Fleet Fawn II – R.C.A.F. #264 – Update

YO-G

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By Chris Charland

This story has beer, flying, fighting, beer, hockey, more beer and a pinch of politics in it. Life does not get any better than that. Did I mention beer?

C1226 Flying Officer Hartland de Montarville Molson (yes of the Molson Brewery family) from Montreal, Quebec, stands beside his damaged Hawker Hurricane Mk. I s/n P3757 coded YO*G. He was slightly injured when landing his aircraft at R.A.F. Station Hornchurch, Essex after flying a sortie from there on the 18th of August, 1940. At that time, the squadron commanded by Squadron Ernie ‘PeeWee’ McNab from Rosthern, Saskatchewan. was based at R.A.F. Station Croydon, Surrey as part of R.A.F. Fighter Command’s No. 11 Group.

Molson flew 62 combat sorties while with the No. 1 (RCAF) Fighter Squadron. He damaged one Dornier 215 (26th of August, 1940), damaged two Bf 110’s (4th of September, 1940) and destroyed one Heinkel He 111 (26th of September, 1940). On the 5th of October, 1940, Molson was flying Hurricane s/n P3873 and coded YO*R on a patrol. He encountered Luftwaffe fighter opposition and in the ensuing melee was shot down. Although getting shot three times in the leg, he safely baled out over Canterbury. He was admitted to a hospital in Chatham, Kent Molson was repatriated to Canada in early 1941 to recuperate from his wounds.

Now a squadron leader, Molson assumed command of No. 118 (F) Squadron on the 23rd of July, 1941 from his former commanding officer overseas,Wing Commander Ernie McNab. Based at R.C.A.F. Station Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, the squadron assigned east coast air defence duties, initially flew the portly Grumman Goblin bi-plane until it was replaced by the Curtiss Kittyhawk Mk. I beginning in November, 1941.

Molson relinquished command of No. 118 (F) Squadron to C1328 Squadron Leader Arthur M. Yuile from Montreal, Quebec on the 14th of June. Molson and Yule had been squadron mates with No. 1 (RCAF) Squadron in England

On the 9th of June, 1942 Molson assumed command of No. 126 ‘Flying Lancers’ (F) Squadron from Squadron Leader Arthur M. Yule. The squadron also tasked with defending Canada’s east coast from R.C.A.F. Station Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, was equipped with the Canadian-built Hawker Hurricane Mk. XIIA . Molson’s command of the Flying Lancers lasted until the 6th of September, 1942.

Molson would be flying a desk with his new posting at Eastern Air Command H.Q. in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He would go on to command R,C,A.F, Station Dartmouth, No. 8 Service Flying Training School in Moncton, New Brunswick and after its move to Weyburn, Saskatchewan, as well as R.C.A.F. Station St, Hubert, Quebec. His final posting effective the 16th of July, 1944, was to the Directorate of Personnel at Air Force Headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario.

Molson, who retired in September 1945 with the rank of Group Captain, received the Order of the British Empire Medal effective the 1st of January, 1946. The citation that accompanied the ward reads as follows:

“This officer was appointed during the first months of the war and upon completion of advanced training proceeded overseas with No.1 Fighter Squadron, with which he served during the Battle of Britain. He was wounded and repatriated to Canada. Since his return, he has served as staff officer in charge of Fighter Defences in Eastern Air Command and was subsequently appointed to the command of several stations. In all of these appointments he has displayed outstanding initiative, thoroughness, enthusiasm and devotion to duty. As the result of his excellent record he was appointed to the position of Director of Personnel. For a year he has carried the heavy responsibilities of this position, and continued to display the same outstanding qualities of leadership and loyalty.”

Molson would later be called to Senate of Canada by Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent in 1955. His long association with the Montreal Canadiens (my late granny Edith hated them with a passion) as President and Chairman of the team earned him a spot in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1973.

Sadly, Molson passed away on the 22nd of September, 2002.

Cheers…

End of update


Research by Clarence Simonsen (May 2021)

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Fleet Fawn RCAF 264

Click on the link above for the PDF.

Introduction

The full history of Fleet Aircraft Limited and their Canadian aircraft manufacture can be found on many websites and need not be repeated. The first Fleet Model 7B aircraft was taken on charge by the RCAF 1 April 1931, and nineteen more [Mk. Is] were delivered from Fort Erie, Ontario. They were given the name “Fleet Fawn” and these two-seater primary trainers not only impressed the RCAF, they greatly improved pilot flying standards in the pre-war 1930s.  

