This Day In History

Summary of Events for  No. 439 (CAN) Squadron 

as compiled by  C20089 F/L M. Harrison  in the  439 Squadron Operations Record Book Form 540


23 April  1945

14 A.P.C., England

B-150 Celle, Germany

Little scattered cloud early in the morning. A message was received in the wee hours of the morning that the Daks are to arrive at 0700 hours and will take off at 08:30 hours. However they were late in getting in and this delayed departure until about 10:00 hours. All Echelon airmen were aboard excepting two who were in Sick Quarters. Once over the French coast we ran into quite a bit of low lying cumulus, heavy at times. We touched down at B118 at about 14:15 hours, which is a short distance south of Celle, Germany. From there we were taken to B150 by transport. Again we are in tents, with the exception of the officers mess which is in a large old house. 

There are numerous pranged aircraft on this field which have been stripped of souvenirs. We learn that "A" party was strafed the first day it arrived , by a Jerry kite, but apparently no casualties sustained. The farm lands of Germany are quite pretty and the farm houses are quite a distance apart and seem to be quite large and well kept, denoting that the agriculturists are quite well to do. 

The disreputable Belsen Camp is about 15 kilometres  from here and has been visited by numerous lads of our Airfield and they claim that the horrors are even worse than expressed in the newspapers. 

This is the first day that the Squadron has operated since leaving B100 for Warmwell. Only two operations were carried out, and other flying consisted of F/O Johnny Bullock's return from Warmwell via Typhoon which would not function properly yesterday.

One pilot failed to return from operations today, he is J16210 F/l J.H. McCullough. His kite was hit by flak causing it to smoke badly so that he forced landed in Germany. His operational record is; 18 sorties on his second tour, 140:00 operational hours on his first tour and 17:05 hours on his second, making a total of 157:05 operational hours and giving him a grand total of 821:55 flying hours. 

After totaling up the sorties carried out at 14 A.P.C., Warmwell, we did 261 on high dive-bombing, 80 on low level bombing, 29 on air to air firing and 42 on air to ground firing, which makes a total of 412 sorties. out of our 18 aircraft, one was unserviceable today, the 19th being lost on ops.


Detail of Work Carried Out by  No. 439 RCAF Squadron 

as compiled by J23040 F/L V.H. LeGear, J37015 F/O A.W. Saunders, and C200589 F/L M. Harrison in the  439 Squadron Operations Record Book Form 541

A/C Type & Number Crew Duty Up Down








S/L Beatty J.H.

W/O Horrocks L.J.

F/O Hallford F.M.

F/L Marlatt S.D.

F/O McGibbon D.S.

F/O Harrison J.L.

F/L Breck A.W.

Armed Recce




Details of Sortie or Flight

This trip, the first Op since the Squadron returned from England, was an Armed Weather Recce of the Wedel-Lauenburg area, and was lead by S/L Jim Beatty. Seven aircraft took off at 15:30 hours, crossed the Elbe at Wedel at 5000 feet; cloud was 9/10ths with patches reducing the ceiling from 7000 to 3000 feet. Light flak was observed near Pinberg, and heavy flak as they passed Wedel. making a wide orbit of Hamburg, they found 15 barges west of Molln which they strafed, damaging six. The only activity seen in the area was ambulances conspicuously marked, but were unmolested. The Squadron returned to base and all landed safely at 16:30 hrs.

Claims: Barges, 7 damaged. 


A/C Type & Number Crew Duty Up Down








F/L LeGear V.H.

F/O Brock J.S.

F/O Kubicki W.

F/L McCully A.W.

F/O Saunders A.W.

F/L McCullough J.H.

F/O Derouin A.E.

F/O Johnson D.E.

Armed Recce

17:50 18:50









Details of Sortie or Flight

This show led by F/L Vic LeGear, was an Armed Recce of the Ratzeburg-Gadebusch area, by eight aircraft. They took off at 17:50 hours, crossed the Elbe at 6000 feet east of Lauenburg. There was a lot of trouble with the R/T, as the sets had been tuned in England whilst  at 14 A.P.C., Warmwell by the RAF wireless bashers, and this complicated the attacks, as no one knew what was going on.

Vic LeGear and his Section found some MET on the west shore of Ratzeburgen Lake, and this was strafed by Red Section and by Blue-1 and Blue-2, while Blue-3 and 4 attacked MET farther north along the road, and a loco on the track at S9681. The results were one MET destroyed, three MET damaged and one loco damaged. Then a drome with Ju88's on it was spotted and attacked by Blue-3 and 4. They poured ammunition into two of them, but unfortunately they turned out to be dummies., which explained the absence of flak.

Two trains were seen in marshalling yards near Ratzeburg, but before they could be attacked, intense accurate light flak started coming from the yards, so the aircraft broke away. F/L Johnny McCullough was hit, and crash landed about six miles south-east of Ratzeburg at T1153. He called up from the ground to say that he was O.K. The remaining aircraft formed up and returned to base. F/O Johnny Johnson was hit in the tail-plane while passing near Ratzeburg, but all landed safely at 18:50 hours.

Claims: MET - 1 destroyed, 3 damaged. Locos - 1 damaged.


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