An RCAF Memorial Cross; Found by Fisherman in Trinity Bay
An RCAF Memorial Cross; Found by Fisherman in Trinity Bay - George VI (F.O. H.M.B. ARNEY C-6618). Naming is officially engraved. Dark patina, light contact and surface wear, very fine. In its hardshelled case of issue, case better than very fine. Accompanied by an RCAF Cap Badge (bronze, 39.8 mm x 46.3 mm, intact lugs), along with copies of his Service Award Computer Card, Officer's Application and Record Sheet, Service Records, Certificate of Service, RCAF Interview Report, Proceedings of Court of Inquiry of Investigation: Flying Accidents, RCAF Death Notification, Department of National Defence Estates Branch Document, assorted research papers and a reproduction photograph of the Grumman Goose, Mark II No. 925 aircraft. Footnote: Horace Montague Beck Arney was a veteran of both the First and Second World Wars. He was born on March 18, 1901 in Woolwich, England, the son of George Herbert Arney and Lydia Evelyn Arney, who themselves were married in Woolwich, England in 1901. His father was a Mechanic by trade, with Horace having one brother, Cecil Alfred Arney and three sisters, Evelyn Lydia Arney (later Hastie), Marguerite Alma Arney (later Small) and Hilda Mat Arney (later Harding). The family immigrated to Montreal, Quebec, where Horace Arney was educated at Maisonneuve Model School from 1906 to 1915, the young taking a course in Electrical Engineering on the side through the International Correspondence School. He was a resident of Montreal when he enlisted as part of the First Draft of the 60th Infantry Battalion "Victoria Rifles of Canada" CEF as a "Bomber" (457052), on June 3, 1915 in Montreal, naming his next-of-kin as his father, Mr. George H. Arney, that he had no previous military service, that he was not married and that his trade was that of Helper (Mechanic's Appentice). He stated his birth date and place as March 18, 1897 in Woolwich, England, which would have made him eighteen years old upon enlistment. He was taken on strength in England by the 23rd Reserve Battalion, as part of the reinforcing draft, on August 27, 1915, followed later by a transfer to the 3rd Infantry Battalion. Arney served in France with the 3rd Infantry Battalion, where he suffered a gun shot wound to his left arm on September 25, 1916, losing the third finger on his right hand, along with having the humerous of his left arm shorten by three inches due to a fracture, while in battle at the Somme. The discrepancy in his age was discovered by the Army, his actual birth year being 1901, making him fourteen years old when he went off to war in Europe, and later discharged at Montreal on March 2, 1918 for reason of being underage. For his First World War service, he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. After his discharge from the Army, Arney was employed as a Machinist with Montreal Locomotive Works, from 1918 to 1923, then as a Telephone Installer with Northern Electric Company of Montreal, from 1924 to 1929. He married Rhona Agatha Stella Arney (nee Banville) on June 25, 1929 in Montreal. He then took jobs as a Radio Technician with two firms in the Montreal area: the Grestrail Corporation, from 1930 to 1931 and the Robert Simpson Company, from 1931 to 1937, before going Independent, from 1937 to 1941. According to his Certificate of Service issued in Ottawa in 1940, it states that he served with the 3rd Battalion in the French theatre and was later discharged at Montreal on March 2, 1918 for reason of being underage. Arney signed his Second World War RCAF Officer's Application in Montreal on February 13, 1941, as a Radar Officer (C/6618), stating his previous First World War service and the reason for termination of his last service engagement as "discharged 'under age'". His actual birth date, as evidenced by his RCAF Officer's Application, was March 18, 1901. He stated that he was a Retired Mechanic (Radio Technician) and had a "thorough knowledge of radio mechanics and theory". It was noted at the Recruiting Centre in Montreal that he participated in hockey, swimming and baseball, that he "Would be quite suitable" for Electrical Engineering at No. 1 Wireless School, as he had a "Good long practical experience with reliable firms" and that he had "good manners --- sturdy, reliable". Arney was promoted to Pilot Officer on August 9, 1941, then sent to