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Name:

HONE, John "Jack", AFC and bar

Nationality:

Canadian

Regiment/Service:

Royal Canadian Air Force

Rank:

Wing Commander

Service No.:

C/1294

Date of Birth:

20 July 1901 - Atwood, ON

HONE, S/L John (C1294) - Air Force Cross - Camp Borden - Award effective 11 June 1942 as per London Gazette dated 11 June 1942 and AFRO 1000-1001/42 dated 3 July 1942 - Born 20 July 1901 in Atwood, Elma Township, Perth County, Ontario RCAF Press Release 4907 reporting award). Son of a farmer and drover. Educated at Listowel to Grade 12 and then attended Business College in Toronto. A pre-war Manitoba bush pilot, commended in February 1936 as conducting \"the soundest and most efficient aircraft operating company in the Dominion of Canada\". Had recently saved two lives and was pioneering flight insurance. Enlisted at Camp Borden, 3 October 1939 and appointed Pilot Officer with immediate promotion to Flying Officer. Occupying quarters at Camp Borden from 16 October 1939. Qualified to wear RCAF wings, 30 December 1939. Authorized to receive instructor pay from 25 March 1940. To Air Navigation School, Trenton, 8 April 1940. On temporary duty to Chapleau and Nakima, 13-20 June 1940. At No.1 ANS, Rivers, 4-6 September 1940. Promoted Flight Lieutenant, 1 October 1940. Posted to No.1 ANS, Rivers, 21 November 1940. To Dartmouth, 6 June 1941 for service with No.5 (BR) Squadron. At No.2 ANS, 21 July 1941. Attained acting rank of Squadron Leader, 15 September 1941. To No.1 Central Navigation School, 27 May 1942. To No.4 Training Command, 10 July 1942. To Edmonton and Northwest Staging Route, 15 October 1942. To No.2 Staging Unit, 16 October 1942. Confirmed as Squadron Leader, 1 February 1943. To AFHQ, 1 May 1943. To No.124 Squadron, 13 July 1943. To No.12 (Communications) Squadron, 10 December 1943. To No.168 (Heavy Transport) Squadron, 17 February 1944. To Rockcliffe, 19 May 1944 for service with Photo Centre. On detached operations as of 15 June 1944; returned 6 August 1944; detached operations again, 12 August to 19 September 1944. Detached operations again, Ottawa and vicinity, 19-29 October 1944. Requested release from the RCAF on 9 November 1944 to resume civil exploratory work. To Release Centre, 26 January 1945. Retired 27 January 1945. Returned to service briefly as Wing Commander (15 September 1948) to organize a special search.

This officer displayed the greatest ingenuity and tenacity in the matter of the rescue of Battle aircraft No.1306 from March 10th to March 16th, 1940, from the ice in the neighbourhood of Parry Sound, Ontario. This aircraft was considerably damaged during a forced landing on the ice which was rapidly deteriorating and, working against time and in very bad weather, he supervised the temporary repair of the aircraft and managed to get it in flying condition and returned it to its base at No.1 SFTS, Camp Borden. His flying capabilities as displayed on this occasion were of the highest order. In addition to this, Flight Lieutenant J. Hone was responsible for the salvage of a De Havilland Moth in June, 1940, under trying circumstances, in which he displayed a resourcefulness of the highest order.

HONE, S/L John (C1294) - Bar to Air Force Cross - AFHQ - Award effective 1 January 1945 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 89/45 dated 19 January 1945.

This officer, for two successive seasons, has organized, equipped and taken survey parties into unmapped territory surrounding Hudson Bay and extending far to the east and the west. Due to his vast knowledge of flying in Canadian bush and unexplored territories, triangulation stations have been so well established that subsequent mapping by air surveys can proceed without loss of time. Of the party who accompanied this officer on the first season's operations, all volunteered to accompany him the following year despite the fact that such an expedition is far removed from civilization and depends for its food to a large extent upon the natural resources of the territory. During the last season this officer undertook a search for a lost United States aircraft, last heard from near Churchill on Hudson Bay. He found the aircraft on the second day of the search, although the occupants had perished. The outstanding success of the two years of exploration work can only be attributed to Squadron Leader Hone's outstanding leadership, initiative and ability under the most trying circumstances. This officer's skill, resourcefulness and devotion to duty are outstanding.

