Saturday, 29 June 2019

The Lost Voices of WWII RAF/RCAF Greenwood

For many years I have had an interest in WWI and WWII history; the events, the campaigns, the diplomacy, but with a particular focus on the individuals who took part and the resulting casualties of those conflicts. On occasions my research into those wars, has allowed me to contribute information and written articles to various web-sites and organizations which in the past have included the BBC Peoples War, Veterans Affairs in Ottawa, the Royal British Legion. The extent and reach of resources for this type of activity is widespread; over the years I have developed many contacts from Iceland to Tasmania and more than a few places in between.
I get a huge amount of joy and fulfilment out of doing the type of work; it is avocation I truly love and is often very rewarding for example, when I succesfully bridge the decades for someone, with previously unknown details about a long-lost relative who was killed in war.

Last summer, I went to RCAF Greenwood, located in Kings County in Nova Scotia's Annapolis Valley, to visit their museum and Avro Lancaster bomber from WWII. During that war, Greenwood was used as one of the locations within Canada for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP), where they flew a number of aircraft including Hurricanes, Air Speed Oxfords, Bristol Bolingbroke, Ansons, Mosquitos and Lockheed Hudsons. 
On the way out of the museum that day, I picked up an information leaflet about some war graves in nearby Middleton, which named some of those killed in aircraft accidents or other mishaps out of Greenwood during WWII. When I got home, I checked into the 24 names listed and found through reference to various sources that  some errors existed within the details. 
I sent an email to the person named on the leaflet ~ Dianne LeGard ~ with all the corrections together with the relevant back-up data.
Dianne replied and thanked me for the updates and mentioned that she was writing a book about WWII Greenwood, with a focus on the aircraft incidents and resulting casualties. Impressed by my attention to detail during our email exchanges, she asked if I would like to help her with some of the research for the book ~ without any hesitation, I said “yes” …
My task was mainly to research and check the details on some of the many aircraft losses and crashes that took place at Greenwood and link them to the resulting deaths and injuries. During the project, I was able to use many great sources of information including newspaper archives, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Canadian Virtual War Memorial and many more.

The eventual result of much activity during late summer and fall of 2018 was the book ~ “The Lost Voices of WWII RAF/RCAF Greenwood”.


During that period, I was in constant email contact with Dianne, but never actually met her. This was finally put right today when I had the pleasure of meeting her in Bridgetown, in Annapolis County, at a “Celebration of Local Writing” , event where the book was presented.

Prior to going to the event, I took the opportunity to visit the graves of some of the guys who were killed out of Greenwood during WWII. I visited two locations, Old Holy Trinity Cemetery, Middleton, NS and St Lawrence Roman Catholic Cemetery in Kingston, NS. Between the two locations, there are 30 burials made up from the Royal Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal New Zealand Air Force. There are no graves from the Royal Canadian Air Force, those casualties were typically returned to their home provinces. 
Where remains were not recovered from accidents, perhaps losses sea, those individuals are commemorated on the Air Forces of the Commonwealth, Ottawa Memorial, Ottawa, Ontario.
In total there were 59 deaths at RAF Greenwood during WWII, by national air force they were ~

Royal Canadian Air Force ~ 23
Royal Air Force ~ 22
Royal Australian Airforce ~ 8
Royal New Zealand Air Force ~ 6

Below are the photos I took today at the war graves in Kingston and Middleton with the poppy I left at each. The names, the nationalities and the ages tell an important part of WWII RAF/RCAF Greenwood story, its location may have been far from the war's frontline, but its sacrifice was just as tragic and ever lasting.
Today, it was a privilege and an honour to be in the presence of those who had travelled so far across the vast oceans of the world, to sadly gave up their unfinished lives so that others could be free …

My thanks to Wayne Thorburne, President Royal Canadian Legion (Branch 24) Bridgewater for the poppies …

Old Holy Trinity Cemetery, Middleton, Nova Scotia








Aircraftman 2nd Class
BADHAM, IVOR GEORGE
Service Number 1279531
Died 21/05/1942
Aged 24
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of William and Annie Badham, of Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire, Wales.



Flight Sergeant
BELLHOUSE, REGINALD 
Service Number 436712
Died 16/11/1944
Aged 22
Royal Australian Air Force
Son of Frank Gordon and Emily Elizabeth Bellhouse, of Mount Macedon, Victoria, Australia.

Note: the gravestone has his date of death ~ "16th October 1944" ~ this is an error. The Canadian Agency of the CWGC amended their records on 19 March 1986 to reflect the correct date, I can only assume at some point in the future a new gravestone will be installed.



Corporal
BENTLEY, HERBERT
Service Number 1098456
Died 11/10/1942
Aged 37
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of Alfred and Martha Ann Bentley, of Todmorden, Lancashire, England; husband of Nellie Bentley, of Todmorden.



