In Harm’s Way – From No. 53 O.T.U. to Stalag Luft 1

On September 17, 1944 George is posted at No. 53 O.T.U. at Kirton in Lindsey which is an Operational Training Unit…
Things are getting serious and he is in harm’s way.kirton-in-lindsey-2008web

He is training on old Spitfire Mark Vbs.Malle_Spitfire_Mk.Vb_G-MKVB_BM597_02

Source Wikipedia

No.53 OTU 17 September 1944

On October 6 George is posted with No. 2 Squadron at Hibalston until November 18 still flying Spitfire Mk Vs.No.53 OTU 6 October 1944

Then he is posted at No. 3 Squadron on October 30th at Kirton still flying old Spitfire Mk Vs.No.53 OTU 30 October 1944

No.53 OTU Summary 18 November 1944

On December 2nd, George goes to 84 G.S.U. which is a Ground Support Unit. It’s there he flies Spitfire Mk IXs for the first time.

Supermarine_Spitfire_Mk_IX_flying_past

On December 24th, George is posted with RAF 127 Squadron at B79 in Holland.

George has logged in more than 1,400 flying hours since Malton.

More information about 127 Squadron here:

http://www.127squadron.co.uk/

Photos B79

His first operation is on December 28, 1944, a fighter sweep around Enschede Area.

What happened on December 28th, 1944? (from Wikipedia)

American troops began gaining ground in their counteroffensive during the Battle of the Bulge. Adolf Hitler disregarded the advice of his generals and ordered renewed offensives in the Alsace and Ardennes regions.

At least 20 Allied soldiers perished when the Infantry Landing Ship Empire Javelin sank in the English Channel with 1,483 troops aboard. It is unknown whether she struck a naval mine or was torpedoed by the German submarine U-322 which was active in the area that day.

German submarine U-735 was bombed and sunk by British aircraft off Horten, Norway.

Then on the 29th, three sorties flying Spitfire Mk XVI call sign 9N-B.No. 84 GSU 2 December 1944

Spitfire Mk XVI


More sorties in January 1945 with 127 Squadron the last one being on January 14. He has flown 12 operations, 5 in December and 7 in January. 1 January 1945

Then George probably went on a leave. On February 2nd, 1945, George Boudreau joins 403 Squadron.

From the 403 Squadron ORBs

Friday, February 2, 1945

Two shows today, the first one an armed recce to the Munster Rhine area. The weather was very poor and the show uneventful. The second was an area cover to bombers over the Euskrichen area. F/L E.A. Fleming was posted to the Squadron to fill a Flight Commander vacancy, so used by F/L Dick Reeves before being posted non effective sick. We also welcome a new pilot to the Squadron in the person of WO1 Boudreau.

Byrd and Boudreau

Thursday, February 1, 1945
Duff weather prevented us from doing any flying to day, so it was spent in the mess playing bridge and other card games. Some of the boys went into Brussels to the Turkish Baths in the afternoon. F/L’s Tosh and Todd proceeded on leave, Todd to England and Tosh to the French Alps.

Friday, February 2, 1945
Two shows today, the first one an armed recce to the Munster Rhine area. The weather was very poor and the show uneventful. The second was an area cover to bombers over the Euskrichen area. F/L E.A. Fleming was posted to the Squadron to fill a Flight Commander vacancy, so used by F/L Dick Reeves before being posted non effective sick. We also welcome a new pilot to the Squadron in the person of WO1 Boudreau.

Saturday, February 3, 1945
Our one and only do today, target cover to bombers in the Dahn area. Just after take off, F/O Tegerdine’s A/C engine cut while he was over Brussels and having no place to put his kite down, landed on the roof of an apartment house. He wrote off the kite completely but came out of it with a couple of cuts and bruises. Lucky Tegerdine.

Sunday, February 4, 1945
No flying today, weather was very poor mostly rain squalls and low cloud. F/L ‘Red’ Thompson finished his second tour of operational flying, having completed his first tour on Malta.

Monday, February 5, 1945
Poor weather again prevented us from doing any flying. Another new pilot was posted to the Squadron, F/S Arsenault. Nothing much exciting doing at all, the boys paid another visit to the Turkish Baths in Brussels.

