Ottawa Flyer Wins D.F.M.;
Born in Ottawa, 17 November 1920
Ottawa, July 16, 1941 —(CP)— Death of 14
airmen, six in Canada and eight overseas, was reported today in the Royal
Canadian Air Force's 55th casualty list of the war.
Eleven men were listed missing overseas and one, Sgt. Robert Alldrick, of Grimsby, was reported as a prisoner of war, seriously wounded, after having been previously reported missing following a flying battle.
Today's list raised to 404 total Air Force dead and missing reported since the outbreak of hostilities.
A breakdown of the overseas casualties showed one was killed in a flying battle, six killed in flying accidents and one dead from natural causes. Two were listed missing, believed killed, six missing, after a flying battle, one missing after an operational flight and two missing after a flying accident, together with two dangerously injured and one seriously injured.
Missing, operational flight: Robillard, Joseph Guillaume Laurent, Sgt., Can. R54188, W. J. Robillard (father), Ottawa.
Evaded capture, reported safe in Gibraltar, 12 August 1941
ROBILLARD, Sergeant Joseph Guillaume Laurent (R54188)
- DFM - No.145 Squadron
Award effective 30 October 1941 as per London Gazette dated 11 November 1941 and
AFRO 1378/41 dated 21 November 1941.
One day in July 1941, this airman was the pilot of an aircraft which participated in an operational sweep over the Lille area. During the operations he observed one of our pilots descending by parachute. Believing it was his commanding officer who had been shot down, Sergeant Robillard escorted him down, but was himself attacked by nine enemy fighters. Nevertheless, he succeeded in destroying at least two of them. Sergeant Robillard has always displayed great keenness and initiative. He has destroyed at least three enemy aircraft.
Exploits of Fliers Sharpen Feeling That Dominion Is Really in the Conflict
2 French-Canadians Feted
Ottawa Gives Reception for Men Decorated Overseas
War Bill Is Advanced
By P. J. PHILIP
Special to The New York Times.
OTTAWA, June 6 ('42)—During the past week Canadians have come to feel more than ever before that they are really in the war. The long, weary time of preparation and training is over and thousands of Canadian-born and Canadian-trained airmen have shared in the great air offensive against Cologne, the Ruhr and the Nazi-occupied harbors and industries of Northern France.
Casualties have been relatively light, so much lighter than in the old infantry days on the Somme twenty-five years ago, but all the news from the other side on the effect of these tremendous raids within Germany and, by contrast, among Canadians in Britain, confirms the belief here that an offensive has begun that in one form or another will never cease until Nazi Germany succumbs.
There has been justified pride in the big share that Canadians have taken in this opening attack. Their pilots, navigators and bombers have revealed themselves as second to none and their fighters have always been where the battle was hottest. Their organization and ground work has also stood the tremendous test that these raids entailed.
Long View Held Justified
These events have taken everybody's mind back to this time two years ago when France was near defeat and capitulation, when the evacuation from Dunkerque was converted from a catastrophe into a new beginning only by the determination of Prime Minister Churchill, and when, despite all appearance of disaster, it was decided here and in London to take the long view and go on with the air training plan just as if there was plenty of time and nothing to worry about.
Speaking of that time, while presenting to Parliament the signed agreement for the continuation of the training plan, Prime Minister W. L. Mackenzie King said yesterday:
"The most severe test came quite early. It was in the Spring and Summer of 1940 when the prospect of immediate danger might well have discouraged long range planning for ultimate victory. But Canada never wavered in her belief in British courage and British resolution and in ultimate victory. This belief found its expression in our determination not only to go ahead with the plan but also to speed up and expand its development.
"This supreme act of faith was shared to the full by the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and other parties to the plan. And now, a very large proportion of the gallant young airmen from the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand who have taken part in these gigantic raids over Germany received their training in Canada, in schools of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. There could be no more dramatic or convincing evidence of the magnitude and effectiveness of the plan."
Two French-Canadians Feted
An intimate, local touch to this wide aspect of the war, with its new hopes, came yesterday evening in Ottawa when two French-Canadian fliers, Larry Robillard and Paul Emile Morin, both of whom received the Distinguished Flying Medal for service overseas, received a civic reception on Parliament Hill by the government, the civic authorities and a crowd of 10,000 spectators.