Pilot Officer
BLICK, CLAUDE WYNTER ARTHUR
Service Number 411732
Died 25/06/1942
Aged 30
Royal Australian Air Force
Son of Philip Wynter Robinson Blick and Una Ermine Blick, of Manly, New South Wales, Australia.



Aircraftman 2nd Class
BOTCHER, ALBERT JOHN
Service Number 1258409
Died 18/06/1942
Aged 22
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Grandson of Annie Botcher, of Rugby, Warwickshire, England.



Pilot Officer
BROWN, JAMES GERALD
Service Number 163982
Died 20/04/1944
Aged 20
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of James and Martha Julia Brown of Mossley Hill, Liverpool, England.



Flying Officer
BRUCE, JOHN CHARLES WILLIAM
Service Number 113844
Died 27/08/1943
Aged 22
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
D F C
Son of Clifford D. Bruce and Betty Bruce, of Bishopston, Bristol, England.



Flying Officer
COLLINS, EDWARD CHARLES JOHN
Service Number 414906
Died 22/08/1944
Aged 24
Royal Australian Air Force
Son of John Lionel Stanley and Myrtle Emily Collins, of Clermont, Queensland, Australia.



Flying Officer
CORCORAN, ROGER LEON
Service Number 431319
Died 16/03/1945
Aged 21
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Son of William Roger and Clarice Patience Corcoran, of Whakatane, Auckland, New Zealand.



Sergeant
GILLESPIE, DOUGLAS CHARLES ANDREW
Service Number 4215123
Died 16/03/1945
Aged 21
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Son of Charles White Gillespie and of Annie Isobel Gillespie (nee Craig), of Mount Eden, Auckland, New Zealand.



Sergeant (Pilot)
HARVEY, KENNETH GEORGE FUGE
Service Number 1604561
Died 27/04/1944
Aged 19
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of George Henry and Mary Elizabeth Harvey, of Richmond, Surrey, England.



Pilot Officer
HENLEY, MAURICE ALBERT WILLIAM
Service Number 163984
Died 18/04/1944
Aged 21
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of William Thomas Henley and Lily Harriet Henley, of Guildford, Surrey, England.



Flight Sergeant (Pilot)
HOPKINSON, JACK NETTLETON
Service Number 1216355
Died 25/06/1942
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of Mr. and Mrs. W. Hopkinson, of Wakefield, Yorkshire, England.



Sergeant
LONGSTAFF, ARNOLD
Service Number 645930
Died 19/04/1943
Aged 23
Royal Air Force
Son of John William and Edith Longstaff, of Fenham, Newcastle-on-Tyne, England.



Leading Aircraftman
PACEY, GEORGE ROBERT
Service Number 1174343
Died 04/04/1944
Aged 37
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of Elizabeth Pacey, of Colwick, Nottinghamshire, England.



Pilot Officer
PITTOCK, TREVOR ALFRED
Service Number 153254
Died 17/09/1943
Aged 21
Royal Air Force
Son of Alfred Thomas Pittock and Eliza Pittock, of Manor Park, Essex, England.



Flying Officer
REEDIE, JACK NORMAN
Service Number 429844
Died 24/04/1945
Aged 24
Royal Australian Air Force
Son of Norman James Reedie and Edith Blanche Reedie, of Artarmon, New South Wales, Australia.



Flying Officer
RUTHERFORD, ALLAN JAMES
Service Number 413900
Died 17/09/1943
Aged 25
Royal Australian Air Force
Son of Samuel and Hannah Rutherford, of Lismore, New South Wales, Australia.



Flying Officer
SLAUGHTER, WILLIAM THOMAS
Service Number 434658
Died 22/08/1944
Aged 19
Royal Australian Air Force
Son of Edgar Dalley Slaughter and Ruth Mary Slaughter, of Dalby, Queensland, Australia.



Aircraftman 1st Class
SOMERVILLE, SAMUEL EASTON
Service Number 1678987
Died 09/07/1943
Aged 21
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of Samuel and Jean Somerville, of Glasgow, Scotland.



Pilot Officer
TEER, LEONARD HERBERT
Service Number 154644
Died 17/02/1944
Aged 22
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Campbell Teer, of South Shields, Co. Durham, England.



Warrant Officer
UREN, HAROLD BEAUMONT
Service Number 437175
Died 24/04/1945
Aged 22
Royal Australian Air Force
Son of Richard Henry and Anne Caroline Uren, of Norwood, South Australia.



Flying Officer
WALLS, REX JAMES
Service Number 417133
Died 18/01/1944
Aged 21
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Son of James and Mona Lillian Walls, of New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand.



