Saturday, 5 June 2010

Circular No 448

Newsletter for past alumni of The Abbey School, Mt. St. Benedict, Trinidad and Tobago, W.I. 
Caracas, 5 of June 2010 No.448
Dear Friends, 
This issue shall take on History, WW2, anyone remembers?
The school was opened in 1943, in the middle of it.
FW: West Indians in Britain during WW2...‏
From: Glen Mckoy (
Sent: Sun 5/30/10 1:59 PM 
I was born in 1956, Richard may be talking about the other two McKoys,
Nigel was inquiring about, we have no clues on them. 
John I was thinking, and I am in contact with Gabe Faria and Rudi Singh on this, they are two of our media brothers, I do hope in time, should they be doing any history of our island, they will consider, doing something on what we have been talking about, for a few days now.  
What great history,
best regards
Date: Sun, 30 May 2010 09:15:26 -0400 
Richard, Sorry, I mixed up the aircraft, I think I am getting Alka-Seltzer disease. (See I can’t even remember the name of the disease)
But this I am not mixing up, Glen, I believe is a year or two younger than me, certainly not older.
I was born in 1955, so he was not camping in 1951, at least not in Arima. 
On 30, May 2010, at 8:36 AM, Richard de Verteuil wrote: 
Hi Y'all,
I would just like to clear up a point of fact.
John, as we have spoken, but I never flew F-111 in the RAF.
Apart from the USAF, the Royal Australian Air Force is the only other air force to fly these aircraft.
I qualified as an Air Electronics Officer,(USAF equivalent to Electronics Warefare Officer/Air Engineer) and flew in Canberra and Vulcan Bombers and also did a tour in Shackletons, Coastal Command, but I only joined up in 1961. I retired in 1978.  
During WWII my recollection (living in Apex) was of going to Greenhill, which was a US Army/Marine camp down near Erin and gtting chocolate and other goodies with my parents.
They returned the favours with open house for the servicemen.
My Dad also was very friendly with a Royal Navy chap who was probably one of the torpedoed crew called Bill Princecox.
He lived in Portsmouth, England, and I remember visiting him on our first holiday to the UK in 1949.
I also used to stay with him when I had school holidays. 
I had two uncles who served in the RCAF, one, Frank, as a tail gunner and he saw service in England and completed his tour without a scratch and the other, Evar Seheult, (Mac Seheult's late father), was a flight instructor in Canada.
Frank is 92 and lives in Coral Gables, FL.
He is a Grand Master bridge player and still plays 5 times a week!
Frank told me about one close call he had when his aircraft was shot up and they just managed to make it back on two engines.
Other than that it seems to have been Ops Normal!
He flew in Lancasters with the RCAF, and completed his tour of duty. 
Hope this adds a little to the story of West Indians in WWII. 
PS Glen, (if you were known as "Scary" because of a scar), probably won't remember me but I was a scout and went to camp at Arima in 1951, my only one.
I remember we were camped next to a river and I will NEVER forget sleeping on three bamboo poles lashed together and raised up at one end.
We also enjoyed tins of condensed milk (24cents) and I think the camp was somewhere near the Ache's farm.
Our scout hut was on the cliff top above the playground.
I left at the end of 1951 and subsequently completed my schooling in England, went to University and never returned to live in Trinidad, although my brother Robert (NannyGoat) was a student at Mount until he also left to go to school in England at Ratcliffe College.
----- Original Message ---------------------------------------
Sent: Sunday, May 30, 2010 2:27 AM 
On May 29, 2010, at 8:29 PM, John A Gioannetti wrote: 
I got a call from Huffie (David), and I was unaware his dad has actually passed away, Cpt. Ian Pereira of former BWIA.
Thanks for the kudos Glen, but the only seat I want these days is the toilet seat with my Broadway and iPod in the morning, after the first large mug of coffee kicks in.
And if Huffie is kind enough, one last ride, on his bike seat.
Somehow I seem to remember saying one last bike ride a few times already......... 
For those interested Gaylord Kellshall published 2 books, and I believe they are available on Amazon 
U-boat war in the Caribbean: History of Civil Aviation in T&T 
Another book that might interest you in Hans Boos (Nigel's Cousin) Snakes in T&T, should also be available from Amazon 
Both these authors could do with some help financially, so please support them 
Now for some more useless T&T Aviation Trivia 
Panam's first Crash was in Trinidad. Off Tugs and Lighters Cocorite, Opposite 7 day Adventist Hospital.
