Squadron Leader And Two of His Pilots Awarded Coveted
Daring and Skill of Canadians Bring Reward —
Formation Destroyed 30 German Planes in Few Weeks
London, Oct. 10, 1940 — (CP Cable) — Sqdn.-Ldr.
Ernest McNab, of Regina, and two members of the
Royal Canadian Air Force squadron he commands have been awarded the Distinguished
Flying Cross for the daring and skill with which they are helping beat
back the German air attacks on Britain.
Flying Officer Rod McGregor and Flying Officer
Dalzell Russel, both of Montreal, are the pilots who are honored with
The Canadian formation which has destroyed 30 Nazi bombers and fighters
in less than the seven weeks it has been in action, thus wins its first
awards for valor.
Born in Toronto, 9 December 1917
Son of Blair and Mary Russel
Home in Westmount, Quebec
Enlisted 15 September 1939
Trained at Trenton and Camp Borden
F/O 18 May 1940
F/L, 1 August 1941
With No.1 (F) Sq. 28 May 1940 to 26 Feb 1941
Promoted to S/L, 1 January 1942
Repatriated to Canada
He went overseas again in December 1942
Commanding Nos.411, 402, and 416 Squadrons
W/C, 8 July 1943
Headed Nos.17 and 127 Wings, July to Oct '43
At RCAF Overseas HQ, 20 Oct '43 to 1 May '44
Reverts to S/L, 1 May 1944
Took a cut in rank to command No.442 Sq.
- (1 May to 15 July '44)
Brother Hugh (442 sq) is KIA 16 June 1944 *
- Buried at St. Charles De Percy War Cemetery
Promoted to W/C again, 15 July 1944.
CO of No.126 Wing (15 July 1944 to 27 Jan '45)
Returned to Canada;
Released 3 July 1945.
Associated with postwar RCAF Auxiliary.
RUSSEL, F/O Blair Dalzell (C1319) - Distinguished
Flying Cross - No.1 (Can) Sq.
Award effective 25 October 1940 as per London Gazette of that date.
Flying Officer Russell [sic] has personally destroyed
five enemy aircraft and has assisted in the destruction of a sixth. He
has shown great keenness to attack the enemy.
Crew Pastes Ace of Spades In ‘Deadeye Dick's' Plane
(By D. E. Burritt) With the Royal Canadian Air Force
in Scotland, Jan. 6, 1941 - (CP) - The alarm bell sounded somewhere across
the muddy field and three youths in blue jumpers, rubber boots and woolen
toques leaped down from inspecting the Hurricane's motor. There was a
momentary flurry which ended with one lad in the cockpit and the other
two standing by, a drizzling rain beating in their faces. Suddenly the
plane began roaring, a red flare shot into the air and. pilots appeared
The two men standing on the ground grabbed a parachute that had been left
handy on the wing of the plane and helped harness it on to the tall youth
with fair, wavy hair who came racing across the mud, wearing his regular
uniform, sheep-lined boots and yellow life jacket.
In the cockpit the other youth in overalls sat nursing the motor until
the pilot climbed up on the wing and was ready to squeeze into the narrow
seat. In a couple of seconds F/O B. D. Russel of Montreal was strapped
to his seat and, with his head and face covered by helmet and oxygen mask,
sent his plane plowing through mud and Water that bordered the airport.
As the Hurricane was joined by two others, piloted by F/L Bev Christmas
and F/O G. G. (Kewpie) Hyde, both of Montreal, another flare warned hovering
aircraft to keep their distance. The flight turned suddenly into the wind
and roared away like a clap of thunder.
The alarm had been sounded only as an exercise. It was just an every-day
occurrence, and they came back again, disappointed at failing to sight
Russel's plane was wheeled back into "action" position and one
of the ground crew pulled out a duster to wipe away the mud from a spot
on the fuselage to reveal a playing card — the ace of spades.
The card was pasted and shellacked there by the ground crew who hoped
it would bring "plenty of luck" to Russel, to whom they referred
as "Deadeye Dick." There was no special reason for the pseudonym,
other than "he's brought down some Jerries and has won the D.F.C.
But they didn't apply it in front of Russel. “He might not like
it, because he's a very modest chap.”
