Canadian Fliers Down 36 German Aircraft in Luftwaffe Attack
London, Jan. 1, 1945 - (CP) - Canadian fighter pilots, in one of their greatest triumphs during the war, destroyed at least 36 of 84 Germans shot down today by the RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force.
The big Canadian score was rolled up as the German Air Force came out in its greatest show of strength for three years in an attempt to smash up Allied airfields in Belgium, Holland and France.
Five Planes Missing
Canadian fighter squadrons accounted for 35 enemy aircraft and the 36th was destroyed by a Canadian in an RAF Tempest Squadron. Five RCAF planes are missing.
Although the Huns' low-level strafings included RCAF airfields and caused some damage, the operational program of the squadrons was not interrupted and approximately 300 sorties were flown. Some enemy planes were destroyed white the airfields were under attack and others when the enemy fled for home.
The pilot of one RCAF reconnaissance squadron, whose name was not immediately disclosed, destroyed two ME190s and damaged two FW190s as he returned to base.
Spitfire fighter-bombers also were active and destroyed or damaged several locomotives and freight cars in the German supply area around St. Vith in Belgium south of Malmedy.
The Canadian Wolf Squadron alone knocked down five out of a formation of 60 enemy craft which strafed the squadron's airfield in the Brussels area. Two others probably were destroyed and another damaged in a low-level action that developed into the hottest dogfight for Canadian fighters in months.
Bags 2 Focke-Wolfs
Four RCAF Typhoons returning from a reconnaissance flight met enemy fighters and destroyed three and probably destroyed a fourth. Two were destroyed by F/O A. H. Fraser of Westmount, Que., and the other by F/O H. Laurence of Edson, Alta. All were FW190s.
A Canadian Tempest pilot, F/L J. W. Garland of Richmond, Ont., jumped two Focke Wulfs just 50 feet from the ground. He dived from 9,000 feet and destroyed both.
In the Wolf Squadron dogfight, P/Os Steve Butte of Michel, B.C., and Mac Reeves of Madoc, Ont., each downed two planes and Butte also claimed one damaged. F/Sgt. Keith Lindsay destroyed one and also had a "probable."
These were the first scores for Butte and Lindsay.
Butte and Lindsay found themselves in a swirling mass of Huns as they took off on a morning patrol. Butte sent an ME-109 down in flames with cannon fire.
Next victim was an FW-190. "There were strikes on his wing and engine, and I saw him crash on the edge of a near by town," Butte said.
Out of Ammunition
Then he hit an ME-109, seeing strikes and smoke, but losing sight of the enemy plane as it dived steeply toward the ground.
"By this time all my ammunition was gone and a Hun got on my tail," Butte continued, "I managed to get on his tail, but couldn't do anything about it."
Lindsay shot one plane down in flames and registered a cannon hit on another, but couldn't determine whether it crashed.
Reeves and his namesake, F/L Dick Reeves of 1507 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Toronto, who is no relation, plunged into a flock of enemy planes while returning from patrol. Dick Reeves had to land immediately because of a faulty motor, but Mac, his guns belching, closed on the plane which caught fire and crashed. He attacked the second victim from underneath and the pilot baled out.
It was announced tonight that the Canadian Mosquito Squadron on the Continent during Sunday night destroyed two Junkers planes while on defensive patrol.
Born 20 November 1919 in Vancouver BC
Home in Toronto
Good friends with Mac Reeves (but no relation)
Winged at 12 SFTS Brandon
With 129 Squadron RAF
Then with 403 Squadron
15 June 1944 Hit by flak, bailed out of MK574
Evaded & returned to 403 Squadron
25 January 1945 he was shot in the foot in
- Brussels by men dressed in U.S. uniforms
DIEPPE: MY MOST EXCITING DAY
There are many memories of Dieppe for Canadians: the controversial raid itself, the heroism and self sacrifice of the Canadian participants and the many Canadian casualties. Of the many memories of the raid, Dick Reeves of North York adds the story of his participation on that fateful day.
In 1942 I was attached to the RAF and a member of 129 RAF 'Mysore' Squadron which was equipped with Spitfire 5Bs. We were briefed on the evening of August 18, 1942, told the plan was to hold Dieppe for twenty-four hours. There was to be an emergency airfield east of the town. Our squadron was to strafe a heavy gun battery south-east of Dieppe, and then Lord Lovat's commandos were to go in and silence it.
Flying Officer Jones and I were to take off early in the dark and attack a lighthouse which was being used as a spotting position for the heavy guns. Flying Officer Jones was leading and we arrived at the coast of France, south of the lighthouse just as dawn was breaking. We made a circle to the south inland and came back out toward the coast where we were attacked by light "ack ack" and the tail of my aircraft was hit. We came out to the coast and turned north at sea level. Flying Officer Jones received a direct hit from "ack ack" on the shore and blew up beside me. I carried on to the lighthouse and gave the upper, glass portion a long burst of cannon and machine gun fire. As I swung away to the north I could see the battle raging, and some of the ships fired at me. I got out of there in a hurry and headed for home.
