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409 Squadron RCAF: The Nighthawks

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CLIPPINGS OF A PRO

HONOR AIRMEN; RISKED LIVES TO SAVE CREW London, Feb. 8. Three Canadian airmen who sought to rescue the crew of a four-engined bomber after it plunged at night onto a house in northern England and then dashed into the blazing wreckage of the house in an effort also to save the occupants have been men- tioned in dispatches, it was an- nounced last night.

The airmen. members of the RCAF Nighthawk Squadron, Ft. Sgt. James Irwin. Liberty, Sask., Cpl George Reansbnry, Brantford Ont. and Cpl. Arthur Townsley, Ont.

They were returning to their station from a dance when they saw the aircraft strike the house. Disregarding the exploding ammunition and signal flares, the three climbed into the burning aircraft and carried out the crew, but all except one, who had been thrown clear, were killed.

From the bomber they rushed into the blazing house but all they could do was remove the bodies of several children.

"Flt. Sgt. Irwin did what I think was a superhuman feat." said Cpl. Townsley.

"We had lifted a fallen section of brick wall to reach one of the buried children. Irwin held the wall up while we climbed under- neath and got a child's bodv out. It took the three of us to lift that section of the wall, yet Jim held if up alone while we were under it."


Occupy House Hitler Used
WITH A CANADIAN NIGHT FIGHTER SQUADRON IN FRANCE. Nov. 4.Hitler slept here once, the villagers say, but he probably would eat the rug it' he could see the present occupants of this beautiful old French chateau.

They arc the RCAF's Nighthawk Mosquito Squadron, who moved into the former German officers' luxurious billets when they took over a nearby airfield, an RCAF press release said today.

Flt. Lt. Bill Marr of Langley Prairie, B.C., pilot and advance man for the squadron when it moves, showed a sense of history - and maybe humor - when he picked on the roomy chateau as billets for the Mosquito men, who have helped chop down Hitler's once-powerful night fighting force by 35 planes since D-Day.

In the dining hall a mural depicts an eagle-crested compass which completely encircles Britain, France and Russia, the painter using a touch of artistic licence to make the geography conform to his ideas of greater Germany.


TORONTONIAN HELPS DOWN TWO JUNKERS Canuck Crew Gets Night Fighters. Makes 200 For Group Since D-Day. With the 2nd Tactical Air Force. Nov. 30 - A Canadian Mosquito crew destroyed two Junker 88s last night and brought to 200 the number of enemy aircraft shot down at night since D-Day by Mosquitos of a base defense group of the 2nd Tactical Air Force.

Last night's victims fell to a cannon-carrying Mosquito piloted by W.O. Edward Cole, Vancouver, and his navigator, F.O. William Martin, Toronto. One German plane crashed on the Belgian-Netherlands border and the other was shot down a half-hour later over the frontier. The victims were night fighters seeking British bombers.

Cole said the actions were fought in bright moonlight and the entire port side of the first enemy plane burst into flames after one short burst from the cannon blew up the port engine. Martin said the second German plane "seemed to disintegrate" after a burst of fire blew off one wing. The double triumph marked the first "kills" for Cole and Martin.


P/0 S. CROMIE Shortly after "D" day P/O Cromie was attached to the Squadron as Public Relation Officer to rover its activities both in England and on the Continent. During his stay with the Nighthawks Sam, as he was popularly known, did an excellent job of keeping the folks in Canada in touch with the work of their sons and husbands. His writings covered a wide range of the Squadron's activities and always were eagerly read.