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B-17G Flying Fortress ‘Sentimental Journey’ a hit at the CWHM in 2016

The Commemorative Air Force B 17G Flying Fortress

The Commemorative Air Force B-17G Flying Fortress

The visit of the Commemorative Air Force Arizona Wing B-17G Flying Fortress ‘Sentimental Journey’ was among the highlights of 2016 for the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton.

One of only about 10 B-17s still flying, Sentimental Journey took centre stage from Aug. 29 to Sept. 5. The aircraft was restored to authentic condition by CAF volunteers as part of their flying museum tour program. Sentimental Journey rolled off the assembly line in late 1944 and was assigned to the Pacific theatre for the duration of the war. It served as a photo-mapping aircraft for nearly three years. It returned to the U.S. for service in air sea-rescue, and then participated in an American postwar atmospheric nuclear weapon test series as the mother ship for an unmanned, radio-controlled B-17. In 1959, it went into military storage before it was acquired by the Aero Union Corporation of Chico, California. The aircraft spent the next 18 years flying literally thousands of sorties against forest fires. In 1978, the old bomber was donated to the CAF Arizona Wing, which undertook a challenging and extensive restoration. A contest was initiated in the local media to name the aircraft and more than 800 entries were received. The most famous pinup picture of the Second World War was the winning choice for the nose art. Permission was secured from widower Harry James to add Betty Grable in her most tantalizing pose. With the end of every air show season, Sentimental Journey returns to Falcon Field, Mesa, Arizona, to undergo general repairs and restoration work. An average of 80,000 people tour through Sentimental Journey during the summer months.

Commemorative Air Force B 17G Sentimental Journey

Commemorative Air Force B-17G Sentimental Journey firing up at CWHM, Sept. 3, 2016

Sentimental Journey 2016 visit CWHM

'Sentimental Journey' attracted plenty of fans during its 2016 visit to the CWHM


Will Chabun is looking for information on the late Ralph C. Davis, a career RCAF officer who was the senior RCAF officer at the wartime 3 Air Observer School in Regina and then, postwar, the CO of RCAF Station Saskatoon. After retirement, Davis lived in Edmonton and worked for the provincial Workers Compensation Board. Will is particlarly interested in a copy of an autobiographical book or booklet Davis apparently wrote. If you can help, email


Canadian Aeroplanes Celebrates 100 Years

Curtiss JN 4 Canuck propeller

Curtiss JN-4 "Canuck" propeller on turning lathe at Canadian Aeorplanes Limited factory, Toronto Ontario 1917-1918. Source: Canadian Aviation Through Time

On December 15, 1916, Canadian Aeroplanes was incorporated for the purpose of providing all aircraft required by the training schools. This past December marked the 100th anniversary since the Canadian Aeroplanes Limited was incorporated. The Canadian-based Imperial Munitions Board, an organization responsible for awarding war contracts to Canadian manufacturers, took over a small airplane manufacturing plant in downtown Toronto formerly used by Curtiss Aeroplane & Motor Limited. But the expanding company soon outgrew this space and, by May of the following year, all operations had been moved to a new plant (still in Toronto). The well-known Canadian businessman F.W. Baillie led the company. F.G. Ericson, chief engineer of the Curtiss plant, was retained, along with most Curtiss employees. Additional workers were hired and eventually Canadian Aeroplanes had over 2 000 staff. Most of the employees were men, although women were hired to sew the cotton used to cover the aircraft fuselage and wings.

Source: Canadian Aviation Through Time


Decorated fighter pilot Atholl Sutherland Brown, who went on to serve as B.C.’s chief geologist, has died in Victoria at age 93, on December 9, 2016.

Times Colonist

Atholl Sutherland Brown

Decorated pilot Atholl Sutherland Brown is pictured in the nose section of the Sentimental Journey, a B-17 Flying Fortress, at the Victoria Flying Club in August 2015. Sutherland Brown, who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at 18, flew 48 months as a pilot for the Royal Air Force in Burma during the Second World War. Photograph By BRUCE STOTESBURY, Times Colonist

A graduate of Oak Bay High School, Sutherland Brown joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at age 18.

