Harold Evans "Whitey" Dahl

Whitey Dahl

RCAF   Squadron Leader


Parent Asks Hull to Save Flier Doomed by Rebels

By The United Press - CHAMPAIGN, Ill. 3 Sept. 1937 — A mother whose aviator son, Harold E. Dahl, reportedly has been doomed to die by Gen. Francisco Franco's insurgent forces in Spain, has appealed to Secretary of State Cordell Hull to intercede for his release.
Mrs. Ida Dahl said she last heard from her son three months ago when he wrote that he was leaving France, where he underwent an operation, to return to the war zone.

Captured in July
He was captured by the rebel forces July 12 when his Government airplane was shot down near the Madrid front. A military court-martial in Salamanca sentenced him to death.
Mrs. Dahl wired to Hull:
"As mother of Harold E. Dahl, American aviator now being held by Spanish Rebels, I respectfully ask if there is anything you can do. Newspaper reports state he may be executed and quick action appears imperative. He enlisted while in Mexico under the name of Fernando Diaz Evans."

Married to Singer
Mrs. Dahl said her son left Mexico to enlist with the Spanish Loyalists last December end that he arrived in Spain Dec. 21.
He is a graduate of the Army training school at Kelly Field, San Antonio, and according to Mrs. Dahl, flew the U.S. mail for the Army when private contracts were cancelled.
Mrs. Dahl said she understood her son was married eight months ago to Edith Rogers, former singer with Rudy Vallee's orchestra, and that the bride now is at Cannes, France.
The Champaign City government today injected itself into the case by passing a resolution to send a telegram to Secretary Hull asking that "everything possible be done to save and return" Dahl to the United States.
The telegram was signed by Mayor James D. Flynn.


Born June 29, 1909, in Illinois

Had many adventures

Died 14 February 1956 in Quebec


Dahl, Selles & Tinker. A Polikarpov I-15 "Chato" is in the background
Whitey (Hernando Díaz Evans), Vicente Selles Ocino (Chang Selles) & Frank Tinker (Francisco Gomez Tejo) - Three American mercenaries with their mechanics standing behind them. 'Chang' was erroneously reported shot as a spy for Japan but was actually living in Spain as of 1980. A disillusioned Tinker, after the surrender of the Republican forces, shot himself on July 13, 1939.


State Department May Not Intervene

WASHINGTON, 3 Sept. 1937 – (UP) – State Department officials instructed Ambassador Claude Bowers and American consuls in Spain to investigate reports that Harold Dahl, Champaign, Ill., had been condemned to death following his capture by the Rebels.
The State Department said it had no information on reports of Dahl's court martial or sentence. He was formerly a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve.
Officials pointed out that their instructions did not necessarily mean that this Government intended to intervene on Dahl's behalf. They pointed out the Department has repeatedly warned Americans that if they enlist in the armed services of foreign governments they do so at their own risk and that by doing so they forfeit the protection which the American Government ordinarily extends to its nationals.


Ambassador Hopeful Of Saving Aviator

SAINT JEAN DE LUZ, Franco-Spanish Frontier, 3 Sept. 1937 (UP) — United States Ambassador Claude G. Bowers said that he was "most optimistic" over the chances of saving the life of Harold E. (Whitey) Dahl, young American sentenced to death by Spanish Insurgents.
Ambassador Bowers, after conferring here with one of the insurgent Judges who presided at Dahl's trial in Salamanca, said he was hopeful of persuading Generalissimo Francisco Franco to trade the American for some insurgent aviator captured by the Loyalists.
The death sentence was imposed three days ago, but no definite date was set for execution. Dahl was said to have told the court martial that he came to Spain to fly "purely and simply for $1,500 monthly," and that he entered Spain under an assumed name and with a forged passport to evade the U.S. neutrality law as well as international non-intervention control agents.



SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain, 16 Aug. 1939 - (AP) - Plans for freeing more than a score of American prisoners of the Spanish civil war, including Harold (Whitey) Dahl, aviator captured by the nationalists in 1937, have advanced to the point of working on a schedule for their release. However, no dates have yet been fixed.
The Spanish foreign ministry, it was learned Tuesday, has so advised the United States embassy. The prisoners, now scattered in several jails, will be concentrated near San Sebastian before crossing the frontier bridge at Irun into France.


Edith Dahl Returns; Seeks Aid For Flier
Husband Still Held Prisoner in Spain, She Declares

Boston, 14 Nov. 1939 — (UP) — Mrs. Harold (Whitey) Dahl arrived here from Europe Tuesday and announced she is going on a lecture tour to raise money to help her husband, American flier who has been a prisoner of the Spanish Nationalists for more than two years.
When seized by the Nationalists, Dahl was sentenced to death but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment after his pretty, blonde wife had mailed her photograph to Generalissimo Francisco Franco.
Mrs. Dahl was among 17 of the 139 passengers of the American Export Liner Exochorda who disembarked at Boston. She said she would fly to New York, where she will make a radio broadcast before proceeding to Chicago. She was traveling under her maiden name. Edith Rogers, and was accompanied by Countess Elinor De Pourtalis of Cannes, France.
"Harold has been taken from jail and put in a hospital at Salamance," said Mrs. Dahl, a 31-year old former resident of Seattle, Wash. She sat on the edge of her stateroom bed and smoked a cigarette as she discussed her husband's plight.
Mrs. Dahl said that she last heard from her husband, who was serving with the Spanish Loyalists when captured, early last month.
His letter requested that his belongings be shipped to him," she said. "He has been ill for the past year, but that was probably from confinement."
It was Mrs. Dahl's first visit to the United States since she left with her husband in 1936 on a business honeymoon." They separated in Paris, she said, he to go with the Spanish Loyalists and she to continue her career as a night club violinist and singer. "We had expected that Harold would be released early this past September," said Mrs. Dahl, "but he didn't come. His October letter failed to explain why he hadn't been released.
I wrote three letters to Franco hut he only answered the first one — the one in which I enclosed a picture of myself in an evening gown.
"I am sending Harold money at frequent intervals and I hope through my lecture tour to be able to help him more. The principal purpose of my tour, however, will be to keep America out of the European war,"
Mrs. Dahl said she had tried unsuccessfully to enter Spain to see her husband, a former resident of Champaign, Ill.
A buxom platinum blonde, 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 145, Mrs. Dahl wore a gray tailored suit with white blouse. On the voyage from Marseilles, she had been ill with bronchitis and she kept a silver fox cape tight around her shoulders.
"I am sure that Harold will be released eventually," she said, "but when, I don't know."
Asked if she were glad to get hack to this country, she exclaimed: "And how!"


Seeks State Department Aid

MRS. EDITH DAHL, WASHINGTON, 9 Jan. 1940 — (UP) — Mrs. Edith Dahl, platinum blond whose appeal saved her aviator husband from a Spanish firing squad, today sought the aid of the state department in freeing the same husband from a Spanish prison. Mrs. Dahl conferred, with 8O-year-old R. Walton Moore, state department counselor, who, said Mrs. Dahl assured her the department would make further inquiries into the status of her husband, Harold (Whitey) Dahl.


Home Sweet Home


Wife Greets the Man Who Came Back

Dahl greets his "wife"
He: "I've had my fill,"  She: "Don't smear my lipstick."

