Recognizing R.C.A.F. PBY Canso 11024 Pilots and Crew




Flight Lieutenant Andrew Carswell


CARSWELL, Flight Lieutenant Andrew Gordon (17834) – Air Force Cross – No.123 Search and Rescue Unit – Awarded as per Canada Gazette dated 15 March 1958 and AFRO 84/58 (same date).

On 28 June 1956, Flight Lieutenant Carswell took off in a Canso aircraft in an attempt to rescue two fishermen from a sinking vessel near Galiano Island in the Straits of Georgia. Despite strong winds and extremely rough waters, Flight Lieutenant Carswell made a successful landing.

Flight Lieutenant Carswell then manoeuvred the aircraft into a position where the two fishermen could be rescued. The takeoff in the rough seas was a particularly hazardous one demanding of the highest skill as the aircraft had been severely damaged by the heavy seas during the landing and was shipping water faster than could be handled by the pumps.

He then flew with the survivors toroundel-rcaf12

Sea Island without further incident.

On another occasion on 6 September 1956, Flight Lieutenant Carswell under difficult conditions successfully landed a Canso aircraft at sea some 600 miles off the West Coast of Vancouver Island in an attempt to remove a critically ill member of the weather ship St.Catharines. With considerable difficulty the seaman was transferred to the aircraft and with jet assisted takeoff the aircraft became airborne and returned to Victoria where the seaman was transferred to hospital.

It was the belief of authoritative medical personnel that had not the patient been evacuated by air, he would not have survived the long sea voyage to Victoria. Flight Lieutenant Carswell’s courage, devotion to duty, and skill have served as an inspiration and fine example to fellow aircrew.

He is highly recommended as being most worthy of the Air Force Cross.more

Squadron Leader A.G. Carswell AFC, CD, the father of our founder, was a Canso pilot in the RCAF. He was awarded the Air Force Cross for bravery in a series of rescues in British Columbia which was presented by Queen Elizabeth.

A commissioned painting of R.C.A.F. S & R PBY Canso 11024

This is Andrew Carswells Memoirs, but it is also the story of tens of thousands of Canadians of his generation who were proud to serve their country in its hour of greatest need.
“His story exemplifies the courage and integrity of the generation that sacrificed so much for the cause of freedom

three His publisher has agreed on this anniversary of his bailing from his doomed bomber, to allow us to publish Chapter One – Seven Thousand Feet and Falling for your enjoyment. The rest of the book is no less enthralling and one of the best war memoirs one can find, though in very limited print. Carswell’s son John has donated 300 of his books to Vintage Wings of Canada and 300 to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (CWHM), who operate one of only two flyable Lancasters in the world. At the end of this story, if you want to read more, you can order this rare book directly from CWHM and the proceeds will be shared by these two organizations dedicated to keeping alive the memory of our great aviation heroes of the Second World War. – Dave O’Malley, Vintage News