Tuesday, February 6, 1945
One big show today when the whole Wing, comprising 44, aircraft did area cover to bombers in the Berg Gladbach area. It proved very uneventful and the boys were glad to get back to base.

Wednesday, February 7, 1945
Duff weather today prevented us from doing any flying. F/L Tosh and Todd are back from leave today, ‘Stew’ Tosh looking very tanned and fit after spending seven days leave in the French Alps skiing and skating.

Thursday, February 8, 1945
Very uneventful flying today, escort to bombers, no flak, no fighters, no nothing, this war gets less exciting every day. F/L Reg Morris and P/O Bob Shannon proceeded on leave today, Morris to England and Shannon to the French Alps. Our CO, S/L Collier, was given powers of subordinate commander in order that he may try the airmen of the attached Echelon and the Squadron for disciplinary offences.

Friday, February 9, 1945
F/O Tegerdine returned to unit today after a week in hospital following his remarkable escape on the third, looking none the worse for his experience of crash landing on a roof in Brussels. Very uneventful flying today.

Saturday, February 10, 1945
An armed recce in the Lingen Zwolle area proved to be very uneventful, nothing much seen to shoot up. F/O Tegerdine off to England on seven days sick leave. The Squadron Orderly room became the proud owners of a mobile orderly room today. It’s about time we had something for the Orderly room of this nature as previously they’ve set up house keeping in any old place at all and the disused ambulance that they fell owners to, just suits the job swell.

Sunday, February 11, 1945
One show today and it almost washed out one of our most popular members of the Squadron. Just after take off, F/L Wally Dove’s aircraft engine cut and he was forced to make a crash landing in a nearby field, luckily he managed to get clear of Brussels before having to land. There’s been quite a bit of trouble lately with aircraft engines, owing to a new grade of fuel being used and extra boost added.

Monday, February 12, 1945
No flying again today. The Squadron Orderly room set up housekeeping,or Orderly Room keeping, at the dispersal area again. Quite like old times again, the last time the Squadron Orderly room was located at dispersal was at Tangmere in England early this year. The Adjt and his clerks seem well satisfied with their latest piece of scrounging.

Tuesday, February 13, 1945
Word was received today that the Adjt will soon be tour expired and will be leaving us, his tour of service overseas finished. Guess it will be a bowler hat for you Adjt when you get back home.

Wednesday, February 14, 1945
Three shows today, weather very good over base but not quite so good over enemy territory. Eight ME262’s seen and we tried to engage them but Jerry wasn’t having any and dived for the nearest cloud cover. The boys went into town tonight to the usual hang out. Rumours of another move in the very near future.

Thursday, February 15, 1945
After a very good day for flying yesterday, the weather closed in again today and flying became abortive. The day was spent in the mess playing cards etc.

Friday, February 16, 1945
Our CO, S/L Collier, finished his second tour today or should we say was taken off because of being tired. He had 132 hrs completed on his second tour, tough luck Skipper. Our new CO is F/L H.M.P. Zary DFC of 416 Squadron. Welcome new CO, we hope you’ll be as good as Jim Collier.

Saturday, February 17, 1945
The boys are feeling quite sorry to see our former CO, S/L Collier, go. He was without a doubt the most popular CO we’ve had since S/L Bob Buckham. Jim Collier had a knack of knitting together a bunch of lads into a formidable fighting team, of holding their interest and getting things done. We feel that it will be some time before we have another CO as good as he.

Sunday, February 18, 1945
No flying again today, poor weather with low cloud prevented us from getting off the ground. More and stronger rumours of another move nearer the German border somewhere in the vicinity of Venlo.

Monday, February 19, 1945
Poor weather again today for flying, so the day was spent in the mess playing the usual games of bridge etc. Arrangements are being made for a farewell party for our old CO, S/L Jim Collier, tomorrow night in Brussels.

Tuesday, February 20, 1945
And still the weather is against us for flying today. Tonight, the Squadron went to the RAF Officers Club in Brussels to say goodbye to S/L Jim Collier, and what a party it turned out to be. It broke up around 2300 hrs and there wasn’t a sober person in the crowd. Good Luck Jim Collier in your future flying.

Wednesday, February 21, 1945
The day dawned bright and clear and that meant that there would be bags of flying, which is exactly how it turned out. The effects of the previous night’s party did not affect the boys in the slightest as they were all anxious to get into the air after almost a week of no flying. There was no opposition from Jerry and only some half hearted flak.

Thursday, February 22, 1945
Another grand day for flying and we lost one of our most popular members over enemy territory. F/O Tegerdine, he of the roof landing fame earlier on in the month, had to bale out over enemy territory when his engine packed up. He was last seen to land on the ground and start gathering his parachute. Tough Luck Teg, hope to be seeing you soon though, as this war won’t be so long now before it’s finished.

Friday, February 23, 1945
Today was another grand day for flying with bright and cloudless skies. S/L Collier departed today for England. We move to Petit Brogel near Eindhoven on March the first, some fifty miles nearer the front, and a lot of the boys are going to be sorry to leave Brussels as, according to all reports, they’ve made some pretty good friends with the Brussels people.

Saturday, February 24, 1945
Another Saturday with bags of flying although the weather over the front wasn’t any too good. Opposition was practically nil and flying uneventful.

Sunday, February 25, 1945
Poor flying weather, but we carried on with front line patrols all day. With our next move coming up within the next few days, we busied ourselves in our spare moments getting things packed and organized.

Monday, February 26, 1945
Duff weather, with rain and low cloud made it impossible to fly at all today. Early in the afternoon, the Squadron was released and the boys headed for Brussels for one last fling before heading for the sticks on our next move.

Tuesday, February 27, 1945
Nil flying again today due to poor weather. The day was spent in packing and loafing around the mess in the hopes that the weather might clear sufficiently for us to fly in the afternoon.

Wednesday, February 28, 1945
One bombing effort this morning which was aborted due to dense cloud over the target, was all the flying that was done until late afternoon as the weather closed in shortly after we landed and did not clear again until late afternoon. Tomorrow the ‘A’ party of the Echelon move to our new Airdrome.
The Health of the Squadron remains at its same high level.

Total number of sorties for the month of February 1945 – 301

No. 403 Squadron Strength and Flying Times for the month of February 1945

Officers Flying 26
Officer Ground 2
Airmen Flying 3
Airmen Ground 12 RCAF 2 RAF
U.S.A. Personnel: NIL.

Our Casualties for Month:

F/O O.R.M. Tegerdine Missing
Enemy Casualties for Month: Nil
Flying times for Month.
Operational Hours 477:15
Non operational Hours 11:45
Auster

Total 489:00

This is a group picture taken at Petit Brogel, Belgium before March 15, 1945 with 18 Spitfire pilots.
George is in the back. He is the last one on the right.403 squadron group picture colorised version

On March 15th, George flies his 29th sortie on Spitfire XVI call sign KH-M.25 February 1945

IMG_5562_web

Model of KW-M built by Michael Pothier

George has to make a force landing and is taken prisoner and sent to Stalag Luft 1…scn_0024_500k.jpg

