Welcome to the January edition of the CAHS National Newsletter.
CAHS National News
CAHS Convention 2016
The 53rd annual convention of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society will take place in Winnipeg 1 - 5 June 2016.
Wednesday 1 June - Meet and Greet at the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada, 7 pm; Thursday, Friday, Saturday - speakers, tours, annual general meeting, and awards banquet; Sunday 5 June - optional activity to be announced.
The venue will be the Viscount Gort hotel. We have arranged a convention rate of $120 per night for those who wish to stay at the hotel. Further details will be announced as they are confirmed.
We invite proposals for papers to be presented at the convention. The call for presentations is available here. Submissions must be received by 1 March 2016.
We are seeking sponsorship for the convention. If you know of a company that might be willing to sponsor us, please let us know as soon as possible.
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 black-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.
At ceremonies held on June 4, 2015, Captain Arthur Roy Brown, DSC, was inducted as a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. A century after serving Canada as a pilot with the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Air Force in the First World War, Roy Brown is finally commemorated with a headstone at a plot in the historic Necropolis Cemetery in Toronto.
Following his death at Stouffville, Ontario, in 1944, Roy Brown was buried in the cemetery of a neighboring town, Aurora. In 1955, his remains were removed at the request of his wife, Edythe, cremated, and then reinterred in an unmarked grave of common ground at the Necropolis Cemetery. Following the death of Edythe on November 9, 1988 at the age of 92, her cremated remains were buried a short distance from her husband’s.
Thanks to the initiative of the Roy Brown Society of Carleton Place, Ontario, and the financial support of the Last Post Fund in purchasing a plot at the cemetery and a military-style headstone, Roy and Edythe are now appropriately remembered. After coordinating with Brown family members for the wording to be placed on the headstone, the Last Post Fund arranged for it to be installed in November 2015.
On behalf of the family, Carol Nicholson, a niece of Captain Brown, accepted Roy's membership in Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame at the 2015 induction ceremonies. She has expressed the family’s gratitude for the support of the Last Post Fund in commemorating Roy Brown. Carol recognizes also the work of Nadine Carter, now in grade seven at Stouffville, for her successful efforts in raising public awareness of Brown’s contribution to Canadian aviation heritage.
Following the removal of Brown from the Aurora cemetery, the location of his remains was unknown for many years, even by family members. In November 2015 I published an article called “The Search for Captain Roy Brown,” which appeared in Relatively Speaking, the quarterly journal of the Alberta Genealogical Society. The article can be read online or downloaded and saved from the internet by clicking here.
Information about the Roy Brown Society is available here and here. To learn more about the Last Post Fund, click here.
Canadian Aviation Moments
We hope you enjoyed answering the Canadian Aviation Moments in December. We encourage readers to send in their responses to the Canadian Aviation Moments questions at: email@example.com. Your responses will be included in the following month's newsletter. Here are the correct answers:
Question: What RAF bomber was Calgarian Charles Patterson, a WWII pilot, referring to when he observed: “I’d never seen such a dreadful boring-looking thing, nose-down, going at what looked like about fifty mph.”
Thank you Laurie Miller for sending in this response:
I don't have to look that one up! Gotta be the Armstrong-Whitworth Whitley. The designer's cranking up the wings' angle of incidence with respect to the fuselage did help with takeoffs and landings, but meant that in level flight the poor thing looked like a basset hound, snuffling slowly along with its nose at a distinctly downward angle, dragging the rest of the machine reluctantly along behind it.
Answer: “That ponderous, graceless, “old flying cow”, the Whitley, had entered service in March 1937. It was slow, cumbersome, heavy and unresponsive on the controls, but it was the first heavy British bomber to have a retractable undercarriage and turreted defensive armament. This “nose down, slab-sided and plank-winged lumbering giant” also had an all-metal stressed skin fuselage, it was immensely strong, and it was stable as a rock. The definitive Mark IV variant, in service from May 1939, was powered by two Rolls-Royce Merlin X engines, but it had a humble top speed of only 245 mph at 16,250 feet. It also maintained a disturbing, characteristic 8.5 degree nose-down attitude in level flight, but had a bomb-carrying payload of 3400 pounds. Whitleys were exceptionally unpopular with those who flew in them. Although robust, they were underpowered and drafty in the extreme, and this prompted one Whitley veteran to observe that when one flew through rain this supposedly enclosed aircraft, one got wet.”
