Paralyzing Blows Dealt Enemy In Air Raids on Sicily,
Son of Percy S. and Annie M. Gosling, of Victoria, B.C.
GOSLING, F/O Leslie Cyril (J9359) - Distinguished Flying
Cross - No.229 Squadron
Award effective 16 June 1943 as per London Gazette dated 18 June 1943 &
AFRO 1459/43 dated 30 July 1943 &
August 17 by the Globe and Mail which states "since reported missing"
This officer has completed a very large number of sorties including attacks on airfields, port installations and industrial targets. In air combat he has destroyed four enemy aircraft and damaged others. In one engagement he shot down two Junkers 88 which were escorting two merchant vessels. This officer has displayed great skill and keenness, setting a fine example.
Valetta, Malta, 14 July 1943 — (CP Cable) — Led by a sharpshooting
team, the Canadian Kids of the Malta flying garrison blasted more enemy
planes from the sky Tuesday over Sicily as the R.A.F. maintained its relentless
drive against Axis attempts to hamper the Allied invasion,
From dawn to dusk Allied fighters destroyed 22 enemy planes against a loss of only two Spitfires.
F/L Leslie Gosling, D.F.C., North Battleford, Sask., and S/L George Hill, Pictou, N.S., continued their meteoric climb with a double kill each during the last 24 hours. Gosling brought his total up to 11 enemy aircraft downed.
Among the other Canadians prominent in Tuesday's battles were F/O George Keith, Taber, Alta., and F/O Reginald Morris, Windsor, Ont., both of whom made double claims.
Hill, who only Monday returned to the squadron after being forced down behind British lines at Sicily, destroyed a Focke Wulf 190 for a total of 13 since joining the R.C.A.F. Gosling shot down an ME109 after a duel with the enemy pilot. It was his fifth enemy plane in a week and doubled his previous total.
Valetta, Malta, 15 July 1943 - (CP Cable) - Canadians
engaged in the unceasing air war over Sicily from bases here maintained
their record for double kills yesterday, although the air fighting tapered
off from the blistering pace set earlier in the week.
F/O George Keith, of Taber, Alta., destroyed a Messerschmitt 109 and shared in the destruction of a second with an English squadron mate. F/O Bennet Clarke, of Edmonton, was credited with a probable after a fight with an Italian machine.
Sgt. William Hockey, of Kentville, N.S.; F/O John Stock, of Ottawa, and P/O W. J. Anderson, of Woodlawn, Ont., were all credited with damaging one each.
Starting the Canadians off in their quest for double kills in this area this week were S/L George Hill, D.F.C. and Bar, of Pictou, NS. and F/L Leslie Gosling, D.F.C., of North Battleford, Sask., who brought down a quartet of German planes Tuesday. Hill, one of the top fighters in the R.C.A.F., brought his total of planes downed to 13, while Gosling jumped his score to 11.
F/O Keith was also a double scorer earlier in the week, bringing down a couple Tuesday. Yesterday's count gave him a total of 3½ planes for a 48-hour period.
Ottawa, 18 July 1943 - (CP) - Group Capt. C. R. Dunlap of
Vancouver is in command of the R.C.A.F. Wellington bomber wing which is
helping soften the Axis defenses on Sicily, the R.C.A.F. announced Saturday.
The headquarters statement said the Canadian bomber men based in North Africa and a Malta-based Canadian Spitfire squadron have won "special commendation" from Maj.-Gen. James Doolittle, Commander of the North African strategical air force.
Among new Canadian aces is S/L George Hill, D.F.C. and Bar, of Pictou, N.S., who scored a double “kill” this week and raised his total to 13 destroyed. He was forced down twice in two days and both times returned to combat.
Another top scorer is F/L Leslie Cyril Gosling, D.F.C., of North Battleford, Sask., who destroyed five aircraft in the seven days ended Tuesday, bringing his total score since posting to Malta to 10 enemy aircraft.