Thirty-one Model 7C trainers Mk. II were constructed and delivered to the RCAF between 5 March 1936 and 16 November 1938, fitted with a more powerful but quieter engine. They became the definitive trainer variant aircraft. Forty-three Fleet Fawn Model 7B [Mk. I] and 7C [Mk. II] trainers were on operational pilot training duties when war was declared on 10 September 1939. 

Fleet Fawn 7C [Mk. II], manufacturer construction number FAL-123 [Fleet Aircraft Ltd.] was completed in early July 1938 and officially taken on charge by the RCAF on 7 July. The aircraft was assigned RCAF serial number 264 and flown to No. 115 [Fighter] Squadron [Auxiliary] at Montreal [St. Hubert] Quebec, 16 July 1938.


Text version (with images) 

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Maclean’s Magazine – 15 May 1944

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The full history of Fleet Aircraft Limited and their Canadian aircraft manufacture can be found on many websites and need not be repeated. The first Fleet Model 7B aircraft was taken on charge by the RCAF 1 April 1931, and nineteen more [Mk. Is] were delivered from Fort Erie, Ontario. They were given the name “Fleet Fawn” and these two-seater primary trainers not only impressed the RCAF, they greatly improved pilot flying standards in the pre-war 1930s.  

Thirty-one Model 7C trainers Mk. II were constructed and delivered to the RCAF between 5 March 1936 and 16 November 1938, fitted with a more powerful but quieter engine. They became the definitive trainer variant aircraft. Forty-three Fleet Fawn Model 7B [Mk. I] and 7C [Mk. II] trainers were on operational pilot training duties when war was declared on 10 September 1939. 

Fleet Fawn 7C [Mk. II], manufacturer construction number FAL-123 [Fleet Aircraft Ltd.] was completed in early July 1938 and officially taken on charge by the RCAF on 7 July. The aircraft was assigned RCAF serial number 264 and flown to No. 115 [Fighter] Squadron [Auxiliary] at Montreal [St. Hubert] Quebec, 16 July 1938.

Early history of No. 15 [Fighter] Squadron – reformed No. 115 [Fighter] Squadron

No. 15 [Fighter] Squadron [Auxiliary] was formed at Montreal, Quebec, on 1 September 1934, however they would be flightless birds for the next twenty-one months. No flying, just ground school duties showing as ‘NIL’ in their Daily Diary. The Great Depression had caused a delay in the development of RCAF training, aircraft, and qualified pilots, coupled with the over-cautious approach taken by P.M. Mackenzie King and his political advisers, who believed Hitler and Germany were not a threat to world peace. 

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In May 1936, No. 15 Squadron received four Tiger Moth DH-60 trainer aircraft serial #64, #72, #81, and #110, allowing their first pilot training to begin that summer. 

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On 15 September 1937, No. 15 Squadron was renumbered No. 115 [Fighter] Squadron [Auxiliary] and flying training increased. At militia summer camp in Camp Borden, 2 June 1938, Tiger Moth serial #81 crashed at Ivy, Ontario, killing P/O P. F. Birks, resulting in four new Fleet Fawn trainers being assigned to No. 115 Squadron beginning 3 July 1938. 

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The first modern Fleet Fawn Mk. II two-seat trainer serial RCAF #262 arrived 3 July 1938, followed by Fawn #263 and #264 [Nanton, Alberta, Museum today] on 16 July. The fourth and last Fawn 7B Mk. I trainer RCAF #198 [below] arrived at St. Hubert airbase 30 August 1938.

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At times historians and Canadian aviation museums lose sight of the importance involving a few aircraft or their small part in forming WWII RCAF history, thus, too often it is just overlooked and forgotten. These four forgotten Fleet Fawn trainer aircraft provided vital pilot training for the auxiliary pilots in No. 115 [Fighter] Squadron for twelve months, August 1938 to August 1939. [In August 1939, the RCAF listed only 235 fully trained pilots, including 57 Flying Instructors] When war began, 10 September 1939, Auxiliary units represented one-third of RCAF total strength, and supplied two complete squadrons which sailed for England in 1940.

No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron was formed as a fighter unit at Trenton, Ontario, on 21 September 1937, training in obsolete WWI Siskin aircraft. 

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Canadian Department of National Defence (Royal Canadian Air Force photo) – From: Dempsey, Daniel V. A Tradition of Excellence: Canada’s Airshow Team Heritage. Victoria, BC: High Flight Enterprises, 2002.

