too, had to have life-giving air to function properly in the thinner atmosphere of great heights. There are air blowers to supercharge the big engines so that they can maintain peak efficiency above the clouds.
A pilot pays some attention to his oxygen shortly after he has taken off makes sure everything about his oxygen apparatus is in working order before he goes very far, and then makes adjustments as he climbs higher and higher. There are five adjustments for each 5,000 feet of altitude,
When you reach your operational or fighting height of around 25,000 feet the oxygen maintains your mind and body at normal. Then you listen to your directions from the ground and keep a sharp eye peeled for the enemy. One section of three planes is always detailed as the "weaving section." They fly along about 4,000 feet above the rest of the squadron and weave constantly from side to side, from front to rear to guard against a surprise attack.
You will see other squadrons of our aircraft from time to time. Sometimes you will see fights in the distance, but discipline is strict and you mind your own business until the particular enemy formation you were sent up to intercept makes its appearance.
As the day's fighting progresses, squadrons will be called down to re-arm their guns and refuel while fresh squadrons take their places. There is one story about a scowling Polish pilot who landed his Hurricane on a strange aerodrome. "Rearm and refuel?" asked the ground crew chief. "No more bullets," he growled. The Poles are fine pilots and ferocious fighters.

Poles Fight Well
In the latter part of my own service in Britain I commanded a fighter wing which included a Polish squadron, our own No. 1 Fighter Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and a British R.A.F. squadron. The Poles were always spoiling for a fight with the Hun. Most of them did not know what had become of their homes and families back in Poland.
One Polish pilot, not in my squadron, was so fond of sneaking off from his squadron and making lone trips into Germany to machine-gun ground troops that his commanding officer had to clip his wings a little. The gas tanks of his plane were only half-filled so that he couldn't get to Germany and back.
The pilots of our other allies are also giving a good account of themselves with the Royal Air Force. There are Norwegians, Czechs, Netherlanders, Belgians and Frenchmen. They fight silently and with a cold fury, trying to get revenge for the smashing of their homes, trying to win back their homelands.
The British are determined that the same tragedy shall not overtake Britain. That readiness has proved embarrassing to flying men more than once. Away from an aerodrome there is no place for a forced landing. Every farm field, every meadow, every moor, is rendered useless for flying operations. Old wrecks of automobiles lie rusting in the fields. Piles of stones, concrete blocks, iron pipes thrust upright into the ground — all are ready to wreck any German aircraft seeking a spot to land troops.
When a British fighting aircraft's engine goes dead, the pilot has to take his chances with these obstacles. He lands with his wheels up so that his aircraft will just slither along the ground a few feet and stop instead of rolling into these booby traps. It means that probably the propeller, the wings and fuselage of his machine will be damaged but the pilot usually escapes injury.

Angry Farmer
The Home Guard aided by a legion of self-appointed volunteers is ready for parachute troops. There is another sore point for the defending pilots. One British boy set his aircraft down with a thump in an English farm field. A farmer ran towards him with a shotgun. A Home Guard soldier ran down the highway towards him. Prudently the pilot put his hands over his head and shouted "I'm a British officer."
Unmoved, the farmer aimed the shotgun at his head.
"Get my papers out of my pocket and convince this lad," the pilot appealed to the Home Guard who arrived out of breath. "Tell him to put that thing down."
The farmer never moved the gun from the bead he had drawn on the pilot. "Just stand aside, lad, and I'll blow his blooming head off," he urged the Home Guard soldier.
There was another chap who landed close to a farmhouse. The occupants came out the kitchen door in a rush. The farmer had a shotgun, the hired man swung an iron fence post, and the farmer's good wife wheezed along in their wake brandishing a heavy iron skillet. He convinced them he was British and they made him a cup of tea.
A more nerve-wracking experience was in store for a British night fighter pilot. Back from a fruitless patrol in the dark searching for German raiders, he came in for a landing on his home aerodrome on the outskirts of London. As you can imagine, it is quite a trick to land a 350-mile-an-hour fighter in the darkness of a blackout with only the discreet lights of a flare path along the landing strip to guide you.
This pilot misjudged his speed a little this time, and pulled up to circle the tiny field and try again. Of course his wheels and landing flaps had been lowered, so he had to use full power and keep on at low altitude until he could raise wheels and flaps again, climb and make a wide circle for his second landing attempt. He got them up and was climbing at about 5,000 feet, but by this time was well over London. Suddenly his Hurricane ran into the balloon barrage. They were a menace to low-flying British aircraft as well as to the Germans, but we usually were guided around them by wireless messages from the ground.

