La Presse Express

Source: Operational record books du 425 Alouette


Le 2 juin 1944, le Halifax KW-G, NA518 partait pour sa première mission avec le 425 Alouette avec le pilote Rance aux commandes.

Le 5 et le 6 juin 1944, c’était Yvon « Pop » Côté qui était aux commandes pour deux missions en support du débarquement.

Pop Côté Easy Does it


KW-G Côté 1KW-G Côté

Le 14 et le 16 juin, c’était au tour du pilote Romuld de voler deux missions sur KW-G.



Le 16 juin, la cible était Sautricourt, dans le Pas-de-Calais. À 03:25 du matin, durant le vol de retour, à 15 400 pieds d’altitude, près de 50º 27 ‘N / 002º 28’E, une balle perdue traversa le plexiglass à droite et en haut du pilote et le frappa.

Quelques minutes plus tard, le pilote gisait mort dans la cabine du Halifax.

Le B/A, F/O E.L. Vawter, prit alors les commandes et ramena le Halifax en Angleterre où il atterrit sans casse à RAF Woodbridge.

Le lendemain, le dommage à l’avion était réparé et le 21 juin KW-G était de retour aux opérations avec le pilote Langlois.


Site Richard Koval

Ce malheureux incident aurait dû décourager les équipages du 425 à utiliser cet avion qui semblait être marqué d’un mauvais sort, vu l’historique de tous les KW-G précédents.


Mais ça n’a pas ébranlé l’équipage de Jacques Côté qui vola 24 missions sur cet avion, commençant le 1 juillet 1944.


3 réflexions sur “KW-G

  1. Earl Vawter
    October 26, 1918 – April 11, 2013
    Flying Officer (Bomb Aimer) – Royal Canadian Air Force –
    Distinguished Flying Cross
    Air Bomber’s Badge
    Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Maple Leaf
    1939-1945 Star
    France and Germany Star
    Defence Medal
    Earl Vawter passed away peacefully in his sleep at St. Paul’s Hospital at the age of 94. He was a kind, gentle, humble man. He was a pillar of unwavering support and unconditional love for his family. Precious memories remain with his surviving brothers, Lloyd (Joan) and Grant (Dianne) and sisters, Julia (Reuben), Dorothy, Lillian and Freda. He was blessed with many generations of nieces and nephews and prided himself in knowing each one’s name and the branch of the family tree to which he/she belonged. Grandpa was predeceased by his wife, Erna (nee Welker), his parents, Jennie and Lloyd, his son, Lloyd Anders, his brothers, Kelly and Virgil and sisters, Muriel and Ruth. Earl will be lovingly remembered by his daughters, Joyce (Marv) Sproule and Dorothy Banjac (Bud) and his grandchildren, Dwayne (Shannon) Sproule, Pennie (Gord) Pelly, Charmaine (Kurt) Wintermute, Charlene Banjac, Mladen Banjac, Cheryl (Gord) Heltman, Johnathen Anders, James Anders and Trevor Anders. He was especially fond of his great-grandchildren, Brittney Sproule, Logan Sproule, Abby Wintermute and Kade Wintermute. Grandpa was born in South Allan, Saskatchewan. He was the second oldest of eleven children. He and his older brother, Virgil, worked on the farm in Allan for many years. Grandpa Earl enjoyed sports and played hockey, softball, baseball and curling. In May, 1942, Grandpa joined the fight for a free and just world in World War II. After training on the ground, he quickly realized « being in the air seemed a whole lot better ». Grandpa diligently mapped out each of his 22 air missions, proudly showed pictures of his crew and quietly and humbly spoke about his efforts and achievements in the RCAF. As young children we sat around him, in awe, holding our breath, as he shared a story or two about being a Bomb Aimer. He never offered a story – it was not in his nature. We would gently ask and he would gently oblige. If we were lucky, he would talk about one fateful night aboard « George », a Halifax III bomber on June 17, 1944. On this night, his 425 Alouette Squadron was attacked while on a V-1 mission over France and the pilot was shot and killed. The pilot was Harold Romuld. After being attacked the entire crew reacted quickly and resourcefully. Although untrained as a pilot, Grandpa took the controls and pulled George out of a dive and flew the bomber, unprotected, for two hours back to England. With help from the ground, and after three attempts, Grandpa safely landed George. Grandpa received the Distinguished Flying Cross for his efforts and bravery. He would let us hold his medals and we would stare at them – holding our breath – imagining a plane full of brave young men. We would gently hand back the medals and thank Grandpa for our freedom. After discharge from the RCAF, Grandpa returned to Allan to work on the farm. It was on the farm that he met our Grandmother, Erna Welker. Grandma was working on the farm helping Grandpa’s mother, Jennie, in the house. At that time, Grandpa was in his 50’s and a bachelor. Grandma was also in her 50’s and had three grown children and nine very young grandchildren. Earl Vawter, a bachelor from Allan, married Grandma, moved to Saskatoon and took on our brood in his mid-50’s. Grandpa continued to demonstrate bravery with his new family, particularly the grandchildren. He handed out Christmas presents, let us style his hair, lent us his car, gave us money, boosted our cars, dished out ice cream, listened to our teenage woes, played Canasta with us until 3:00 a.m. and drove us on numerous family trips – always with patience and never judging. With Grandma, he played in The Boom Boom Band for over 15 years, entertaining young and old at dances and parades. He amazed us with his ability to recite every word of every poem and song ever written. He was prepared with a suitable poem for every occasion. In Saskatoon, he was employed by The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires. He was married to Grandma for 26 years, until her passing in 2001. He loved to dance with Grandma. We loved to watch them. They must be dancing now. We hold our breath and imagine them together once again. We love you, Grandpa, and will continue to honour you and make you proud. A Funeral Service will be held on Friday, April 19 at 11:00 a.m. at Park Funeral Chapel, 311 Third Avenue North, Saskatoon, SK – Pastor George Hind officiating. Interment will follow in Allan Protestant Cemetery, Allan, SK. In lieu of flowers, donations in Grandpa’s memory can be made to The Royal Canadian Legion – Saskatchewan Command in Regina, SK. I would like to thank the following people who were instrumental in providing Grandpa, EARL VAWTER, with quality of life and quality care during the last few years: Dr. Joseph Balaton, Dr. Tymchak, Dr. Pylypchuk, Dr. Stuglin, Dr. Jones, Dr. Strelioff, Gerard Marcoux and Val at Satisfaction Hearing, Cheryl, Mark and Annette from Department of Veteran Affairs, the nurses at St. Paul’s Hospital, Jennifer Downing (CPAS), the owners and residents of Warm and Cozy Care Home; and the caring angels at Veterans’ Village, where Grandpa lived for the last two months. You treated Grandpa with respect and were an essential part of my care team. Many sincere thanks to each of you. In appreciation from Charmaine Wintermute (Earl Vawter’s Granddaughter)

