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Dennis McAuley
(no login)
69.47.169.79

1659 HCU Topcliffe , Halifax RV-Y

January 15 2006, 6:42 PM 

According to my Dad's log, he flew in an "RV-Y" lettered Halifax II on 8/30/1944 as an instructor at HCU 1659 checking out "F/O Milner & Crew". The description of the test is "Dual check C & L". My Dad was Flt. Lt. A. G. (Mike or Mac) McAuley.

 
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dennis mcauley
(no login)
24.192.154.227

HCU 1659

July 2 2006, 12:29 AM 

I have my dad's Log Book (A.G. McAuley) - he was an instructor
at Topcliffe from 7/15/44 to 5/4/45 and flew a Halifax II coded RV-Y on 8/30/04. i have some pictures of the Halifaxes he flew but don't know where they were taken. His operations were at Leeming.

 
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Dave Kerr
(Login DaveKerr)
70.51.242.47

F/L McAuley

August 9 2006, 10:32 PM 

I have just checked back to this forum after a long absence and have read with interest about your father's time at 1659 HCU.

My own father converted onto the Halifax III there, and indeed served with your dad during that time. Although his logbook makes no mention of flying with your father, he did check out with a few other instructors, such as F/O Anthony, Palmer and Monahan as well as one flight with a F/L Krope. Perhaps your dad checked out the actual pilots of these crews...the pilot's name was P/O Bill McBride.

My dad, F/Sgt Gerry Kerr, the navigator, served there with the rest of their crew from 12 April 45 till 20 May 45 , being posted the next day to 425 "Alouette" Squadron. They were to fly the new Canadian-built Lancaster X but never flew a sortie in the Lanc because they were almost immediately posted back to Canada (Greenwood, NS) to serve in this "Tiger Force" unit being put together that was to serve in the Pacific.

Did your father go on to the "Tiger Force" also? I would certainly like a few JPEGs of 1659 HCU Halifaxes...perhaps you could post them here.

Interesting times and interesting people for sure. No wonder they were nicknamed "The Greatest Generation"...they certainly earned it.

Still working on clarifying the medals issue...rest assured I will keep you posted on any progress.

Best regards!


 
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John A. Neal
(no login)
207.200.116.5

#425 Squadron

August 10 2006, 10:50 PM 

Dave:

You mentioned that your Dad landed up with #425 Alouette Squadron in May of 1945, and then flew the Lancaster back to Canada to get ready for the Tiger Force. I did the same thing at the same time (but with one slight modification).

For my second tour, I had gone to Wombelton #1666 H.C.U. when the war in Europe ended half way through. My pilot was a F/O Roberts. We finished the course on May 23rd and proceeded to Tholthorpe to join #425 for the trip home. But first we were given 2 weeks debarkation leave. I was having so much fun in London that I missed the early recall, and when I got back, the Lancaster had left for Debert.

So, I traveled home by sea and joined the rest of the crew later at Debert.

John

 
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Dave Kerr
(Login DaveKerr)
70.53.21.63

Well, well!!!

August 25 2006, 9:18 PM 

Interestingly enough, Dad's crew never flew the Lancaster back to Canada either. His entire crew also got some leave and missed, apparently, the flight back...they were then told that they would sail home on the "Louis Pasteur", but the ship wasn't leaving for a while so the Airforce gave them some MORE leave...and damned if they didn't miss the ship too!! Of course I asked if this was intentional, and he just laughed and said they were all having a damned good a time in England right after VE-Day...and figured the RCAF and the Japs wouldn't miss them...and they could all bloody well wait anyways!!
They didn't dare miss the "Empress of Ireland" (I think that was it...) and finally got back to Nova Scotia just in time to be "demobbed" a few weeks later. Then off to McGill courtesy the RCAF...and the rest, as they say, is history!
Later dudes!


 
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Dave Kerr
(no login)
65.93.166.42

1939-1945 Star

September 29 2006, 4:09 PM 

This message will be of interest to HCU and OTU aircrew who believe they are entitled to the above campaign star.

I realize this forum is supposed to be about aircraft, but it seems fitting to address certain Halifax-related issues such as service medals here also, as many HCU crews converted to heavies on the Hally and flew qualifying sorties in this great aircraft.

It has taken me about 2 years of research and correspondance to sort all of this out, but I finally got to meet with DVA Canada last week and present my case.

