And boy did it ever!
It all started at the little island in Lake Ontario called Toronto Island, which houses one of the busiest airports in the entire country. (The buzzing must have gotten to Bud as you shall soon see.)
When in my early teens my Mom asked me one day where I went riding my bike. I said There was a big garden on the side of the road and a sign that said ..ET..I..bok. She got a laugh as everybody else just called it Etobicoke. (E..tow..bi..co)
After his sister was born, Buddy's mother passed away. The two children were then sent to live at an Aunt's home whilst getting initial schooling in Mimico and then onto high school, probably first at Western Technical Commercial High School (which I also attended with 2 sisters) and then later returning to Mimico High School were he graduated with honours and a scholarship to pursue a university ed- ucation, based on his receiving nine first class honours and gifted athletic status to boot.
Buddy chose instead to accept a position in the research labs of the Goodyear Tire Company. After all, it was during the Depression years and he needed a steady income.
But things soon changed. He knew that because of the importance of the Goodyear work for the war efforts, he was not in fear of pressures to join up. But he then wanted to do his bit. Many of his relatives and friends had already done so. But age was becoming a problem. A new training program had a cut off of age 31. He was just weeks shy of this.
So he made, what he later called a "Rash Decision." He enlisted in the RCAF. Several courses has to be taken in PEI, northern Vancouver Island, Montreal, Quebec, Victoriaville Que, and Goderich Ont. By September he would be presented with his pilot's wings.
Duties would then have him working out of the Halifax Dartmouth area bases and patrolling along the eastern seaboard of Canada and out into the North Atlantic.
Shown above as a jnr. officer, he would on this day hold the rank of Ft Lt, He would be flying his warplane as part of the 162nd Bomber Reconnaissance Squadron RCAF out of Northern Scotland on another 12 hr patrol. It had been uneventful and about to end, but then took a drastic turn.
He and a crew of 7 others, all Canadians, were aboard the plane on 24 June,. 74 years ago today at about 6.30 p.m. and flying North of Scotland and probably a few hundred miles north of the Shetland Islands and between Iceland and Norway when they realized they were not alone.
But before that happened the gunners were able to bring fire from their cannons onto the sub but then one set got jammed. All this from about a 1200 yd range and closing fast. An engine falling off didn't do much to help the airmen.
But the Captain did manage to correctly position the plane to drop down and over the sub while dropping 4 charges that raised the entire sub out of the water and then she sank. Germans were soon struggling for their lives in the debris.
Since the plane's aerials were damaged they could not call for help. While equipped with two 4 man dinghies, only one worked and could not hold all the men. Two soon were lost to the frigged waters. The rest agreed to take turns in and out of the lone craft. Another plane many hours later saw the men and dropped an inflatable but the winds took it over 500 yards away from them and they did not have the strength to fetch it. The rest waited almost 21 hours till finally rescued. Buddy was going blind and after all of the exposure passed away while being escorted to aid.
Hornell was only 34 years old when he was killed in action. His VC is said to be the first of only 3 for the RCAF in WW11.
At the Toronto inner harbour you can even take a ferry across to Toronto Island. The ferry is also named in honor of Buddy.
Even the Canadian Airplane Museum at Hamilton Ontario have done their bit to preserve this part of Canada's heritage. They have I believe an actual Canso plane painted in his colours and numbers.
see you next week,