Plane Was Wrecked
This pilot, however, had nobody to guide him. His Hurricane struck the cable anchoring the balloon to the ground far below and the machine was wrecked. Luckily the cockpit cover, which slides back and forth, was open and he could get out quickly.
He pulled the ripcord of his parachute and got down safely. He landed on the rooftop of a building in London. His crippled Hurricane plunged into the roof of a shop across the street and burned furiously. A large crowd gathered. The figure of the pilot on the top of the building was silhouetted in the glare of the burning shop across the street. The angry mob brandished sticks and brickbats despite the fact he shouted down at them that he was English. To convince them he tore off his R.A.F. tunic, complete with the winged badge of pilot and tossed it down to the crowd below. Then they believed him and got the fire brigade to put up its ladders to rescue him from his perch. But his troubles weren't over. The ladders wouldn't reach.
He had to hang from his fingertips and drop into the waiting arms of firemen clinging precariously to the top of a ladder. By that time he was a hero, not a villain, and when he got back to the aerodrome his face was scarlet with lipstick from forehead to chin.


Initial Fight With Enemy Is Memory That Remains
Canadian Ace Says Mouth Dries Up Like Wool Under Intense Excitement
of Plunging Into Air Battle With Invading Huns

(This is the third in a series of articles by Wing Commander Ernest A. McNab, D.F.C.)
The British people are wonderful to the air force once they are convinced of your identity. The boys of No. 1 Fighter Squadron and the other squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force over there are enjoying themselves immensely amongst the British.
My own squadron was a composite unit formed from the Active Auxiliary Air Force and from the permanent Air Force. At the time it was formed, I was at an east coast aerodrome in Canada with the original No. 1 Fighter Squadron of the R.C.A.F. There were nine pilots in this outfit and we were joined by the No. 115 Squadron of Montreal and a few others from various parts of Canada. We trained and went overseas in June, completely equipped with Hurricane fighters, motor trucks and all the repair shops. We were ready for service in France but we were doomed to disappointment. Any hope of going to France was dashed when we heard on the radio while still two days out from England that France had capitulated.
We were sent to an aerodrome near the Salisbury plains to complete our training and unpack our equipment. We moved a little later to Croydon and then to the northern outskirts of London.

In First Fight
It fell to my lot to be the first one of our bunch to get into the fighting. As squadron leader I went up on August 15 with a neighboring R.A.F. squadron. We headed for the south coast and ran into a large formation of Messerschmitt 109's over Kent.
There is nothing to compare with the excitement of plunging into an air battle like that. Your mouth dries up like cotton wool. Flying Officer Dal Russel, of Montreal, who was in my squadron, was chewing gum when he went into his first scramble. He had to pick bits of gum from the roof of his mouth afterwards.
We swept into the 109's this day and the guns started spitting. You lose all sense of space and time in a fight like that. It is hide and seek in the clouds, a sharp clash with a German, and then more hunting.
Suddenly the commanding officer and I were alone. We didn't know where the others and the 109's had gone. We were directed from the ground to hurry over to a point over the Thames estuary, where we soon spotted two Dornier 215 bombers headed for the sea.
The C.O. attacked one from the left side and I wheeled and jumped on the other from the right. I fired at mine and he turned south, losing height. I turned and had another crack at him. I must have got the rear gunner, for he stopped firing and the right-hand engine started to smoke.