The squadron moved to Calgary, Alberta, in August 1938, and continued Siskin training until February 1939, when the first British Mk. I Hurricanes began arriving at Sea Island in shipping crates. These first modern RCAF Hurricanes were uncrated, reassembled, test flown and then ferried over the Canadian Rocky Mountains to Calgary, Alberta. When war was declared, 10 September 1939, No. 1 Squadron was ordered to St. Hubert, Quebec, for Hurricane training and by 27 September the balance of the squadron had arrived, total strength five Officers and seventy-two airmen. 

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A new No. 1 Squadron “unofficial” badge [Motto – “Always Faithful”] appeared in Quebec with the squadron but the details are still unknown. I believe this art originated in Calgary, Alberta, after February, when the new Hurricanes fighters began arriving. [author scale replica from original photo in P/O Nesbitt collection] On 6 November 1939, No. 1 Squadron moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, for further Hurricane training. 

The auxiliary fighter pilots in No. 115 Squadron had their first look at a new British Modern Hurricane fighter, but they continued to train in their four Fleet Fawn aircraft. The flight training pilot names listed for one day, 1 November 1939, [below] demonstrates the importance of this Fleet Fawn training as nine of these Montreal pilot’s will later fly Hurricane fighters with No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron in the Battle of Britain. These same nine pilots would destroy [confirmed kills] thirteen German aircraft and claim another fourteen damaged during the Battle of Britain, thanks in part for their Fleet Fawn training obtained at St. Hubert, Quebec. 

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Daily Operations Record for No. 115 Squadron list twenty-four [Auxiliary] members of the squadron who flew one or more training flights in Fleet Fawn #264 from 1 November to 2 December 1939. The nine underlined flew in the Battle of Britain.

P/O Pitcher, P/O Brown, P/O Beardmore, P/O Hyde, P/O Hill, F/O Molson, P/O McCarthy, P/O Jones, F/O Mclean, P/O Nesbitt, F/Lt. Pollock, F/Sgt. Horsley, S/L Foss, P/O Russel, Cpl. Phillips, AC2 L’Abbe, P/O Hanbury, S/L Fullerton, A/C Stone, Lt. Smallere [RCE Army], Sgt. Carpenter, P/O Sprenger, Cpl. Fair, and F/O Corbett.  

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This free domain photo possibly came from the collection of P/O Nesbitt, showing the RCAF auxiliary pilot strapping his skies to the port side of a No. 115 Squadron Fleet Fawn trainer. The Fleet Aircraft Ltd insignia can be seen under the cockpit fuselage in the image.

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P/O Nesbitt flew all four of the Fleet Fawn trainers in 1938-39 [56:25 Hrs.] and trained in Fawn #264 twice on 2 November 1939, [10:25 to 11:40 hrs.] and [12:45 to 13:20 hrs.] The following day he flew #264 from 10:50 to 11:45 hrs. It is possible this snowy scene was taken in November 1939, as his name was no longer recorded in the Daily Operations from this date onwards. Three North American Harvard trainers arrived on 1 December 1939, serial #1341, #1342, and #1343, pilot P/O Nesbitt flew Harvard training flights totalling 48:35 Hrs. 

Eight Senior Officers, eleven Officer pilots, and 86 airmen of No. 115 [Fighter] Squadron arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 27 May 1940. On 28 May 1940, all personnel were absorbed into No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron and the new unit sailed for England [11 June] as a complete mobile force prepared to go to air war in France. The total No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron personnel which arrived in England were twenty-seven Officers, including twenty-one pilots and 314 Airmen. Almost half of this new composite RCAF squadron personnel came from Montreal, Quebec, 43 per cent from No. 115 Squadron [Auxiliary] St. Hubert, Quebec, September 1937 to May 1940.

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This RCAF group photo of No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron was taken on the Steamship “Duchess of Atholl” ship E.37 in Halifax harbour around 21:00 hrs., 10 June 1940. Departed Halifax 10:00 hrs 11 June 1940. Forty-five ranks are in the photo, including 27 officers, 21 are pilots. Eleven of these pilots are from No. 115 Squadron and have no flying experience in Hawker Hurricane fighters. They will be treated as new pilots and receive Hurricane fighter training in England. This reveals the importance of their many hours of training in four Fleet Fawn trainers at St. Hubert, Quebec. 

The following chart records the flying training hours completed by twenty of these No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron pilots when they arrived in the United Kingdom on 20 June 1940. The average age of No. 1 Squadron pilots was twenty-five years. 

