We got up on our feet, I put one arm over George's shoulders to take some of the weight off my sprained ankle, and we walked about a quarter mile to a house. George knocked on the door and an elderly lady in her night gown opened the door. She was quite startled when she saw us with blood running down our faces and the front of our uniforms. She let us in the house and after we told her what happened she telephoned the base and a short time later we were picked up by an ambulance-hearse, and taken to the base hospital.
Lacking any anaesthetic, the doctor stitched the lacerations in my face without benefit of painkillers. Later we were strapped on stretchers in an Oxford ambulance plane piloted by F/0 Snowden. With F!L Rogers, the Medical Officer, in attendance, we were taken to Gatwick airport. From Gatwick we were taken to the Queen Victoria Hospital at East Grinstead, Sussex. Soon after we were placed in hospital beds and official photographs were taken of our head wounds for the hospital records. I was visited by Wing Commander Ross Tilley, the doctor in charge of the Canadian wing of the hospital. He took a quick look at me, ripped the scabs off my face, talked to me for a few minutes, then left to attend other airmen whose injuries were more severe than mine. Many of the patients were burn victims and were receiving plastic surgery from Dr. Tilley. Because this type of surgery was in its infancy, and was somewhat experimental, these patients became known as Guinea Pigs. A Club was formed and all patients who were in the Queen Victoria Hospital became official members of the Guinea Pig Club.
German V1 flying bombs, called "buzz bombs" or "doodlebugs," flew over quite often on their way from France to London. During my recovery at the Queen Victoria hospital the patients were visited by an entertainment group from the Women's Division of the RCAF, called the "All Clear" .group. The lady in charge was Flight Officer Alice Fahrenholtz, who later married Brigadier General William F. Newson, a member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. Some of the airmen who were not confined to their beds were honoured by having their photograph taken with the young ladies. I was one of six airmen who had their picture taken with four smiling ladies in their RCAF uniforms; the pretty redhead wi th her hand resting on my left shoulder was LAW [Leading Airwoman] Maureen Harrington from Edmonton. When I left the hospital to return to the squadron I was picked up by F/0 Sexsmith in an Airspeed Oxford. He was accompanied by W/0 Jones and W/0 Gregory, who slept in the same tent as George and I. George was not released from the hospital until later because his jaw had not yet healed.
On 5 August I was given a flight test in an Oxford by F/0 Green, to check that the accident had not affected my flying ability. On 8 August, being anxious to get back into the air, I took the Squadron utility airplane, a Miles Magister, for an hour's flight. Many of the ground crew wanted to get into the air whenever they had a chance,so I took LAC Coffin. from Edmonton, as my passenger on this flight. On 11 August I was back fl ying a Mark XIII Mosquito, and made three flights that day. In August the squadron was moved from Zeals to Colerne, Wiltshire, an airfield with paved runways. We were given RCAF Form R60, which was a Will, and were urged to complete it. On 16 August I completed my Will, and another air crew signed as witnesses. These were F/L Ben E. Plumer, pilot, from Bassano, Alberta and his N/R F/0 Evans.
I flew a number of practice intercepts in which my Mossie was the target and a crew in another Mossie would track me with their radar and endeavour to catch or intercept me. During these exercises, both aircraft carried loaded guns in the event either one or both planes were diverted to intercept a bandit or buzz bomb. After 35 day-and-night flights in Mosquitoes, I flew a Magister to an airport near London. From there I was sent to the Repatriation Depot at Manchester, and received a promotion to Warrant Officer second class effective 30 April.