Of these two, Robillard had a most amazing adventure that cannot yet be entirely told because it involves persons in occupied France. He was shot down there and within a few minutes of his crash landing French peasants, came rushing up with civilian clothes. They seized his uniform and hid it and, dressed as a peasant, he helped to search for himself when the Germans arrived and urged everybody to search for the British airman. Later Robillard escaped from France. He told the crowd at his reception yesterday:
"I can tell you from my own experience that the vast majority of Frenchmen—yes, I can say all Frenchmen except perhaps for a few miserable Quislings—are hoping for an Allied triumph. France is praying for British success. Frenchmen know that England's victory will mean for them liberation from Nazi domination."
Wasteful Debates Scored
In curious contrast to the reputation that Canadians have been making for themselves outside of their own country is the daily scene in Parliament, where during thirty-five days speaker after speaker has been criticizing detail by detail the appropriation of $2,000,000,000 for war purposes. It is estimated that 3,000,000,000 words have been spoken during the debate. Even the members themselves have at last begun to tire. There was at least some applause when a Liberal member, Dr. J. K, Blair, burst out in protest against so much "foolish speaking" that took up the time of the House and wasted the money of the country.
"Talking incessantly is one of the things that destroys democracy," he declared. "'We all believe in freedom of speech, but this is just a waste of time." (nothing's changed eh?)
The appropriation has at last received a first vote, and this coming week it is believed that discussion of the troublesome matter of overseas service may be begun.
A British Port, Nov. 6 ’42 (CP).—An impressive
Royal Canadian Air Force contingent, by far the largest of the war and
made up of about 80 per cent air crew, landed here recently after a speedy
crossing of the Atlantic from Canada.
From this port they were whisked away to a reception depot for posting to various stations for operations or operational training.
The draft was met by Air Vice Marshal J.A. Sully, Winnipeg, air member for personnel in Canada the first time arriving airmen had been met by the executive whose job it normally is to arrange enlistment and transfer of fliers over here.
"You have come here to do a job," said the Air Vice-Marshal in addressing the arrivals. "You are going to do the finest job a man can do—that of cleansing the world and making it a decent place in which to live. It is your privilege to carry on the great traditions that Canadians have made and are making day and night in this epic period of world history.
"When this war is over you will have seen and done something to remember all your lives and be glad that at the crucial moment you did not falter or fail."
In command during the air contingent's crossing was Group Captain J. C. Malone of Regina and Edmonton. Conducting the draft was the largest and most experienced staff that ever crossed the Atlantic from Canada on convoy duty.
Members of the "Seagull Squadron," they have made many crossings and never lost a man.
A number of Air Force veterans were in the contingent, including Wing Commander A.C.P. Clayton of Victoria, former commanding officer of an R.C.A.F. medium bomber squadron; Pilot Officer J. G. Robillard, Montreal fighter pilot with eight enemy planes to his credit, and Flight-Lieutenant W. M. Lewis of Ottawa who has been instructing at home.
(A note on Larry's Little brother)
London, Nov. 15. ('43)—(CP Cable) — For the first time the R.C.A.F. has brought overseas a unit—Wildcat Fighter Squadron—complete in personnel and operational training,
With more than a year's Alaskan experience behind them, the Wildcats reached Britain ready for battle and with them were many graduates of Commonwealth Air Training Schools in Canada.
The Wildcats, now commanded by Squadron-Ldr. F.G. Grant, of 2515 Mayfair Avenue, Montreal, chalked up thousands of hours of operational flying in Arctic patrols and off Canada's east coast. They had flown on transfer from their east coast base 4,000 miles to Alaska, becoming the first unit to fly from coast to coast.
On receipt of overseas orders, the men flew their aircraft to Vancouver and turned them over to another R.C.A.F. unit, now the Wildcats are officially No. 113 Squadron.
No man was more pleased at the overseas order than Grant.
"Three or four times a week in Alaska some one would come in and ask to go overseas," he told dock-side interviewers. "I'm glad that's off my hands."