Sergeant
WILKINS, HENRY LIONEL JOHN
Service Number 568354
Died 11/12/1942
Aged 24
Royal Air Force
Husband of Sheila Iris Grace Wilkins, of Sutton-on-Sea, Lincolnshire, England.



St Lawrence Roman Catholic Cemetery, Kingston, Nova Scotia





Pilot Officer
DE STEENHAULT DE WAERBEEK, ALBERT MARIE LOUIS ADHEMAR
(Belgian National)
Service Number 172212
Died 16/09/1944
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Husband of Audrey De Steenhault De Waerbeek, of Wargrave, Berkshire, England.



Pilot Officer
GAHA, FRANCIS CLIVE
Service Number 420181
Died 18/03/1943
Aged 30
Royal Australian Air Force
Son of Frank and Sarah Gaha; husband of Enid Jean Gaha, of Milson's Point, New South Wales, Australia. B.A. (Sydney).



Squadron Leader
HOWARD, LOUIS ALEXANDER GEORGE
Service Number 39626
Died 03/08/1942
Aged 29
Royal Air Force
Son of Louis Edward Albert and Elizabeth C. Howard, of Highgate, Middlesex, England; husband of Joan Howard, of Rondebosch, Cape Province, South Africa.



Flying Officer
McCANN, HUGH EDWARD
Service Number 149386
Died 20/04/1944
Aged 20
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of Hugh and Edith Annie McCann, of Aigburth, Liverpool, England. His brother George also died on service.



Flying Officer
O'HANLON, PATRICK FLOOD
Service Number 165612
Died 16/11/1944
Aged 23
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of Patrick Francis and Annie O'Hanlon, of Rumney, Cardiff, Wales.



Flying Officer
WALSH, JOHN DERMOT
Service Number 39116
Died 18/01/1944
Aged 26
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Son of Thomas Dermot Walsh and of Margaret Mary Walsh (nee Shaw), of Hawera, Taranaki, New Zealand.


The following is a photo taken of the rear side of the Cross of Sacrifice at Old Holy Trinity Cemetery, Middleton ~


~ it has the six names of those listed above who are buried at nearby St Lawrence Roman Catholic Cemetery, Kingston. There is one additional name whose grave is no longer at St Lawrence Roman Catholic Cemetery, he is ~

Flight Sergeant
GROENSTEEN, CLAUDE JULIEN VICTOR HILAIRE
Service Number 1299856
Died 16/09/1944
Aged 23
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Son of Mr. and Mrs. H. Groensteen, of Auvillars, Tarn et Garonne, France. His brother Jacques Hilaire Pierre also fell.

According the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records dated 11 February 2004, Claude Julien Victor Hilaire Groensteen is now buried with his brother ~

GROENSTEEN, JACQUES HILAIRE PIERRE
Service Number 1299861
Died 20/04/1945
350 (Belgian) Sqdn.
Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve
Chevalier de l'Ordre de Leopold II avec Palmes; Croix de Guerre avec Palmes (Knight of the Order of Leopold II with Palmes; War Cross with Fins).


 ~ at Brussels Town Cemetery ~ Belgian Airmen’s Field of Honour, Belgium.


Thursday, 20 June 2019

Black & White Long Exposure


With the tide on its way out, I had a late afternoon wander on the beach and a visit to the Lahave Islands. In complete contrast to bright warm sunshine of earlier in the day, during my visit heavy clouds started to roll in from the south giving perfect conditions for some long exposure experiments.

In recent months, I have been trying out Neutral Density (ND) Filters, the purpose of a ND Filter is to reduce the amount of light entering the lens. This allows the photographer to select combinations of aperture, exposure time and sensor sensitivity that would otherwise produce overexposed results.

I have not had too much success; it is taking time and a lot of patience to develop all the correct combination of camera settings ~ progress is slow, but is also enjoyable.

Today, I thought I would try something a little different, to put a 10-Stop ND Filter in front of my permanently in place Polarizing Filter which I believe is a 2-Stop reduction ~ being the amateur mathematician that I is, I can confirm this will give a 12-Stop reduction. To capture the conditions a little better, I decided to use Black and White.

Careful observation of the results below will highlight the intended motion-blur or smoothing out in the water, but unfortunately not so much as I hoped with the clouds. All photos were done at 100ASA with the F-Stop and Exposure noted against each. 
In time I hope to gain much improved results, I know spectacular photos can be achieved with ND Filters.

F-Stop 14 with 20 Second Exposure

F-Stop 14 with 10 Second Exposure

F-Stop 14 with 20 Second Exposure

F-Stop 16 with 20 Second Exposure

F-Stop 16 with 13 Second Exposure

F-Stop 16 with 13 Second Exposure

F-Stop 16 with 13 Second Exposure

F-Stop 14 with 6 Second Exposure

F-Stop 14 with 8 Second Exposure