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

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13 thoughts on “Gibby and Harry, comrades-in-arms

  1. If by chance, look for the book Stout Hearts, by Ben Kite, published by Helion & Co. LTD from the U.K. An excellent read, with much to absorb. There are a number of entries from ” Tiffie ”
    drivers describing some of their moments on ” sorties “.

    In the 2 TAF, Typhoon drivers had the highest loss rate from D- Day until the end of hostilities. Between June 6th through the 1st of Sept of ’44, 56% of the “Tiffies ” involved were lost outright. It was noted by A. M. Sir Harry Broadworth RAF in Nov of ’44 that ” flying Typhoons was considered the most dangerous type of flying one could do, and they did their job. ” The average age of a ” Tiffie ” driver was 22 years young. (I think one ought to stop and think about that for a minute ) Many would not survive the months of flying that lay before them and yet, they pressed on.There are not very many of these great guys left among us. It is believed that only ( 1 ) Pilot from No. 438 Sqdn remains with us. As far as i am aware, there are three “Drivers ” from No. 440 Sqdn. I do not have any info at present on No. 439 Sqdn.

    For King and Country.
    PER ARDUA AD ASTRA.

    To all of these great guys, Thank You.

  2. My apologies, a small correction is in order here. I mistook Harry’s name and rank. The correction is as follows: AVM Sir Harry Broadhurst RAF, and he was quoted to say ” flying Typhoon’s was the most dangerous type of flying that could be asked of anyone, and they did their job”. Also, there is likely a few more ” Tiffie Drivers ” from No. 440 Sqdn among us as well as numerous Canadians whom served in the RAF. As a side note. There is at present two Typhoon restoration projects that are underway with the end goal of being airworthy. In the U.K. serial No. RB 396, and is to be dedicated in memory of British pilot Roland Beaumont. In Canada, serial No. JP 843 is hangered at Comox, B.C. and is to be dedicated in memory to a N.Z pilot , Peter ” Prix ” Price. I wish them well , and it will be quite a big deal when that massive Napier Sabre H 24 sleeve valve engine coughs, farts, and sputters to life. Hurry up and wait, as it will be about another 8 – 10 yrs before that day arrives. Cheers , Arrow.

  3. Yes Pierre It was very unfortunate. Of the original 23 pilots that served with No.111 (F) Sqdn and
    went to the U.K. and became No. 440Sqdn , only one of those original 23 pilots came home.
    There were others who returned and they were very lucky indeed. This very likely took place in
    many of the ” Tiffie ” units. I don’t know who said this first, but it sums things up.
    ” The loss is greater than the total of it’s sum. ” Cheers, Arrow

  4. Pierre I have a copy of the No. 440 Sqdn History Book. If by chance you require a hand or need any
    info , if i can be of assistance let me know. Arrow

  5. Bon Apres Midi Pierre

    How be you ? How are things progressing on your end with research on No.440 Sqdn? I have the names of all 21 Pilots from both No.111 as well as the new arrivals that came in from Oct – Dec. of ’43 to become No.440. I also have a small book that was written by a chap whom served with No.111 armorer ( guns ) he went along with the lads to the U.K. In his book I was able to find more pilots and ground crew. Some interesting tidbits I found along the way. Like I can only find 19 “original” pilots for No.111 hmm ! More than one of the originals came back. I count 4. Three for certain, one of the lads I am very sure. Two of them served in No.403, one chap went to the MTO (Italy) No. 417, all four were Spitfire Drivers. Only ( 2 ) of the originals went to No.440. Both did not come home. Nine went on Spitfires, only ( 1 ) was an original, and sadly none of those (9) made it back safely. It was flipping well dangerous to say the least. By the way, before I forget, here is the name of the book. Farm Boy Goes To War. By ( Cpl ) Max Crandall. It was self published in 1984. I have about 20 names of the other pilots and around 19 guys that served on the ground crew. Armorer, Fitters and Riggers, I believe. Let me know what your thoughts are.

    Regards Arrow

  6. I have not done much more research on 440 Squadron. I am focusing on Clarence Simonsen’s research that will be posted on our blog Preserving the Past. Clarence has written Chapter Three… More than 200 pages with exclusive photos.

    This is the link to Chapter One though I think you have already read it.

    https://clarencesimonsen.wordpress.com/2017/08/31/crabapple-fighter-hurricane-mk-xii-serial-814-rcaf-5389-pdf-version/

    This is the link to Chapter Two.

    https://clarencesimonsen.wordpress.com/2017/09/12/gordon-mckenzie-hill-chapter-two/

    Chapter Three is so large I will have to split it into 5 parts.

  7. Allo Pierre I have to make a correction on the no. of Spitfire drivers from No. 111 that went to the U.K. (6) is the correct number, not (9) as was previously posted. I have read part 1 & 2 on Preserving the Past on Gordon Hill. Great reading ! Looking forward to part 3. Awesome.

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