He was soon part of the Royal Air Force in Burma where he flew 48 missions as the pilot in a two-man Bristol Beaufighter, a twin-engine fighter-bomber, during the Second World War.

“He was a man of great integrity,” said Tom Burdge, of Victoria, who served with the RAF. “He was a very astute man, very intellectual.”

Sutherland Brown was an executive member of the Vancouver Island Aircrew Association, which Burdge also belongs to.

The war years were recounted by Sutherland Brown in his book Silently Into the Midst of Things: 177 Squadron RAF in Burma, 1943-45. Airmen flew at low levels as they targeted rail lines and bridges. Sutherland Brown was wounded when his own cannon shell exploded.

“We had high losses,” he said in a 1997 interview with the Times Colonist. “There were 40 per cent casualties.”

Sutherland Brown was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.

Remembrance Day would always find him at services in Greater Victoria. He said in 2007, “The Oak Bay cenotaph probably has 100 names on it. And I went to school with most of them.”

Sutherland Brown attended and spoke at special events, such as services at Christ Church Cathedral in 2013 to commemorate the Battle of Britain, urging his listeners not to forget, hoping to avoid more wars.

Until recent months, Sutherland Brown performed his “airforce exercises,” which included push ups, sit ups, and jumping jacks, said son Brian S. Brown, of California.

“He was a warrior in mentality. He had this incredible strength and drive.”

A golfer, Sutherland Brown carried his clubs himself until a little more than a year ago, only catching a ride on a cart for part of the course.

“What is inspiring is that he was active mentally and physically,” Brown said. He saw himself primarily as a scientist, his son said.

After the war, Sutherland Brown went to university, earning a PhD in geology at Princeton. He retired as chief geologist for the B.C. Geological Survey. Geology was a passion for the rest of his life.

Sutherland Brown wrote two other books. Searching for the Origins of Haida Gwaii: Adventures While Mapping the Geology of the Islands, 1958-1962, which described not only his geological work but included character sketches of people he met there. He also wrote a book about his father, who was known as Buster, A Canadian Patriot and Imperialist — The Life and Times of Brigadier James Sutherland Brown.

Geologist Nick Carter worked with Sutherland Brown for many years with the province of B.C. and the two became friends. Carter described the Haida Gwaii work as “one of his [Sutherland Brown’s] landmark achievements.”

Sutherland Brown was a leader in initiating detailed geological description of mineral deposits around B.C., complemented by papers putting them into a regional geological framework, Carter said. “This was landmark stuff as well,” the first documentation of this kind in B.C.

That work was carried out at a time when B.C.’s mining sector was booming and new mines were opening.

Geologists held Sutherland Brown in high regard, Carter said. He was “one of the big names in the local geological and mining community.”

Sutherland Brown was predeceased by his wife Barbara, known as “Doogie.” He is survived by his wife Ruth, son Brian, daughter-in-law Elizabeth, and two grandchildren.

A service was held at UVic’s Interfaith Chapel on Jan. 19 at 12:30 p.m.


The Canadian Aviation Moments were submitted by Dennis Casper from the Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter of the CAHS. The questions and the answers are now being published together in the same e-newsletter, rather than questions one month and the answers the next. We are hoping this instant gratification might encourage more interest and research by our readers. Spoiler alert - if you read any further, you will find the answer to January's questions directly below. Good luck and have fun!

The Canadian Aviation Moments questions and answers for January are:

Question 1: Was there ever a Canadian Naval Air Service. If there was, 1. What was the name of it? 2. When was it started and when was it disbanded? 3. What was its compliment of personnel and aircraft? 4. What type of aircraft were used?     


