Monthly Archives: January 2018

“P for Panic” is back home – Redux (text version)

Courtesy Peter Jenner, Eric Jenner’s son…

Daily Graphic 1995

Friday, November 10, 1995 100th Year: No. 104

Back in the cockpit — 50 years after war’s end


Staff writer

A flood of memories came rushing back to Bob Boyle as he crawled into his cockpit 50 years after the end of the Second World War.

There was only one difference — it wasn’t the same plane.

The original Lancaster bomber which flew in 72 raids over Europe had long ago been scrapped so he had to settle for a close replica which is now housed at the National Aviation Museum near Ottawa.

“It’s something I wanted to do and I felt if in 1995 I don’t do it, I probably won’t get back,” said the 74-year-old air force veteran.

The plane is almost an identical replica of the one he flew 50 years ago. Visiting it on the 50th anniversary of the war’s end and only four weeks before Remembrance Day brought back other emotions for the Portage la Prairie native. “There’s a lot of sadness.”

Boyle joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in Winnipeg Nov. 24, 1942 at age 21. He had previously served with the Manitoba Mounted Rifle Association. Following initial training school in Regina, he moved on to Virden for flying training school.

After an embarrassing first landing in Tiger Moth biplane, Boyle got the hang of flying.

“On my solo flight I came in to land and when the wheels touched the grass, something snapped and (the canopy) flew back,” he related.

Surprised, he pulled back on the stick and the plane looped around on one wing. His perfect landing spoiled, Boyle figured that was the end of his flying career so he whipped back up into the air and performed a perfect second landing.

From there he attended service flying training school in Saskatoon, training on the twin engine Cessna Crane. After completing a commando training course in Maitland, Nova Scotia he set sail for England on the Empress of Japan and arrived in April 1944.

He was stationed at Middleton St. George and trained to fly the Lancaster, which was the most powerful aircraft used by the RCAF in the Second World War and capable of carrying 22,000 pounds of bombs “or one big one.”

His squadron, #428, was dubbed the Ghost Squadron because the entire crew from one of its first missions never returned. Boyle was luckier, although he did have some close calls during the 11 bombing missions he flew over France and Germany.

On one trip over Hamburg, one of the plane’s four engines caught fire. The blaze was quickly extinguished but the plane was too heavy to maintain its altitude and another engine began to heat up. The crew dropped its load of bombs but set them so they would not explode. The safe mechanism failed and the resulting explosion caused a burst of hot air that catapulted the craft about 5,000 feet into the air. “It’s a wonder it didn’t blow the wings right off,” he observed.

Boyle limped the plane home on three engines and landed safely.

Although he knew the survival rate for pilots was only about 50 per cent, Boyle said fear rarely entered his mind. “I figured I was going to be one of the lucky ones.”

That confidence likely improved his skills. “If you let the danger get to you, you’re not going to do as good a job because you can’t wait it’s over.”

About the only time Boyle was really scared was on a night raid when the bombers arrived before the pathfinders which would go ahead to light the way to a target. Hundreds of planes were forced to circle the target while they waited.

“I think the night we orbited with 500 other aircraft that was about the scariest I ever was,” he noted. “In the daytime it wouldn’t have been so bad but at night it was pretty heavy.”

When the war ended in Europe he volunteered to serve in the Pacific. But first he was requested to fly one of the Lancasters back to Canada, where they were eventually scrapped, and in the meantime victory was declared in Japan. Boyle was discharged Jan. 8, 1946.

Speech at Victory Aircraft Homecoming

Speech at Victory Aircraft Homecoming identification



“P for Panic” is back home – Redux

Courtesy Peter Jenner, Eric Jenner’s son…

Daily Graphic 1995

Speech at Victory Aircraft Homecoming


Malton, June 13 (Staff)—”P for Panic” is back home. Before thousands of cheering employees of Victory Aircraft Ltd. who built “P for Panic,” the big Lancaster, member of the famous Ghost Squadron, brought her seven-man crew safely home yesterday after a leisurely cruise, because of weather conditions from England.

