County of Brant Public Library Digital Collections
Letter, John "Jack" Chapple Tate to Margaret Tate, 9 November 1941

Tate, John, Author
Tate, Margaret
, Recipient
Media Type:
Item Type:
Letter sent by John “Jack” Chapple Tate to his sister Margaret Tate in Paris, Ontario. The postage stamps indicate it was sent from Grimbsy, Lincolnshire, England, and the letter is dated 9 November 1941. At the time, Jack was serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a Wireless Air Gunner with the Royal Air Force 407 "Demon" Squadron during the Second World War.
John “Jack” Chapple Tate was the youngest of three children of George R. and Gertrude Louise [Chapple] Tate, born in Paris, Ontario on 19 January 1911. He grew up at 79 Walnut Street, and attended Paris Central Public School, Paris District High School, and St. James Anglican Church. His sister Lucy Margaret Tate was a teacher at Paris Central School, and his brother George R. Tate was a foreman at the Gypsum, Lime & Alabaster plant in Caledonia.

Jack served as a Corporal in the 10th Brant Dragoons from 1925 to 1928 and in the Royal Canadian Dragoons for a month in 1925. He attended Brantford Business College from 1927 to 1928 taking book keeping, and worked as a grocery clerk for the following two years. He began working at Gypsum, Lime & Alabaster in 1930 and became a foreman a year later, working over the next ten years at the Paris and Caledonia branches.

In July 1940, he married Mary Kathleen Welsh of Ayr, Ontario. The couple lived at 78 Sheridan Street in Brantford. On 22 July 1940, Jack enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in Hamilton. In the “Special Qualifications, Hobbies, etc., useful to the R.C.A.F.” section of his attestation papers, he writes: “I have no fear in the air and delight in aerobatics, tail spins etc. I have several times frightened the instructor as he will testify.” World War II Service Records reveal that he had applied to enlist in the RCAF in Hamilton September 1939, but the application was lost.

He trained at Camp Borden, Regina, Montreal, Debert, and Jarvis, receiving his Wireless Air Gunner’s wings and promotion to a Sergeant on 25 April 1941. In June 1941, he served overseas in the No. 407 “Demon” Long Range Patrol Squadron under the Royal Air Force Coastal Command. Based around England, the Demons’ used the Lockheed Hudson, operating as a “strike” squadron, attacking enemy shipping from September 1941 to January 1943. Jack took part in 43 operational flights, and his immediate crew was credited with destroying four ships in six attacks. Of the 54 Canadian members of the 407 Squadron to serve overseas during the Second World War, Tate was one of seventeen to return home.

On 28 April 1942, Jack received his commission as a Pilot Officer, and returned to Canada on 16 June 1942. He was posted to Yarmouth where he trained as a radio officer, and carried out flight operations along the St Lawrence Valley. During this positing, Mary moved to Yarmouth to join Jack, and assisted the local war effort by driving a military ambulance.

While temporarily stationed at Mont-Joli, Jack along with three crewmembers performed an anti-submarine patrol off the coast of Labrador during the early hours of 14 October 1942. Around 5:30 am, their Hudson aircraft fatally crashed near Chandler, Quebec. A lumberjack working in the area heard the explosion, and the site was discovered after three days of searching. The cause of the accident was unknown, although the investigation records suggest the port motor caught fire while in flight, and the aircraft was at too low of an altitude to bail out. Thirteen days prior to his death, Jack was promoted to the rank of Flying Officer.

Tate was buried with full military honours by the Royal Canadian Air Force in his home town of Paris, Ontario. A military funeral procession was led from St. James Anglican Church, down Grand River Street, along William Street, to the St. James Anglican Church Cemetery. John Chapple Tate’s name appears on the Second World War Memorial Plaque displayed at the Paris District High School.

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2017EG001.031a Letter

2017EG001.031a1 Page 1 Front
Sunday Nov.9-41
Dear Margaret,
There is not much to write about but will write something to you anyway. It was only on Nov. 3 that I last wrote to you. This letter as you notice is number 8. Have you been receiving them all. There was a letter from you on the seventh and it was the 10th from you since we landed here last June. This last letter was dated Oct. 13. When you write again would you please refer to the last letter you have received so that I will know how long it takes them to get across and whether or not any have been lost.

