William Hewitt "Bill" Palmer


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Canadian Pilots Blow Up Trains, Destroy 5 Germans in 5 Minutes

With a Canadian Fighter Wing in Britain, May 22, 1944 - (CP) - Piling the Canadian score higher all through the day in the sustained, aerial offensive, pilots of the City of Oshawa Spitfire Squadron late today added five more trains damaged to their earlier bag of five enemy planes destroyed and six enemy trains shot up in a foray over the Cherbourg Peninsula.
Their bag of 11 trains today raised to 24 the number they have attacked since yesterday morning and gave Canadian squadrons operating from this British 2nd Tactical Air Force airfield a total of 31 trains shot up in the same period.
The Canadians' total bag of planes for the day was brought to seven by F/O Bud Bowker of Granby, Que., who shot two FW190's into the English Channel while on a gun-testing flight in a Spitfire. Putting in his operational rest period between tours as a pilot with a Canadian repair and salvage unit, Bowker took off from this base today to test the guns of a Spitfire. He bumped into two Focke-Wulf 190's over the English Channel and sent them both crashing into the sea.
It was the first time this stocky flier, who had been "getting so darn sick of doing nothing," had taken off with guns loaded since he came off operations last February. The double victory brought his score to seven enemy aircraft destroyed.
Standing beside a mobile hangar around which Spitfires were being overhauled, Bowker, in battle dress and wearing flying boots, pushed his cap back on his head and told the story of his victory, achieved in a matter of seconds.
He was flying in the direction of St. Valerie and about a quarter of the way across the Channel he sighted the FW190's, flying in line abreast in a northeasterly direction.

Were Carrying Bombs, Rockets
Bowker said the enemy planes were carrying bombs or rockets.
"I crawled up behind them and went after one and they broke toward the French coast," he related. “I let one have a 20-degree shot and he blew up. The exploding aircraft swerved to one side and the other just barely bounced off it, went up 100 feet and then crashed into the sea.”
Today's Canadian successes were achieved without loss.
The third sortie of the day against enemy transport in France was led by S/L Freddie Green, D.F.C.; Toronto, who took five of his pilots into attacks against four freight trains and a petrol train.
The locomotive of the petrol train was left with steam pouring from it and two oil cars blazing.
A section of the Red Indian squadron under S/L Walter Conrad, D.F.C. of Richmond, Ont., attacked two trains 20 miles west of Paris just before dusk tonight.
One was a troop train and the Red Indians gave it a double dose of cannon and machine-gun fire, flying in through heavy ack-ack to deliver their blow.
The bag of five enemy planes to pilots of the City of Oshawa squadron came in a five-minute combat in the Rouen sector of France when the Canadians were returning from a train busting foray northwest of Paris. Six planes of the squadron met an equal number of Germans and the Dominion filers attacked despite the fact their ammunition was dangerously low. Three of the German planes were downed in 10 seconds.
Pilots who each downed an FW190 were F/L R. D. Forbes-Roberts of Vancouver, leader of a section; F/L G. R. Paterson of Kelowna, B.C., and F/O W. H. Palmer of Kamloops and Salmon Arm, B.C.
F/Ls W. F. Mason of Smiths Falls, and A. R. McFadden of Springdale, Alta., each downed a Messerschmitt 109.

Fired Compressed Air
Mason's victory over his Messerschmitt victim came after he had expended all his ammunition, shooting up trains. He got on the German's tail, followed him close to the ground and the Jerry, apparently excited, flipped his machine over in evasive action and plunged into the ground. All Mason did, he said, was fire a couple of rounds of "compressed air" from his empty guns.
F/O Palmer had a close call. He was only 20 yards behind his German victim when the Nazi exploded and debris whistled around Palmer's cockpit but did no harm.
F/O G. A. Borland of Guelph was also in this action but went scoreless because he chose to protect the tail of F/L McFadden. Borland already has five German planes to his credit from previous actions.


Born 2 November 1920
Lived in Kamloops, BC
Enlisted in Vancouver 20 February 1941
Trained at
No.8 EFTS, Sea Island (Vancouver)
No.3 SFTS, Calgary
Winged on 5 December 1941 #R62299
Posted overseas in February 1942
With No.2 AFU, Brize Norton, in April
With 1519 BAT, Feltwell, in May
With No.2 [P]AFU in June
With No.2 FIS, Montrose, in July & August
To No.9 [P]AFU, Errol, on 28 August 1942
Posted to 416 Squadron, 25 May 1943
He was seriously injured on 29 June 1943
  when, returning after formation practice,
  he spun in from 40 ft. Sent to hospital,
  he eventually recovered & returned to 416
Commissioned in December 1943 #J19648
Repatriated on 12 April 1945
Released from the RCAF on 5 July 1945
He died on 15 July 1968


3 Photos of the wreckage of 29 June 1943

crash front

crash left

crash back


Victories Include :

22 May 1944
25 Sep 1944
29 Sep 1944
one FW190
one FW190
one FW190

3 / 0 / 0

1st kill

2nd & 3rd kills

If you would like to see the whole logbook (or most of it) click HERE.
Be warned - There are 132 pages weighing in at 13 MBs.




Thanks to son Bob for the photos & infos !

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