Letter, John "Jack" Chapple Tate to George R. Tate, 27 February 1942
- Tate, John, Author
Tate, George R., Recipient
- Media Type:
- Item Type:
- Handwritten letter in black ink on paper with an associated envelope sent by John “Jack” Chapple Tate to his father George R. Tate in Paris, Ontario. In the letter, Jack describes that he is currently in the south of England, although does not specify. Notice the lack of a postage stamp, suggesting it was military mail, paid for by the Royal Canadian Air Force. The letter is dated 27 February 1942. At the time, Jack was on leave while 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.
On the bottom third of the letter, there is a line cut out, indicating the Great Britain postal censorship.
- 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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- 2017EG001.034a Letter Front
Hello dad. How are you? Hope you are fine. Have received a couple of letters from you and was glad to get them. Just now we are in the south of England and we are not on operations. Just having a well earned rest while new crews are being trained. Don’t expect to be down here more than a couple more weeks and where we will go then and what we will be doing I have no idea.
For the last six months we were doing some pretty hot work. It was just about as tough as it possibly could be. When we moved down here there weren’t very many of the old gang left. […]
Please tell Margaret that I have received another parcel from her. It contained a comb, mirror, shaving cream and a lot of very useful
2017EG001.034a Letter Reverse
articles. They were very much appreciated. There are a lot of things we can’t buy over here and parcels from home are very nice.
Was interrupted in writing for a while. Some of the boys were in. Have visitors nearly every night. The attraction is an electric heater which the boys can use to make toast. Bill McLeod got it from somewhere. Bill & I have a room together. Before coming here he flew from New Foundland since the war started and has 600 operational hrs. He shadowed the Bismark when it was in the Atlantic.
Better close now and get some sleep. So good night. Hope you are all well. […].
How is George? Haven’t heard from him for quite a while.
2017EG001.034b Envelope Front
R.C.A.F. (underneath the “EXAMINER 7979” label)
Handwritten in black ink:
Mr. GEO. R. TATE
Black circular stamp near top right corner:
FIELD POST OFFICE 130
“EXAMINER 7979” printed censorship label in black lettering glued to the front, indicated it was inspected by postal censorship officials.
2017EG001.034b Envelope Reverse
Handwritten in black ink on top left corner:
SGT. TATE J.C.
Navy blue oval stamp below centre:
No. 407 SQUADRON * ROYAL AIR FORCE*
27 FEB 1942
“OPENED BY P.C.90” printed censorship label in black lettering glued to the reverse, indicating it was inspected by postal censorship officials.
- Date of Original:
- 27 February 1942
- 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 George R. Tate, 27 February 1942, M. Eleanor Gloster. 2017EG001.034a-b.
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