Russel had leaped from the plane and had disappeared only a few seconds
before the crew were back on their perches, again examining everything
from engine to rudder. "This is one part of the game where no chances
are taken," explained one youth, his face hidden by a mask of grease
and black oil. "This crate gets more attention than a spoiled baby."
After watching the crew at work you readily understand what the rigger
meant. And if you didn't, Leading Aircraftman Victor King of Westmount,
Que., was ready to explain further. In his quiet way king told of his
duties as "fitter," especially when the plane returned from
Numerous patches where bullets had punctured the fabric were outlined
by the 20-year-old "fitter" who rammed his long screwdriver
into the leg of is his rubber boot and used both hands to measure off
a big square section that had been blown out by a cannon shell. He was
pretty indignant about that and smoothed over the patch as if it were
newly added. But he found some solace in something he had been told.
"I don't think we'll be bothered by many more of those," he
said, "now that we're adding cannon to our fighters."
April 4, 1941 - ...one of the aircraftmen had
been stationed at the same station as Flying Officer Blair Dalzell Russel,
D.F.C., Montreal flier who recently came back to Canada on leave with
Wing Commander McNab, "A good bloke, a regular guy," was the
way the R.A.F. flier described the Montrealer, and told a story of how
F.O. Russell bailed out over Yorkshire. "He wears no goggles or helmet,
you know," said the aircraftmen, "only his flying boots for
equipment. He's a born flier."
"There is nothing to compare with the excitement
of plunging into an air battle like that. Your mouth dries up like cotton
wool. Flying Officer Dal Russel, o£ Montreal, who was in my squadron,
was chewing gum when he went into his first scramble. He had to pick bits
of gum from the roof of his mouth afterwards." - Quoted from
an Ernie McNab article entitled, "Initial fight with enemy is memory
that remains." - Hamilton Spectator, May 7, 1941
Ace Canadian Air Fighters Are Named by Winnipeg Flier
Winnipeg, March 2, 1942 - (CP) - Wing Commander J.A.
(Alex) Kent of Winnipeg, member of a Royal Air
Force squadron that shot down numerous Nazi planes during raids and over
the Channel, said here today that Wing Commander Mark (Hilly) Brown
of Glenboro, Man., killed in action, "was one of the best fighter
pilots in the R.A.F. and still heads the list of Canadian aces" in
Speaking before members of the Canadian Club, Wing Commander Kent told
of how the Manitoban distinguished himself in several actions against
the enemy as flight commander in the R.A.F.'s No. 1 Fighter Squadron.
Other Canadians whom he named as great fighters were members of No. 1
Canadian Fighter Squadron — Wing Commander E. A. McNab, Regina;
Wing Commander Gordon McGregor and Squadron
Leaders Dal Russel, Hartland Molson and Paul Pitcher, all from Eastern
He told how he and other British pilots drilled a squadron of Polish pilots.
"One day (August 30, 1940)
the Polish squadron was practicing intercepting enemy raiders when they
actually ran into a lot of Nazi planes. The fighters gathered around and
got the trainees out of trouble except for one Polish airman (Lt.
Ludwik Paszkiewicz), who dashed across, shot down a Dornier 17 and
then rejoined the squadron. The R.A.F. officers thought it was just lucky
(According to post-war research, the plane misidentified as a Do 17
by Paszkiewicz was a Messerschmitt Bf 110).
The next day however, the Poles shot down six Messerschmitts for no loss.
Then the R.A.F. officers decided the Poles had trained enough and the
squadron was allowed to go into action, which they did with a vengeance.
Flying Hurricanes, the Poles shot down 130 enemy planes in the next six
weeks," Wing Commander Kent said.
Quebec Pilot Says Town Almost Wiped Out By Wicked Onslaught
WAS PERFECTLY TIMED
London, Aug. 21, 1942 — (CP) — A smashing
aerial victory for one of the Royal Canadian Air Force Spitfire squadrons
which participated in the attack on Dieppe was reported last night by
two returning members of the squadron. Squadron-Ldr. Chadburn,
of Aurora, Ont., commanding officer of the squadron, reported in a broadcast
interview that his squadron shot down three enemy machines, probably destroyed
another and damaged at least six.
