The Prior VR-T KB715

KB715 had served the RCAF well. KB715 had completed 60 sorties, not all with 419 Squadron. ( Many sources report it being assigned to 419 in April of 1944, it was actually September of 1944 with the first sortie flown with 419 on August 1st. 1944 . It was always VR-T according to squadron records.) The last operation was on December 24th. 1944, the crew of KB715 on that night flew into trouble and had to bale out after loosing both starboard engines to heavy flak defences. Six of the crew escaped the Lancaster and became POWs. The Wireless Operator F/O Raymond Hale died under uncertain circumstances.

KB854 the Replacement VR-T

KB854's would be the third Lancaster VR-T and its first operation was on the night of January 14/15th. For the next 24 operations a number of different crews would be assigned operations with her.
F/L Alexander Halkett DFC would fly her on nine of those operations. The crew of Sgt. Cushman (later P/O) were the next in line to number operations carried out on VR-T. After the squadron's last operation on April 25th, KB845 was along with all the other Moose Lancasters taking part in exercises designed to train the crews in trans-Atlantic flights. The pilot who was to bring KB854 home to Canada, P/O D.R. Cushman, had flown six operational sorties on "Trudy Terrific" . The names of some of his crew along with his own name are still on the sides of the aircraft as seen in the photo, "Moose Cushman", "Eric" and "Willie" .

February 1945

The records show "Trudy" came under attack twice while with the squadron. Both on the same night.
On the night of February 1st. at 1923 hours while flying at 16,500 feet on a clear moonless night KB854 was attacked without any warning signals from her equipment.
Tracer from an unseen aircraft coming in from starboard quarter below was seen by the Mid-Upper gunner who called for evasive action, F/L Halkett made a turning dive to starboard. As the enemy fighter closed into 200 yards it could now be seen against the lighter section of the night sky.
The fighter continued closing in until it was 150 yards from the Lancaster, then broke off to port quarter down. F/O Storms DFM had managed to fire off a short burst of 100 rounds at the attacker while the rear gunner scanned the skies for any other enemy aircraft. No damage was made by the attacking enemy fighter and no claims were made on the fighter as no damage was seen to occur from the rounds fired.

The Second Attack

Within minutes of the end of the first attack what is believed to be a second twin engine enemy aircraft came in from the starboard bow level against the lighter sky. Again it was Storms who spotted the aircraft after it had opened fire. This aircraft had also opened fire from a range of 300 yards and remained on the attack up til within 150 yards before breaking off. Halkett had made a diving turn to starboard as directed by his gunner. Storms again managed to fire off a short burst of 100 rounds while VR-T dropped another 2,000 feet from the height already lost during the first attack.
This time Storms had managed to inflict damage on the attacker and the fighter was claimed as "Destroyed". For a second time the crew and their Lancaster remained undamaged by the attack.
Because of the time between the attacks and the directions of the break away of the first fighter it was concluded that it was two different fighters involved in the attack on "Trudy Terrific".
The crew proudly added the claim on the side of KB854 just above Trudy's name.

Trudy Terrific Returns to Canada

On June 10th KB823 VR-T, arrived back in Canada flown by P/O D.R. Cushman.

Photo with Thanks from Cpl.N.E. Shultis Collection