W/C (R) R.G. Middlemiss Birthday
The Honourary Colonel of 427 Squadron W/C (R) Robert(Bob) Middlemiss and Chair of the 427 Squadron Association is celebrating his 90th birthday on July 30, 2010. For his birthday Bob is visiting with his son and his family in Sackville, Nova Scotia. Bob has been a very active supporter of the 427 Association and we look forward to his direction and leadership in the future. Bob's biography is below.
Happy Birthday Bob
Bob was born in Montreal and was initially educated there. After graduating from high school he accepted a track scholarship from an American College but war broke out and he volunteered to join the RCAF. He was told when an opening was available he would be called. In the interim, his Dad`s Regiment, of which he was the RQSM, the 17th Duke of York`s Royal Canadian Hussars was mobilized as the 3rd Canadian Motorcycle Regiment. Bob decided to join as a trooper but was called by the Air Force and a few months later joined the RCAF on September 14, 1940.
He received his flying training at 13 EFTS, St. Eugene, ON and 9 SFTS, Summerside, PEI where he received his wings. He was posted overseas and trained on Spitfires at 57 OTU, Hawarden, Cheshire. He was posted to 145 Squadron and then later to 41 Squadron. They carried out operations consisting of air defence patrols against high level and low level fighter bomber attacks, convoy patrols in the English Channel, fighter sweeps, bomber escort and low level rhubarbs.
In June 1942, he was selected to serve with a team of Spitfire pilots posted to Malta. They were taken to within 700 miles of Malta on the aircraft carrier HMS Eagle and then launched to hopefully make the Island. During his tour with 249 Squadron on Malta Bob shot down and destroyed three enemy aircraft and damaged two others( ed. note: years later he found out out that one of the two damaged had been confirmed destroyed ) before he was shot down and wounded.
After recuperating, he served as an Instructor at 52 OTU and then 53 OTU in England. From the OTU he was posted to 403 Squadron, part of the 127 Wing commanded by Johnnie Johnson, the highest scoring ace of WW11. Bob had the honour of flying as his number 2 on a number of sorties. After completing two tours of operations he returned to Canada and Instructed on Hurricanes and Mosquitos.
Colonel Middlemiss was decorated for his war effort with the Distinguished Flying Cross the citation read as follows:
``This officer completed two tours of operational duty and has completed sorties from Malta and the United Kingdom. He has destroyed three enemy aircraft and damaged others. His standard of leadership as a section leader and flight commander has always been high and he has invariably shown outstanding courage``
Post war he was the first Exchange Officer at the RAF Central Fighter Establishment, flying Spitfire XIVs, Vampire and Meteor aircraft. He returned to Canada and was selected as the first CO of 421 Squadron based at St.Hubert flying F-86 aircraft. After completing Leapfrog 2 and delivering his squadron to 2 Wing,Grostenguin, France, he was tasked to form No. 1 Overseas Ferry Unit which ferried some 650 Sabre and T-33 aircraft across the Atlantic. Bob led units on 16 crossings.
His next move was to Air Force HQ as the Operational Project Officer for the replacement of the Sabre. Along with Jack Woodman, they proceeded to California to evaluate the top two contenders, the Lockheed F-104 and the Grumman F-11F-1F at Edwards AFB. As a result of their recommendations the Government selected the F-104. After HQ he was given command of the first CF104 Squadron, 427 Strike/Attack Squadron based at Zweibrucken, Germany.
Tragedy struck for him in Europe. While he was returning from leave in England with his family in a Bristol Freighter, the aircraft crashed short of the runway at 1 Wing, Marville , France killing his wife and all others in the aircraft with the exception of a crewman, his daughter and himself.
After recovering from his injuries, he was given command of 6 Strike Reconnaissance Unit, Cold Lake and returned to flying 104`s. Two years later he suffered a mild heart attack and lost his aircrew medical category. He completed his career at NORAD HQ, Colorado Springs and retired in June 1969.
In October 2003 he was appointed Honorary Colonel 427 Tactical Helicopter Squadron.
Decorations, Campaign Stars and Medals
1939-1945 Star Aircrew Europe Star
Africa Star Defence Medal
Canadian Volunteer Medal War medal 1939 1945
Special Service medal with NATO Bar
Canadian Centennial Medal (1967)
Canadian Forces Decoration and Clasp
Malta George Cross Fiftieth Anniversary Medal
In civilian life Bob has filled a number of positions from VP Administration to Consultant for the Ontario Government to Chairman of the Industrial Training Branch at George Brown College in Toronto. Bob`s interests include Air Force History, attending Air Force Reunions, golf and working on his computer.
He has three children; Dan who is a Professor at Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Dale a daughter who is retired and lives in Barrie and youngest son Rob who is a Master Seaman in the Canadian forces, stationed in Colorado Springs, USA.