Letter, John "Jack" Chapple Tate to Margaret Tate, 8 September 1941
- Tate, John, Author
Tate, Margaret, Recipient
- Media Type:
- Item Type:
- Partial handwritten letter and associated envelope sent by John “Jack” Chapple Tate to his sister Margaret Tate in Paris, Ontario. The postage indicates it was sent from Grimbsy, Lincolnshire, England dated 8 September 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 overseas in England during the Second World War.
There are two areas cut out of the letter, which although makes it difficult to read and determine the content, it is an interesting object demonstrating the postal censorship 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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- 2017EG001.032a Letter Front:
Just heard today that one of our […]. The pilot was Don Moss from Toronto. The observer came from Saskatchewan.
Believe I told you that I met Bruce Wright in London. One of our crew […] shot the field, tried to climb back up and nosed into the […]
2017EG001.032a Letter Reverse:
There is not much to write about Margaret. Say girlie if you ca[…] ca[…] clean cigarette[…] cheap one Margaret as such things are hard to keep. You know other people take a fancy to them. […] parcel reaches[…] Jessie too. Have you met her yet? There are lots [...]
2017EG001.032b Envelope Front:
Handwritten and addressed to:
MISS MARGARET TATE,
Rectangular forest green ½ pence stamp and an orange 2 pence stamp, both with the 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, partially over the stamps.
Black circular stamp to the left of the stamps:
2 – PM
2017EG001.032b Envelope Reverse:
Royal Canadian Air Force crest stamped in blue ink
- Date Of Event:
- 8 September 1941
- Personal Name(s):
- Tate, John "Jack" Chapple
- Local identifier:
- Language of Item:
- Geographic Coverage:
England, United Kingdom
- M. Eleanor (Tate) Gloster
- Recommended Citation:
- Letter, John "Jack" Chapple Tate to Margaret Tate, 8 September 1941, M. Eleanor Gloster. 2017EG001.032a-b.
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