Broke and Shabby on Return From Spanish Prison

NEW YORK, 18 March 1940 (UP) — Harold E. (Whitey) Dahl, 30-year-old American aviator twice shot down while flying for Spanish Loyalists, sentenced to death, reprieved and imprisoned three years by the Nationalists, was back home today but still in trouble.
His blond wife, Edith, who is looking for work as an entertainer greeted him with an embrace and permission to kiss her on the cheek when he arrived yesterday on the American Export Line Freighter Exiria. She is credited with saving him from a firing squad by appealing to Generalissimo Francisco Franco with a note and a photograph of herself.
Dahl is wanted by Police Chief Arthur C. Hohmann of Los Angeles for allegedly passing seven worthless checks before he left America in 1936.
Mrs. Dahl arrived a half hour late to greet her husband, whom she hadn't seen since a brief meeting in Paris nearly three years ago when he was en route to Spain.
"Hello, Harold, how are you." she said, offering her cheek. "Don't smear my lipstick."
Dahl said he never would go to war again except to defend his country.
"I really had no business in Spain," he said. "To be perfectly honest, I went there a little bit ignorant. I didn't know what was happening in Spain."
He said he was paid $1500 a month while fighting for the Loyalists with a $1000 bonus for every plane he shot down. He said he downed six and got paid for two. Dahl was broke and wearing shabby clothes. He did not have an overcoat.
Five released members of the Abraham Lincoln brigade, American volunteer contingent with the Loyalists, also were aboard the Exiria, all thinly clad, "broke" and showing obvious signs of more than two years' imprisonment in Spain.
"Our first taste of meat in more than two years was aboard the Exiria," Anthony P. Kerlicher, Moline, Ill., coal miner, said.
Shivering beside the rail with Kerlicher as the stubby freighter moved slowly up New York harbor after a month-long voyage from Seville, Spain, were Rudolph Opara, 23, Euclid, OH.; Clarence A. Blair, 42, Milwaukee, Wis.; Cohen Haber, 25, New York City, and Lawrence P. Doran, 32, Los Angeles,
"They all were in terrible shape when they came aboard," a ship's officer said. "They look thin now, but you should have seen them then.
"They told us they had spent two years dreaming of sitting down again to an American meal. And when they finally got it, they couldn't eat it."
Like Dahl, all had been under death sentence but had obtained last-minute Reprieves.
Dahl was tried by a military tribunal Oct. 5, 1937, and condemned to be shot at 6 a.m. Oct. 8.
"Late on the night of Oct. 7 I heard that General Franco personally had telephoned and ordered a reprieve."
Dahl said he did not know whether letters written by his wife to Franco had influenced the reprieve.
Dahl, a former second lieutenant in the United States Army, said he was flying escort to a fleet of Loyalist bombers when he was shot down.
"There were about 60 planes in our group," he explained. "We had been instructed to accompany the bombers on a mission against an enemy objective and were flying at about 12,000 feet when we met about an equal number of Insurgent planes, Messerschmitts and Fiats.
"The commander signaled a maneuver but I missed the signal.

Wing Came Off
"With the Messerschmitts and Fiats diving on me from above, I rolled into a power dive and streaked like hell for the ground.
But I held it too long. When I tried to pull out the left wing crumpled. I took to my parachute and made a delayed jump into an olive grove between the lines.
Then the Moors came up and I was captured.
"That's one time I was damn glad I'm a blond. Otherwise they'd have killed me right then."
Dahl and his wife said they had no definite plans for the future.


Wisconsin Man Among Returning Loyalists

Dahl and other fighters

HAROLD E. (WHITEY) DAHL (top), flier and adventurer, was reunited in Jersey City, N.J., with his wife, whose beauty won Dahl clemency from Gen. Franco in Spain. Among other Loyalists who returned with Dahl on the freighter Exiria were (left to right) Clarence Blair, Redgranite, Wis; Rudolph O'Para, Euclid, Ohio; Lawrence Doran, Los Angeles; Anthony Kerlicher, Moline, Ill., and Cohn Haber, New York City. (AP Wirephoto)

Aviator Dahl Sees His Wife
Freed Flier Greets Her on Dock,
but Lipstick Causes Moment of Worry

New York, N.Y., 18 March 1940 — Harold E. (Whitey) Dahl, the Spanish civil war's most publicized prisoner, returned on the liner Exiria Sunday to the wife who had battled more than two years for his release from a Spanish prison, and announced he was "through fighting other peoples' wars "
"I've had my fill of it," he said. "I had no business there in the first place."
Dahl, clad in a shabby blue serge suit without overcoat or money, spent a fidgety half hour on the Jersey City dock before his platinum blond wife, Edith Rogers Dahl, who interceded with Gen. Francisco Franco to save Whitey from a firing squad, appeared.
She walked right into her husbands arms and while photographers' flashlight bulbs popped, murmured in his ear:
"Be careful of my lipstick, dear, I don't want to smear you."

Together in Paris
Those were the first direct words between the couple who last had seen each other in June, 1937, when Dahl went to Paris on leave from the Loyalist flying forces in Spain.
A month later, he fell between the lines in Spain and was taken prisoner by Gen. Franco's Moors.
Dahl was tried by a military tribunal Oct. 5, 1937, and condemned to be shot Oct. 8.
"I practically knew what the result would be before the court martial was over," Dahl said. "We were charged with ‘delito de rebelion’ - rebellion against the government. Seven of us were condemned to death - three Russians, three Spaniard's and myself.
"Late on the night of Oct. 7 I heard that Gen. Franco personally had telephoned and ordered a reprieve"
Dahl said he did not know whether letters written by his wife to Franco had influenced the reprieve.

Former U.S. Officer
Dahl, a former lieutenant in the United States army, said he was flying escort to a fleet of loyalist bombers when he was shot down.
"There were about 60 planes altogether in our group." he explained. "We were flying at about 12,000 feet when we met about an equal number of Insurgent planes, Messerschmitts and Fiats.
"The commander signaled a maneuver but I missed the signal.
"With the Messerschmitts and Fiats diving on me from above, I rolled into a power dive and streaked like hell for the ground.
"But I held it too long. When I tried to pull out the left wing crumpled. I look to my parachute and made a delayed jump into an olive grove.
"I was in no man's land, and a couple dozen fierce looking Moorish legionnaires came jabbering up at me with bayonets. They didn't know which side I was on, because I was only wearing a summer flying suit without any Insignia, but they wanted to kill me anyway,
"Then a Fascist sergeant came up and when I pretended not to understand Spanish, he apparently took me for a German and marched me off to prison. The Moors were mad. They hated filers, friend or enemy, because they'd been bombed and strafed so much."
Dahl said he was paid $1,500 a month while fighting for the loyalists, with a $1,000 bonus for every plane he shot down, he said he downed six and got paid for two. He is broke now and claims the loyalists owe him $2,000.
All the while he talked Dahl looked nervously for the appearance of a United Stales marshal, fearing he would be picked up for prosecution by Los Angeles authorities on charges of issuing $1,500 in worthless cheeks in 1936 shortly before he departed for Spain. There was no tap on the shoulder, however.
Landing with Dahl were five released members of the Abraham Lincoln brigade, American volunteer contingent with the Loyalists. All were thinly clad, "broke" and showing obvious signs of more than two years' imprisonment in Spain.
"Our first taste of meat in more than two years was aboard the Exiria," said Anthony P. Kerlicher, Moline (Ill.) coal miner.
Clarence Blair, 42, of Redgranite, Wis., said prison conditions were so bad "we almost died."
"They gave us not over 1.000 calories a day," Blair said. "There was no meat - not even a scrap of meat in two years. No sugar, no milk or butter. All we got was chick peas or beans, 12 ounces of bad bread a day and water. Vegetables? Well, sometimes there'd be a piece of onion just big enough to see."
The others were Rudolph Opara, 23, Euclid, Ohio; Calm Haber, 25, New York City, and Lawrence F. Doran, 32, Los Angeles.
Like Dahl, all had been under death sentence, but had obtained last minute reprieves.



Sarasota - 28 March 1940 - Harold (Whitey) Dahl, the American flier who at one time was sentenced to death by General Franco during the Spanish revolution, arrived in Sarasota today by plane to compete in the first annual air marathon scheduled to start here Saturday.
Dahl was met at the airport by Roy Gordon, general chairman of the endurance contest; Mayor E. A. Smith, Karl Bickel. Joseph V. Lawrence, Marion Hobson, Ben Handler, Vera Self, Capt. Harold Preston and others. He was taken to the Terrace hotel where he expects to do some intensive resting in preparation for the grueling contest.
The intrepid aviator will pilot a Cub monoplane which has been donated "for the good of the cause of aviation" by John Lowe, it's owner, and himself an embryo pilot. With Dahl will be Earl Johnson of St. Petersburg, a commercial pilot, well known in Florida flying circles. Johnson is now in St. Petersburg having the plane altered for the contest.
"I'm entering the air marathon as a means of getting back into flying. I haven't flown a plane since I left Spain at the end of the revolution." Dahl said.
Dahl flew for the Madrid government during the revolution. Taken prisoner by the insurgents, the American was sentenced to death by General Franco. His release was secured by his pretty wife, who made an appeal to the insurgent general for her husband's freedom. "I expect to enter the air races at Cleveland in the fall and this marathon experience will get me back in flying form," he said.
Two other pilots, Walter Ohlrich and Eugene Walton, both of Cleveland, OH., are en route to Sarasota flying a Cub coupe which they will use in the marathon. They reached Griffin, Ga. yesterday, according to a telegram received by Gordon.
Refueling practice and other matters incidental to the marathon will be the order of the day at Sarasota airport tomorrow. Two of the airplanes will be on the airport, their pilots checking last minute details before they attempt to break the present world's record of 22½ days of continuous flying.
The marathon is slated to start from the Sarasota airport at 2 p.m., Saturday.