Source:No Prouder Place – Canadians and the Bomber Command Experience 1939-1945 – Page 22
Question: When did the Canadian government, prior to World War II, take the situation in Europe seriously in regards to appropriation of funds for defence spending? Of the planned, in 1939, eleven permanent and twelve auxiliary squadrons, how many were planned to reinforce the RAF in need? What were the most cutting edge bombers and fighters the RCAF had in the service inventory at the commencement of WWII hostilities?
Answer: “By 1934, the Canadian government was beginning to see the need for a renewed emphasis on national defence spending in general and on military aviation in particular, although it was not imbued with quite the same sense of urgency as were many Britons. Nonetheless, it took the Munich Crisis of 1938 to really reinforce the lamentable state of the Canadian military. In order to counter the harsh realities of technological obsolescence and diminutive force structure, the January 1939 Parliament approved an unprecedented $60 million appropriation for defence spending, of which $23.5 million would be earmarked for the RCAF. The plan was to build an operational air force of eleven permanent and twelve auxiliary squadrons, although all of them were to be dedicated to home defence, with no provision being made at that time for a Canadian expeditionary force to reinforce the RAF in time of need. Obsolete and underpowered Fairey Battle light bombers and a handful of Hawker Hurricane fighters were the most ”cutting-edge” aircraft in the service inventory at the commencement of hostilities.”
Source:No Prouder Place – Canadians and the Bomber Command Experience 1939-1945 – David L. Bashow – Pages 19-20
Question: Who devised the name “Snowbirds” for Canada’s formation team? What year did the Snowbirds first appear, and where was their first appearance? How many shows did they do in the first year, and what was the public’s reaction?
Answer: “The new team was named “Snowbirds,” the result of a name-the-team contest held at the base elementary school in June 1971. The winning entry was submitted by Doug Farmer, a Grade 6 student. The team first appeared as the Snowbirds at the Saskatchewan Homecoming Air Show in 1971. This performance was followed by appearances at other major air shows and at military bases across Canada. During their first show season, the team performed twenty-seven times. Public response indicated that re-establishing a Canadian formation team was a popular move.”
Source: Snowbirds –Behind The Scenes With Canada’s Air Demonstration Team – By Mike Sroka – Page 23
The Canadian Aviation Moments were submitted by Dennis Casper from the Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter of the CAHS.
The Canadian Aviation Moments questions for January are:
Question: What WW II British aircraft was referred to as “The Flying Panhandle”, “The Flying Tadpole”, or “The Flying Suitcase”?
Source:No Prouder Place – Canadians and the Bomber Command Experience 1939-1945 – Page 22
Question: What was the paper strength of the RAF Bomber Command on Aug 31, 1939? What was its effective strength 3 days later?
Source:No Prouder Place – Canadians and the Bomber Command Experience 1939-1945 – Page 21
Question: What airplane represents the first experiment in aviation by the Canadian military?
Source:Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft – Page 261
What's New in Books and Publications
Two new books on Canadian women in aviation from author Elizabeth Muir
When planes were first invented, women were not supposed to fly, even as passengers. It was a man’s world. But many women desperately wanted to join them in the sky; they were called “air-crazy.” A few women did manage to share a flight as a passenger, but it was not until 1928 that the first Canadian woman received her pilot’s licence. Read the stories of how women in Canada from the Atlantic provinces to British Columbia, broke through the sky blue ceiling, first as passengers in planes, then as pilots, stewardesses and finally as astronauts, from author Elizabeth Muir.
Air-Crazy: fascinating stories of Canadian women in the air is a picture book for ages 8+, but adults will enjoy the full-colour illustrations as well.
Canadian Women in the sky: 100 years of flight is for adults, but easily read by teens as well, with the foreword written by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail.
For more information, click on the image below.