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Twenty-seven Canadian pilots [one American F/O Brown] in No. 1 Squadron will fly Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain, original copy of No. 1 Squadron [Renumbered No. 401 Squadron 1 March 1941] list follows. 

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No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron photo taken 5 July 1940, arrival at Croydon, England.

Top row left to right – F/O R. Smither #C1594, F/O Thomas B. Little #C1117, P/O Arthur M. Yuile #C1328, F/O Eric W. Beardmore #C820, P/O Dal B. Russel #C1319, F/O C.E. Briese #C1591, 

Middle row L to R – F/O B.E. Christmas #C925, Capt. Donald Rankin, Medical Officer, P/O O. J. Peterson #C900, F/Lt. Gordon R. McGregor #C936, F/O Deane A. Nesbitt #C1322, F/O S. T. Blaiklock #C1817, Intelligence Officer, F/O Hartland de M. Molson #C1226, P/O E. M. Reyno #C806, P/O J.B.J. Desloges #C788, S/L E.A. McNab #C134, F/O P.B. Pitcher #C615.

Front row L to R – F/O George G. Hyde #C948, F/O William P Sprenger #C895 [with dog mascot] and F/O J. W. Kerwin #C922. 

Missing from the photo are F/O V.B. Corbett #C299 and F/O R.L. Edwards #C903. 

On arrival at Liverpool, 15:30 hrs, 20 June 1940, these Canadian pilots were assigned to No. 11 Group Middle Wallop, Hants. and seventeen were given RAF procedure and elementary attack courses between 5 and 12 June 1940. RAF Command wanted to see how well trained these new Canadian pilots were compared to British trained pilots and the test results obtained were above average. 

In the total of seventeen Canadian pilots tested, eight were original members on No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron and were all fully qualified to fly the British Hawker Hurricane Mk. I fighters. The remaining eight pilots [marked in yellow highlight] were all auxiliary trained pilots from No. 115 Squadron at St. Hubert, Quebec, and were only qualified in Fleet Fawn trainer aircraft and American Harvard trainers. F/L Corbett had only trained 5:50 Hrs. in the Hurricane Mk. I fighter. 

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Course No. 18 contained eight [yellow highlight] ex-members of No. 115 [Auxiliary] Squadron from St. Hubert, Quebec, trained mostly in the Fleet Fawn trainer [sixteen months] and the American Harvard [five months flying time]. P/O A.M. Yuile had no Hurricane training. These Canadian course pilots scored almost the same test results as the Canadians in course No. 17, seven of whom were fully qualified to fly the modern Hawker Hurricane fighter. The four two-seater primary Fleet Fawn trainers had proved their full value in properly training the auxiliary pilots in No. 115 Squadron and now these pilots moved on converting to the Hurricane fighters assigned to No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron in England. 

No. 1 Squadron moved to RAF Croydon, Surrey 6 July to 16 August 1940, then to Northolt, Middlesex, 17 August to 10 October 1940. After the Battle of Britain, the Canadians moved to Castletown Caithness, Scotland, to regroup, a base described as a cold, wet, ‘pigsty.”

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No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron moved to No. 12 Group, Driffield, Yorkshire, from 11 February until 28 February 1941. On 1 March 1941, they were renumbered No. 401 [Fighter] Squadron based at Digby, Lincolnshire, No. 12 Group, Canadian Digby Wing.

Due to the large number of Dominion Squadrons formed in the United Kingdom under R.A.F. control, a large number of low numbered squadrons had caused confusion. No. 1 [Fighter] Squadron RAF and No. 1 [RCAF] [Fighter] Squadron were both stationed at the same base causing many air control problems. The British Air Ministry assigned the number block 400-445 to the RCAF and No. 1 became No. 401 [fighter] Squadron on 1 March 1941, with a new official badge and motto.

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The unofficial No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron badge with Motto – Semper Fidelis [Always Faithful] had been painted and used by members, however it is still unknown if this art ever appeared on Hurricane fighter aircraft. 

The new No. 401 Badge featured the head of a Rocky Mountain sheep with Motto – Mors Celerrima Hostibus [Very Swift Death for the Enemy].

 

Today it is hard to believe the RCAF entered the Second World War with only sixty-three qualified flying instructors, who did not even warrant a separate organization in the Air Force. In April 1939, the RCAF began preparation for the formation of their first instructional flight at Camp Borden, Ontario, and Fleet Fawn trainers were now transferred to the new F.I.S. In July 1939, this first instructional flight was elevated to status of a school under command of F/Lt. G.P. