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RCAF/RAF Pilot in WW2


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#1 MattS

MattS
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Posted 03 December 2018 - 06:27 AM

Ralph was from Hamilton, Ontario but lived in the United States for most of his life. He was a doctor and had a practice in Indiana until his retirement. He was a good friend of mine who passed away in 2008. His widow donated his original medals to a Canadian museum, but I based this shadow box on the one he had in his office. The wings are reproductions, I used original medals for this tribute display. They are the 1939-45 Star, Atlantic Star, Defence Medal, War Medal, and Canadian Volunteer Service Medal. In his own words, "I learned to fly 60 years ago in the Royal Canadian Air Force, on Fleet 16B bipes. Overseas in 1943 I transferred to the RAF and did ops in Scotland and Ireland on 3 types of Spitfires, Hurricanes, and the last of the RAF biplane fighters, the Gloster Gladiator. In mid January 1945 I made the last operational flight of an RAF fighter biplane, in Gladiator N5592, on a weather recce flight. I have also flown a Tiger Moth and a Starduster. Just love biplanes! The 'Glad' was a wizard for aerobatics, with its 950hp Bristol and 4 flaps on the wings."

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Edited by MattS, 03 December 2018 - 06:29 AM.


#2 MattS

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 07:07 AM

As I recall his story, he was a flying sergeant in the RCAF flying a Lysander towing targets up and down "the wash" on the east coast of England. A well-connected RAF pilot asked who was flying the target towing plane after a gunnery session and said he was too fine a pilot to be towing targets. Shortly afterwards, Ralph was offered a commission in the RAF which he described as "going from night to day". The pay, food, accommodations were much improved and he had a "bat-boy" to polish his shoes, press his uniforms, and so on. He flew photo-recon and weather recce flights including one on June 6th, 1944. He continued flying after the war and owned a biplane for years. 



#3 MattS

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Posted 03 December 2018 - 08:26 AM

The corner of his headstone features a Spitfire. 

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Edited by MattS, 03 December 2018 - 08:26 AM.



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