Shoot Down Three
All the pilots in Chadburn's squadron returned safely, he said.
Specifically, Chadburn said, the squadron shot down three 190’s,
probably destroyed a Junkers 88, damaged five Junkers 88's and damaged
one Messerschmitt 110.
Flight-Lieut. Russel, of Westmount, Que., another member of the squadron,
told Flight-Lieut. Jack Beach, the interviewer, how he shot down one aircraft
when the enemy pilot "wasn't looking."
"It was pretty shaky all around," he said. "I was very
"I got him when he wasn't looking and I think he was probably a fairly
Asked how Dieppe looked from the air, Russel said:
"There was fire all over. The town was really shaken. There's nothing
left of it at all, I believe."
He said the Canadian pilots "did an excellent job all the way through."
He said he might have bagged another plane, but "ran out of ammunition
and I don't know what happened to that one."
Air and land co-operation was perfectly timed, Russel said, and "everything
worked out well." He believed the presence of Canadian land troops
gave the pilots added confidence.
Chadburn said it was "the biggest show this squadron has ever been
on. We had quite a good time, I'd say, all the way through."
The B.B.C. announcer said Beach had been "out all day" recording
the interviews with the Canadians, believed to be the first authentic
report of the assault from fighting airmen.
Airmen Who Met Huns During Battle of Britain
Some of Canada's First Aces of This War Still Are in Action
- Pilots Now Seek Out Enemy Over His Own Territory
(Written for the Canadian Press by Flt.Lt. Basil
Fighter Command, Somewhere in England, Sept. 8, ‘43.— (CP)—There
are still some of the few left, some of those hard-fighting combat pilots
of Battle of Britain days, but mostly it is a new brood of pilots who
fly from the air bases hereabouts in Britain's Fighter Command. Three
years ago, when the first few of Canada's aerial aces were fighting their
way to fame, the battles were over British soil. Now, with greater numbers
of Canadians than ever before in Fighter Command, the pilots are going
out to seek the enemy over his own territory. This air fighting of today
is offensive, not defensive, as during the Battle of Britain, but it was
the fighting then that made the current offensive possible.
Some Still Flying
Some of the Canadians who fought with honour and glory in those grim days
three years ago are still flying. Wing-Cmdr. B.D. Russel, D.F.C., of Montreal,
who now leads an R.C.A.F. Spitfire wing in Britain, was then P.O. Dal
Russel and a member of Canada's No. 1 Fighter Squadron, which arrived
in England in June, 1940—just in time to get trained for the fierce
tests of August and September of that year.
Russel's old commanding officer, Ernie McNab, now is Group Capt. Ernest
McNab, D.F.C., of Regina, commander of an R.C.A.F. fighter station.
In Sicily, Squadron-Ldr. Stanley Turner, D.F.C.
and Bar, of Toronto, led the R.C.A.F.'s City of Windsor fighter squadron
through the island campaign. In 1940, he was a flight commander in the
R.A.F.’s famed "all-Canadian" squadron led by Wing-Cmdr.
Douglas Bader, D.S.O., D.F.C., which destroyed 63 enemy aircraft during
the Battle of Britain and shared three with other squadrons.
The squadron was composed mainly of Canadians who had joined the R.A.F.
before the war, and fought nobly during the Battle of France and over
Its achievements during the Battle of Britain, indeed, brought from the
air officer commanding of the group in which it was serving at the time
a message which said that its efficiency as a squadron was "equal,
if not superior, to any squadron in the R.A.F." The British chief
of air staff signaled: "You are well on top of the enemy and obviously
the fine Canadian traditions of the last war are safe in your hands."
Greatest pilot of the "all-Canadian" squadron—apart from
the legless commander, Bader (who was not Canadian)—was P.O. W.
L. McKnight, D.F.C. and bar, of Calgary, who
was reported missing some months after the Battle of Britain ended. McKnight
destroyed 16½ enemy aircraft, and was the first Canadian ace of
The "all-Canadian" squadron's first Battle of Britain engagement
was August 30, when Bader, now a prisoner of war, led a formation of 14
Hurricanes against a "vast number" of German aircraft, two swarms
of 70 to 100 each. Detaching one section to investigate a third formation
of aircraft some distance away, Bader led the rest of his pilots to the
attack. As a result, 12 enemy aircraft were destroyed; not one of the
Hurricanes had so much a scratch.