Fakes Injury
I drew off but followed him because they sometimes fake a mortal hit. Sure enough, he flattened out at 1,000 feet and scooted for home. I attacked a third time and fired a two-second burst from my eight guns. His other engine stopped and he turned over and dropped into the marshes, landing with the wheels up.
I found out later that the pilot was badly wounded and the three other members of the crew were dead. Meanwhile the C.O. had disabled his bomber before his Hurricane ran out of ammunition.
That night Croydon was bombed and we moved to the north of the city. Next day was the first show our squadron went on as a unit. We went on our first patrol shortly after 4 a.m. and did three more patrols before we knocked off at 8 o'clock that night, but we didn't meet a Hun. Much of our work had been flying protective patrols while other squadrons were down on the ground refueling and rearming.
Two days later we ran into our first fight and it was a big one. We came up over London and met more than 60 German bombers over the estuary. It was certainly an awful and awe-inspiring sight to see those ugly black bombers in rank after rank, stepped up in layers with the lowest layer foremost.
We flew right into them with all guns blazing and broke up their formation. I think our score was four destroyed for certain and three or four most certainly damaged and perhaps destroyed.
We were outnumbered five to one, and had some losses ourselves. Flying Officer Leslie Edwards, of Toronto, was fatally wounded and Flight-Lieut. Jean Paul Desloges, of Ottawa, and I were shot down. We were not wounded and landed safely. Our aircraft were soon back in service again.

Tough Spot
Flight-Lieut. Hartland Molson, of Montreal, was in a bad spot for a minute on that day. Edwards, Desloges and I were in the first section of three planes and naturally bore the brunt of the enemy's fire in that first moment of collision. Molson flew along behind us and the first thing he knew he was right in the very middle of those 60 German bombers. There were bombers below him and bombers in front, behind and on either side. They were as much surprised as he was and hadn't the wit to fire at him. He shot up out of the top of that formation as fast as the Hurricane would take him.
Speaking of formations, Squadron Leader Gordie McGregor, of Montreal, had his own troubles one day. Sometimes 109's look very much like Hurricanes. Gordie was leading his Hurricanes and saw what looked like two more of them loafing along higher up. He waggled his wings to signal them to join the formation and promptly put them out of mind. A second or so later large pieces of his wings disappeared and bullets cut a little track across his fuselage. The "stragglers" were 109's and had swung in on his tail. He played a regular Annie Laurie on his rudder bars before he managed to shake them off. When he got back he found a cannon shell had just about taken one wing off. Large pieces of aeroplane flying about the sky can be very dangerous to others as well.
One misstep of mine almost cost me dearly. I was concentrating on a 109, trying to shoot it down, and forgot to look behind me, with the result that another got on my tail. Little "Pete" Peterson, an Alberta boy, saw it in a flash and hightailed to my assistance. I didn't know anything about it until later, but Pete came in too fast and was within 50 feet of the 109 when he let go with his eight guns.
The German aircraft simply disintegrated in front of him and he flew right through the wreckage. His Hurricane was a wreck. Pieces of the 109 smashed it. The heavy windscreen in front of his face was smashed and so was the cockpit cover. It was a wonder his aeroplane stayed in the sky, but he limped home somehow and made a landing.

By Will Power
He crawled from the cockpit with his face a red mask. His eyes were streaming with water. The medical officer grabbed his hands so that he could not rub his eyes. The medical officer said later, he had taken a couple of teaspoonfuls of glass fragments from Pete's eyes. It must have required extraordinary will power for him to keep from rubbing his eyes during his painful flight home from an altitude of more than 20,000 feet. Peterson was fatally wounded a couple of weeks after he had returned to flying duty.
A little later we ran into a large number of 109's a little higher than 20,000 feet. Their formation broke up under the impact and the squadron pursued them individually. I tried to rally the squadron around me again but could only collect Dal Russel, the Montrealer, and Flying Officer Norris from Saskatoon. We climbed back towards London.
Russel said over the wireless: "Bombers above." There were twin-engined fighters, about 30 of the Messerschmitt 110's, in a defensive circle above the bombers. We climbed and got the sun at our backs before we attacked. Then we formed in line astern, or follow the leader, and dove down to attack.
We cut into the inside of the circle, only in the opposite direction, and had a shot at each one as it passed. The three of us got in some good shooting.
I fired at the second or third in the circle and he broke away and dove for home with me after him. His rear gunner stopped firing and a minute later his left engine caught fire. I ran out of ammunition and another Hurricane came in close. The 110 suddenly rolled over and dove into the ground from 1,000 feet. Russel and another chap got another Hun, and the others scurried for home, closely pursued by Hurricanes and Spitfires which had come up to help us.


Canadians Played Big Part In Decisive Air Battle
Author Counted Nine Aircraft Falling at One Time on Day R.A.F. and -
Its Allies Officially Claimed 185 Enemy Planes During Battle of Britain

McNab with his Hurricane  
(This is the fourth and last article by W/C Ernest McNab, D.F.C., on his experiences in action over England)
Our biggest show was on September 15 last, the day the R.A.F. officially claimed 185 enemy aircraft destroyed (actual number about 60 -jf), though it was certain that scores of others never reached home.
Our Canadian fighter squadron was called out once in the early-morning but there was nothing out of the ordinary in that show. In the afternoon about 2:30 they called out the entire wing. That meant there was the Canadian squadron, the Polish squadron and an English Squadron.
As we approached the south end of London we saw a huge formation of bombers off to the left guarded by German fighters. British squadrons were just attacking. We kept on climbing, because we knew this was not the bunch we had been sent up to intercept.
Sighted Enemy
Then we saw our quarry. There were more than 100 bombers with fighters above and behind and on either side. Our Polish squadron went after the fighters. The English and ourselves took the bombers. As we maneuvered for attack, we saw another German wave of the same size, but other British squadrons were coming up to engage them.
We came in close and went into battle. It was a terrific spectacle. There was so many aircraft in the sky that there was as much danger of colliding with another fellow as there was of being shot down. There were more than 1,000 aircraft in the sky just south of London.
I counted nine aircraft falling at one time and there were parachutes everywhere. The Canadian squadron bagged 14 enemy aircraft.
The battle broke up into dogfights and we returned home singly. We all felt that we had broken up Jerry's whole show and that he would never come back again in such numbers. He never did. At all times we were outnumbered — yet we stopped them. I can tell you from personal knowledge that the British count of victories was conservative, to say the least.
They claimed an enemy destroyed only when they had the smoking wreckage to prove it. By the same measure, our own losses were not minimized.
The German pilot is good, but our boys are better. The German is mechanically minded. He is a good man at doing what he is told, but when things do not work out that way, he is at a loss. If he is told to bomb a certain target and meets British fighters which break up his formation, he will drop his bombs at random and scoot for home instead of trying to win through to his target on his own initiative. The fighter pilots are a little better, but they do not do much thinking for themselves.

Fighting for Freedom
British pilots have a superiority on several counts. In the first place, every one of them is deeply imbued with the justice of his cause. He knows he is fighting for freedom from slavery. He is defending Britain, too.
In the second place, he has a better aircraft, a better engine, and more and better guns.
In the third place, he has psychological advantage. If he is forced to land, if he has to take to his parachute, he knows he will be back in the fight tomorrow. All the Germans can hope for is to spend the rest of the war in a prison camp.
The Royal Air Force and its allies from the dominions and elsewhere have turned back the German air force with a numerical inferiority of something like one to five. If there is ever complete parity, the boys are confident the swastika will be swept from the skies.
Since the big blitz I have just described, we have developed faster and better aircraft, of which I am not at liberty to tell you. We have improved our weapons, too, and our fighting tactics.
When the Germans first came over in quantity they came in formation of about nine abreast, each succeeding layer a little higher than the one before. We attacked the first layer and threw the whole lot into confusion.
Later he changed his tactics a little, and we changed ours, attacking from the beam or the quarter as the occasion demanded. Then he started piling on armour plate, which reduced our scores and gave us more trouble all around. The logical result was that we are devising heavier armament to pierce Jerry's heavier armour plate, and at the same time we are using armour plate to protect ourselves.