scn_0023_500k.jpg

img_0243_500k.jpg

scn_0028_500k.jpg

Stalag Luft 1

All you need to know about Stalag Luft 1…

http://www.merkki.com/

W/O George V. Boudreau

RCAF

Stalag Luft 1

Barth, Germany

March 1945


Transcript of handwritten notes (Courtesy Michael Pothier)
“The four hundred and third (403) all metal pursuit squadron, with F/Lt. Grant Aitchison from Elora, Ontario leading it, took off at approximately 11:00 hours on March 15th to escort Mitchells of the 8th that were going to Dorsten.
I was flying K.W.4 to F.O. Sainsbury (K.W.3). Everything was going smooth until we came over the target area, then the good old faithful flack started to come up, but not near us as we were 3000 feet above the Mitchells. After they dropped their eggs and turned for home the trouble started for George.
My engine busted without any previous warning and I just about passed out then and there as it made quite a bang, but I soon realized what was wrong, turned for the shortest way out, called up Grant and told him my trouble. The homer (K.) came in and gave me a vector right away. Glycol was streaming out from both manifolds so I throttled back immediately & pitch to 1800 RPM that reduced my airspeed to 180 but kept my height which was 15,000 feet and hoped that my engine would keep going for five minutes. If so, I would have a chance to get over the Rhine and crash land on friendly territory.
I jettisoned my drop tank as soon as possible to reduce drag and prevent fire and blowing up on landing. Sainsbury followed me down and kept on talking to me every time he had a chance, also K. kept on giving me homings and asking how I was getting along. When I was in the middle of my trouble I happened to see another Spit get hit by flack and go down in flames and that did not boost my moral up. In the meantime, fumes were coming in the cockpit and the temperature was going up as the glycol was streaming out. The engine seized up after two minutes, so there I was with a dead prop and no sign of the Rhine, but I thought I might still make it as I still had 15,000 feet to glide and the visibility was only 2 miles on account of haze so the Rhine might pop up any minute, but no such luck.
I kept on gliding at 120 and prepared to crash land, opened my canopy top, tightened my strap and lowered my seat to the floor as I had no crash pad for the sight. My windshield was all dirty with oil and what not so I could not see through it and that did not help the situation any. At 500 feet I thought I had better look for a field to sit down in, and lucky enough there was one dead ahead, so I just prayed that I would make it and land OK. I put the flaps down at 100 or just below and just scraped the belly on the trees, stuck my head underneath the sight and put my elbow in front and levelled off at the same time. I hit the deck so smooth that I would not have broken an egg. I just bent the prop. As soon as I came to a standstill I called up Sainsbury and told him I was OK from the deck. His reply was “Good show, So long and good luck”. I blew my I.F.F., unstrapped myself and stepped out, and at the same time a Jerry soldier was about 50 yards from me and running with rifle in hand.” YMCA cover

YMCA page 1

YMCA page 3
YMCA page 2
YMCA page 4

No.5 (P) A.F.U. Ternhill, England

George is still at No. 5 (P) Advanced Flying Unit at Ternhill in England. Last time we were July 25, 1944.

No.5 AFU 29 June 1944

What happened yesterday on July 24…

Marines land on Tinian Island, last of the Marianas (after Saipan and Guam); Tinian will eventually be a B-29 base, and the base from which the atomic bombers departed.

Operation Cobra is now in full swing: the breakout at St. Lo in Normandy with American troops taking Coutances.

At the start of the Soviet Narva Offensive, July 24–30, the Soviet 8th Army is beaten by the Estonian 45th Regiment and East Prussian 44th Regiment. The army detachment “Narwa” begins to retreat to the Tannenberg line.

Majdanek Concentration Camp is liberated by Soviet forces, the first among many. The Soviet Union is now in control of several large cities in Poland, including Lublin.

US bombers mistakenly bomb American troops near St. Lo, France. (Wikipedia)


George is flying Hurricanes Mark I from now on.

1200px-Hurricane_mk1_r4118_fairford_arp

 

No.5 AFU 26 July 1944

And sometimes Miles Master Mk II.

IWM-COL198-Master

August 13, 1944…

The failure of the Allies to close the Falaise pocket in France proves advantageous to the Germans fleeing to the east who escape the pincer movement of the Allies. (Wikipedia)

From 13 August, 1944 to September 6, 1944 George will be mostly flying Miles Master Mk II.

No.5 AFU 13 August 1944

 

 

September 6, 1944 George has finished his course at No. 5 (P) A.F.U.

 

Next time?

George is posted at No. 53 O.T.U. at Kirton in Lindsey

kirton-in-lindsey-2008web

flying a Spitfire Mark Vb.

Malle_Spitfire_Mk.Vb_G-MKVB_BM597_02

Source Wikipedia

 

 

No.5 (P) A.F.U. Ternhill, England

George is finally going to see some action, but not right away.

He’s now posted at No. 5 (P) Advanced Flying Unit at Ternhill in England. First he is a passenger on an Anson Mark I on May 25, 1944.

What happened on May 25, 1944?

Allies at Anzio link up with Allies from south Italy. Though Harold Alexander wishes to trap the German Tenth Army, American Fifth Army commander Mark W. Clark orders Truscott to turn north toward Rome. The Germans in Italy form a new defensive position on the Caesar C line. (Wikipedia)

On 26 May 1944 he is still a passenger on a Miles Master Mark II before going solo on Miles Master II AZ717 on D-Day!

No.5 AFU 25 May 1944

IWM-COL198-Master

George knows he will be flying either Spitfires or Hawker Typhoons soon because he is training on the Miles Master II like so many other pilots did.

