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The Canadian Aviation Moments were submitted by Dennis Casper from the Roland Groome (Regina) Chapter of the CAHS. Spoiler alert - if you read any further than each question, you will find the answer to the questions directly below. Good luck and have fun!

The Canadian Aviation Moments questions and answers for December are:

Question: What was the reaction of Lieutenant-Colonel Sam Hughes, the Minister of Militia, at the outbreak of war to a proposal from the pioneer airman, engineer and inventor J.A.D. MCCurdy for creating a Canadian Air Force?

Answer: “In Canada, the Minister of Militia, Lieutenant-Colonel Sam Hughes, ruled the army without regard for existing channels of communication, opinions of his fellow cabinet ministers, or even those of the prime minister. At the outbreak of the war, Huges met with the pioneer airman, engineer, and inventor, J.A.D. MCCurdy. The aviator laid out a proposal to create a Canadian air force. Never one to understate his views, the minister decisively dismissed the supplicant. “My boy, the aeroplane is the invention of the Devil and will never play any part in such a serious business as the defence of the nation.”

Source: Dancing in the Sky – Page 16

Question: What was Bomber Command’s activities limited to during the first 6 months of the Second World War?

Answer: “British bombing policy was deliberately non-provocative for the first six months of the Second World War. Bomber command’s activities were limited to strategic reconnaissance, propaganda leaflet raids, and the destruction of enemy shipping in their home ports and at sea. Crews were repeatedly cautioned that the greatest care was to be taken not to injure enemy civilians, and that, for the present, there were no alternative bombing targets to the German High Seas Fleet.”

Source: NO PROUDER PLACE– Page 24

Question: What part did K.C. Irving of New Brunswick Irving Oil Fame play in the building of the Mosquito fighter aircraft during World War II?

Answer: - In 1938 K.C. Irving purchased Canada Veneers, a Saint John company in the wood products field. Among other government contracts, it manufactured fuselages for Mosquito fighter aircraft during World War II. Canada Veneers thrived on wartime sales to become the world’s largest supplier of aircraft veneers. K.C. Irving went on to become one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in Canadian history.



CAHS National Convention Call for Presentations

We are pleased to announce the call for presentations for the 2020 CAHS Convention in Richmond (Vancouver), British Columbia. The convention will take place 27 - 30 May. Tours and other activities are still being developed, but our first ever convention in BC will be an experience to remember. We will include the usual meet and greet, speakers, a banquet, and the opportunity to meet others who share your passion for aviation. We will also offer a unique optional flight experience and an optional tour after the convention. Persons who wish to present at the convention should review the Call for Presentations at this link, and submit the included form no later than 31 January 2020. Those selected will be advised by the end of February. We look forward to hearing from you.

Please visit the Convention Time 2020 page on our website for event updates.


Journal Update

Volume, 56 Number 2 is now in the mail to all current traditional membership members. The digital version will be emailed to all current online membership members early this coming week.

Volume 56, Number 3 is now in print production, but mailing may not occur until after the Christmas – New Years Holiday period.

Volume 56 Number 4 is on track to enter print production shortly after the holiday. Once its production schedule is finalized, we may opt to mail it together with Volume 56, Number 3.

Please visit the Journal page on the website for the latest information. Or check the Newsflash page for the latest postings across the entire site.

To complement the article on the Hudson Strait Fokker Universals featured in Journal 56-2, we've posted the 1973 National Film Board documentary, Aviators of the Hudson Strait to the site's Video Viewport page.



Shearwater Aviation Museum
Birthplace of Canadian Maritime
Military Aviation Heritage

Report and photos by Gord McNulty
CAHS Vice President

Visitors to the Shearwater Aviation Museum ( at 12 Wing CFB Shearwater, Nova Scotia, will be impressed with a colourful and growing collection of aircraft and artifacts depicting Canadian maritime military aviation from 1918 to the present.

RCN Fairey Firefly FR 1In September, I was fortunate to visit the SAM, a CAHS Museum Member, and enjoyed an overview of activities with SAM Curator Christine Hines. Established in 1978, SAM has 15 heritage aircraft on display or undergoing restoration.

The museum has about 15,000 artifacts and an extensive collection of aviation art. Informative exhibits include an Eastern Air Command display, highlighted by a replica of the wall map used in Eastern Air Command headquarters at Halifax during the Battle of the Atlantic. A Victoria Cross Memorial Gallery includes portraits of Lt. Robert Hampton Gray, RCNVR, and F/L David Ernest Hornell, RCAF.

