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The Q-Queenie Crew 432 Squadron

 

 

 

Q Queenie Crew

Rear: Bomb Aimer Paul Righetti, Pilot Bill Miller, Navigator Barry Hall, Flt. Engineer Bill Chubb
Mid Upper Gunner Graham Armstong, Rear Gunner Adam Petaske, Wireless Operator Frank Dupuis



Squadron No. 432 Emblem Dad's Crew
Squadron No. 432
Eastmoor,
North Yorkshire
(Leaside)
CREW : ("Q-Queenie")
Pilot - J8654 F/L Miller W. E.
A/Bomber - R192392 Sgt. Righetti P.A.
M/U Gunner - R261470 Sgt. Armstrong G.E.
F/E - 1890485 Sgt. Chubb W.F.
Nav - J28783 F/O Hall B.E.
Wop - R168220 Sgt Dupuis F.R.
R/Gunner - R212407 Sgt. Petaske A.

Web site Eastmoor Memorial
Bomber Command flag

* Badge: a cougar leaping down in front of a full moon
Motto: Saeviter ad lucem (Ferociously towards the light)
Authority: King George VI, March 1945
Nickname: LeasideAdoption: Town of Leaside, Ontario

* credit rcaf.com

 

Excerpt from letter -P. A. Righetti - re: Q-Queenie Crew -432 Sqdrn

We met each other at an Airfield called Wellesbourne Mountford, number 22 Operational Training Unit. The aircrew were mostly Canadians with Tour-expired instructors.

A few weeks after we arrived, several hundred of us ended up in an empty hangar and were told to "crew-up". Barry Hall (the navigator) and I (the bomb-aimer) were drop-out (washed-out) pilots back at an Elementary Flying Training School in Canada under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. He had a height advantage and recognized me and said " Let's find us a pilot". Because of his stature he spied this Flight Lieutenant (Bill Miller) at a distance and suggested we ask him if he'd crew with us. No sooner did he say "sure" when along came Army, Adam and Frank to ask the same thing.

So on June 21, 1944 we got our familiarization flight on Wellington (twin engine) NX-L with Squadron Leader Brooks, the instructor, at the controls. After that flight, Miller was at the controls for the next 77 hours of flying doing cross-country, air firing, bombing and fighter affiliation. I was the designated second-pilot for emergency take-over so I got a half-hour at the controls on a cross-country on July 8/44. The first few minutes were pretty shaky and Adam surely let me know by inter-com about the swingy ride he was getting back there. Any slight movements on the control would certainly be multiplied for anyone in the rear turret. I'm sure he spent the rest of our tour praying that I'd never have to take over. If he did, he had company, five other crew members did too.

On Sept. 28, we commenced training at 1659 High Conversion Unit (4 engines) at Topcliffe Yorkshire. It was here that we picked up our Flight Engineer (R.A.F. type) Bill Chubb . The planes were war-weary Halifax II's. Of the 33 hours of flying, twenty-one were at night. Army got hold of a motorcycle so he and Adam did some country touring. They were good pals.

On Oct. 19/44, we flew our first familiarization flight at Eastmoor, Yorkshire in Halifax VII's. While we were training the next three weeks we were billeted in Nissan Huts* with aircrew who had done several operations (Ops) over Germany. Listening to their comments when they returned after their briefing in the morning, we had a pretty good insight of what lay ahead for us.

On Oct. 30 we flew our first Ops to Cologne (now Koln) Germany and what a baptism it was for us. Now, flak, searchlights, fighters, bombs falling around us, collisions were the real thing. No imagining any more!

Of the 25 ops we did over Germany, only four were daylight ones. The longest 8:20 hrs. the shortest 5:55. Our longest night trip was 9:05, the shortest 5:00. On seven return journeys we were diverted to other airfields because Eastmoor was fogged in. Two of them were American Air Force airfields. We stayed over night on one that flew Liberators (B 24's), and 5 days (for repairs) at another that also flew B 24's. Somehow a decision was made that diverted Halifaxes to such bases, whereas Lancasters were diverted to Flying Fortress (B 17) bases. The Americans, who flew all daylight raids in formation, were anxious to compare notes. We flew gaggles in daylight and individual at night so we could carry a bigger bomb load by not using fuel while formatting over England.

While on ops we got a week's leave after five weeks of flying and the six of us always went to Edinburgh in Scotland.

The crew certainly welcomed the Armistice and no more ops. We would have had nine more to do to finish the 34 required for a tour at that time. Who knows whether we'd have made it?

When we began our tour I told the other crew members how fortunate they were that I was part of the crew. They were informed of my good luck charm which consisted of my three eldest sisters, all nuns, who promised to pray fervently for my safety. We had some close calls, with Army losing a finger the only casualty.

 

*The Nissan Huts were of galvanized steel. Talk about cold & the high humidity didn't help either. These huts were miles from the main buildings so we rode our bicycles to and fro. When flying we were transported to air planes by truck and also on return transported to the briefing room.

 

 

 

 

My thanks to the crew

 

Thank you so much to Wartime Pilots & Observers Association and
all the volunteers and organizers for sponsoring
The Commonwealth Wartime Aircrew Reunions, held in Winnipeg.
The Reunions of 1984 & 1992 reunited the Q-Queenie Crew!!!
They are such wonderful people and we had the honour and privilege to meet
and entertain them in our Winnipeg home.

My father happily made posters for the reunions, dedicated to wartime
airfields, aircraft, and even the Brandon wartime training base.

Father has donated some of his posters to this museum in Brandon
Scroll down to LOCATIONS OF BCATP STATIONS
Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum

 

 

 

 

 

Four crew regathered for a reunion in 1990 for the dedication ceremony of the East Moor Memorial monument - Sutton on the Forest, Yorkshire. The two Bills, Army & Dad & wives.
It was my parent's first visit back to England since wartime.

Thanks to the annual organizers for all their hard work.

A poem by Graham Armstrong re: Eastmoor Memorial Reunion 1990

In bomber days that we recall, unfriendly skies we met...
and Squadron life when down below, is fresh in memory yet.
Stories, as yet not revealed...heroism known but unto God.
Beyond the clouds some lips were sealed, a part of us abroad.

Long ago and in these Yorkshire hills,
We at Eastmoor base prepared for flight.
All hands to the task for freedom's cause
and engines hummed above both day and night

It grieves us now to think that not one" Hally" flies ,
Where thousands flew above in these, the Yorkshire skies.
The silhouettes, that one day stood MAJESTICALLY- in the fields around;
Hands that kept them fit, and crews...MEMORIALIZED- in "THE POUND"

Now from the moon and twinkling stars above
Come reflections of the faces, young and gay.
We returned to honor and remember
With a memorial on this special day.

*The pound is the park at Sutton-on-the-Forest where the cairn is located.

 

 

A board game celebrating the BCATP in Canada 1941.

I wonder if Dad ever saw this? I miss sending him these little finds.

 

*PLEASE do not use the Remember Header, basic content, or photo images without permission

Contact

 

 

Home to the family tribute - those who served WW1/WW2


 

Other sites for Anything Art:

Anything Art Cartoons Winnipeg

 

other web sites by the Winnipeg Artist Jeanette Jerome

Thomas Porter Blunt - Scientist & Ultraviolet Pioneer

Winnipeg Artist - Anything Art Site

Winnipeg Cartoon & Caricature Artist

Arm Painting / Children's parties / Winnipeg

 

Great coffee in Winnipeg - The Strong Badger Coffee House

 



 

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