Similar engagements followed. On September 7, Bader and his Canadians
destroyed 10 enemy aircraft without losing a pilot, although seven of
the squadron's Hurricanes were damaged. On September 19, when the wing
in which the squadron was flying destroyed a total of 18 enemy aircraft,
the "all-Canadians" were credited with 11 of these for the loss
of one pilot killed.
And then, in the greatest day's fighting of all on September 15, the squadron
destroyed 12 enemy aircraft. This was the day on which Bader described
the fighting as "the finest shamble I've ever been in."
"The sky," he added, "was full of Hurricanes and. Spitfires,
queuing up and pushing each other out of the way to get at the Dormers.
I was seldom able to hold my sights on a target for long for fear of colliding
with other Spitfires and Hurricanes anxious to get in a burst."
Among the Canadians P.O. J.B. Latta, D.F.C., Victoria,
B.C., had knocked down five enemy planes; Flt.-Lt. Turner had five; so
had P.O. N.K. Stansfeld, D.F.C., Vancouver.
P.O. H.N. Tamblyn, D.F.C., North Battleford, Sask., and P.O. N. Hart had four each. Altogether Canadian pilots in the squadron had destroyed
45 of the total of 65 credited to the squadron; Bader had scored 11.
Canada's own No. 1 fighter squadron, which although its personnel have
completely changed; is still flying in Britain with fighter command, had
scored a total of 31 victories during the battle under McNab's leadership.
McNab himself had scored the first victory to be credited to a member
of the squadron when, in order to gain combat experience, he flew as a
supernumerary officer with an R.A.F. squadron before No. 1 fighter was
ready for front-line duties.
In the squadron's first engagement as a unit, on August 24, it destroyed
three Dorniers for the loss of one pilot. By the end of its first week
in action it had destroyed eight enemy aircraft for the loss of one pilot
killed. The score continued to mount until September 27, when the Canadian
squadron destroyed seven enemy aircraft out of about 70 engaged during
the day; one pilot of the squadron was killed. In the day's first fight,
Russel had destroyed an ME 109 and an ME 110 and had shared with a Polish
pilot the destruction of a third enemy fighter.
McNab, Flt.Lt. G. R. McGregor and Russel were
each awarded the D.F.C., having destroyed between them, 11½ of
the squadron's total. McNab and McGregor now are both group captains;
Russel is a wing commander.
In other squadrons of the R.A.F., Canadians had also distinguished themselves.
One of the flight commanders in the R.A.F. squadron was a Canadian, Flt-Lt.
R.A. Barton, Kamloops, B.C., who later became
squadron commander of his unit. He was awarded the D.F.C. for his "outstanding
leadership" on September 27, a day on which the squadron destroyed
21 enemy aircraft for the loss of two pilots killed. The total bag during
September was 48, a total exceeded only by the famous No. 303 Polish squadron,
in which another Canadian, Flt.-Lt. (now Wing-Cmdr.) John Kent, Winnipeg,
was at that time a flight commander.
AWARDS MADE TO CANADIANS
Ottawa, Nov. 16, 1943 - (CP) - Wing Cmdr. Blair (Dal)
Russel, D.F.C., Westmount, Que., veteran R.C.A.F. fighter pilot of the
Battle of Britain, has won the bar to his Distinguished Flying Cross in
recognition of his work escorting bomber missions overseas, the R.C.A.F.
Also announced were D.F.C.s for Flt. Lt. R.D. Phillip of 207 Strathmore
Blvd., Toronto, and FO. D.A. Alcorn of St. Stephen, N.B.
Russel, a member of the first R.C.A.F. fighter squadron to go overseas,
was awarded the D.F.C. in October, 1940, when his score stood at 5½
enemy aircraft destroyed. He returned to Canada in 1941 to take command
of a fighter squadron and went overseas again early this year to lead
a fighter wing.
Phillip, a fighter pilot, is credited with two enemy planes destroyed
and others damaged, in his citation, "This officer has displayed
marked ability in leading his flight over enemy territory. His exceptional
keenness and fine fighting spirit have set a magnificent example to all.
