F/O Charles Reginald Redeker, Torbay, Newfoundland 1944

I told Greg that we were going to write about all of his grandfather’s comrades-in-arms that we find in his photo album.

Charles Redeker is one of them and he was also posted at Torbay, Newfoundland, in 1944.


REDEKER, F/L Charles Reginald (J12484) –

Mention in Despatches

– No.418 Squadron

– Award effective 1 January 1946 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 155/46 dated 15 February 1946.

Home in Windsor, Ontario; enlisted there 28 August 1941.

Trained at No.1 ITS (graduated 20 December 1941), No.3 EFTS (graduated 27 February 1942) and No.14 SFTS (graduated 3 July 1942).

Served in No.128 Squadron in Canada – Sydney, Nova Scotia, 19 July 1942 to 24 June 1943 and at Torbay, 24 June 1943 to 5 March 1944.

Unit identified in AFRO only as “Overseas”; see

The RCAF Overseas: The Sixth Year, pp.320 and 341.

September 28th was another night for ground targets. F/L R. H. Thomas, R.A.F. with F/O G. J. Allin, R.A.F. strafed the entire length of a train near Darmstadt and S/L D. B. Annan with F/O A. M. MacIntosh, who scored strikes on a large unidentified aircraft on the ground at Stendal, attacked two more trains with success. F/L Miller with Sgt. Hooper destroyed three trucks and damaged six more while F/O C. R. Redeker with F/O M. E. Zimmer damaged one truck. The next night two trucks were destroyed and one damaged and a train was successfully attacked by Seid and McIntosh.

***

Its first sorties in support of ground forces took place on the night of January 3rd when twelve crews took off to bomb St. Vith which had been retaken by the Germans in December in the Battle of the Bulge. Ten of these crews attacked but failed to observe any results because of the weather, though one destroyed a transport and damaged another on the way. When the same place was bombed again two nights later, F/L H. S. Glassco and his navigator, F/O T. Wood, R.A.F., did not return. F/O Redeker with F/O Zimmer attacked a flying bomb en route but did not know if they had hit it, though they subsequently saw it crash.

Walter Neil Dove has a picture of Chuck Redeker.

Walter Neil Dove wrote in the back all the names.

Chuck flew with RCAF No. 418 City of Edmonton.

Click here for pictures of what he was flying.

While looking at the pictures, I noticed this one…

F/O Redeker with F/O Zimmer?

The pilot beside the ladder sure looks like Redeker…

Jug and Walter, comrades-in-arms: part II

Jug and Walter are seen together in the photo album of Flight Lieutenant Walter Neil Dove.

This is another picture of Jug at Torbay.

He is not alone as we can see.

Walter Neil Dove wrote in the back all the names.

Jug is in the middle with Gibby on the right.

Walter whose nickname is still is mystery is on the left.

The caption is most revealing.

Walter still has his great sense of humour.

Jug and Walter, comrades-in-arms

Jug Dack was also a pilot stationed at Torbay.

Jug and Walter are seen together in the photo album of Flight Lieutenant Walter Neil Dove.

I wrote an article about him on my other blog. Maybe someday someone will recognise him and write me like the son of Captain Foster did…

What an amazing blog and what a wonderful tribute to those who served in 403 squadron.

I am Cap’s youngest son and can’t thank you and Greg enough for putting this together.

I can answer your question as to whether or not Cap was Eugene Gagnon’s flight instructor unfortunately he was not, I just searched through my fathers log books from his time at 6 SFTS in Dunnville and Eugene’s name was not there. Too bad because that would have been so very cool.

I look forward to learning more about the history of the Wolf Squadron and once again thank you so much for your efforts.

Greg wrote me about Jug…

Dave “Jug” Dack was with my grandpa pretty much everywhere. Torbay and England area. Have you put up a profile?

I’d like to show my Grandma, when I see her next, she remembers him the best.

Greg

Walter and his wife Elizabeth are seen with another pilot, Dave Dack and his wife Vera.

It was taken in June 1944 in Hotel Montreal the summer before Walter went overseas where he flew 74 missions on Spitfires.

David Dack was born in Calgary, Alberta, 9 May 1920. He enlisted in the RCAF in June 1941 and started his training at no. 2 ITS Regina then trained at No. 19 EFTS Virden. He graduated at No. 2 SFTS Uplands in April 1942.

He went to “Y” Depot, in Halifax, while waiting for his posting in England. He was finally posted with RCAF No. 128 in Sydney, Nova-Scotia.  In March 1944, he was transfered to Torbay before going to England in June. He was sent to No. 61 O.T.U. in August for conversion on Spitire. He was posted after with 83 Group then with 401 Squadron on 1 December as a Flying Officer. He stayed with that squadron until the end of the war. He was then posted with 411 Squadron then 416 Squadron in July. He came back to Canada in December and left the RCAF in January 1946.

Nothing much on him on the Internet.

I am posting this picture of Jug at Torbay.

He is not alone as we can see.

Walter Neil Dove wrote in the back all the names.

Gibby and Harry, comrades-in-arms

This picture of Gibby I posted last time was in Harry Hardy’s logbook.


Collection Harry Hardy DFC via Richard Tunstall

His grandson Richard Tunstall is paying homage to his grandfather and his comrades-in-arms on a Website.

One of my virtual friends living in Belgium had sent me this comment…

Hi Pierre,
you will find a picture of William Gibbs at the following URL
http://www.twitpic.com/photos/rhtunstall

I never expected this! Well maybe I did.

I am always surprised by what is evolving from my blogs. Just like yesterday when Captain Foster’s son wrote a comment on my blog about RCAF No. 403 Squadron.