RCAF file 821-4-45 (National Archives of Canada, RG.24, Volume 17796) has much correspondence relating to his being nominated for the McKee Trophy. The most detailed, dated 27 March 1946, was from A.J. Anderson (Vice-President Frobisher Exploration Company) to RCAF Headquarters, which read in part:

Jack is a resident of The Pas, Manitoba, and a qualified pilot of long standing. He is one of Canada’s recognized "bush pilots", with an enviable flying record. He pioneered the aviation end of the development of the great mining areas of Northern Manitoba.

The letter was accompanied by what Anderson described as "a very condensed outline of the flying end of our expedition into Ungava and Baffin Island in the summer of 1945."

Squadron Leader John Hone, AFC and Bar, began flying in 1928 and has since built up a reputation as an outstanding bush pilot and a pioneer in mining exploration in Northern Manitoba. On his own initiative he became one of the relatively few Canadian pilots to qualify on instrument flying and it was almost inevitable that when war broke out he should be eagerly sought by the RCAF, together with others of his kind, to form a nucleus about which our air training plan could be built. From 1939 to 1943, Squadron Leader Hone was a flying instructor and was invaluable in teaching instrument flying and landings. When this task could safely be left in other hands Hone volunteered to take charge of a survey expedition to define positions in remote parts of Ungava, Baffin and other Arctic islands preparatory to aerial surveys and mapping. During the summers of 1943 and 1944, therefore, he piloted a Canso amphibian aircraft, accompanied by two Norsemen under his direction, in those outlying parts of Canada for the RCAF. During his service other assignments included several trans-Atlantic flights.

Hone’s record in all these years of flying is self-evident - a noted bush pilot, capable, obliging, equal to any emergency and never daunted by uncharted areas. Yet, with his considerable log of flying hours, he has never lost an aircraft. With this in mind, Furbisher Exploration Company Limited considered themselves fortunate in obtaining the services of Jack Hone to supervise and direct the flying end of an expedition that would reach into the northerly part of Baffin Island.

A Canso amphibian aircraft - CF-DTR - was leased from the Department of Reconstruction and the expedition, basing on Mont Joli, Quebec, set out on July 13th, 1945 for points north. From that date until September 22nd, excepting three trips out for supplies, the aircraft in the capable hands of Hone was continuously in the almost completely unexplored regions of Ungava and Baffin Island. So far as we know, a Canso aircraft had never been used on inland lakes before Hone began his survey for the RCAF. Certainly in work in Ungava in 1945 was the first time a large commercially licensed flying boat used inland lakes extensively. Jack Hone proved that such an aircraft was practical in this type of work. He seemed able to land on a lake within a relatively short distance of any spot to be examined.

In Baffin Island much of the territory Hone flew over was entirely unexplored. The island has a rugged topography of cliffs rising from 2,000 to 3,000 feet out of the sea and a range of mountains reaching a height of from 9,000 to 10,000 feet above sea level, for the most part shrouded in clouds in which icing conditions are prevalent. Of four flights made over these mountains, on only one were the mountains visible and then just through breaks in the clouds. Flow ice is always present along the coast of Baffin and this coupled with the strong winds ever present in the fjords creates great air turbulence making landings extremely difficult. Hone’s almost uncanny ability was such that delays occasioned by these conditions and poor weather were cut to an absolute minimum because he was able to judge flying conditions, weather, and landing spots, together with his great knowledge of let-down and landing procedure under adverse conditions.

While we are satisfied that Jack Hone turned in a beautiful job of flying on this expedition, we feel that his work should be recognized as a contribution to Canadian Aviation, in hat he has extended the use of commercially licensed aircraft into this far northern Canadian outpost, and in doing so has exhibited the art of flying at its highest degree of perfection.

To summarize and apply the general information pertaining to the selection of the 1945 McKee Trophy winner, we set out the following comments on the general conditions of the award as set out in your letter of March 6th, as follows:

(a) Jack Hone lives in The Pas, Manitoba, and has been identified with Canadian flying continuously since 1928 - both Civil and Military.

(b) Jack Hone is a qualified pilot.

(c) This expedition left Mont Joli July 13th and returned to Mont Joli on September 22ns, being approximately of 10 weeks duration. It cannot be considered a single brilliant exploit, but 10 weeks of successive brilliant exploits.

(d) This expedition was conceived for the purpose of locating minerals in economic quantities in Canada’s Arctic. Mining and Aviation are so closely linked that the cause of aviation is always greatly advanced through this kind of exploration.

(e) Aircraft CF-DTR is, as far as we know, the first commercially licensed aircraft to operate into Baffin Island, thereby extending aircraft into a new field.

