Howard Peter "Cowboy" Blatchford
Got the first Canadian Victory of WW2 (17 October 1939) *

Cowboy Blatchford

RAF   W/C   -   DFC,  MiD


Text of Addresses On Nazi Air Raids

London, 17 Oct. 1939 - (CP) - The text of a statement on air raids made by Lord Chatfield, and Prime Minister Chamberlain in parliament to-day follows:
The house will wish to have an account of the series of air raids which took place in the Firth of Forth area yesterday afternoon in the light of the information now available. The raid was carried out by 12 or possibly more aircraft in waves of two or three at a time. Two civilians were slightly injured by shell fragments. Damage to civilian property was negligible. Naval casualties were caused on H.M.S. Southampton, Edinburgh and Mohawk.
I regret to say that altogether three officers and 13 ratings were killed or died of wounds, that two officers were slightly injured, that 11 ratings were seriously injured and 31 slightly injured .
The damage to H.M.S. Southampton and H.M.S. Edinburgh was slight and both vessels are ready for sea. The damage to H.M.S. Mohawk is superficial. The enemy were at once engaged by our fighter squadrons and by antiaircraft guns. Four enemy bombers were brought down, of which one was shot down by gunfire. In addition, a number of other enemy aircraft were heavily engaged and some of these may not have been able to reach home. As the attack was local and appeared to be developing only on a small scale and, as our defences were fully ready, it was not considered appropriate in this particular instance to issue an air raid warning which would have caused dislocation and inconvenience over a wide area.
Responsibility for issuing air raid warnings must be left to the competent authorities, but the circumstances in which warnings should be issued will be carefully reviewed in the light of experience gained.
At 10:30 a.m. today an air raid took place on Scapa Flow. The attack was made by about four machines. Two bombs fell very near H.M.S. Iron Duke and the ship sustained certain damages. No casualties occurred.
H.M.S. Iron Duke is an old battleship which, it will be recollected, was demilitarized under a London naval treaty of 1930 and had all her armour removed. She has since been used for depot and training purposes.
One aircraft was shot down in flames by the fire of either ship or shore guns, and another probably damaged.


Son of Kenneth A. & Grace L. Blatchford, of Edmonton
Born in Edmonton, 25 February 1912;
Appointed acting Pilot Officer on Probation 6 Jan. 1937
With No.41 Squadron at outbreak of war;
Joined No.212 Squadron, 20 April 1940
  and saw service in France;
to No. 212 Photo Development Unit, 20 June '40;
to No. 17 Squadron, 30 September 1940;
to No. 257 Squadron, 4 October 1940
Commanding Officer, 6 July '41 to 8 Sep.'41
became Wing Commander Flying at Digby.
Killed in action 3 May 1943. 31 years old

Specifically listed in AFRO 1292/41 dated
7 November 1941 as a Canadian in the RAF
  who had been decorated as of that date.
AFRO 1187/43, 25 June '43 reported him missing
AFRO 2610/43, 17 Dec '43 confirming his death
Air Ministry Bulletin 2429 refers.


Twenty-Two Flyers Are Named For Outstanding Services

London, Jan. 2, 1942 — (CP Cable) — Canadians fighting in the air and on the sea were rewarded by the King yesterday in the New Year's honors list. Of the 24 Canadians included in the list, all but two, are airmen.

Three Air Aces
Among the seven Canadian members of the Royal Air Force receiving the Air Force Cross were listed three aces whose brilliant flying had brought them decorations before—Wing Commander John Fulton, of Kamloops, B.C.; Flt.-Lt. Archibald P. Walsh, of London, Ont., and Flt.-Lt. Lawrence L. Jones, of Port Arthur, Ont.
Fulton received the Distinguished Flying Cross on September 28, 1940, for outstanding skill in a raid on Brussels. Walsh was awarded the D.F.C. on December 19, 1940 — just after the R.A.F. had won its great battle over Britain against the German air force.
Jones not only won the D.F.C. in 1940 but was also "mentioned in dispatches" in the King's 1941 New Year's honors list.
The Air Force Cross, which was, instituted in 1918, is designed for presentation upon officers and warrant officers of the R.A.F. "for acts of courage or devotion to duty when flying, although not in active operations against the enemy."
The Distinguished Flying Cross, which also dates from 1918, is bestowed "for acts of gallantry when flying in active operations against the enemy."