2017EG001.031a1 Page 1 Reverse
Have received two lots of cigarettes of 300 each. The first lot got here on Oct. 7th and the second lot on Oct. 27th. Have also had two other parcels from you, one got here in Sept. and the cake you sent got here Oct. 27th the same day as the last lot of cigarettes. Thought perhaps you would be interested in knowing just how your letters & etc. were getting across. You can be sure that I have been very glad to receive so much from you.

Your last letter was written on thanksgiving day and it made me smile to read that you thought that I would be sleeping in my bunk.

2017EG001.031a2 Page 2 Front
Our aircraft have nearly all been badly shot up. You should see them when we get back and our machines are full of holes. You would not doubt that we earn our money.

Believe I did tell you all about the try to Wales and seeing Mrs. Pike in Cardiff.

I do not know where you heard that I had met Edgar Nash. I have never heard of the chap but I did say once that I had seen Ted Roberts in Scotland but did not have a chance to speak to him.

So you and Winnifred were in Brantford for dinner. Mary treats her guests very well and I

2017EG001.031a2 Page 2 Reverse
Am sure that you did have a good time.

It is about time that Don Inksater and a few more of the boys got into uniform. In you see him ask him if he is going into air crew?

Sorry to hear that Aunt Lucy Saunders is in the hospital. It is too bad. Do you get up to see her often? The Aunties have been having hard luck lately. How is Uncle Jim getting along. He surely isn’t living up there alone.

Most things are scarce here but if you mention what you would like I will try and get it for you. Have asked what you would like

2017EG001.031a3 Page 3 Front
in several letters. Perhaps there has not been enough time for an answer yet.

Sorry to hear of Louie Foulds death and am surprised that he had T.B. How many Paris boys have been killed in the war so far? Let me know. Some of them must have had it by now. Also if you happen to see a complete or otherwise list of R.C.A.F. casualties please send it to me. Quite a few of the boys I came across with have already had it. I hear that the Toronto Star sometimes publish a list. McCrum got it over a month ago. Bryan got it a few nights back. They are two of the ten boys who came here with

2017EG001.031a3 Page 3 Reverse
me in Aug. They went out and just failed to return. Meredith and Spicer who crossed on the same boat with me are still here. Our turn is likely coming too and who gives a damn. I am sure I don’t. Please don’t mention this stuff to Mary.

Must close now and write to Mary. Hope you are all fine. Feeling fine myself.


2017EG001.031b Envelope

2017EG001.031b Front

Partial black circular stamp:
5 – [P]M
11 NOV

BOX 1042,

Rectangular royal blue and white 2 ½ pence stamp with a portrait of King George VI in the centre with the Tudor Crown above his head, and flowers in each corner. Along the left and right edges it reads “POSTAGE / REVENUE”.

Two sets of seven black wavy lines on the top right corner over the stamp.

“EXAMINER 3228” printed in black lettering glued to the front, indicated it was inspected by postal censorship officials.

2017EG001.031b Reverse

“OPENED BY P.C. 90” printed in black lettering glued to the reverse, indicating it was inspected by postal censorship official no. 90.
Date of Original:
9 November 1941
Personal Name(s):
Tate, John "Jack" Chapple
Local identifier:
Language of Item:
Geographic Coverage:
  • England, United Kingdom
    Latitude: 53.53333 Longitude: -0.05
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.2 Longitude: -80.38333
M. Eleanor (Tate) Gloster
Recommended Citation:
Letter, John "Jack" Chapple Tate to Margaret Tate, 9 November 1941, M. Eleanor Gloster. 2017EG001.031a-b.
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Letter, John "Jack" Chapple Tate to Margaret Tate, 9 November 1941

Letter sent by John “Jack” Chapple Tate to his sister Margaret Tate in Paris, Ontario. The postage stamps indicate it was sent from Grimbsy, Lincolnshire, England, and the letter is dated 9 November 1941. At the time, Jack was serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force as a Wireless Air Gunner with the Royal Air Force 407 "Demon" Squadron during the Second World War.