No.5 AFU 18 June 1944

On 25 July, 1944 George soloes on Hurricane Mark I P3218.

No.5 AFU 29 June 1944

1200px-Hurricane_mk1_r4118_fairford_arp

Source Wikipedia

Hurricane Mk1, RAF serial R4118, squadron code UP-W, UK civil registration G-HUPW, at the Royal International Air Tattoo, Fairford, Gloucestershire, England. The aircraft was delivered new to 605 (County of Warwick) Squadron in August 1940. It flew 49 combat sorties from Croydon, England, destroying 3 enemy aircraft and damaging 2 others. Still painted in its original markings, R4118 is the only Hurricane from the Battle of Britain still flying. This picture was taken at RIAT Fairford on the Thursday before the show days of Saturday and Sunday. Later the show was cancelled, due to waterlogged car parks.

Will George fly Spitfires or Hawker Typhoons?

To be continued…

 

No.16 S.F.T.S. Hagersville, Ontario

George will be posted to No.16 SFTS on a conversion course until March 17, 1944 flying Anson Mk IIs.

22 December 1943
26 January 1944
7 March 1944
17 March 1944
avro-anson-august-1941-modified

Collection Walter Neil Dove via Greg Bell

This is a cockpit view of an Avro Anson.

avro-anson-cockpit

Collection Art O’Neil (courtesy Paul O’Neil)

From Wikipedia
Inside_the_AVRO_XIX,_the_first_Air_Corps_aircraft_with_a_monoplane_design_and_a_retractable_undercarriage._Sistership_to_the_AVRO_Anson_serving_from_1930s_-_1970s_(12119468396).jpg

The Avro Anson is a British twin-engined, multi-role aircraft built by the aircraft manufacturer Avro. Large numbers of the type served in a variety of roles for the Royal Air Force (RAF), Fleet Air Arm (FAA), Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and numerous other air forces before, during, and after the Second World War.

Initially known as the Avro 652A, the Anson was developed during the mid-1930s from the earlier Avro 652 airliner in response to a request for tenders issued by the British Air Ministry for a maritime reconnaissance aircraft. Having suitably impressed the Ministry, a single prototype was ordered, which conducted its maiden flight on 24 March 1935. Following an evaluation in which the Type 652A bettered the competing de Havilland DH.89, it was selected as the winner, leading to Air Ministry Specification 18/35 being written around the type and an initial order for 174 aircraft being ordered in July 1935. The Type 652A was promptly named after British Admiral George Anson.

The type was placed into service with the Royal Air Force (RAF) and was initially used in the envisioned maritime reconnaissance operation alongside the larger flying boats. However, by the outbreak of the Second World War, the Anson was soon found to have become obsolete in front line combat roles. However, large numbers of the type were put to use as a multi-engined aircrew trainer, having been found to be suitable for the role, and became the mainstay of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The type continued to be used in this role throughout and after the conflict, remaining in RAF service as a trainer and communications aircraft until 28 June 1968.

During the post-war climate, the Anson was increasingly produced for the civil market, being used as a light transport and executive aircraft. By the end of production in 1952, a total of 8,138 Ansons had been constructed by Avro in nine variants; in addition, a further 2,882 aircraft were manufactured by Federal Aircraft Ltd in Canada from 1941. By the 21st century, the vast majority of Ansons had been retired from flying. However, a single Anson Mk.I, which had been originally manufactured during 1943, had been restored to airworthiness, having been refitted with later metal wings. On 18 July 2012, this restored aircraft performed its first flight.

No.4 Wireless School, Burtch, Ontario

RCAF_Burtch_Apron_9_Dec_1941

9 December, 1941

 

Note about No.4 Wireless School

 

http://militarybruce.com/abandoned-canadian-military-bases/abandoned-bases/ontario/

No. 4 Wireless School:

Established under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in May 1941 on the campus of the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph, now the University of Guelph, although the RCAF had been sending chef trainees to the college since January 1940 under a contract.

The Wireless School trained airmen to be Wireless Operators, with many graduates moving on to Bombing and Gunnery Schools to qualify as Wireless Air Gunners. These airmen then served as aircrew on bombers.