Seven in Dispatches
A distinguished group of seven Canadians in the R.A.F. were listed as mentioned in dispatches. They were Acting Sqdn.-Ldr. R.A.D. Foster, of Prince Albert, Sask.; Acting Sqdn.-Ldr. J.H. Van, of Lake Megantic, Que.; Acting Wing Commander Howard P. Blatchford, of Edmonton; Acting Wing Commander N.W. Timmerman, of Kingston, Ont.; Flt.-Lieut. J.M. Bodman, of Edmonton; Flt.-Lieut. K.B. Corbould, of New Westminster, B.C., and Acting Sqdn.-Ldr. H.R. Beall, whose Canadian home town was not given.
Blatchford and Corbould had previously won the D.F.C. for gallantry in action and Timmerman was awarded the Distinguished Service Order last September 19. All of them have seen the heaviest action and Bodman was reported wounded in action on August 26, 1941.
Flight Sergeant J.F. Bishop, of Calgary, was awarded the Air Force Medal.

Hamilton Man included
Warrant Officer J. L. McKenzie, a member of the R.A.F. since 1919 and whose birthplace was given merely as "Colchester, Canada," was made a member of the Order of the British Empire.
The following members of the Royal Canadian Air Force were listed as mentioned in dispatches:
Group Capt. A. P. Campbell, of Hamilton, Ont. (wife lives at 304 Queen street south, Hamilton);Squadron-Leader N. R. Johnstone, of Regina and Winnipeg (T. A. Johnstone, father, 556 McGee street, Winnipeg); Flying-Officer J. A. Ross, of Moncton, N.B. (wife lives at 41 Cornell street, Moncton); Squadron-Leader P. B. Pitcher, of Montreal, commander of the First R.C.A.F. Squadron in Britain; Sergeant-Pilot H. S. McNeil, of Welland, Ont. (G. J. McNeil, father, 79 Merrett street, Welland); Sergeant-Gunner R. J. Ward, of Lachine, Que. (Mrs. Irene Ward, mother, 95 55th avenue, Lachine).


BLATCHFORD, F/L Howard Peter (37715) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.257 Sq.
Awarded as per London Gazette 6 December 1940.

In November 1940 this officer was the leader of a squadron which destroyed eight and damaged a further five enemy aircraft in one day. In the course of the combat he rammed and damaged a hostile fighter when his ammunition was expended, and the made two determined head-on feint attacks on enemy fighters which drove them off. He has shown magnificent leadership and outstanding courage.



With the R.C.A.F. Somewhere in England, June 1, 1942 — (CP) — Messroom chatter: First indication that R.C.A.F. flyers took part in the defence of Singapore comes with the news that Pilot Officer J.M. Barnes, of Toronto, has become attached to the Royal Australian Air Force.

Joins R.A.A.F.
Barnes escaped from Singapore and was taken to Australia, where the R.C.A.F. permitted him to remain to fly with the R.A.A.F. as a navigator.
Many Australian airmen fly with the R.C.A.F. fighter and bomber squadrons in Britain but this is the first time it has been announced that an R.C.A.F. flyer is to fly officially with the Australians. Details of Barnes' escape were not available in London.
Germany's vaunted Focke-Wolf 190 fighter had its measure taken recently by Canadian Spitfire pilots, who drove off an attack on Boston bombers they were escorting near Abbeville, France.
Wing-Cmdr. Herb Blatchford, D.F.C., of Edmonton, shot down one FW190 in flames and Flight-Lieut. Frederick E. Green, of Toronto, damaged another. Blatchford's aircraft was damaged and he was obliged to make a forced landing when he returned to base. He suffered minor cuts and bruises. Blatchford gave his victim such a blasting that he feared flying fragments would damage his own airscrew and wings.
"I fired two bursts into him at 250 yards," the wing-commander related afterwards, "and saw flashes in his fuselage, followed by smoke. I continued following and firing and he took practically no evasive action. The wreckage finally fell in flames.
"His No. 2 man, I knew, was not far off, but the last I had seen of him he apparently was being engaged by two Spitfires. At this stage my attention was distracted by what I thought was firing from two flak ships below, and while 1 was looking down I got a rude shock. From behind, cannon shells hit my left aileron, right wing and tire and missed my radiator by a narrow margin. The result was that my lateral control was unstable, my right flag was out of commission, the tire was burst and my landing gear was damaged."

