It's Saturday morning September 12, 1942, nothing unusual going on in the tranquil community of Gunningsville, N.B.; children playing, dogs barking, the monotonous muddy Petitcodiac River churned by the world famous bore making its way up twice every 24 hours.

One could see across from Gunningsville to Moncton, the dispersal point for all the young airmen of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. However it was foggy out at Lakeburn, some distance from Moncton to the east, the home of No. 8 S.F.T.S. where lots of Harvards and Ansons, flew from. But none of these aircraft were flying due to the heavy fog.

On the Gunningsville side of the river the sky was clear. All of a sudden the air was split with the thunderous roar of the sound of the Rolls Royce Merlin engines of two Hawker Hurricanes, Sea Hurricanes to be exact. "What on earth are they doing up here!" I thought, as they soared and danced across the sky. Shortly there was a thump and then silence, the two Hurricanes had crashed we thought on top of the hill which served as an emergency landing field. (Lots of Harvards and Ansons had done touch & go's there.)

We youngsters ran to where the airplanes had stopped, one turned in time to miss the trees, and one nosed softly into the field. (This took place where the Moncton Air Traffic Control Centre is presently located.) Soon lots of people from Gunningsville and Moncton were there to see this exciting event, people were taking pictures but the Air Force Police were taking the film from their cameras, "Don't you know there is a war on and this is off limits for picture taking," a stuffy looking officer exclaimed.

Soon crews from No. 8 and No. 4 depots were there. How excited we were to see them remove the live ammunition from one Hurricane. We had never seen anything like this before; the gun ports had "funny papers" taped over them and bold letters reading "LOADED". Soon one Hurricane was refuelled, the pilot climbed into the cockpit, the Merlin engine soon roared to life, the pilot taxied the aircraft down the field, turned into the wind and soon flew over our heads, made a circle of the field and executed an impressive "victory roll". The pilot, Sgt. Urquhart, of the pranged Sea Hurricane, a short, sandy haired fellow in his early twenties was shaken but not hurt. The next day, a flatbed truck came, the crews removed the wings of the other Hurricane, winched it up onto the truck, to haul it away to No. 4 repair depot at Scoudouc a few miles past No. 8, to be repaired.

Thus ends an exciting time in our lives that September. But those of us who were there, weren't fooled. We knew what type of aircraft it was, the Squadron letters on the side of the Hurricane read SV-Y and under the tail plane it read Royal Navy.

Everett McQuinn

"I searched for more than 30 years, and finally found someone who had taken a picture of the Hurricane," wrote Everett. (Everett McQuinn)

While the RCAF kept Hurricanes on the East Coast to help protect convoys and harbours from German U-Boat attacks, Sea Hurricanes were kept ready for duty aboard the Royal Navy's Escort carriers. Noticed the warning scrawled over the gun ports - it reads LOADED. (Everett McQuinn)


CAHS New Brunswick Turnbull Chapter newsletter, Winter 2011.