13.07.1944 No. 442 RCAF Squadron Spitfire IX MK772 Y2-P Fl/Lt. Roseland
Operation: Armed recce, PM.
Date: 13th July 1944.
Unit: 442 (RCAF) Squadron.
Type: Spitfire IX.
Location: Saint-Martin-de-Mailloc, France.
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Arnold ''Rosey’ Walter Roseland J/4116 RCAF Age 28. Killed.
REASON FOR LOSS:
Fl/Lt. Roseland was shot down in combat with FW190s and ME109s during an armed recce in the area of Lisleux, France. It is reported that the Spitfire crashed at Saint-Martin-de-Mailloc, France.
Left: Fl/Lt. 'Rosey' Roseland (courtesy of Shirley Walker and Duane Eberly)
We are privileged to show an excerpt from his last letter to his sister:
Somewhere in France
June 28, 1944
“As you probably noticed already I’m not stationed in England anymore.
In fact I Have been over here for two weeks now and like it okay.
Believe I would rather be here than in England—its much more interesting and furthermore we don’t have to fly over a couple hundred miles of water each trip.
We found it very dusty over here and also sleep in our little dugouts at night, but on the whole, considering there is a war on we are very comfortable, and don’t have to go far for excitement either.
We were over the beach head twenty five minutes before the landings started on the morning of June 6th. It was really a terrific and a most awing spectacle.
We stuck around for about an hour. Have been pretty busy since that time – but I really am enjoying the work and have never been so keen about flying at any time before – especially in our aircraft.
I’ll pick them ahead of anything.”
Pictures sent to us by Duane Eberly - relative of Arnold - the monument has been erected at Roseland Lake, Canada and only accessible by 4x4 vehicles. Duane pictured on the right picture.
Arnold with his first born Gary and wife Audrey (courtesy of Shirley Walker and Duane Eberly)
Arnold’s crash in a Fleet Finch, November 1940 - At Cap-de-la Madeleine in Quebec. (courtesy of Shirley Walker and Duane Eberly)
The monument in France. (courtesy of Shirley Walker and Duane Eberly)
Some words from Shirley Walker:
"In 1998, while I was visiting with Ralph Cameron in Okotoks, he took me to the cemetery where Grandpa, Hildur, Gudrun and Grandma were buried. The gravesite was marked with small wooden crosses, hand-painted white long ago, with their names painted in black, scarcely legible. I thought they deserved better, so I contacted my cousins and made arrangements to have a new tombstone erected for them. One morning, late in May 1999, I was sitting at the dining-room table preparing to write a cheque for the proposed new headstone. At that moment, the mail arrived with a letter from the National Archives of Canada. The National Archives had my name on file in respect to my research concerning Uncle Arnold, and they had received a letter from the mayor of a village in France in respect to my uncle. They were forwarding this letter to me.
Along with a letter from the Archives was a letter written in French, and a photograph of a monument. Although the monument’s inscription was in French, I could see that the dedication included the name of my Uncle Arnold, “F/L A.W. Roseland, R.C.A.F. Fighter Squadron 442,” and the date that he died, July 13, 1944. The photo of his monument sat beside the mock-up of the headstone for the other four members in his family who had been buried at Okotoks. That it arrived at the precise moment I was arranging for the headstone for the others seemed like a voice calling out from the past. I had the feeling that Arnold wanted to be remembered, too.
Arnold was remembered. The mayor of the village of St. Martin de Mailloc, in Normandy, had watched the dogfight in which my uncle’s Spitfire was attacked by several German Messerschmitts. The mayor, as a young man, had watched my uncle’s plane crash in the village. Members of the German army came quickly and took Arnold’s identification away, but left behind a cigarette lighter inscribed with his name. The mayor, Pierre Behier, never forgot that day or that name.
Years later, when the village wished to erect a monument in honour of the fiftieth anniversary of D-Day, the mayor recommended that they create a monument to my uncle as their thank-you to all Canadians who fought for the liberation of France. Because of privacy laws, they had been unable to contact a relative for a dedication on the fiftieth anniversary of D-Day, so they hoped to make the dedication on the fifty-fifth anniversary of Arnold’s death. I contacted Arnold’s two sons with this information, and they got in touch with the mayor.
Subsequently, one son and two of Arnold’s grandsons attended the dedication ceremony at St. Martin de Mailloc on July 13, 1999."
Above: Spitfire MK304 Y2-K, the usual mount for Fl/Lt. Roseland. Undergoing an engine change. Sent into us in March 2014 and is part of an extensive series of RCAF photographs that we hope to shortly have available for viewing. (courtesy 19th Wing Museum RCAF and Fred Paradie)
Flight Lieutenant, Arnold Walter Roseland. Bretteville-sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery. Plot 23. Row A. Grave 1. Husband of Audrey Roseland, father to Gary and Ronald of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.