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We hope you enjoyed answering the Canadian Aviation Moments in April. We encourage readers to send in their responses to the Canadian Aviation Moments questions at: Your responses will be included in the following month's newsletter. Here are the correct answers:

Question: How did the Canadian version of the CF-18 differ from its American and foreign counterparts?

Answer: “The Canadian version of the CF-18 differed from its American and foreign counterparts in having a six-million candlepower light installed in the port side of the fuselage near the cockpit to help pilots identify Soviet “Bear” bombers flying up the eastern side of North America.

Source: Windsock – June 2007 – Page 4


Question: What training aircraft did the RCAF buy in late 1941 for the BCATP from the Stearman Aircraft Company, how many were purchased, how long did they last, and why?

Answer: Stearman (Boeing) Kaydet “Arrangements were made in late 1941 to procure 300 Kaydets for the RCAF under lend-lease arrangements. The aircraft were to be modified to PT-27 standard to suit the Canadian conditions and RCAF requirements. These modifications included equipment changes for night flying plus an improved cockpit heating system and canopy for winter flying conditions. Production delays for these modifications, however, resulted in virtually all the aircraft being produced to the US military’s basic PT-17 model standard. Although the aircraft were reluctantly accepted by the RCAF and introduced into service, the lack of the necessary modifications quickly resulted in complications and dissatisfaction for the basic flying training program then underway. Despite being sturdy, reliable aircraft, in November 1942, the decision was therefore made to withdraw the type from use and substitute an equivalent number of Fairchild Cornells on existing production contracts. The Kaydets were then returned to the US over a period of six months in 1943, for use by the US Navy and US Army Air Corps.

Source: Canadian Combat and Support Aircraft – Page 230


Question: What was the last name of the three brothers from Saskatchewan who all served on operations with Bomber Command and all were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross? What town were they from?

Answer: Sergeant Robert Steele Turnbull of Govan, Saskatchewan, enlisted early and had won his pilot wings by January 1941. He was one of three brothers who served on operations with Bomber Command, all of whom were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Bob Turnbull had a meteoric rise through the ranks, progressing from sergeant to wing commander in less than one year. War’s end found him promoted yet again to group captain and in command of RCAF Station Croft within 6 Group of Bomber Command. Along the way, he flew more than two operational tours beginning with seventeen operations in antediluvian Whitleys, and ending with command of 426 Squadron out of Leeming, flying both Halifaxes and Lancasters. Handsomely decorated for his accomplishments, Turnbull returned home with a Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM), a DFC and Bar, the Air Force Cross (AFC), a Mention- In – Dispatches (MiD) and the French Croix de Guerre with Silver Palm”. “During late 1943 and much of 1944, while Bob Turnbull was continuing to make his distinguished presence felt as commanding officer of 427 Squadron, then later as station commander at Croft, his brother John, another pilot, and Walter, a navigator, were also carving out commendable records within Bomber Command. Both eventually received DFCs for their superior performance under difficult operational circumstances. The trio hailed from the tiny prairie town of Govan, Saskatchewan. Between them the three brothers, collectively known as “The Flying Turnbulls” completed four tours and 118 operations. On five separate occasions, brothers Bob and John flew to the same target unbeknownst to each other. John Turnbull, a Halifax II/V pilot with 419 Squadron, and then later a Halifax III deputy flight commander on 424 Squadron, always managed to keep a sense of humour about his wartime experiences. His recollections of the period illustrate the point. 21 April 1944: I recall being hit by predicted flak while “Gardening” in Brest harbour: one engine knocked out, a sharp pain in my left elbow. “Finally,” I told myself “You've got it!” With my flight engineer Mike holding the control column, I checked for blood and/or torn clothing. Nothing. The hit had banged my funny bone” against the oxygen tube holder. I was almost too embarrassed to announce my “frightening wound” to my crew! 26 April 1944: Over Essen. You could read a newspaper by its thousands of searchlights. The gunners said they were reading their bibles! 17 June 1944: As a crew we celebrated in a Ripon pub with draught beer plus fish ‘n’ chips that evening when my DFC was announced. I think it was our jovial rear gunner Joe Malec who comments, “What the hell for? We do all the work!” A truism! A most memorable day was that of the parade square investiture for the medal on August 11 when accompanied by the Royal Family King George VI visited 6 Group bases. A gusty wind caused his small carpet to curl just as I presented my snappy salute and stepped forward to him. I’ve often wondered what one would do if one was to trip and stumble into the arms of one’s monarch!

Source: No Prouder Place – Page 59 and 316

The Canadian Aviation Moments were submitted by Dennis Casper from the Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter of the CAHS.

The Canadian Aviation Moments questions for June are:

Question: What factors helped to mitigate the effects of combat stress in Bomber Command crews?

Source: No Prouder Place – Page 181

Question: When was the first United States Air Force’s Red Flag exercise held? When did the Canadian Armed Forces first participate in it? When was the first “Maple Flag” exercise held and how often has it been held since then (biannually or annually)?

Source: Windsock – May 2008 – page 1.

Question: What did No 439 Squadron, when they were based in Europe, use for target tugs for gunnery practice and how did they equip the plane so that it could tow the target?

Source: Windsock – September 1994