The Juno Beach Centre was honoured to host 6 Typhoon pilots for a special reception this afternoon. With help from the JBC’s Program Manager, Marie-Éve Vaillancourt, the pilots shared their wartime experiences with those in attendance. There were many moving and emotional stories shared, but also some humorous escapades with near-misses and crash landings.
During the Second World War, 159 Canadian Typhoon pilots and 3 support staff gave their lives. The fast and powerful Typhoon fighter bomber became an important weapon for ground attacks. They greatly assisted Allied infantry and armour as they fought from Normandy to Germany liberating civilian populations in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. The average age of the pilots and support staff was 22 years old.
We were thrilled to host our dear friends, who have been coming to the Juno Beach Centre regularly since 2002. Harry Hardy even donated his prized Typhoon model to the JBC, which is on display in our permanent exhibit.
About the veterans:
Harry’s tour of Operations as a typhoon pilot ran from August 10, 1944 to March 24, 1945. Harry flew 96 combat missions in a Typhoon Fighter Bomber. He was hit by enemy fire 6 times. He force landed on one occasion and was also shot down once. On August 10 1944 Harry was posted from 83 Group Support Unit Bognor Regis to 440 RCAF Squadron based at B9 Lantheuil/Creully on the beachhead in Normandy. 440 Squadron along with 438 and 439 made up 143 wing 83 group of 2 T.A.F. This was an all-Canadian wing and flew in close support to the British army. Eighty-four group, all RAF, flew in close support to the Canadian army.
John was with 247 squadron. I was an RCAF fighter pilot flying Hurricanes and Spitfires in the UK in early 44 when I transferred to the RAF in order to fly rocket-firing Typhoons, the most effective weapon we had against the German armour. He joined 181 Squadron at B6 (Coulombs) in early July 1944, soon after the invasion, and flew some 25 combat missions during the Battle for Normandy. Some of the toughest sorties he experienced were over Vimont and Mortain, when his plane was hit. He moved to B30 (Creton) at the end of August, and continued with the Squadron until March 1945 at B86 (Helmond). He finished the war posted to 247 Squadron as a flight commander.
Ken was with 181 Squadron. K.C.Hanna, a Canadian, known as Chad by his 181 RAF Squadron mates, joined that squadron on Nov. 1st 1943. We operated from B6 Coulombs from June 20th 1944 until August 30th when we moved to B 30 at Creton. He was part of a Squadron Rocket Attack on July 4th on Carpiquet Aerodrome assisting the Canadians in its capture.
Theodore (Ted) Smith
Theodore (Ted) Smith was a RCAF Typhoon pilot in 440 Squadron. His training began in 1941 in Toronto, his hometown, and continued until he returned to Toronto in 1945 after active service in Europe.
He lives in Winnipeg and he flew with 438 Squadron and 667 Squadron.
Like Ted Smith, Angus was a RCAF Typhoon pilot and served with the 440 Squadron. He helped liberate the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
RCAF veteran and widow of a Typhoon pilot. Pearle was thrilled to represent all the Canadian women who served in the Air Force during the war.
Dispatches from Juno shares all the news, events, and stories from the Juno Beach Centre in France and Canada. Interested in contributing a story to the blog? Email the editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.