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Thread: Dal Russel

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Orleans, Ontario, Canada
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts

    Default Dal Russel

    I am indebted to Larry Milberry for the following:

    RUSSEL, Blair Dalzell ''Dal'', DSO, DFC & Bar, Order of Orange with Swords (Netherlands), Croix de Guerre with Silver (France) and War Cross, 1939 (Czechoslovakia), died peacefully at home, in Knowlton, Quebec on November 20th, 2007 in his 91st year. Predeceased by his beloved wife, Lorraine MacKimmie, sister Janie and brother Hugh. Loving father of Charles M. Hart (Emily), Diana Blakely (Fraser), and Blair G. Russel (Jennifer). Dear grandfather Tara, Chris, Martha, Liliane, Claire, Emily, Tessa and Lucy and also ten great grandchildren. He was predeceased by his grandson, Malcolm Hart. A celebration of his life will take place in Knowlton on December 9th, 2007. In lieu of flowers donations to the R.C.A.F. Memorial Museum Foundation, P.O. Box 1000, Stn. Forces, Astra, Ontario, K0K 3W0, or a charity of your own choice would be very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default More on Dal Russel

    The following was sent to me by Dal's son, Blair.

    The Gazette Sunday, November 25, 2007

    DAL RUSSEL, one of Canada's great Second World War fighter pilots, flew 286 operational sorties
    during the war, shot down five and a half enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain and came home without a scratch.He was considered so lucky his ground crew nicknamed him DeadEye Dick
    and had the ace of spades painted on the fuselage of his Spitfire aircraft.
    He died Tuesday at his home in Knowlton following a stroke, three weeks shy of his
    91st birthday.
    "He was a very independent, very single-minded, of a very definite mindset.
    Right or wrong, he did it," said Jeffrey Williams, a distant cousin who
    considered Russel an uncle."He did not like to talk about what happened
    during the war. His brother, Hugh, who was also a pilot, was killed in
    1944. Dal loved to fish, but once when I invited him to go hunting with
    me, he declined. He told me he had seen enough of shooting and would
    never again fire a gun."Blair Dalzell Russel, the son of a family-owned
    steel finishing manufacturer, was born in Toronto, Dec. 9, 1916, moved
    to Montreal as an infant and went to Selwyn House School before being
    sent to Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ont. He learned to fly at
    the Montreal Light Flying Club in a Gypsy Moth single-engine biplane.
    Russel was working for Dominion Steel and Coal in Toronto in 1939 when
    the war began and he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force.At 22, he
    was one of the youngest officers to go overseas with Fighter Squadron
    No. 1, and at 23, was one of the first Canadians to be awarded the
    Distinguished Flying Cross.One officer who flew with Russel described
    him as "chewing gum when he went into his first scramble. He had to pick
    bits of gum from the roof of his mouth afterwards."During the war,
    Russel wrote several articles about his experiences for The Gazette.
    Always self-effacing, he downplayed his heroism and attributed his
    success to the team work of the squadron and to his ground crew."Our
    biggest show was Sept. 15, 1940, when the Royal Air Force officially
    shot down 185 aircraft," he wrote."Actually, of course, there were many
    more which could not be confirmed."When things quietened down after the
    big show, our squadron went to a very famous golf course. We had a great
    time with tennis, golf and parties until we went back to a busy station
    again."On Sept. 26, there was a great flock of aircraft above us going
    north, but one dropped out and was about at our altitude, so we all went
    into line astern and gave him the works... I got four attacks in.
    Several men jumped out of the enemy aircraft. Finally it winged over and
    went straight down, exploding as it hit a couple of houses. We all had
    so many cracks at this fellow, we called it a squadron victory."
    Repatriated to Canada, Russel re turned to Europe in 1943 and took a cut
    in rank from Wing Commander to Squadron Leader so he could fly
    Spitfires. He won the bar to his DFC for escorting bomber missions
    "without the loss of a single aircraft," and King George VI presented
    him with the Distinguished Service Order in 1944.Later he was given the
    French Croix de Guerre with Silver Star, decorated by the Netherlands
    with the Order of Orange-Nassau with Swords, and given the Czech War
    Cross.When the war ended, he married Lorraine MacKimmie and worked with
    Canadair as a senior sales executive and sat on the board of directors
    of John Labatt Ltd.In 1966, he and his wife bought Heaney's Linen Shop,
    which used to be on Mountain St.They retired to Vermont in 1981, and
    moved to Knowlton in the early 1990s.His wife died six years ago on
    their 55th wedding anniversary.He is survived by his children, Diana,
    Blair and Charles.In keeping with Russel's wishes, there will be no


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