Archive for Night Bomber Offensive

A Birchall in Heavy Bombers for the RCAF

Posted in 1945 + Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , on March 1, 2015 by The Dude

Flag_of_CanadaThis medal is a GVI Canadian Efficiency Decoration awarded to Wing Commander Kenneth Birchall (C1592). Ken was born in Ottawa on the 17th of March 1916. He attended the technical school in Ottawa and went on to become a Pilot-Sergeant in the RCAF, later enlisting in 1939 in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

The Ottawa Journal records his promotion to Flying Officer (Temporary)  in January 1940. He went on to complete two tours in bombers over France and Germany and then returned to Canada. He served as the Chief Instructor at No.2 Bombing and Gunnery School at Mossbank in Manitoba. In the 14 June 1945 London Gazette he was gazetted for the Air Force Cross (AFRO 1127/45 dated 6 July 1945).  Ken had completed 1,502 hours flying as of date of award. The award was presented 1 April 1949.

The blurb for the award is as follows…

“Wing Commander Birchall, during the period of his employment as chief instructor at No.2 Bombing and Gunnery School, has produced outstanding results in training efficiency. Through devotion to duty and untiring effort he contributed in great measure to raising and maintaining the efficiency and morale of this station at a very high level. His service has been outstanding for the past five years and during that period he has made a valuable contribution to the prosecution of the war.”

Aside from the missing AFC, Ken would also be entitled to the Victory Medal, the 1939-45 Star, the Air Crew Europe Star, the Defence Medal and the CVSM with Overseas Bar.

londongazettekbirchall

rsz_canadabirchall2 rsz_canadabirchall1

1943 Lancaster Bomber Crew Insignia

Posted in Insignia with tags , , , , , , , on June 3, 2014 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis group came together from an antique show down south. The obvious age of the group, including the 1940’s frame and the age spots on the notes taped to the back makes me believe this was created by a veteran either during the war or immediately afterwards.

I consulted two different collectors of wings to check the authenticity. Of course they both came back pointing out “obvious reproductions”, neither of them agreeing at all on which ones were wrong. So I am going to go with “these are all good and you are all idiots”.

rsz_wings1rsz_wings2

A Birchall Lost in the Battle Over Berlin

Posted in 1939-1945 Service Medals, Family Groups & Singles with tags , , , , , on April 18, 2014 by The Dude

Flag_of_the_United_KingdomThis small group belongs to 1076673 Eric Birchall, Sergeant, RAFVR. Eric flew on Lancasters of 44 Squadron and was killed in action on December 24th 1943. Eric was a Wireless Operator/Air Gunner. He trained in 1654 Heavy Conversion Unit and was posted to 44 Squadron on 12th August 1943. He flew 13 sorties including two to Berlin, two to Hannover and one to Munich. On his 14th sortie, again to Berlin, he was part of group of 379 aircraft, mainly Lancasters. They took off at 0034hrs on the 24th and had a troublefree outer leg due to bad weather. His aircraft was en route home to Dunholme Lodge when it was attacked by a night fighter at 0315 hours and set on fire. It was observed to crash 30 miles NE of Limburg. The entire crew was killed. Eric is buried in the Hannover War Cemetery along with the rest of his crew.