  2. Final flight: Saskatchewan farm boy one of thousands remembered on this day

    The young crew of the 425 Alouette Squadron at Tholthorpe, Yorkshire, 80 kilometres inland on the east coast of England, was briefed at approximately 2100 hours. That gave them some moments to sit, think of home and prepare for another mission across the North Sea or English Channel.


    The young crew of the 425 Alouette Squadron at Tholthorpe, Yorkshire, 80 kilometres inland on the east coast of England, was briefed at approximately 2100 hours. That gave them some moments to sit, think of home and prepare for another mission across the North Sea or English Channel.

    In a few hours, they would leave their metal-walled, unheated Nissen hut carrying parachutes and navigating equipment to make a midnight truck journey across a desolate field to « George, » their Halifax III bomber.

    The men had been together for only a few months, but in that period they had become close friends. They had frequented pubs and flown missions together. They relied dearly on that friendship as much as on one another’s aeronautical skills.

    The crew included Sgt. Bill Thomson, mid-upper gunner, Pilot Officer Bill Dunn, navigator, and Sgt. Wally Williams, wireless operator and air gunner, all from Winnipeg; Pilot Officer Earl Vawter, bomb-aimer, of Allan, Sask.; Flying Officer Harold Romuld, pilot and captain of the crew, of Dunblane, Sask.; Sgt. Harry Wikish, rear-gunner, of Vancouver; and their Scottish flight engineer, Sgt. C.A. Matthews.

    Romuld had purchased a second-hand motorcycle the day before. While returning to barracks that afternoon, being inexperienced in its operation, he put it and himself into a roadside hedge. He received only minor cuts and bruises, but his crew teased him and suggested they would be much more at ease if he assured them he would not pilot George in the same manner.

    Near the end of June 1944, the Alouette Squadron had begun to direct its raids on a new German weapon that had been threatening England — the V-1 « buzz-bomb » missiles. The focus was their launching pads and sources of supply. Between June 16 and Aug. 28, 1944, the Alouettes went after 21 of these flying bomb sites.

    Their first V-1 mission was on June 17, 1944, to Sautrecourt, France. Romuld’s Halifax III joined 30 other bombers in the flight. George lifted off from Tholthorpe at 1:36 a.m.

    The squadron circled until all were airborne and then headed south to join the bomber stream north of London. Besides Tholthorpe, there would be squadrons from Middleton St. George, Leeming Croft, Linton, Skipton and East Moor, all members of the No. 6 (Canadian) Bomber group.

    They flew for approximately two hours after joining the stream, navigating in an arc toward Norway, Romuld’s ancestral homeland, so the enemy could not determine their destination. They were part of a team of up to 1,000 planes.

