"By 1936, Canadians were enthusiastically applying for
RAF commissions. More than fifty applicants from all walks of life and
varied backgrounds, and for myriad different reasons, sailed to England
— at their own expense — to enlist. Doug (George) Christie
of Westmount had just graduated from McGill University; Bill Nelson and
Joe Laricheliere represented French and
English Canada from Montreal; John Boyle came from Casselman, Ont.; Lionel
Gaunce from Lethbridge had been a former corporal
in the Edmonton Militia Regiment; Robert "Butch" Barton,
from Kamloops, B.C., had given up his job as a bank teller; and Mark "Hilly"
Brown of Portage la Prairie, like Cowboy Blatchford
and Johnny Kent, just wanted to fly." *
John Greer Boyle RAF # 40204
Born 27 March 1914 in Casselman, Ontario
Son of Dr .William Joseph Patrick Boyle, B.A., &
Marie Catherine GREER Boyle, of Ottawa, Ontario
- (Married - 14 Dec 1910 in Russell County, Ontario)
Home in Ottawa
Got his private pilot's licence at the Ottawa Flying Club
Joined RAF in August 1937
Staff pilot with 1 Air Observer's School
5 OTU on 22 May 1940
Posted to 611 Squadron at Duxford, June 1940
Transferred to 41 Squadron, Hornchurch
KIA September 28, 1940
during the Battle of Britain
His Spitfire - X4426 - crashing near Charing in Kent
Buried in Lynsted (SS. Peter & Paul)
New Churchyard, Kent,
Row F, Grave 1
Commemorated on Page 11 of the
Second World War Book of Remembrance
"On September 5, twenty-two different German formations
attacked these targets within eight hours. In the midst of these raids,
John Boyle of 41 Squadron destroyed an Me 109, as did Jack Carpenter,
the transplanted navy pilot, while Roland Dibnah, one of Bader's pilots,
brought down a 110.
Boyle's combat report illustrated the intensity of the day's fighting:
I was Green 3 ... patrolling between Maidstone and
Ramsgate. Interception was made at 20,000 feet; enemy aircraft varying
from 16,000 to 22,000 feet. Green Section attacked bombers [Do 17s]
in line-astern formation. Seven or eight Me 109s were covering these
bombers. Three Me 109s came in between me and Green 1 and 2. I attacked
the most convenient e/a, starting to fire from above with quarter deflection
closing in to dead-astern. A four or five-second burst was enough.
The 109 broke up, with flame and smoke coming from the right-hand side;
it immediately rolled on its back and spun.
Dibnah's unit, 242 Squadron, had been practicing take-offs
and landings, and forming up with two other squadrons from Duxford. The
exercise had Leigh-Mallory's full blessing as well as the hearty approval
of the deputy chief of the Air Staff, Sholto Douglas. Bader had reduced
squadron take-off time to three minutes, but the Wing still had to form
up. Keith Park of 11 Group was not against the "Big Wing" formations
per se. Far from it. At the time of Dunkirk, he had initiated their use
in formations as large as four squadrons. But that was for offensive purposes
when there was lots of time to form up. Not so easily done defensively.
Rarely was it possible to detect the enemy's intentions until it reached
the coast, about twenty minutes' flying time from the centre of London.
It took all that time and more for the British fighters to reach 20,000
feet, so they had to be off the ground and climbing in a flash. For that
reason Park, for the most part, confined his formations to single squadrons,
two at the most, although on rare occasions this was increased to three.
Hugh Dowding said later that had Big Wings been used by 11 Group, a great
many more enemy bombers would have reached their targets. Park was even
more explicit: "Had I tried Bader's theories of the Big Wing,"
he said, "I would have lost the Battle of Britain." *
"(September 15, 1941) Butch Barton, flying from North
Weald with 249 Squadron, destroyed one Dornier 215 and shared in the destruction
During the morning raid over London, Jimmy Cochrane
of 257 — the "Burma" Squadron — spotted a Dornier
17 several thousand feet below him and dived at it, firing from the port
side as another Hurricane joined him attacking from the opposite beam.
Riddled by bursts from the scores of De Wilde rounds, the bomber flipped
over on its back like a dead fish and then plunged downward, trailing
smoke. One crew managed to jump clear, his parachute blossoming out before
the aircraft exploded in a shower of fragments just above the cloud layer.
In the afternoon assault, over the Thames Estuary, the same squadron again
encountered the enemy when they were bounced by yellow-nosed Me 109s.
