John Garn "Gary" Wright

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Wright, Shaw & MacAuley
North Africa 29 Aug. 1942 - "Gary" Wright, "Artie" Shaw (Riverside, Ontario) & John MacAuley (Scotstown, Quebec) of 112 Squadron

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Hamilton Airman Plays Part In Aerial Attack on Rommel

(By Ross Munro, Canadian Press War Correspondent) Somewhere In North Africa, March 4, 1943 — (CP) — Canadian members of R.A.F. squadrons played a prominent part in the intensive bombing and ground strafing preceding the fall of Zuara, near the Libya-Tunisia border. Hits were scored on shipping and important buildings.
Flt.-Sgt. John MacAuley, of Scotstown, Que., scored a direct hit on an axis tanker he sighted near the harbor mouth at Zuara. The vessel was hit twice by R.A.F. bombers during the attack.
During the engagement, Flt.-Sgts. Lyall Shaver, of Avonmore, Ont., and Herbert Snelgrove, of Toronto, made bombing attacks on Rommel's retreating forces. They added to the confusion in the Nazi ranks by strafing them with cannon and machine-gun fire.
R.C.A.F. personnel active in the almost ceaseless harassing of the enemy in the advanced area were P/O's John Wright of Ottawa, and C. C. Smith, of Detroit, and Flt.-Sgt. Albert Shaw, of Riverside, Ont.
A French-speaking pilot from Montreal spotted a moored Axis seaplane in Pidida harbor, farther up the coast from Zuara and gave it a rain of fire from his guns.
Coming in on Rommel's rear-guard installations with guns blazing, one sortie, in which Canadian participants included Sgt.-Pilot John P. Maloney, 31 Cope street, Hamilton, Ont., and Sgt. Jack Nichols, of Digby, N.S., left several barges and a moored seaplane in sinking condition.


Born 4 August 1922 in Ottawa.
Home in Ottawa, he enlisted there 10 December 1940.
Trained at
No.3 ITS, Victoriaville (graduated 4 May 1941),
No.13 EFTS, St. Eugene (graduated 21 June 1941) &
No.9 SFTS, Summerside (graduated a P/O 30 August 1941).
Posted overseas, 18 September 1941.
Further trained at No.57 OTU, Hawarden.
Posted to No.401 Squadron, January 1942.
To Middle East, April 1942
Attending No.1 Conversion School, El Ballah
converting to Tomahawks & Kittyhawks before
Posting to No.112 Squadron.
Shot down once by flak when at 400 feet
Regained our lines which were nearby.
To No.73 OTU, Abu Sueir, June 1943.
Promoted Flight Lieutenant, September 1943 &
Posted to Middle East Central Gunnery School, El Ballah
(along with "Eddie" Edwards).
In December 1943 he was posted to No.21 Pilots Training Centre before being returned to England.
Leave in Canada, February to April 1944.
Returned to Britain and took up with 442 Squadron.
Work with them included attacks on midget submarines in the Seine Estuary, 8 July 1944, where he shared in the destruction of one sub in the Cabourg/Le Havre area with 3 other pilots & damaged one more with 2 other pilots (he was flying MJ528).
Repatriated 12 September 1944 and joined the staff of No.2 SFTS.
Attended No.1 Flying Instructor School in November 1944.
Returned to No.2 SFTS as staff in January 1945.
To No.14 SFTS in June 1945 and
No.1 SFTS in September 1945.
Released, 13 November 1945.
Joined Royal Canadian Navy, taking courses in Britain (including a Meteor conversion course).
Served as Air Gunnery Officer on HMCS Magnificent, 1948-49.
Appointed Lieutenant-Commander (Flying) at HMCS Shearwater in September 1950.
He served on HMCS New Liskeard at some point.
Became the 1st ex-member of the RCAF to command a Tribal Class Destroyer, HMCS Cayuga in July 1960.
He retired in March 1968, having flown 2,712 hours and having performed 64 carrier deck landings.
He died on 17 August 1980.


Flyers From Dominion Mark Up Many Successes Over Africa

Ottawa, April 9, 1943 — (CP) — Canadian flyers are scoring successes against enemy planes and shipping as they fly on daily operations with the famous R.A.F. Shark Squadron in the Middle East, the R.C.A.F.'s public relations officer in the Western Desert — F/L Kenneth MacGillivray — reported today.
"F/S Albert Shaw, of Riverside, Ont., shared a Messerschmitt 109 with another pilot a few weeks ago," he said. "In recent bombing attacks F/S John MacAuley, of Scotstown, Que.; F/S Lyall Shaver, of Avonmore, Ont., and F/S Herbert Snelgrove, of Toronto, scored possible hits on shipping."
MacAuley's combat score stands at one destroyed and Shaver's at one and one-half.
Other Canadians in the squadron include F/O John Garn Wright, of Ottawa; P/O Ray Guest, of Montreal, and F/S Wilfred Brown, of Virden, Man.