'I Love Edie and Edie Loves Me,' Whitey Says

Whitey Dahl & Edith Rogers

28 March 1940 - Newspapermen and photographers, accustomed to sophomoric public displays of affection by movie stars and other camera-loving celebrities, are responsible for the rumor that there is a coolness existing between Harold E. (Whitey) Dahl, Spanish Loyalist aviator who was captured by Franco's men, and his wife, the beauteous blonde songstress, who saved her husband's life by sending a picture of herself to General Franco.
That's what Harold Dahl said when he arrived in St. Petersburg today on his way to the air endurance races at Sarasota and Dahl certainly should know.
"The Spanish angle probably evoked impressions of hot Latin love," grinned Dahl, whose blond hair and fair skin bespeak a Scandinavian ancestry.
"Mrs. Dahl and I just aren't like that. We can't emote in public. We prefer to save our expressions of endearment for that privacy that has been sacred to lovers from time immemorial. Probably a manufactured love, like those that sizzle on the movie screens, would have been more interesting but the reporters and cameramen were sure disappointed."
Dahl revealed that he was treated pretty well by Franco and his officers "considering I was a prisoner of war." He began flying for the Loyalists in December 1936 and was shot down in a combat, losing a wing somewhere near Madrid, July 12, 1937. When asked whether the ultimate Loyalist defeat disappointed aim, Dahl shrugged. "I had no political interest in the war. I was flying for the excitement and adventure and I certainly got it. For a time I felt certain I would be shot"
The endurance races at Sarasota which begin Saturday will be Dahl's first flying experience since he returned to this country. He will be accompanied by Earl Johnson of the local airport as co-pilot.
"Now that all the excitement is over, I hope to return to aviation as my profession. I plan to take part in the national air races next fall but I have no immediate further plans."
Dahl arrived at 9:45 a.m. on a National Airlines plane from Orlando and left St. Petersburg at 10 o'clock.


Sarasota Launches Endurance Contest

Sarasota. March 30, 1940 — AP — In what is billed as the first competitive air endurance contest ever staged in this country, three planes carrying two fliers each were scheduled to take off here this afternoon.
One of the planes will carry Harold E. (Whitey) Dahl, American who flew for the Spanish Republican air force and later was captured and condemned to death by the Nationalists, only to be reprieved by Generalissimo Francisco Franco.
Promoter Ray Gordon said the planes would seek to better the existing non-stop refueling record of 22½ days established by two Fort Wayne, Ind., fliers. The takeoff was scheduled for 2 p.m.
Other aviators listed for the aerial marathon were Earl Johnson of St. Petersburg, scheduled to fly with Dahl; Walter Ohlrich and Eugene Walton of Cleveland, Ohio; Marvin Dunlavy of Bessemer, Ala., and John Dun of Fort Myers.
The planes are to fly in circles over the Sarasota airport. Cans of gasoline and food are to be taken into the planes by ropes from a speeding truck.


Air Contest Start Set For Today; Dahl Slightly Hurt

Sarasota. March 31, 1940 — Sarasota's first annual air marathon will get under way at the local airport at 2 o'clock this afternoon, having been postponed from yesterday because of the inability of mechanics to complete preparations of the planes in time for the scheduled start.
Harold "Whitey" Dahl of Spanish revolution fame, one of the competitors, suffered painful but not serious rope burns and bruises to his hands during refueling practice yesterday afternoon.
Dahl, flying with Earl Johnson of St. Petersburg, was attempting to pick up a five-gallon can of gasoline from the pickup truck when the rope caught on the refueling truck and was yanked from his hands. Observers said if the rope bad been tied to his wrist, Dahl probably would have been yanked from the plane.
It was understood last night the accident will not keep Dahl from starting in the marathon today,
Installation of additional gasoline tanks, facilities for adding lubricating oil to the engines while in flight and sleeping accommodations for the pilots was completed late yesterday and three planes will be ready to take the air today, it was said.
The three endurance planes and the six pilots will be accompanied on their first round over Sarasota by a squadron of other planes flown by local and visiting pilots. They will carry spectators to witness, from the air, the start of the first such event ever held in the United States.
The endurance fliers will attempt to better the existing non-stop refueling record of 22½ days, set last summer at Muncie, Ind. Powerful flood and spot lights will illuminate the airport at night. There will be refueling both day and night as long as the planes stay aloft.

(Sorry all, I found no info about this event after this article)


Spanish War Flier Says Duce's Soldiers Run Better Than They Fight

London, Ontario, June 10, 1940 - (Staff) - Take it from a man who has fought Italians in the skies over Spain, the airmen of Il Duce are no ball of fire and the Allied fliers won't have much trouble in dealing with them. This is the opinion of Harold (Whitey) Dahl, United States-born pilot, who flew with the Loyalist forces in Spain for seven months and spent two and a half years in prison after his capture by Franco's men. "The Italians are like hawks when they outnumber their foe, but act like homing pigeons when the odds are anywhere near even,” said Dahl, who is spending his time at the London Flying Club, awaiting a call for military service. He has an old score to settle with Hitler.
"It was Hitler's influence that brought about my court-martial and kept me in prison a year after the Spanish war was over," said Dahl.
"I would not want to say anything against the Italian people as individuals, for I know some fine Italian people, but they are not militarists. I have seen Italians, when the fighting was hot, actually sit down, take off their boots and run. I don't think they stopped until they got to France. My opinion of Italian aviators certainly is not high. They will fight if they outnumber their adversaries, but they are the first to turn tail if it looks bad
Asked how Italian aviators compared with the German airmen in the Spanish conflict, Whitey stated, "I'd say the Germans were the best. You know you will have a fight when you see a German coming your way and you'll know he will be there for the fighting. You must not make the mistake of underestimating the German."
"I have seen the Italians bomb and fire on a small point for nearly a week and when it was almost reduced to ashes, march in in great numbers, with planes flying overhead and making a great noise," said Whitey. To dramatize his meaning he marched up and down the hangar like a young boy with his first Christmas drum. "No, the Italians do not make good soldiers or airmen,' he said.
Whitey fears Italian intervention will mean that Spain will come in on the side of the Germans and Italians.
"After all, the Italians and German's won the war for Franco and it will be hard for them to stay out of it because Spain holds a strategic position." he said. "The Germans and Italians practically have control of the country, I'm afraid Franco won't have much to say in the matter."


18 Veteran U.S. Fliers Trained to Train R.C.A.F.

(By Bill ROCHE, Staff Writer, The Globe and Mail) Camp Borden, September 16, 1940 — Eighteen experienced pilots from the United States, including the well-known H.E. (Whitey) Dahl of Spanish Civil War fame, today started a refresher course on handling military aircraft with the intermediate Training Squadron of No. 1 Service Flying Training School, Royal Canadian Air Force. Three Canadian pilots are also taking the course.
After seven weeks of learning how and why the R.C.A.F. does things in certain ways, these experienced commercial pilots, who don't need to be taught how to fly, will proceed to the Central Flying School at Trenton to take instructors' courses. After that they will be sent as instructors to camps of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan across Canada.
All of these valuable young men now are sergeant-pilots in the R.C.A.F. And none is more enthusiastic about the whole thing than "Whitey" Dahl, who, after cloud climbing in several countries, has over 15,000 officially logged hours in the air.