He has destroyed at least two enemy aircraft and damaged others."
RUSSEL, W/C Blair Dalzell (C1319) - Bar to DFC
- No.126 Wing
Award effective 11 November 1943 as per London Gazette dated 16 November
AFRO 113/44 dated 21 January 1943.
This officer as Wing Leader has led his wing on a large
number of escort sorties without the loss of a single bomber to enemy
fighters. The high praise earned by the wing for its skill is largely
due to the great devotion to duty and ability displayed by Wing Commander
NOTE: Public Records Office Air 2/8992 has recommendation
dated 2 September 1943. He was credited with a total of 91 sorties (169
hours 25 minutes operational time, of which 64 sorties (91 hours) had
been flown since previous award.
Prior to the middle of April, the Redhill VB squadrons
had operated as an appendage of the Kenley IX wing. Squadron Leader Russel
as Commanding Officer of 411 was deputed to act as VB Wing Leader by the
Station Commander in the middle of April. Since then, Squadron Leader
Russel has built up the VB squadrons at Redhill into a most efficient
escort wing which, since the middle of April, has carried out 64 sorties
as close escort or escort cover, in which over 500 medium bombers and
[on] one occasion 30 Fortresses have been taken into and out from targets
from Rotterdam to Cherbourg without the loss of a single bomber to enemy
fighters. Although, as close escort and as cover, the wing has been bounced
several times, the fine formation and discipline for which Wing Commander
Russel is largely responsible have discouraged the enemy on most occasions
from pressing home his advantage, and the wing has lost only two pilots
against two Huns destroyed and three damaged.
The Air Vice-Marshal commanding the Group added (26 September
The wing this officer has ld has been almost solely employed
on close escort or cover duties and has carried out these duties with
much efficiency and sucess. Although less spectacular than other fighter
roles, the Wing has earned high praise for its devotion to its task and
its skill, the credit for which is largely due to Wing Commander Russel.
Post-Mortems Promote Teamwork in Air Force
By F/O IVERS KELLY Somewhere in Britain, Feb. 23, 1944
(Special) - It’s the same with any group of men operating together,
whether as a football or hockey team, or as fighter pilots working in
unison 30,000 feet above the earth. A "get-together" after a
match, or an operation, in the more deadly game of war, at which mistakes,
ideas and tactics are discussed, makes for a better showing the next time
the team takes to the field or the skies.
And so it is with the fighter pilots of the R.C.A.F. fighter wing, in
England commanded by Wing Cmdr. Robert Wendell (Buck) McNair,
D.F.C., and two Bars, of North Battleford, Sask., native of Nova Scotia,
and destroyer of 17 enemy aircraft.
"The Chief," as the men call Winco McNair, is successor in command
of the wing to another great Canadian flier of this war — Wing Cmdr.
B. Dal Russel, D.F.C, and Bar, of Montreal, who boasts the splendid, record
of not having lost a single bomber to enemy fighters during six months
of close escort over enemy territory.
FIGHTER PILOT PILES UP SCORE IN AIR BATTLES
August 3, 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 F/L George W. Johnson,
son of Mr. and Mrs. William Johnson, 102 Beechwood Avenue, who knocked
down another Hun fighter over Normandy battlefields yesterday. F/L
William Olmsted, son of Major R. I. Olmsted,
M.C., and Mrs. Olmsted, and F/L Jack Bamford, D.F.C., share the record
of four "certain kills” F/L 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 F/L R. R. Bouskill,
of Toronto; one to F/L R. H. Cull, of Alberta,
and one to F/L Johnson.
Now into his second tour of operations, F/L 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
According to today's dispatch from overseas, the Canadians are members
of a squadron commanded by S/L Charlie Trainor,
of Charlottetown, and their victories raised to 92 since D-day the score
of the wing led by W/C 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.
28 HUN PLANES DOWNED FRIDAY BY CANADIANS
London, Sept. 29, 1944 - (CP) - Spitfire pilots of three
Canadian fighter wings destroyed at least 28 German aircraft today, raising
their score for the week to more than 80. The RCAF reported from Belgium
that pilots of a Belgian-based wing under the command of Wing Cmdr. W.R.