The RCAF took over a large portion of the college campus, with Johnson Hall serving as the station HQ. Several other schools took up residence at the campus, as well as test facilities for air force kitchens.

With the war slowly coming to the end, No. 4 WS closed on 12 January 1945 after training approximately 8,000 airmen and airwomen. A month later on 22 February 1945, the RCAF formally withdrew and returned the campus to the OAC.

Source Material:  “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec” by Paul Ozorak.

RCAF Detachment Burtch:
 

Opened in 1941 near the village of Burtch as the No. 1 Relief Landing Field for No. 5 SFTS, but was also used by No. 4 Wireless School in Guelph.

The detachment was transferred under the pervue of No. 16 SFTS in 1944 until that school’s closure in March 1945.

The detachment was sold to the Ontario Government and from 1948-2003, was the site of the Burtch Jail. The site currently sits abandoned and empty. The taxiway and the outline of the runways are pretty much all that remain from the RCAF days.

In 2009, the Ontario Realty Corporation demolished all buildings and the property was turned over to the Haudenosaunee/Six Nations community.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak & personal observations of the author (2011 & 2014).


Georges is seconded to No.4 Wireless School at Burtch in Ontario.

December 13, 1942

Sergeant George Boudreau is 2nd pilot. Flying Officer Button is checking him out on Tiger Moth 4941. After that first flight he becomes a staff pilot for several LAC (Leading Aircraftman) training as wireless-operators.

How many would die?

Nobody knows unless someone researches all the names seen on the pages by entering each name on the Canadian Virtual War Memorial search engine or checking No.4 Wireless School daily dairies.

No.4 WS Burch Ontario 13 to 18 December 1942
No.4 WS Burch Ontario 18 December 1942 to 1 January 1943

George will stay a full year at No.4 Wireless School while the war is raging on east and west. Most pilots hated this, and some would do anything to get posted overseas to see some action although being a staff pilot could be deadly.

On December 20, 1943, George will get his wish and be seconded to No.16 SFTS Hagersville for a refresher course.


1942

December 13 to 20 December 1942

No.4 WS Burch Ontario 13 to 18 December 1942

No.4 WS Burch Ontario 18 December 1942 to 1 January 1943

 

1943

1 January 1943 to 9 January 1943

No.4 WS Burch Ontario 1 January 1943

13 January to 23 January 1943

No.4 WS Burch Ontario 13 January 1943

23 January to 16 February 1943

No.4 WS Burch Ontario 23 January 1943

16 February to 23 February 1943

No.4 WS Burch Ontario 16 February 1943

23 February to 3 March 1943

No.4 WS Burch Ontario 23 February 1943

4 March to 12 March 1943

No.4 WS Burch Ontario 4 March 1943

13 March to 25 March 1943

No.4 WS Burch Ontario 13 March 1943

25 March to 31 March 1943

No.4 WS Burch Ontario 25 March 1943

1 April to 11 April 1943

No.4 WS Burch Ontario 1 April 1943

12 April to 26 April 1943

No.4 WS Burch Ontario 12 April 1943

26 April to 3 May 1943

No.4 WS Burch Ontario 26 April 1943

4 May to 13 May 1943

4 May 1943

13 May to 22 May 1943

13 May 1943

22 May to 28 May 1943

22 May 1943

1 June to 22 June 1943

1 June 1943

22 June to 2 July 1943

22 June 1943

2 July to 13 July 1943

2 July 1943

14 July to 22 July 1943

14 July 1943

22 July to 31 July 1943

22 July 1943

1 August to 15 August 1943

1 August 1943

16 August to 29 August 1943

16 August 1943

29 August to 9 September 1943

29 August 1943

10 September to 22 September 1943

10 September 1943

22 September to 28 September 1943

22 September 1943

1 October to 12 October 1943

1 October 1943

13 October to 27 October 1943

13 October 1943

29 October to 6 November 1943

29 October 1943

6 November to 16 November 1943

6 November 1943

1 December to 13 December 1943

1 December 1943

14 December to 18 December 1943

14 December 1943

After a grand total of 1210 hours flying on different types of aircraft, Georges is finally posted to No.16 SFTS at Hagersville in Ontario on a refresher and conversion course.

1210 flying hours