Flew for Loyalists
Dahl put in four and one-half years with the United States Army Air Corps from 1931 to 1935. He flew in Mexico on special duty for the Spanish embassy in 1936, and later that year went to Spain to join the Loyalists' air force. On July 12, 1937, he was captured by General Franco's troops, and, after a long stretch of prison, did not get back to the United States until March 17 of this year. He was released when his comely show girl wife sent her picture to Franco with a plea for his freedom.
Whitey holidayed for only two months. In May he put in his application to join the R.C.A.F., and was accepted on Sept. 6. Since then he has been keeping in practice at London, Ont.
One might have thought that a refresher course would be a rather drab thing for Dahl. But, when The Globe and Mail found him today toiling with other Americans in "B" squadron under command of Flying Officer J.W. Reid, the veteran of shell-swept Spanish skies was the most enthusiastic one the class.
"They're going to a lot of trouble to give us all this training. And it's certainly great of them," remarked Dahl as spokesman for his compatriots, "Everybody is fine to us up here, and we hope to prove our worth to the R.C.A.F."

Get Special Training
One of Dahl's tasks today was to take a Yale training ship up over 15,000 feet on a solo altitude test. Heavy clouds were drifting over the camp as he prepared to take off. A youngster in the ground crew remarked about that.
Then Dahl gave definite indication of the value he will be to other youngsters later on by reassuring this one with: "There are two ways to do things and get places, son. I'm not going to dig my way up through those clouds. I'm just going to find myself a nice hole." And he did.
With Dahl in "B" squadron are Sergeant-Pilots F.D. Pierce of Van Nuys, Cal.; J.R. Thomason of Kansas City, Mo.; C.E. Shannon of Palisades Park, N.J.; and J.O. Holder of Beverly Hills, Cal. They and all others on this course will get fifty-two hours special training - fifty of them in the air - on aerobatics, forced landings, instrument flying, navigation, formation flying and night flying.


Hitler Won't Get Picture

Camp Borden, September 23, 1940 - (Staff) - The Dahls held a family reunion here tonight when Edith Rogers Dahl paid a flying visit to the Royal Canadian Air Force camp and served notice on her sergeant-pilot husband that she isn't carrying around any autographed pictures of herself, just in case "Whitey" should some day fall into the hands of Hitler and a peace offering might be needed.
"Whitey," it will be remembered, was that daring young aviator who had Franco troubled during the Spanish Civil War. Taken prisoner, he was sentenced to be mowed down in real Franco style when Mrs. Dahl struck upon the happy thought of sending General Franco her picture, coupled with an impassioned plea for leniency.

She, it will also be remembered, is that comely young blonde who follows a theatrical career. The picture, or maybe the letter had something to do with it, touched the heart of Franco and so "Whitey" didn't die before a firing squad.
Instead, he was eventually given his freedom and is now regarded as a valuable addition to the Royal Canadian Air Force. But Mrs. Dahl has no illusions about this war and this man Hitler. If "Whitey" should get into trouble, there would be no point in wasting postage on sending another picture.
"None of that female nonsense would go over in this he-man's war," is the way she looks at the picture gag. "It might of worked with Franco, but Hitler is another man."
It is not that she minds "Whitey" being in this war. "He wouldn't be happy any other place," said she.
"And I suppose I wouldn't be happy off the stage."
So "Whitey" went back to camp last night, to add to the 15,000 hours he has already spent in the air, and she traipsed off for another theatrical engagement.


Dahl Weds 'First Time'
Blonde Who Saved Flier Through Plea to Franco
Not Wife, Minister Says

Belleville, Ont, 2 Aug. 1941 - (UP) - Harold (Whitey) Dahl, American flier of fortune, who was under sentence of death in Spain in 1937, was not married to Actress Edith Rogers, the woman who obtained his release from an insurgent prison, it was revealed today.
Dahl, who flew for the Spanish Republic during the Spanish civil war, was married to Eleanor Roblin Bone here on July 26, according to Rev. W. J. Walker, of St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, who performed the ceremony.
"I know about the Spanish incident," Rev. Walker said, "but according to the information given me by Dahl, and shown on the marriage certificate, he was not previously married."
The flyer, who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force last year, and now holds the rank of Flying Officer, was forced to bail out of his machine while fighting against Franco's air force in Spain. He was captured and sentenced to death, but later released after blonde Edith Rogers wrote to General Franco and pleaded for his life. The generalissimo acceded to her request and permitted Dahl to return to the U. S. in March 1940.
Dahl is the son of the late M. J. Dahl, of Urbana, ILL.

Urbana, ILL. Aug. 2 (UP) — Mrs. C. W. Harmison, mother of Flier Harold (Whitey) Dahl said tonight that so far as she knew her son and Dancer Edith Rogers Dahl were married. She added, however, that she heard from neither in recent months.


Dahl, Saved By Actress, Marries Belleville Girl

Belleville, August 3, 1941- (CP) - Edith Rogers, the blond actress who saved Flier Harold (Whitey) Dahl, now a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, from a Spanish Nationalist firing squad in 1937, was never married to the airman, it was learned here yesterday when news of his marriage, July 26, to Eleanor Bone, was disclosed.
When Dahl was in prison in Spain awaiting execution at the hands of the Nationalists for the part he had taken in the Spanish Civil War, Miss Rogers, posing as his wife, sent repeated pleas to General Francisco France to spare her "husband's" life. Dahl was finally released Feb. 22, 1940.
At the time of his release, Miss Rogers was appearing in a Philadelphia night club under the billing "She Stopped the Firing Squad."
Rev. W.J. Walker, who conducted the marriage ceremonies of Dahl and Miss Bone here a week ago Saturday, said today that Dahl had not been married previously. “I knew about the Spanish affair and understand it was a publicity hoax," he said.
"I would never have been able to get permission of the R.C.A.F. to marry Miss Bone if I had been married before," Dahl said. "I was done a very big favor by Miss Rogers and I'm very grateful for it.”
Dahl's bride also said that Dahl had not been married to Miss Rogers. "He was in danger of being shot and there would have been no way out had she not impressed General Franco with her picture," she said.
"My husband liked this girl very much," she added, "and Miss Rogers sent her picture to General Franco and pleaded for his life with the best of intentions. But the affair built up into such a story that neither of them cared to say anything about it while he was in Spain, or perhaps he would have been shot because of the hoax.”
"When he came back to New York, he decided not to say that they weren't married. He thought he would appear a sort of rotter. People would have said: ‘Well, that's a fine thing. A woman saves a man's life, and then he makes it awkward for her, in that way."'
Dahl, who is 31, is the son of the late M.J. Dahl of Urbana, Ill., came to Canada in June, 1940, to join the Royal Canadian Air Force as a sergeant-pilot. He is now a flying officer, stationed at Trenton Air Station. He was in the United Stares Army Air Force from 1931 to 1936, later flying in Mexico and then in the Spanish campaign.
Edith Rogers came to Canada during a vaudeville tour last year and visited Dahl at Camp Borden, where he was then stationed. She told reporters then that she did not think that Hitler would be taken in by the "female nonsense" that had influenced Franco. Dahl's bride is the daughter of Jamieson Bone, former Mayor of Belleville, Dahl has returned to his post at Trenton following a brief honeymoon.


Time Magazine August 11, 1941

On the plea of blonde, admirably curved Edith Rogers Dahl, Generalissimo Francisco Franco four years ago reprieved her check-bouncing, pilot-of-fortune husband, Harold ("Whitey") Dahl, from the death sentence passed on him for flying for the Loyalists. Overcome by her tear-jerking letter, her eye-filling photo, the General wrote her promising to spare her husband, signed his letter with the polite Spanish Q.b.s.p.—"who kisses your feet."

Last week staunchly Catholic Caudillo Franco learned to his chagrin that he had kissed an unwed foot. Dahl, now an instructor for the Royal Canadian Air Force, had married again, reporting himself unmarried.

Miss Rogers, who greeted Dahl with limited affection when he returned from Spain last year, admitted that the Mexican civil ceremony he once went through with her was, for some reason, no legal marriage.

At a Salt Lake City vaudeville house where she was billed as "The Blonde Who Spiked the Guns of General Franco's Firing Squad," Miss Rogers commented: "I knew the lid was going to blow off this thing some day. . . . I'm the best damned woman violinist in show business, and I don't need Dahl to sell a violin solo."