This nomination was supported by G.R. Burge, President, Giant Yellowknife Gold Mines Limited (letter of 10 April 1946). It would appear, however, that there had been one incident. A letter dated 10 April 1946 from Aero Insurance Underwriters to the Department of Transport said, in part:

We take pleasure in bringing to your attention that despite the fact that a loss was incurred while Mr. Hone was flying for the Frobisher Exploration Company, our Underwriters confirm that, having studied the loss file, there is no blame attributable to the pilot. On the contrary, the pilot should be complimented for nursing the aircraft back to civilization where repairs could be made.

If we may be permitted, we would like to endorse the recommendation we believe to be on your files that Mr. Hone should merit strongest consideration by the Committee for the award of the McKee Trophy, in view of his personal and valuable effort to the progress of civil aviation in Canada.

Letter of reference, T.M. Shields (Winnipeg, District Inspector, Air Regulations, Department of Transport), 28 September 1939:

This is to certify that I have known J. Hone for the past ten years, during which time he has been actively employed as a Commercial Air Pilot in Canada.

After obtaining his Commercial Air Pilot’s Certificate which entitles him too fly “Light”, “Medium” and “Heavy” types of aircraft, Mr. Hone’s flying was carried out in northern parts of the Dominion, including the Northwest Territories, inside the Arctic Circle in the Provinces of Manitoba and Ontario.

His flying has at all times been satisfactory. He is considered a good and steady pilot and with his past experience and knowledge of flying conditions to be encountered in Canada throughout the year, I can recommend him for any position which requires these qualifications.

Mr. Hone informs me that he is applying for a Commission in the Royal Canadian Air Force. In this connection, I might state that you will find him a most suitable type and I have no hesitation in saying that he will prove himself to be a most efficient and painstaking officer.

Letter of reference, C.R. Neely (Sherridon Development Company, Sherridon, Manitoba) dated 10 October 1939:

This is to certify that I have known Jack Hone for the past fifteen years, during which time I have found him honest, reliable and possessed of ability far above the average, and I know that he lives a clean, temperate life.

In the early years of our acquaintance, Mr. Hone conducted large trading businesses at Herb Lake, Flin Flon and Mile 137 Hudson Bay Railway. He subsequently sold these various businesses and organized Arrow Airways, of which concern he was the executive officer. After putting this business on an excellent organized basis and running it for some time, he disposed of his share of this enterprise and became interested in mining, which occupation occasioned a large amount of executive activity for air travel and general organization of prospecting parties and other work pertaining to this industry.

Mr. Hone is highly regarded in this country where he has lived for so many years and is considered as one of the brilliant young men who has made a complete success of anything he has undertaken. His ability as a flyer is a byword in this country.

I take pleasure in recommending him to anyone requiring a man of honesty, integrity and good executive ability.

Report of Flying Instruction at Camp Borden carried out 16 October to 11 December 1939. Flew in Fleet aircraft (13 hours day dual, 13 hours 25 minutes day solo) and Harvard (two hours 35 minutes day dual, two hours 35 minutes day solo). Courses and marks as follows: Air Navigation (94/200), Meteorology (27/100 - failed), Airmanship (114/200), Engines and Airframes, written (63/100), Administration and Organization (33/100, failed), Law and Discipline (69/100), Armament, practical (118/200), Signals, oral (100/100), Theory of Flight (38/100, failed). Examined by F/L N.B. Petersen who described him as “An average pilot, very experienced on heavy types”. His course failures were attributable to “absence during first part of course.” Generally assessed as “A capable officer, selected for class senior, neat appearance, conscientious.”

Letter dated 10 November 1939, W/C L.F. Stevenson (Camp Borden) to Air Officer Commanding, Air Training Command. Concerns had been raised about Hone’s medical condition owing to an operation conducted ten years previously. The RCAF was considering him for a General List commission as a Link Trainer Instructor. Hone understandably objected and Stevenson recommended that his wishes be followed, given his experience.

Report of course at Advanced Training Squadron, 24 January to 16 February 1940. Here he flew Harvard (20 minutes day dual, 110 minutes day solo, three hours night solo), Battle (35 minutes day dual, 14 hours 45 minutes day solo) and Oxford (65 minutes day dual, seven hours day solo). Estimated civil flying time given as 5,000 hours. Report signed by S/L E.A. McGowan.

