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Flying Officer G.D. "Bud" Foxton

Here's a story from WO (Ret) "Tiny" Barnett dictated to a friend B.J.T."Barney" Moorhouse about F/O Bud Foxton who was killed when his Sabre crashed on June 18, 1953. A shorter version(due to space constraints)will be published in the November 2014 Issue of ROAR. A few discrepencies/typos will be discussed at the end of this account.


G. D. (Bud) Foxton's story as told to Barney Moorhouse by Warrant Officer (retired) Tiny Barnett

A strapping 6’ 5”, 250 pound 17 year old, Tiny Barnett (formally Wallace, James, Allison, Scobie) and George Dixon (Bud) Foxton, both belonged to F-86 Sabre Fighter Squadron 427. Barnett was an Air Weapons Tech, Foxton a Flying Officer. 427, a.k.a. “Lion” Squadron, had been adopted by the U.S. movie magnet Metro Golden Mayer during WW2. LINK.

Barnett joined the R.C.A.F. on January 12, 1952 and did his basic training at St. Jean, P.Q. He graduated from the Armourer’s Course in Trenton, On., March 1952, and was posted to St. Hubert, Quebec, during the summer of 1952 where he was attached to 427 (Fighter) Sqn. where he met F/O Bud Foxton who had joined the R.C.A.F. during the reign of King George VI on July 3, 1951 for a 6 year enlistment.

According to Barnett, Foxton was born in the village of Almonte in 1932. Almonte, coincidentally, was also home to James Naismith, who created the game of basketball in 1891. However, Foxton lived all of his life in Carleton Place where he started school at the age of 5. He loved to explore the nearby bush and to fish. At the age of 8 he briefly became interested in stamp collecting before moving on to building model aeroplanes. At 11 he started playing hockey, a natural winter pursuit thereafter. At the age of 12 he became employed at a local grocery store where he continued to work after school and on Saturdays. Foxton also spent three summer vacations painting and decorating. For another he worked as a labourer for the Hydro-Electric Power Commission. During High School he played softball, soccer and some football. He enjoyed swimming and gymnastics. Due to his after school employment he wasn’t able to play on the school’s football team. Interestingly neither basketball nor volleyball caught his fancy. Hockey remained his favourite sport. He was a member of the High School Cadet Corps for four years, passing an Army Special Signals Course which required 18 words a minute sending/receiving by key and 10 words a minute by lamp. He also attended Cadet Camps at Petawawa and Ipperwash, a lifestyle to his liking.

In March, 1953 the personnel of 427 were posted to 3 (F) Wing Zweibrücken. Some of the pilots flew their aircraft on an operation dubbed "Operation Leapfrog" to Zweibrücken. The remainder of the squadron were flown by North Star transport to the new posting where they shared a hangar with 434 (F) Sqn. which also flew F-86 Sabres.

Barnett recalls the morning of June 18, 1953 when he was preparing a Sabre for flight. It was a bright sunny day. “I was part of the start crew for Sabre 19422 piloted by F/O G.D. (Bud) Foxton. After the aircraft was started and chocks removed it was ready for taxi and take-off at approximately 1045 hours.” Foxton taxied from the apron on the east side of the hangar.

Later, about 1115 hours “I was standing in front of the hangar waiting for a shuttle bus to take us to the Mess Hall for lunch.” That’s when Barnett saw a Sabre dive down behind a grove of trees – expecting to see it swoop up on the other side.
“Not so,” said Barnett. “I saw only a big ball of black smoke and shortly after the crash alarm went off.” Barnett never made it to lunch. This was the first fatal crash since arriving at Zweibrücken.

Being an Armourer, Barnett was assigned to the crash crew of approximately 12-15 consisting of various trades. They were transported to Walschbronn by Bitche Moselle, France, the site of the crash – less than 45 minutes from the base and just across the French/German border.

Some witnesses later reported seeing flames leaving the engine and they said that the pilot, Bud Foxton, had taken evasive action to miss the village.
“We were there approximately 10-12 days picking up bits and pieces of the crash,” said Barnett. “My main concern was the 50 calibre ammo that was on board.”

During the intervening years Barnett has often thought of Bud. “He was a great guy, one of the boys and in a sad sort of way he was the reason for my family’s happiness.” In a spirit of thankfulness and appreciation, the Barnetts have applied for an “Ad Astra” stone, made of grey granite (6”X10”) that will be engraved in memory of G.D. (Bud) Foxton. The stone will include Bud’s name, birth-death dates and hometown Carleton Place. No rank. This September, “We’ll be at the National Air Force Museum in Trenton to place the stone in the Air Park right under the Sabre that Bud admired so much,” said Barnett. “Bud loved to fly.”

During those days at the crash scene Barnett got to meet some of the inquisitive villagers – one in particular being a “lovely young lass” who, following two years of courtship, became Mrs. Barnett. “We had 3 strikes against us for starters,” said Jeanne Barnett. First – she spoke German and French; Tiny was unilingually English. Second – Jeanne was Roman Catholic; Tiny was a Presbyterian. Thirdly – they came from two distinct cultures – French and Canadian. However, on April 30, 2014 Jeanne and Tiny Barnett celebrated 59 years of marriage.

In 1957, following the 4 year posting, Jeanne and Tiny Barnett and Christianne, their 11 month old baby, repatriated to Canada returning on the Cunard Line’s Ivernia. Their total luggage? One small suitcase that they still possess. In February 1985, following 33 years of service, Tiny Barnett retired from military life. “I would have liked to continue but at that time I had to retire at age 50.”

As an aside, Tiny Barnett turns 80 on November 11. “I guess you never forget your birthday,” I suggested. “Never,” he replied. “Why the entire country celebrates. There are parades, marching bands…. but Bud will remain in my memory forever.”

A few interesting anomalies cropped up in Tiny's story. For instance, Tiny has Bud's initials as G.D. but the "Green Book" ( A history and diary of the Squadron from November 1942 to June 1970)has his initials R.B.. I've decided to go with Tiny's initials since the "Green Book", although it lists an R.B. Foxton as a member of the 427 Sabre era, also lists a F/O Bud Foster "...killed in June 18th in the crash of his aircraft, No.422, near Pirmasens. He was 21 years of age and single.No knowledge was known of the reason for the mishap." The "Green Book" is obviously in error.

Fron Barney: I am a freelance writer and have written about military related stories for Landowner magazine published in Stittsville. A friend put Tiny in touch so I could help him write this story.

Many thanks to Tiny and Barney for this effort.

 
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