Unconquerable Spirit
Despite armour plate and guns, I think one of the greatest assets our side has is the unconquerable spirit.
I think of a group captain on our station, an officer I am not permitted to name (Keith Park -jf) but whom I will always remember. He was 47 years old and a real fighter, His rank and duties called for him to remain on the ground and direct the fighting, but he could not keep out of the sky. I have seen him listening to the reports in the operations room, jumping up and down with excitement. Suddenly he could stand it no longer. He would dash from the room and run for his own private Hurricane, which was always kept ready for flight. In a moment we would hear him roar off into the sky to watch the fighting at closer range.
Sometimes he got tangled in a fight himself. One day he was ranging the sky alone when he ran into a formation of 11 Heinkel bombers. He wirelessed for assistance, but as it so happened at the moment there was not another British plane anywhere near that part of the sky. His call for help refused of necessity, he plunged into the 11 Heinkels alone. He shot down one and seriously damaged another before the scrap was over.
On another of these lone patrols of his, he came upon three Messerschmitt 109 fighters in line astern. He crept up on them from the rear entirely unnoticed and fired a heavy burst at the last machine in the line. It burst into flames and plunged to the ground. At about the same instant he was amazed to see the first Messerschmitt in the line fall apart in the air. Apparently, the pilot of the middle plane had been so startled at the unexpected attack on the one behind him that he had pressed his triggers, so that a hail of cannon shells and machine-gun bullets had poured into his leader only a few yards in front. The group captain got credit for both German machines.
Eventually he was badly wounded by a piece of cannon shell in the back. It is safe to say that when he returns to duty it will be to some station where he cannot resume those lone flights of his, for a man of his training and experience is more valuable on the ground.
There are as many heroes on the ground as there are in the air — perhaps more. They kept us in the air and at considerable sacrifice to themselves. We came back from a fight with our aircraft shot full of holes, and those on the ground worked far into the night repairing them. They were always up before dawn making our machines ready for flight. They checked our engines, our controls, our wireless, our oxygen and our guns. No trouble was too much for them to do. Without those boys of the ground crew, a squadron is worse than helpless.
I wish I could better convey to you some idea of the co-operation and comradeship between the pilots and the men whose duties held them on the ground. There was perfect discipline, yet we were all friends — just a bunch of average Canadian boys all together and far away from home.
We made the best possible use of our time on the ground. We were always standing by in various stages of readiness for action. We wore our flying boots and our Mae West flotation jackets. Between calls to service in the sky we spent our time at playing casino, cribbage, darts, football and horseshoe pitching. The western boys, of course, excelled at that. We played softball after a fashion, but it was rarely that we had time between flights to complete even a seven-inning game.
Those waiting on immediate call played the card games. A message would come through for a "scramble" and the boys would lay down their cards and run for their aircraft. There were many arguments on their return as to just what the score was and as to just whose turn it was to play next. Sometimes, of course, one of the players did not return to resume the game.
A tower of strength in darkest moments was our padre, Rev. Cochrom, from Toronto. This able gentleman was himself a pilot in the last war, and so he understood our needs and feelings at every turn of the game. He was a friend in need and a friend indeed.
In England we have the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, a self-sacrificing organization of women doing everything in their power to fill men's jobs so that those men may be freed for active service. I say active service advisedly, for those women are on active service as much as we are. I remember one night in the operations room of the air force station I was serving on. A German bomb whistled down and exploded just outside with an ear-shattering blast. Debris flew everywhere. The W.A.A.F. girls at work as clerks just turned a little white — but went straight on with their duties. They showed the spirit of all Britain, and I am confident that we in Canada can show the same spirit. We should be able to show that spirit without being under fire — as they are. And they are counting upon us — especially for airmen. We have proved to their satisfaction that Canadians make the best airmen in the world — and they are depending upon us to send them, through the British Commonwealth air training plan, an inexhaustible supply of well-trained pilots, air observers and wireless operator air gunners. I know that we have the material available, and I know that the British Commonwealth air training plan is geared to train them for their part in the salvation of the freedom of all mankind.


