Post 321 – Monogram 1/48 scale PBY-5 Catalina – Granville Charles Onyette


Decisions, decisions, decisions…

I have decided not to use paintbrushes to paint the PBY. I will wait after I use my airbrush first on the He 111 which will take a while.


Instead I will be paying homage to Granville Charles Onyette after my homage paid to his pilot Wing Commander Birchall.

PL-7405 UK-1123 17 March 1942 S/Ldr L. J. Birchall, St. Catharines, Ont., in the cockpit of a flying boat(Catalina) A/C of 413 Sqn.

Granville is seen here in the middle of the back row.


Granville Charles Onyette came back from the Japanese POW camps he was interned.


He probably never told about his ordeal to anyone except to his wife.

He is buried with his wife Jean Onyette nee Burt.


This is where I found them.

I have also learned about his uncle Granville Clifford Onyett who is buried in France.


This is how I connected the dots.

My search for Granville Charles Onyette began with this webpage.

From there, I started building his family tree.Then more information was found.


Granville Charles Onyette was born on July 18, 1917 in Huntsville, Ontario. His parents were Montague Onyette and Lizzie Keetch. Grandville had one brother and one sister. They became orphans when their mother died in 1922. Montague Onyette remarried in 1924.

I have also found this webpage where someone had documented the Onyette family.

Granville Charles Onyette is not listed but his brother and his sister are. I will probably contact this person to let him know about an unsung hero.

Grandville was the navigator who told Wing Commander Birchall to continue the search to be able to get a better fix on their position. This is why the Japanese fleet was found. 


Birchall arrived in his patrol area just as the sun rose. Hour after hour, the Catalina flew 150 mile-long east-west lines, spaced 50 miles apart, at an altitude of 2000 feet over the water. While they were flying the last assigned leg, Birchall’s navigator, Warrant Officer Onyette, the only other Canadian aboard, pointed out that if they flew an extra leg, he could confirm their actual position by using the moon, which was then rising. Since they were required to remain airborne until after dawn the next day in any case, Birchall agreed.

Two messages were sent before the radio was damaged by a swarm of Zeros. I had always thought Warrant Officer Onyette was the wireless operator who had sent those messages.

This is where I found who was the wireless operator in Wing Commander Birchall’s crew.


The wireless operator was Sergeant F.C. Phillips who I am quite sure never told anyone about his ordeal.


Building a family tree is like building a model kit, except you don’t have to use an airbrush or masked little windows.