Forwarded from Steve Brew's Facebook post: https://goo.gl/S6kbdX
Major C. J. ‘Jack’ Malone RCAF, 1923-2016
My dear friends and colleagues, it is with sadness that I must advise you of the passing of my good friend Maj Jack Malone in London, Ont, Canada, on 8 August 2016.
Jack served on 41 Squadron from February to August 1944, and was heavily involved in preparations for Operation Overlord and defence against the V1 Doodlebug onslaught during summer 1944. Jack flew many free-ranging missions over France during this period and, in August, shared the destruction of a V1 near Ashford, Kent.
Born Charles John Malone in London, Ontario, on 6 March 1923, ‘Jack’ as he became known, was educated in his home town, and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in Toronto as soon as he turned 18 in March 1941.
Jack undertook his ab initio training in Victoriaville, Quebec, his elementary training in Stanley, Nove Scotia, and his service flying training in Moncton, New Brunswick, where he graduated with his Wings as a Sergeant Pilot just nine months after joining up.
He sailed for England in almost immediately, and disembarked at Liverpool in January 1942. Following a flying instructors’ course at Montrose, Jack attended his advanced flying training course at Peterborough in June 1942. However, he was not destined to go to the front, and he was posted instead back across the Atlantic as a Flight Sergeant to become a flying instructor at the Service Flying Training Schools at Moose Jaw, Medicine Hat, and St Hubert, where he served between August 1942 and May 1943.
Finally permitted to be posted to operations, Jack was sent to a Fighter Operational Training Unit in Bagotville, Quebec, in May 1943, upon the conclusion of which he was commissioned in August. He sailed back to the United Kingdom that same month aboard the liner ‘Queen Mary’ and, upon his arrival was sent to a Spitfire Operational Training Unit for his final preparation before facing the enemy.
Finally, at the end of February 1944, Jack was posted to his first operational unit, 41 Squadron, which was then based at Tangmere flying the Spitfire XII. He was promoted to Flying Officer a week later. 41 Squadron was chiefly occupied on Ramrod [bomber escort] operations during March and April 1944 in the ramp up towards the pending launch of the invasion of Western Europe. These operations ceased for the Squadron on 27 April and did not resume until the end of August 1944, following the conclusion of D-Day operations and the peak of the V1 offensive. During March and April, these operations involved the Squadron in attacks on a range of strategic targets in France and Belgium, which encompassed Noball [V-Weapon] sites, airfields, gun emplacements and marshalling yards.
In mid-June 1944, just after the Allied D-Day landings, Germany unleashed a new and deadly weapon on England: the V1 flying bomb. Although its official designation was the Fieseler Fi103, it was widely known as the ‘V1’ by the Germans, and codenamed ‘Diver’ by the Allies. The British press and public, on the other hand, preferred to call it the ‘Doodlebug’ or the ‘Buzz Bomb’ because of the sound the engine made.
In reaction to this new threat, the RAF reorganised its defence of Britain, and set up a Diver defence belt in 11 Group’s area, to stop the V1s reaching London. Only Tempests and late-model Spitfires were considered fast enough to counter the threat in the air and, as a result, many squadrons were rapidly moved to forward bases and placed on round-the-clock Diver patrols. As the Spitfire XII was considered capable of combating the threat, 41 Squadron was one of those chosen to be deployed against this new menace, and their role was abruptly altered from offense to defence.
During the month of June 1944, 41 Squadron mounted 173 anti-Diver patrols, consisting of almost 350 sorties, for a score of 12 V1s destroyed (10 + 2 shared). During July 1944, 41 Squadron mounted at least 406 anti-Diver patrols, consisting of over 800 sorties, for a score of 23 V1s destroyed (20 + 3 shared). This implies an average of 13 patrols per day, or 26 sorties, for around 0.75 V1s destroyed per day. If nothing else, it must be recognised that the Germans certainly kept the RAF busy at home on ‘wild goose chases’ after V1 flying bombs, instead of over the growing foothold on the Continent, where they could no doubt have been better employed.
On 15 August 1944, Doodlebug activity did not commence until a few minutes before 09:00 but then continued intermittently all day, with a total of 77 plotted by 11 Group during the day phase. Of these, 36 made landfall, fighters shot down 11, anti-aircraft batteries brought down 17, and balloons accounted for another four. 41 Squadron flew 16 anti-Diver patrols between 05:50 and 21:35 and claimed two more successes against the V1s. One fell to Jack, who shared his with a pilot from 129 Squadron.
Jack was off the deck at 08:00 with WO Pat Coleman and flew a patrol in mid-Channel between Gris Nez and Sangatte, France. Having completed the job uneventfully, they returned to Lympne and were coming in to land, at an altitude of only 3,500 feet, when Kingsley Control informed them of a Doodlebug incoming towards Ashford, Kent, in a north-westerly direction.
Opening their throttles and climbing again, the pair headed for Ashford. Despite slight haze, visibility was still a good 20 miles, and they soon saw a Mustang attacking ‘their’ Buzz Bomb around three miles southwest of Ashford. It was flying at between 1,500 and 2,000 feet and doing an IAS of 300 mph. Jack closed and lined himself up for his own attack as soon as the Mustang broke away, delivering it from dead astern just after 09:30.
He made a single attack, opening up at 200 yards, and closing to 100 as he fired a two second burst. His aim was straight and the V1 “burst into flames and [its] wings flapped as if about to fall off.” Jack broke away and the Mustang pilot made his second attack, after which the V1 crashed, hitting the ground two miles northwest of Ashford.
Jack and Pat Coleman returned to Lympne at 09:35, where Jack claimed a half share in the V1’s destruction. It later transpired that the Mustang pilot was Australian Flt Lt Robert ‘Dutch’ Kleimeyer, who had briefly flown with 41 Squadron in June 1942 and was now with 129 Squadron.
Jack’s victory today raised the Squadron’s V1 tally to 42 (35 + 7 shared) destroyed. He had claimed his victory in just a nick of time, as he was posted away this same day. He was sent to Italy where he joined 417 (City of Windsor) Squadron, a Canadian fighter unit based in Italy flying Spitfire VIIIs.
He was promoted to Acting Flight Lieutenant and became a Flight Commander in early November. Following a period with Middle East Command in Egypt in early 1945, Jack returned to Canada in May 1945 and was demobilised in September that year. He was re-commissioned in the RCAF in October 1950 and served with 420 Squadron, 1 OTU and 439 Squadron, the latter of which was based in France, equipped with the F86 Sabre.
In February 1964, following a five-year tenure with Air Defence Headquarters in Metz, Jack was promoted to Squadron Leader and posted home to Canada where he spent his remaining four years with the RCAF in ground staff roles. He was promoted to Major in February 1968 and retired in October that year, retaining his rank.
Jack took much interest in my work on 41 Squadron’s World War II history and generously supported the project with information and photographs. Whilst he was unable to attend the launch of ‘Valour’ in 2012, he did manage to fly to London with his wife Hazil to attend the launch of ‘Courage’ in the RAF Club in December 2014. He also spoke at the launch and signed books with me.
On 12 June 2015, Jack was awarded the rank of Knight of the French National Order of the Legion of Honour, and this was bestowed on 19 September 2015. He passed away in London, Ontario, on 8 August 2016.
I have had the pleasure of knowing Jack and Hazil for some twelve years, and will miss him very much. We e-mailed regularly and shared news and views on our families, on events, and on 41 Squadron. He was always eager to hear the latest gen, and was a wonderful man and a very good friend.
The world has lost a wonderful soul today. May he rest in peace.
Major C. J. ‘Jack’ Malone RCAF, 1923-2016
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