Welcome to the November edition of the CAHS National Newsletter.
CAHS National News
Special Book Offer
Just in time for Christmas, the CAHS is offering the sale of two books about Air Marshal Gus Edwards. Suzanne Edwards wrote about her father's life, from a self-educated trapper boy to becoming one of the most senior officers in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War. "Gus: From Trapper Boy to Air Marshal" is a 234 page paperback that also includes blank-and-white photographs. Suzanne also wrote a version to inspire children. "The Adventures of a Trapper Boy" is a 47 page paperback edition that has both photos and illustrations. These books would make great gifts for both adults and children this holiday!
The CAHS is offering discounted rates that also include the shipping costs to all Canadian addresses.
For our customers from the United States and around the world, please contact the CAHS at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address for international shipping quotes.
Order your copies online by 10 December 2015.
For more information, or to place an order, please click here.
Journal 53-1 (Spring 2015), as described in a previous edition of this newsletter, is just about a wrap, and Journal 53-2 (Summer 2015) as described here, is set to follow not too far behind it.
With edition 53-2 we welcome back S. Bernard ‘Bernie’ Shaw with “In Brief: After the Arrow – A Trip Down Memory Lane”. As the title suggests, this is a reminiscence piece. The author takes us on tour through an eclectic range of industry projects discovered while he was employed at the Aerospace Branch of the Department of Industry in the post-Arrow years. In the style of a natural storyteller, both highlights and insights are shared for each of a baker’s dozen subjects, some of which are more well known than others. The narrative starts off with lofty spaceflight goals before ambling through a number of more down-to-earth commercial and general aviation ventures including some interesting lighter than air projects, before arriving back on the “space” side of aerospace. This article falls under our occasional “In Brief” heading due to the succinct yet not unfinished nature of each subject’s entry. I guess each could have stood alone as individual “In Briefs”, but with Bernie’s point of view as the connective thread and the sense of historical timeline that aspect lends to the article, it seemed a shame to break it apart.
Having penned some two hundred articles and a number of books on a range of topics that includes aviation, Bernie Shaw is no stranger to historical writing. It is good to see his name associated with CAHS Journal material once again.
Another veteran writer welcomed back with this edition is Alastair Reeves – taking us once again into his favorite neck of the historical woods where aviation and forestry meet. Given the extent of Canada’s truly awesome arboreal biome, and the desire to explore and exploit it exhibited by even the earliest of our aviators, it is not surprising that this theme never tires. With plenty of aviation of that distinct early Canadian bush flying type within it, Alastair’s telling of the “Owen-Greene Aerial Timber Survey, Labrador, 1919…” tale reads like a nicely slow-cooked and considerably more believable Indiana Jones movie plot transplanted to northern climes. We learn about some possible Canadian aviation firsts, “facts” of likely unlikelihood (by Alastair’s excellent analysis of historical claims), and the harder facts of photo survey interpretation. All truly edifying stuff as usual. As an interesting aside, one of the reference sources that appears in the article’s end-notes is the wonderful Photographing Canada from Flying Canoes by none other than S. Bernard Shaw!
Although Alastair’s article is proximal on the timeline (1919), this Journal edition does depart from the First World War aviation theme we’ve adhered to over the past year or so. Although the theme will still feature somewhat persistently over the coming three publication years, more page real estate will be given back to other eras and genres as dictated by article availability.
Next up is my own article, an account detailing a combat mission flown by a small cohort of Canadian airmen involved in the Royal Air Force anti-shipping effort off Norway towards the end of the Second World War. The very few involved in “The Last of the Buffalo Beaux…” are the two crews (four men, three of whom were Canadian) lost on 404 Squadron’s last Beaufighter combat operation of the war, 24 March 1945. This article recounts the day’s events from morning recce sorties through to a bittersweet end; that uneasy mix of partial success and tragic outcome so often characteristic of war at the unit level. These would be the final losses endured by the squadron during the war. This story was extracted out of a larger project – the operational history of 404 Squadron’s wartime years – after getting to know some members of the family of one of those lost, Flight Lieutenant Lorne Aljoe. Some aspects of the story can be found about three quarters of the way down the page here on the Vintage Wings Canada e-magazine site, in another extract of the work in progress parsed to highlight the combat career of another of 404 Sqn’s pilots.
Finally, part 4 of Bill Upton’s Canadair Tutor chronicle is concluded in this issue, though the balance of the overall CL-41 story is still to come in near-future CAHS Journal editions.
Photos and Story by John Chalmers, CAHS Membership Secretary
Members of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society pay tribute to family and friends who served in the Second World War in many ways – books, audiovisual productions, visits to overseas graves, and so on. Ken Horne of Edmonton has taken a highly original approach in honouring his uncle, James Chandler Horne, who was born March 3, 1924 in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, and raised on the family farm near Rocky Mountain House in west central Alberta.
Ken Horne knew his uncle By Name Alone, the title of the book he has published about the man he calls Uncle Jimmy. At 16 years of age, in 1940, Jimmy and a 15-year old friend, Harold Ayre, rode their single-speed bicycles from home to Red Deer, Calgary, Banff, Jasper, Edmonton and back. It was a 1,600 kilometre trip that took three weeks and included the now-famous and scenic Banff-Jasper Highway that had just opened, a 290-km stretch of gravel road.
In addition to the book, entitled By Name Alone, a replica bicycle is the second part of Ken Horne’s tribute to Uncle Jimmy. Ken acquired the components needed to assemble a CCM “Motorbike” closely resembling the one ridden by his uncle. Applying his many skills, Ken has also built a simple desk of solid poplar wood, beautifully constructed. To someone who doesn’t know, the painted desktop covered with plate glass might seem to be an abstract design.
In fact, the desktop is symbolic in its significance. It carries part of an air force roundel and parts of the S in the call letters of Uncle Jimmy’s Lancaster bomber, S for Sugar. As a final component in the tribute, Ken produced four informative posters included with all items in a display at the Fine Arts Building Gallery at the University of Alberta in a 50th Anniversary exhibit of works by U of A technical staff.
The desk, with its glass surface reflecting the four posters on display, is not only a functional item of well-constructed furniture. The design of its top commemorates a Lancaster flown by Uncle Jimmy Horne, who flew with Royal Air Force’s 619 Squadron.
The posters prepared for exhibit with the bike, the book and the desk provide information about those elements of the display, as well as a brief note about Uncle Jimmy.
Jimmy Horne signed up for for the Royal Canadian Air Force on December 31, 1941, three months shy of his 18th birthday. Trained as an observer (later to be known as navigator), WO2 Horne flew with the Royal Air Force, but never came home. He was lost at age 20 on his twentieth operational flight when S for Sugar was shot down over Germany on April 27, 1944. Only one crew member was able to parachute to safety and survive.
I feel a certain kinship with Ken Horne. Like him, I lost an RCAF navigator uncle whom I knew by name alone. My father, like Ken’s uncle, trained at No. 3 Manning Depot, No. 4 Initial Training School and No. 2 Air Observer School, all in Edmonton. Like Ken, I have a circa 1940 single speed CCM-type bicycle, my first bike, which I was given as a kid. I restored it some 30 years ago, and haven’t ridden it since!
Ken and I resolve to take our big old bikes on a joint ride together next summer, perhaps a ride around the U of A campus or on trails in Edmonton’s river valley, a trip down Memory Lane to recapture moments of our youth.
Shown with their RAF Lancaster, GP-W, at RAF Winthorpe on December 22, 1943 are left to right: mid-upper gunner Sgt Tommy Graham (RAF); rear gunner Sgt Jack Watson (RAF); WO2 Jimmy Horne (RCAF), wearing his observer’s “O” wing; pilot F/Sgt Robert Whinfield (RAF); wireless operator Sgt Don Chick (RAF); bomb aimer F/Sgt George Langridge (RCAF); and flight engineer Sgt Harry Goldberg (RAF). Four months later on Lancaster S for Sugar, Horne was lost with Watson, Whinfield, Chick, Langridge and Goldberg. By then, Graham was serving with another crew, replaced with F/Sgt Reginald Wickham (RAF). F/Sgt Francis Young (RNZAF) was the only survivor of Sugar’s crew. He was flying as “Second Dickie” pilot on an orientation flight with a veteran crew on his first operational trip and became a Prisoner of War. The crew's bomber, S for Sugar, Lancaster LL904, was a brand-new aircraft, lost on its first operational flight.
For more information about the project, or By Name Alone, author/craftsman Ken Horne, who works as a Technician/Demonstrator with Industrial Design at the University of Alberta, can be reached by telephone in Edmonton at 780-886-8134 or by email at email@example.com.
* The following news articles are gathered from the Internet, and are provided for your interest. They are not reviewed to the same standard that Journal articles are reviewed, and may contain errors of fact, style, or grammar.
Remembering Canada's Most Decorated War Hero
By Sean Mallen
Communications Consultant, former Europe Bureau Chief, Queen's Park Correspondent and Host-Producer of Focus Ontario for Global News.
Each of the thousands of Remembrance Day ceremonies across Canada has its own significance, meaning and poignancy. But the one that played out in Toronto's Mount Pleasant Cemetery had something no other could claim: a tribute to an extraordinary hero who for a time was nearly forgotten.
Under leaden skies and sporadic drizzle hundreds of people made their way through the winding roads, past the graves of the famous and the obscure, ending at the mausoleum where rows of chairs were set up for the event. At the base of the stairs was an unusual monument: two plaques mounted on an angular slab of granite, with what appeared to be the blade of a propeller pointing towards the sky.
One plaque had a picture of a serious-looking young man in military uniform. The other had an inscription: "William Barker, VC, 1894-1930, The Most Decorated War Hero in the History of Canada and the British Empire."
The ceremonies had the usual elements: The Last Post, a reading of In Flanders Fields and the two minutes of silent tribute. But it was also infused with the memory of Billy Barker and what he did.
"We gather at this particular spot today because of one person: Lt. Col. William Barker," said the keynote speaker, Lieutenant General Michael Hood, Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
With a class of senior grade school students listening, rapt, the nation's senior airman recounted the heroics of a fighter pilot from almost a century ago.
On October 27 1918, only a couple of weeks before the end of the war, Barker encountered a formation of German aircraft over the Western Front. Utterly outnumbered, he managed to shoot down several enemy planes and break up their attack. His elbow was shot off, he was gravely wounded in the hip and he crash-landed heavily, unable to pull back the throttle because of his ruined arm.
He was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest honour for bravery. In all, Barker received 12 decorations for valour, including citations from France and Italy -- more than any person in any branch of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Despite the lingering effects from his wounds, he had great success in civilian life, even becoming the first president of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
"I suspect he may be rolling over in his grave back there since 1967," quipped the general, drawing some rare titters for a Remembrance Day service.
When Barker died in a plane crash in 1930, his funeral was the largest Toronto had ever seen. His remains were entombed in Mount Pleasant but gradually over the decades the memories of his feats faded -- until September of 2011, when a group of admirers erected the monument.
"Until that time, no one knew he was here," said John Wright, Chair of the William G. Barker Legacy Group.
Every year since there has been a Remembrance Day service, "to honour him, both as an individual and as a symbol of all those who have served in the Royal Canadian Air Force," said Lt. Gen. Hood.
Afterwards, school children and seniors alike crowded around the monument and pinned their poppies to the ceremonial wreaths.
The general made his way inside the mausoleum to see Barker's resting place, itself festooned with poppies. It was his first visit, and also the first time an RCAF Commander had attended these Remembrance Day services.
