Operational Record Book

No. 33 Service Flying Training School
RCAF Station Carberry, Manitoba

April 1941

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CARBERRY.

  • 1.4.41.
    STRENGTH: Personnel.
Officers Other Ranks Civilians
RAF
81
974
-
Service Personnel other Than RAF
RCAF
2
29
-
RCASC
1
4
-
CDC
1
2
-
Civilians
-
-
7
  • STRENGTH: Aircraft.
Servicable Unservicable
Ansons
14
21
Harvards
12
6
Tiger Moths
2
-
  • The fourth month of the Unit’s life began as energetically as the weather allowed, but the change from Winter to Spring entailed a good deal of interruption to Flying. The stoutest efforts of the rollers to keep a firm snow-surface on the landing field became unavailing: but the thaw gradually revealed what everyone had long wished to see – the runways. Yet here again the work of clearing away the remnants of snow and ice and general treachery was impeded by further falls of snow. In fact there was received a warning of the approach of another blizzard.
    In a sense this was not wholly bad news. Bearing in mind the unheralded onslaught of the March blizzard, the Station felt a greeter confidence in realising that it was now in touch with expert meteorological advice. To confirm this, Mr. F.H. Patterson was attached to the Unit as Meteorological Clerk.
    In the absence of practical flying interests the Station turned its attention to less serious matters. An Officer was appointed to take charge of Cricket. Competitors began to enter their names for the

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  • 1.4.41. (cont’d) Novices’ Boxing Competition. A large and enthusiastic meeting of Footballers elected a Committee and sent a delegate to the Annual General Meeting of the Brandon Football League. Another delegate attended a meeting of the Brandon Patriotic Sportsmen’s Association, where baseball and softball as well as boxing were discussed. And, as an indication that the house was being put in order, two hundred and ninety five airmen applied to be remustered.
  • 2.4.41. As there was still no flying, other activities continued to stand out in relief. These included such matters as arrangements for the receipt of voluntary sports subscriptions from airmen at the rate of ten cents each month, further notices about provincial elections, much activity in connection with the Local Trade Test Board, a much-needed reconstruction of the stage of the Recreation Hall in order to make it more worthy of the talent of visiting Concert Parties, and the beginnings of transferring various games and pastimes from the Recreation Hall to the Drill Hall where a boxing ring was already in course of construction.
  • 3.4.41. This day began well with resumption of Flying, and a notice of the reclassification of forty-six airmen to A.C.I and two to L.A.C. Moreover there was to be night flying at Petrel.
  • 4.4.41. Very early in the morning, however, came a report of a serious crash during this night flying. After failing in an attempt to land his Harvard in the Petrel landing-field, L.A.C. Wesley, D.M., (lineal descendant of the great Evangelist, John Wesley) crashed about two miles away at 01.25 hours. The usual actions were taken, but it was difficult to find and reach the remains of the Harvard. The pupil-pilot was extricated, badly injured, and taken to the Station Hospital where he died. This was the first case of serious personal injury during flying – and it was the more unhappy since it occurred on the same day as the arrival of another fifty-five pupil-pilots from the Royal Air Force Station, Hednesford, England. They had embarked on the 24th. March, and their arrival coincided with that of twelve u/t pilots from No. 2 Manning Depot, Brandon. So there were now three separate

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  • 4.4.41. (cont’d) Courses in the Unit.
    To illustrate the difficulties accompanying flying at this time, no less than sixteen Ansons were slightly damaged by the ice thrown up by their wheels and airscrews while they were landing or taxying.
    Two more nursing sisters, Miss. M. Patterson and Miss. M. Peacock, were attached for duty.
  • 5.4.41. An inquiry for any airman conversant with organs suggested that the young Station was losing no time in acquiring the refinements usually associated with a greater maturity. In response to a Press reference to the need of an organ, three (of a type known at home as harmoniums) were offered to the Unit for the benefit of its religious services. This spirit of not merely scraping along with a feeling that anything would serve to see the Unit through until its ultimate dispersal or translation was having immediate effects on the life of the Station, and produced an output of imagination and energy whose reward lay in the securing of a settled organisation as quickly as could be achieved.
  • 6.4.41. A part of the drill programme had for many weeks included funeral ceremonial movements. On this Sunday morning it had a special significance, but melancholy had perforce to give way to the evening’s thorough enjoyment of a visit by a Concert Party under the aegis of the Winnipeg Board of Trade. Judging by the condition of the Camp where mud had replaced snow to almost an equal depth, the journey from the City was a courageous adventure. The Party, arriving late but in good spirits, proceeded to delight a great audience with perhaps the best performance so far given on the Station.

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  • 7.4.41. Next morning, after a service at No. 2 Manning Depot at 11.30 hours, the committal of the remains of L.A.C. Wesley, took place in an area of Brandon Cemetery allotted to Royal Air Force dead.
  • 8.4.41. Brandon, the nearest town offering variety of entertainment, had recently been linked to the Camp by a special motor-coach (Western Greyhound Bus Service) which daily left the Station at 18.00 hours and returned at a reasonably late hour. On this day the coach was withdrawn without formal explanation: but the number of taxi-cabs which Carberry was producing conjuror-fashion, the business acumen of their drivers, and the complete willingness of the airmen to pack themselves scientifically, be masters of their vehicle, and pay less, suggest a likely explanation. In any ease, the coach withdrew just in time. The road connecting the Camp with Carberry – and built, one understood, when there were conditions, of frost – began to behave in an almost incredible manner. Slimy ruts were over a foot deep. It became a high adventure to visit Carberry on wheels. And, whoa it became known that Good Friday was to be a holiday, the road to pleasure was found to be an obstacle. This situation developed until the time came when transport already in Carberry was cut off, and only a shuttle-service of a Station lorry could maintain contact with the outer world.
  • 9.4.41. The melting of the snows had disclosed much litter, and attention to scavenging was required. At the same time it was now practicable to discuss ways and means of improving the unsightly ground, of selecting sites for games, of taking steps to grow forms of vegetation that would bind the soil-surface and prevent dust, and of interlocking various schemes in accordance with some general principle of landscape gardening.
  • 10.4.41. Nineteen u/t pilots of the attached R.C.A.F. personnel were struck-off the strength on posting to No. 2 I.T.S. Regina, and nineteen u/t pilots from No. 2 Manning Depot took their places.

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  • 11.4.41. Good Friday was observed as far as possible as a holiday and a very large number of passes was issued.
  • 12.4.41. The burst of fine weather that was now attacking the frost deep in the ground and causing transport to be bogged inits own yard was emphasised by an order that greatcoats need no longer be worn during the day.
    The surround-fencing of the ice-rinks was dismantled and stacked, rubber knee-boots were in demand, use of the runways became essential to aircraft, and numerous enquiries were made by Officers and Airman on how best to take more exercise.
    At about 08.35 hours a pupil pilot of the second course (No. 8 Course), L.A.C. Lloyd, L.W.H., died when his Harvard crashed at Firdale, Manitoba. The accident was believed to have occurred while aerobatics were being attempted.
  • 13.4.41. Easter Sunday entailed unusually large demands on the Chaplain. In addition to various services in the morning in Camp, and two in Carberry where St. Agnes’ Church required the ministrations of a priest, certain funeral arrangements had to be made by him in Brandon. The necessity of pitching and rolling in an open truck on the well-nigh impassable road from Camp added physical penance to these ecclesiastical exercises.
  • 14.4.41. A Section to which no previous reference has been made – the Photography Section – now came under the charge of an Officer. Daily Routine Orders contained many notices whose headings mirrored the sports and recreational activities of the Unit. Thus, there were references to the Station Dance Orchestra, the Concert Party, Model Aircraft Construction, Cross-country running, the newly arranged stage of the Recreation Hall, boxing, the proposed site for football pitches, and an Airmen’s Dance.
  • 15.4.41. An Officer was appointed to take charge of the Parachute Section, and there was a change in the Administration of the Security Guard. During the morning, the funeral of L.A.C. Lloyd, L.W.H., took place in

