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  • Plaque Celebrating Aviation History in Mount Dennis

    Saturday, July 15 - 10:45 am

    Hearst Circle and "The Wishbone" (Opposite Harding Park in Mount Dennis)

    Reception to follow at The Atrium, 12 Division Police Station, 200 Trethewey Drive, North York

    This event is a joint function of Heritage Toronto, CAHS (Toronto Chapter & National) and 400 Squadron Historical Society.  The plaque is honouring the airfield that hosted 1st flight over Toronto in 1910, the startup location of DeHavilland Aircraft in Canada in 1928 at this airfield and in 1932 the first operational base of the RCAF 400 "City of Toronto" Squadron as 10 Sqn and later 110 Sqn.

    RSVP at www.heritagetoronto.org.

    Click here for larger image.

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    Background on the William G. Trethewey Property

    By Dr. Robert Galway

    This property was purchased by William Trethewey following his sale of two Silver mining properties that he discovered in Cobalt, Ontario on 1904. He and his brother Joseph O. Trethewey made millions in this transaction. William Trethewey came to Toronto and purchased 600 acres in Weston, near present day Jane St. & Lawrence Ave. in 1907 The Royal Automobile Club of Canada and the OML of which Trethewey was a member, asked for permission to use a portion of the property for an exhibition Air Meet. This took place July 9-16th, 1920 following closely on the heels of the initial Air Meet held in Pointe Claire, PQ.

    During the Toronto meet, French Aviator Jacques de Lesseps completed the first flight over the city of Toronto as he had done two weeks previously in Montreal. The Toronto flight occurred on July 13, 1910. This is the basis for recognizing Jacques de Lesseps on the Heritage Toronto Plaque that will be unveiled this summer on July 15, 2017.

    However, this is not the sole reason for recognizing the contribution that this plot of farmland made to Canadian aviation history.

    Following the Air Meet of 1910, the property became the center of early aviation activity in Toronto. Indeed, it became known as de Lesseps Field. In 1928 de Havilland UK decided establish a manufacturing center in Canada. They were persuaded to do so because of the success they had met in selling the DH60 Moth to the Ontario Provincial Air Service. In their search for a suitable property, they were put in touch with Frank Trethewey who had inherited the property on his father’s demise in 1926. Trethewey leased a parcel of the land to de Havilland and with the incorporation of de Havilland
    Canada was appointed to the DHC Board.

    Consequently, the Trethewey property became the first manufacturing site of de Havilland. In fact the first building used to assemble the DH60 series was the Trethewey Canning Shed made famous by the sketch completed by famous aviation artist, Robert Bradford.

    Frank Trethewey was given the opportunity to purchase DH aircraft at a significant “favored” price. He and his brother were RNAS veteran pilots. In the 1930's he was Chairman of de Havilland Canada.

    The establishment of de Havilland Aircraft on this property in 1928 is the second reason to grant historic recognition to this property.

    Frank Trethewey not only over time purchased three aircraft from DHC but went one step further and joined the RCAF. This led to the establishment of the RCAF Squadron 10/ 110 on Trethewey Field. Frank Trethewey was one of the first four flying officers appointed to the Squadron. In 1940 he was appointed commanding officer of Base Trenton.

    The squadron was formed in October 1932 as 10 (Army Cooperation) Squadron and began flying in 1934 at the Trethewey Farm airfield (aka de Lesseps Field) in Toronto. In April, 1935, the City of Toronto adopted the squadron which then became officially known as “10 (City of Toronto) Squadron”. In 1937, the squadron was re-designated “110 (City of
    Toronto) Squadron”.

    The squadron flew five basic types of aircraft, all biplanes, from Trethewey until late 1939 when it deployed to Rockcliffe. During the Trethewey era, the squadron was involved in recruitment and flight training. At Rockcliffe, the squadron underwent conversion to the Canadian-built Westland Lysander until mid-February 1940. The squadron then deployed to the UK as the first RCAF squadron to enter the Second World War.

    In the UK, the squadron was initially equipped with the Lysander III and was involved in the Army Co-op and photo reconnaissance role. The squadron was active in the Dunkirk evacuation (27 May - 3 June 1940) but not directly involved in the Battle of Britain (10 July - 31 Oct. 1940). In mid-1941, the squadron was re-designated “400 Squadron”.

    Today, the Squadron is located at Camp Borden and is the main maintenance centre for maintenance of the RCAF's Tactical Helicopter Squadrons.

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  • My Snowbirds Flight - Aide-Memoire

The Greatest Generation

Written by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail .

 By Mathias Joost

The men and women who served during the Second World War have been referred to as the greatest generation for what they achieved after the war. This moniker is no less applicable to the many Blacks who served in the RCAF during the war. They went on to distinguish themselves in many areas of society, even reaching heights such as Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Prime Minister of Jamaica.  While it is not possible to list the accomplishments of all the Blacks who served in the RCAF, five selected at random illustrate what these gentlemen accomplished.

The Honourable Lincoln Alexander is perhaps the best known of all the Blacks who served in the RCAF during the war. He enlisted in October 1942 and upon being discharged used his veteran’s benefit to attend McMaster University after which Osgoode Law School in Toronto called.  While practicing law he won a seat in the 1968 federal election for the Progressive Conservative party, winning four more elections and serving as Minister of Labour in the Clark Government in 1979. After four years as Chairman of the Ontario Workers' Compensation Board he was appointed Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor in 1985.  In his career, Lincoln was the first Black Canadian to be elected as a Member of Parliament, appointed a Cabinet Minister and appointed as Lieutenant Governor. He was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1992.

Born in Trinidad, Henry Langdon came to Canada at a young age. He was able to enlist in the RCAF in November 1939 despite the colour barrier.  After being discharged in September 1945, Henry joined Trans-Canada Airlines and was selected as the recording secretary of the International Association of Machinists Local 1751 in Montreal that same year. He was re-elected to that position every year thereafter until his retirement in 1971, and represented the local at many labour conventions over the years.  Henry maintained his connection with the RCAF, becoming a member of 3001 Technical Training Unit of the Auxiliary in 1955, and later with 438 and 401 Squadrons before retiring in 1967.

Ken Rock was a high school track and field star at Patterson Collegiate in Windsor, ON. In January 1943, he joined the RCAF as a pilot but by the time he graduated there was no chance to participate in the war overseas and he thus served at No. 3 Wireless School and No. 18 Elementary Flying Training School, being commissioned along the way.  After the war he used his veteran's funds to pay for his education, becoming a doctor and opening his own clinic in 1952.  He was also involved in community programs, such as the Windsor Media Council and St. Leonard’s House.  His skills were recognized such that by 1976 he was the Coroner for Windsor and presided over many inquests for the six years he served in that position.

Michael Manley enlisted in the RCAF in October 1943, while he was studying at McGill University. As with many volunteers, especially air crew, who entered service later in the war, he did not have the opportunity to serve overseas, instead becoming a trainer in the BCATP. After the war he enrolled at the London School of Economics and returned to Jamaica, working as an editor and columnist for the newspaper Public Opinion.  He became involved in the trade union movement in the same period and after entering politics in 1962, was elected Jamaica’s prime minister in 1972.

Frederick Douglas Hodges was descended from loyalists who settled in the Saint John, NB area.  He enlisted in May 1943 as a radio and telephone operator.  Post-war, he held many important positions in labour and in his community, including: being the first Black person to be elected to public office in Saint John as a City Councillor in 1974; being appointed Director of the John Howard Society for 10 years; and being appointed a commissioner on the newly-founded Human Rights Commission.  For his community work he was invested into the Order of Canada in 1981 and in 1984 received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of New Brunswick.