Herbert Elgin Mitchell


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Aero Club Provides Important Stage of Tuition — Many Flying Hours
Five More Future Aerial Warriors Here Now —
Civilians Take Courses

23 February 1940 - The Hamilton Aero club had more flying hours last month than in the first three months of 1939. No less than 338 hours were flown, with 128 dual hours and in all, 560 flights. In the previous year the hours flown in January were 110, February 94 and in March 106.
The great increase, not only in January, but also in months prior to this date, has been directly due to the advanced training of provisional pilot officers, 20 of whom have already received their complete instruction and five more recently arrived to take the course.
The local Aero club, it will be remembered, was one of the first clubs in the Dominion to be chosen, with six others across the country, as a location for advanced training for R.C.A.F. pilots under the National Defence scheme. Four pilots arrived here last June; in September nine others came and by November had completed the course. These were followed by seven others who left the airport last week after being fully trained by four instructors headed by Ernest Taylor, one of the foremost flying teachers in Canada. Under him are Donald Rogers, Arthur Leach and Norris Hart. The club has now received five new students who will study and train for the Royal Canadian Air Force examination which terminates their instruction here in two months' time, after which they are moved to Ottawa, Trenton or Camp Borden.
The five new men here are: Herbert E. Mitchell, Kingston; Douglas G. Chown, Winnipeg; Eugene L. Neal, Quebec City; Hubert H. Gilchrist, Toronto & Frank E. Grant, Brockville.

Civilians Also Train
The fact that provisional RCAF pilots are being trained at the club does not mean that civilians may not learn to fly. To the contrary, the club has just purchased a new 50 horse power cub plane, the second in a year, with the anticipation of greatly increased business in civil aviation. Four other instructors are now taking a course at the airport and will be qualified to instruct within a month or so, making one of the largest groups of instructors at any aero club in the country.

Gained Licenses
Stewart S. MacNaughton, president of the Hamilton Aero club, stated this morning, "Each year we improve the club's facilities to handle civil aviation training, not only for private pilot's licenses, but also commercial, transport and instructor's tickets. Last year, for instance, 18 members received their private pilot's license, six their commercial, six others became qualified instructors and four more gained their transport license. The club now has seven planes of its own, not counting several others which are used solely to train the RCAF students."


Herbert Elgin Mitchell  (C1638).
Son of Samuel Herbert and Ida Mitchell.
Home in Brampton, Ontario.
Enlisted in the RCAF 2 June 1940.
F/O - 5 Oct 1940.
F/L - 1 July 1942.
Joined 89 Sq. in November 1942.
At Malta during June 1942 then,
Back to North Africa.
Flew with Sgt James Trebell as R/O.
Both were KiFA 22 December 1942 (a.m.)
(in Beaufighter FX772).
They were in a landing circuit when the
dinghy stored in the wing blew out,
wrapped around the tail surfaces,
& the aircraft stalled & crashed.
He was 31 years old.
Buried at the Bone War Cemetery, Algeria.


Wings Are Presented To 41 Pilots at Borden

(By BILL ROCHE, Staff Writer, The Globe and Mail) Camp Borden, Sept. 6, 1941 — Climaxing the annual sports day of No. 1 Service Flying Training School, Royal Canadian Air Force, forty-one graduates of the intermediate training squadron late this afternoon received their wings from Group Captain A.T.N. Cowley, officer commanding the school..
Happy pilot officers receiving the coveted wings were representative of communities from Charlottetown to Vancouver and most of them came here from the elementary ground instructional school at the former Eglinton Hunt Club, Toronto.
Captain Cowley, addressing the graduates, reminded them they were the sixth and last class to come in as pilot officers for training. From now on, all pupil pilots will come into the service as aircraftmen under the joint air training plan, formerly known as the Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
"We knew you would be the last class, and so you were hand picked," Captain Cowley said. "You are our choice, and anything you do will reflect to the credit or otherwise of the Royal Canadian Air Force."

Air Vice-Marshal Absent
Air Vice-Marshal L. S. Breadner, D.S.C., had hoped to attend the wings parade, but could not come from Ottawa because of pressing duties.
Those receiving their wings were: Pilot Officers D.A. Weir, Montreal; P.W. Langford, Field, B.C.; W.B. Wood, Toronto; H.C. Stewart, Calgary; C.L.T. Sawle, Edmonton; F.W. Macdonell, Halifax; G.A. Tambling, London; R.J.W. Askwith, Ottawa; E.L. Neal, Cornwall; E.D. Porter, Belleville; J.H. Ross, Edmonton; W.D.W. Hilton. St. Catharines; R.H. Hyndman, Ottawa; R.M. Stayner, Saskatoon; J.R. Bryan, Port Arthur; J.S. Cardell, Edmonton; H.C. Trainor, Charlottetown; D.C.S. Macdonald, Vancouver; G.R.M. Hunt, Edmonton; D.T. French, Edmonton; R.P. Quigley, Bartonville; J.G. Weir, Toronto; C. Chetwynd, Vancouver; R.A. McLernon, Montreal; J.W. Weis, Oakville; W.G.M. Hume, Sherbrooke; H.E. Mitchell, Brampton; E.W.R. Fortt, Esquimalt; E.A. Bland, Peterborough; D.G.C. Chown, Winnipeg; N.C. Brown, Saint John; R.J. Richards, Montreal; A.G. Byers, Montreal; H.E. Fling, Weyburn; L. Savard, Quebec; C.W. Scully, Ottawa; J.V.S.L. Saint-Pierre, Montreal; W.F. Napier Fredericton; P.J. Phelan, Toronto; E.B. Gale, Quebec and C.J. Fallis, Toronto.

