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Thread: WO2 Brian Vincent Crist, R93427; 450, 417, & 93 Sqns

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    Default WO2 Brian Vincent Crist, R93427; 450, 417, & 93 Sqns

    I am researching a story about WO2 Crist of Wallaceburg, Ontario, Canada.

    I am particularly interested in his service - in the Middle East desert - with 450 Sqn (RAAF) for the period 31 Oct 42 - 24 Mar 43 and the circumstances surrounding his 24 Sep 43 death over Italy while flying Spitfires with 93 Sqn.

    Any assistance & anecdotes would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you - very much - for all assistance.

    John Dean

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    Hello,

    Brian Crist, who was wounded in March 1943*, served on ground duty for many months with No.1 Air Delivery Unit, recovering from his wounds. He was then on the roster of No.417 Squadron from 18 August to 4 September 1943 but did not fly with this unit. He was then posted to No.93 Spitfire Squadron in Italy but was killed on operations after only a few operational sorties. On 24 September, his Spitfire VC, JL232, crashed two miles north of Salerno on Mount Licini following combat with FW 190s. He is buried in the Salerno War Cemetery in Italy P.361).

    On the 24th, enemy AA fire was accurate and three Kittyhawks of 450 were hit during a strafing of vehicles in the Al Hamma area. The CO and Sergeant Day, RNZAF, had to belly-land while Canadian Flight Sergeant Brian Crist was wounded in the leg by an explosive bullet . His Kittyhawk III, OK-Z, was badly damaged but Brian skillfully brought it back to base. This was Brian's 49th operational sortie and his last with No.450 Squadron. His wound was serious and he was hospitalized. He served on ground duties for several months afterwards and didn't return to 450 (p.354).

    * F/Sgt B V Crist was wounded on 24 March, 1943 when his Kittyhawk III was badly damaged by flak at El Hamma -HOTMAW2/Shores et al/p.550.

    See:
    Kittyhawks over the Sands - The Canadians & The RCAF Americans.
    Lavigne,J P A Michel & James F Edwards
    Victoriaville:Lavigne Aviation Publications.2002.
    pp.354 & 361.

    THE ROLL OF HONOUR - ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE.
    PREVIOUSLY REPORTED MISSING IN ACTION, NOW REPORTED KILLED IN ACTION.

    Crist, Wt. Off. B. V.

    The Times. Wednesday, March 29, 1944, p.7. (Issue 49817).

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 9th February 2020 at 14:20.

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    John

    Have you seen this?

    https://www.gatheringourheroes.ca/he...brian-vincent/

    His R.C.A.F. Service File is available on ancestry.co.uk.

    He had previously served as a Trooper in the First Hussars, C.A.S.F. (Canadian Active Service Force) between September 1939 and 1941 when he joined the R.C.A.F., being posted to Camp Borden in December 1941. Postings as follows:

    February 27th 1942 - 5 S.F.T.S
    March 31st 1942 - 52 O.T.U.
    June 2nd 1942 - 93 Sqn
    October 31st 1942 - 450 Sqn
    February 23rd 1943 - to the Middle East
    August 18th 1943 - 417 Sqn
    September 24th 1943 - reported missing and then confirmed as killed from 93 Sqn

    Interestingly his record includes a Form 6 'Province of Ontario Certificate of Registration of Death', which records that he was killed in a flying accident, rather than in combat.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Hello,

    A few more biographical details on Brian Crist.

    Three Canadian warrant officers were posted No.450 Squadon during the last days of October 1942: Walter John Chittenden from St.Catharines, Ontario, Brian Vincent Crist from Wallaceberg, Ontario, and Alexander Donald Nicolson from Birtle, Manitoba. Walter Chittenden was born on 5 November 1921 at Waltham Abbey in England but his family later moved to Canada and settled at St.Catharines. After high school and a four-year technical course as a carpenter, Walter enlisted in the RCAF at Hamilton in December 1940. He had the joy of making his first stage of training in his hometown with No.9 Elementary Flying Training School, which spread from 22 April to 3 July of the year 1941. Then he went to No.1 SFTS at Camp Borden where he got his wings in mid-September.

    Brian Crist was born on 17 February 1919, the son of Alfred and Sophia Crist of Wallaceburg. After his high school education, he was employed by Dominion Glass Company in his hometown. On 18 September 1939, shortly after the outbreak of hostilities, Brian enlisted in the forces. His first choice was the Air Force but he was affected to the Army and served with the Armoured Division , Royal Canadian Hussars, London, Ontario. He was finally transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force on February 25, 1941. He made his flying training stages in Ontario at Goderich (No.12 EFTS) and at Camp Borden (No.1 SFTS), and received his wings in December 1941. Don Nicolson, born 10 August 1921, enlisted at Winnipeg, and trained at Boundary Bay, BC, No.18 EFTS, and at Dauphin, Mantoba, No.10 SFTS.