Written for the Canadian Press By F/L BASIL DEAN, RCAF, LONDON, 14 Aug. 1943 — Seventeen Canadian fighter aces of the present war have accounted for more than 220 enemy aircraft in the various theatres of war.
They flew in operations ranging from Dunkirk and the Battle of Britain to the Sicilian campaign. Between them they have won at least 34 decorations for gallantry.
Early in the war a young Canadian fought his way into "Ace" category. He was Willie McKnight, a pilot in the RAF from Calgary, who flew in the famed "All-Canadian" squadron led by W/C Douglas Bader, DSO, who was then a squadron leader.
Over Dunkirk and in the Battle of Britain, McKnight destroyed 16½ enemy aircraft and won the DFC and Bar. He was reported missing in 1941 following one of the early RAF sweeps over France.
With him in those early days flew another Canadian, S/L Stanley Turner, DFC and Bar, of Toronto, who is also in the RAF. Turner, now leader of the City of Windsor Spitfire Squadron in Sicily, was a flight commander in the "All-Canadian" squadron when Bader commanded it. He now has a total "bag" of 14 enemy aircraft destroyed.
During 1941 a third Canadian in the RAF, S/L E.F.J. Charles, DFC and Bar, of Lashburn, Sask., was achieving a big reputation. At the most recent count, Charles has destroyed 15 enemy aircraft, of which six were knocked down in 1941. He is still flying on operations and leading an RAF Spitfire squadron from a British base.
Fighting over Malta during 1942 gave great opportunities to fighter pilots and it is known now that 25 per cent of all fighter pilots on the island during its great bombing ordeal were Canadians.
Leader of them all, of course, is F/O George Beurling, DSO, DFC, DFM and Bar, of Verdun, Que. He has 29 destroyed.
S/L R. C. (Moose) Fumerton, DFC and Bar, of Fort Coulonge, Que., a night fighter, destroyed 13 enemy aircraft, all during darkness.
TOTAL EXCEEDS 20
W/C Mark Brown, DFC and Bar, of Glenboro, Man., who was killed in action in Africa early last year, had destroyed 18 enemy aircraft when he gained the Bar to his DFC. Subsequently he destroyed several more and his total is known to be more than 20.
S/L R.W. (Buck) McNair, DFC and Bar, of North Battleford, Sask., commander of the RCAF Red Indian Spitfire squadron in Britain, has a score of 12 destroyed. He got eight of these over Malta last year, the remaining four on sweeps over northern France since he returned to operations after a rest in Canada.
Most successful RCAF Spitfire pilot over Malta was F/L Henry Wallace McLeod, DFC and Bar, of Regina, with a score of 13 destroyed at the time he left the island.
F/L F.E. Jones, DFC, of Cloverdale, B.C. destroyed seven over the island, left Malta at the same time as his good friend McLeod.
In Malta F/L L. Gosling, DFC and Bar, of Battleford, Sask., began piling up a score towards the end of the campaign and his total at the time of his second award stood at 10. He now is missing.
VICTORIAN GETS 20
S/L V.C. Woodward of Victoria, B.C., who joined the RAF in 1938, has destroyed 20 enemy aircraft and now holds the DFC and Bar. He commands an RAF fighter squadron in the Mediterranean theatre.
George Hill of Pictou, N.S., fighting in Sicily at the head of an RAF fighter squadron, has a count of 13 destroyed.
W/C James E. Walker, DFC and two Bars, of Edmonton, is the only member of the RCAF to be awarded the DFC three times. He led an RAF Spitfire squadron in the North African campaign and accounted for 10½ enemy aircraft destroyed.
Also in the North African campaign was F/L J.F. Edwards, DFC, DFM, of Battleford, Sask., whose record at the time of his DFC award stood at eight enemy aircraft destroyed. He now has eight enemy aircraft destroyed.
RECORD IN BRITAIN
Top scorers of the RCAF wing in Britain are two members of the Wolf squadron — S/L Hugh Godefroy, DFC, of Toronto, the squadron commander, who has six to his credit, and F/L H. D. MacDonald, DFC, also of Toronto, who has destroyed eight.