Part 3 - Aircraft Operations Overseas
On I May Don MacNicol and I were posted to RAF Station Winfield on the east coast of Scotland. We were the only RCAF crew in "A" Flight. All the rest of the fifteen crews were RAF. Robert Walker and George Fawcett also were posted to Winfield and were one of sixteen crews in "B" Flight. From this base most of our flights were over the North Sea in Mark VI Beaufighters, with two Bristol Hercules 1650 horsepower engines, four 20 mm cannons, six .303 machine guns and radar in the nose. We flew Mark II Beaufighters with Rolls Royce Merlin Engines during
adjacent to the landing field. The plane could not be stopped while it was skidding down the slope on the near side of the coulee; however, it came to a sudden stop when it went across a small creek and hit the bottom of the ascending slope on the other side. My head hit the instrument panel and I received facial lacerations while George's jaw was broken. The port engine caught fire, and in order to save time I disconnected my parachute and threw off my helmet with earphones and oxygen mask, rather than disconnect them. When I attempted to leave the plane I found my left foot was caught under the damaged rudder bar. After twisting around and spraining my ankle in the process, my foot became dislodged. By this time the fire was burning up the left side of the fuselage singeing the left side of my clothing and the hair on the left side of my head. We crawled out a hole on the right side of the fuselage, and while we were crawling away on our hands and knees the port fuel tanks exploded. A few seconds later the ammunition also started exploding. After we had crawled about 100 yards away we sat on the ground getting our bearings and watching the burning plane. After another ten minutes that my future would have been significantly different
Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
Canada 150 Vignette – 030 of 150
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan
A World War II Memory
Stan Reynolds - Pilot - Part 3 of 3
On 10 October my first RIN Don MacNicol was killed while he was serving with 406 Mosquito night-fighter squadron. On 14 October I was awarded a Wound Stripe for injuries received on active service, and on 30 October was promoted to WO 1 [Warrant Officer first class]. I left Manchester on the ocean liner Queen Elizabeth, which was filled with troops, and several days later docked in New York harbour. From there I travelled to eastern Canada, and then back to Alberta by train.
I was very disappointed when I was discharged in 1945, as I liked to fly and would have been happy to stay in the air force as a pilot. In Janu ary 1947 I received a letter from No.2 Air Command, RCAF Winnipeg, stating that a Mosquito Squadron was to be formed for overseas service, and offering ·me a five-year commission with the rank of Flight Lieutenant. Later it was learned that this squadron was sent to China where the Canadians taught Nationalist Chinese to fly and maintain Mosquitos obtained in Canada for use against the Communists. By this date I had built a garage, owned a car sales lot and had a business that was progressing successfully. I therefore did not go back into the air force; however, if I had done so it is probable that my future would have been significantly different
F/S Stan Reynolds wearing "battle dress" beside his Mark II Beaufighter at RAF Station Winfield, Scotland in May 1944. A radar antenna is fastened to the port wing behind him.
F/S Stan Reynolds in the cockpit of a Mosquito Mark XXX Night Fighter in August 1944.
RCAF 410 Squadron Mosquito night Fighters stationed at Colerne, Wiltshire, in August 1944. Black and white striping was painted on the underside of the aircraft shortly before D-Day. Facial scars on pilot Stan Reynolds resulted from crash landing his partially disabled Mosquito during a night flight in July 1944..
My twenty-first birthday was on 17 May, and on this day I spent an hour and ten minutes flying a Mark II Beaufighter, firing 20 mm cannons at a target drogue being pulled by a Fairey Battle. Don became quite friendly with Robert Walker, and asked if I would mind if he crewed up with Walker, in which event George Fawcett would become my R/N [radio navigator]. George and I had no objection, so MacNicol became Walker's R/N and Fawcett became my R/N.
