As a fighter pilot during the Second World War, Flying Officer Don Kimball flew on many overseas missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Kimball was posted to several bases across Canada before receiving his first overseas posting. At Torbay, Newfoundland, while flying Hurricanes with No. 125 Fighter Squadron, Kimball had the task of hunting for subs in the surrounding waters. He never saw one while flying out of Torbay nor while flying out of his next posting Sydney, Nova Scotia. Eventually, he was posted to Digby in Lincolnshire, England, where he was a Spitfire fighter pilot.

On March 28, 1944, Kimball flew on his first mission over Europe when three squadrons led by Royal Air Force ace Johnny Johnson attacked Driux aerodrome in France. Not very familiar with the Spitfire Mk.9, Kimball had never fired the guns on the aircraft before and found he didn’t know how to turn on the reflector sight. "I couldn’t find the switch to turn my sight on so I didn’t know what I was shooting at". Even while shooting blind, Mr. Kimball managed to destroy at least one enemy aircraft that was being warmed up outside a G Read More


As a fighter pilot during the Second World War, Flying Officer Don Kimball flew on many overseas missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Kimball was posted to several bases across Canada before receiving his first overseas posting. At Torbay, Newfoundland, while flying Hurricanes with No. 125 Fighter Squadron, Kimball had the task of hunting for subs in the surrounding waters. He never saw one while flying out of Torbay nor while flying out of his next posting Sydney, Nova Scotia. Eventually, he was posted to Digby in Lincolnshire, England, where he was a Spitfire fighter pilot.

On March 28, 1944, Kimball flew on his first mission over Europe when three squadrons led by Royal Air Force ace Johnny Johnson attacked Driux aerodrome in France. Not very familiar with the Spitfire Mk.9, Kimball had never fired the guns on the aircraft before and found he didn’t know how to turn on the reflector sight. "I couldn’t find the switch to turn my sight on so I didn’t know what I was shooting at". Even while shooting blind, Mr. Kimball managed to destroy at least one enemy aircraft that was being warmed up outside a German hanger.


© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Portrait

Portrait of Flying Officer Don Kimball DFC Royal Canadian Air Force

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© Canadian Forces Base Gagetown Military Museum.


A native of St. Catharines, Ontario, Squadron-Leader Leonard Birchall was the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s No. 413 Squadron. Flying Canso flying boats, the squadron had just been posted to the island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the Indian Ocean when a Japanese fleet sailed to attack the island and launch an invasion. On April 4, 1942 Birchall’s aircraft spotted the invasion fleet and was able to get a radio message out to the British authorities before the Canadian airplane was shot down. Birchall and some of his crew were captured and made prisoners of war. His warning message alerted the British defences who thwarted the Japanese invasion attempt, earning Birchall the nickname "Saviour of Ceylon" and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his action.
A native of St. Catharines, Ontario, Squadron-Leader Leonard Birchall was the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s No. 413 Squadron. Flying Canso flying boats, the squadron had just been posted to the island of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the Indian Ocean when a Japanese fleet sailed to attack the island and launch an invasion. On April 4, 1942 Birchall’s aircraft spotted the invasion fleet and was able to get a radio message out to the British authorities before the Canadian airplane was shot down. Birchall and some of his crew were captured and made prisoners of war. His warning message alerted the British defences who thwarted the Japanese invasion attempt, earning Birchall the nickname "Saviour of Ceylon" and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his action.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Portrait of Birchall and Map of Indian Ocean

Squadron Leader (later Air Commodore) L.J. Birchall. Called by Winston Churchill the "Saviour of Ceylon"

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© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2001.


Flying Officer Lorne Haunts flew as an Observer with Bomber Command throughout the Second World War, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross while still a Flight Sergeant. Both his Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon and his Observer Wing can be seen over the left breast pocket.

During the war, the position of Observer among the aircrew also developed into the positions of Navigator and Air Gunner.
Flying Officer Lorne Haunts flew as an Observer with Bomber Command throughout the Second World War, earning a Distinguished Flying Cross while still a Flight Sergeant. Both his Distinguished Flying Cross ribbon and his Observer Wing can be seen over the left breast pocket.

During the war, the position of Observer among the aircrew also developed into the positions of Navigator and Air Gunner.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Photo of Flying Officer Lorne Haunts

This man received the Disinguished Flying Cross while still a flight sergeant, serving as Observer with Bomber Command.

Unknown
RCAF Memorial Museum

© RCAF Memorial Museum.


Rooney Hodgins was a fighter pilot during the Second World War, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, 1939-1945 Star, Air Crew Europe Star with France and Germany bar, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with bar and 1939-1945 War Medal. He served with distinction during D-Day and the Normandy campaign. Rooney continued to serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force after the war until he was killed in a flying accident in 1948 during the trials of the Vampire fighter jet.
Rooney Hodgins was a fighter pilot during the Second World War, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross, 1939-1945 Star, Air Crew Europe Star with France and Germany bar, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with bar and 1939-1945 War Medal. He served with distinction during D-Day and the Normandy campaign. Rooney continued to serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force after the war until he was killed in a flying accident in 1948 during the trials of the Vampire fighter jet.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Awards and Metals Received by Rooney Hodgins

Medal Set of Flying Officer Rooney A. Hodgins including Distinguished Flying Cross, 1939-1934 Star, Air Crew Europe Medal with France and Germany bar, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteers Service Medal and 1939-1945 War Medal.

RCAF Memorial Museum.

© RCAF Memorial Museum.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Develop an understanding of the participation and role of Canada’s Air Force in the World War II
  • Examine the contributions, sacrifices and experiences of individuals who participated in military events during World War II
  • Identify key locations in which Canada’s Air Force operated during World War II
  • Evaluate the weapons and technology used by the Canadian Air Force



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