Wings Ceremonies Are Held in West
Wing Commander McNab Officiates at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

21 Aug. 1941 - Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force were awarded wings in ceremonies held yesterday at widely separated points. In far-off Saskatoon, Sask., Wing Commander Ernest McNab, D.F.C., who gave noteworthy service in the present war, officiated for the first time.
The other wing ceremonies were held at No. 1 Service Flying Training school, Camp Borden, with Squadron Leader A. V. Ashdown doing the honours and being assisted by Group Capt. R. S. Grandy, O.B.E., and Flight Lieut. S. F. Douglas.


McNab Now Liaison Officer Between R.C.A.F. & U.S. Corps

Winnipeg, 15 Dec. 1941 - (CP) - Wing Commander Ernest A. McNab of Saskatoon, one of the leading Canadian aces of the war and now commanding officer of the Service Flying Training School at Saskatoon, has been appointed a liaison officer between the Royal Canadian Air Force and the United States Army Air Corps on the west coast, command headquarters of No. 2 Training Command here announced today.
The flier, winner of the Distinguished Flying Cross, led the No. 1 Fighter Squadron of the R.C.A.F. overseas when it helped beat off the German air attacks on London during the Battle of Britain.
Wing Commander McNab later returned to Canada, and last August took over command of the Saskatoon Flying School. His father is Hon. A. P. McNab, Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan.


Ace Canadian Air Fighters Are Named by Winnipeg Flier

Winnipeg, 2 March 1942 - (CP) - Wing Commander J. A. (Alex) Kent of Winnipeg, member of a Royal Air Force squadron that shot down numerous Nazi planes during raids and over the Channel, said here today that Wing Commander Mark (Hilly) Brown of Glenboro, Man., killed in action, "was one of the best fighter pilots in the R.A.F. and still heads the list of Canadian aces" in this war.
Speaking before members of the Canadian Club, Wing Commander Kent told of how the Manitoban distinguished himself in several actions against the enemy as flight commander in the R.A.F.'s No. 1 Fighter Squadron.
Other Canadians whom he named as great fighters were members of No. 1 Canadian Fighter Squadron— Wing Commander E. A. McNab, Regina; Wing Commander Gordon McGregor and Squadron Leaders Dal Russel, Hartland Molson and Paul Pitcher, all from Eastern Canada.

He told how he and other British pilots drilled a squadron of Polish pilots. "One day the Polish squadron was practicing intercepting enemy raiders when they actually ran into a lot of Nazi planes. The fighters gathered around and got the trainees out of trouble except for one Polish airman (Lt. Ludwik Paszkiewicz -jf), who dashed across, shot down a Dornier 17 and then rejoined the squadron. The R.A.F. officers thought it was just lucky (According to post-war research, the plane identified as a Do17 by Paszkiewicz was actually an Me110 -jf).
The next day however, the Poles shot down six Messerschmitts for no loss. Then the R.A.F. officers decided the Poles had trained enough and the squadron was allowed to go into action, which they did with a vengeance. Flying Hurricanes, the Poles shot down 130 enemy planes in the next six weeks," Wing Commander Kent said.


