Remembering, reflecting abroad
Corporal Jessica Reynolds,
405 (Long Range Patrol) Squadron
Remembrance Day is a significant day for Canadians, especially so for the past and presently serving members of our Canadian Armed Forces. This year, a group of air crew and maintainers from 405 (Long Range Patrol) Squadron, based at 14 Wing Greenwood, spent the morning of November 11 paying tribute with a visit to the B-24 Liberator Hot Stuff monument in Grindavik, Iceland.
Hot Stuff was the first heavy bomber in the 8th Air Force to complete 25 missions in Europe during the Second World War and, after completing 31 missions, was selected to return to the United States May 3, 1943 to tour the country and help sell war bonds. When Hot Stuff arrived to pick up General Andrews at Bovington Field, England, Captain Shannon was surprised Andrews had his staff, two Army chaplains and a civilian Methodist bishop with him. There were not enough seats for everyone on the airplane, so five crewmembers, including the bombardier, Lieutenant Robert Jacobson, co-pilot, John Lentz and three gunners; were bumped to make room for Andrews and his entourage. Hot Stuff had a scheduled refueling stop in Iceland, but crashed into a mountain in bad weather. All onboard were killed except the tail gunner, Sergeant George Eisel. They had survived the war as heroes but, in the end it was the hazards of bad weather in an unfamiliar area with untrained personnel on board that lead to the accident that claimed so many of the crew and their passengers’ lives.
405 Squadron is the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Pathfinder squadron, and this memorial seemed like the most fitting place to pay our respects away from home on Remembrance Day. In our moment of silence, we were given the opportunity to think of the sacrifices made by past members who paid the ultimate price, and also take a moment to reflect on the inherent dangers of working in the world of aviation.