Beurling Fights Again, Bags Nazi Over France
London, Sept. 24, 1943 - (CP) - Canadian flying aces
in some of the most productive aerial fighting since the days of the Battle
of Britain three years ago destroyed five enemy fighters today in widespread
actions over France.
F/O George (Buzz) Beurling of Verdun, Que.,
marked his long-sought return to action by shooting down a Focke-Wulf
190 to raise his score of enemy planes to 30.
Maintaining the blistering pace set by R.C.A.F. night Mosquito fliers,
the Canadian pilots knocked out of the sky 5 of the 20 enemy planes downed
by Fighter Command during the day.
Three of four German fighters shot down Thursday night were victims of
Canadian airmen. F/L M. W. Beveridge of Montreal destroyed two and F/O
J. R. F. Johnson of Omemee, Ont., got one.
Flying with the Wolf Squadron under S/L Norman Fowlow
of Windsor, N.S., Beurling saw the FW-190 above him. He circled and tore
off the enemy's port wing with a single burst.
W/C L. V. Chadburn of Aurora, Ont., and F/L
J. D. Mitchner of Saskatoon shared one of the day's bag. The
others fell to Wing Cmdr. Hugh Godefroy of
Toronto, who has just taken over command of a Canadian fighter wing; F/L
Robert Buckham of Vancouver, leader of the Red
Indian Squadron, and W/C E. F. J. Charles of
Vancouver, who flies with the R.A.F.
Buckham, who also was credited with damaging one plane, blew an FW190
to bits after chasing it from 20,000 feet almost to the ground. It was
his second victory in five days.
In one of the sweeps by Godefroy's squadron - he was squadron leader of
the Wolf Squadron before his new appointment – P/O William F. Cook
of Clinton, Ont., dived his Spitfire to low level to put out of service
a French freight engine, although flak from the train broke part of one
Beurling had been yearning to get back into combat flying ever since he
was stationed in Malta where he ran his score of enemy planes downed from
two to 29.
He transferred from the R.A.F. to the R.C.A.F. on Sept 1 to "get
back into the air." He had been assigned to an instructor's job in
an R.A.F. gunner school after his return to Britain from a leave in Canada.
Born in Saskatoon, 3 July 1914;
home there (salesman).
Enlisted in Vancouver, 26 October 1940.
No.2 ITS (5 January to 7 Feb. 1941)
No.8 EFTS (8 February to 29 March 1941) and
No.10 SFTS (10 April to 8 July 1941).
Arrived in UK on 16 August 1941.
Served in several RAF units before going to
No.402 Squadron (17 Nov 1942 to 22 Feb. 1944)
Second tour began with :
No.421 Squadron (13 Aug 1944),
No.416 Squadron (28 Sept 1944 to 15 Jan 1946).
Award presented at Buckingham Palace 29 June '45
Returned to Canada, 31 March 1946;
Served in postwar RCAF,
Rising to the rank of Wing Commander.
Retired in 1960
Died in Penticton, 8 December 1964.
Awards List in RCAF
Ottawa, Nov. 12, 1943 (CP) In one of its biggest list of decorations for Canadian airmen, the R.C.A.F. announced tonight the award of one bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross, 28 Distinguished Flying Crosses, and four Distinguished Flying Medals to R.C.A.F. men overseas. In addition, the list included six awards to R.C.A.F. men for gallant and prompt action. The list of D.F.C. and D.F.M. winners, with next of kin, include:
F/L J. A. Morton, Mrs. Rosaline I. Ross (mother), Saskatoon
F/L M. K. A. Cybulski, Mrs. Barbara Cybulski (mother), Renfrew, Ont.
S/L C. C. Moran, Mrs. F. Moran (mother), Trenton, Ont.
F/L J. D. Mitchner, C. D. Mitchner (father), Saskatoon
S/L M. W. Beveridge, J. B. Beveridge (father), Westmount, Que.
F/L R. T. Phipps, Harry V. Phipps (father) Strome, Alberta
MITCHNER, F/L John Davidson (J16799) - DFC - No.402
Award effective 26 October 1943 as per London Gazette dated 9 November
AFRO 358/44 dated 18 February 1944.