"In the air force when we look historically we tend to think about aircraft and maybe it's a bit in the Canadian psyche we tend to downplay the people and we're trying to change that because we've had some tremendous leaders."
'You could feel the flak': Lancaster gunner recalls the war over Germany
Blair Crawford, Ottawa Citizen at Pineland Public School in Burlington, Ont.
At 92, Noel says he’s too old now to lay the wreath.
“I told them I’ll just sit and watch this year,” he said. “I’d probably fall right into it.”
Born and raised in Sharbot Lake, Ont., about 100 kilometres west of Ottawa, Noel and all three of his brothers enlisted to serve overseas during the Second World War. Noel chose the air force “because I wanted to fly.”
He ended up an air gunner, manning the rear turret of a Lancaster bomber in 115 Squadron, Royal Air Force. He flew 29 missions, including two sorties on June 6, 1944 — D-Day — bombing German gun positions and railway stations.
He had a grand view of the invasion fleet from his perch in the rear of the bomber.
“You could see the boats in the water, waiting for the word to go in,” he said. “All you could see were battleships and cruisers … the whole side of the ship would light up as they were throwing the shells to soften up the German positions.”
The invasion had been such a well-kept secret that it wasn’t until later that day he learned what D-Day was all about.
The Lancasters flew their bombing missions at night, wingtip to wingtip in a long stream of aircraft over Nazi-occupied Europe. The other planes were invisible in the darkness and often it was only the buffeting from another plane’s propeller wash that told them another aircraft was close by.
Like many rear gunners, Noel preferred to remove the clear Plexiglas shield of his gun turret. It meant he was exposed to the sub-zero temperatures for the entire flight, but it helped him see better as he scanned the sky for German fighters.
Several times, Noel’s Lancaster returned with holes from bullets and shells.
“You could feel the flak shake the aircraft and you could smell it,” he said. “You could hear the pieces of metal hitting the aircraft.”
Once, Noel’s plane was raked with bullets from a night fighter and the pilot put the Lanc into a steep dive to escape. Noel saw his detached hand floating in front of his face and thought his arm had been blown off.
“I grabbed it and thought, I won’t be needing this anymore so threw it out of the aircraft,” he said. It turned out to be his spare pair of gloves he’d seen.
On another mission, the crew had been ordered to bomb at low level but for some reason was the only aircraft to get the message. As they flew, bombs from aircraft overhead rained down around them.
“It was the only time I ever panicked,” he recalls. “I said, ‘Let’s get out of here!'”
A normal tour for bomber crews was 30 sorties, but Noel and his crew were stood down after 29. Noel would go on to a long career at Air Canada after the war. The others on his aircrew weren’t so lucky: two were killed in a wartime truck crash; the pilot died when the transport plane he was flying crashed on takeoff in Egypt.
The war was good to Noel — something he is careful admitting when speaking with other veterans who came home with physical and psychological scars.
Nor is he troubled by the controversy about the tens of thousands of civilians killed by the Allied bombing campaign: “It was war,” he said. “You didn’t get to choose what you did.”
Museum goes global in support of Lancaster project
People from across Canada and around the world will get a chance to help the Alberta Aviation Museum fund the restoration of a historic wartime military plane. The museum, based in Edmonton, has begun a fund-raising drive on the online site Kickstarter. It will help cover the cost of moving Lancaster KB882 from Edmundston, NB to Edmonton, AB and restoring the airframe for display.
“Warbird enthusiasts around the world have been watching what happens with this iconic aircraft,” says Troy Kirkby, an AAM volunteer who is coordinating the online fund drive. “Many have said they would like to make a contribution to ensure KB882's future.”
Gordon Ross of Calgary is one of those delighted to see the aircraft being restored. His father, Flight Lieutenant Allan Ross, piloted the Lancaster during most of its wartime missions. “My father was very proud to fly a Canadian-made Mark X version of the Lancaster during WWII. KB882 deserves to be restored and honoured for her lengthy contribution to our national defense.”
KB882 was built in 1944 at Victory Aircraft in Toronto for the Allied war efforts. It flew about a dozen missions overseas, and was returned to Canada at the war's end. In the late 1950's the aircraft was put back into service by the RCAF flying Cold War reconnaissance missions over the high arctic. One of its secret roles was to monitor Soviet ice stations. The aircraft was operated by 408 Squadron out of Ottawa until the mid-1960's. The Squadron is now based at the Edmonton Garrison flying Griffon helicopters.
The AAM plans to keep the aircraft in its post-war 408 Squadron configuration, which would make it a “one-of-a-kind” attraction. Plans also include restoration of the four Merlin engines, so people can hear the characteristic growl of these long-forgotten power plants.
The Kickstarter campaign will be largely run on social media. Contributors will have the chance to receive commemorative merchandise including artwork, t-shirts and coffee mugs. The campaign will run until mid-December with a goal of about $88,000. This will be one of a number of efforts by the museum to raise the funds needed to bring KB882 to its new home and complete the restoration work. Total cost of the project is estimated at several million dollars.
A special publication by Legion Magazine, called Twenty-Five Great Canadian Aviators, is now on the newsstands. It carries stories and photos about some of the best-known names and most accomplished individuals in Canadian aviation. Of the twenty-five, twelve have been inducted as Members of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. One of the women included is retired LCol Maryse Carmichael, formerly a Snowbird pilot and guest speaker at this year's induction ceremonies for the Hall.
The twenty-five individuals who were selected were chosen by Larry Milberry, himself a Member of the Hall, and a prolific writer and publisher of aviation books. Larry served as guest speaker at this year's wrap-up dinner for the annual convention of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. The stories in the publication were written by Larry. Colour profile illustrations in features of five significant aircraft in air force service from the Avro 504 to the CF-18 Hornet were created by Terry Higgins, editor of our CAHS Journal.
Pick up your copy now!
Canadian Aviation Moments
We hope you enjoyed answering the Canadian Aviation Moments in October. We encourage readers to send in their responses to the Canadian Aviation Moments questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your responses will be included in the following month's newsletter. Here are the correct answers:
Question: In 1919 and 1920, the British Government bestowed upon Canada a number of different types of airplanes with associated equipment. This was called “The Imperial Gift.” What Imperial Gift aircraft occupied the public spotlight 1 October 1920?
Answer: “In October, 1920, several Imperial Gift aircraft occupied the public spotlight as participants in the Trans-Canada Flight. The event was not a continuous expedition but a series of hops by different crews using different aircraft. It began badly on the 7th when the sole Fairey IIIC crashed en route from Halifax to Saint John, fortunately without injury to the pilot, Lieutenant – Colonel Leckie.” “Leckie returned to Halifax and switched to a Curtis HS-2L flying boat, formerly used by the United States Navy and part of an unrelated aircraft gift from that country. With this machine, he resumed the flight as far as Riviere-du-Loup, where an F.3 was substituted on the 8th. Three days and 14 stops later, it arrive at Winnipeg, where a D.H.9 took up the flight, arriving at Vancouver on the 17th after mechanical and weather delays and adventurous flights through the Rockies and 11 landings.”
Source:Canadian Aviation Historical Society Journal – Vol.47 No.1 – Spring 2009 – Page 29.
Question: In what year did the RFC decide to establish a training organization in Canada? How many stations and training squadrons were established in that year?
Answer: “In 1917 the RFC decided to establish a training organization in Canada.” “RFC Station Camp Borden was the main training site and was accepted on 2 May 1917. In no time, all five squadrons and a school for aerial gunnery were operating at full capacity. RFC Station Deseronto consisted of aerodromes at Mohawk and Rathburn and it was operating with five training squadrons by the end of May 1917. RFC Station North Toronto consisted of aerodromes at Long Branch, Leaside and Armour Heights, and by the end of June 1917 there were three training squadrons operating.”