Quite a few lives lost.
The Flying Boat, which was the standard commercial travel to T&T in those days, hit a pirogue at dawn, either take off or landing. Quite a few were lost.
If you look at navigational Charts, you can still see an area marked off for the runway / seaway. 
I used to sail with two of the old guys that worked at Panam at the time, and they were involved in pulling out body parts from the wreck (Randy Gill, and I forgot the other ones name) 
Franklyn D Roosevelt (Can never spell his name) came to Trinidad in a SeaPlane, I think it was called the Panam Clipper Service 
FDR also flew via Wallerfield to Africa for his conference with Churchill in Casablanca in January 1943. - JF 
The first planes that came to Trinidad (NON SEAPLANES) used to use the Queens Park Savanna, that is now Fatima Grounds and Abuba Bakars Jamat.  
The problem with the Savanna, is you got a lot of cross winds coming out valleys of Maraval and St. Anns, so crashes were frequent.   
That area from the Jammat grounds through Fatima grounds was base for a Fighter Squadron of USAAF P40's during the war.  
One of the old wooden dispersal buildings existed until a few years ago when it was demolished. It was adjacent to the Mucurapo Cemetery. - JF 
My father and his boyhood friends use to go and collect souvenirs of bits of aircraft;
We are talking wood and fabric bi-planes this would have been circa late 1920's early 1930's. 
Piarco was not developed until WWII, and it was originally an RAF Base,
There was also Camden in Couva which was until recently used for crop dusters.  
I seem to recall another one, somewhere in Caroni, maybe Federick settlement area. 
Carlsen Field, south of Chaguanas, was a large airship base.
They were used to locate subs, as they could stay in the air for long periods.
When they located a sub, the attack aircraft were called in 
See there were blimps in Trinidad, before Patrick’s hazel and Marlene MacDonald 
Until the Berlin Air lift which was just after the war Wallerfield had the record for most takeoffs and landings in a single day.
These would have been aircraft, going from America to North Africa.  
I also recall that at one time Wallerfield had the record for the longest runway.  
Actually Belem Brazil was the last stop before crossing the Atlantic.  
Wallerfield was the overnight stop at the end of the first day.
Ferry flights were usually always done during daylight hours.
I read an article some years ago about the flight of 1500 C47's (DC3's)  which left Miami for Trinidad via Puerto Rico and Antigua.  
After overnighting at Wallerfield they left for Africa via Belem.  
On day three flights departed Africa for England via Portugal.  
This was in 1944 and these 1500 aircraft were used for the D Day invasion.
The ferry run was done in waves of 300 aircraft at a time. -  JF       
The Regiment POS Base, between Long Circular Mall and US Ambassadors House, was originally Camp Ogden, which was in fact a hospital, for sailors and merchant seamen that had been torpedoed off Trinidad.
There is a small military cemetery to the north of West Mall, where some of them were buried. 
My father used to go and take goodies for them (cigarettes and candy, etc)
He sailed and met a Cockney Merchant Seaman, who had just survived having his 3rd ship being blown up. 
On 29, May 2010, at 4:20 PM, Glen Mckoy wrote: 
We will have to document a lot of this stuff for our records, I can see you holding a seat inthe Historical Society, of Abbey School Alumni, this is a wonderful project, 
I amvery impressed with your knowledge of same, and must thank you for taking us back, to something to be proud of.
Date: Sat, 29 May 2010 15:28:22 -0400 
I think your dad was just slightly younger than that WWII, generation.
I spoke to him trying to contact Steven a few months ago, so I know he is ok
He must have known a lot of those RAF pilots, you should pick his brain and document what you can
On 29, May 2010, at 2:23 PM, David Pereira wrote: 
For what it worth. Tim is actually Tom or Tommy Meyer or in my case “Uncle Tom.” 
I grew up opposite his home in Shorelands and got many a good cut tail from him with his Fireman’s belt for stealing his Mangoes or busting my tail jumping his dirt mound.
(His theory was that I would be distracted by the cut tail and forget about my wounds. It worked)
Later I worked pits for them when he and Geoffrey raced at Waller field during the mid seventies. 
I have many many fond memories working and learning from them.
David (Huffy) Pereira 
Sent: Saturday, May 29, 2010 12:56 PM 
What was Geoffrey "doubleugly's" last name?  
His father flew Spits in the North Africa desert campaign and Malta.
His first name was Tim and he headed the Fire services for many years.
Both Geoffrey and Tim raced a Mini at Wallerfiefd.