Breaking away from the attack, Cochrane joined three others in clobbering
a Heinkel 111, which they forced down onto the mud flats at Foulness.
Ken Lawrence of 603 Squadron, flying a Spitfire from Hornchurch while
mixing it up with Me 109 fighter-escorts, succeeded in destroying one
and damaging two. This brought his string of victories to two-and-a-third
destroyed, two probably destroyed, and five damaged. Another Canadian
Spitfire pilot stationed at Hornchurch — with 41 Squadron —
also scored that day. East of London, Casselman native, John Boyle, chalked
up an Me 109 and shared in bringing down a Dornier with four others. Peter
O'Brian, now CO of 152 Squadron, shared in the destruction of a Heinkel
111 bomber with two of his squadron pilots.
Two Winnipeggers also distinguished themselves in the fighting. Smudger
Smith of 73 Squadron, flying a Hurricane out
of Debden, destroyed an Me 109 fighter, while Spitfire pilot Allan Edy
of 602 Squadron from Tangmere brought down a Dornier 17 bomber.
Total honors posted by the Canadians for the day were eleven enemy aircraft
destroyed, six of them bombers, five fighters; three probably destroyed,
two of them bombers, one a fighter; and four damaged of which three were
bombers and one a fighter. Six pilots shared in destroying another six
planes, all of them bombers, one in probably destroying a bomber and another
in damaging a fighter. This was altogether an impressive tally during
only two German raids and at a loss of only one pilot killed and two wounded,
neither seriously." *
"Despite the fact that the overall issue (the Battle of
Britain) had been decided on September 15, and September 27 had put a
halt to massive daylight raids on London, there was no let-up in combat.
For the moment, the Luftwaffe changed tactics to smaller bomber formations
of thirty Junkers 88s escorted by 200 to 300 fighters. On September 28,
the Germans launched two such attacks with London as the objective. That,
in tackling one of these gaggles, the best the RAF could do was to only
shoot down three German fighters was indicative of how exhausted the pilots
had become from the intensity of the demands made on them. Their losses
of sixteen aircraft and nine pilots — among them John Boyle of Casselman,
with 41 Squadron, whose record stood at four-and-a-fifth destroyed —
to achieve such a paltry score was another manifestation of how serious
their combat fatigue had become." *
John Boyle, Former Ottawa Boy, Killed Serving With RAF
Former Glebe Collegiate Student Wrote That He
“Would Not Be Happy To Miss Any Of This Show
Teaming with indomitable spirit of the RAF, a letter reached Mrs. Catherine Boyle of 36 Monk St. this morning from her son, flying officer John Greer Boyle after she had been notified during the weekend by cable from the British air ministry, that he had been killed in action on Saturday.
“Though I would like to be home,” he wrote, “I would not be happy to miss any of this show, even to take a few days off. You need not worry, I am quite satisfied and I may be home within a year.”
Ironical and touching under the circumstances, this letter will be treasured by the brave mother to whom now hero son will never return. Modestly as only a valiant air fighter could write, he expressed confidence in his safe emergence from the war and praised the bravery of the English people, saying that they are now used to air raids.
He said that the only light in England now is daylight and praised the convoy system for the plentiful supplies of food. The letter was written September 4th.
Killed In Action
F/O Jack Boyle, Ottawa member of the Royal Air Force and son of Mrs. Catherine Boyle, 36 Monk street, has been killed in air operations according to word from the British Air Ministry
Joined In 1937
The 26 year old airman had been in the RAF since August 1937, when he severed a five-year connection with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company’s head office here.
He was a fighter pilot attached to a Spitfire squadron and had rendered brilliant service. He had the distinction of participating in the epic battle at Dunkerque, where the RAF retained mastery of the skies to protect the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Allied troops.
Studied At Glebe
The late flying Officer was a former student at Glebe Collegiate. Sports and things aeronautical monopolized his free hours and these were naturally culminated when he secured his pilot’s license after a course of instruction at the Ottawa Flying Club.
Later he became an official of the club. His father, the late Dr. J. P. Boyle, whose practice was at Casselman, Ontario, died in 1924. Besides his mother, he is survived by a sister, Mrs. “Chick” Gilliard, Windsor, and two brothers, Patrick, Ottawa and Corporal Joseph, RCASC, Petawawa. Jack was a roman catholic and worshipped here at Blessed Sacrament church.
Beryl's boyhood home, 36 Monk Street Ottawa, Ontario
Victories Include :
|11 Aug 1940
05 Sept 1940
09 Sept 1940
15 Sept 1940
17 Sept 1940
5.58 / 0 / 0