Late at night on 19 June George and I were "scrambled" [took off] and vectored to intercept two "bogies" [enemyaircraft] flying high over the North Sea towards Edinburgh. We had climbed to 16,000 feet when the bogies had completed their reconnaissance mission and were heading back towards Norway. During their flight they descended, at the same time giving them a greater speed. Because we were on an interception course we were able to get fairly close to one of the bogies, but not close enough to be able to see the plane visually, which would enable us to fire our guns. When our height was down to about 100 feet above the North Sea waves, we had to level out and the German planes, being faster than our Beaufighter, pulled away from us. Later we were told that they were probably Messerschmitt 21 Os based in Norway. On 21 June, after 31 day-and-night flights in Beaufighters, I was posted with my R/N to 410 Cougar Squadron RCAF based at Zeals, Wiltshire. At this time 410 Squadron was assigned to the Defence of Britain. It was a night fighter squadron equipped with Mark XIII and Mark XXX DeHavilland Mosquitoes fitted with four Hispano Suiza 20 mm cannons in the belly and radar equipment in the nose. They had two Rolls Royce Merlin 1650 horsepower engines, and a top speed of 420 miles per hour. There were instruments, gauges and controls on both sides as well as in the front of the cockpit, and the radio had 32 channels. There also was one Mark III Mosquito that had dual controls. On 23 June, with F/0 Edwards at the controls and me in the other seat, he flew one circuit, then told me to fly a circuit. After I landed he told me to continue flying circuits and left me alone in the plane. I took off on my first solo flight in a Mosquito, and practised takeoffs and landings for an hour and 25 minutes. I thought to myself at the time how much nicer and easier it was to fly the Mosquito than the Beaufighter.
We were using a grass airfield without runways, smaller than most other bases. We slept in tents on folding cots at that time. When we took a shower we used a hand-pumper fire extinguisher filled with water, and took turns spraying water on each other. W/C Abner Hiltz was our Commanding Officer, and George Fawcett and I were one of sixteen crews in "B" Flight. S/L J.D. "Red" Somerville was our Flight Commander, and F/L Walter Dinsdale was the Assistant Flight Commander.
During a night flight in a Mark XIII Mosquito on 9 July, the starboard engine burst into flame. I shut off the fuel line and switches for this engine, feathered the propeller and activated the fire extinguisher which put out the fire. I flew back to base on one engine, arriving about 2:30AM. When a twin-engine airplane flying on one engine slows below a certain air speed, there is not enough rudder control to keep the aircraft in a safe attitude if too much power is used on the operating engine. The increased pull from the operating engine causes the plane to become uncontrollable and crash. Consequently pilots are trained to approach the landing field at a greater height than is usual; if there is an overshoot or undershoot during landing, it is safer to hit the far fence at a slower speed than it is to hit the near fence at flying speed. When I was certain I would reach the landing field, I activated the flap and undercarriage controls. There is a hydraulic pump on each engine; as one engine was inoperative the hydraulic pump connected to that engine was not working. The hydraulic pressure from the single pump operated the flaps and undercarriage so slowly that they were only partially down, and I could not get the plane stopped before I ran out of landing space. As soon as I was aware that the plane was not slowing down fast enough and the undercarriage was only part way down, I returned the landing gear control to the retract position and the plane skidded on its belly into a coulee
air-to-ground firing, and when firing at target drogues being pulled by Fairey Battles. One of the first things we noticed was the number of WAAF [Women's Auxiliary Air Force] working on airplane engines. With my folding camera, which I could carry in my pocket, I took some photographs of these women at work. On 6 June 1944 [D-Day ], the supercharger in the starboard engine was unserviceable so we flew back to base after a short flight. We were not informed about the invasion until the next day.
On 11 June we flew back to base after a short flight for the reason "weapons bent," meaning our guns wouldn't fire. Quite often the night flying aircrew received carrots with their meals as the vitamins in carrots were said to be of benefit to our night vision. Everyone had brussels sprouts with most meals, and periodically a chicken egg was al located to each flyer. We had to stand in a single-file queue, and when we got to the front of the line we signed our name on a dotted line to receive our single egg. Each airman took his own egg to the mess kitchen and told the cook how he wanted it cooked; we would then eat the egg with the rest of the meal that was dished out to us. Don MacNicol received comfort parcels from home which contained cans of Spork, Spam, jam, peanut butter, and margarine. He would take a can of jam or peanut butter to the mess hall and put it on the table in front of us. After a few minutes RAF ground crew would come over to our table with a slice of bread in their hand and meekly ask if they could have a little bit of the jam or peanut butter. Don never refused anyone, and soon the can was empty.