That’s where he got the nickname "doubleugly"; someone said he was too ugly for one person.  
Anyone interested in Trinis in WW2 should visit the Chaguaramas Military Museum.
It is a treasure trove of information. 
On May 28, 2010, at 10:19 PM, John A Gioannetti wrote: 
Have been meaning to get back to you on this forever.  
Ulric Cross (featured in video) and his brother Nevil Cross, were both highly decorated RAF pilots in WWII, if memory serves me correct they both got DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) and I think one was an Ace. 
They were friendly with my dad, and I saw one of them walking in Fairways where they live about 5 years ago.
And he insisted I visit him and have a drink.
I tried to find out more details about his RAF experiences, but he did not want to go into specifics. 
About a year ago another friend of my father’s passed away. Ian McDonald.
Uncle Ian as I knew him, was in the thick of things in North Africa.
Tobruk, El Alamein. He had some great stories. 
His brother served in the Mediterranean abroad one of the few Aircraft Carriers that the British had, I think the Ark Royal 
He flew Gloster Gladiator biplanes.
He was killed in a freak accident, a piece of shrapnel came in through a porthole and hit him in the head.
The wound was so small that it was not apparent what killed him  
Jimmy recently told me that President Noor Hassanali, was at the D-Day Landings in Normandy 
Vernon Gomes, (who taught me to sail, was my grandmothers godson and another friend of my dad) flew as a Navigator in Mosquitoes and saw some heavy action.
He hated Sydney Knox, and often told him "I already killed a few men and I could make you one more)
He claims he gave old Sidney the nickname Bull Moose 
Sidney Knox, was a RAF pilot, but I think he was towards the end and never saw actual action 
Harold Knox, Sidney’s brother also flew Mosquitos.
I believe he saw action.
Unfortunately, by the time I found this out he was gone (Another of my dad's friends) 
There were quite a few Trinis, deVerteuils and Farfans that saw action 
If any of you ever get to London, do visit the Imperial War Museum.
I spent 3 consecutive days there and I did not see all I wanted to see. 
There is quite a lot on West Indian Regiments from WW1 and WW2 
Later Richard de Verteuil an OLD ABBEY BOY flew in RAF, his e-mail is above, we have chatted a few times on skype 
Graham Gonsalves above another OLD OLD OLD BOY is a wealth of Military History 
On 07, May 2010, at 4:43 PM, Glen Mckoy wrote: 
My Dear David, 
This is a treasure of our heritage, I have never seen any of this before, the music man, the real calypso, this was so nice to view, on behalf of all, thank you very much this, something to be proud about,
Best regards 
Date: Fri, 7 May 2010 11:36:02 -040 
This BBC program was of course long before Alva Clarke's "Calling the Caribbean" in second half of the 20th century at Bush House, BBC, London; long before Sir Learie was knighted, etc...Historic stuff....  
From: Glen Mckoy (
Sent: Sun 5/30/10 1:01 PM 
This is amazing these ferry flights from Brazil, what adventure, if you live to talk about it. 
You know all the pilots were gone from Canada, so women would fly the planes from here to England, and they built the tanks here in Nova Scotia, as this is the shortest point to Europe, the supply ships would leave Nova Scotia, and the U-boats would pick them off like flies man. 
Like you, my friend’s fathers would tell me stories of the war, dare we forget.
Thank you John, 
Freedom is very expensive, later Glen.
Date: Sat, 29 May 2010 23:25:08 -0400
Re Casablanca Conference, I knew there were a few conferences, but I did not realize there were so many 
Actually Belem Brazil was the last stop before crossing the Atlantic.  
Wallerfield was the overnight stop at the end of the first day.
Ferry flights were usually always done during daylight hours.
I read an article some years ago about the flight of 1500 C47's (DC3's) which left Miami for Trinidad via Puerto Rico and Antigua.  
After overnighting at Wallerfield they left for Africa via Belem.
On day three flights departed Africa for England via Portugal.  
This was in 1944 and these 1500 aircraft were used for the D Day invasion.
The ferry run was done in waves of 300 aircraft at a time. -  JF       
This one was news to me 
WWII, the beginning of The Abbey School.
Hope that you enjoyed the short history lesson. 
Ladislao Kertesz at,
06WK0024GRP, UNKNOWNS and George Laquis.
58UN0001TENNIS, Group of Tennis players.
09LK1859FMTLKE, Fr. Mark Tierney and Ladislao Kertesz

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