Silence Observed
The parade was called to attention and a short silence was observed when the name of M.L. Stephen of Moncton, N.B., was called. This member of the class died in an airplane crash last Monday after having qualified to receive his wings.
The wings ceremony took place in a hollow square formed by comrade units of airmen on three sides, and more than 2,000 relatives and friends on the other. The event was held on the tarmac in front of the control tower.
Among distinguished guests present were Wing Commander W.I. Riddell, Officer Commanding Rockcliffe Air Station, Ottawa; Wing Commander F.S. McGill, O.C. of the new No. 2 Service Flying Training School at Uplands, Ottawa and Squadron Leader J.G. Kerr of No. 2 S.F.T.S., Ottawa.


Former Student of Hamilton Aero Club Describes Hectic Experiences
Heavy Operational Machines Prove Deadly Weapons Against Germans

September 27, 1941 - A young Hamilton airman who received his early flying training with the Hamilton Aero club in the spring of 1940, before the British Commonwealth air training plan got under way, and who is now apparently engaged in night fighting operations, writes to Jean Cowman, secretary of the Hamilton Aero club, to tell of the experiences of himself and another Hamilton lad in England.
The writer is Herbert Mitchell. "Everything," he says, "is in tip top shape with both Jeep and me (Jeep is the nickname for another lad trained in Hamilton, Eugene Neal, of Quebec City.)
"Jeep has had a bit of action lately and damaged a Junkers Ju88 off the coast. The lower half of his engine was shot away, but he made shore and crash-landed with no personal damage. He has also had a few goes at Me109's with no apparent results.

Capable Craft
"Here we are now at __ flying the __. They are a big and heavy machine requiring a lot of continual flying but carry excellent equipment and outstanding armament capable of blowing up anything that flies or that moves along the ground.
"A few nights ago, we went operational and got our first Hun — a Ju88, which just blew up and crashed. It was a Canadian crew that got it so we had quite a celebration.
"They have quite a long endurance, all the necessary speed, and are warm and comfortable with a wonderful cockpit and marvelous visibility. At first they frightened the life out of us. Few of us had flown before and none of the Canadians had so they started us off on __.
"After getting used to them night and day we got started. During the first few flights we gathered considerable grey hair but we all feel at home in them now, even in devilish weather. There is always a soft spot in the heart for the Spitfires and Hurricanes though, as far as actual flying is concerned ...."


Behind The Lines

Dec. 15, 1941 - Flying Officer H. E. Mitchell, of Brampton, whose photograph in flying togs at an air base in Great Britain was released by the bureau of public information recently, received his flying training at the Hamilton Aero club.


Keeps in Touch With Countless Graduates of Hamilton Aero Club
Who Are Doing Invaluable Work in Air Force

(By Hal Miller) Ottawa, Dec. 2, 1943 — Miss Jean Cowman has her post-war plans made. She wants only to be back in Hamilton in the repatriation depot, meeting all her Hamilton Aero Club proteges as they come back from the wars. A former secretary of the club, she is still very much in her own aviation element, serving on the staff of the directorate of organization, R.C.A.F. headquarters, in the Lisgar building, Ottawa.

Men Serve Throughout World
In her present job she is constantly in touch with Hamilton people, many of them high in air force and governmental aviation circles, but her heart is with the young flyers who first earned their wings at the Hamilton Municipal Airport, and are now dropping destruction on enemy territory in the far reaches of the globe.
"There is only one thing I want to be doing when this thing looks like it's near the end," she told this writer, "I want to be back at 'repat' headquarters in the old home town and see all the boys coming in.”
There is no paper rationing where Miss Cowman's mail is concerned. She gets letters from Hamilton boys serving in every R.C.A.F. station and establishment in Canada. And letters come to her from the most unexpected places: India, the Far East, the United Kingdom, the Pacific coast, and even from "Way Down Under."
We saw the first of Jean's Christmas mail start to roll in, and it was something to gladden the heart to know that her "boys" never forget her, wherever they may be serving.
Last year, 250 graduates of the old Beach Road Airport and Municipal Airport remembered her with Christmas cards. She knows the total will be somewhat reduced this year, because many of her buddies have gone on.

