carl mills 300 2Carl Mills
November 25, 1938 –
March 18, 2019

Canada’s aviation community lost a dedicated and prolific contributor with the death of Carl Mills, CAHS # 2483, at North York General Hospital in March. Carl, who had served with 400 (City of Toronto) Air Reserve Squadron, was well known for numerous presentations to CAHS national conventions and the Toronto Chapter. He had considerable expertise on topics such as the role of the RCAF in the Korean War and the history of 400 Squadron.

A key volunteer in the 400 Squadron Historical Society, he recently co-ordinated a collection of art featuring 25 pieces of art depicting the squadron’s 18 different types of aircraft since 1932. The art, celebrating the squadron’s 100th anniversary, is on display at the CFB Borden Military Museum.

Carl seldom hesitated to tackle such labour-intensive projects. He devoted five years of research to produce his book, Banshees in the Royal Canadian Navy, published in 1991. His interest in compiling the history of the last fighter in the RCN was inspired by the restoration of Banshee “464” at Downsview by 400 Squadron, with assistance from 411 Squadron. The Banshee is now at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Most of the 550 stories in the book evolved from interviews and correspondence with nearly 300 ‘Bansheeites.’ The photos were borrowed from many personal collections, as most of the RCN negatives and files had unfortunately been systematically destroyed.

In 2009, with support from the Toronto Chapter, Carl created a power point program that outlined the role of the Silver Dart in Canadian aviation over the previous 100 years. He went on the road with the presentation, stopping at Baddeck, NS, and several CAHS Chapters. His multi-faceted aviation activities ranged from being an expert modeler to creating museum quality dioramas, including the Korean War work on display at the National Air Force Museum of Canada at CFB Trenton.

Carl, born and raised in London, Ontario, became interested in aviation through the Air Cadets, joining 27 (City of London) Squadron. He then served with RCAF Auxiliary 420 (F) and 2420 AC &W Squadron in London. After graduating from the University of Waterloo in 1965 as an Electrical Engineer, he rejoined the Auxiliary in 400 Squadron as an engineering officer, involved in recruiting and training of ground crews for aircraft maintenance. He also flew the Cessna 172 regularly from the Toronto Island Airport.

Carl left the reserves in 1983 as Lieutenant Colonel. He enjoyed sharing his vast knowledge of Canadian military history through lectures, art initiatives and memorial projects to honour the past and to inspire future generations of military historians.

It was typical of Carl that, despite failing health, he was among the eulogists at the funeral of Ron Wylie, a fellow stalwart in 400 Squadron, in Burlington on November 30. Carl had been in hospital since Christmas Eve but he maintained good spirits and battled until the end.

We extend deepest condolences to his wife, Sophia, and son, Milosh (Megan). The funeral and visitation in March were very well attended. Col. (Ret’d) Gerry Gilroy, President of the 400 Squadron Historical Society, was among the speakers who paid tribute. Carl will be greatly missed by his family and friends.