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  • 15.4.41. (cont’d) Brandon. The Unit provided the firing party, bearers, bugler, and mourners and No. 2 Manning Depot sent an escort of forty airmen. The first part of the Service was held in the Pro. Cathedral, and the committal in Brandon Cemetery in a grave next to that of L.A.C. Wesley.
  • 16.4.41. At this time there was a good deal of expectancy in the air due to invitations from Winnipeg and Brandon for celebrations of St. George’s Day. But the main interest of the day lay in the Airmen’s Dance. At the first Dance invitations had been restricted to the maidens of Carberry and the neighbouring hamlets. On this occasion maidens of Brandon were invited, and, by a special C.N.R. train which made use of the spur line into the Camp, over two hundred dancing-partners were conveyed to the Recreation Hall for an excellent evenings gaiety.
    A pupil pilot’s concentration on his work proved to be imperfect. Due to the fact that he had failed to fasten his seat, his Anson ran off the tarmac while taking-off (C).
  • 17.4.41. Another pupil pilot’s Harvard slewed round while cross-wind landings were being practiced. Minor damage to the aircraft was sustained.(D). Results of the Local Trade Test Boards examinations for reclassifications now began to appear in large numbers. In the evening the Station boxing team made its second appearance in the ring at No. 2 Manning Depot, Brandon in bouts arranged by the Brandon Patriotic Sportsmen’s Association: and the Station Orchestra – increasingly in demand for functions in near-by towns – visited Austin.
  • 18.4.41. Flying conditions had been daily improving, and every effort was being made to catch up on flying hours. This involved a heavy strain on servicing, for the available aircraft had to be maintained at continual concert pitch.
  • 19.4.41. This was an unhappy day of three accidents, when the wonderfully good luck attending the first failed

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  • 19.4.41. (cont’d) to hold good in the third. One pupil pilot returned to the
    landing-field in fairly good order, but with portions of tree still entangled in his Anson’s cowling (C). Another, while taxying his Harvard, struck a Station Wagon (C). In both cases the damage to the aeroplanes was slight and the pupil-pilots entirely unharmed. But, at about 15.00 hours, a third accident involving the loss of the lives of two pupil-pilots was reported when L.A.C. Giles, G.H., and L.A.C. Camp, J.A., crashed near Camp Hughes while engaged in Instrument Flying. The aircraft, a Harvard, burst into flames, and the cause of the crash was unknown (A)
  • 20.4.41. The Medical Officers, although very busy with normal patients, were now engaged in laying plans to combat mosquitoes which were likely to breed in the swamp districts of the surrounding country. An aerial survey was begun by them to locate the likely spots.
  • 21.4.41. No single day in the life of the Unit would be likely to transend this significance; for, at 16.30 hours, Air Officer Commanding, No. 2 Training Command, accompanied by Group Captain Bonham-Carter, attended a parade in order to present wings to the first graduate-pilots. No. 33 S.F.T.S. Civilian guests were present; and, after the ceremony, refreshments were provided in the Recreation Hall to the accompaniment of music by the Station Orchestra. Later in the evening, the graduate-pilots held an unofficial party in Brandon. This event was likely to produce an even happier atmosphere in the Camp. Overcoming many of such obstacles as had existed, The Unit felt that it had at last ‘delivered the goods’; and, with signs of better weather conditions, could proceed at higher speed to produce more and more results. The Air Officer Commanding, in his address, not only congratulated the pilots on their excellent appearance, but also congratulated the Commanding Officer on the efficiency of “one of the most trouble-free Units” in the Command. He also alluded to the fact that however painstaking might be the

