Stan's North Sea Adventure took place prior to those events, when he was posted to Operational Training Station Kinloss, Scotland. At OTS, the airmen with various skill sets learned to function as a team and it was on one of those practice sessions that Stan qualified for the Goldfish Club. This club was open to aircrew who were forced to 'vacate the premises' so to speak and ended up in the sea.
What follows are Stan's recollections of this time and a letter from the Scottish fisherman who found him drifting in a dinghy on the North Sea.
I joined the R.C.A.F. in November 1942. All my training prior to Wings Parade was in the West, graduating from No. 3 Macdonald Bombing & Gunnery School. [north of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba].
Upon arriving in the U.K., I was posted to No. 19 Operational Training Unit (O.T.U.) Kinloss crewed up with three British and one other Canadian. [Kinloss had a satellite field a few miles away in Forres which is mentioned in the Souter letter to Stan Jones family.]
Bomber Gunner Position on a Whitney
Whitney Bomber at OTU Kinloss
What Happened to the Pilot?
The ‘other Canadian’ was Pilot Officer Raymond Lynch from Shawville, Quebec. He was twenty three years old when the plane crashed.
Stan's Parents Learn the Story
56 Kinneddar Street
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Jones and Miss Betty,
You will no doubt wonder who I am and why I am writing you, but I shall explain to you all about it in my letter. In the first place we – that’s my wife and I have made a very dear friend of your lovely Boy Stanley, and we had him staying with us for over a week as he has had 14 days leave.
Getting to the Point
Parent to Parent
Was Stanley Jinxed?
In truth no. He was remarkably fortunate in view of the horrendous losses amongst aircrew. After joining a new crew, Stan moved on to the Conversion and 158 Squadron 4th Group stationed at Lissett in Yorkshire. He would not join the ranks of the Caterpillar Club until his 12th trip out - just four days before D-Day - when his Lancaster bomber was shot down and Stan began his Sojourn in France.
Stan survived the war and came home to farm just a few miles from the former Bombing and Gunnery School at Fingal, Ontario. The photo of Stan seen right was taken at The Elgin Military Museum where Stan was a long-time member.