Information found on a forum

One of my readers sent me this information.

This is an archived page from the older DCBoard Forum of RAF Commands. 

Someone whose name is Floyd Williston posted a message on a forum in 2005 about Harvard 2891.

Harvard 2891/May 17, 1943

Harvard 2891/May 17, 1943
Author: Floyd Williston (Guest)
Time Stamp:  07:30:15 14 November 2005
Post: P/O Jean BN Roy (J20221) and F/Sgt.John E. Whelan were killed in the crash of Harvard 2891 near Sydney, Nova Scotia, on May 17/1943. Does anyone know the cause of the crash? (Sq. 128 Fighter Squadron)?

RE: Harvard 2891/May 17, 1943
Author: Ken MacLean (Guest)
Time Stamp:  23:54:59 14 November 2005
Post: Floyd,

Both are commemorated on the Ottawa Memorial-no known grave. Did this a/c crash at sea, or did it crash on land, wreck not yet discovered? Not likely that a land crash in the vicinity of Sydney would remain undiscovered to this day.

Cheers, Ken

RE: Harvard 2891/May 17, 1943
Author: Floyd Williston (Guest)
Time Stamp:
02:17:26 15 November 2005
Thanks Ken. The aircraft likely went into the sea off Scateria Island(Cape Breton).


RE: Harvard 2891/May 17, 1943
Author: Chris Charland (Guest)
Time Stamp:  04:45:40 15 November 2005
Hi Floyd

It was indeed a Harvard Mk. II of No. 128 ‘Dragon’ (F) Squadron.

Sergeant Whelan was the safety pilot. Pilot Officer Roy was under the hood when he took 2891 up for some authorized instrument flying training in the local area. It was to be a 45 minute flight. At 10:50 hours after the first takeoff, the pair landed and exchanged positions and got airborne again, never to be seen again. The accident is listed as having either being reported or having occurred at 13:00 hours.

The squadron had not changed the R/T to a longer range and failed to service the compass for at least three months. Additionally, there were no deviation cards and the compass log was missing. There were other irregularities cited as well.

Pilot Officer J. B. N. Roy’s flying hours were:

Instrument – 42
Night – 20
Dual on Type – 73
Solo on Type – 167
Total Dual – 116
Total Solo – 262

Sergeant J. E. Whelan’s flying hours were:

Instrument – 47
Night – 21
Dual on Type – 60
Solo on Type – 171
Total Dual – 91
Total Solo – 296


RE: Harvard 2891/May 17, 1943
Author: Floyd Williston (Guest)
Time Stamp: 15:59:43 15 November 2005

Thanks Chris.

P/O Roy apparently also served in Malta or at least over Sicily and was thought to have been with Beurling at some point. There is a David Roy who flew in Malta but according to speculation by Roy’s daughter, her father was shot down at least once.

There was also some problem about getting his files from Ottawa but that may now be resolved.

And, co-incidental with the reporting of the aircraft being missing were reports of a submarine spotted off Scateria Island (Cape Breton). I was just in Cape Breton and this mystery has been discussed for many years. Did the Harvard (unarmed) spot the sub and then return (as you indicated) to base to report it? Did they then play the vigilante with Whalen at the wheel and were blown out of the air by the sub? Only parts of the fuselage and a Mae West were apparently found.


RE: Harvard 2891/May 17, 1943
Author: Floyd Williston (Guest)
Time Stamp:  23:47:54 17 November 2005
Post: Were Harvards equipped with cine-cameras? There might be footage somewhere.



Searching for North American Harvard 2891

That’s the plane that went missing according to the logbook.

Réjeanne had it!

She did not tell me.

She took this with her iPad.

logbook Normand Roy

Now we have the plane and the serial number.

Harvard 2891

But we have much more since yesterday.

A reader whose grandfather was also with 128 Squadron.