Edith Rogers
Edith Rogers  



F/L Dahl relates experiences in Spanish war
Realistic Program
RCAF officials laud enthusiastic bearing of 100 attending

Dunnville, July 10, 1942 (Staff Special) Hamilton East Air Cadets, in training at number 6 Service Flying Training school RCAF at Dunnville, yesterday met flight Lieutenant H.E. ‘Whitey’ Dahl, the man who was three times court-martialed and sentenced to death by General Franco during the Civil War in Spain a few years ago and was saved from death by a letter written to Franco by an American actress.

Flew Big Aircraft
Flight Lieutenant Dahl, now stationed at the Central Flying School of the RCAF, at Trenton, arrived at Dunnville on official business yesterday flying a big plane of the type the lads had not previously seen. Grouped about this officer, the young cadets asked all kinds of questions, not about his aircraft but about his own harrowing experiences. This is the story that he told:
In 1936 he was technical adviser on the purchase of aircraft for the Spanish Republican government in Mexico. Sent to Spain, he was soon in the air fighting. He had seven months in the air and during that time was officially credited with shooting down five planes. He shot down four others but their destruction was not confirmed. On July 12, 1937 he tore a wing off his plane and was forced to bail out. He landed between the fighting lines and was taken captive by a party of Moors who turned him over to Franco. He spent the next five months in solitary confinement in an old convent, there being no sanitary arrangements of any kind in his cell. Then he got his first court-martial together with four Spaniards and two Russians. All seven were sentenced to be shot. The sentence of the court was carried out on the four Spaniards with the Russians later being exchanged. A young American actress Miss Edith Rogers, of Seattle, then visiting in France, heard of Dahl’s plight and wrote a letter to General Franco in which she claimed to be Dahl’s wife. Copies of the letter were given to the press and were played up to such an extent throughout the world that Franco ordered a new trial for Dahl. Again he was sentenced to the firing squad, but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. A third trial was ordered and once more the sentence of death was passed. By this time the United States State Department was active and managed to secure his release on February 22, 1940. Returning home through Morocco in Africa, he landed in New York on March 17. Then he came to Canada to join the RCAF and was enlisted in September, 1940. Promotion has been fast and he now holds the rank of Flight Lieutenant at the Central Flying School, in Trenton.
There are exactly 100 young Hamilton cadets in the group at Dunnville and they have had “the time of their lives” during this week. So far as they are concerned, no favors are asked or given by station officers and personnel. They have attended lectures on meteorology, navigation, armament, aerial photography, signals, etc., and have been given every opportunity to see the inside workings of the RCAF from every angle. While not allowed to have flights, they have been taken to the flying fields and shown every phase of aircraft work. The link trainer provided one great thrill and the Browning gun, which they were allowed to fire, gave another. In maintenance flight they were allowed to watch mechanics stripping down and repairing aircraft and motors. Drill was held every morning as well as physical exercise. Sports were arranged and this evening a field meet is being held for them at which medals and prizes will be awarded.
Officers of the station from Wing Commander V.H. Patriarch down our loud in their praise of the way the lads have conducted themselves and the very keen interest they have shown in everything. Squadron leader J.V. Sorsoleil, chief ground instructor, is in charge of their training. Cadet Flight Lieutenant T.M. Thompson and cadets FO. John Sloan are the Cadet officers in charge. On Saturday afternoon, at the invitation of Dunnville Lions club, the cadets, headed by their own trumpet band, will parade through Dunnville streets.
This morning they lined up with the station personnel for the commanding officers weekly inspection and on Saturday morning they will have an inspection of their own by the OC.
Their days schedule during the week was; up at 6:30, PT at 6:45, breakfast 7:30, cleanup and wash up to 8:30. Then from 8:30 to 9, drill. From 9 to 12 was taken up by lectures and instruction. Following the dinner hour, they spent afternoons at lectures and instructions, the period from 3 to 5:30 being given to Link trainer after air crew were through for the day.





Montreal, January 8, 1945 - (CP) - A court-martial will open here January 15 to judge Sqdn. Ldr. Harold (Whitey) Dahl, RCAF, on undisclosed charges arising out of investigations in Canada, the United States and Brazil, it was learned today. The court will be presided over by Group Capt. M.P. Fraser.
Sqdn. Ldr. Dahl, who came to Canada in June, 1940, from Urbana, Ill., to join the RCAF, had previously fought with the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. Captured by the Spanish Fascists in 1937, he was saved from a firing squad when Edith Rogers, a vaudeville player, posed as his wife and sent her photograph to Gen. Francisco Franco. He was finally released from his Spanish jail in February, 1940.
The hoax played by Miss Rogers and Dahl on Franco was disclosed when, on July 26, 1941, he married Eleanor Bone of Belleville, Ont.
Prior to his fighting with the Spanish Republican Air Force, Dahl had been in the United States Army Air Force from 1931 to 1936. He also did some flying in Mexico.


Probe in Three Nations Followed By Undisclosed Charges Being Laid

Montreal, January 15, 1945 - (CP) - Sqdn.-Ldr. Harold (Whitey) Dahl, who has served in the air forces of four countries and who once was saved from a Spanish firing squad by the picture of a New York vaudeville performer, today faced a Canadian court-martial on undisclosed charges. The charges —to be made public after they are read at the opening of the court-martial—arose out of investigations in Canada, Brazil and the United States.

Adjourn to Brazil
The inquiry is being conducted by the R.C.A.F., the service to which Dahl is attached although he has been operating with the R.A.F. Transport Command. After preliminary evidence is taken at Dorval airport, it is expected the court will adjourn to Brazil and then to the United States.
Squadron-Ldr. Dahl, who came to Canada in 1940 from Urbana, Illinois, to join the R.C.A.F., fought with the Loyalists in the Spanish civil war. Shot down by General Franco's forces, he was court-martialed and sentenced to be shot but was saved when Edith Rogers sent her picture to Franco with a plea that he spare Dahl's life.
Miss Rogers told Franco in her appeal that she was Dahl's wife, and the hoax was not revealed until the following year when he married Eleanor Bone, of Belleville, Ont., following his entry into the R.C.A.F. Franco stayed the execution as a result of the appeal and eventually Dahl was released after Miss Rogers had appealed to the U.S. state department.
His flying experience in Spain was not the first for Dahl. Before he went to Spain he had served with the United States Army Air Force from 1931 to 1936 after doing some flying in Mexico.

Canadian Service
Squadron-Ldr. Dahl was stationed as an instructor in Canada after entry into the R.C.A.F., and served at Camp Borden, Ont., and Moncton, N.B., before he was posted to the R.A.F.T.C. Subsequently he was stationed at the transport command station at Belem, Brazil, where the court is expected to reconvene after completing the Dorval phase of its inquiry. Evidence will be taken at more than one place because of the distances separating various witnesses, with officials deciding that it would be better for the court to go to the witnesses than to bring all the witnesses to the court.
Group Capt. M.P. Fraser is presiding at the court-martial, and other members of the court are Wing-Cmdr. Paul G. Rodier, Wing-Cmdr. E. Labelle, Squadron-Ldr. Don Grant and Squadron-Ldr. I. Gililland. Squadron-Ldr. T. Bence is judge advocate, with Wing-Cmdr. H. Norris as waiting member. Squadron-Ldr. W. Cotton is conducting the prosecution with Wing-Cmdr. V. Lynch-Stanton as defence officer.



Montreal, January 15, 1945 - (CP) - Sqdn. Ldr. Harold (Whitey) Dahl faced an RCAF court-martial today on 14 charges of improper disposal of Government-owned property ranging from a vacuum cleaner to the scrap remains of damaged aircraft.
The charges dealt mostly with alleged transactions undertaken when Dahl was officer commanding the RAF Transport Command station at Belem, Brazil, and the time of the transactions claimed by the Crown ranged from Oct. 1, 1943, to April 30, 1944.
Dahl, who has served in the United States, Spanish and Canadian Air Forces at various times since 1931, was a member of the RCAF, attached to the RAFTC, while he was stationed at Belem.
Several of the charges were alternative counts. In all, 10 different transactions were mentioned in the formal charge, most of them connected with the Brazilian Sociedale General de Exportacao Limitada, to whom the Crown claims Dahl sold various pieces of equipment without authority.