Report dated 20 March 1940, F/O J. Hone to Officer Commanding, Advanced Training Squadron, Camp Borden, re “Forced Landing - Battle No.1306\"

1. On March 10th I was instructed to proceed to the above aircraft, which had been reported forced down on the ice somewhere between Franklin Island and Point Au Baril, on the East shore of Georgian Bay. Accompanied by F/O A. Rabnett I took off in Norseman No.679. We arrived over the Battle in 50 minutes and a landing was made on the ice a short ways from it, five minutes later. It was located between the Limestone Islands and the mainland, one the shore ice approximately one half mile from the open water of the bay.

2. Our inspection showed the following:

COCKPIT

The gas tank selector lever was found turned to the port tank.

The engine switches were turned to the “off” position.

The undercarriage operating lever was in the “down” position.

There was considerable snow in the cockpit.

GAS AND OIL SUPPLY

No gas could be seen in the port tank when the tank cap was removed.

The starboard tank was full of gas as well as the two reserve tanks.

There was sufficient oil in the oil tank.

AIRCRAFT

The aircraft had landed going north and came to rest heading west with the wheels retracted.

Judging by the marks on the snow the wheels had been let down just before the aircraft touched down but not soon enough for them to lock. The right wheel dropped down before the left one causing the left wing tip to drag in the snow which no doubt caused the machine to swing to the left which accounts for the machine being headed west after landing north.

The propellor was badly damaged - all three blades being twisted and turned about 90 ?.

The leading edge of the left wing was damaged near the tip.

There was a slight bulge in the skin of the left main plane near the centre and some two feet from the root.

The flaps had been left up and were not damaged.

The left bomb rack was badly twisted.

There was a parachute and flying suit in the machine. We brought these back to Camp Borden with us.

ICE CONDITIONS

There was from 4 to 6 inches of snow on the ice and considerable water under the snow around the Battle.

The ice was 12 to 14 inches thick where the machine landed but there was a gap at the contact between the Fall ice and the ice which had formed during the cold weather in January which was only some three inches thick. This bad ice was between the Battle and the large islands and mainland.

We returned to Camp Borden after making the inspection and I was instructed to take charge of getting the Battle back to Camp Borden.

Due to the bad ice between the position of the Battle and the mainland I decided that it was too risky to attempt to put anything in the way of a tractor or truck over it and that the men and equipment necessary to raise the machine would have to be flown in. A Fairchild 71 on skis arrived at Camp Borden from Trenton on the afternoon of March 11th for this purpose.

The following were flown in from Camp Borden:-

F/O A. Rabnett
Warrant Officer L.S. Millar
five airmen
one experienced

A complete camping outfit including tent, sleeping robes, cooking equipment, stobe, sufficient food supplies for ten days, hydraulic hand jacks, tools, plank and short timbers, chain block, two starting batteries, etc.

A camp was made on an island approximately 1/4 of a mile towards the mainland from the Battle.

The work of raising the machine was started at daylight on the morning of March 13th. By noon of the same day it was raised high enough to discover that the undercarriage was badly damaged. I left immediately for Camp Borden with the Fairchild to get a new undercarriage. A propellor for the Battle was taken in on the same trip. I did not get back to the Battle with this equipment until the 14th, as a blizzard was met and a landing was made at Deep Harbour; after waiting for some three hours it cleared some and an attempt was made to complete the trip but another storm was met and a landing made approximately two miles from our camp on the island. It was necessary to proceed with caution in the bad weather as a landing could not be made everywhere along the shore as there was open water in places between the islands and in the narrow parts of the bays. There was also bad slush conditions to contend with.

On arrival at our camp it was found that the storm from the west had raised the water along the east shore and the ice around our island and in the vicinity of the Battle was covered with water. On checking the ice I found that some cracks had opened not far from the Battle, the whole ice mass had moved some and there was now only from six to eight inches of ice under the Battle and it was not good blue ice either. We supported the machine on jacks with planks underneath them to distribute the weight over as large an area of ice as possible. The gas not required was drained from the machine, the two batteries and everything not required was removed to lighten it as much as possible.

I did not consider it safe for the men to work under the machine long enough to change the undercarriage and repair the retracting mechanism so the parts necessary to make the old undercarriage flyable were taken from the new undercarriage and the old one blocked with 2 x 4\'s to keep it in the “down” position. The storm was still blowing and we did not put the new prop on the Battle as it weighed close to 400 pounds and we did not want this weight added until absolutely necessary.