And if there’s a more decorated bomber to the Royal Canadian Air Force than “P for Panic” it would be worth seeing. Not officially decorated – but just plain and informally decorated.

For instance, above “P’s” four big motors the cowlings bear the names of each engine. There’s “Peculiar, Pitiful, Passionate and Pathetic.” The crew doesn’t know just why those names were chosen, or “maybe it was just alliteration.” Then over the entrance door of the big bomber is a replica of an English signboard. It says simply: “Panic Inn”. On the bomb doors are the names of the ground who kept P for Panic in tip-top shape. There are also scores of pencilled greetings from England.

Ghost Squadron Crest
There’s a goose with a halo on one side of the fuselage. That’s the Ghost Squadron crest. Underneath, some poetic soul has inscribed the following: ‘

“P for Panic hit old Jerry.
In every conceivable place:
The War in Europe is over—gone,
Let’s get cracking on that YELLOW race.”

Just forward of these choice sentiments are seven rows of 10 small bombs each, with two left over. They are souvenirs of P for Panic’s 72 missions over enemy territory. There are other souvenirs, too. When the bomb doors are open you can see scores of shiny marks and dents in the aluminum. Those are also souvenirs— flak marks.

The Ghost and Goose Squadrons were adopted months ago by Victory employees, who made sure the crews got cigarets and other comforts during their operations.

And yesterday the crew of P for Panic said “thanks”. The ceremony( was very, very informal.

Members of Crew
The crew consisted of FO. R. L. Boyle, skipper; FO. D. A. Matheson, navigator; FO. D. Moore, bomb aimer; Sgt. E. O. Jenner, flight engineer; FO. R. J. Foord, upper gunner; WO. 1 D. A. McAmmond, wireless air gunner and Flt. Lt. D. W. Irvine, tail gunner. Irvine and Foord were particularly happy to land in Toronto, for this is their tome town and Irvine’s 16-months old daughter Penny, last seen by him 13 months ago, was right at the airport to greet her Daddy. So was Mrs. Irvine. Moore comes from Hamilton, and his parents, Mr. and Mrs. H. C. Moore, were on hand to meet him too.

Boyle, was chosen to speak to the cheering Victory workers and his speech was a triumph. “It is nice to see so many beautiful girls,” he began. And was promptly drowned out by a thousand whistling and cheering girls before him. He started again: “I never thought such beautiful girls could make such a lovely aircraft, but it all seems to go together.” Then another member of the crew started “thanks” for the cigarets because in England “the cigarets are the grimmest things this side of (censored).” If, he said, ‘you don’t believe me I’ll give you a couple.

Welcomed by Scully
W. Scully, president of  the company which built P, for Panic, or to make it official “KB-760.” didn’t waste ‘much time either. “It is my very pleasant job to welcome you home,” he said. “KB-760 left here on May 15, 1944, and since then has completed 72 trips, many with the crew who brought her back here. We’re glad to see you back.”

From there on, Victory employees took charge of things. They swarmed around P for Panic, examining’ the “flak” holes describing just how they installed the “Pathetic” engine; how tough a job it was to roll those five-foot tires into place and all the rest of it.

The crew climbed down from the pedestal upon which they had been placed and were promptly surrounded by the girls seeking autographs and stories of derring-do, which were not  forthcoming. For if P for Panic had any exciting adventures in its 72 bombing missions the crew “just hadn’t heard of it,” Actually, of course, they were all looking forward to the 30-day leave which commences immediately.

As at matter of fact, there were seven very uncomfortable young men on the platform when Bill Boothroyd, speaking for Victory employees, welcomed them back to Canada “as the heroes you are.”

“Let us,” remarked Jenner, “”get outa here and unpack the kite.” That’s how P for Panic came home.