MacBrien of Ottawa, shot down nine German planes and damaged two others.
A Reuter News agency correspondent in a field dispatch credited wings
commanded by Wing Cmdr. Dal Russel, D.F.C., of Westmount, Que., and Wing
Cmdr. J.E. (Johnny) Johnson English-born leader of a Canadian wing, with
10 and nine, respectfully. Ft. Lt. Gordon Ockenden
of Edmonton, Flt. Lt. Gordon Smith of Nelson, B.C., and FO. R.A. Hodgins
of Ottawa each scored double victories as MacBrien's wing smashed up German
formations of fighters over Nijmegen, Holland, near the northern tip of
the British 2nd Army's corridor through Holland. Single kills were credited
to FO. A. J. Horrell of Windsor, Ont., FO. K.M. Langmuir of Toronto, and
Flt. Lt. Cap Foster of Grimsby, Ont. Flt. Lt. B.T. Gilmour of St. Thomas,
Ont., and FO. F.R. Kearns of Quyon, Ont., each claimed to have damaged
an enemy plane. Foster's victory was a "revenge" kill. The Grimsby
pilot was forced to bail out behind the Allied lines Sunday when an ME-109
blew up the engine of his Spitfire, but today he got another ME-109 in
his sights and brought it down with a four-second burst. "I was pretty
mad and thinking of what happened to me the other day," Foster said.
"He blew up, and I had to dodge the debris. I guess things are evened
up now." Names of the scorers in the wings commanded by Russel and
Johnson were not immediately available.
Eight Ontario Fliers In Latest Honor List
Ottawa, Oct. 5, 1944 - (CP) - The RCAF tonight announced the
award of 26 decorations, including a Distinguished Service Order
and a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross, to RCAF Personnel
serving overseas. The DSO was awarded Wing Cmdr. B.D. Russell,
DFC, of Westmount, Que., after his squadrons obtained outstanding
success under his leadership, said the RCAF. The Bar to the DFC
went to Sqdn Ldr. H.C. Trainor, Bedford, P.E.I., reported missing
Sept. 19, for outstanding leadership and fighting qualities. The
Wing Cmdr. B.D. Russell, Westmount, Que.
Bar to DFC
Sqdn. Ldr. H.C. Trainor, Bedford, P.E.I.
Sqdn. Ldr. G. F. Arbuckle, 930 Queen St. E., Toronto.
Sqdn. Ldr. R. Bannock, Edmonton, Alta.
Wing Commander Dal Russel
RUSSEL, W/C Blair Dalzell, DFC (C1319) - Distinguished
Service Order - No.126 Wing
Award effective 3 October 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and
AFRO 2637/44 dated 8 December 1944.
In recent intensive air operations the squadrons under
the command of Wing Commander Russel have completed a large number of
sorties. Within a period of three days a very large number of enemy transport
vehicles were attacked of which 127 were set on fire and a bigger number
were damaged. In addition, four hostile aircraft were destroyed and seventeen
tanks and nineteen other armoured vehicles were damaged. By his masterly
leadership, sound judgement and fine fighting qualities, Wing Commander
Russel played a good part in the success achieved. His example inspired
CHIEFS NAMED AT 2 AIRBASES
With the RCAF Bomber Group In Britain, Oct. 31, 1944
– (CP) – Group Headquarters today announced the appointment
of new commanders for two Bases.
Group Capt. J.L. Hurley of Ottawa assumes command of one base, comprising
three operational bomber stations, and is promoted to the rank of air
commodore. Formerly he was director of organization at RCAF headquarters
in Ottawa. Also promoted air commodore is Group Capt. F.R. Miller, of
Ottawa, who assumes command of a base with three stations housing heavy
conversion units and one housing an air crew battle school. It was additionally
announced that Wing Cmdr. C.C.W. Marshal of Kingston, Ont. has been, appointed
to command of the Tiger squadron. He formerly was a flight commander in
the Porcupine Squadron.
Sqdn. Ldr. Bill Olmsted of Hamilton, Ont., was
named commander of an RCAF fighter squadron in Belgium in a fighter wing
led by Wing Cmdr. Dal Russel of Westmount, Que.
RECORD SCORE MADE BY TWO RCAF GROUPS
An Advanced RCAF Airfield in Holland, Nov. 22, 1944 -
(CP) - Here's the record of a hot day's operations by two RCAF Spitfire
squadrons operating as fighter-bombers,
Four enemy fighters destroyed, a fifth probably destroyed; enemy rail
lines cut at 20 points; a direct hit with a bomb on a road bridge; one
locomotive destroyed, 22 damaged and put out of action; six freight cars
destroyed; 28 damaged; two anti-aircraft railway cars destroyed, and two
damaged; four barges damaged; seven transport vehicles destroyed, two
probably knocked out and seven damaged.
The squadrons are commanded by Sqdn. Ldr. Dean Dover, DFC, Mount Dennis,
and Sqdn. Ldr. William Olmsted, DFC, Hamilton, in a wing directed operationally
by Wing Cmdr. Dal Russel, DFC and Bar, of Montreal.
Flt. Lt. Don Laubman, DFC and Bar, of Edmonton,
brought his bag to 15 German aircraft destroyed as a result of the day's
F/O's Don Goodwin, Maynooth, Ont., and Neil Burns, 196 Eglinton Ave.,
Toronto, took off on a weather reconnaissance flight, but returned an
hour later after disabling six locomotives, destroying six freight cars
and cutting two rail lines. They encountered a perfect setup for dive-bombing—two
trains passing one another—10 miles east of Deventer. They scored
direct hits on both, severing the parallel lines and destroying six cars.
Then they returned and strafed both locomotives.
En route home they damaged four more engines by cannon and machine-gun
fire. Olmsted's men had the most success against trains, disabling 18
of 23 Locomotives and all but three of 34 freight cars.
Canadian Fighter Unit Downs 201 Nazi Planes
An Advanced R.C.A.F. Airfield in Holland, Dec. 18, 1944
- (CP) - Fliers of a Canadian Spitfire wing under Group Capt. G. R. McGregor
and Wing Cmdr. Dal Russel, both of Montreal, became the second to pass
the 200 mark in German aircraft destroyed since the wing’s formation,
when they shot down a pair of FW190's over Geldern in Germany.
First to establish the mark was the wing commanded jointly by Group Capt.
W.R. MacBrien of Ottawa, and Wing Cmdr. Johnny Johnson,
whose fliers shot down five aircraft Oct. 8, raising their total to 202,
and subsequently to 207. The McGregor-Russel wing's total stands at 201.
The two Canadian units have destroyed 314 Huns between them since D-Day,
scored more than 15 probables and damaged upwards of 200. In addition
to crippling German road and rail transport with dive-bombing, as well
as machine-gun and cannon offensives.
The first Jerry destroyed by McGregor-Russel pilots, July 19, 1943, was
a FW190, joint victim of Sqdn. Ldr. Ian Ormston
of Montreal, and Sqdn. Ldr. Bob Hayward of St.
John's, Nfld. Since then many aces have been born within the wing. The
most recent being Flt. Lt. Don Laubman, of Edmonton, with 15 destroyed;
Sqdn. Ldr. R.I. Smith, Regina, 11 destroyed;
Flt. Lt. W.J. Banks and F.O. D.R. Jamieson,
both of Toronto, each with eight destroyed.
"Canadian Wing Commanders"
by George Brown & Michael Lavigne
Lists Victories as follows :
August 26, 1940
½ Do 17 destroyed
NE of North Weald, England
August 31, 1940
1 Do 17 damaged
Near Gravesend, England
September 4, 1940 1 Ju 88
damaged Near East Grinstead,
Me 110 probable Near Gravesend,
September I5, 1940 1 He 111 probable
Southeast London, England
September 25, 1940 ½ Do 17
destroyed Off Beachy Head, England
September 27, 1940 1 Me 109 destroyed
Kenley-Biggin Hill, England
Me 110 destroyed East Grinstead area,
½ Me 110 destroyed East
Grinstead area, England
June 22, 1944
½ FW 190 destroyed
West of Argentan, France
August 10, 1944
1 Me 109 damaged
Near Alencon, France
RUSSEL, F/O* Blair Dalzell, DSO, DFC (C1319) - Croix
de Guerre with Silver Star (Fr.)