The storm continued until noon of the 16th. I returned to Camp Borden to report, get some needed supplies and a pilot to fly the Fairchild home from our camp if I was able to get the Battle off. We left camp Borden the same afternoon and got to the Battle after flying through some dirty weather. That afternoon the crew had cleared the drifts away for a distance of some 150 yards ahead of the Battle and tramped the snow so that the slush came through to the top in the hopes that it would freeze that night so that an attempt could be made to take the Battle off early the next morning. The propellor was put on and the engine got started late that evening. Shortl after the engine started oil poured out of the oil cooler and the engine was immediately shut down. Evidently the cooler had been damaged inside and this could not be detected until the hot oil started through it.

That night it was decided that as these machines were always flown in the winter with the glycol radiator and oil cooler air supply shut off that the oil temperature should not get too high if we cut out the oil cooler by bypassing the oil and flying the machine at minimum boost and R.P.M. that would keep the plane in the air. In any event the machine had to be got out of there without further delay or we would lose it through the ice.

The next morning the slush was frozen fairly well on the place ahead of the machine that we had cleared off. The oil was bypassed around the oil cooler and after some trouble the engine was got started and the oil temperature did not go too high. A new set of plugs was put in the engine.

A small spruce tree was placed on the ice ahead of the machine as a dead line where we had to be in the air on account of a bad place in the ice. I checked all of the engine instruments carefully, put the flaps down 25 ?, told the men to take the jacks away, opened the throttle wide and the emergency boost about half way. The left wheel went partly through the ice shortly after leaving the planking and swerved me slightly to the left but [I] was able to get straightened out. I got all the speed possible until the dead line on the ice was reached when I was able to lift the machine off without trouble. On the flight to Camp Borden which lasted fifty minutes the engine was run at 1625-50 R.P.M., the oil temperature went up to 80 ? and stayed there. The engine ran very smoothly and the flight was uneventful.

All of the men and equipment have been landed back at Camp Borden.

The men were working under very tough conditions out on the ice in storms and they had wet feet a good part of the time from walking through the slush on the lake and they deserve a lot of credit for saving the machine.

Letter dated 21 March 1940, G/C L.F. Stevenson (Officer Commanding, No.1 Training Command) to Commanding Officer, Camp Borden:

Reports indicate that the salvage of Battle aircraft 1308 from a precarious situation in Georgian Bay was an outstanding accomplishment.

It is requested that you convey to all personnel involved, the appreciation of the Air Force, for the manner in which the task was undertaken. Flying Officer J. Hone is to be particularly commended for the outstanding part which he played in this operation.

It is requested that a detailed report on the operation be forwarded to this headquarters so that it may constitute a guide in future instances of similar nature.

Letter, 28 June 1940 from Flying Officer J. Hone, (Flight Commander, No.1 Air Navigation School) to Officer Commanding, No.1 Air Navigation School, re “Salvage of Tiger Moth No.4041".

1. On the morning of June 17th, while at Nakima, I received instructions to proceed to Geraldton and report on salvaging the above aircraft. The provincial police at Geraldton advised me that they had been in touch with F/O Dixon at the hospital and he had told them that his machine was on a small lake between Long Lake and Geraldton. After cruising over this area for approximately thirty minutes, I located the Moth on a small lake two miles from the west shore of Long Lake. I returned to Geraldron, and wired these Headquarters that the machine had been found and its approximate location. After lunch of this date, I flew to Long Lake, landed on the closest bay to the Moth and walked through the bush to Moth Lake, to see what the country was like to put a road through to Long Lake, as Moth Lake was only some three hundred yards long, was surrounded by hills and high trees, which made it an impossible lake to take off from.

2. Authority was received on the 19th to proceed with salvage operations and I immediately left for Nakima, picked up four men and landed them and their camp equipment on Long lake, to set up a camp and cut a trail from Long Lake to Moth Lake. I returned to an unnamed lake to pick up some equipment I had already arranged for from a fishing camp. I got back to the camp at Long Lake at 1100 hours on June 20th, and found that the men left there the day before had been unable to find Moth Lake and had cut a considerable amount of useless trail. I blazed a trail through to Moth Lake and left the men clearing it out. On the morning of the 21st, I flew to Long Lac, picked up some further equipment and four Indian packers. By the night of the 22nd, all of the Moth and equipment used in salvaging it had been landed on the shore of Long Lake. A barge and tow boat arrived to pick it up at 1830 hours that night and everything was landed at Long Lake at 2300 hours the same night. I had arranged with the CNR agent at Long Lac to have a car spotted on the siding and the Moth was loaded on this car early Sunday morning, June 23rd.