Probably the most brilliant fighter pilot who ever flew with the RCAF in Britain was F/L Don Morrison, DFC, DFM, of Vancouver, who now is a prisoner of war. Morrison was awarded the DFM in July this year, several months after he had been shot down over France and suffered loss of a leg. The citation recorded the fact he had destroyed 15 enemy aircraft.
Morrison's score of 15 destroyed puts him at the head of the list of RCAF fighter pilots. The only Canadians ahead of him did their scoring with the RAF.
F/L Jones 'Spitfire Man'
F/L Jones, 26, visited his parents in Abbotsford last January following participation in air battles at Malta when he flew with Beurling.
At that time, he told of watching 10 RCAF Spitfires tear into 80 enemy planes and "when the smoke cleared away, our 10 Spitfires were still riding high."
Jones' reputation in the ranks is reflected in their nick-name for him, "Spitfire man of Malta." He joined the RCAF in 1940 and received the DFC in October 1942.
His brother, Thomas J., is over seas with the RCE.
S/L Woodward, 26, is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Woodward, 1587 Fairfield Street, Victoria. Born and educated in Victoria, he joined the RAF in 1938 and was a leading fighter pilot in the Western Desert campaign. He led a fighter squadron over Greece and Crete, and is now back on operations after a year as instructor in Rhodesia. He was awarded the DFC in April 1941, and the Bar was added to it this month.
London, 15 Aug. 1943 - (CP) - Awards of two bars to the Distinguished Flying Cross, four D.F.C.s and one Distinguished Flying Medal to members of the R.C.A.F. were announced tonight.
Bar to the D.F.C.:
Acting F/L Cyril Gosling, D.F.C., North Battleford, Sask. & Acting S/L Vincent McAuley, D.F.C., Toronto.
Acting F/L C. B. Robertson, Woodstock; F/O W. R. W. Anderson, Vancouver; F/O F. S. Foyston, Invermere, B.C. & F/O Geoffrey Gurner, Minaki, Ont.
Sgt. M. E. Plaxton, Victoria, B.C.
McAuley was shot down in a raid over Turin, bailed out, and subsequently escaped from an Italian hospital in Rome into Vatican City. He and two English prisoners who escaped to the Vatican with him, later were exchanged for Italian prisoners.
One of the Englishmen who escaped with him, F/S Frederick Nightingale, was awarded a D.F.M. in the same list. Nightingale is believed to have relatives in Windsor, Ont,
GOSLING, F/L Leslie Cyril, DFC (J9359) - Bar to DFC - No.229 Squadron
Award effective 18 July 1943 as per London Gazette dated 17 August 1943 and
AFRO 2005/dated 1 October 1943.
This officer has taken part in a very large number of sorties in the Middle East and in recent operations over Sicily. He has fought with great skill and determination and within a short period has shot down five enemy aircraft. Flight Lieutenant Gosling has led his flight and at times the squadron with great ability. He has destroyed nine hostile aircraft.
Ottawa, 26 Aug. 1943 - (CP) - The R.C.A.F. in its 664th casualty
list of the war, containing 15 names, reported tonight that five men were
killed on active service overseas, seven are missing on active service
after air operations and three men previously missing on active service
now are reported prisoners of war in Germany.
Following is the latest list of casualties with next-of-kin:
GOSLING, Leslie Cyril, D.F.C., F/L, missing on active service after air operations overseas. P.S. Gosling (father), North Battleford, Sask.
Ottawa, May 21, 1944 — The Department of National Defense for Air today issued casualty list No. 888 of the Royal Canadian Air Force, showing next of kin of those named from Ontario as follows (in part) :
Missing After Air Operations
DOWNER, William Watson, P/O J. A. Downer (father), Midland
Previously Missing - Now Officially Presumed Dead
GOSLING, Leslie Cyril, D.F.C. and Bar, F/L, North Battleford, Sask.
31 July 1942
9.5 / 0 / 4
Photo PL-10188 shows him
--- 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