Our Second World War Campaign Stars and War Medals are based on a document known as "Canadian Army Routine Order No. 6719" and was issued by National Defence Headquarters 16 August 1946. It remains the defining regulation for these awards, and has in no way been amended to accomodate the OTU/HCU veterans. Indeed, DVA told me point-blank to just forget about the Australian regulations...Canada will never change the legislation for these medals, so that I was to do what I could with what's there. Well...Canada is still pretty tight with the awards, but at least they now seem willing to listen to reason...and have started looking at a broader interpretation of "operational service" with respect to these Stars. Hopefully, the days are gone when they would ONLY accept service in an "official" 400-series Squadron as qualifying service. Nonetheless, the only change is in the way that DVA will now interpret the original regulations.


I obtained my own copy of CARO 6719 from Archives Canada (this took some doing...) so that I would know what I was talking about when I crossed swords with DVA over my issues regarding the Campaign Stars. The wording of this document is horrible, being quite ambiguous and mildly contradictory as you read more and more of it. But, to make a long story short, after I talked to DVA they agreed to consider this "broader" interpretation of the regulations, and accepted my father's service at OTU and HCU as qualifying service for the Campaign Stars. I illustrated this by showing, using his original logbook and two publications, "Bomber Command War Diaries" and "Bomber Command Losses, Vol.7 Operational Training Units" that a "cross-country" sortie he flew with #86 OTU Gamston on 18 Sep 44 was, in fact, a "Sweepstakes Op" in support of Operation Market Garden. We also know that they had no problem with accepting his trips over France with 1659 HCU as "Operations" and as we know, awarded him the France&Germany Star some time ago.

So, after all was said and done, it seems that they are now willing to accept service in OTU/HCU as qualifying service for the 1939-1945 Star as long as you can provide proof of flying what they would consider operational sorties with that unit. They will then start the 2 months qualifying time from that first mission onwards.

Be aware that the onus will be on you to provide the necessary proof of flying these sorties, since DVA has a very difficult time documenting the OTU/HCU service. Apparently the records on these units are quite sketchy, and a lot of them have dissapeared over time or have been destroyed. Even the British MOD has drawn blanks when asked by Canada for help with some of the cases.

You will be required to supply DVA with your documentation substantiating the missions flown. They will then undertake to study your individual case, authenticating and corroberating the evidence, and will then make a decision on whether or not you will be awarded the Star you are applying for. It seems that producing your original flying log is pretty much a necessity, if they are to proceed at all.


I also suggest that you take the time to do the math for your 1939-45 Star...remember, use an actual calender to count days, and that for the purposes of these awards, a month is 30 days. You need 180 days non-operational service for the Defence Medal, and this can can be aggregate time...for example time in a "Battle School" or any "Holding Unit" counts as non-op time, as does service in the UK after VE-Day, 8 May 1945 right up to VJ-Day, 2 Sept 1945 ( strange, but that's what the regs say!). It is therfore possible to qualify for the Defence Medal easily, then use your OTU and HCU time for the 60 days necessary for the 1939-45 Star.

If you are also applying for the F&G Star, you will have to remember to add one more day ... just to make up for the day you are using to fly the qualifying sortie for your F&G Star.

At any rate, I hope this information will help some of the veterans out there who might have been wondering if they would be eligible for the medal, but never bothered applying for it.

Should you wish to inquire further, just write to...

Honours and Awards Section
Veterans Affairs Canada
66 Slater Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P4


If you require any help with any of this, I will help out as much as I can.

Regards,


Dave Kerr

 
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John A. Neal
(no login)
207.200.116.5

McGill

September 30 2006, 12:00 AM 

Dave, you have just brought up another interesting point. When I received my discharge. I went to McGill (with a short stay at Sir George Williams for my H.S.) Was your Father at Lower Slobovia at Dawson College?

The four years at McGill were almost as great as the four years in the R.C.A.F. And they sure changed my post war life.

John

 
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Dave Kerr
(Login DaveKerr)
70.51.244.9

McGill...

October 7 2006, 6:48 PM 

Hello John,

Yes, my Old Man did go to Dawson College right after the war. He started in Sept '45, immediately after his discharge, and stayed with it until he graduated in '50 with a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering.