3. The engine, instruments, gas tank and some engine accessories were brought to Trenton by air in the Norseman machine. I flew the men and equipment back to Nakima, returned to Long Lac, gassed up at the Forestry Branch and took off for Trenton at 1600 hours.

4. To save delay and expenses in cutting a trail around the south end of Moth Lake to connect up with our trail to Long Lake, the Moth was taken across Long Lake on a canoe. F/O Dixon’s parachute which was found floating in the lake, partly opened, was removed from the lake, dried out and brought to Trenton.

5. Equipment was borrowed from the Ontario Forestry Branch, CNR and a party of fishermen who were running a fish camp on an unnamed lake near Nakima. All of this equipment was returned before I left and a new rope was purchased for the fisherman to replace one which was borrowed and broken during salvage operations.

6. The only time we were able to get anyone on our aircraft radio was when we were ten miles from Trenton on our way home.

7. In my opinion the sleeping robes we received from stores were too small, too light and entirely unsuitable for bush work, and I suggest that if parties are to be sent into the bush again, that some winter weight, Woods Manufacturing Company eiderdown robes of 90 x 90 size be purchased.

8. I am enclosing a sketch of the Long Lake area showing where the Moth was found and a few snapshots taken during the salvage operations; also two copies of the shipping bills signed by the agent at Long Lac. A small quantity of lumber was purchased to brace the aircraft parts in the box-car. The parts were shipped in Car No. CN505723, seals Nos. C210960 and C201961.

Excerpt of a letter dated 20 May 1941, Hone to Commanding Officer, No.1 ANS, Rivers. The subject was actually slow payment of a travel claim that he had submitted, but describes vividly his transition from peace to war:

On the day Canada declared war I held an interest in, and was operation manager of a mining exploration company. I was flying a Norseman aircraft on this work which was owned by my company.

A telegram was received by me from the Chief of the Air Staff, asking if I was available for Air Force Duty, to which I relied that I was, but requested some ten days to re-arrange my business before reporting to the RCAF. In the ten days referred to, I brought in all our prospectors and equipment and discontinued a diamond drilling program on a mining property and in general disorganized [sic] all of our exploration program for the fall, in order to be of some help to my country. “I have a brother and a number of close relatives and friends buried in Flanders since the last war with Germany.”

In order to get my business straightened up and be in Camp Borden at the date promised, it was necessary to fly to Winnipeg, owing to poor train service in the North.

After making an extra effort to get all of my men out of the north and disorganizing my business in general, I arrived at Camp Borden on the date promised. On reporting there no one seemed to know what to doo with me. After a month of medical examinations and idleness I was finally allowed near an aeroplane. I certainly could have used this month to good advantage in my own business, had I known my services were not required as quickly as the telegram I received indicated.

He went on to describe the expenses he had incurred to reach Camp Borden (including $ 35 air fare, Sherriden to Winnipeg), noting that the air force had twice lost the paperwork and was querying a third submission. He concluded angrily:

As I believe I could be of more value to my country managing an Air Observer’s School, it is suggested that the whole travelling claim and my commission be cancelled and that I be retired from the RCAF as soon as possible.

The issue was settled in his favour almost immediately (27 May 1941), in large measure because W/C F.R. Miller was anxious to retain him.

Excerpt from letter of 13 January 1942, W/C F.R. Miller (Commanding Officer, No.2 ANS, Pennfield Ridge) to AOC Eastern Air Command:

The above noted officer [Hone] in employed as Officer Commanding Flying Squadron this school. In this capacity he is doing a good job.

He is an energetic officer and tireless worker. He possesses good organizing ability.

He is an experienced aircraft operator in civilian life with a long background of operations in Northern Canada.

He is not impressive physically, being quite short and frail appearing. His main difficulties in the past have been in adapting his energy and drive from civilian to service usage. He is overcoming this rapidly with increased service experience.

Assessment, 5 March 1943 by W/C W.J. McFarlane, Northwest Staging Route:

As Officer Commanding of No.5 Staging Unit, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, this officer has proven to be keen, reliable and outstandingly efficient in the performance of his duties. With only limited administrative knowledge he deserves a great deal of credit for the manner in which he carried out his duties.

Letter dated 29 November 1943, Colonel John P. Fraim (Headquarters, United States Army Forces,, Central Canada, Winnipeg) to Hone:

Dear Squadron Leader Hone;

Recently we completed together a great undertaking and I wish to take this opportunity of thanking you for your assistance, guidance and expert advice, and let me assure you that in my opinion I feel certain that it contributed in no small way to the successful completion of the Fort Ross Rescue Mission.

