R.C.A.F. Aces Have Big Scores
Ottawa, Nov. 14, 1942 - (CP) - R.C.A.F. headquarters
said last night that F/L Henry W. McLeod
of Regina, a flying mate of P/O George Beurling,
has shot down 12 enemy planes over Malta to October 26 and was unofficially
credited with 15 "probables." McLeod, headquarters said, is
believed to have destroyed another enemy plane since October 26, while
F/O J. F. McElroy, of Kamloops, B.C., is unofficially credited with shooting
down five planes to October 19. McElroy was born at Port Arthur, Ont.
He and McLeod are members of the R.C.A.F., and Beurling is serving with
Born in Port Arthur, Ontario, 1920
Home in Kamloops, British Columbia
Formerly in North Battleford Light Infantry and
Rocky Mountain Rangers
Enlisted in Vancouver, 6 November 1940
Trained at No.3 ITS (graduated 4 May 1941)
No.4 EFTS (graduated 21 June 1941), and
No.9 SFTS (graduated 1 September 1941)
Commissioned September 1941
No.249 Squadron, Malta, 6 June to December 1942
No.421 Squadron, 5 January to 1 July 1944
No.416 Squadron, 1 July to 31 October 1944
DFC and Bar presented 29 May 1947
Reinlisted in the RCAF after flying for Israel
McELROY, P/O John Frederick (J7230) - Distinguished
Flying Cross - No.249 Sq.
Award effective 19 October 1942 as per London Gazette dated 3 November
AFRO 1830/42 dated 13 November 1942
During recent fighting over Malta this officer displayed
great courage and outstanding determination to destroy the enemy. On October
12th, 1942, during an interception, he destroyed a Messerschmitt 109 and
then pursued a Junkers 88. Six enemy fighters were in close proximity
and Flying Officer McElroy turned towards them and destroyed one before
they broke off the fight. Three days later his section attacked a formation
of Junkers 88s and Flying Officer McElroy probably destroyed one of them.
On another occasion when one of his comrades was shot down in the sea,
Flying Officer McElroy guided a rescue launch to the spot, in spite of
the presence of enemy fighters. This officer who has completed many reconnaissances
and destroyed five enemy aircraft has displayed inspiring leadership.
Periods of Leave Begin For Repatriated Fliers
Ottawa, Oct. 25, 1943 - (CP) - Complete with one small dog and 12 decorations, one of the largest groups of airmen returned from overseas now is going through the process of checking out at the R.C.A.F. Repatriation Pool at nearby Rockcliffe Air Station, for leave and duty.
The group includes fliers with long records in operations against the enemy and many ground crew re-mustered for air crew duties and back in Canada for flying training.
At their recent arrival by train at Ottawa, an R.C.A.F. band played as the train pulled in. Members of the Canadian Legion, Mayor Stanley Lewis of Ottawa, George McIlraith, Liberal Member of Parliament for Ottawa West, and a large group of airmen turned out to greet the veterans. Women of the Red Cross, cooperating with the legion, distributed hot tea and coffee, cigarettes, sandwiches and cake.
Group Capt. Geoffrey O'Brian, Officer Commanding the Repatriation Pool through which all returned airmen pass, assured them of a minimum of delay in their passage to leave at home.
The dog was Tommy, property of F/L A.G. Lawrence, D.F.C., of Brandon, a night fighter pilot. His feat in getting the grey, curly-haired dog out of England was considered "something" by his comrades on the home voyage.
In all there were in the party six holders of the Distinguished Flying
Cross, two of the Air Force Cross, three of the Distinguished Flying Medal
and one of membership in the Order of the British Empire.
Two fighter pilots, who worked for six months or more at Malta during
the heat of Mediterranean operations, were F/L J. F. McElroy,
D.F.C., of Kamloops, B.C., and F/O J. H. Ballantyne D.F.M., of Toronto.
Other holders of decorations included P/O G. H. A. Marcotte, D.F.C., of
Montreal, with two tours of operations and 1,110 hours flying on night
bombing operations to his credit; F/L R. I. A. Smith.
D.F.C., of Regina, who has shot down six enemy planes; P/O W. R. Shellington,
D.F.M., of Brantford; P/O S. J. Kernaghan,
D.F.M., of Carttwright, Man., a Coastal Command pilot with four enemy
planes to his credit.
F/L G. J. Gow, M.B.E., of Lethbridge, who was honored for special
technical work in North Africa.
L to R - W/C MacBrien introduces A/M L.S. Breadner to S/Ls Ed Wood (partly
hidden), John McElroy, Bill Prest & Wally McLeod
& F/Ls Andy MacKenzie & Doug Lindsay.
Hamilton Flier Gets 3 As RCAF Bags 9 Huns
An R.C.A.F. Base In England, June 15, 1944 — (CP) — A Canadian Spitfire squadron racing over the Caen area of the Normandy Beachhead in support of Allied troops locked in battle on the ground tore into a formation of 20 ME-109's today and blasted nine of them out of the sky. Another was damaged.