    At approximately 3:30 a.m., they were close to target and on time. They had encountered no resistance.

    They waited for the Pathfinders, the special crack force that marked the target with flares, but the Pathfinders were late. Romuld’s flight had to circle.

    Five minutes later, on George’s second run, bombardier Earl Vawter lined up the cross-hairs on the V-1 missile launch pad and released their ordnance.

    That five-minute delay was costly, however. Three minutes after releasing the bomb load, George was attacked by enemy fighter aircraft. Tracer bullets pierced the fuselage.

    One round struck Romuld in the chest.

    Knowing his injuries were serious, the pilot called back to the crew. Someone had to man the controls. He fell forward, unconscious, depressing the column and putting the craft into a dive.

    Flight engineer C. A. Matthews stumbled forward, pulled his skipper from the cockpit and began medical assistance. Bomb aimer Vawter took over the controls and managed to pull George out of the dive.

    Away from the protection of the stream, it now became Vawter’s task to get George and crew back to England and his pilot to medical aid.

    An hour and a half later, the lone plane passed over the English coast and made for Woodbridge emergency field.

    With Matthews handling the throttle, flaps and under-carriage and Vawter piloting, George touched down.

    Romuld, however, was already dead.

    For their resourcefulness, bravery and efforts to bring their aircraft home, Matthews and Vawter received the Distinguished Flying Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross respectively.

    FO Harold Magnus Romuld, who had given his life somewhere over the English Channel, was 21 years of age.

    Romuld’s story begins in 1879 in western Norway, in the small town of Klieva where his father, Matt, was born. In 1903, in search of inexpensive land and a promising future, Matt emigrated to North America.

    Moving through Minnesota and North Dakota, Matt arrived in Canada in the spring of 1905. Settling near Outlook, he took a homestead on the west bank of the South Saskatchewan River. The family moved to the Dunblane district four years later.

    Synneva Kardal, born in 1887 at Bergen, Norway, was also in search of a promising future and came to Saskatchewan by way of the United States to join her brothers and sisters in the Strongfield district.

    In 1909, Matt and Synneva were married, the first couple to marry in what is now the United Church in Strongfield.

    Farming life was hard, but they met the challenge. They soon realized, however, that the promising future they had come for was to become that of their children. And they were blessed with many children: Melvin, Inger, Ruby, Olga, Agnes, Norma, Ellen, Harold, Conrad and Arlene.

    The first tragedy occurred in 1929 when their eldest son, Melvin, 19, died from an ear infection while attending university in Saskatoon.

    Harold was six years old.

    Harold was born on April 27, 1923.

    Like most of the Romuld children, Harold was shy. He was reluctant to begin grade school until his mother bribed him with a tricycle. The family temporarily lived in Outlook for their schooling. Later, the Romulds moved back to the Dunblane farm and the children rode to school by horse and buggy. Harold was small and timid initially, but the healthy farm diet, along with the vigorous farm chores, ploughing and cultivating in spring and summer, haying and harvesting in the fall and chopping ice and wood in winter, helped him grow in strength, stature and character.

    As money during the depression was scarce, few farmers had cars. It was most usual to ride to town on horseback or walk. In 1935 at 12 years of age, Harold and siblings secured the use of a second hand-bicycle from the $10 sale of a heifer. Although bumpy on rutty roads, it became another mode of transportation to town for the Romuld children.

    On Sept. 10, 1939, when Harold was 16 years old, Canada declared war on Germany.

    As the war progressed, farm produce was badly needed and sons of farmers were excused from enlisting, although many of them chose to join the forces. One of them would be Harold. He enlisted in June 1942, in the RCAF, training in Edmonton, Davidson and Saskatoon.

    Harold had many opportunities to fly over the Dunblane family farm. Brother Conrad, then 16, remembers one occasion when, after he had finally herded the cows from pasture, a low flying aircraft roared over and scattered them. Sister Arlene, then eight years old, remembers climbing atop the barn in the hopes of catching a glimpse of Harold’s face. Townspeople may remember a time in 1943 when Dunblane was lit by a flare in the dead of night while the sound of some unknown aircraft faded in the distance.

    On June 25, 1943, Harold received his wings and commission in Saskatoon. In July, he left for overseas.

    In England, Harold flew at Little Rissington, Glouchester, and on May 26, 1944, began operational flying with the No. 425 Alouette Squadron.

    In letters home he told of his weekend leaves: touring castles, visiting pubs, parks and museums, travelling to Scotland and spending time in the beautiful English countryside. He thanked his family for the baking and chocolate enclosed in their parcels. He requested Noxema, clothing, Kleenex, collar stays and shirts with collars.

    He wrote about the dances, girls from York and his visit to Mother Shipton’s Cove and wishing well. He wrote of visiting Sir Courtould Thompson’s residence at Dorney Wood and scoring well enough in a marble game to sign a book that had been previously signed by Sir Winston Churchill. He wrote that instead of goodnight, his dates would say « TTFN » (Ta Ta For Now) and that he had found a special girl, a « fitter » (mechanic) by the name of Betsy (Elizabeth) Glen who provided him with fresh eggs and planned to knit him a sweater.

    In his telegram on June 16, 1944, one day before his death, he wrote to sister Norma:

    « Dear Norma,

    Well how is teaching, guess you will be on summer holidays by the time you get this — lucky stiff. I was supposed to go on leave tomorrow but just now it looks as though I may have to wait another nine days. It seems as if someone boomed in the schedule, and that ain’t funny. »

    And it wasn’t.

    It was the saddest day that Harold’s family and friends could remember.

    Cousin Kenny Romuld was three years younger than Harold and, with Harold’s brother Conrad, belonged to the same gang of boys.

    Kenny remembers the hot, dry, June 18 of 1944. A group of young men preparing for the summer baseball tournaments had just finished a practice on the outskirts of Dunblane. They had reconvened at the local Rex Cafe and were enjoying a cool soda pop.

    At 8 p.m., they were interrupted by the station agent, who asked Kenny to go outside for a moment. He told Kenny of the telegram just received from the RCAF casualties officer: « Deeply regret to advise that . . . Flying Officer Harold Magnus Romuld J27683 was killed on active service overseas June 17th. Please accept my profound sympathy. »

    Kenny re-entered the cafe, informing Conrad, and together they left seeking Kenny’s brother, Babe, and Uncle Andy’s 1928 Chev. They picked up 10-year-old Arlene from the Wilson house and began the nearly five kilometre drive to the farm. Matt and Synneva were in the yard.

    A military funeral was held for Harold. He was buried in Brockwood Cemetery, Woking, Surrey, England, in the Canadian Section: Plot 54, Row E, Grave 3.

    On July 3, 1944, a memorial service was held at the Dunblane United Church. Rev. L. B. Spencley of Lucky Lake and Rev. A. Hjortaas of Macrorie conducted the service. Mrs. Hjortaas sang a solo, Behold the Host Arrayed in White, the hymn sung at the funeral of Harold’s eldest brother, Melvin, in 1929.

    In 1960, a tree on Memorial Avenue in Saskatoon’s Woodlawn Cemetery was dedicated to Harold by the Romuld family. Each year on Decoration Day, family and friends and one unknown mourner place flowers at its base.

    In tribute, the Saskatchewan government named an island on Lake Iskwatigan, near Pelican Narrows, Romuld Island. During the July long weekend in 1991, six members of the Romuld family, including brother Conrad and his wife, Rita, sister Ellen Ottem and her husband, Ray, cousin Kenny Romuld and Harold’s nephew, Doug Porteous, spent three days on the island to install a bronze plaque in remembrance of Harold.

    It reads:

    May he rest in peace and his sacrifice and the sacrifice of those like him not go unremembered, for he, like them, is not just another soldier but an embodiment of all that free people value dearly.

    The Romuld family is spread across Western Canada. Harold’s parents retired to Saskatoon, where Matt died in 1967 and Synneva died seven years later.

    In Canada alone, there are more than 100,000 such stories. The story of Harold Romuld is only one. Harold was my uncle, an uncle I never knew, who died before I was born.

    Porteous is a freelance writer.

    © (c) CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc.

  3. VAWTER, F/O Earl LeRoy (J28256) – Distinguished Flying Cross – No.425 Squadron – Award effective 22 August 1944 as per London Gazette of that date and AFRO 2274/44 dated 20 October 1944. Born 1918; home in Allan, Saskatchewan (farmer, two years in Royal Canadian Artillery); enlisted Regina 28 May 1942. Trained at No.7 ITS (graduated 18 December 1942), No.7 BGS (graduated 28 May 1943) and No.1 AOL (graduated 9 July 1943). Award presented 22 April 1950.

    This officer was the bomb aimer in an aircraft detailed to attack an enemy target one night in June 1944. Soon after the bombs had been released, the aircraft was struck by bullets from a fighter and the pilot was wounded. He called for assistance and Flying Officer Vawter, who promptly answered the call, found him slumped over the controls. With the help of another member of the crew, Flying Officer Vawter removed his injured comrade from his seat and took his place. Although untrained for such responsibilities, he took over the controls and flew back to an airfield where, with helpful instructions from the ground, he effected a safe landing at the third attempt. In a most trying situation this officer displayed a high degree of bravery, resourcefulness and determination and was undoubtedly responsible for saving a valuable aircraft and the lives of its crew.

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