    Then followed the operational training in England. Chittenden and Crist were sent sent to Ashton Down [sic], (52 OTU), to learn to fly Spitfires. They were on different courses, Crist having a short spell with No.3 AFU at Ternhill prior to OTU. Meanwhile Nicolson went to Sutton Bridge on Hurricanes. Brian Crist had a few mishaps at Ashton Down [sic]. On 10 April, his Spitfire developed an engine failure and he had to land wheels-up. No harm. On 7 May, same problem; engine failure. Once more he pranged the Spit., this time at Morten Valence [sic]. Again no harm to himself. Eight days later, he was practicing low flying and he got lost. Once more he force-landed the Spit on its belly at Dungeness and got out unharmed! After OTU, he was posted to 93 Squadron which was reforming on the Isle of Man and made 41 flights with this unit in June but no operational sortie. He volunteered for the Middle East and was posted to Egypt, arriving in September 1942. After a short period at No.1 METS and 239 Wing Base, he was posted to No.450 Squadron. Chittenden and Nicolson also flew briefly with squadrons in England before being posted to the Middle East. Walter with No.124 Squadron at Biggin Hill and Don with No.609 Squadron at Digby. Officially, Chittenden was posted to No.450 Squadron on 30 Oct 42, and Nicolson and Crist the next Day.

    See: Kittyhawks over the Sands/Lavigne & Edwards, p.344.

    Col
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 10th February 2020 at 12:51. Reason: St.Catharines - Thamks Ian.

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    Col Bruggy, Simon

    Thank you - so very much - for all this. Really appreciate.

    Googled Kittyhawks over the Sands; will contact Michel Lavigne tdy to see if I can get a copy of the book.

    John Dean

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluefish View Post
    Col Bruggy, Simon

    Thank you - so very much - for all this. Really appreciate.

    Googled Kittyhawks over the Sands; will contact Michel Lavigne tdy to see if I can get a copy of the book.

    John Dean
    John,

    You're in for an uphill ride trying to obtain a copy of "Kittyhawks over the Sands" from the author. It was only printed in a limited edition of 1,000 copies (I have No.234/1,000). It fetches ridiculous prices when a copy does come on the market, I mean AUS$200.00+!

    Best of luck.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 9th February 2020 at 15:29.

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    Quote Originally Posted by COL BRUGGY View Post
    John,

    You're in for an uphill ride trying to obtain a copy of "Kittyhawks over the Sands" from the author. It was only printed in a limited edition of 1,000 copies (I have No.234/1,000). It fetches ridiculous prices when a copy does come on the market, I mean AUS$200.00+!

    Best of luck.

    Col.
    Col Bruggy

    Tried the e-mail address & phone number for Lavigne Aviation Publications, both bounced back. On Amazon, Kittyhawks is $Cdn195.00. So it’s off to the Library.

    Another question. WO2 Crist went missing 24 Sep 43. I went to the 93 Sqn ORB for Sep 43 at the National Archives website (https://discovery.nationalarchives.g...ils/r/D8384471). I put it on highest magnification available & looked through the watermarks & could see no ref to Crist going missing. Crist is mentioned at pages 3, 4 and 6/6 of the ORB. On page 6/6 (what seems to be 20 Sep 43) there seems to be an incident mentioned, but Crist is not mentioned on any date after that.

    Am I missing something? I know that Crist’s death was confirmed 26 October 43. But is there some reason that Crist would not have been reported missing – when he actually went missing – in the ORB?

    Thank you very much for all your patience & assistance.

    John Dean

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    Default WO2 Brain Crist (Canadian), 93 Sqn

    Except for one, every record I have located indicates that WO2 Crist went missing 24 Sep 1943 while flying a 93 Sqn Spitfire from Falcone, on Sicily.

    I just purchased the ORB for Sep 43 from the National Archives. According to the ORB, 93 Sqn did not even fly on 24 Sep 43. It flew 21 Sep & 25 Sep, but not 24 Sep. And for all the ops for the month of Sep, Crist is never noted as missing.

    Am I missing something??? Under what circumstances would a person who went missing, not be reported as having gone missing in the ORB??

    Would appreciate any help.

    I can send the ORB to anyone who might be able to help.

    John Dean

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    Hello,

    A History of the Mediterranean Air War Vol.4/Shores et al/p.387, mentions the following:

    Friday, 24 September 1943.

    British Casualties.

    93 Sqn - Spitfire Vc JL232 - shot down by FW 190 2m N of Salerno at Mount Lieini; Flt Sgt B V Crist KiA.

    German Claims.

    8./JG 77 - Fw Richard Foerster - Spitfire - Ajaccio - 0855.

    Known Claim.

    O.K.L. Fighter Claims - Mediterranean & Southern Front 1941-45.

    24/9/1943 - Fw Richard Forster, 8./JG 77 - Spitfire - 8223/ 04: 2,000 m (Salerno) - 0855 - Film C. 2031/II Anerk: Nr.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 16th March 2020 at 04:45.

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    Spitfire V JL232 was coded HN-F (93 Sqn, based at Hal Far, Malta, VII-VIII.43.) Shot down 24.9.43.

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