Many Items Involved
The vacuum cleaner was mentioned in the first charge, which claimed that Dahl had “improperly delivered possession" of it to an unknown person while it was "the property of the public."
Other charges dealt with the disposal of damaged aircraft, radio transmitters, an astral compass, signal cartridge pistol, emergency, life raft assemblies and a motorcycle. The value of things mentioned in the various charges was given as ranging from about $80 to about $1,500.
Dahl, who once was saved from a Spanish firing squad by the photograph of a New York vaudeville performer, sat quietly through the legal preliminaries and while each charge was read to him. He pleaded not guilty to each charge in turn.



Montreal, Jan. 16 (CP) — Indications that the Montreal part of the court-martial of Sqdn. Ldr. Harold (whitey) Dahl would be completed tomorrow were seen today as several witnesses gave their testimony as to the disposition made of various pieces of equipment at Belem, Brazil—with a vacuum cleaner and a motorcycle still drawing most attention.
Dahl is charged on 14 counts of having improperly disposed of Government property while he was officer commanding the RAF transport station at Belem. The court-martial conducted by the RCAF, the service to which Dahl belongs, will move to Belem for further hearings after evidence available here is completed.
FO. James R. England, RAF, code and cipher officer at Belem while Dahl was commanding officer, testified today that in June, 1944, he saw a reconditioned motorcycle in the scrap yard in Belem and had identified it as one which had disappeared from the RAF station some months before, after remaining on the airfield in an unserviceable condition for some time.

Saw Dahl's Signature
He said that he had identified the motorcycle definitely by its serial dumber and that he recognized Dahl's signature on a document which the Brazilian dealer had in connection with the motorcycle. The defense however, produced a statement from the dealer saying that the vehicle was in such poor shape when he got it that he had taken it apart and sold the parts separately.
England said that while at the scrap yard he had seen parts of a crashed plane and that Dahl had informed him the scrap had been given to a group of Brazilians. He said Dahl had mentioned that he had received "a nominal sum" to facilitate removal of the wrecked aircraft and that Dahl had said once that the sum was five milreis or cruzerios (about 25 cents) and later that it was $5. He testified that Dahl had not turned the nominal sum over to him, and that such should have been done as he was in charge of accounts.
England said he was under the impression that the nominal sum had been paid Dahl in order that the Brazilians could remove the crashed plane, and that Dahl was in reality giving the wreckage away without any real monetary advantage to himself.
Other witnesses during the day testified that no authority had been issued to write off the unserviceable motorcycle, nor a vacuum cleaner which was missing from the station,
Flt. Lt. K.H. Widgery, RAF Signals Officer who took over from Dahl, said that he had asked Dahl about the vacuum cleaner and that Dahl had told him he had hoped to use it to get money to provide lockers in the station barracks. He said Dahl had told him that he was trying to replace the vacuum privately but that no replacement had arrived.

Pilfering Was Common
Widgery told of visiting a Belem warehouse and finding various aircraft equipment including a transmitter, a receiver, an astral compass, signal pistols and lamps and a raft assembly. Under cross-examination by the defense he said that such equipment was not a normal part of the equipment of the station but was carried by aircraft coming into the station.
He said under further cross-examination that most of the equipment he had seen in the warehouse was new or slightly used as though it night have come from aircraft. The defense brought out testimony regarding a number of aircraft which had crashed in the vicinity during the time Dahl was officer commanding.
The defense also produced a letter from a Brazilian resident saying that Belem was "full" of parts of aircraft and that there was a good deal of pilfering from the air station. Widgery said he believed there was considerable pilfering. He said that there was no effective guard over crashed aircraft from which parts were being salvaged.


Flyer's Court-Martial Nearing Conclusion

Montreal, Feb. 1, 1945 —(CP)— The court-martial of Sqdn.-Ldr. Harold (Whitey) Dahl, famed international war flyer who now is a member of the R.C.A.F., neared its conclusion today. It was back at its starting point after 10,000 miles of travel, with the defence claiming "a net has been spread for the accused with every possible thing that he might have done made out in the charges in the hope that somewhere he might be trapped.
Summing up the defence against 14 charges of illegal disposal of Government property, Dahl's defence officer, Wing-Cmdr. V. Lynch Staunton, claimed the flyer had been a victim of a Brazilian, junk dealer who had him sign various documents so that the dealer could avoid payment of taxes and duties on pieces of aircraft equipment which came into his possession.

Best Arrangement
Dealing with documents signed by Dahl and mentioning sums of money said to have been paid for the scrap remains of aircraft which had crashed at Belem, Brazil, the defence claimed Dahl had been urged by officers of the United States army air forces to clear the field of the crashed planes. New in command of the R.A.F. transport command station on the R.A.F. field at Belem, Dahl had approached the junk dealer solely with a view to making the best possible arrangements to get rid of the wrecks.
The dealer, the defence said, had asked for documents showing title to the salvage from the aircraft and Dahl had signed such documents, written in a foreign language, in the belief that the dealer was negotiating honestly with him. Various sums of money mentioned, it was claimed, were represented to Dahl as necessary formalities to make the proof of ownership legal, while the true purpose of the insertion of the mention of sums of money was to clear the dealer from payment of various taxes.
The prosecution replied that the court would not be able to believe that a man newly-arrived in a strange country would enter into agreement with strangers and sign documents without having a clear understanding of what he was signing.


Dahl Acquitted On Ten Charges By Court-Martial

Montreal, Feb. 1 (CP) — Sqdn. Ldr. Harold (Whitey) Dahl, internationally known flyer, was acquitted on 10 of 14 charges by a RCAF court martial late today, with the courts announcing that its findings on the other four counts would be announced later.
The acquittal on a majority of the charges was announced after a three-hour period, during which the court was closed, while it considered its decision. Twice during that time, proceedings were re-opened while part of the testimony of witnesses heard at Dorval and at Belem, Brazil, was read back to members of the court martial.
Dahl, who escaped death by a Spanish firing squad in the Spanish Civil War when Edith Rogers, an American night club entertainer, sent her picture to Gen. Franco and claimed she was his wife, had been charged with improperly disposing of various pieces of Government property while he was station commander of an RAF Transport Command unit at Belem.
All of the charges, except one, on which acquittal was announced, had to do with the disposal of the remains of crashed aircraft which had been declared irreparable. The other acquittal was on a charge of disposal of an unserviceable motorcycle.
Charges on which decision will be announced later dealt with the disposal of a vacuum cleaner, a radio transmitter and receiver, an astro compass, signal lamps, and emergency life rafts.
The sum of money which the charges claimed had been paid Dahl by Brazilian merchants totaled 13,600 cruzieries (about $620) in the charges on which no decision was announced.
The findings of the court in these cases will be submitted to the Judge Advocate-General at Ottawa, and subsequently will be announced there.
Wing Cmdr. V. Lynch-Staunton, summing up the defense plea, claimed Dahl had been the victim of a Brazilian junk dealer, who had sought to avoid payment of taxes and duties on pieces of aircraft equipment which came into his possession by having Dahl sign various documents.
The defense claimed Dahl had been approached by American officers to clear the field of crashed planes and Dahl had approached the junk dealer to make the best possible arrangements to get rid of the wreckage. He had been asked to sign documents in a foreign language, while the sums of money listed in the documents had been represented as necessary to make the proof of ownership legal.
It contended that natives had stolen equipment, such as life rafts, signal lamps and radio equipment, and had sold them to the dealer who found Dahl would easily put his signature on documents without question, and had used him as a means of gaining clear title to the goods.
The prosecution replied that the court would be unable to believe that a man would enter into agreement with strangers and sign documents without having a clear understanding of what he was signing.


Dahl Record Clean, Prosecutor Swears

Montreal, Feb. 2 (CP) — Testimony that Sqdn. Ldr. Harold (Whitey) Dahl had "a clean service record in all particulars" was given today at a brief resumption of the court martial which tried him on 14 charges and has already acquitted him on 10 of them.
The charges dealt with alleged improper disposal of Government equipment while the internationally known flier was station commander of an RAF Transport Command unit at Brazil.
At today's brief session, Prosecuting Officer Sqdn. Ldr. W.R. Cotton, RAF, was sworn in as a witness and testified before the RCAF court martial that Dahl had a clean service record. Today's evidence was given in connection with the four charges remaining against Dahl, on which a decision will be announced later from Ottawa.