An archives and library holds a large collection of historical and technical information available to researchers and boasts an exceptional photographic collection. A gift shop carries a variety of aviation related merchandise; sales contribute to development of the museum.

Working jointly with the museum is the Shearwater Aviation Museum Foundation,, an arm’s-length, charitable fundraising organization dedicated to the development of the museum. The foundation publishes The Warrior magazine three times a year. In the Winter 2019 issue, SAM Foundation president John M. Cody described progress with an ongoing $2 million fundraising drive for additional space and exhibits.

SAM celebrated Shearwater’s 100th Anniversary as an air base in 2018. It is one of the oldest military airfields in Canada, second only to CFB Borden established in 2016. The ‘Shearwater 100’ celebration included many rewarding activities. To read an excellent report by CAHS Ottawa Chapter member Don MacNeil, published by the Museum, click here.

As a Centennial project, SAM officially opened the new Shearwater Aviation Memorial Park, displaying a Sikorsky CH-124 Sea King, a Grumman TBM Avenger and a Canadair CT-133 Silver Star. The rugged Avenger, RCN 85861, was forced to ditch in Bedford Basin in 1953 and lay submerged until 1972, when it was raised by base technicians. It served as a gate guardian, but sustained severe deterioration and was moved indoors to one of the 12 Wing hangars. It is now displayed outdoors because of space limitations.

A second Avenger, that had been flown as a water bomber in New Brunswick, was acquired from Forest Protection Ltd. of Fredericton by the Museum Foundation in 2012. The last of the FPL fleet, it was flown to the museum and refinished in the attractive two-tone grey RCN scheme. It is now a valued part of the indoor exhibits of museum quality aircraft.

Two Sea Kings that were officially inducted in 2018 are among the highlights. One of the two airframes, Serial Number 4001, was the first of four Sea Kings built at Sikorsky’s Stratford, Connecticut plant for the RCN. It has been beautifully restored to RCN configuration circa 1963. The second airframe, CF12431, is presented in RCAF configuration, giving the museum a pair of bookends to tell the 55-year story of the versatile Sea King.

Two Grumman/de Havilland Canada CS2F/CP-121 Trackers are on display. Tracker number 1501, in RCN colours, is especially noteworthy as the first Tracker built for the RCN. It actually started as a U.S. Navy Grumman-built S2F-1 purchased by DHC to verify the production jigs and tooling supplied by Grumman. The only American Tracker acquired by the RCN, it flew in various test and engineering roles as serial number X-500 and was re-serialled as 1501 in 1956.

Tracker number 1557, still in airworthy condition, represents CS2F Trackers that were modified and redesignated as CP-121 maritime reconnaissance aircraft with integration of the Armed Forces in 1968 and the subsequent demise of HMCS Bonaventure.

Rebuilt RCN Fairey Swordfish Mk II, serial number HS469 (civil registration C-GRCN), is proudly on display. Withdrawn from RCN service in 1946, this aircraft languished in a farmer’s field in Ontario for many years. It was restored in the early 1980s by naval aviation enthusiasts in the Toronto area. After more than 13 years of painstaking work, HS469 flew in April 1994 to Shearwater and was donated to SAM.

A McDonnell F2H-3 Banshee is another attention-getter. Among the remaining 11 Banshees struck from the RCN inventory in 1962, this aircraft had been displayed at the entrance to the base until 2000, when it was refurbished by 12 Air Maintenance Squadron for exhibit at the museum.

The distinctive nature of the collection is represented by a Piasecki HUP-3 Retriever, acquired in 2002 from the Museum of Flight in Langley, B.C. and replicated as the RCN’s first HUP-3, serial number 51-16621.

Vintage helicopter enthusiasts will also be impressed with a Sikorsky HO4S Horse, serial number 55885. Delivered to Shearwater in 1955, this helicopter was involved in at least seven rescue mission saving upwards of 20 lives. Most notably, No. 885 was instrumental in saving survivors from a Flying Tiger Super Constellation, carrying 76 American military personnel and family members, which ditched in the North Atlantic in September, 1962.

Two Canadair CT-133 Silver Stars are on display. The first, serial number 133038, is finished in RCN markings typical of the paint scheme of T-birds flown by the Navy in the 1950s and 1960s. The second, serial number 133618, is displayed outdoors in low-visibility camouflage grey representing T-birds last flown from Shearwater by Air Command’s 434 Squadron in 1994.

A Harvard, derived from Harvard serial number 2777 as flown by the RCN in the 1950s, also makes an attractive exhibit. Harvard 2777 was restored from a deteriorated condition and with parts from other Harvards was refurbished as a VC 924 naval air reserve squadron aircraft with “930-NAVY” markings.

The museum’s restoration projects are fascinating. They include a Fairey Firefly, PP462, that was among the first of 29 Firefly Fighter Reconnaissance Mk 1’s taken on strength by the RCN in 1946 and 1947. In 1950, it was one of nine FR 1’s sold to Ethiopia. It languished in the desert until 1993 when its long journey to Shearwater began after a diplomatic agreement with Ethiopia.

Good progress is being made with a Beech Expeditor, once stationed at Shearwater. CF-SEB was acquired by SAM from a parachute club in Vacourt, Quebec in 2015.

For more photos and information, check out the Facebook news feeds of the museum and the foundation.

A tribute to aircrew

A tribute to aircrew who have served at Shearwater.

SAM display describes the restoration

SAM display describes the restoration of Fairey Swordfish HS649 to flight in 1994.

A wing display G McNulty

A wing display is a suitable welcome for visitors to 12 Wing Shearwater.

Grumman Avenger RCN 85861

Grumman Avenger, RCN 85861, being recovered in 1972 from Bedford Basin after ditching in 1953. It is now a gate guardian at SAM.

Sikorsky Sea King RCN 4001 G McNulty

Sikorsky Sea King RCN 4001 in its original two-tone grey and DayGlo colour scheme at the SAM.

CS2F Tracker RCN 1501

CS2F Tracker, RCN 1501, started as a Grumman-built aircraft purchased by de Havilland Canada and was the first Tracker built for the RCN.

Canadair CT 133 Silver Star G McNulty

Canadair CT-133 Silver Star in RCN high-visibility scheme as flown at Shearwater in 1950s and 1960s.



The Electric Beaver is in the Air!

Electric Beaver in flight

Blomberg photo by Daryl Dyck

History was made on December 10 with the first flight of a de Havilland Beaver of Harbour Air Seaplanes, powered by an electric engine. The inaugural flight was made by pilot Greg McDougall, founder of the company. When he was inducted as a member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame at ceremonies held on June 4, 2019, he announced his intention to convert aircraft of Harbour Air to electric power. (Photo via internet)

For more information, about Harbour Air and the flight, click here.


Unique Dutch liberation event draws WWII vets’ descendants from across Canada

GUELPH, Ontario — December 5, 2019 —
In Our Fathers’ Footsteps has touched the hearts and souls of Canadians from coast to coast.


“I knew I had to do it,” says Janet of Regina, SK whose father served with The 8th Reconnaissance (14th Canadian Hussars) based in Swift Current.

To mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian soldiers, their descendants will walk 60 km in their fathers’ footsteps, carrying the Canadian Remembrance Torch. They’ll hold intimate ceremonies, celebrate with the Dutch at liberation festivals, and meet Princess Margriet at Het Loo Palace in Apeldoorn.

“This experience will last a lifetime,” says Derryl of Calgary, AB. “We want to understand and experience all that we are able to and thus shed light on the valour, bravery and giving of those who ‘gave their today for our tomorrow’…” —a quote, he says, comes from the Field of Crosses along Memorial Drive in Calgary.

Cam from Minnedosa, MB is named after his father’s commanding officer in Italy. His father served with The Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. “I have a half brother, born in the NL, who I have never met but hope to connect with.”

“My grandfather was an Indigenous Canadian soldier in WWII and not only fought in the Netherlands, but brought home a Dutch wife,” says Megan from London, ON.

“I’m the daughter of a Lieutenant Colonel MD and my Dutch mother was liberated by the Canadians in Utrecht,” says Marie-­‐Joelle from Montreal, QC.

Cindy from St. Andrews, NB whose father served with the Carleton York Regiment will walk with her sister, Shelley from Campbell River, BC.

“I’m not sure why my grandfather saved these photographs for so long,” says Elaina from Dartmouth, NS. She hopes to find the people in the photos.

Across Canada, these veterans’ descendants share a kinship, a camaraderie, a desire to honour their fathers, and a need to embrace remembrance like never before.

The sign-­‐up deadline is December 31st for this unique, one-­time May 2020 event. Let’s make sure no one is left behind.

Media contact: Karen Hunter (519) 835-­‐1314

More info:   IOFF in the News:


A Hurricane Comes Home

Story and photos by John Chalmers,
CAHS Membership Secretary

A Canadian-built Hawker Hurricane fighter aircraft, a type that excelled in the Battle of Britain, but never had to face combat as all its service was in Canada, has been restored to like-new condition and placed in its new home, the Hangar Flight Museum of Calgary, adjacent to the Calgary International Airport. The aircraft was rescued and restored through the efforts of the Calgary Mosquito Society under the leadership of president Richard de Boer.

Fund raising by the Mosquito Society, and with financial support from the City of Calgary, both the Hurricane and a de Havilland Mosquito fighter bomber have been assured of a solid future. The Mosquito is now under restoration at the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta, where work is continuous in the capable hands of volunteer craftsmen of the Calgary Mosquito Society.

Photo 01

Looking like new, with a rebuilt Merlin engine scheduled to be run in the future, Hurricane 5389 stands proudly at the Hangar Flight Museum. Signage accompanying the aircraft pays tribute to Canadian Elsie MacGill (1905-1980). At the University of Michigan in 1929, she was the first woman to earn a master’s degree in aeronautical engineering. In 1939, at the plant of Canadian Car and Foundry at Fort William (now Thunder Bay) she was put in charge of engineering for production of the British-designed Hawker Hurricane. She saw 1,450 Hurricanes produced there in two years, including Hurricane 5389. The recipient of many awards, including installation to the Order of Canada, Elsie was inducted as a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame posthumously in 1984.

Photo 02

Ready for a sneak preview rollout from the shop at Wetaskiwin on October 19, Hurricane 5389 greets the sunlight after undergoing a complete restoration that took seven years. “We subcontracted the restoration of the Hurricane airframe to Historic Aviation Services in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, but were responsible to the City of Calgary for the project and were heavily involved with the Hurricane throughout the whole seven-year process. We had to find vendors for the propeller, instruments, radiator and we overhauled the engine ourselves at Nanton,” says Richard de Boer.

Photo 03

At left is Byron Reynolds, proprietor of Historic Aviation Services Inc. in Wetaskiwin, where the Hurricane was restored. Along with Greg Davis, centre, and “Buck” Hills, they have plenty to smile about following their work in completion of the Hurricane, a $700,000 project.

Photo 04

Several members of the Calgary Mosquito Society arrived to welcome the aircraft at its rollout on October 19. Richard de Boer, president of the Society and president of the Calgary chapter of the CAHS, spoke to all attending about the history of the aircraft when it was rolled out on October 19 to mark completion of its restoration. The occasion was seven years to the day from when the Society acquired control of the aircraft for restoration. The cost was shared equally with funds raised by the Mosquito Society and funding from the City of Calgary.

Photo 05

On October 19 at the preview rollout, Hurricane 5389, at left, was welcomed to the tarmac at the Wetaskiwin airport by Hurricane 5418 from the Reynolds-Alberta Museum. The aircraft comprise two of only four restored Hurricanes in Canada.

Photo 06

Moved intact to Calgary on October 29, the process started during the noon hour. Accompanied by three pilot vehicles, the truck was driven by owner/operator Daryl Medd of Rangeland Truck and Crane from Airdrie, Alberta. Averaging 80 km per hour, the truck was required to pull off Highway 2 at Airdrie, just north of Calgary from 4:30 p.m. until 11 p.m. to allow regular traffic to proceed unimpeded to Calgary. The Hurricane was offloaded and placed in the museum by 2:00 a.m. (Richard de Boer photo)

Photo 07“We are thrilled with the arrival of Calgary’s Hawker Hurricane 5389 to the Hangar Flight Museum,” says Brian Desjardins, the museum’s executive director, seen at right. “The City of Calgary and the Calgary Mosquito Society should be commended for making the restoration of this rare aircraft a reality and dream come true. What is also extraordinary about this aircraft, is that long-time Calgary resident, 96-year old retired Flying Officer Gordon Hill, actually flew this aircraft in defense of Canada’s west coast. He was present to attend the Hurricane unveiling events in Calgary and to speak of his experience in flying this aircraft. We look forward to protecting and preserving this majestic aircraft for all to see.”

