415 Squadron Association
Alvin Huffman (02 May 1924 – 30 January 2017)
The 415 Squadron Association was recently advised that one of the very few remaining WWII Swordfish Veterans, Alvin Huffman, had recently passed away. Since 2015, he resided at the Broadmead Lodge in Victoria, British Columbia.
Al was born in Windsor, Ontario to Donald and Katherine (Bailey) Huffman. He leaves his wife of 67 years, Joyce (Smale), their three children Robert (Sheila), Janet and Catherine, their three granddaughters Emily, Stephanie and Alexa, and his brother Bruce (Kay).
An RCAF pilot during WWII, Flying Officer Al Huffman and his crew joined 415 Squadron at RAF Station East Moor. He flew the Halifax bomber and completed six operational missions before the Squadron was stood down. Al was one of two surviving members of his crew. After the war, he enrolled at the University of Toronto and graduated with Honours, as a Chemical Engineer in 1949. Al had a varied career and lived in many locations across Canada, ultimately becoming the President of CSP Food Services Limited. He retired in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1992, he and his wife decided to enjoy a milder climate and moved to Saanich near Victoria.
In his retirement he became involved with genealogy and was able to prove descent from five United Empire Loyalists. This earned him the honorific designation of U.E., Canada's only hereditary title. He was an active member of the local branch of the United Empire Loyalists of Canada, holding several executive positions. He was also a member of the Vancouver Island Aircrew Association, a life member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC as well as the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan. He was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.
A gathering of remembrance will be held in Victoria on April 8th.
Al’s obituary was published in The Times Colonist on Feb. 11, 2017
On the 7th of December 2000, Stan Wilson took part in the Canadian War Museum Oral History Project. He was one of fifty World War Two veterans who were interviewed in 2000. The interview recounts what prompted him to join the RCAF, how he became a navigator, how his crew was formed and their assignment to 415 Squadron.
Arriving in England during the summer of 1944, Stan became the navigator on the Minkler Halifax Crew. During his interview he discussed the many challenges that his crew faced whist conducting 28 operational missions, which were flown between mid-January and mid-April 1945. In August 1945, he returned to Ottawa eventually building a home, in which he resided until 2010. He maintained contact with a number of his wartime crew members, often meeting them throughout the years.
Stan died peacefully in hospital surrounded by his family on 30 June 2016, at the age of 91. He is remembered as homebody who supported his children's and grandchildren's endeavours and adventures wherever they wanted to explore. He loved sports, music, books, chatting with family, and spending time with both old and new friends.
To read a text of Stan’s Oral History interview please click here:
2017 EAST MOOR CEREMONY Saturday 20 May 2017 Executive Meeting Nov 2016 ROD
This story is about F/Lt McBride who survived three potential life threatening events: the crash of his Hampden aircraft, the consequences of being caught as a participant in the "great escape" and the hardship of a POW forced march in the middle of winter. Capturing this piece of 415 history was made possible through the welcomed collaboration of the McBride family.
To learn more...
DINGHY! DINGHY! DINGHY!
Motivated by circumstance and fuelled by adrenalin, four Pilots, two Flight Engineers, three Navigators and seven Radio Officers became quickly reacquainted with their emergency procedures checklists, paying particular attention to the one about ditching—landing on the water and transferring to inflatable rafts. While a lucky few had once flown in a floatplane, no one aboard this 150,000-pound behemoth had ever been forced to land on water in a wheel-driven airplane that had no floats … on any kind of water.
The Honourable Laurie Hawn, former Member of Parliament for Edmonton North and Commanding Officer of a Hornet Squadron, contacted our Association to advise that he had seen a headstone for F/O W. L. MacKay in of all places Tamsui, Taiwan. F/O Mackay and the rest of his 415 Crew were killed in a training accident near RAF Station Thorney Island on 12 March 1942.