Norman McIntyre, an Australian, kept a small photograph album during his early years in the Air Force, and in it there appears a picture of him with three of his RAAF friends. At the time this particular photograph was taken, they were training in Canada, as so many other prospective members of Bomber Command did.
Above: Vincent Jarvis, Geoffrey Everest, Norm himself, and Len.
It is not known what happened to Len as his surname is not given, but the other three all died on war service: Vince and Jeff in Canada in July 1942, and Norm over Berlin when his aircraft was hit by flak in December 1943.
Both Vince and Jeff were killed flying in an Avro Anson, which usually had a four man-crew, but it is not clear whether they were in the same aircraft. Jeff is recorded as dying at Marchand, Manitoba, on 1 July, and Vince is recorded as dying fifty miles away at Winnipeg on 2 July. However, the IWGC recorded both dates of death as being 1 July 1942, so it is difficult to know exactly what happened. It is possible that Vince survived for a short time in a hospital after a shared flying accident. Otherwise, it must have been an extreme fluke of chance that these two friends died in separate training accidents either on the same or on consecutive days.
They are both buried at Winnipeg but in different cemeteries.
Norm’s photograph album has two poignant images recording their funerals. Both were buried on the same day according to his handwritten note, but the date he gives is 5 September 1942, so again the dates do not seem to match up.
Nonetheless, these are very moving photographs and Norm clearly mourned the loss of his friends. He himself would be killed on Black Thursday, 16 December 1943, but unlike the other 97 Squadron casualties which were due to fog, Norm died with his entire crew over Berlin when the aircraft was hit by flak and exploded.
With many thanks to John Kuss, who has devotedly preserved Norm’s memory over the years.