wing 2nd Tactical Airforce - B116 airfield, Wunstorf
On May 5, 1945, four Canadian Spitfires flew what was almost certainly the
last sortie of World War II.
On the evening of May 4th, a message from 83 Group Headquarters for 126 Wing
was given to W/C Geof Northcott in the absence of C/O Group captain Gordon
McGregor in the officer's mess. Geof stood on a chair and read:
"From 83 Group Headquarters to all units - all hostilities on the
second front will cease at 0800 hours - tomorrow, May 5th, 1945."
cheer went up and the festivities began, continuing well into
the night. During the latter part of said festivities, Wing Commander Geof
Northcott decided to lead a section of four on one last flight early in the
At 6:30 he took off in his Mk IX (GW.N) with S/L Bill Klersey as his No. 2
in a MK IX of 401 Squadron. S/L Don "Chunky" Gordon was No. 3 in a
Spit XIV of 402 squadron and Chas W. "Charley" Fox was No. 4 in a
Mk IX of 412 squadron.
They looked everywhere for "The damned elusive Hun" for an hour
and forty-five minutes (unsuccessfully) and landed at Wunstorf at 0800, thus
ending "The Last Patrol"
Bill Klersey, D.S.O., D.F.C. & Bar, C.O. of 401 Squadron,
graduated in course 42 from # 6 S.F.T.S., Dunville, had a distinguished
career as the 2nd top ace of 126 wing with a score of 14 1/2.0.3 enemy
aircraft destroyed. He was killed instantly on My 22, 1945, when he became
separated from Don Laubman and Don Gordon, hitting a hill in dense cloud
near Wessel, Germany.
D.C. "Chunky" Gordon, D.F.C. & Bar, C.O. of 402
Squadron, remained in the R.C.A.F. after the war, serving in Washington for
a period of time. Earlier in his career as a fighter pilot, while flying
with 442 Sqd. of 126 Wing on New Year's day, 1945, he shot down two enemy
aircraft as part of 126 Wing's biggest day (24 aircraft destroyed). He was
wounded by a flak burst that damaged his aircraft so severely that he had to
crash land. Evidently, the doctors did not get all the shrapnel out of his
back and neck when he was hospitalized in Einhoven, Holland. He died in 1948
from his war wounds.
G.W. "Geof" Northcott,
Bar, returned to civilian life and continued his flying career with Trans
Canada Airlines (Now Air Canada). The president of T.C.A. was none other
than 126 Wing's Commanding Officer, G/C Gordon McGregor who had gone
overseas with #1 Squadron from Montreal and flew during the Battle of
Britain. Geof also flew with the R.C.A.F. Reserve Fighter Squadron in
Vancouver, first as squdron C/O, then as C/O of the wing, retiring as a
Group Captain. Upon leaving Air Canada, he flew for a charter service. He
and his wife were avid equestrians, and unfortunately, while training one of
their horses, he recieved injuries from which he died at a relatively young
age some years ago.
Chas W. "Charley" Fox, D.F.C. & Bar
completed his year-long tour from January, 1944 to January, 1945 with 412
Squadron. After serving as a test pilot with 410 R.S.U., he returned to 126
wing as operations officer in the intelligence section in April of 1945. He
moved with his wing from 88 at Neesh, Holland to various airfields, ending
at 174 near Hamburg in July, 1945. He returned to Canada and civilian life
and a career in retailing, which eventually led to London, Ontario in 1952.
Here he got back into flying with 424 Reserve Squadron, on Harvards,
Mustangs (P-51s) and the T-33 Jet Trainer. He left retailing for
manufacturing in 1956 with a shoe firm, "Tender Tootsies Ltd".
Along the way he re-activated his love of flying by joining "The
Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association". Charley still got
airborne on a regular basis in the back seat of a Harvard, acted as ground
control and did commentaries for their formation fly-bys and airshows until
his passing in October, 2008.
was also used as the cover illustration for a book on Charley Fox: "The
Day of the Flying Fox"
FOR THE STORY OF CHARLEY'S ATTACK ON ROMMEL