418 Association Info
Aircraft and Bases
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Friends, My father, LAC Henry Frank Green RAFVR, had the honour to serve for a time with 418 Squadron during World War II as an instrument technician. He never spoke of the pain he must have felt when planes which he had serviced failed to return from intruder operations across the North Sea, nor how he must have grieved for the young Canadian lives lost. But remembering him as a Christian, I know he must have held their memories in his heart. On this Remembrance Day, I salute the memory of my father's colleagues, and all those who answered the call to arms but did not live to hear Reveille. Christian Green
My father, Robert Craig (R52959) was born in Paisley Scotland on the 3RD of October 1905. He left school at 14 and although he was awarded a scholarship to attend art school, he took up an apprentice as a carpenter to assist his family. After completing his apprentice, he and his older brother travelled to Canada and worked to eventually bring over the family. Besides working as a carpenter he became a scout leader. From the back of his watch (a family gift before going overseas) it appears he joined the RCAF before 1941. At some stage he was posted to 418 City of Edmonton Squadron. He moved to Ford airbase in England and assisted in the repair of Mosquitoes after their return, often from intruder raids. From his stories, he was there during raids in Normandy after D Day. He was bombed whilst repairing work in a hanger at Ford, where he hid under a bench. The bomb bounced off the bench and out of the hanger.
During his time off, he borrowed a bicycle and rode around the countryside where he got himself lost. He approached a woman, Dorothy, a nurse, who was also out riding and after convincing her he wasn’t a spy, she directed him back to the base. This was the beginning of their romance. Dad was a bit of a character and didn’t suffer fools gladly. While he achieved the rank of sergeant, he didn’t get any further promotions and missed the opportunity to go across the channel with the squadron after D Day.
Eventually he married Dorothy and then he travelled back to Canada on an aircraft carrier to get demobbed. On returning to England they set up home in Folkestone Kent. Their first child was still-born due to Dorothy’s work as a TB nurse and suffering from radiation poisoning from x-rays. Their second child was born in 1950. In 1953 they moved to Australia as ‘£10 tourists’ (a migrant scheme). They landed in Sydney but couldn’t find work so used the last of their money to travel west to Perth where they eventually set up home (Dunroamin’) in Belmont. Dad died from cancer (probably mesothelioma from building the house from asbestos) on June the sixth 1969.
Over a rather long period, the top of Canwick Hill has been developed into the International Bomber Command Centre. Although the area available is quite small the centre is extremely well organised. (http://internationalbcc.co.uk/ ). After visiting inner displays, we went on a guided tour of the area leading to the spire. They have set up a garden with native plants from all the Nations from which the bomber crews and their auxiliaries came. Along the path to the spire which is the length of one wing of a Lancaster bomber, they have a memorial Ribbon of Stones with the names of any war veterans. They have planted lime trees on the site which are geo located to represent the 27 bomber bases in Lincolnshire! As is usual near Lincoln, they unearthed some Roman remains and had to wait until the archaeologists had cleared it out! Around the spire are walls of the names of all (ground, air crew and support staff) those who fought and died in Bomber Command, over 55,000 names! It was a moving experience.
I have been able to purchase a memorial stone for my father to add to the IBCC Ribbon of Stones. These are for any one who served in any airforce during the Second World War.
My father Don Johnston served overseas with 418 in WWII. Dad was an aero engine mechanic and told many stories of his time with the squadron. I have several pictures of him and his mates servicing the Mosquito as well as a squadron book produced shortly after the war and lovingly maintained by my father. As a young boy growing up in Manitoba his anecdotes likely had some effect on me choosing the military as a career - in the Navy! ha!
-- George Johnston, Halifax, NS
I was giving a tour today at the Canadian Warplanes Museum and I mentioned to my tour group that my father was shot down on Aug 17,1942 - one of my visitors noted that was today and I had one those OMG moments!
72 years ago today he was 20 years old, piloting a Douglas DB-7B (Boston Havoc) with RCAF 418 Squadron when he was shot down by anti aircraft fire near Rouen, France. His 2 crew were killed and he was captured by the Luftwaffe, patched up and invited to the local air base for dinner. At about 4:00 pm the Luftwaffe squadron was scrambled to intercept a flight of 12 B17s and Spits - turns out it was the first mission of the US 8th airforce in WW2!
The Base Commaner then shipped him off to Stalag VlllB for the next 2 years!
I attached a couple of pictures - one taken by the Luftwaffe the morning he crashed! By the way his plane was WR8350.Art MCabe