The squadron was led by F/L J. F. McElroy of Port Arthur, Ont, and Kamloops, B.C.
A general melee developed when the Canadians sighted the Germans flying directly toward them at 15,000 feet. Before the brief, vicious action ended, F/O J. N. Bamford of Hamilton, Ont., destroyed three enemy planes; F/L J. N. Paterson, Toronto, and F/O W. Warfield, Tudo City, N.Y., each got two; and F/L W. N. Stranath and F/O W. F. Cook, Trenton, Ont., each got one.
McElroy was credited with a probable and F/L E. D. Grant, Coniston. Ont., with a damaged enemy plane.
McElroy and F/L B. T. Gilmour, St. Thomas, Ont., crash-landed in France during the action, but word was received at this base tonight that both are safe.
Bamford's kills were a model of unwasted, lethal action. He went first for a Messerschmitt that had another Spitfire on its tail and sent the Nazi spinning to the ground with strikes on the engine from 150 yards. He sighted a second to starboard as he broke from the first fight and set this plane afire in a swift attack.
As he was diving after this victory, a third ME-109 cut across his path and Bamford poured bullets into him as he followed him down. He watched the German hit the ground. Bamford pulled out of his dive almost at ground level with his Spitfire going more than 400 miles an hour.
Most of the other pilots scored their victories almost as quickly, but Grant's cannon jammed when he had a Nazi cold and he had to follow him almost to the ground and chase him 20 miles before breaking off combat because he was out of ammunition.
RCAF Shoots Down 26 Enemy Planes
in Normandy Between Dawn and Dusk
By P/O H. R. McDONALD, A Canadian Airfield in France, June 29, 1944 - (CP) - Canadian fighter planes, in one of the most brilliant
achievements in the history of the R.C.A.F., shot down 26 out of a total
of 34 enemy aircraft destroyed over the Normandy front between dawn and
In addition, R.C.A.F. pilots chalked up a number of enemy planes probab1y
shot down and a number of others which were damaged.
Four pilots scored double kills. They were Wing Cmdr. J.E. (Johnny) Johnson,
English–born commander of a Canadian fighter wing operating from
an R.C.A.F. base in Normandy, and Flt. Lts. H.C. Trainor,
Charlottetown; W. T. Klersy, 14 Harcroft Rd.,
Toronto, and R. K. Hayward. St. John's, Nfld.
Destroys Two, Damages Third.
Hayward destroyed two FW-190's and damaged a third, which gave him the
highest R.C.A.F. individual score of the day. Earlier reports indicated
the Canadian airmen had downed 18 enemy planes in yesterday's daylight
The complete figures were reached by intelligence officers today after
a period of aerial operations which exceeded in intensity anything since
the Allied Normandy beachhead was opened June 6.
Besides the toll of enemy planes; which included all fighter types, R.C.A.F.
pilots also strafed transport on the roads. Final claims on two aircraft
are being sifted.
Among the R.C.A.F. Spitfire pilots contributing to the total with one
Hun each were: F/Ls Irving Kennedy, Cumberland,
Ont.; G. R. Patterson, Kelowna, B.C.; John
McElroy, Kamloops, B.C.; Henry Zary, New York;
R. M. Stayner, Saskatoon; A. F. Halcrow, Penticton,
B.C.; G. W. Johnson, 102 Beechwood Ave., Hamilton,
Ont.; D. E. Noonan, 146 Willingdon Ave., Kingston,
Ont.; J. B. Rainville, Montreal; and F/Os W. J. Banks, Leaside, Ont. and G. H. Farquharson,
W/C Johnson's score of two brought his total of enemy planes downed
to 32, equaling the mark set by G/C A. G. (Sailor) Malan, a South
African, now on ground duty.
Among the R.C.A.F. fliers scoring probables were F/O A. C. Brandon, Timmins,
Ont.; F/O J. B. O'Sullivan, Vancouver; and P/O J. M. Flood, Hearst, Ont.
Nine Others Damaged.
At least nine others were damaged by fliers of the R.C.A.F.
Of the wings comprising G/C W. (Bill) MacBrien's R.C.A.F. sector,
the one led by 22-year-old W/C George Keefer,
D.F.C. and Bar, Charlottetown, was high scorer of the day with 13 confirmed
victories. Johnson's wing was second with seven, in a close race with
a unit led by W/C R. A. Buckham, Vancouver.
The margin for Keefer's wing was established in two dusk operations in which seven enemy planes were destroyed and two damaged. In the first action Hayward sighted more than 25 Nazi fighters and led his formation in pursuit. He damaged one.
Later the same Spitfires became embroiled with a dozen FW-190's, and Hayward got two of them. The first fell out of control, and the second burst into flames and crashed after Hayward had followed it down to tree-top height.
"The Huns were like bees,” said WO. Murray Havers, 1 Lloyd St., Hamilton. Ont. "They seemed confused and acted as though they did not know what they were doing."