Trenton, Ontario for initial training, before being transferred to No. 1 "Y" Depot in Halifax, Nova Scotia on September 26th. He was attached to No. 74 Wing from October 24 to November 16, 1941, then transferred to No. 2 Radio School for seven and a half weeks, before seeing another transfer, this time to No. 1 Signals Depot on January 8, 1942 for another five and a half weeks. It was here that he was promoted to Flying Officer on February 9th. After his training was finished, Arney was posted to No. 416 Squadron on February 16th for overseas service, leaving on March 5th. He served for eight weeks in England, from March 5, 1942 to April 29, 1942, at various locations, including Newcastle-on-Tyne, Walton-on-Thames, Cheddar, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Bristol, Farnsborough, Crowborough, Cambridge, Felixstone, among others, before returning to Canada and stationed at Rockcliffe near Ottawa. By May 11, 1942, he was sent to Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he was posted to 121 Squadron, as part of the Atlantic Patrol, which itself was created as No. 21 (Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary) at Quebec, Quebec on January 1, 1937. It was re-numbered as No. 121 Squadron in November of the same year. The Squadron was later re-formed as a Composite unit at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia on January 10, 1942 by amalgamating Eastern Air Command's Communications Flight, and Target Towing Flight, the unit adding two more flights: Rescue and Salvage in July 1942, and Calibration in August 1942. Atlantic Command also incorporated RCAF Station Torbay, Newfoundland. The geographic position of St. John's and its proximity to the convoy routes across the Atlantic, dictated that available aircraft be used to patrol the Atlantic Ocean, to the limit of their capabilities. As capabilities and range increased, longer patrols became possible and finally the gap was closed. The black hole, as it was called, allowed the U-Boats to wreak terrible destruction on shipping. Torbay was tasked with two roles: the defence of shipping in St. John’s Harbour and in the nearby Atlantic sea-lanes and anti-submarine operations and convoy patrols. Eastern Air Command out of Halifax, which controlled RCAF operations in Newfoundland, established No. 1 Group Headquarters in St. John’s on July 10, 1941, to control anti-submarine air operations in the northeast Atlantic and for the air defence of Newfoundland and Labrador. Arney was a Flying Officer attached to 121 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force as part of Atlantic Patrol, and was aboard a Grumman Goose, Mark II No. 925, based at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, when it went down on a flight between Dartmouth and Torbay, Newfoundland, on November 8, 1942. After a brief stopover at Sydney, Nova Scotia, the aircraft left for Newfoundland and lost contact with base. The aircraft was located in the ocean off the coast of Newfoundland and was found by fisherman floating upside down, crashing in Trinity Bay in the vicinity of Port Rexton. They reported their discovery to an RCAF aircraft detection corps observer at Horse Chops, English Harbour, Newfoundland, who notified Eastern Command. Parts of the aircraft washed ashore, with Eastern Command announcing that "all are believed to have been drowned". The crew of five were lost, with no trace of the occupants, including the pilot, J/11291 Pilot Officer W.G. Harber of Midland, Ontario and four passengers: Lieutenant-Colonel C.A. Ernst of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Major H.B. Munro of Ottawa, Ontario and Halifax, Nova Scotia, Commander F.R.W.R. Gow of Halifax, Nova Scotia and Flying Officer H.M.B. Arney of Montreal, Quebec, who himself died at the age of 41. He left behind his parents, George and Lydia Arney of Montreal, and his wife, Rhona Agatha Stella Arney, also of Montreal. For his Second World War service, he was posthumously awarded the Defence Medal, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp and the War Medal 1939-1945. He is remembered with honour on the Ottawa Memorial, Panel 1, Column 4 and is commemorated on page 55 of the First World War Book of Remembrance. His wife, Rhona, was the recipient of his Memorial Cross presented here and she was named the beneficiary in an insurance policy on his life.