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Pennfield Ridge Air Station

Training Casualties


by P/O John Gillespie Magee, Junior (1922-1941), RCAF

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, —and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of—wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew—
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

P/O J.G. Magee

When the Battle of Britain was being fought in the hot summer of 1940, John was still a freshman at Yale. He was born in China, of an American clergyman father and an English mother. He came to England at age nine, attended the famous Rugby School, following in the footsteps of the great war poet Rupert Brooke, whose work he much admired. While at Yale Magee decided to give up his studies to join the RCAF in the hope of getting into the fighting in Europe, though war monger he certainly wasn't. "An aeroplane," he wrote home during his basic flying training in Canada, "is not to us a weapon of war, but a flash of silver slanting the skies; the hum of a deep voiced motor; a feeling of dizziness; it is speed and ecstasy."

Magee gained his wings in June 1941 and shipped out to Wales to complete his advanced training-- "Patches of brilliance, tendency to overconfidence" noted his instructor-- before joining 412 Squadron, RCAF, at RAF Wellingore, Lincolnshire, that fall. So exited was the 19-year-old about his first flights in a Spitfire that he jotted his feelings on the back of an envelope, and sent it to his parents with the note: "It started at 30,000 feet, and was finished soon after I landed. I thought it might interest you." The scribbled poem was "High Flight."

Abbreviations Used Stands For Total Number Killed
RAAF Royal Australian Air Force Eight (8)
RAF Royal Air Force One (1)
RAFVR Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Ten (10)
RCAF Royal Canadian Air Force Thirty-Eight (38)
RNZAF Royal New Zealand Air Force Twelve (12)
RN Royal Navy* One (1)
*OR Ronald H Faulkner was not stationed at Pennfield Ridge, but was aboard a Pennfield Ridge aircraft that crashed.

Aug. 25th ELIOTT, Gerald John RCAF R/60107 Aircraftman, Class 1
"             " SMALLMAN, Walter Samuel "Leslie" RAF GB39003 Flight Lieutenant
"             " STREET, Sydney RAFVR GB1058228 Sergeant
"             " WOODHAMS, George Thomas John RCAF R/58453 Sergeant

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: These four (4) airmen were involved in a search & rescue effort of a previously down aircraft. According to a newspaper account of the accident: "One of them sighted a bonfire set in a gravel pit near Liverpool by F/O J. Barneson, pilot of the missing plane, evidently swooped down to signal, and crashed into an orchard at Beech Hill, six miles from Liverpool."

May 9th HOOPLE, J. "Allan" RCAF R/125748 Leading Aircraftman
July 23rd AUSTIN, Harvey John RAFVR GB1331495 Sergeant
"            " YURKOWSKI, Joseph Stanley RCAF R/107012 Sergeant
Nov. 20th MALE, Harold Otho RAFVR GB188825 Pilot Officer
"             " SARGEANT, Thomas Frederick RAFVR GB1125256 Aircraftman, Class 1
"             " SUTHERLAND, Stanley "Evan" RCAF J/15455 Pilot Officer

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: Sgt. H.O. Male was a graduate of Course No.1 at Pennfield Ridge (11 September 1942) and had been retained as a staff pilot. At the time of the crash both Sgt. Male and P/O S.E. Sutherland were attached to No.34 Operational Training Unit Detachment at Yarmouth, NS. AC1 T.F. Sargeant was stationed at No. 34 Operational Training Unit Detachment at Yarmouth, NS where he was employed as a Flight Mechanic (Engines).

Nov. 22nd PUTT, Gerald St. George RNZAF NZ416039 Sergeant
"             " SMITH, Desmond RAFVR GB1477985 Sergeant

Jan. 5th DYASON, William Henry RAFVR GB1186005 Leading Aircraftman
Jan. 23rd McCARTHY, Philip William RCAF J/21050 Pilot Officer
"            " NORRISS, Geoffrey Alexander RNZAF NZ421334 Pilot Officer
"            " WILLIAMS, Bayden Bala RCAF J/21199 Pilot Officer
Jan. 26th CORMACK, Donald Shaw RAAF AUS414470 Pilot Officer
"            " HUNTER, Thomas Matthew RNZAF NZ42329 Sergeant
"            " JAMES, Stanley Joseph RAAF AUS416966 Pilot Officer
Feb. 6th McCLANAGHAN, Frederick RCAF R/126158 Leading Aircraftman
Feb. 8th BURNHAM, Hubert John RAAF AUS420135 Sergeant
"          " EDMOND, Philip Llewellyn RAAF AUS413841 Sergeant
"          " HOGAN, John Edward RNZAF NZ416424 Sergeant

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: Sgt. H.J. Burnham, Sgt. P.L. Edmond and Sgt. J.E. Hogan were attached to No.34 Operational Training Unit at Yarmouth, NS at the time of the crash. Course No.6, which they were all members of, began classes at Pennfield Ridge 9 November 1942 and was detached to Yarmouth, NS 17 January 1943.

Feb. 26th BATES, Donald Stuart RNZAF NZ413220 Sergeant
"             " HARRIS, Norman Clifford RAFVR GB138121 Pilot Officer
"            " OTTO, Thomas "Marshall" RCAF R/161141 Sergeant
"            " WILLIAMS, Evan RAAF AUS416901 Sergeant
March 13th CANNON, David Armstrong RCAF R/103962 Flight Sergeant
"               " CORR, Thomas Anthony RAFVR GB138491 Pilot Officer
"               " LALOR, Fintan Howard RCAF J/22229 Pilot Officer
"               " FAULKNER, Ronald Herbert RN D/JX366668 Ordinary Seaman

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: F/S D.A. Cannon, P/O T.A. Corr and P/O F.H. Lalor were attached to No.34 Operational Training Unit at Yarmouth, NS at the time of the crash. Course No.8, which they were all members of, began classes at Pennfield Ridge 9 January 1943 and was detached to Yarmouth, NS 10 March 1943. OS R.H. Faulkner was a member of H.M.S. St. Vincent and was a passenger aboard the aircraft when it crashed.