Said Farewell to Every One
With her" familiar greeting "Hi pal," and a forward wave of the hand — the old-fashioned take-off salute — she said good-bye to all of them. Most of them went into the air force. Others — the Hamilton pioneers — are top-ranking executives in the aeronautical end of the Department of Transport. Some of the youngsters who were not accepted for active service are handling important war jobs in civil aviation.
Typical of the contribution to Canada's war in the air are the casualties among what Jean terms her "pet five," of the non-Hamiltonians. Killed in action were F/L Doug Chown, F/L Herb Mitchell and S/L Hugh B. Gilchrist. Missing is S/L Frank E. Grant. Left to carry on for the quintet is S/L Eugene (Jeep) Neal, D.F.C.
All these boys trained at Hamilton Aero Club before the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was inaugurated. Chown was a Winnipegger, Mitchell from Brampton, Gilchrist from Scotland, Grant from Brockville, and Neal from Quebec City.
Whether from Hamilton or not, the Hamilton Aero Club was a home away from home for all of them.
Almost every dispatch from overseas carries news of what her boys are doing, and there is no more avid reader of the air force news than Miss Cowman.

Pioneers of Organization
She credits Major Robert Dodds, M.C., founder, first president and first instructor of the club, now serving as superintendent of airports and airways for the Department of Transport, with making it possible for Hamilton to make such an outstanding contribution of flying fighting men. Major Dodds is also stationed in Ottawa now.
"The four Aero Club pioneers — Major Dodds, Alex G. Muir, David Green and Bill Hopkins — can be proud of the record of the club in this war," Miss Cowman said.
For instance, here are a few of the directors, mentioned off-hand, who have gone places: Major Lloyd Havill Smith, overseas; W/C Norman L. Drynan, at Trenton; W/C W. J. Peace, D.F.C., Jarvis; S/L Kenneth E. Krug overseas; S/L E. B. Hale, on operational duty; G/C Norman S. McGregor, overseas; F/L John Harrington, Trenton; F/L Albert J. Lewis, Windsor; F/L A. F. (Fay) Head, Rockcliffe; W/C Royden Foley, on operational work; S/L B. W. Hopkins, Toronto; W/C R. D. Byers, A.F.C., at Calgary, and S/L Jack Summer, overseas.
Officers of the club in important posts in the R.C.A.F are Air Commodore Fred Tice, head of the air force medical section, and Group Capt. Harry Peacock, also of the medical branch, and Group Capt. H. G. Clappison, of air force headquarters.
With the R.A.F. overseas, rank unknown, is Art Lawson, another director.
Other directors with the Department of Transport are: Kenney Whyte, civil aviation inspector at Toronto; Sam S. Foley, inspector of airports and airways for Southern Ontario; W. S. Lawson and Jack Hunter, holding the same posts in the west.
Wellington J. Burtch, Northern Ontario Hydro executive, still maintains an interest in flying. Doug Pickering is in charge of aircraft engine production in an Ottawa war plant. Fred G. Baldwin is a Canadian Legion Auxiliary Services officer at Guelph.
The list of Canadian boys who as members or students have passed through the Hamilton Aero Club on to great accomplishments in uniform or in a civilian capacity is too long to reproduce here.
Perhaps the greatest number received their first instruction from Ernest H. Taylor, former chief instructor, now a test pilot with Victory Aircraft in Toronto. He has had 12 trans-Atlantic crossings and has trained literally hundreds of flyers. His assistant, Don H. Rogers, can claim almost as scintillating a record, and has ferried some ships across during the present year.
The club sponsored No. 10 Elementary Flying Training School which was moved from Hamilton to Pendleton, Ont., and is continuing to maintain Hamilton's flying reputation through capable management of Gerry Moes, of Hamilton. Still actively boosting the school are S. S. McNaughton, Marshall Lounsbury, E. M. Coles, D.F, C., Don Barnes and R. C. Smale, currently on the Hamilton Aero Club directorate.
Whether of high or low estate, of commissioned or non-commissioned rank, Jean Cowman has a cheery "Hi pal" for all of them.
Oh, yes, Jean, ever a good friend of the fourth estate, will have an especially friendly greeting for two Hamilton newspapermen, both honorary members of the club. They are S/L Basil Dean, overseas, and F/L Johnny Johnstone, now in the west. Both are Spectator men.


Victories Include :

14/25 June 1942
28/29 June 1942

11/12 Dec. 1942
one BR.20M
one Ju.87
one Ju.88
one Ju.88
destroyed [1]
destroyed [2]
4 M E of Malta
Malta-Gozo area
(Beaufighter X7748, AC)

(Beaufighter X7676, AJ)

4 / 0 / 0

All with Radar Operator Jim Trebell who was decorated with a DFM
(There must be a story as to why Herb didn't get a DFC as well)

[1] MM24133 of 264 Sq., 88 Gruppo BT. Ten Angelo Reseghetti & crew lost
     (Originally claimed as a 4-engined bomber).
[2] Of 239 Squadriglia, BaT - Serg Magg Dino Fabbri POW, gunner killed.

Stats from "Those Other Eagles" by Shores


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