What an amazing blog and what a wonderful tribute to those who served in 403 squadron. I am Cap’s youngest son and can’t thank you and Greg enough for putting this together. I can answer your question as to whether or not Cap was Eugene Gagnon’s flight instructor unfortunately he was not, I just searched through my fathers log books from his time at 6 SFTS in Dunnville and Eugene’s name was not there. Too bad because that would have been so very cool. I look forward to learning more about the history of the Wolf Squadron and once again thank you so much for your efforts.

Getting back to Harry Hardy DFC…

Collection Harry Hardy DFC via Richard Tunstall

You have to see what his grandson did.

Click here. 

I would have done the same if he had been my grandfather.

I contacted Richard who, in turn, sent me these links to the videos he had made of his grandfather’s WWII experience as a Typhoon pilot.

No piece of cake!

I was not aware of the losses suffered by those pilots during the invasion of Normandy in June 1944.

Here are the links to the videos to find out more.

Part One

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G23UB-QUdac

Part Two

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHAbHy_EPE0

Part three

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu6e4soOWHU

At the end, Harry Hardy is quite moved by all he has told his audience.

Richard told me Harry is still with us and he is turning 90 in May 2012.  

We owe him so much, more than just paying him this small homage.

As a footnote to this article…

This is the plane Harry flew. I also had posted it without knowing who the pilot was.

Collection Harry Hardy DFC via Richard Tunstall

RCAF Station Torbay, January 3, 1944

Now what about  the pictures taken at RCAF Station Torbay in Walter Neil Dove’s collection…?

Look at this picture again.


Click on the image for a larger view.

Never been seen before.

This is what pilots call a prang!

There are all sorts of prangs.

This one was not that bad after all.

The caption in white says JAN 43… but the logbook says JAN 44!

Honest mistake when you change from one year to another.

It does not tell much about the pilot in that prang or how it happened.

Look at that logbook page.

Click on the image for a larger view.

Now we know how it happened.

Finally, what was written on the back of that picture…?


I have learned about Walter Neil Dove’s  sense of humour by reading the captions he wrote.

I did it…


RCAF Station Torbay

Up to now, little is found on the Internet about Torbay during WWII.

Now thanks to Greg, we are going to learn more with the pictures he has been scanning and his grandfather’s logbook. I am now processing all that information. Before posting more, here is what I found about RCAF Station Torbay.

Source: http://www.heritage.nf.ca/law/torbay_base.html

RCAF Station Torbay

The first official landing at RCAF Station Torbay occurred unexpectedly on October 31, 1941, before runway construction was complete. A sudden snowstorm prevented a British aircraft from landing at the Gander airbase as scheduled, and had also closed all airports from New York to Montreal. Officials decided that the plane, which had flown from Scotland and was running out of fuel, should land on an unfinished runway at Torbay. However, landing aids were not yet available, so the pilot had to use a local radio station, VONF, as a homing beacon. The aircraft was slightly damaged upon touch-down, but its five crewmembers and 15 passengers escaped uninjured.

When the first RCAF squadron arrived at the base the following month, it faced difficult circumstances. Permanent accommodations were not yet available, so the airmen had temporarily to share small wooden shacks. Washroom facilities consisted of outhouses and washbasins, and airmen drove to St. John’s each Saturday for a weekly bath. The winter was particularly trying – when the men woke each morning, it was not uncommon to discover a snowdrift had completely blocked the front door. They had to exit their huts through the back window until the snow was cleared.

Flying out of Torbay was also hazardous for the first few weeks of operation. Radio ranges, direction finding equipment, and naval beacons were not yet fully installed, and the base’s first meteorologist, or ‘met’ man, did not arrive until after two full weeks of flying. As a result, Torbay pilots were forced to make do with brief and often inaccurate weather reports.

However, construction progressed rapidly and conditions soon improved. Workers installed permanent buildings, completed another runway, and built a radio outpost. Additional RCAF squadrons were stationed at Torbay, including fighters, surveillance and weather aircraft. Americans were given free use of the base for military purposes, as were the British.

Although less air traffic passed through Torbay than at other Allied airfields at Gander, Stephenville, Argentia, and Goose Bay, the base played an important role in hemispheric defence. For the duration of the war, Torbay helped provide air cover for convoys and was used as a bad weather alternative for Canadian and American military aircraft.

In 1942, Canada and Newfoundland agreed to provide a commercial air service out of Torbay. The first flight occurred on May 1 and was operated by Trans-Canada Airlines (later Air Canada). On board were five passengers and a three-member crew. The airport’s first terminal building, a small wooden structure, was built in 1943 and upgraded in 1958.

RCAF pilots at Torbay, 2 October 1942 Pilots of No.125(F) Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), with a Hawker Hurricane XII aircraft at the Torbay air base. During peak war years, the RCAF stationed more than 2,000 men at the base.
Photographer unknown. Courtesy of Library and Archives Canada (PA-133271), Ottawa, Ontario.

About some pictures from Walter Neil Dove collection…?

Look at this picture.

The caption in white says JAN 43… but the logbook says JAN 44!

Honest mistake when you change from one year to another.

About what is written on the back of the picture…?

You will have to get back later this week to learn Walter Neil Dove’s sense of humour.

Gibby

Click on the image…

Collection Harry Hardy DFC via Richard Tunstall

One of my virtual friends living in Belgium sent me this comment…

Hi Pierre,
you will find a picture of William Gibbs at the following URL
http://www.twitpic.com/photos/rhtunstall

Someone else is paying homage to these fine young men who never returned home.

Finally, Gibby is virtually coming back to Canada.

Click here. 

There was no picture of Gibby on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial site.

Lest we forget.