The Canadian airmen said the Germans did not put up much of a fight despite their numerical advantage.
Other Canadians credited with kills during the day were F/O G. R. Stephen, Montreal; F/O Larry Robillard, Ottawa; F/O W. A. Gilbert, Dartmouth, N.S.; F/O Don Goodwin, Maynooth, Ont. and F/O Tommy Wheler, 10 Beauford Rd., Toronto.
F/O Klersy took a prominent part in athletics at St. Michael's College, playing hockey and rugby. He also rowed for his college, and was goalie for Ostrander's mercantile hockey team. Enlisting in June 1941, he took aircrew training in Toronto, Oshawa and Dunnville and after nearly a year with a fighter squadron at Bagotville, F/O Klersy went overseas in May 1942.
The 21-year-year old airman is the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Klersy, 14 Harcroft Rd.
AIR MINISTER THANKS FLYERS FROM DOMINION
Port Nelson Man Among Fighters Commended
An Airfield in Normandy, July 8, 1944 — (CP Cable) — Sir Archibald Sinclair, British Air Minister, flew into this dusty landing ground in Normandy today and personally thanked Canadian fighter pilot's for "the glorious services" they are rendering.
Sir Archibald, accompanied by Sir Charles Portal, marshal of the Royal Air Force, and Group Capt. Sir Louis Greig, visited the R.C.A.F. sector commanded by Group Capt. W. R. MacBrien, of Ottawa.
Speaking within the sound of an artillery bombardment, the minister told the Canadians "the success of operations so far and our hopes for the future are based on air power."
He met each pilot personally. Among the airmen he chatted with were W/C Frank Brown, of Winnipeg, the airfield commander; S/L John McElroy, D.F.C., of Kamloops, B.C., and F/L Walter Hill, of Port Nelson, Ont.; F/L G. E. Stephenson, of Brantford, Ont., and F/L L. R. Thorne, of London, Ont.
During his trip, Sir Archibald landed at an R.A.F. field in another sector of the beachhead in time to congratulate P/O Norman Chevers, of Niagara Falls, Ont., who had just landed after shooting down a FW-190 (GR).
McELROY, F/L John Frederick, DFC (J7230) - Bar
to DFC - No.421 Squadron
Award effective 4 August 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 2052/44 dated 22 September 1944.
This officer continues to display the finest qualities
of courage and determination in air operations. In June 1944 he flew the
leading aircraft of a formation which engaged a force of more than thirty
enemy fighters, nine of which were shot down. Although his aircraft sustained
severe damage, Flight Lieutenant McElroy made a safe landing at an airfield.
In this engagement he displayed leadership of a high order.
Award Decorations To Seven in RCAF
Ottawa, Aug. 3, 1944 - (CP) - Air Force Headquarters
announced tonight the award of seven decorations to members of the RCAF
serving overseas, comprising one Bar to the Distinguished Flying Crass,
five DFCs and one Conspicuous Gallantry Medal (Flying). One of those receiving
the DFC has since been reported missing. The awards:
Bar to DFC
F/L J. F. McElroy, Kamloops, B.C.
S/L H. G. Keillor, Mitchell, Ont.
F/O C. A. Wondolowski, Bridgeport, Conn.
F/O J. Bamford, Hamilton, (since reported missing)
P/O L. A. Mann, Portage la Prairie, Manitoba
W/O A. I. Korman, Noranda, Que.
Sgt. P. Engbrecht, Whitewater,
WW2 John McElroy, as well as many other Americanadians, signed up
with the newly formed Israeli Air Force. On December 30th 1948 he
claimed an MC205 and on January 7th 1949 he shot down two RAF Spitfires
while flying with Slick Goodlin who shot down a Spit of his own.
(Read an excellent account of it here
One of the Spits shot down by McElroy was piloted by Tim McElhaw
whom he visited later in hospital. George Beurling
had also agreed to fly for Israel but was killed in Rome while making
his way there and never had a chance to fight.
McElroy 'kickin it' in Israel
Laurie Nyveen (101squadron.com)
was kind enough to send me this info taken from
his copies (acquired while on vacation in Israel) of actual 101 squadron
All dates 1948 - 49
Oct 16 - Spit 134, B-17 escort with Mann
Dec 30 - Spit 2004 (133), patrol with Doyle, shot down Macchi
Dec 31 - Spit 2003 (132), patrol with Senior
Jan 02 - Spit 2018, B-17 escort (failed rendezvous) with Sinclair
Jan 03 - Spit 2003 (132), Harvard escort with Sinclair
Jan 07 - Spit 2008, B-17 escort with Sinclair
Jan 07 - Spit 2008, patrol with Goodlin, shot down two RAF Spits
Three kills total
McElroy as a Sabre Jockey with 421 Squadron in May 1956.
Apparently flying for another country in war time did not disqualify one
for RCAF service.
Good news for Jack Doyle and McElroy, who both
served with 421 Sq. in the 50's.