By John Lowe

 

1941


Canada: Prince Edward Island

Jan 25th - Apr 19th

 

Ken spent 3 months in Canada at Charlottetown which is on Prince Edward Island. It's here that he learnt General Reconnassiance. The photographs below are all from that 3 month period.

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School of General Reconnaissance

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Buildings

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The Town

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Clark - Robins - Unknown - Unknown

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Studying

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Robins - Long - Clark

These chaps are recorded in Ken's logbook as flying with him

Robins - 3 times in July / Long - 4 times in July / Clark - 2 times in March 

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 Bent - Larson - Long - Bass

These chaps are recorded in Ken's logbook as flying with him

Bent - 1 time in Feb / Larson - 6 times in June 

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Clark - Robins

 

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The photographs below are of Prince Edward Island taken from a Hudson whilst practising Reconnassiance.

 Filling up ready for Take-Off

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Take-Off

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Iceland: Reykjavik
 

In June, on their way back from Canada they had a stop off point: Iceland. They travelled there by boat and the following photographs were taken during their stop off. 


The Journey Home

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Shaving

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Bent - Clark - Robins

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Silloth: Operational Training Unit (OTU)

Ken started in Silloth on the 18th June and was there until the 9th August. He was in No. 1 OTU in the unit that had been set-up in Silloth from April that year.

The only aircraft Ken flew in Silloth was the Hudson and he spent all his time training how to pilot it. It was in Silloth that you get the first real feeling of combat coming across in the Log Book. Here are some of the extracts:
 

July 15th - Low level practice bombing

July 20th - Turret practice for gunners

July 21st - Front gun practice

July 23rd - Bombing ex. 3 high level

Extract from Ken's Log-Book

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I was contacted by Peter Connon who had produced a couple of aeronautical history books and he was able to shed some light on a part of the above log-book extract of Ken's. On the 14th July 1941 where F/Lt Bruce is mentioned Peter was able to confim that it was Kenneth.D Bruce 72249 who was a very experienced Silloth Hudson instructor at that period. Sadly Kenneth was killed in a 48 Squadron Hudson on the 11.04.42 and is buried at Sola, Norway.

 

Lockheed Hudson

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Silloth Airfield more recently

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Aldergrove: 206 Squadron


Ken started in the 206 Squadron on the 10th August, he was initially based in Aldergrove that was in Northern Ireland near Belfast. Hudsons were again the main aircraft flown with many escorts and sweeps making up the types of flights undertaken. There were several flights recorded with 2 men specifically, they were Clark & Robins, the 3 flew together on the 12th of January 1942.

Robins

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Clark

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Detachment 1: Stornoway

 

Ken's first Detachment was to Stornoway and it took place between the 10th and 19th of September. This detachment was with 2 other men: Terry and Wills, it's noted that they were escorting convoys and conducting sweeps.

Hudson Search

On the 1st November it's noted that Ken as Pilot and Clark as Co-pilot were searching for a 206 Hudson, the next day they reported that a Swordfish had crashed and there is a photograph in the Log-book (below) that if looked at closely shows the dinghy! On the back of the photograph Ken wrote:

'Swordfish crashed in sea off coast N.Ireland 2 crew picked up in dinghy by Rochester Castle'

Extract from Log-book

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Look closely for the dinghy

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Detachments 2 & 3: St Eval & Chivenor

 

Ken's second and third Detachments started on the 5th December finishing up on the 20th December, he flew each time with Clark and in St Eval they did a sweep and went straight onto the third Detachment at Chivenor. It appears they completed 3 sweeps between these 2 places and on 16th & 17th of December they were part of an 'Anti  Shipping Patrol - Line C' .   On the 20th of December they returned to Silloth.
RAF St Eval was a reconnaissance airfield to protect shipping around the south western tip of Great Britain. Building started in 1938 and the station opened in October 1939. St Eval closed on the 6th March 1959 however a single hanger and church are still visible on the skyline.
I recently visited St Eval and parked outside the church. The church was really fascinating and holds lots of connections with the RAF. It includes several visitor books where past aircrews have written comments.
 

St Eval Church 2006

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There is a memorial outside the church that was unveiled on the 10th April 2005, it commemorates the 974 aircrew who lost their lives and the 22 airmen and WAAF's who were killed in bombing raids.

St Eval Memorial

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There are several squadrons listed on the side of the memorial and are as follows:

22 / 53 / 58 / 86 / 206 / 217 / 221 / 224 / 233 / 234 / 236 / 238

247 / 263 / 279 / 407 / 415 / 489 / 500 / 502 / 801 / 812 / 829

It also mentions...

10 OTU / 1404 FLT / 1&2 A.AC.U / 6 Coast Pat FLT