Answer: “Because of the importance of Halifax to the war effort, and the threat posed by German submarines, the British Admiralty suggested the establishment of two air stations on the east coast: One at the  Eastern Passage (Dartmouth) and one at Sydney, both in Nova Scotia.” “Initially the Americans rendered assistance by providing two flying boats to patrol the area around Halfiax and the Bedford Basin. On 5 September 1918, the Canadian government approved the Royal Canadian Naval Air Service. Personnel were to be trained on lighter-than-air airships (dirigibles) and heavier-than-air airships (aircraft). By the signing of the armistice, the RCNAS had 81 cadets of whom 60 were undergoing training in the United States, with 13 in the United Kingdom and 8 in Canada awaiting training. Additionally, 6 coxswains had enlisted for airship duties and were serving in the United Kingdom. However, on 5 December 1918 the RCNAS was disbanded and all the cadets and coxswains were demobilized.

Source: Canadian Combat and Support aircraft – A Military Compendium – T.F.J. Leversedge – ISBN 978-1-55125—116-5   

Question 2: The R.C.A.F.’s interwar role in “aid to the civil power” is most often associated with aerial photography and mapping. What was another task that preoccupied the air force between the first and second world wars? What was the purpose of the Air Board Act and in what year was it passed by Parliament? 


Answer: “The R.C.A.F.’s interwar role in “aid to the civil power” is most often associated with aerial photography and mapping. There was, however, another task that preoccupied the air force between the first and second world wars; forestry protection. The potential use of aircraft in fire patrols was in fact discussed even before the conclusion of the First World War, but it was a civilian firm – Laurentide Paper - that first used used H2SL flying boats, based at Grand-Mere, Que., for forestry survey and fire spotting in 1919. That was the same year Parliament passed the Air Board Act, creating a body that controlled both civil and military aviation.”

Source: LEGION MAGAZINE – SEP.OCT 2009 – Page 33

Question 3: Which one of the Canadian Military Services flew military aircraft during the Korean War? What was the aircraft and which Flight were they attached to?


Answer: On 1 March 1947, the Canadian Army Air Component was formed, and to equip it, 36 Auster AOP Mark MVI aircraft were ordered. “Following the success of the Auster Taylorcraft in the Second World War, an improved and upgraded version of the aircraft, simply known as the Auster Mk VI, was introduced just prior to the Korean War. The Auster MkVI differed from its predecessors in its more powerful engine, protruding rear flaps, longer undercarriage legs and increased fuel capacity. LiKe the Taylorcraft, the primary roles of this aircraft were also artillery spotting, along with liaison and light observation duties. During the Korean War, Canadian Army crews were attached to the Commonwealth Division Air OP Flight.” TOS: 1948 SOS: 1958 No: 42

Source: Canadian Combat and Support aircraft – A Military Compendium – T.F.J. Leversedge – ISBN 978-1-55125—116-5 - Page 56


CAHS Convention 2017

2017 convention slide savethedate 600px

Join authors, historians, pilots, engineers, and enthusiasts for four days of speakers, films, tours of local aviation attractions, and a banquet. Renew friendships and make new ones with people who share your passion for aviation.
For more information, go to or call 204 293-5402.

We are pleased to announce that registration for the full 2017 CAHS Convention is now open. You can register online using our Eventbrite page here. The cost for the full convention is $230, which includes all tours, talks, and the banquet. You can also purchase additional banquet tickets for $65.

If you prefer not to make an online payment, you can send a cheque to our national mailing address, CAHS Convention, Box 2700 Station D, Ottawa, Ontario, K1P 5W7.

You can win your hotel stay. The CAHS will draw one convention attendee's name to win a free, three night, stay, which you can use for your convention stay. The earlier you register, the more chances you will get in the draw. The value is $330 plus tax. Thanks to the Best Western Stoneridge Inn for providing this prize for our convention attendees.

Registration for individual convention days will open once the schedule is confirmed.

The call for papers is available here. The deadline for submissions is 28 February.


CAHS convention