This officer has completed a large number of sorties
including several very successful attacks on shipping. He is a most determined
and able leader whose confidence in action have proved inspiring in combat.
Flight Lieutenant Mitchner has destroyed three enemy aircraft.
500 American Bombers Blast Submarine Base In Biggest
London, Nov. 3, 1943 (AP) — The largest force of
heavy bombers ever sent out by the United States Air Force — probably
500 or more — battered its way with long-range fighter protection
through strong German opposition to smash the important port and naval
base of Wilhelmshaven and other targets in Northwestern Germany today.
The raiding force destroyed 34 German planes, 18 falling to the heavy
bombers and 16 being shot down by the escorting fighters. In other daylight
operations over Occupied France and Holland, Spitfire pilots knocked down
12 German fighters, all but one being victims of Canadian pilots. Medium
bombers destroyed two, bringing the total loss for the day to 48 for the
The total Allied losses for the day were five heavy bombers, two medium
bombers and three fighters, a joint Air Ministry and United States Air
Force communiqué said.
The cross-Channel air war continued after dark with a short alert in London—indicating
Britain's 13th German raid in 19 nights—and German radio stations
went off the air, often a sign that the R.A.F. is raiding the Continent.
(D.N.B., German agency, said in a broadcast that the R.A.F. bombed Cologne
The record raid by the heavy bombers followed earlier sweeps over the
Continent by 8th Air Force medium bombers escorted by R. A. F., Dominion
and Allied Spitfires in attacks on enemy airfields at St. Andre de L’Eure
and Tricqueville in France and Amsterdam-Schipol in Holland.
In other operations Typhoon bombers raided shipping along the French coast,
damaging 12 barges and four boats
Today's attack was the sixth American raid on Wilhelmshaven and the third
assault on which escorts went all the way to the target and back with
the bombers but it was the fighters' longest trip. The other two-way trips
were to Emden, a little short of Wilhelmshaven,
Vigorous opposition by groups of as many as 75 German fighters were reported
by the fliers. But, they were unanimously enthusiastic about the way the
two-engine twin-tail Lightnings — flying close to the bombers while
Thunderbolts provided high and surrounding cover—kept the Germans
on the run.
Nine of the German fighters destroyed by Spitfires were victims of an
R.C.A.F. fighter wing commanded by Wing Cmdr. Lloyd V. Chadburn
of Aurora, Ont., and were destroyed as the fighters protected Allied bombers
raiding Schipol Airdrome at Amsterdam. The other two were shot down by
Sqdn, Ldr. Charles Magwood of Toronto and Flt.
Lt. John Sherlock of Calgary while escorting bombers in a raid on St.
Andrew de L’Eure Airport in France.
Chadburn and Flt Lt, Jack Mitchner of Kitchener, Ont., each got two planes.
Other Canadian victors: Flt. Lt. Danny Noonan,
Kingston, Ont., 1½ planes; Flt. Lt. Arthur Sager, Vancouver, one-half
plane; Flt. Lt. Doug Booth, Vancouver, Flt. Lt. Jeff Northcott,
Minnedosa, Man., and a Toronto flying officer named Jacobs, one each.
Cut Excellent Airfield From Netherlands Bush
By MARGARET ECSER with the RCAF in Holland,
April 2, 1945 - (CP) - An RCAF Spitfire wing now flies from a
made-to-measure airdrome sliced out of a Netherlands forest.
As one airman put it, "It's like a summer camp in Northern Ontario
-except there's no place to fish."
Six weeks ago, this was a young pine wood. Today it's a "super"
airfield, but the forest still crowds around its fringes and among the
trees Nissan huts, where RCAF personnel live, have been built.
''Best and Safest"
"It's the best and safest airfield we've ever had," said the
commanding officer, pointing out the double-perimeter track, one for aircraft,
the other for transport, and the wide, safe runways of metal mesh that
won't be muddy in any weather.