The King visits an RCAF station in 1943. He is shown chatting with
G/C McNab & clearly wondering what's on W/C George Elms' arm

Group Capt. Ernest McNab Has Succeeded Hamilton Man in British Sector
Group Capt. A. P. Campbell Is Returning to Canada For Staff Appointment

London, 17 Sept. 1942 — (CP Cable) — Group Captain Ernest McNab, D.F.C., of Saskatoon, one of the operational pioneers of the R.C.A.F. in the present war, has succeeded G/C A. Patrick Campbell, of Hamilton, Ont., as commanding officer of a Canadian fighter station in the Midlands, the R.C.A.F. announced today. G/C McNab, a veteran of the Battle of Britain, recently returned from Canada. In 1940 he led an R.C.A.F. squadron which destroyed 30 German aircraft in less than seven weeks. McNab himself at that time was described as a "helluva scrapper who is a handful for any three Germans he meets."
G/C Campbell received presentations from the personnel of the station where he had been commanding officer for a year. Shortly he will proceed to Canada to accept an important staff appointment.
G/C Campbell is the son of Mrs. Duncan F. Campbell, 258 Bay street south. Reported early this year to be the only Canadian in command of an air station in Great Britain, he was mentioned in the New Year's Day honour list of His Majesty King George VI.


First Decorated RCAF Pilot Home


Montreal, 16 May 1945 (CP). — Group -Capt. E. A. McNab, DFC, first member of the Royal Canadian Air Force to be decorated, and said by RCAF officials to have been the first to participate in aerial conflict in this war, has returned to Canada with the latest draft of RCAF repatriated personnel.
Group Capt. McNab is the son of the late Hon. A. P. McNab, former Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan, and Mrs. McNab of Regina. He was officer commanding No. 115 Fighter Squadron of Montreal, the first RCAF squadron to join the RAF in the Battle of Britain. His first aerial fight came Aug. 15, 1940, when he shot down a Dornier.

Group Captain McNab

G/C McNab


Victories Include :

15 Aug 1940
26 Aug 1940
  7 Sept 1940
  9 Sept 1940
11 Sept 1940
15 Sept 1940

27 Sept 1940

one Do17
one Do17
one Me109E
one Me109E
one He111
one He111
one He111
one Me110
1/3 Ju88
Westgate on Sea
NE of North Weald
SE of Guildford
S & E of Gatwick
SE of London
Biggin Hill-Crowborough &
S of Kenley-Lingfield


4.33 / 1 / 3

[a] This claim was made while he was attached to an RAF squadron for operational experience. It was claimed as a Do215 but listed in 'Aces High' as a Do17. McNab's combat report states - "I was Blue 2 and took off at 1530 hours on orders to patrol Beachy Head. Two enemy bombers Do. 215 were sighted flying in close formation (at 16,000 ft. eastwards along the Thames Estuary) and I did a stern attack on them firing a short burst with no apparent effect before breaking off. On my next attack, after the first burst, the rear gunner ceased firing and the enemy aircraft started to lose height. I followed him down, firing. His engines began to smoke and he crashed in some marshy ground just west of Westgate-on-Sea. As my ammunition was used up, I returned to my base and refuelled."

[b] This was the first claim made by a Member of the RCAF while with an RCAF squadron. It too was claimed as a Do215. Robert L. Edwards was close behind McNab and also shot down a Do17. Unfortunately, he was hit by the rear gunner and crashed, becoming the first member of the RCAF to die in WW2.

[c] Judging by his combat report, this might be a half share, although he doesn't say the other Hurricane had any hits on the enemy plane. Combat report states - "I was Caribou Leader leading two squadrons, No. I Canadian and 303. Gathered section together after attack on bomber and climbed to 18,000 feet where 20 plus Me. 110s were in a defensive circle attacked by a number of Hurricanes. I noticed a Me.110 break circle and head for coast. In company with another Hurricane (squadron unknown) attacked and finally Me. 110 showed flame along port side, turned onto its back and crashed in flames in area of Crowborough, although cannot identify location exactly."

