My name is Catherine Baillie. I’m speaking of behalf of my grandfather, John James Baillie. He died in December of 1997. He was a George Medal winner in World War II, and I’m going to speak a little bit about his time in World War II and the reason for his citation of the George Medal.
My grandfather left from Halifax for England on the last day of August 1944. On January 3rd, ‘45, he left the UK with No. 435 Squadron and was then transferred to 436 Squadron, en route to Burma. By February ‘45, he was transferred to the 194 RAF Dakota Squadron. The 194 Squadron was one of the squadrons responsible for flying in supplies for the 14th British Army. They would begin each day at 5:30 AM, and make three trips daily. It was on June 14th, 1945, on their second trip of the day, that my grandfather’s Dakota was hit by Japanese artillery.
On board his Dakota were two other Canadians: Flt. Lt. James Murray Rice, whom my grandfather called “Smitty,” and John Maynard Cox, as well as four Indian Army Service Corps. This is my grandfather’s story:
“We flew up to the town and crossed the river. We circled north above the air strip, then east again over the river, ready for the drop. As we came to the east bank, “Bam” – all Hell broke loose. It was like an old-fashioned movie where they speeded up the film. The first thing I noticed was the sound of the starboard engine. It was running away like crazy. Bits and pieces of things were banging on the side of the plane, and she was smoking back along the wing. A piece of metal was sticking in my right arm. I looked at it and thought, ‘That should not be there,’ and pulled it out. Funny thing - it did not hurt. I did not feel it. I ran forward to see the pilot. He was busy, trying to hold her with the other engine. He said that he would try to hold her if we would get rid of the load. We were about a ton or so overloaded, but this was normal. The right wing had dropped, and we had started a slow curve to the south. We were only about three hundred feet up, so there was no jumping from this one. (more…)