He also thought this was an unbelievable opportunity and was not to be missed at any cost. And yes, he recalls his time at McGill fondly...and had a pretty good time there, certainly compared to the war...and although it was a tough go, he always appreciated the chance to attend a well-known university like McGill.

Coming through the Depression in a typical working-class family, a university education was absolutely out of reach before the war, and if he wouldn't have joined up he would never have gotten a degree in anything. He would ended up working as a labourer at the CIP in Three Rivers...just like his Dad and most of his friends.

Hell of a thing isn't it...got to offer your life up to get an education, but what the hell...everything worked out okay, and he's made a helluva nice life for himself and his family.

All I can say is Bully for you guys...you've certainly earned it!

All the best...

Dave

 
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Rick Catt
(no login)
220.253.59.193

39~45 Star

January 17 2007, 1:18 AM 

Hi,
Just to add to this I've recently persuaded the British MoD to issue the 1939~45 Star for my father's war service. He only had about 12 days with an operational squadron (12 Squadron) was shot down & spent 4 years as a POW.Having got hold of a copy of the regs governing the issue I read through them a number of times then presented a case based on a clause at the end of the regs that stated "time as a POW may be allowed" something they seemed to have conveniently forgotten.

Rick

 
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derek lanning
(no login)
88.110.171.104

1969 hcu

August 13 2008, 8:50 PM 

I've only just discovered your correspondence and although I can't assist your problem I was at Topcliffe in 1945 as mid-upper gunner. Our skipper was killed together with out engineer when they crashed outside the airfield while flying with a Canadian crew on 15th January 1945. I since discovered that the landowner of the crash site erected a memorial to the crew and I attended the dedication of the site, a representative of the RCAF was there, if any of your
contributors are interested I could provide the names.
Someone who may assist in your search is David Thompson a Halifax historian, who helped me. Davidethompson@ntworld.com.

Regards

Derek Lannin
Rutland
England












e

 
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jay savy
(no login)
24.80.181.96

halifax LK878

January 26 2011, 5:57 AM 

howdy,my uncle JOSEPH.A.SAVY died in that crash out of Topcliffe.was wondering if you had any pics of any of that crew?

 
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derek lanning
(no login)
88.110.171.104

1969 hcu

August 13 2008, 8:51 PM 

I've only just discovered your correspondence and although I can't assist your problem I was at Topcliffe in 1945 as mid-upper gunner. Our skipper was killed together with out engineer when they crashed outside the airfield while flying with a Canadian crew on 15th January 1945. I since discovered that the landowner of the crash site erected a memorial to the crew and I attended the dedication of the site, a representative of the RCAF was there, if any of your
contributors are interested I could provide the names.
Someone who may assist in your search is David Thompson a Halifax historian, who helped me. Davidethompson@ntworld.com.

Regards

Derek Lannin
Rutland
England












e

 
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Dave Kerr
(no login)
70.48.41.58

HCU crash...

August 21 2008, 5:37 PM 

Hello Derek!

Thank you for the information! I have reserched this some more, and have found the following webpage that details the crash that took your Skipper and F/E.

http://www.allenby.info/aircraft/planes/45/lk878.html

I also wonder why they would send 9 men up in a Halifax...where would they sit? What were their duties?

At any rate, a fascinating glimps into the life at HCU.

I'm not sure if they were serious or not, but I've heard it said that OTU-HCU was more dangerous than Ops!! I would question that... but as I read Chorleys books, there certainly were MANY losses at the Training squadrons, and quite a few of them were actually caused by enemy ground fire, intruders or night fighters, some over Occupied Europe. You can check out...

http://www.raf-lichfield.co.uk/Kevin%20Cranley%2027%20O.T.U..htm

My father was there at the time... and remembers the incident well. He and his crew had flown ill-fated BB-H just a few days prior to their being shot down... and flew the very next night in BB-N.

So... a sincere greeting and good wishes to you from my Dad, who, like you also served at 1659 HCU (Navigator/Observer on the Halifax III's , April-May 1945).

Also, a note to Rick, above. Good on you for getting the 39-45 Star for yor father...seems the "Chairborne Commandos" at DVA or MOD have to be poked and prodded along to get on with their proper jobs.

I the last few years, I have heard some good stories about a few old veterans out there who have finally recieved the Campaign Stars they were denied back in the late '40's...keep up the good work!

Bravo Zulu to all concerned with this great website, and to 57 Rescue!!!

Dave


 
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