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RCAF Medicine Hat in the Second World War 1939-1945 - The Wartime Memories Project -

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World War 2 Two II WW2 WWII

RCAF Medicine Hat




If you can provide any additional information, please add it here.



Those known to have served at

RCAF Medicine Hat

during the Second World War 1939-1945.

  • Bowker C. Frank. F/O
  • Butler Richard William. Sgt. (d.26th Jul 1942)
  • Camera Joseph Andrea. LAC.
  • Grellis Andrew William Joseph. P/O (d.23rd March 1943)
  • Werner Alfred Norman.

The names on this list have been submitted by relatives, friends, neighbours and others who wish to remember them, if you have any names to add or any recollections or photos of those listed, please Add a Name to this List

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F/O C. Frank Bowker instructor 34 SFTS

My father, C. Frank Bowker, was an instructor at #34 SFTS with the rank of Flying Officer sometime during the period 1942-1944. He had broken his back as a young man and so was not allowed active duty, but somehow joined the RAF anyway. I was a baby at the time, and so I know nothing of what he taught, indeed I don't recall him being absent from home, and he never talked about his role in the RCAF. He lived at home in Medicine Hat, and had a full-time job with a local flour company, so he may have been a part-time instructor.

Perry Bowker



Sgt. Richard William Butler 106 Squadron (d.26th Jul 1942)

My father was a Lancaster pilot with 106 Squadron, based finally at Coningsby in Lincolnshire. His squadron leader at that time was Guy Gibson. My father and mother both volunteered in 1939, my mother joined the WAAF and at the time of my father's death was also based at RAF Coningsby. My father was trained as a pilot in Medicine Hat in Canada, then at OTU Kinloss. He was lost on a bomb laying operation in the Bay of Biscay at the mouth of the Gironde River near Bordeaux. Only two of the crew survived, Adams and Church, the rest were killed when the plane was shot down by a flack ship. Coningsby was the last posting for my mother as she left the WAAF on compassionate grounds because she was pregnant. Prior to that she had been based at Stafford and occasionally used to commute (beyond the permissible distance) at weekends to visit my father at RAF Kinloss. RAF Conningsby was their first posting together.

Richard Butler



Alfred Norman Werner

My father, Alfred Werner, was an instructor at FSTS 34 Medicine Hat from 1942 until 1944. After leaving the RAF he became a senior flight instructor on the Comet 3B and the Trident with BEA. He moved back to Medicine Hat in 1965 and passed away that year. Does anyone remember him?

Dr Derek B Werner



P/O Andrew William Joseph Grellis 34 Flying School Medicine Hat (d.23rd March 1943)

My uncle Andrew Grellis was a pilot officer at 34 Flying School Medicine Hat. He was killed in a flying accident on 23rd March 1943.

I have inherited a book `George Heriot's School Roll of Honour', Edinburgh 1951, which lists all the young men who died in WW2 and would be happy to do look-ups.

Jennifer Dixon



LAC. Joseph Andrea Camera 34 Service Flying Training School

My grandfather, Joseph Camera, was originally in a reserved occupation being a skilled craftsman making eye glasses. I'm unsure of his full history but do know he ended up at 34 SFTS as an airman - whether this was by volunteering or by a change in the draft rules I know not. During his time at Medicine Hat he met the woman who would become my grandmother, Olive Nesbit whose family were local horse ranchers (I believe). They went on to marry while my grandfather was still stationed in Medicine Hat.

Family history has it that my grandfather was being held in a transit camp prior to a posting overseas. He was confined to camp because they were expected to move at any moment, but my grandad and his pal broke out of camp to go to the pub, only to find that on return their draft had been sent overseas. By all accounts this caused some embarasement all around as a head count was taken at the time and numbers were counted as correct. Another draft in the same camp that was sent out later that same day had two people on sick call when the time came so my grandad and his pal were switched into this one to avoid any awkward questions. By good fortune the second draft was going to Canada and my grandfather's original draft was sent to Burma! So the story goes - if he hadn't been such a lush our whole family history would have been completely different. I do remember his stories of being placed on burial detail as a punishment for some infringement and being told he would not be allowed off until an entire row of 20 was full. He tried to argue that he couldn't be on the firing detail as he was left handed but the Air Force being far too smart for that told him he would carry the wreaths instead. He did say that a full row of 20 was never filled in his time at Medicine Hat.

Another story (backed up by photo evidence) was that his hut used to keep a live rattlesnake tethered to a post by rope outside their barrack block. I am unsure of his full history in the Air Force but do know that at some point he was posted to Northern Ireland as a guard in a German POW camp.

He also told a story of being at RAF Middle Wallop in the middle of an air raid. He and a pilot ran into a bunker type area to shelter and shared a smoke while the raid was on. When the all clear sounded they walked out of their shelter to find they had been seeking refuge in a petrol dump!

My grandmother eventually moved back to wartime London, travelling by one of the first convoys that had Canadian wives moving to the UK. My grandmother told us as children about being in the middle of the convoy and watching other ships in the convoy being torpedoed at night. My grandfather was eventually demobbed only to be re-enlisted straight away into the Army joining the South Stafffordshire Regiment. He told us that they went into one room and where released from the RAF and as they walked out of the door at the other end they were then re-enlisted into the Army. His request to be put into a Southern or London Regiment in typical Army fashion saw him into the South Staffs. He told me that one of the conditions of his enlistment into the Army was that he was allowed to keep his LAC salary as an enlisted man which meant that the Air Force guys who were transferred into the South Staffs were paid more than their Army enlisted men colleagues, a big bone of contention at the time.

As you may have gathered - my grandad was a bit of a rogue and remained so until the day he died. If anyone knew him or my grandmother then I would be thrilled to hear from them.

Ian Camera







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