Dakota Mk III KG501
Grateful for this contribution from the son of John Vincent Harrison RCAF, who flew as wireless operator from RAF Blakehill on missions to Arnhem and elsewhere in Europe as follows.
20/09/1944 in Dakota MkIII KG389
23/09/1944 in Dakota MkIII KG395
25/09/1944 in Dakota MkIII KG412
26/09/1944 in Dakota MkIII KG501
Due to the same crew serving on four separate Dakota's, each have been listed in separate articles to assist anyone researching these aircraft by number.
In the standing photo, Sergeant Harrison is pictured (middle) with other members of his crew - Sergeant Manson on left and Flight Officer Vic Dale on right.
Note the rather fetching footwear, proving that the ground conditions in certain areas of Blakehill were just as wet as they are today.
Of particular interest are the two photos in flight which are just marked as ‘INTO ARNHEM’ – sadly we are not able to identify the aircraft and we assume that this photo is taken from the loading door of one of the aircraft already mentioned.
J.V. Harrison from Toronto Ontario Canada volunteered for service in the RCAF at the Manning depot in Toronto on Sept. 1942 He tested for pilot training but was ultimately needed for air crew. He was then in training as a wireless air gunner, a trade that would have him train initially in western Canada at the Calgary institute of technology for wireless school. Upon completion of wireless school he would be heading back east, somewhat nearer to home. He would then move onto gunnery and bombing school in Nova Scotia, where he was introduced to a Lockheed Hudson bomber. For practice they would fly off the coast of Halifax and bomb icebergs that were marked by RCAF rescue boats. After the war he attended the University of Toronto, graduating with an engineering degree. John went into heavy construction. He and his wife moved to the U.S. in 1952 Finally retiring in 1985 he sadly passed away at age 77' in Oct. 2000.
John V Harrison received the 39-45 France and Germany star, war medal 39-45, defence medal 39-45 star, and the Canada volunteer medal w/ maple leaf bar denoting 60 plus days of overseas service.
My thanks to his son, John for passing this valuable information onto the War To Wildlife project so his fathers story can be told.