FO. Victor Willing, of Vancouver, the squadron adjutant, reported an excellent crossing.
Among arrivals were: Squadron-Ldr. H. A. Alcorn, of Moncton, N.B., of the R.A.F. Transport Command, returning from leave at home to study in India; PO. R. J. Robillard, 19, of Ottawa, who hopes to meet his brother, FO. Larry Robillard, D.F.M.; FO. D. E. Berry, A.F.C., Ottawa, an instructor at Uplands airport for two years.
In the group also were two Toronto policemen, PO. C. T. Peers and PO. G. E. Martin
By PO. STANLEY HELLEUR. A Canadian Airfield in France,
June 27 ('44) (CP) - Four more ME-109's fell today to sharpshooters of Sqdn. Ldr. Dal Russel's Canadian Spitfire squadron over France. Flt. Lt. Harry Dowding, D.F.C., of Sarnia, and FO. Stan McClarty of Winnipeg each destroyed two.
The squadron, one of the recently arrived units from Canada, now part of the Canadian wing led by Wing Cmdr. Johnny Johnson, spotted six Messerschmitts flying at low altitude and peeled to the attack from about 8.000 feet.
Both Dowding, who raised his own score to six destroyed, and McClarty were close on the tails of the victims when they made the kills. McClarty, for whom it was first blood, in fact, was so close he flew through the burning wreckage and scorched the propeller, starboard wing and elevator rudders of his Spit so badly the paint was peeled off.
One Big Sheet of Flame
"I guess I wasn't much more than 50 yards away from him when he blew up," the young redhead said. "He seemed to go up in one big sheet of flame and I was smelling fire and brimstone and burnt rubber. It was a little too close for comfort."
Only disappointed man in the squadron was FO. Larry Robillard, D.F.M., of Ottawa, who first went down to the attack and had two Me's as sitting ducks in front of him. "But when I pressed the button not a darned thing happened," he said. "The guns jammed. I'll never get a better chance than that."
Dowding's aircraft hadn't come to a full stop at its dispersal bay before his ground crew, led by LAC. Maurice Smith of Ottawa, the armorer, were on the wings and asking Dowding all about it. "That makes four Gerries knocked off by guns that I have worked on," said Smith.
Smith's coworkers were LAC. Johnny Christie, fitter, from Calgary, and LAC. Bill Rigby, rigger, from Winnipeg.
It was a 'first’ for McClarty's ground crew and one of their immediate problems was getting paint to inscribe two swastikas on the fuselage of the scorched aircraft LAC. Jack Smale of Montreal was the armorer; LAC. Charley Grasley, Lawson, Sask., the rigger, and Jack Squires, Tramping Lake, Sask., the fitter.
By P.O. H. R. McDONALD, A Canadian Airfield in France, 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
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. 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 FO. A. C. Brandon, Timmins, Ont.; FO. J. B. O'Sullivan, Vancouver; and PO. 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.AF. 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 FO. G. R. Stephen, Montreal; FO. Larry Robillard, Ottawa; FO. W. A. Gilbert, Dartmouth, N.S.; FO. Don Goodwin, Maynooth, Ont.; and FO. Tommy Wheler, 10 Beauford Rd., Toronto,
F'O. Klersy took a prominent part in athletics at St, Michael's College, playing hockey and rugby. He also rowed for his college, and was goalie for Ostrander's mercantile hockey team. Enlisting in June, 1941, he took aircrew training in Toronto, Oshawa and Dunnville and after nearly a year with a fighter squadron at Bagotville, FO. Klersy went overseas in May 1942.
The 21-year-year old airman is the son of Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Klersy, 14 Harcroft Rd.
|22 June 1941
02 July 1941
04 April 1942
28 June 1944
20 July 1944
23 Aug 1944
7 / 0 / 1
* during a dogfight with nine 109s, after which, he was shot down but evaded capture
--- Canadian Aces ---
Thanks to Larry's daughter for correcting his birthdate !
these pages I use info from the Air
force Association of Canada's web site
in Hugh Halliday's excellent Honors & Awards section,
newspaper articles via the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC)
as well as other sources both published and private