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Thread: No. 1/401 Sqn - P/O John W. Kerwin in the Aleutians

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    Default No. 1/401 Sqn - P/O John W. Kerwin in the Aleutians

    I have a record of this Canadian Squadron Leader who flew in the Battle of Britain (and was shot down but survived) and was later killed in the Aleutians. Can anyone tell me how he got to the Aleutians after fighting in England? I know he is buried at a military cemetery in Alaska and I have basic notes on the history of 1 Sqn, RCAF, which became 401 Sqn. but nothing after that.

    I have noted his info on the Battle of Britain sites but it's his record after that I would like to find.

    P/O John W. Kerwin, a Canadian, was a pre-war member of the RAF. He joined No 1 (R.C.A.F.) Squadron in August. On the 31st of August he destroyed a Do 215. On the 1st of September he destroyed another Dornier and a Bf 110. He was then shot down and he baled out of his Hurricane I (P3963) over Shipbourne at 14:25hrs, with burns.

    J.W. Kerwin was KIA in the Aleutians on the 16th of July 1942.
    David

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    Have you seen this about the Canadian involvement in the Aleutions:

    http://www.manitobamilitaryaviationmuseum.com/PDF/AleutianCampaign.pdf

    A

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    The following men are all buried in Fort Richardson Post cemetery:
    All dated July 16 1942.

    P/O D E Whiteside J/10607 from Kansas
    Sgt S R Maxman R/100245 from Sask
    F/Sgt F R Lennon R/79072 from New Jersey
    S/Ldr J W Kirwan C/922

    All buried in Plot Z graves, (taken from CWGC cemetery report).
    http://www.cem.va.gov/CEMs/nchp/ftrichardson.asp

    I can't find them in the Canadian newspapers archives however.

    Some one will have the details of the cause of his death.

    regards

    Dennis
    Last edited by dennis_burke; 30th November 2008 at 12:46. Reason: Wrong date of Death - sorry
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    F/Sgt G D Baird R/95331 is listed on the Ottowa memorial for this date, served with 111 Squadron. Is he the 5th pilot?

    Very good link Amrit.

    Bill Walkers site details the aircraft.
    http://www.ody.ca/~bwalker/RCAF_1050_1099_detailed.html


    Dennis
    Last edited by dennis_burke; 30th November 2008 at 12:54. Reason: Added Link to Bill's site
    Dennis Burke
    - Dublin

    Foreign Aircrew and Aircraft Ireland 1939-1945
    www.ww2irishaviation.com

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    Ferry flight Cold Bay to Umnak Island; all aircraft 111 (RCAF) Sqn lost due to bad weather conditions.
    WHITESIDE - Kittyhawk 1088 (ex. AL201);
    MAXMAN - Kittyhawk 1070 (ex. AL166);
    LENNON - Kittyhawk 1079 (ex. AL138), and
    "KERWIN" - Kittyhawk 1061 (ex. AK954).
    Number five lost was:
    Kittyhawk 1083 (ex. AL166) flown by F/Sgt G.D.R. BAIRD - R/95331; he's missing and commemorated on Panel 1 Column 5 of the Ottawa Air Force Memorial.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Just a few minor details:

    All five aircraft crashed into high ground on Unalaska Island, after becoming lost in low clouds and heavy snow. They were ferrying to a forward base, for operations against the Japanese further down the Aleutian chain. It appears that all still carried RAF serials, having just arrived in Canada from the US before being assigned to No. 111(F) Squadron for service in Alaska. The assigned RCAF serials were not marked on other aircraft in the same batch until after July 1942. The RCAF purchased a number of P-40Ks from the US in Alaska to replace these and other losses, and operated them until late 1943 with US serial numbers and a mix of US and RCAF markings.

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    Thanks all for a bang up job on this one. What a group!

    P/O Kerwin is one of the 103 men and women on the honour roll for 1939-1945 at Malvern Collegiate in Toronto, which I am researching.
    David

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    D,

    Click on the link (although you may have to join the Forum).

    http://www.britishmedalforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=11393

    Rgds

    Jonny

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    Wow! Talk about the whole package. Thanks Jonny. The message on the medals forum, for those who don't have time to look it up, contains a complete history of Kerwin and how he was promoted to sqn ldr of 111 which was ferrying the aircraft to the front from BC. The post has copies of newspaper articles, photos of his medals and even a picture of him and his gravestone.
    David

  10. #10
    Adam H Guest

    Default S/L Kerwin

    Hello All:

    Squadron Leader Kerwin's medals are currently in my collection. I have done quite a lot of research on him over the past serveral years.

    If I can provide any further information or documentation, please don't hesitate to let me know. Just send me off an email.

    Kind regards,

    Adam

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