Source:Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft – A Military Compendium – T.F.J. Leversedge – Page 22
Question: What aircraft type was modified with the 180 hp Wolseley Viper water-cooled engine (S.E. 5A fighter design) and what was it used for by the RCAF?
Answer: After the First World War, the availability of thousands of cheap power-plants from the S.E. 5A fighter design in the form of 180 hp Wolseley Viper water-cooled engines complete with frontal radiators led to the modification and upgrade the of Avro 504 aircraft type. Considerable modifications were needed to the air-frame to accommodate the new more powerful engine installation. In 1923 following the assembly of six long-range, single-seat Avro 552As at Camp Borden, the RCAF ordered another five single-seat and nine two-seat versions for forest fire patrol work." TOS: 1924, SOS: 1928, No: 14" "Model No: 552 A"
Source:Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft – A Military Compendium – T.F.J. Leversedge – Page 58
The Canadian Aviation Moments were submitted by Dennis Casper from the Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter of the CAHS.
The Canadian Aviation Moments questions for November are:
Question: What aircraft, from the Imperial Gift, were experimented with in adapting World War I war-time photographic reconnaissance methods to mapping in Canada?
Question: When and who established the original Snowbirds team in 1971? The establishment of the Snowbirds was connected with the Golden Centennaires in at least 2 ways. What were the two links between the Centennaires and the Snowbirds?
Source: Snowbirds – Behind The Scenes With Canada’s Air Demonstration Team – Photographs And Text By Mike Sroka – Page 23
Question: What was the connection between Rockcliffe and W/C William Barker, VC, the famous WW1 fighter ace?
Source: Airforce – The Magazine of Canada’s Air Force Heritage – Volume 28 No. 3 - Fall 2004
In response to our Remembrance Day newsletter, Robert Galway shared this with us:
I enclose a photo of Essex Farm, located behind the west bank of the Ypres-Yser canal. It was here that McCrae wrote "In Flanders Fields".
A bit of background to place it in context is perhaps in order. It is from my close personal friend and colleague in Aberdeen, Scotland, named Mr. Tom Scotland. In the UK when an MD gains his Fellowship in the Royal College of Surgeons, they strip away the honorific of Dr. and replace it with the more valued honorific of Mr., as in Mr. Scotland.
Tom is a retired Orthopedic Surgeon who spent a year in Toronto as my fellow 3 decades ago. On his return to the UK he took a bit of Canada back to Scotland with him and embraced Canada's WWI history with a passion that is not matched here at home. Once he retired, his new profession is that of Historian, at which he excels!
He has visited every battlefield and memorial on the Western Front. In fact, he takes personal bicycle tours of his UK colleagues throughout Flanders every spring. I once thought he knew every mud hole and copse of trees along the Somme. Last year he confessed he had overlooked one.
He has translated this passion into several books that have gained international recognition including down under in Australia.
With this background, you can understand why I value this image taken by Tom Scotland during one of his many visits to the Western Front.
Regards Robert Galway
Canadian registered 35mm aircraft slides for sale
I am sure there must be some aviation historians in Canada who would love these slides. I had a count up and there are approximately 370 35mm slides. Kodak film in non-Kodak plastic mounts. Most seem to have been taken around 1978 in Canada and at airshows in the USA. Nearly half of them are Cessnas of all models, the rest are a mix of light aircraft but the collection does not contain any Pipers, Chipmunks, Stinsons, T-6 Harvards, Beechcraft or Ercoupes. Some of the slides have mould marks, mostly in the sky, and some are excellent. All are "serviceable" and most are full frame in good light.
I am asking £100.00 for the collection plus P&P from the UK. Please contact me via the newsletter editor.
Many thanks, Tom Singfield, Horsham, UK.
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