From those strips Canadian Spitfires fly on patrols over the British 2nd
Army lines and escort heavy and medium bombers on the way to blast German
cities. Sqdn. Ldr. Danny Brown of Elm Park, N.J., commands the Red Indian
Squadron: Sqdn. Ldr. T. D. Mitchner, Saskatoon, the City of Oshawa Squadron,
and Sqdn. Ldr. Art Sager of Vancouver, the Hornet Squadron.
On one side of the field is the brain center of the airfield, the control
tower caravan which helps make this a super airfield. Sqdn. Ldr. Reg.
Fisher of Toronto described how difficult it was to control an airfield
with planes landing at both ends. In the glass dome of the caravan, Flt,
Lt. Ivan Tinkess of Orangeville, Ont., earphones on his head, seemed to
be answering a dozen telephones as he brought in planes from one fighter
squadron. There's so much strain on the job that most control officers
can work only five or six hours.
Brought Him In
While a lost pilot was being guided back, FO. Johnny Maffre of Montreal
came into the caravan to say "Thanks for helping me get back this
morning, boys. I didn't think for a while that I'd make it." He had
been flying over the front line when his engine started to splutter.
The flight lieutenant called to the squadron leader that "there's
a kite upstairs with his wheels half way down and they're stuck. He's
almost out of gas:'
Sqdn. Ldr. Bill Boggs of Noranda, Que., the station's chief technical
officer, was on the job in a few seconds. He watched the plane and relayed
advice to the pilot until finally someone shouted the wheels had shaken
In one hut near the field, PO. Wallace Tobey, of Tara, Ont., Flt. Lt.
Ted Neapole of Montreal and Flt. Lt. Jerry Anglin of Ottawa were writing
letters around a brisk fire. Wide windows at each end of the but let in
light and the walls were gay with pin-up girls. Expeditions into ruined
German towns not far away netted the men a radio, end tables for their
camp cots and as many mirrors as you'll find in a camp for women.
MITCHNER, S/L John Davidson, DFC (J16799) - Bar
to DFC - No.416 Squadron
Award effective 6 July 1945 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 1453/45 dated 14 September 1945.
Medal presented 22 February 1947.
This officer has completed many sorties against the enemy
since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He has consistently
displayed a high degree of skill and determination and has been responsible
for the destruction of ten enemy aircraft. One day in April 1945, Squadron
Leader Mitchner led two armed reconnaissances, resulting in the destruction
of forty-five motor transport, whilst more than another 100 were damaged.
His devotion to duty has been most commendable.
Victories as follows :
17 Jan 1943
27 July 1943
5 Sep 1943
8 Sep 1943
24 Sep 1943
27 Sep 1943
3 Oct 1943
3 Nov 1943
25 Sep 1944
27 Sep 1944
29 Sep 1944
8 Dec 1944
probable (EN767) 
 Shared with Bruce Innes
(serials given in Chris Shores, Aces High, 2nd edition)
MITCHNER, S/L John Davidson, DFC (J16799) - Netherlands
Flying Cross - No.416 Sq.
Awarded 1 January 1946 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 183/46 dated 22 February 1946.
Commanded No.416 from November 1944 to January 1946. The unit should perhaps
No.421 Squadron, given that he was with that unit in the period cited
This officer has been awarded the Netherlands Flying
Cross for distinguishing himself during the operations near Arnhem from
September 17 to 25, by deeds of initiative, courage and perseverance and
showing in every respect an uncommon devotion to duty and a great tenacity
Public Record Office Air 2/9642 has recommendation which
reads differently and gives rank as Flight Lieutenant :
This officer is a pilot and flight commander of outstanding
ability. During the invasion of Holland, as squadron commander, he participated
in many successful sorties in support of the First Airborne Division at
Arnhem. During these operations large formations of enemy aircraft were
encountered. Flight Lieutenant Mitchner enabled his squadron to destroy
at least 18 enemy aircraft, while may more were damaged and probably destroyed.
Flight Lieutenant Mitchner himself destroyed five aircraft. Throughout
the operations Flight Lieutenant Mitchner set a very fine example.
--- Canadian Aces ---