[d] This was shared with Bev Christmas & "DaPeyster" Brown (Blue section). Combat report states - "I was Caribou Leader leading 4 sections No. 1 Canadian Squadron, and leading squadron combined with 303. Ordered to intercept raid . . . . Sighted raiders 10 miles due East at 18,000, turned and forced to make an astern attack. The bombers were in section threes stepped down. Attacked left hand Ju. 88 in rear section. He broke away and dropped his bombs turning towards south coast and I followed in with section. Two parachutes came out but man in first fell away from his, the second was badly ripped. The aircraft continued to fly south so I closed and gave 2-second burst, the aircraft dived straight down and burst into flames at Limpsfield. This is claimed for Blue section."


McNAB, G/C Ernest Archibald, DFC (C134) - Officer, OBE - Western Air Command HQ
Award effective 13 June 1946 as per Canada Gazette of that date and AFRO 660/46 dated 5 July 1946.

This officer proceeded overseas as the Commanding Officer of Canada's first fighter squadron in 1940. He commanded and led his squadron in the air during the Battle of Britain and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in recognition of his gallantry. His efforts during this period did much to enhance the prestige of Canadians in England. After returning to Canada for a short period he again proceeded overseas where he commanded the Station and fighter sector at Digby. The operations which he directed and controlled whilst sector commander were instrumental in advancing the Allied cause to a very marked degree. His fine personal example, cheerful disposition and calm judgement were at all times an inspiration to those under him. On his return to Canada he was posted as Senior Air Staff Officer to Western Air Command where he has continued to discharge his responsibilities with the same high purpose which characterized his efforts overseas.


21 Canadian Airmen Decorated by Czechs

Ottawa, Jan. 23, 1948 - (CP) - Recognizing the co-operation between Canadian and Czech fliers during the war, Czechoslovakia has conferred decorations on 21 serving and retired members of the RCAF, it was announced tonight.
The Czechoslovak War Cross, 1939, was awarded to five officers, all of whom served in the Battle of Britain. The Czech Medal for Bravery went to 12 others, while four officers won the Czech Medal of Merit, 1st Class.
W/C P. S. Turner of Toronto, who served with the RAF in the Battle of France, Dunkerque and the Battle of Britain, won both the War Cross and the Medal for Bravery.
Already a holder of the DSO and the DFC, he destroyed 14 enemy aircraft and for a time commanded the City of Windsor Squadron No. 417 at Malta. Later he headed No. 244 Wing and then transferred to the RCAF. He now is stationed at the Joint Air School at Rivers, Man. Other winners of the War Cross are: G/C G. R. McGregor of Montreal and Winnipeg; G/C E. A. McNab of Regina; S/L B. E. Christmas of St. Hilaire, Que., and F/O B. D. Russel of Montreal.
There were no citations accompanying the awards, presented in each case to Canadians associated in some way with the Czech war effort.
G/C McNab, 41, a son of a former Lieutenant-Governor of Saskatchewan, was the first Canadian flier to receive an award in the Second Great War. That was on Oct. 4, 1940. Following service overseas, he returned to Canada and commanded No. 4 Service Flying Training School in Saskatchewan.
G/C McGregor was among the first three RCAF pilots to get the DFC. A fighter pilot like the others who won the War Cross, he headed an overseas fighter station, saw service in the Aleutians, and later commanded No. 126 Wing.
F/O Russell, who holds his present title as a member of the auxiliary air force in Montreal, formerly was an acting Wing Commander and led a wing overseas.


McNAB, G/C Ernest Archibald (C134) - War Cross, 1939 (Czechoslovakia) - Northwest Air Command Headquarters (Edmonton) - Canada Gazette dated 24 January 1948, AFRO 81/48 dated 6 February 1948.




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