Award as per Canada Gazette dated 20 September 1947 and
AFRO 485/47 dated 12 September 1947.
* NOTE: The rank requires an explanation; Russel reverted
to Flying Officer on 19 November 1946 and was not reappointed to Wing
Commander rank until 13 July 1948.
RUSSEL, F/O Blair Dalzell, DSO, DFC (C1319) -
Officer, Order of Orange-Nassau with Swords (Netherlands)
Awarded as per London Gazette dated 23 January 1948 and
AFRO 81/48 dated 6 February 1948.
Public Records Office Air 2/9293 has recommendation drafted
when he was a Wing Commander: In operational command of No.126 Wing, Royal
Air Force [sic], stationed at the aerodrome Volkel from September 1944
until February until April 1945, through his excellent work has greatly
contributed to the liberation of the Netherlands.
21 Canadian Airmen Decorated by Czechs
Ottawa, Jan. 23, 1948 - (CP) - Recognizing the co-operation
between Canadian and Czech fliers during the war, Czechoslovakia has conferred
decorations on 21 serving and retired members of the RCAF, it was announced
The Czechoslovak War Cross, 1939, was awarded to five officers, all of
whom served in the Battle of Britain. The Czech Medal for Bravery went
to 12 others, while four officers won the Czech Medal of Merit, 1st Class.
Wing Cmdr. P. S. Turner of Toronto, who served
with the RAF in the Battle of France, Dunkerque and the Battle of Britain,
won both the War Cross and the medal for Bravery.
Already a holder of the DSO and the DFC, he destroyed 14 enemy aircraft
and for a time commanded the City of Windsor Squadron No. 417 at Malta.
Later he headed No. 244 Wing and then transferred to the RCAF. He now
is stationed at the Joint Air School at Rivers, Man. Other winners of
the War Cross are: Group Capt. G. R. McGregor
of Montreal and Winnipeg; Group Capt. E.A. McNab
of Regina; Sqdn. Ldr. B. E. Christmas of St.
Hilaire, Que., and FO. B. D. Russel of Montreal.
There were no citations accompanying the awards, presented in each case
to Canadians associated in some way with the Czech war effort.
Group Capt. McNab, 41, a son o£ a former Lieutenant-Governor of
Saskatchewan, was the first Canadian flier to receive an award in the
Second Great War. That was on Oct. 4, 1940. Following service overseas,
he returned to Canada and commanded No. 4 Service Flying Training School
Group Capt. McGregor was among the first three RCAF pilots to get the
DFC. A fighter pilot like the others who won the War Cross, he headed
an overseas fighter station, saw service in the Aleutians, and later commanded
No. 126 Wing.
FO. Russell, who holds his present title as a member of the auxiliary
air force in Montreal, formerly was an acting wing commander and led a
RUSSEL, F/O Blair Dalzell, DSO, DFC (C1319) - War
Cross, 1939 (Czechoslovakia)
Canada Gazette dated 24 January 1948, and
AFRO 81/48 dated 6 February 1948.
Retired Airmen Receive Awards
Ottawa, May 17, 1951 - (CP) - Two retired officers of
the R.C.A.F. were decorated by Netherlands' Ambassador A. H. J. Lovink
yesterday for their part in the liberation of Holland late in the war.
G/C Paul Y. Davoud, D.S.O., D.F.C., of Toronto,
who commanded No. 143 Wing, Royal Air Force station at Eindhoven from
September 1944 to December 1944, was given the commander's cross of the
Order of Orange Nassau, military division.
W/C Bair D. Russel, D.S.O., D.F.C., of Montreal, who was operational commander
of No. 126 Wing, R.A.F., at the airfield at Volkel from September 1944
to February 1945, was given the officer's cross, the same order.
Their citations said their "outstanding work contributed in a large
measure to the liberation of The Netherlands."
The investiture took part at the Mariposa Street home of the Netherlands'
For good photos see :
PL-19373 (with Spit - top)
PL-3093 (beside Hurricane),
PL-19372 (waist up in battledress, 1943),
PL-22169 (with Alsatian mascot - above),
PL-42559 (portrait). King George VI presented him with
- DSO, DFC and Bar to DFC on 10 October 1944.
--- 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