It was a privilege and a pleasure to be associated with you on this mission, and I certainly hope that this relationship will continue to exist. Again accept my thanks and appreciation and please drop in to see me whenever you have the time.

Letter dated 27 March 1944, A/V/M W.A. Curtis to Hone, then with No.168 (HT) Squadron:

The Air Officer Commanding, No.1 Training Command, has written me a letter in which he highly commends you on your splendid work recently in connection with the search for Cessna Crane 8842.

It was unfortunate that no trace of the aircraft could be found, but I am sure it was not lack of effort on your part. May I add my personal thanks and appreciation to that of the AOC No.1 Training Command. Your devotion to duty is a credit to the Service.

Letter of Commendation dated 13 July 1944, Colonel Jack C. Hodgson (United States Army Air Forces) to Squadron Leader J. Hone, AFC, through Officer Commanding, Photo Reconnaissance Unit, Rockcliffe and through Air Officer Commanding, No.2 Training Command, Winnipeg..

1. It is desired to express to you my personal appreciation and the appreciation of the entire command for the fine and cooperative assistance rendered in the search for a missing airplane of the United States Army. The airplane was subsequently located in a wrecked condition near the mouth of the Thlewiaza River, District of Keewatin, Northwest Territories on 9 July 1944.

2. Your fine spirit of cooperation and the efficiency with which you carried out your mission as pilot of one of the airplanes engaged in the search are worthy of the highest praise.

3. The above incident furthers the high regard in which the armed forces of our two countries hold one another.

Letter, 25 August 1944, Wing Commander Harold Pearce , Director of Photography, AFHQ to AMAS, re S/L J.Hone (see also recommendation for OBE, above):

1. The attached recommendation is submitted following the discussion between yourself, W/C Middleton and the undersigned for origination by yourself rather than from a Directorate.

2. The operations carried out by this officer do not, strictly speaking, concern only this Directorate but do primarily concern the Interdepartmental Committee for Air Surveys and in particular, the Sub-Committee of which you are chairman.

3. The work which has been carried out for the past two years is the establishment of ground control which is the necessary preliminary step to the compilation of accurate charts and maps from air photographs.

4. Last year’s operations were carried out by this officer on attachment to AFHQ, Special Duties List. Upon the organization of No.7 RCAF Photo Wing the continuation of the project has been carried out by the same officer but from the latter unit, although the task over the two years should be considered as one job. Indeed, it will continue well on into next year.

5. Accomplishments to date have resulted in a very complete and elaborate chain of tri-angulation stations extending well across Northwestern Canada from Labrador, proceeding south around Hudson’s Bay with the operation now covering almost all of Northern Ontario and extending well up the west coast of Hudson’s Bay. The accomplishment of this project must be regarded as of National importance and it is safe to say that tri-angulation stations have been established in the past two years at a greater rate than would have been ever considered possible four or five years ago.

6. This officer has, at the start of each season for the past two years, proceeded to Rockcliffe, gathered together his crew and aircraft, accumulated his own supplies, organized his own communications, and then taken the whole unit to the field where, to a large extent, they have been self-sustaining in all aspects. During both seasons all aircraft have been kept serviceable and all personnel in good health due to the careful planning. Hardly a day goes by but what a signal comes to this office indicating that two or three additional stations have been established. It is safe to say that no person in this headquarters or at Rockcliffe Station can take any credit for the accomplishment of this task, rather the whole credit must rest squarely on the shoulders of this officer. To all intents and purposes, he has literally been handed a map with a number of pinpoints marked upon it and was given instructions to proceed from scratch.

Letter, 2 October 1944, S/L J.W. Muckell, No.3 Training Command to Commanding Officer, Station Rockcliffe, re “Mercy Flight to Nottingham Island”:

1. The following is an extract of a letter received from AFHQ:

A request was received on August 29th, from the Department of Mines and Resources, asking if it would be possible for an RCAF aircraft to proceed as soon as possible to Nottingham Island to pick up an Eskimo child who had been badly burned and was in great need of hospitalization.

S/L Hone, OC Photographic Survey Detachment in the Hudson Bay area, was reached by signal and asked if this flight could be carried out by one of his aircraft, and an affirmative reply was received. At 0500 hours on August 31st, S/L Hone left Churchill for Nottingham Island with the Photographic Detachment’s Canso. On arrival at Nottingham Island, it was found that the weather conditions were not favourable for landing and the aircraft then proceeded to Southampton Island to await more favourable landing conditions.