Photo 08During the war, pilot Gordon Hill flew Hurricane 5389 nine times in maritime patrol with RCAF 133 Squadron in 1943 from Boundary Bay and Tofino, British Columbia, on Canada’s west coast. After flying Hurricanes there, he was posted to Europe, flying Spitfires with RCAF 416 Squadron late in the Second World War. On November 6 at the aircraft’s public debut, 76 years after he first flew it, Gordon was reunited with the Hurricane (Darren Makowichuck photo, Calgary Herald/Postmedia, via internet)

Photo 09

Displayed with the Hurricane is a Rolls-Royce V-12 liquid cooled engine, the type used to power both Hurricanes and Mosquitos, as well as other types of aircraft during the war, including Spitfires and Lancasters. At the public introduction of the aircraft in ceremonies held at the Hangar Flight Museum on November 6, Richard de Boer stated in his remarks that, “As much as the airplane is owned by the City and hence the citizens of Calgary, in an important way it does not belong to us. We are but temporary custodians of the Hurricane and the most recent links in a chain that stretches back 80 years and more to when the first Canadian-built Hurricanes rolled off the assembly line at Canadian Car and Foundry. This airplane belongs as much and perhaps even more to those unmet and those not yet born. As magnificent as the Hurricane is, let us remember that it is a machine designed to kill. As much as it is a war machine, I hope that one of the messages it carries into the future is the fervent hope of soldiers around the world and back through time: ‘Never again.’ ”

CMS logoFor more information on The Calgary Mosquito Society, the Hurricane and the Mosquito under restoration, click on the Mosquito Society logo crest shown here.

For a must-see video of the completion ceremony when the Hurricane was unveiled on November 6, with speakers Brian Desjardins, Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi, pilot Gordon Hill and Richard de Boer, click here. And don’t miss the video featuring comments by Byron Reynolds, by Gordon Hill in flying the aircraft, history of the Mosquito Society and footage of the restoration process when you click here.



2019 CAHS National President Christmas Greetings

On behalf of your National Executive, Board of Directors, and myself, I want to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and only blue skies for 2020.

Again this year, you can send Christmas cards to our armed forced overseas that can’t be home with their families this Christmas. When filling out your Christmas cards this year, you can send cards to any of the four biggest operations:

Any Canadian Forces Member
OP Impact - KUWAIT
PO Box 5006 Stn Forces
Belleville, ON K8N 5W6

Any Canadian Forces Member
PO Box 5113 Stn Forces
Belleville, ON K8N 5W6

Any Canadian Forces Member
OP Reassurance (eFP LATVIA)
PO Box 5004 Stn Forces
Belleville, ON K8N 5W6

Any Canadian Forces Member
Belleville, ON K8N 5W6

Please pass this on so as many cards as possible will be sent overseas to these wonderful, special people, who continue to sacrifice so much to protect our way of life.

This has been another successful year for the CAHS. Our Montreal convention was a huge success and plans are moving along for our 2020 convention. Watch our new website, for updates.

I thank all the National Board of Directors, the Chapter executive members, our Journal editor, our e-newsletter editor, our webmasters, and all our members for their passion and support that continue to make the CAHS the authoritative voice of Canadian aviation history.

To everyone in The Canadian Aviation Historical Society, all the best this Christmas Season and let’s ensure our Canadian aviation history lives on throughout the next decade of the twenty-first century.

Blue skies,

gary williams sig

Gary Williams
National President
Canadian Aviation Historical Society


The CAHS Needs Your Financial Support:

donate button2The CAHS is working hard to end the year with a balanced budget and would appreciate your help financially. Donations are greatly appreciated and can be made online through our website or can be mailed in by downloading and mailing this form.

Do you have past or current business contacts from within aviation/aerospace industries? Have you ever thought of approaching these contacts about becoming a corporate sponsor of the CAHS? Managers of corporations are more likely to be interested if people they already know professionally make the suggestion and explain how sponsorship helps both the company (by providing exposure and a donation tax receipt) and the mandate of the CAHS (by covering costs of publishing aviation history in the Journal and on the website). Please download the Corporate Membership form, or visit our website to learn more. Please talk to your contacts about helping the CAHS preserve and disseminate Canada's aviation history.


Give the Gift of a CAHS Membership

membershipDo you find yourself searching the sky when you hear the sound of an aircraft engine? Are you interested in Canadian aviation history – the aircraft that made it, the companies that made them, or the people who brought both to life? Then the Canadian Aviation Historical Society (CAHS) is the place for you!

Give the gift of a CAHS membership to yourself or a loved one. When you purchase a CAHS membership, you receive all Journal issues for the calendar year in which you join. You can upgrade any level of membership to a Family Rate; for an additional $25, you can get the PDF version of the Journal delivered via email to two additional family members. Click here for more information about a CAHS membership.