Sergeant John Dana DUCHAK, R176475, RCAF Artist – Update

A reader sent me this…

In Memory of John Dana Duchak

1921 – 2012

ROCKLAND, MAINE – John D. Duchak, 91, died Tuesday, September 25, 2012, at Windward Gardens in Camden, Maine, following a period of declining health.
Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 10, 1921, he was the son of Mike and Mary Duchak. He was educated in Regina schools and from an early age, played hockey and lacrosse.
He later attended Martin School of Art in London, England and Warrington School of Art in Manchester, England.
Throughout World War II, Mr. Duchak served overseas with the Royal Canadian Air Force as a cartoonist. He was mentioned in several dispatches and was ultimately awarded the Oak Leaf by the late King George V of England.
Returning from military duty, he appeared in several movies with Tom Tryon and Steve McQueen.
On August 17, 1947, he married Lois A. Ross in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The couple made their home in North Reading, Massachusetts where they raised their family.
Throughout his career, Mr. Duchak worked as an advertising artist with W.T. Grant & Company,
S.S. Kresge Company, and F.W. Woolworth & Company. During that same period, he served as cartoonist for the Boston Bruins Hockey team and illustrated the book “Hockey Tip-Ins”, written by longtime Bruins Captain, Ferny Flaman.
In 1990, Mr. Duchak moved with his wife to Rockland, Maine, where until last year they enjoyed their quaint harbor side cottage. Since moving to Rockland, Mr. Duchak was pleased to express his artistic gift by painting windows on Main Street, announcing the Lobster Festival, Blues Festival and Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show. While providing that service, he made and enjoyed many friendships with Rockland merchants and residents.
For the past year, Mr. Duchak resided at Windward Gardens in Camden.
Besides his beloved wife Lois, now of North Reading, MA, Mr. Duchak is survived by three sons, Dana C. Duchak and his companion Rochelle Pauletti of Lynnfield, MA, Kevin W. Duchak and his wife Pamela of Jupiter, FL, Brian V. Duchak and his wife Linda of North Reading, MA; two daughters, Sharon M. Duchak of Manchester, NH, Patricia L. Duchak of Glendale, AZ; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; as well as several nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Mr. Duchak’s life will be held at 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 3, 2012, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland, where friends are invited to visit with the Duchak family following the service, until 6:00 p.m.
Those who wish may make memorial contributions in Mr. Duchak’s memory to the Bob Gagnon Cancer Care Fund, C/O PenBay Healthcare, 22 White Street, Rockland, ME 04841.
To share a memory or story with Mr. Duchak’s family, please visit his online Book of Memories at http://www.bchfh.com


Original post

Research by Clarence Simonsen

This is a draft version for now.

Sergeant John Dana DUCHAK

Excerpt

It has been well documented by famous historians and official RCAF publications, that the forming of No. 6 [RCAF] Group involved hidden private fighting with hostile words. In short, the British RAF High Command did not want the formation of No. 6 RCAF Group.  The R.A.F. chiefs wanted the Canadians to remain under British control in the existing RAF groups. This became a political nightmare for both the Canadian Liberal Government in Ottawa, and the British Government under Churchill. In the end the Canadians won, for the simple reason it was politically desirable to form the new ‘all-Canadian’ Group.

Even Sir Arthur T. Harris, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief R.A.F. Bomber Command, had little respect for the RCAF’s Air Officer Commanding 6 Group, Air Vice-Marshal G. E. Brookes, who he nicknamed “Babbling Brook.” Harris was equally critical of the Canadian 6 Group Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief overseas, Air Marshal “Gus” Edwards, who he described as unsuitable for any Command.

When No. 6 [RCAF] Group demanded to be equipped with new Lancaster aircraft, “Bomber” Harris drew a line, which is still disputed by historians today. From the National Bestseller – “Reap the Whirlwind” published in 1991, page 15. In September 1942, Harris wrote to Portal

“I fail to see why we should give these people, [Canadians] who are determined to huddle into a corner by themselves on purely political grounds, the best equipment [Lancaster aircraft] at the expense of British and other Dominion crews.”

Harris was true to his word, and for the majority of No. 6 [RCAF] Group aircrew, the Halifax bomber became their dominant aircraft, which they flew through the toughest days, and costliest period of World War Two.

Even finding a new headquarters for the Canadians proved to be a British political struggle, as Lord Mowbray put up many obstructions for the RCAF taking over his enormous castle estate of two thousand acres. The main building [Allerton Castle] was located four miles east of Knaresborough, at Allerton Mauleverer, some ten miles east of Harrogate, England.

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