At noon on September 1st, the aircraft picked up the Eskimo children, as requested. A second child accompanied the one who was burned as a companion, to prevent any possibility of nostalgia. Mr. Gibson, the Deputy Commissioned for the North West Territories, Department of Mines and Resources, was informed that the children had been picked up and was requested to have an ambulance meet the aircraft on its arrival. The aircraft landed at The Pas between 2130 and 2200 hours on September 1st.

A letter has been received at this Headquarters from the Department of Mines and Resources, expressing their appreciation for the prompt action taken in binging out this badly burned child at a time of the year when the weather was likely to be uncertain.

2. As this aircraft was on strength of your Unit, the details of this Mercy Flight are forwarded for your information.

Application for 1939-1943 Star (later the 1939-1945 Star) dated 15 November 1944, stating that he had flown patrols in armed aircraft with No.5 (BR) Squadron, Dartmouth, 21 June 1941 and harbour entrance patrols of Saint John, New Brunswick from Pennfield Ridge, 15 April to 24 June 1942.

Letter dated 15 November 1944, G/C G.S. O’Brian, Commanding Officer, Station Rockcliffe, to Air Officer Commanding, No.3 Training Command, Montreal, regarding Award to S/L J. Hone:

Documents recommending the immediate award of a bar to the Air Force Cross for the above-named officer are enclosed herewith.

Squadron Leader Hone is considered the outstanding northern pilot in this part of Canada and has recently completed his annual Arctic Survey Expedition with great success. He has done a great deal of flying and has constantly set an example by his willingness, judgement and determination. In the enclosed documents are details of three operations undertaken by Squadron Leader Hone outside of the ordinary scope of his duties. Possibly none of these alone would warrant a recommendation for this decoration; the three put together however, and coming in the same season’s operations are undoubtedly considered, with his successful and arduous flying operations, sufficient to make the recommendation.

You are particularly requested to review the suggested citation in the light of your experience and to amend it if deemed advisable.

Letter dated 22 November 1944, H.L. Keenlayside (Under Secretary of State for External Affairs) to H.F. Gordon (Deputy Minister of National Defence for Air):

Dear Mr. Gordon;

I should like to express my thanks to you and members of your Department for arranging transportation for Dr. Trevor Lloyd and family, Acting Consul to Greenland, from Ottawa to Godthaab.

Dr. Lloyd tells me that the arrangements made by the Royal Canadian Air Force were excellent and he has great praise for the skill and courtesy of the air crew of the plane. I should like in this connection to mention particularly the services of Group Captain Leigh, who made the arrangements for the trip, of Squadron Leader Jack Hone, Commanding Officer and pilot of the plane, and of Flight Lieutenant Cheeseman, Acting Commanding Officer at Goose Bay.

Letter dated 9 October 1948, Air Marshal W.A. Curtis (Chief of Air Staff) to Minister of National Defence re promotion of S/L Hone:

During the search for U.S. Beechcraft 85113, S/L J. Hone, a resident of The Pas, Manitoba, volunteered his services to assist with the search in every way possible. S/L Hone served with the RCAF Special Reserve from 3 October 1939 until 1 September 1945 and since that time has been a member of the RCAF Reserve, Class “E”.

S/L Hone has flown for many years in the North Country both before the war and during his period of service. He was awarded the Air Force Cross in recognition of his part in salvage operations of an aircraft that had force landed on the ice in Georgian Bay. The Bar to this decoration was awarded for organizing and transporting exploration parties in the vicinity of Hudson Bay. During his service S/L Hone participated in numerous searches for lost aircraft and was commended on several occasions for the conduct of these operations.

The RCAF accepted the services of S/L Hone on 15 September 1948 and he completed thirty hours flying as a captain of a Norseman aircraft. He visited numerous trading posts, native encampments, trappers and prospectors in search of information regarding the missing aircraft. S/L Hone’s services were of great value to the search. He is being placed on active duty from 15 September 1948 to 30 September 1948, the period of the search. It is recommended that in appreciation of the sterling service rendered by this officer, and his high qualities both as a Pilot and Officer of the RCAF Reserve, S/L Hone be promoted to the rank of Wing Commander, effective 15 September 1948.

SOURCE: Air Force Association of Canada website & Hugh Halliday (August 10, 2010).

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