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


08 March  1945

B-78 Holland

Heavy overcast cast a gloom on operational activity for the whole day accompanied by spasmodic light drizzles. The only flying that we did consisted of three A&E tests. Our pilot strength increased to 25 on the posting of J4910 F/L M.J. Whelan from 83 G.S.U. This pilot only arrived from Canada only last September where he was with 139 Squadron on the west coast and has 1300:00 flying hours under his belt. 

At approximately 0200 hours the ack-ack boys interrupted quite a few slumbers, presumably on bandits, this followed up by the audible but distant rumble of heavy artillery. The RAF Works Flight has been plugging leisurely on some of our aircraft bays that were pretty well swamped due to the wet weather. They are being increased in size as well so the aircraft can be turned right around by the pilots instead of having this done by groundcrews. The RAF types have also been putting in consistent work digging ditches to drain away the water, throughout the airfield and fixing up roads which had really gone for a "burton" (2) in the last month.

Some of the pilots went out on a recce and brought back some additional furniture for the Mess and our dispersal. We were quite happy to see W/C Grant, DFC (1) back from his leave in Canada, who is to relieve S/L Hal Gooding, who was W/C Operations, for duties with his own Squadron.  

The pilots were on runway readiness all afternoon until after sunset and had to taxi their aircraft back to dispersal in the darkness. The night brought on quite a few buzz bombs over the Airfield, heading west. We still have one out of 18 aircraft unserviceable.

Webmaster's Note:

(1) Grant, Frank George (J5056) Wing Commander. DSO,DFC
Born at North Sydney, Nova Scotia, 10 August 1918.  Enlisted in Calgary, 11 October 1940.  Trained at No.1 ITS (graduated 9 December 1940), No.1 EFTS (graduated 28 January 1941), and No.1 SFTS (graduated 28 April 1941).  Commissioned on latter date; F/O 30 April 1942; F/L 1 September 1942, S/L 1 May 1943, W/C 14 October 1944.  Served in Aleutians with No.118 Squadron, went overseas with it when it became No.438, later becoming W/C (Flying) of No.143 Wing.  Damaged a FW.190 northwest of Aachen, 24 December 1944.  See photo PL-40906 (in flying gear in front of Typhoon). Known awards: DSO, DFC, FCG.ea, VK Vliegerkruis Flying Cross (Netherlands), Croix de Guerre with Silver Star (France). Information provided by The Air Force Association of Canada and Hugh A. Halliday who is the author of the RCAF Personnel - Honours & Awards - 1939-1949 which can be found on the Air Force Association of Canada Website. Used with permission and sincere gratitude

(2) To go for a Burton implies that someone has been killed or something that is completely ruined. World War Two pilots used this expression when colleagues did not return from missions; it seemed less permanent than saying that their fellow pilots had been believed killed. It is supposed to refer to Burton Ale, a strong beer brewed at the time, with the implication that their friends had only popped out for a drink. However the phrase is recorded in the 15th century as a euphemism for "to die". The origin here is completely lost.

Detail of Work Carried Out by  No. 439 RCAF Squadron 

as recorded by J20602 F/O R.H. Laurence, J29881 F/O W.G. Davis,  and C20089 F/L M. Harrison in the  439 Squadron Operations Record Book Form 541

A/C Type & Number Crew Duty Up Down



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Details of Sortie or Flight

No operations were carried out on this date.


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