Don Goodwin & Dick Reeves while with 403 Squadron
I was a couple of miles off Brighton flying about half a mile from a lone Boston bomber and I relaxed for a moment. Suddenly, the Boston was attacked and blew up; just as I was about to maneuver I was hit by a string of bullets, a cannon shell hit my mirror and blew the canopy to pieces, shot off my oxygen mask and put small pieces of metal in my face hands and legs. I swung the plane around and faced my attacker. I gave him a burst of cannon and machine gunfire head-on. We just missed colliding; his plane dived steeply at the sea from a low altitude and I don't think he ever pulled out. My squadron was just leaving and they saw one of the two FW190s and I was credited with a probable.
I landed safely at Thorney Island and the ambulance was waiting. Fortunately, my wounds were only superficial. The next day I counted up to twenty-two holes in my plane and then gave up. I am sure the armour plating saved my hide; the Spitfire was one tough aircraft.
In Eric McGuire's book "Dieppe August 19", he recounts how Lord Lovat was worried about blowing a hole in the barbed wire at the beach:
"By a stroke of luck just then cannon firing fighters came in to attack the lighthouse which was also the battery O.P. and the resulting clamor drowned out the noise of the explosions".
This action was the squadron's only successful part of the Dieppe raid for which our squadron commander was awarded the D.S.O. The ground crew painted a lighthouse with the top blown off on my plane (seen in the top photo - jf).
Just prior to take-off, Flying Officer Jones asked to borrow my watch to time the operation, because the clock in his plane was not working. It was a beautiful Gruen watch given to me by a friend before I left Canada. I had a running battle with the Air Ministry for months to recover something for my loss. They finally allowed me 2 pounds, ten shillings.
The squadron was called the Mysore Squadron because the Maharajah of Mysore sponsored it. If a squadron member survived, he was presented with a medal with a two-headed Ghundabarunda bird on it. I have one.
A short while ago I wrote to Lord Lovat because I was curious to hear what he had to say about the attack. I enclose a copy of his reply. I believe his was one of the few successes at Dieppe! The following note was written on House of Lords stationery:
Many thanks for your letter of Feb. 3rd and my apologies for delay but I have been overseas in the Middle East. You certainly had a busy morning in August '42 during the Dieppe raid and all my commanders can now belatedly express their thanks for keeping the enemy's heads down - first when you shot up the light house which blacked out during the run in to the beach, and later in broad daylight when a low level attack was made on the battery of heavy guns before our final assault where we had a good scrap. Glad to hear that you are still alive and kicking.
Just in case you are interested in a full account of the Dieppe Operation where all three branches of the Services took a beating we could ill afford, I think you might be interested in this book - now in paper back.
(by Dick Reeves - from the book "We Band of Brothers" by Lloyd Hunt)
Air Force Casualties
Ottawa, Feb. 13, 1945 - The Department of National Defence for Air today issued casualty list No. 1,116 of the Royal Canadian Air Force, showing next of kin of those named from Ontario as follows:
Previously Missing, Now Officially Presumed Dead
... FOWLOW, Norman Ralph, D.F.C., S/L, Parrsboro, N.S. ...
Seriously Injured Accidentally
... REEVES, Richard Leonard, F/L. C. E. Reeves (father), 1307 Mount Pleasant Rd., Toronto. ...
"When the Ardennes Offensive commenced in mid-December, all Commonwealth aircrew were issued sidearms and told to wear them at all times, not just on combat operations. On 31 January 1945, the danger of running into rapidly advancing Germans while on a pass in downtown Brussels and elsewhere was considered negligible, and the order was rescinded. Dick Reeves, by now a Flight Commander on 403 Squadron, drove his jeep to Brussels-Maelsbroek from Brussels-Evere on the night of the thirty-first, unarmed and unafraid, for a rendezvous with destiny.
'We were at a club, generally enjoying life, and I had driven the jeep in from the base. On arrival, as was standard practice, I removed the rotor arm and the high-tension lead. The reason we took these out of the jeeps was because they were being stolen at such a rate that you had to disable them or they would disappear. There were lots of courts of inquiry going on, and our CO at one point went to the town major (a senior military policeman) with the court of inquiry about a previous incident involving his jeep. This jeep was then in turn stolen, the court of inquiry report was stolen, and they had to have a court of inquiry on the loss of the court of inquiry and the loss of the second jeep! It was getting pretty wild! At any rate, as I went outside the club to check the jeep during the course of the evening, I noticed that two soldiers dressed in American uniforms had its hood up. I said, "What the hell are you doing?" and they turned and stuck a 9-mm pistol in my guts. It was now the first day that they told us we didn't have to carry a sidearm anymore and I didn't have one with me, or I might have come out of this confrontation a little differently. At any rate, I reacted to them, shoved the gun down, and a bullet went through my foot! I stood there for a minute; they ran. A British officer then came along and I told him that I had been shot. He ran into the club and, fortunately for me, both the CO and Squadron doctor were there and they came out to the jeep. My pals had already replaced the rotor arm and the high-tension lead, and these folks started arguing over who was going to take me to the hospital; so about this time I said. "Hey, this thing hurts!" Anyway, the doctor picked me up and drove me to Edith Cavell Hospital, where I spent about a month listening to the buzz bombs going over . . .'"
Quoted from a tape sent from Dick Reeves to David Bashow, author of the excellent book,
All The Fine Young Eagles, from which I copied the piece & posted it here with David's permission.
Victories Include :
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