Air Force Ousts 'Whitey' Dahl Following Trial

Ottawa, April 11, 1945 - (CP) - Sqdn. Leader Harold E. (Whitey) Dahl, United States veteran of the Loyalist forces in Spain and early war recruit in the RCAF, has been convicted of four charges in connection with improper disposal of about $680 worth of aircraft equipment and other articles, and sentenced to dismissal from the air force, it was announced tonight.
Dahl, released in 1939 from a Spanish prison by Gen. Franco after an American torch singer pleaded direct to the general that whitey was her husband, had been commanding officer of a Royal Air Force Transport Command station at Belem, Brazil, where the improper disposal was alleged to have taken place.
He was tried on 14 charges, but convicted only on four, which alleged not only improper disposal but conduct "to the prejudice of good order and air force discipline."
The court-martial, which started hearings in Montreal Jan. 15, found Dahl guilty of disposing of articles that included a vacuum cleaner, radio transmitter, an astro compass, a signal pistol, two emergency rafts, two signaling lamps and a radio receiver.
Unique procedure was followed in the case of the court-martial, with the court and officials boarding a bomber after hearings at Dorval Airport and flying to Brazil to record additional evidence.
Dahl was married in 1941 to a Belleville, Ontario girl.




'Soldier of Fortune' Is Accused of $28,000 Theft

By ROBERT AHIER, PARIS, 6 Dec. 1953 - (UP) - An American pilot seized for a daring airborne gold robbery admitted Wednesday he is the famed "soldier of fortune" Harold E. "Whitey" Dahl, who was saved from a Spanish Civil War firing squad when his beautiful, blond wife sent her picture to Gen. Francisco Franco.
Dahl, 44, of Sidney, ILL, was arrested here Saturday in a luxurious Ritz Hotel suite after $28,000 in gold disappeared from a Swiss airliner he had piloted from Paris to Switzerland Oct. 7. Arrested with him was a shapely former Swiss Air stewardess.

Ethiopia Flyer
The adventurer-flier, who flew for Emperor Haile Selassie in Ethiopia and for the Spanish Loyalists in the Civil War in the 1930s, was contacted by U.S. embassy officials in Fresnes Prison, near Paris. He had been held incommunicado four days.
"Sure, look at my identity bracelet," he said. "It bore the engraving, 'Spanish Air Force 1936'."
Dahl denied any connection with the gold theft. But when he was informed that Swiss authorities were seeking his extradition to stand trial in the gold theft, he commented:
"It suits me fine if they want to try me in Geneva or anywhere."
Dahl told embassy officials he was "quite comfortable" in jail.

Not Worried
"You needn't bother to give me a lawyer," he said. "I've got plenty of money in London. I'm not worried."
French legal authorities have agreed to extradite Dahl to Switzerland but a formal extradition hearing must be held first.
Dahl bounced back into the news 17 years after he hired out to the Spanish Loyalist air force at a reported salary of $1,500 a month plus a $1,000 bonus for every Nationalist plane he shot down.
"Whitey" Dahl was shot down behind Spanish Nationalist lines in 1937, court-martialed by Franco's forces and sentenced to death before a firing squad.
But his platinum blond bride, singer Edith Rogers Dahl, sent Franco a letter, begging him "not to take away the only happiness I have ever known." She enclosed a close-up photograph.

Franco pardoned Dahl. When he returned to the United States his wife disclosed their Mexico City marriage had no legal standing in the United States and Dahl married another girl, Eleanor Roblin Bone, in 1941. Dahl flew for the Royal Canadian Air Force in World War II.
The vanished gold was in one of 13 cases shipped to Swiss banks by a French banking firm aboard the airliner piloted by Dahl.


Whitey Dahl Is Named In 59-Pound Gold Theft

Associated Press, Paris, 10 Dec. 1953 — Paris police say an American pilot arrested here last week on charges of stealing $34,285 worth of gold is the Harold E. (Whitey) Dahl, whose wife's appeal to Generalissimo Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War got him out of a death sentence.
The 44 year old Illinois-born adventurer, a pilot for Swiss Air for the past year, was accused in connection with the disappearance of 59 pounds of gold bullion from a Swiss Air plane he piloted from Paris to Geneva Oct. 5.
Paris police said last night they had been told Swiss authorities plan to ask Dahl's extradition to Switzerland for trial there, indicating Swiss and French police have agreed the alleged theft occurred in Switzerland.
French police said Dahl had been under suspicion in connection with the missing gold for some time because he had been touring European countries with a former Swiss Air Hostess, spending money on a big scale.
In Zurich, Swiss Air officials said Dahl had been dismissed shortly after the theft for "irregularities." They added that the hostess was fired about the same time.
Dahl is a native of Sidney, Ill. After his Spanish adventure, he was divorced from the wife who interceded with Franco. He married again and French authorities said his present wife and three children have been living in Zurich



PARIS, 14 Dec. 1953 - (AP) - American pilot Harold (Whitey) Dahl, jailed here in connection with the theft of $34,385 worth of gold bullion, maintained today he was innocent. He said through his lawyer that he did not even know the gold was in a Swiss plane he piloted.
Dahl's French attorney, Mrs. Louba Schirman, said Dahl believed the gold was taken from unguarded baggage rooms either at Paris or Geneva.
The cold disappeared while being shipped via Swiss Air lines between Paris and Geneva on October 6.



Geneva, Switzerland, 26 Nov. 1954 (AP) — Harold Whitey Dahl told a Swiss criminal court today large winnings at the Monte Carlo casino financed four days of high living with his girl friend at the famed gambling resort in November 1953.
Dahl, 45, an American pilot and soldier of fortune originally from Illinois, is being tried on charges of stealing gold valued at about $35,000 from a Swissair plane under his command during a Paris-Geneva flight on Oct. 6, 1953.
Dahl was arrested two months later after a Geneva taxi driver testified that Dahl carried "a heavy package" when he drove him from Geneva airport to his apartment on the day of the theft.
Dahl claimed that the package contained two bottles of cognac, which he had smuggled through the Swiss customs. On this admission, he was summarily dismissed by the airline. He was released on bail early this year while awaiting trial.
Ella Eppenberger, a former Swissair hostess, was taken into custody with Dahl. Later she was released and no charges were filed against her.
She told the court today that she spent four days in Monte Carlo with Dahl in November 1953, and that he won "a large sum" at roulette. Dahl claimed to have won about $10,000 at that time. The prosecution claimed that jewelry and other gifts he bought for Miss Eppenberger, and luxury hotel suites he occupied with her, were paid for with the proceeds of the missing gold.
A Monte Carlo police inspector told the jury of five women and one man that Dahl could not have won such a large sum without being noticed.


Gold Theft Case Aired
American Airman Accused of Stealing $34,385 in Bullion

Geneva, Switzerland, Nov. 26, 1954 (UP) — Thirty witnesses begin their testimony before a jury of five Swiss housewives and one man today in an effort to prove that Harold (Whitey) Dahl, American soldier of fortune, stole $34,385 of gold bullion.
Dahl, a pilot who was once sentenced to death during the Spanish Civil War, has pleaded not guilty. He said huge sums of money found in his possession were won gambling and that a friend had repaid a loan of $2,600.

Two Arrested
The gold, weighing 59½ pounds, disappeared on a Swiss air flight from Paris to Geneva on Oct. 6, 1953. Dahl and Etta Eppenberger, a former Swiss airline hostess, were arrested last Dec. 5 and extradited to Switzerland for trial.
Dahl seemed calm when he appeared here yesterday for the first time in the court room while a big crowd of spectators, mostly women, listened to the romantic tale of luxury hotels, gambling casinos, war and the flying that make up his life.
Dahl, 45, a native of Sidney, Ill., was captured and sentenced to death while flying for the Loyalists in the Spanish Civil War. His former wife interceded with Gen. Francisco Franco, sending her picture to him, and Dahl was reprieved. The State Department later won his release.

Defendant Chews Gum
Dahl chewed gum throughout yesterday's court session. He took notes on the proceedings as they were translated to him from French. His voice was loud and clear as he replied "not guilty" to the charges.
Inspector M. Fernet of the French police was the first witness against him. He termed him an "adventurer, playboy and flirt" and said the American was used to spending "enormous amounts of cash."
The inspector said when he first questioned Dahl at the Ritz Hotel in Paris the airman was spending 8,800 francs a day for a room, had 1,000,000 francs in his possession and 1,500 pounds in a London bank.


