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Thread: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

  1. #41
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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    Returning to the towing of Hadrian FR579 by Dakota FD900 from Montreal to Prestwick over June 23 to July 1, 1943, I’ve now received the RAFFC aircrew assignment cards for five of the six airmen involved, as follows:

    Dakota tow aircraft FD794 (training) and FD900 (ferry flight): Pilots Flt Lt William Sydney Longhurst and Flt Lt Charles William Halliwell Thomson and, for the ferry flight only, radio operator Harold Gordon Wightman. Cards for flight engineer Plt Off R.H. Wormington could not be located.

    Hadrian FR579 'Voo-Doo': Wg Cdr Richard Godfrey Seys and Sqn Ldr Fowler Morgan Gobeil, RCAF.

    Strangely, there is no reference on Sqn Ldr Gobeil’s cards to him being involved in the training flights or the towed ferry flight to Prestwick. However, an article he contributed to the Canadian Aviation Historical Society Journal in 1976 and various other accounts and references leave no doubt he was the co-pilot of the Hadrian.

    According to his assignment cards, Wg Cdr Seys undertook ‘Special Duties Glider Training’ in Hadrian FR579 with Wg Cdr Longhurst and crew aboard Dakota FD794 on April 22, 1943, flying from Montreal to North Bay, Ontario, and return.

    The same combination subsequently departed Montreal for Stephenville, Newfoundland, on June 27, leaving for Goose Bay the following day. A local flight at Goose Bay followed on April 28 with a return leg to Montreal on April 29.

    Seeking over-water experience, and perhaps combined with a degree of flag-waving, they departed Montreal on May 4, 1943, for a round-robin flight that took in Atlanta, Georgia, Nassau in the Bahamas, Richmond, Virginia, Washington and Newark, New Jersey, before returning to Montreal on May 9.

    Seys then flew Dakota FD862 to Iceland and back prior to Hadrian FR579 ‘Voo-Doo’ and Dakota FD900 departing Montreal on June 23 at the start of the ferry flight to Prestwick, as documented in post #38.

    There’s an interesting article here which fills in more details, notably about challenges faced during the ferry flight itself: https://ingeniumcanada.org/channel/a...s#author-block

    Robert

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    Plt Off R.H. Wormington is

    565835 Robert Henry WORMINGTON (49283) RAF Commissioned 2nd Oct 1942.

  3. #43
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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    do we have full crew for Catalina: FP159 ?

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    That’s all I have, Paul. Alas, there's no surname/aircraft serial cross-index for the aircrew assignment cards.

    Likely four RAFFC personnel: captain Gerrand, co-pilot, flight engineer and radio operator.

    Robert
    Last edited by robstitt; 12th November 2020 at 15:50.

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    Robin:

    Reading Gobeil's detailed account of the crossing, the first reference to meeting up with Catalina FP159 is for the leg from Greenland to Iceland. This was the second long over-water leg so they may still have joined up around Goose Bay for the leg to Greenland and he just doesn't mention it.

    "As arranged, we met our Catalina flying boat over the sea at 5,000 feet at the mouth of the Igaliko Fjord."

    Robert

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    Wing Commander Richard Godfrey Seys #34130
    Later with AFC and DSO

    Name
    Richard Godfrey Seys
    Birth
    25/01/1912 (25 Jan 1912)
    Death
    03/1991 (Mar 1991) Hastings and Rother East Sussex England


    Harold Gordon Wightman was known as Gordon Wightman and he was from British Columbia

  7. #47
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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    https://ingeniumcanada.org/channel/a...-was-pointless

    They were H. Gordon 'Gordy' Wightman, a civilian radio operator from Canada,**



    H. Gordon Wightman Radio Signal VE5XU. Regina, Saskatchewan.

    Passengr List 1943 Says Aged 30


    Name: Harold Gordon Wightman
    Arrival Date: 8 Dec 1943
    Birth Date: abt 1913
    Last Permanent Address: Canada
    Other Last Permanent Address: Ft William
    Age: 30
    Gender: Male
    Ethnicity/ Nationality: Irish
    Port of Departure: Gourock, Scotland
    Port of Arrival: New York, New York, USA
    Ship Name: Queen Elizabeth
    Search Ship Database: Search for the Queen Elizabeth in the 'Passenger Ships and Images' database


    Name: H. Gordon Wightman
    Birth Date: abt 1913
    Birth Place: Canada Fort William Ont.
    Gender: Male
    Race: Scotch (Scotish)
    Nationality: Canadian
    Arrival Date: 18 Apr 1937
    Arrival Place: Ketchikan, Alaska, USA
    Age: 24

    Name
    Harold Gordon Wightman
    Birth
    29/03/1913 (29 Mar 1913) Thunder Bay Ontario Canada

    Name
    Harold Gordon Wightman
    Parent
    Herbert; Annie
    Birth
    abt 1913
    Death
    22/11/1992 (22 Nov 1992) Regina

  8. #48
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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    thanks again

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    Hello all,

    A few hours ago a brand new ten-minute video about this glider crossing appeared on YouTube from Mark Felton Productions. It is titled 'The Transatlantic Glider - A Hair-Raising WW2 Mission'. Mark Felton produces many of these short films, often covering obscure subjects. This video has much footage not directly concerned with this mission but also some of the crew and 'Voo-Doo'. Well worth having a look at.

    Regards,

    Martin Gleeson.

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    Default Re: Tracing Capt Gerry Durrand, Atlantic Ferry pilot

    Will do Martin

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