 Chuck Redeker

Charles Redeker

My grandfather was involved in the search for P/O Roy and Sgt. Whelan. Based on his log book he had actually flown with P/O Roy about a week before he went missing. Roy flew co-pilot to Dartmouth NS and back to Sydney which took them 2hr 50min according to the log book entry. My grandfather flew search missions on May 18th, 19th x2, and 20th x2. Based on the notes it looks like Roy and Whelan went down in a HARVARD aircraft. I can scan you the pages from the log book that pertain to Roy and Whelan if you would like. I am working on scanning his entire log book and share the 128 Squadron pages with you to include in your blog. I did see the pictures of him on the blog.

C. R. Redeker

Charles Redeker

He joined the squadron on July 22, 1942, he left Sydney in January 1943 for about 6 weeks to take his Pilot Armament Officers Course in Mountain View, Ontario. He rejoined the squadron in February and in June 1943 was posted to Torbay, Newfoundland with the Squadron. He stayed in Torbay until March 1944 when he was transferred to No. 36 O.T.U in Greenwood NS prior to shipping off to England in July 1944 to later join the 418.

During his time in the 128 he logged time in the following aircraft types:


He logged a total time of 351:45 flying with the 128.

For more on Charles Redeker, click here.

I thought the name sounded familiar.

In search of…

Would you have any information about these two airmen who lost their lives on May 17, 1943?

The daughter of one airman is looking for information about her father.

Au sujet de J B N Roy et le Sgt Whelan.  Disparus le 17 mai 1943.
Leur dernier vol et où? et ce qu’ils ont fait pour les retrouver? Je suis sa fille née le 6 septembre 1943.
Ma mère Marie est décédée j’avais 2 ans.
Comme les Acadiens parlent peu…. je n’ai pas su grand chose!  
SOS Heureuse de pouvoir vous parler. (je suis nouvellement sur Internet).
J’ai son tableau de bord … marqué….. Missing  le 17 mai 1943.
Ils faisaient partie de la division 128 Sqdn.

About J B N Roy and Sgt Whelan.  Missing on May 17, 1943.
When was their last flight and where? What did they do to find them.? I am her daughter born on September 6, 1943.
Ma mother Marie died when I was 2 years old.
Since Acadians don’t talk that much…. I did not learn a lot!  
SOS Glad to talk with you. (I am new with the Internet).
I have his “tableau de bord” … indicating….. Missing  May 17, 1943.
They were with 128 Squadron.

Click here to see his file on CVWM.

In memory of
Flying Officer
Jean Baptiste Normand Roy
who died on May 17, 1943

Military Service:

Service Number: J/20221

Age: 29
Force: Air Force
Unit:Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 128 Sqdn.

Additional Information:

Son of Gaudiose and Albina Roy. Adopted son of Mr. and Mrs. Francis Landry, of Pointe-Verte, New Brunswick; husband of Marie Roy, of Pointe-Verte.

Cemetery: OTTAWA MEMORIAL; Ontario, Canada
Grave Reference:Panel 2. Column 3.
The other airman is Flight Sergeant John Edward Whelan.

Click here to see his file on CVWM.

In memory of
Flight Sergeant
John Edward Whelan
who died on May 17, 1943

Military Service:

Service Number: R/115316
Age: 24
Force: Air Force
Unit: Royal Canadian Air Force
Division: 128 Sqdn.

Additional Information:

Son of Joseph and Margaret Whelan; husband of Marjorie Whelan, of Hearst, Ontario.

Cemetery: OTTAWA MEMORIAL; Ontario, Canada
Grave Reference: Panel 2. Column 5.
You can contact me using this contact form.

Jean Baptiste Normand Roy

À la mémoire du
Lieutenant d’aviation
Jean Baptiste Normand Roy
décédé le 17 mai 1943

Service militaire :

Numéro matricule : J/20221
Âge :29
Force :Aviation militaire
Unité :Aviation royale du Canada
Division :128 Sqdn.

Renseignements additionnels :

Fils de Gaudiose et Albina Roy. Fils adoptif de M. et Mme Francis Landry, de Pointe-Verte, Nouveau-Brunswick. Époux de Marie Roy, de Pointe-Verte.

Cimetière :
MÉMORIAL D’OTTAWA; Ontario, Canada
Informations sur la sépulture :
Panel 2. Column 3.