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Scratch, Don Palmer (Sergeant)

Killed in Flying Accident 1944-December-06

Birth Date: 1919-July-07 (age 25)

Son of Mrs. H. S. Whitman, of Ashmont.

Home: Maymont, Saskatchewan

5 OTU- Operational Training Unit
Boundary Bay, British Columbia, Canada
Air Chief MarshalA/C/M
Air MarshalA/M
Air Vice MarshalA/V/M
Air CommodoreA/C
Group CaptainG/C
Wing CommanderW/C
Squadron LeaderS/L
Flight LieutenantF/L
Flying OfficerF/O
Pilot OfficerP/O
Warrant Officer 1st ClassWO1
Warrant Officer 2nd ClassWO2
Flight SergeantFS
Senior AircraftmanSAC
Leading AircraftmanLAC
Aircraftman 1st ClassAC1
Aircraftman 2nd ClassAC2
Service Numbers
5 Operational Training Unit, Boundary Bay, British Columbia. Sgt Scratch was killed when his Mitchell aircraft HD 343 crashed four miles north of the aerodrome at Boundary Bay after five hours and fifteen minutes of dangerous low- flying. Just prior to his unauthorized flight in the Mitchell, Sgt Scratch had taken a Liberator aircraft and taxied it off the tarmac and into a ditch, all four propellers struck the hard surfaced road, three of the propellers fractured the reduction housing and broke free of the aircraft. The nosewheel oleo leg was also sheared off and the aircraft collapsed on its belly on the roadway. Sgt Scratch was not authorized to taxi the Liberator.

Canada Source Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Commonwealth War Graves Commission Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Canada Primary Source Library and Archives Canada Service Files (may not exist)

Google MapMaymont, Saskatchewan
Google MapAshmont Cemetery
Block 1 Grave 21

North American Mitchell B-25 B-25D B-25J

North American B-25J Mitchell Mk. III
Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

The North American B-25 Mitchell is an American medium bomber that was introduced in 1941 and named in honor of Major General William "Billy" Mitchell, a pioneer of U.S. military aviation. Used by many Allied air forces, the B-25 served in every theater of World War II, and after the war ended, many remained in service, operating across four decades. Produced in numerous variants, nearly 10,000 B-25s were built.

The North American B-25 Mitchell was flown by the RCAF during and after the Second World War. The RCAF flew the B-25 Mitchell for training during the war and continued flying operations after the war, in Canada with most of 162 Mitchells received. The first B-25s had originally been diverted to Canada from RAF orders. These included one Mitchell Mk. I, 42 Mitchell Mk. IIs, and 19 Mitchell Mk. IIIs. No 13 (P) Squadron was formed unofficially at RCAF Station Rockcliffe in May 1944 and flew Mitchell Mk. IIs on high-altitude aerial photography sorties. No. 5 OTU (Operational Training Unit) at Boundary Bay, British Columbia and Abbotsford, British Columbia, operated the B-25D Mitchell in a training role together with B-24 Liberators for Heavy Conversion as part of the BCATP. The RCAF retained the Mitchell until October 1963.

No. 418 (Auxiliary) Squadron received its first Mitchell Mk. IIs in January 1947. It was followed by No. 406 (Auxiliary), which flew Mitchell Mk. IIs and Mk. IIIs from April 1947 to June 1958. No. 418 Operated a mix of Mk. IIs and Mk. IIIs until March 1958. No. 12 Squadron of Air Transport Command also flew Mitchell Mk. IIIs along with other types from September 1956 to November 1960. In 1951, the RCAF received an additional 75 B-25Js from USAF stocks to make up for attrition and to equip various second-line units.. Wikipedia and Harold Skaarup web page

YouTube Mitchell Bomber

Wkikpedia Wikipedia Mitchell Bomber

General Harold A Skaarup Web Page

CASPIR Aircraft Groups:
RCAF On Strength (164), Canadian Aircraft Losses (73), Canadian Ferried (5)
last update: 2021-09-23 15:53:49

Mitchell B-25D HD343

Ex USAAF B-25D-35-NA serial number 43-3856 ex RAF Mitchell Mk. II HD343. Officially identified as a B-25D in RCAF records. Taken on strength at No. 5 Operational Training Unit at Boundary Bay, BC. Stolen on 6 December 1944 by Sgt. D.P. Scratch, who flew the aircraft for several hours before crashing 4 miles north of Boundary Bay airport, killing himself. From the Globe and Mail newspaper, 9 December 1944: Scratch had enlisted in the RCAF on 18 July 1940. Court-martialled and dismissed from the service in August 1944 for conducting a similar unauthorized flight in a Liberator in Newfoundland. He was a commissioned officer at that time. He had been permitted "due to a scarcity of flying personnel" to re-enlist as a Sergeant (pilot). He had previously tried to steal a Liberator that night, but damaged it badly during attempted take-off. He then jumped in the Mitchell and proceeded to beat up the area for several hours before crashing. Declared Category A, to No. 3 Repair Depot on 8 December 1944 for scrapping
1944-04-08 Taken on Strength Western Air Command as a new aircraft 2019-08-20
1944-December-06 Accident: 5 Operational Training Unit Loc: Boundary Bay British Columbia British Columbia Names: Scratch
1945-01-17 Struck off Strength Struck off, reduced to spares and produce 2019-08-20

5 OTU (5 Operational Training Unit)

The Operational Training Unit (OTU) was the last stop for aircrew trainees. They spent 8 to 14 weeks learning to fly operational aircraft (Hawker Hurricane or Fairey Swordfish, e.g.). The instructors had experience in actual operations, and often were posted to OTUs after their operational tour. 5 Operational Training Unit was established at RCAF Station Boundary Bay, British Columbia. The former station is now the Boundary Bay Airport. More information on the RCAF Station at Boundary Bay can be found at
  • RCAF Roundel RCAF.Info

  • A Detachment of 5 Operational Training Unit was established at RCAF Station Abbotsford, British Columbia. The former Station is now the Abbotsford International Airport. More information on the RCAF Station at Abbotsford can be found at
  • RCAF Roundel RCAF.Info

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