April 23rd CALVERT, Kenneth George RCAF R/144389 Sergeant
"             " FRANCKEISS, John Edward RAFVR GB1525643 Sergeant
"             " SELF, Keith Robert RAAF AUS425367 Sergeant

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:Sgt. K.G. Calvert, Sgt. J.E. Franckeiss and Sgt. K.R. Self were attached to No.34 Operational Training Unit at Yarmouth, NS at the time of the crash. Course No.9, which they were all members of, began classes at Pennfield Ridge 9 February 1943 and was detached to Yarmouth, NS 7 March 1943.

May 29th ROGERS, Albert Ernest Edward RAAF AUS421828 Sergeant

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: Also involved in crash of Ventura Mk.I AE678  near Digdeguash, NB was Sgt. Leslie Albert Ellis (injured).

June 3rd BRIER, Roland Frank RNZAF NZ424967 Sergeant
"           " CARTER, Francis Robert RNZAF NZ416456 Sergeant
"           " LANGDALE, Selwyn Noel RNZAF NZ424554 Pilot Officer
"           " STILES, Frederick John RCAF R/164116 Sergeant
June 9th SENCIALL, Frank Leslie RAFVR GB1137087 Aircraftman, Class 1
June 12th BURLEY, Herbert Thomas Campbell RCAF R/69756 Warrant Officer, Class 1

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: Also involved in crash of Ventura G.R.V. FN977 at  Naval Air Station  in Quonset Point, RI (USA) was Sgt. D.W.J. Odlum (slightly injured) and third party was a U.S soldier, Cpl. S. Wishbone. Cpl. Wishbone was on duty at Anti-Aircraft gun post was struck by aircraft and seriously injured.

June 25th COWIE, George Wellington RNZAF NZ422262 Pilot Officer
"            " GRIFFITHS, Clifford Avery RNZAF NZ421703 Pilot Officer
"            " LOUCKS, John Clarke  RCAF J/26843 Pilot Officer
"            " MULCAHY, Arthur Cornelius RAAF AUS422234 Sergeant
July 10th HANSEN, Milton Whitehead RCAF J/26817 Pilot Officer
"            " JASMIN, Herbert Eloi RCAF J/26838 Pilot Officer

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: In fall 1943, Australian trainees at the RAF Operational Training Unit in Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick, watched in horror as one of their crews was killed in a twin-engine Ventura that crashed at the airfield. The Australians refused to fly any other Venturas, claiming they were death traps. Robert Fowler, a Canadian trainee at the station, watched as "the chief flying instructor, an RAF squadron leader with a DFC and Bar, who had done a tour on Blenheims and another on Mosquitoes, got everyone out on the airfield... We watched him fail and feather an engine on take-off, and after a couple of low passes and tight turns, he landed in front of the crowd with the engine still shut down. He then got out, walked over to our group for a chat. And the Aussies then went back to work." The CFI knew their language; only bravado greater than theirs could move the Australians."
SOURCE: "Behind The Glory: Canada's Role in the Allied Air War" by Ted Barris (ISBN o-88762-212-7)

Aug. 10th ALBREY, Trevor Alexander RNZAF NZ425583 Sergeant
"             " ALLEN, Joseph Cletus RCAF C/6555 Flying Officer
"            " LAWS, Russell RNZAF NZ421515 Sergeant
"            " LEDINGHAM, Robert Alexander RCAF J/27450 Pilot Officer
Aug. 26th NELSON, John Archibald RCAF R/1678872 Leading Aircraftman
Dec. 19th ANDERSON, Herbert Lawrence RCAF R/197565 Sergeant
"              " BARTS, Roy Joseph RCAF R/151359 Sergeant
"              "  CHRISTENSEN, Carlyle George RCAF J/35729 Pilot Officer
"              " CULL, George Christopher RCAF R/151223 Sergeant

March 19th SOMERS, George Robert RCAF R/203432 Sergeant
"                " THOMPSON, Frank William RCAF J/39305 Pilot Officer

TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES: Also involved in crash of Ventura Mk.II AE925 were Sgt. Raymond Edward CORMIER (slightly injured) and P/O Eric Sankey HICKS (seriously injured). For additional information see: Rescuers Deserve Recognition.

Oct. 16th WALKER, Kenneth Alexander RCAF C/5863 Flight Lieutenant
Dec. 6th REYNOLDS, Harold Charles Beresford RCAF J/16971 Flying Officer
"           " WHITE, Albert Stanford, DFC RCAF J/23795 Flight Lieutenant

March 21st LEVESQUE, Reid Edmond RCAF R/84634 Leading Aircraftman
June 3rd BOUCH, Robert Leonard RCAF R/270058 Sergeant
"           " BOUGH, Roy Edward RCAF R/180547 Sergeant
"           " DAVIDSON, William Gordon "Gord" RCAF R/221311 Flight Sergeant
"           " HARJU, Sulo Matt RCAF J/46723 Flying Officer
June 22nd BALDERSTON, Edward Asthorpe RCAF R/257476 Flight Sergeant
"              " GRAVEL, Louis Peter RCAF J/25273 Flying Officer
"              " MacNEILL, Daniel "Hilary" RCAF R/271794 Sergeant
"              " McQUARRIE, John "Parker" RCAF R/219160 Warrant Officer, Class 2

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