Waterdown Flyer Mentioned
Green, recently appointed flight commander, also saw fragments fly off the aircraft he attacked but lost sight of it later and could only claim it as "damaged."
Other Canadians from the squadron who helped repel the Nazi attackers included Flight-Lieut. John P. McColl, Waterdown, Ont.; Pilot-Officers R.I. Alpine Smith, Regina; Jack Brookhouse, Montreal; Lloyd Stewart, Fair Hills, Sask.; Harold Charlesworth, Chemainis, Vancouver Island; Richard A. Ellis, Montreal; Warrant Officer J.D. Stevenson, Winnipeg; Flight-Sgt .Stewart Pearce, Toronto, and Sgt. W.F. Aldcorn, Gouverneur, Sask. Warrant Officers Francis MacRae, Montreal navigator, and Sgt. Pilot Albert Attwell, of Toronto, both agree "you're safer in the air than on the ground."
MacRae came back from a hazardous bombing trip to a French arms center. After reporting to the intelligence officer, he went to the officers’ mess for a hot drink before retiring. The mess floor had been freshly polished and as he walked in the door he slipped and fell and fractured his left knee.
Attwell also came through the perils of a bombing attack across the channel. Returning from St. Nazaire, his aircraft crashed into a hill in England and he suffered a fracture of the left leg.
The two Canadians share neighboring beds in the same hospital.


Wing Commander Is Missing

Edmonton, May 7, 1943 (CP) — Wing Cmdr. Howard R Blatchford, D.F.C., of Edmonton, leader of a squadron of Spitfire pilots overseas, is missing after air operations, word received here said. Wing Cmdr. Blatchford is one of Edmonton's best-known fliers and has several enemy planes to his credit. He is the son of the late Kenneth Blatchford, former mayor of Edmonton, and Mrs. [Grace] Blatchford. Edmonton’s airport — Blatchford Field was named after Wing Cmdr. Blatchford's father.


Air Force Casualties

Ottawa, June 10, 1943 - (CP) - The R.C.A.F. in its 598th casualty list of the war, containing 52 names, tonight listed six men as killed on active service overseas and 12 men as missing on active service after overseas air operations. Fourteen men were listed as previously reported missing on active service in Newfoundland and now officially presumed dead. The list contained no casualties suffered in Canada. Included in the list, with next of kin:
BLATCHFORD, Howard Peter. D.F.C., Wing Cmdr. Missing after air operations overseas. Mrs. K.A. Blatchford (mother), Didsbury, Alta.


Air Force Casualties

Ottawa, Dec. 8, 1943 — The Department of National Defense for Air today issued the following casualty list of the Royal Canadian Air Force (No. 748) with next of:
BLATCHFORD. Howard Peter, D.F.C., W/C previously reported missing on active service overseas, now for official purposes presumed dead. Mrs. K.A. Blatchford (mother), Didsbury, Alta.


His last words were:

"I'm going down! I'm going down!"

Victories Include :

17 Oct 1939
  2 Oct 1940
11 Nov 1940

17 Nov 1940
19 Mar 1941
11 May 1941
18 Feb 1942
25 Apr 1942
18 Mar 1943

  4 Apr 1943
  2 May 1943
1/4 He.111
1/2 Do.17
1¼ BR.20
two CR.42s
one BF.109E
one Ju.88
one He.111
1/2 Do.217
one FW.190
one FW190
one FW190
two FW.190s
one FW190
20-30 m E Whitby
off Harwich
all off Harwich
SE of Harwich
E of Southbold
NE Happisburgh
E of Withernsea
NW of Le Treport
off Voorne, Holland

Off Dutch coast

41 Sqn
17 Sqn

257 Sqn [a]
   ''  (night)
Digby Wing
Coltishall Wing

6 / 3 / 4.5

[a] During Italian Air Force raids on Britain

Score from Aces High 2nd Ed. - Shores & Williams


BLATCHFORD. HOWARD PETER (Cowboy). W/C (P) 37715 - D.F.C., M.i.D. - No.257 Burma Squadron (Thay Myay Gyee Shwe Hii). Lost in the English Channel while escorting bombers to Amsterdam. Blachford destroyed five enemy aircraft (2 shared) during the Battle of Britain while flying Hurricanes with 17 Sqdn. He had been flying Spitfires with 41 Sqdn. when war broke out. In April of 1941 he was assigned to 212 Photo Reconnaissanc Unit at Heston, England. Wing Commander Pilot Blatchford has no known grave, his name is inscribed on the Runnymede War Memorial. Englefield Green, Egham, Surrey, England.


*  1/4 share - Heinkel-111 on October 17th 1939


--- Canadian Aces ---



On these pages I use Hugh Halliday's extensive research (which includes info from numerous sources), newspaper articles via the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC) as well as other sources both published and private