Author Pat Martin has written a new book called Canadian Starfighters. The book is 152 pages with 350 photos (mostly colour) from many sources including the Canadair photo collection of Bill Upton (who is doing the Tutor series in the CAHS Journal). Canadian Starfighters is filled with great images, especially from the early years of CF-104 service and a plethora of background information make this book a must have for the enthusiast interested in NATO air forces in Europe.
Pat is selling the books locally himself if you are in the Vancouver area, for $50.00 (no tax) plus postage if applicable, or can be purchased at hobby and aviation book shops like Flight City (formerly the YVR location of Aviation World) for $64.95 (plus tax). NOT to be mistaken with Aviation World in Toronto!
To order online for $60 (plus tax and postage), click here.
Canada's History (December 2015-January 2016) and Warbirds International (January-February 2016)
Canada's History (formerly the Beaver) has a nicely illustrated 10-page cover feature on the Canadian airmen who helped to win the Battle of Britain. This issue also has a good photo of the Avro Jetliner when it visited Winnipeg on Jan. 12, 1951.
Warbirds International has two features of interest to Canadians. One is an extensive feature by the magazine's Canadian editor, Doug Fisher, on the recovery of a derelict Lysander, serial number Y1364, near Portage la Prairie. The article includes research by Jerry Vernon, CAHS Vancouver Chapter President, on the probable history of this aircraft. It appears to have been built by Westland in Britain as c/n Y1364, which would mean that it went to the Royal Air Force as V9313 before heading to the RCAF where it became RCAF 1590. In all, 1,427 Lysanders were built in the U.K. and 225 in Canada. Some 104 U.K.-built Lysanders were shipped to Canada.
The other article is a four-page, well-illustrated story on the fleet of seven Canso water bombers flown by the Quebec government.
Editors note: A similar article, with the research page by Jerry Vernon, CAHS Vancouver Chapter President, is also appearing in the current issue of the New Zealand-based magazine, Classic Wings, Vol. 22, No. 1 (Issue 99) and may also appear in one of the UK magazines such as AEROPLANE or FlyPast.
Classic Wings is available by subscription, and can also be found at newsstands in Canada and the U.S. effective with this issue.
RCAF Sentry Dog Program
An upcoming Military Police Reunion is planned for August 11 - 14, 2016, Canadian Forces Base Trenton. Also of interest is a project that is underway to complete a history of the RCAF sentry dog program that took place in 3 (F) Wing, Zweibrucken, 4 (F) Wing, Baden-Soelingen, and 1 Wing, Lahr, Germany, during 1963-72. We are also looking for dog handlers who participated in this program. For more information on the reunion, please contact: Dean Black (firstname.lastname@example.org), or for the history project, please contact: Wayne Kendall, PO Box 27, Toledo, ON, K0E 1Y0, email@example.com or phone 613-791-7146.
FLOYD BENNET WILLISTON
Born January 12, 1932 - Died December 28, 2015. Well known Canadian aviation historian Floyd Williston, after a brief illness, passed away in his sleep.
Floyd was the author of Footless Halls of Air, a biography of several Canadian airmen (including Floyd's brother) who died in the Second World War. Floyd was a member of the CAHS Winnipeg Chapter for several years, spoke to the chapter a few years ago, and attended national conventions. Floyd also regularly wrote articles for newspapers and magazines about similar subjects, and wrote the book, Johnny Miles: Nova Scotia's Marathon King. Here is an article Floyd wrote in 2011 for the Cape Breton Post about his brother: Part 1; (note - pdf file, 2 MB) Part 2
A memorial service was held on Sunday 3 January, 1 pm, at Cropo Funeral Chapel, 1442 Main Street, Winnipeg. Click here to see the full obituary.
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and share on Flickr!
We hope that you enjoy receiving our e-newsletter and find the contents informative and enjoyable. If you no longer wish to receive the e-newsletter since it occasionally contains fundraising notices, or for any other reason, please use the option to have your email removed from the mailing list. Please feel free to forward it to friends and family members, and encourage them to sign up on www.cahs.ca for FREE to receive future copies directly. If you have any news or events to share, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The CAHS is incorporated as a Canadian Registered Charity under a Federal charter B/N Registration Number: 118829589 RR 0001