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  • 21.4.41. (cont’d) care of instruction and maintenance, the human element was bound to enter into flying training with occasional fatal results.
  • 22.4.41. The funeral of the two pupil pilots who died on the 19th. April, was held in Brandon, procedure following that of former occasions.
    During the previous night sixty-four trainees were posted to the Unit – two from No. 1 M.D., thirty-one from Lethbridge, and thirty-one from Portage La Prairie. And now, forty-six pupil pilots were struck off the strength on posting to No. 1 “M” Depot, Debert.
  • 23.4.41. Personnel of the Station were present in some force at a “Salute to Britain” ceremony held in No. 2 Manning Depot, and attended by about five thousand people. Amongst the various bands and choirs was the unit’s orchestra and soloists, whose popularity was clearly not waning. The function pivoted on the addresses of the Mayor of Brandon, and of a past President of the ons of England Lodge, and also of the Adjutant of the Manning Depot – and the fourth and final address, receiving and returning the salute, was given by the Commanding Officer, Group Captain H.E. Walker, M.C., D.F.C.
  • 24.4.41. St. George’s Day was further observed in Brandon by the Sons of England Lodge at the Orange Hall: and fifty airman of the Unit were invited to attend for refreshments and dancing with the Daughters of England.
    In Camp, the Commanding Officer acted as referee at some bouts of the Station’s Novices Boxing Competition which took place on a newly-built ring in the drill hall.
  • 25.4.41. It was becoming very obvious that life in a country where comparatively peaceable conditions prevailed, with lights of Winnipeg, stultifying effects of Winter, changes in scene, costumes, and laws – this list had not fundamentally diverted the minds of Officers and Airmen from the aggressive attitude appropriate to

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  • 25.4.41. (cont’d) war. And, valuable as the Unit’s work obviously was, the personal desire for closer contacts with the enemy was fully shown by the applications of apparently peaceful and sedentary workers to become members of air crews.
  • 26.4.41. At the same time, however, an idea which had been lying dormant during the Winter now sprang into life again in the present weather which was stimulating flying both by day and by night. The idea was that airmen might well be given opportunities of spending their pass or leave periods not only in the Cities but in the more attractive holiday resorts or pinnic spots in the Countryside. Officers with cars made a start by investigating the popular Clear Lake and the secluded Lake Jackson.
  • 27.4.41. This Sunday was observed as the Saints day of St. George, and a very large Church Parade was held – the Congregation filling the Recreation Hall. The public address apparatus attached to the Harmonium gave the effect of a full sized organ. Later in the day, the first game of soft ball was played on the Station. Later still, at 21.30 hours, L.A.C. Permuth, J.G., after taking-off, crashed in his Harvard roughly half a mile away and was killed (A). This was the fourth fatal crash since the foundation of the Unit, and the fifth death.
  • 28.4.41. A notice appertaining to Mess officials reminded one that the intense messing activity of the previous month had borne fruit, the arrangements being far more satisfactory. The Officers and Sergeants Messes were well able to take care of themselves. For the benefit of the Airmens’ Mess and Large Canteen, improvements of various kinds – including furnishing – were now in hand; and the pleasure, comfort, and health of the airmen was clearly engaging the closest attention. Outstanding, in this connection, was the desire to give a greater opportunity of keeping physically fit by providing as much time as could possibly be spared (without prejudice to flying instruction and maintenance) for physical training, games, and other activities of an energetic type.

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  • 29.4.41. To this important end a conference was held to discover the method whereby every member of the Unit might be ensured of taking exercise every week.
  • 30.4.41. The funeral of L.A.C. Permuth, J.G., took place at Brandon.
    The Station received a visit from Squadron Leader Maturin of the Personnel Staff at Headquarters, Ottawa. The main interest of the evening lay in the third Airmen’s Dance, when two hundred and twenty girls from the neighbourhood descended upon the Station.
    T.C. Dickens WC
    for Group Captain, Commanding,
    No. 33 S.F.T.S. R.A.F.
    ———————————————–

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  • 30th. April, 1941. STRENGTH: Personnel:
Officers Other Ranks Civilians
RAF
83
974
-
Service Personnel other Than RAF
RCAF
6
34
-
RCASC
1
4
-
CDC
2
4
-
Civilians
-
-
12
  • STRENGTH: Aircraft:
Servicable Unservicable
Ansons
24
14
Harvards
22
9
Tiger Moths
1
1