HAMILTON DISTRICT AIRMEN
Born in Hamilton, Ontario, 8 June 1922.
By P.O. H. R. McDONALD, A Canadian Airfield in
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 dusk yesterday. In addition, R.C.A.F. pilots chalked up a number of enemy planes probab1y shot down and a number bf 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 operations. 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: Flt. Lts. Irving Kennedy, Cumberland, Ont.; G. R. Patterson, Kelowna, B.C.; J. F. 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 Flying Officers W. J. Banks, Leaside, Ont. and G. H. Farquharson, Corbyville, Ont.
Wing Cmdr. Johnson's score of two brought his total of enemy planes downed to 32, equaling the mark set by Group Capt. 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 wire damaged by fliers of the R.C.A.F.
Of the wings comprising Group Capt, W. (Bill) MacBrien's R.C.A.F. sector, the one led by 22-year-old Wing Cmdr, 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 Wing Cmdr. 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.
June 30, 1944 - A veteran Hamilton Spitfire pilot, who
shot down a Hun fighter over the invasion beaches on June 7, the day after
D-day, blasted another from the skies over France yesterday to help boost
the Canadian record for the day to 26 enemy planes destroyed. He is Flight-Lieut.
G. W. Johnson, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Johnson, 102 Beachwood Avenue.
Dispatches from overseas carry no details on individual dog fights, but reveal it was the greatest day of the war for fighter pilots from the Dominion.
Flight-Lieut. Johnson, who served in Canada for a year before being posted overseas late last spring, has been on operations nearly a year. He may have completed a tour of operations and be well into a second.
A former student at Prince of Wales School and Central High School of Commerce, he was employed by the Steel Company of Canada at the time of his enlistment. His father is a veteran of the last Great War.
Flight-Lieut. S. H. R. Cotterill, formerly of Beamsville, who shot down four planes on the night the invasion was launched, is a friend of Flight-Lieut. Johnson. Flight-Lieut. Cotterill instructed him when he was in training at the Dunnville station.
F/L George Johnson Has Destroyed Four Enemy Planes, Damaged Several
4 August 1944 - Another Hamilton fighter pilot has achieved the enviable record of four
enemy planes destroyed and a score more damaged and probably destroyed.
He is Flt.-Lt. George W. Johnson, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Johnson,
102 Beechwood Avenue, who knocked down another Hun fighter over Normandy
battlefields yesterday. Flt.-Lt William Olmsted,
son of Major R. I. Olmsted, M.C., and Mrs. Olmsted, and Flt.-Lt. Jack
Bamford, D.F.C., share the record of four "certain kills” Flt.-Lt.
Bamford is now missing.
According to a Canadian Press dispatch from France, "three German aircraft were destroyed over the battlefronts yesterday by Canadian Spitfire pilots flying from Normandy bases. One fell to Flt.-Lt. R. R. Bouskill, of Toronto; one to Flt,-Lt. R. H. Cull, of Alberta, and one to Flt.-Lt. Johnson.
Now into his second tour of operations, Flt.-Lt. Johnson has scored at least three of his kills since D-day.
He was posted overseas last June after having served for a year as instructor in Canada. He was awarded his wings at Dunnville. Employed in the offices of the Steel Company of Canada, prior to his enlistment, he attended Prince of Wales School and Central High School of Commerce. His father is a Great War veteran.
According to today's dispatch from overseas, the Canadians are members of a squadron commanded by Sqdn.-Ldr. Charlie Trainor, of Charlottetown, and their victories raised to 92 since D-day the score of the wing led by Wing Cmdr. Dal Russel, of Montreal. An individual victory was marked up Wednesday by F/O Terry Saunderson, of Dorval, Que., who forced a German pilot to bale out at 3,000 feet.
JOHNSON, F/L George William (J9262) - Distinguished Flying
Cross - No.401 Sq.
Award effective 20 October 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 2637/44 dated 8 December 1944.
This officer is a highly capable and skilful flight commander. Within a short period recently he has destroyed five enemy aircraft. He has also damaged a great deal of enemy transport on the ground. His leadership and zeal for operations have been a fine example to all
Coveted Crosses Mark Distinguished Work in Battering Supply Lines of Enemy
Dec 12, 1944 - Five Hamilton fighter pilots who helped chase the Germans across France, Belgium and Holland, have earned the air force award for bravery, the Distinguished Flying Gross. The total was raised to five today with reports from overseas that Flt.-Lieut John Lumsden, 21 Mapleside avenue, and Flt.-Lieut. Harold Nixon, 137 Stinson street, had merited the decoration. All five operated from the same landing strip in France, battering Hun supply and communication lines.
Won Bar to Cross
Earlier it was reported that Flight Lieut. George W. Johnson, 102 Beechwood Avenue, had been awarded the D.F.C. and later a bar. He is a leading Hamilton ace, with at least eight enemy planes to his credit. Having completed operations, he is now doing an instructional tour in England.
Squadron Ldr. William A. Olmsted, D.F.C., of 15 Chedoke Avenue, won his decoration in France after considerable service in the Middle East.
Flying Officer Lloyd F. Berryman, D.F.C., 657 King street east, was another Hamilton pilot to win the D.F.C. in France.
Only two of the local airmen were with the same squadron but all operated from the same landing strip in Normandy.
About the time Flight Lieut. Nixon was reported missing, the Allied armies had started to move and the remaining Hamiltonians moved up with them.
By the time Flight Lieut. Berryman left for home, they were operating from Holland. Squadron Ldr. Olmsted is now in England, and will be home soon. Flight Lieut. Lumsden is believed to be still on ops. Flying from the original landing strip were two other Hamiltonians, and the record of five awards out of seven is considered a mighty fine score.
Friends of P/O Murray Havers and F/L George Johnson will have an opportunity of hearing their voices at 7:15 tonight when CKOC will broadcast an interview which was recorded in Normandy after recent engagements in which they participated. F/L Johnson is the son of Mrs. W.H. Johnson, 102 Beechwood Avenue, and P/O Havers is the son of Mrs. Charles Havers, 1 Lloyd Street.
JOHNSON, F/L George William, DFC (J9262) - Bar to DFC - No.401 Squadron
Award effective 24 November 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 1/45 dated 5 January 1945.
Since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Flight Lieutenant Johnson has continued his attacks against the enemy with great success. On two recent occasions while he was leading his squadron large formations of enemy aircraft were destroyed and two were damaged. Flight Lieutenant Johnson has destroyed three and damaged one enemy aircraft. In addition he has destroyed a large number of enemy mechanical transport vehicles, often in the face of intense anti-aircraft fire. Flight Lieutenant Johnson continues to display outstanding courage and coolness in the face of danger.
| 7 June 1944
27 June 1944
28 June 1944
7 July 1944
27 July 1944
3 Aug 1944
19 Aug 1944
25 Sept 1944
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--- 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