Victory Over Three Aircraft Since Taking Post in Middle East

Ottawa, April 9, 1943 —(CP)— F/O John Garn Wright, of Ottawa, who deserted his studies to enter the R.C.A.F. in December, 1940, has put in 115 hours of operational flying in the desert since being posted to the Middle East last year, said a story from Cairo released last night by Air Force headquarters.
Wright has chalked up a record of two enemy aircraft destroyed and one probable, said the story, by F/L Kenneth MacGillivray, R.C.A.F., public relations officer in the Western Desert. Both the planes he destroyed were ME109's. The young Ottawan had a narrow escape in one of the scraps. Immediately after shooting down the ME109 behind its own lines, he was hit by enemy ack-ack, and his engine quit while he was at only 400 feet. The British lines, however, were not far away, and Wright managed a successful crash-landing among the troops. He struck his head on a projection in his cockpit and suffered a gash requiring four stitches.

Is Hit in Return
John Wright
F/O Wright
He bagged his other "destroyed" when about to bomb an enemy drome. Spotting two Hun fighters, the pilots jettisoned their bombs and went into the attack, Wright shooting down one of the Messerschmitts.
His "probable" was a German aircraft rarely encountered in the Middle East — an ME210 — which he set on fire after a battle in and out of cloud. The Hun's tail-gunner obtained hits in Wright's tail-plane, but no controls were damaged.
Another R.C.A.F. graduate who left school for the air is F/S Herbert Snelgrove, of Toronto, who is also flying in the desert, after a short time in England. His operational hours now total 75, and he has come unscathed through aerial encounters with ME109's, JU88's and Macchi 202's.
The operational career of P/O Rae D. Guess — known on the squadron as "The Goose" — of Westmount, Que., was delayed by a term of ferrying aeroplanes across Africa and a resultant bout of malaria.
He has just finished his first three "ops," on the first of which he was attacked by an ME109, but shook it off.


WRIGHT, F/O John Garn (J7233) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.112 Squadron
Award effective 10 May 1943 as per London Gazette issue 36027, 21 May 1943
AFRO 1294/43 dated 9 July 1943.
(Award forwarded to him via the Royal Canadian Navy)

This officer has taken part in a large number of sorties including numerous fighter bomber attacks against enemy airfields and mechanized transport. In air combat he has destroyed at least three enemy aircraft. Flying Officer Wright has displayed great keenness, skill and determination.


Photo from 112 Squadron tribute site (seen here) - Rob, the guy who handles that site hooked me up with this photo & the small one up there on the right. I quote here from an email he sent me: "Brian Wright sent this picture in of RAF 112 Squadron members in front of a "Shooting Break" car with the Squadron code letters painted on the rear wing (fender). Brian states - It comes from a section of photos headed "The Retreat, Western Desert 1942." At the time he had no names to go with the 9 men nor a date when the picture was taken, with the help of Peter Wright, Dave [F/O David J. Howe RCAF] and Gerry Howe, and input from Howard Phillips, the following was pieced together.
Date of the photo was determined as on or about 15/9/1942 due to service entry to 112 Squadron and exit from 112 Squadron. The pilots are:

Standing left to right :
Robert G. Sayle, RCAF? or Canadian in the RAF?, 15/9/42 to 13/1/43, POW
John McIver Sherman "John" MacAuley, 77152, RCAF, 11/8/42 to 2/7/43
Reginald Albert "Reg" Wild, 407884, RAAF, 1st of 2 w/ 112 Sq. 28/8/42 to 4/9/43
Geoffrey William "Geoff" Garton, 67034, RAF, 24/6/42 to 16/11/42
Joseph Michael Smith "Joe" Crichton, J5032, RCAF, 22/5/42 to 11/1/43
Lewin Henry "Bunny" Curphey, J 7769, RCAF, 5/7/42 to 13/1/43 [KIA]
Arthur "Artie" Shaw, RCAF, 11/8/42 to 19/2/44

Kneeling in front :
Raymond H. "Ray" Newton, 411437, RNZAF, 1st tour of 2, 25/5/42 to ?/4/43
John Garn "Gary" Wright, J 7233, RCAF, 10/7/42 to 15/9/42


Veterans of Two Wars Among Arrivals Home

Ottawa, Feb. 29, 1944 - (CP) - With mingled feelings ranging from elation to mild bitterness, a large group of Canadian soldiers and airmen have returned to the Dominion, many for the first time in three or four years. With them were another small group of British war brides, many with children, as well as merchant seamen to man new ships, and Canadian and British civilians coming to this country on varied missions. Elated were most of the men who had the chance to see their own country again after long intervals, either to stay permanently or else for brief periods as instructors or on leave.
But there were others, category men coming back to be discharged or veteran warriors of two world conflicts who were judged "too old to fight," who weren't so happy about it all.
Typical of these was Brig. R. J. Leach of Ottawa, who returned from Italy, where he had been commanding an artillery formation of the 1st Division with the 8th Army.

