The contribution by the R.C.A.F. to the year's air successes of the United Nations may be measured by the number of awards for bravery won by Canadians. In the last 12 months, 280 Canadian flyers, members of the R.C.A.F. and Canadians in the Royal Air Force, were decorated and 29 others were mentioned in dispatches.
The year produced one outstanding Canadian hero, blond Pilot Officer Frederick George Beurling, D.S.O., D.F.C., D.F.M. and bar, 21-year-old Verdun, Que., fighter ace who led the defenders of the valiant island of Malta. One of the war's greatest fighter pilots, Beurling destroyed 291/3. He now is home in Canada.
Beurling was one of four Canadians who won the D.S.O. during the year. The others were Wing-Cmdr. John J. (Moose) Fulton, of Kamloops, B.C., leader of the famous Moose Bomber Squadron, who has been missing since a raid on Hamburg in July; Wing-Cmdr. A. C. Brown, of Winnipeg, CO. of a coastal command squadron, and Wing-Cmdr. Ralph Christie, of North Bay, Ont., with another coastal command squadron. Beurling, Fulton and Brown are members of the R.C.A.F.
Eight Canadians won bars to the D.F.C., four in the R.C.A.F. and four in the R.A.F. Another 142 won the D.F.C., 73 the D.F.M., 30 the A.F.C., eight the A.F.M., two the George Medal and 13 the B.E.M.
14 days 3.4.2018 $12/page
10 days 30.3.2018 $13/page
7 days 27.3.2018 $14/page
5 days 25.3.2018 $15/page
3 days 23.3.2018 $16/page
48 hours 22.3.2018 $19/page
24 hours 21.3.2018 $24/page
8 hours 20.3.2018 $27/page
- 14 days 3.4.2018 $15/page
10 days 30.3.2018 $16/page
7 days 27.3.2018 $17/page
5 days 25.3.2018 $18/page
3 days 23.3.2018 $19/page
48 hours 22.3.2018 $22/page
24 hours 21.3.2018 $27/page
8 hours 20.3.2018 $33/page
- 14 days 3.4.2018 $18/page
10 days 30.3.2018 $19/page
7 days 27.3.2018 $20/page
5 days 25.3.2018 $21/page
3 days 23.3.2018 $22/page
48 hours 22.3.2018 $25/page
24 hours 21.3.2018 $28/page
8 hours 20.3.2018 $38/page
- 14 days 3.4.2018 $21/page
10 days 30.3.2018 $22/page
7 days 27.3.2018 $25/page
5 days 25.3.2018 $27/page
3 days 23.3.2018 $30/page
48 hours 22.3.2018 $33/page
24 hours 21.3.2018 $39/page
8 hours 20.3.2018 $47/page
- 14 days 3.4.2018 $27/page
10 days 30.3.2018 $28/page
7 days 27.3.2018 $30/page
5 days 25.3.2018 $33/page
3 days 23.3.2018 $35/page
48 hours 22.3.2018 $42/page
24 hours 21.3.2018 $50/page
Three epic North American trips
Photo provided by Pexels
Rome, May 20, 1948 (CP) — George (Buzz) Beurling died today as he had lived—adventurously.
Canada's greatest flying ace of the Second Great War crashed to death at the controls of a light aircraft which, eyewitnesses said, he had borrowed for an unauthorized joyride. He died as he was about to participate in his latest adventure, fighting in the air for the Jewish cause in Palestine.
With him died his buddy of the hectic war years, 24-year-old Leonard Cohen of Liverpool. They crashed from 700 feet over Rome's Urbe airfield when the engine failed. The plane burned and when firefighting apparatus reached the scene, was a twisted mass of molten metal. The bodies were burned beyond recognition.
(A report by Arnaldo Cortesi to the New York Times and The Globe and Mail, gave a different version of the circumstances of the crash.
(According to Cortesi's story, the, plane had arrived from Nice two days ago and landed in Rome not only to refuel but also to repair the engine which had some trouble on the way. Repairs were completed this morning and Beurling and Cohen volunteered to test the plane.
(The plane took off normally and everything seemed to be going well. Shortly afterward, however, the engine began to sputter and then stopped altogether. Beurling, who was understood to be at the controls, circled sharply to regain the field and crashed the plane near the entrance to No. 1 hangar. The plane caught fire immediately and burned so fiercely that people present were unable to go to the pilot's assistance. The blaze was eventually brought under control by the airport fire squad, but by that time the pilots had been carbonized.)
There was little doubt of Beurling's identity although police first identified the body of the 26-year-old flying ace as George Beurling of Montreal. Papers listed Beurling's birth date as Dec. 6, 1921, which checked with Beurling's birth date. The Canadian Embassy in Rome said it had no doubt that Beurling was Beurling, the cool-eyed pilot who shot down 31 enemy planes in the Second Great War. In Montreal Beurling's father, Fred Beurling, said there was little doubt that the man who crashed to death in Rome was his son. Fred Beurling said brokenly:
"He told me some time ago that he was heading for Palestine, and that is the way I expected his life to end ... in a blaze of smoke from the thing he loved most ... an airplane. It's tragic; it is heartbreaking."
In Toronto, it was confirmed that Beurling was en route to Palestine. A private Jewish source said that last March 29, Beurling had told him he was to receive $1,000 a month as a combat fighter pilot.
The ill-fated plane, one of three which arrived here two days ago en route to Israel for use as ambulance aircraft, was a Norseman, a five-passenger transport widely used by Canadian bush pilots. It is produced in Canada and was used by the Canadian, British and United States Air Forces during the war.
Reuters News Agency said it was registered in the name of David Miller of Roanoke, Va. Reuters added that it had arrived from Nice May 13 and with its companion aircraft, was grounded by the Italian Government until Thursday. The other two planes took off shortly after the crash to continue their flight to Palestine.
Beurling was not one of the ferry crews which took the planes to Nice from the United Kingdom. He was reported to have been one of a group of fliers waiting in Rome to join the Jewish Air Force. The three planes were to have had a rendezvous with other aircraft in Greece, jumping-off point for Palestine. Beurling had been staying at Rome's Hotel Mediterraneo since May 5.
Eyewitnesses gave this version of the crash:
The Canadian ace, holder of many and decorations and known as Screwball to his fellow pilots in the RAF and RCAF, and Cohen were friends of Albert Lewish, who, Reuters said, was the regular pilot of the crashed plane. The two adventurers borrowed the Norseman for a joyride over Rome,
They were circling Urbe Field when the engine failed. Beurling made a great effort to steady the aircraft but it crashed and burned on the far side of the field.
Lewish witnessed the crash. Visibly shaken, he took off a short time later in one of the two remaining planes. His immediate destination was Brindisi, Italy.
G. M, Schuller, Swiss newspaper man who also saw the plane falter and plummet to the ground, said Beurling had told him that he was flying to Palestine for fun. This was characteristic of the Montrealer, for combat flying always was fun to him.
In Canada some weeks ago he told friends: "I would be glad to get back into combat. I will drop bombs or fire guns for anyone who will pay me."
In New York, Air Marshal W. A. Curtis, chief of air staff of the RCAF, expressed his regret.
Air Marshal Curtis, arriving in New York aboard the liner Queen Mary after six weeks in Europe, termed Beurling Canada's No. 1 fighter ace of the Second Great War, "undoubtedly the greatest precision deflection-shot fighter pilot to serve in the British forces."
Curtis was "very, very sorry to hear of the death of such an outstanding fighter pilot."
The Air Marshal, it has been said, gained Beurling's respect and liking in the service. Curtis recalled that he once extended some fatherly advice to the adventurous Beurling when the latter was about to leave the service late in the war. He excused Beurling's extracurricular activities which brought, him notoriety by saying that he was after all, only a youngster and inexperienced.
Curtis, en route to Ottawa after a six-week inspection trip of RCAF installations in the United Kingdom and a tour of Continental Europe, termed his trip fruitful. He landed in England by air with Viscount Alexander, Governor-General of Canada, and received from the King at a Buckingham Palace investiture the Order of Companion of the Bath. In Paris, France conferred upon him the Legion of Honor.
Kabala, Sierra Leone Area Hotels
Photo provided by Flickr
Beurling had many, many close brushes with death. On the way back to Canada from Malta, to take his bow in the country whose air force turned him down, he nearly missed the celebrations. The big transport in which he was riding overshot the runway at Gibraltar, hung for a split second in the air and then plunged into the sea, carrying most of its passengers to death.
But not Beurling. He was sitting in a rear part of the plane close to an emergency hatch and during that brief moment before the plunge the superb reflex actions that had made Beurling one of the greatest living fighter pilots helped him go right on living. He sprung open the hatch in the twinkling of an eye and dived into the sea from the faltering aircraft. His injuries: A break in the plaster cast attached to his wounded foot.
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Photo provided by Flickr
Protected Canadian Army
Overseas exploits of the ever-expanding Royal Canadian Air Force, are too numerous to catalogue in a short review of the manifold accomplishments of the service during a year that saw Canada's fighter pilots fly in protective cover over their own soldiers for the first time in this war. This was at Dieppe, which also saw Canada's army cooperation squadrons in heavy action for the first time.
Canadian bomber crews turned in superb performances in countless raids over enemy territory. Canadian coastal command aircraft continued to harass successfully enemy shipping in the North Sea. Canadian reconnaissance squadrons obtained valuable information in dangerous forays into the enemy's backyard.
Air Vice-Marshal W. A. Curtis of Toronto, deputy air officer commanding-in-chief, said this of the Canadian air force's greatest year:
"The year brought an expansion in R.C.A.F., overseas personnel and operations that is nothing short of spectacular. The torrent of skilled manpower that the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan has spilled into these islands is now overflowing into every air front in the world at war. Our men have not only distinguished themselves above these islands, far out into the seas surrounding them and deep into enemy territory, but they are now adding fresh laurels to the R.C.A.F.'s record by the part they are playing in the sagas of Malta, North Africa, India and a dozen other lesser battle-fronts. This year, accordingly, has seen the R.C.A.F. overseas fulfilling the hope that burns in the hearts of the Canadian people; an ever-increasing and ever more effective contribution toward the achievement of victory and the return of peace."