Soldier Of Fortune Guilty Of Gold Theft

Geneva, Switzerland, 27 Nov. 1954 — Harold (Whitey) Dahl, 45-year-old American flier and soldier of fortune, was convicted today of stealing $33,000 worth of gold in order to finance a gay time with his mistress at Monte Carlo. He was sentenced to two years in prison,
Dahl was found guilty by a jury of five women and a man of taking the gold from a Swissair plane he was piloting from Paris to Geneva in October 1953.
In addition to the Jail sentence, Dahl was ordered expelled from Switzerland for 10 years and ordered to pay the costs of the trial. The three months and three weeks which Dahl spent in Jail while the case was being investigated will be deducted from the Jail term and the presiding judge said that with good behavior Dahl could be released in 13 months.
The Jury said Dahl "carried the gold from the plane and deposited it in the apartment of his mistress." The jury referred to Dahl's Swiss girl friend, Miss Ella Eppenberger, a former Swissair hostess. She was arrested with Dahl in December 1953, but later was released.
After theft of the gold was discovered, police who kept Dahl under surveillance, said the flier and Miss Eppenberger traveled to Germany. Italy, Britain and France, staying in expensive hotels, making expensive purchases and gambling heavily.
The prosecution charged Dahl used part of the gold to finance four days of high living at Monte Carlo with Miss Eppenberger. Dahl claimed he won $10,000 from the gaming tables at the famed Riviera gambling resort and used that to take the tab for their stay, Miss Eppenberger testified also that Dahl won large sums playing roulette.
Dahl has clung steadfastly to his claim that he is innocent and that the package he was seen carrying from the plane contained only two bottles of cognac.
In a faltering voice after hearing the verdict, he said.
"I am simply amazed at this example of justice in Switzerland, a country that is supposed to be famous for its justice."
It was a low ebb in the career of Dahl, who sprang into international prominence during the Spanish revolution which put Gen. Francisco Franco into power.
Dahl flew for the Republican forces but was shot down by Franco's men. He was sentenced to death, then given a reprieve. His beautiful blonde wife, through appeals to Franco, finally won a pardon for him. Dahl has since been divorced and remarried. He is said to have a wife and three children living in Canada. He is a native of Sidney, Ill.
In accord with Swiss criminal law, only a majority of the jury was needed to convict.
German Pochon, president of the court, announced the verdict, then retired with members of the jury to consider a sentence.

No Mitigating Factors
The prosecutor had asked for 2 years in prison and a stipulation that Dahl could not return to Switzerland for 10 years after that. The defense pleaded for a suspended sentence for one year. The jury announced it found no mitigating circumstances.
Judge Pochon said after the trial Dahl could be released for good behavior after serving 13 months of his sentence. "That doesn’t seem a very harsh penalty for a box of gold," the judge added.
Two unintentional slips by Dahl's young defense attorney, Roger Canonica, appeared to tell on the five Geneva housewives who served on the jury. Referring, in his final speech, to Dahl's affairs with women, Canonica said:
"Dahl has confidence in women. That is why he agreed to be judged by five women at this trial."
The jurywomen took disapprovingly to being apparently numbered among Dahl's women friends.

Makes Another Slip
Shortly afterward, Canonica recalled Dahl's explanation of evidence that he rummaged on the floor of the freight compartment during the flight,
"I was rolling up two bottles of cognac in my raincoat," Dahl had told the court.
"You will recall," Canonica told the jury, "that Dahl testified that he was rolling up his box of gold."
Canonica immediately corrected his slip of the tongue, but not before members of the jury glanced at each other and nodded.
Miss Eppenberger sat at the back of the courtroom with tears in her eyes as Dahl was taken away after being sentenced.


Whitey Dahl To Get New Trial

GENEVA, Switzerland, 4 March 1955 - (AP) - Harold "Whitey" Dahl, adventure loving American pilot, won a new trial yesterday on appeal from a conviction last November on charges of stealing $33,000 worth of gold from a Swiss passenger plane which he piloted, Dahl's attorneys alleged judicial error in the November trial, contending he should have been tried on a charge of abuse of confidence rather than theft of the gold. The Geneva Court of Appeals accepted this contention and ordered a new trial. The court's ruling will be appealed to the Federal Court of Appeals by the prosecution.
Dahl was sentenced to two years in prison and will remain there pending the ruling of the Federal Court of Appeals.



LAUSANNE, Switzerland, 21 July 1955 — The Federal Court of Appeals has granted American flyer Harold Whitey Dahl a new trial on gold-stealing charges.
Dahl, who is at liberty on bail, was convicted last year of having stolen $30,000 worth of gold from a Swiss air plane which he had piloted from Paris to Geneva.


Flier Whitey Dahl Missing In Arctic

MONTREAL, 16 Feb. 1956 - (CP) - Famed flier Whitey Dahl is missing aboard a plane that vanished Tuesday in the sub-Arctic, a spokesman for Dorval Air Transport Company said today.
The spokesman said that Dahl "came to us more than a year ago." The missing plane carried two or three other persons.
"Dahl was due for some leave and he undertook to ferry this plane out in his time off. He had no radio and the plane had recently been damaged.
"We don't know what could have gone wrong."
The spokesman said that the plane had changed ownership several times recently since it had been damaged. "It wasn't one of ours."
First reports said it was a Miami-owned DC-3.
It took off Tuesday for the 400-mile hop from Frobisher Bay, Baffin Island, to Fort Chimo, Que. The trip should have taken about 3½ hours, much of it over Hudson Strait.
Whitey Dahl Missing
Whitey Dahl Missing   
"We have one of our own planes out," said the air transport spokesman. "And we are keeping in touch with search-and-rescue headquarters. They have found nothing yet." He said that Dahl, one of aviation's most colorful figures whose exploits dated from the Spanish civil war, "was one of the best pilots." "He certainly did a good Job for us. He flew from Mont Joli on the DEW radar line supply route for us last spring and summer and more recently from Frobisher and Dorval airport at Montreal. "He had been flying C-46 Commandos."
The sub-Arctic search for the missing craft was stepped up today. Six planes directed from Goose Bay, Labrador, combed the route of the missing plane without spotting any sign of it. Much of the route is over the waters of the Hudson Strait and Ungava Bay.


Whitey Dahl Dies In Crash

MONTREAL, 18 Feb. 1956 (AP) — The end came in the snowy northern Quebec wilderness last Tuesday for Whitey Dahl, aerial soldier of fortune.
He died piloting an old beaten up DC3 on a ferrying job in his spare time. Wreckage of the plane, which carried no radio, was found yesterday.
Whitey was Harold E. Dahl, now a baldy of 47, who had survived a death sentence in the Spanish Civil War and seemingly endless aerial escapades.
A ski shod Canadian search plane spotted the wreckage yesterday and picked up one survivor and two bodies.
The survivor was identified as Eric Pearson, 42, of Miami, co-owner of the plane piloted by Dahl.
Air Force sources said the man killed with Dahl was Walt Givens, an aircraft mechanic. Also believed to be from Miami.
Dahl Killed


Soldier of Misfortune

Monday, Feb. 27, 1956 - "...Never at a loss for work, Pilot Dahl barnstormed around South America after the war until he landed a good spot with Swissair on the run from Geneva to Paris. That lasted until one night in 1953, when Dahl was seen leaving his plane with a heavy package—and $35,000 in gold bullion was missing from the baggage hold. Whitey was found guilty, sentenced to two years in prison, but was freed pending appeal.

While waiting for the new hearing, Dahl went back to Canada and got a job with a Quebec bush airline, flying supplies to the Arctic radar sites. At Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island last week, the owner of a beat-up DC-3 propositioned him to ferry the plane with two passengers to the mainland. The aircraft had no operational radio equipment, but it was flyable—and bush pilots earn their extra dollars by taking risks. Dahl took the job and was only minutes away from his destination when the old bucket gave up the battle and went down in the Quebec wilderness. One man survived the crash [due, no doubt, to Dahl's skill as a pilot], but Whitey Dahl, all luck spent at last, was found dead at the controls."


--- American Aces ---

--- Canadian Aces ---



On these pages I use Hugh Halliday's extensive research (which includes info from numerous sources), newspaper articles via the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation (CMCC) as well as other sources both published and private