3l Years in Service
A permanent force man, Brig. Leach had been in the service 31 years and had seen two wars although "about four years of this one were spent in Britain."
"Now they think I'm too old to fight," he mused. So he has been returned to Canada to wind up the war probably as an instructor.
"Still, it was getting too quiet on the Canadian front at the end, anyway," he grinned. The Canadian artillery had gone through some hot action in the early stages of the campaign, but of late weeks the mud and bad weather had bogged down the troops in his sector so there was hardly enough excitement for him.
Heading a small group of returning R.C.A.F. bomber and fighter crew personnel was Air Commodore B. F. Johnson of Vancouver, back from Britain to undisclosed duties on this side.
Next ranking officers in the air force contingent were four group captains who also were as yet unofficially aware of their new duties here, although they hoped their Canadian stay wouldn't be "too long."
The four were H. M. Carscallen of Halifax and Hamilton, who had been with Bomber Command in Britain; D. M. Smith, ,who came originally from Vancouver, but whose wife lives in Ottawa, back from duty with the Tactical Air Force in Britain; H. B. Godwin of Ottawa, and F. L. Trewethey of Toronto. The latter two had been with air force units whose work and disposition still are secret.

Legion Supervisor
Another old-time soldier who wasn't any too happy about his return was Senior Supervisor J. B. Durrant of Saskatoon, Sask., with the Canadian Legion War Services the last two years. A veteran of the first Great War, he went overseas again in 1939 as a member of the active army, but ill health resulted in his discharge and transfer to the auxiliary services.
Now he was "no good even for that," he lamented, and had to come back for a rest.
The troops in Britain, he reported, were in "fine shape," despite the long, tiring wait of two, three or four years. Morale was low for a time, but since the drive into Italy and the imminence of a second front the boys were getting more hopeful and better-spirited "every day."
Maj. J. W. Oliver of Hamilton and Maj. G. W. McNeill of Winnipeg, both of the chaplain service, were two more men who were on the over-age list. They were veterans of the 1914-18 conflict. Another returning chaplain was Capt. Chris Storey of Vancouver.

Hopes to Go Over Again
More fortunate was Capt. Logie H. Armstrong of Kingston, a Royal Canadian Army Service Corps officer who "hoped to get back over again in a few months."
Among the airmen returning from the sky battlefronts of Europe for instructing duties or for reallocation to other duties were those who had fought out of Britain and in the Mediterranean theatre.
Returning to Canada after a five-month tour of temporary duty in Britain was S/L John Mulvihill of Ottawa.
F/L J. G. Wright of Ottawa wore a D.F.C. won in the Middle East with fighter-bomber and fighter squadrons.
Wright was taking a fierce ribbing from his pals because he had virtually lost his voice in the sudden change from the North African climate to the wet British weather and the Canadian cold.
"I've had a cold for the past two months," he mourned. "I hope to heck I get back to a decent climate again soon."
Wright had three enemy planes to his credit as well as a number of probables in the desert fighting before the Axis was driven from Africa.
Other pilots and airmen aboard included F/L B. P. M. Keenan of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
Also returning with the group was J. A. M. Cook, Winnipeg Free Press war correspondent who had been reporting the activities of the Canadian forces in Italy.


Victories Include :

24 July 1942
1 Oct 1942
26 Oct 1942
19 Nov 1942
27 Feb 1943
22 Mar 1943
20 Apr 1943
one Me109F
one Me109F
one Me109F
one Me210
one Me109
one Me109G
1/12 Ju88


4.08 - 3.08 / 1 - 2 / 1

[1] - In Those Other Eagles by Chris Shores he adds this bit of info to that encounter - "He pursued this Bf 109 over the lines where his Kittyhawk was hit by Flak, causing him to crash land with some violence, being rendered unconscious. When he began to stir, South African troops manning the nearby area came to his rescue; they had assumed that no one could have survived the crash they had witnessed! He was back with his unit later that same day."

[2] - 3.08 kills officially - that probable was confirmed destroyed after the war




Thanks to son Tighe for the infos !

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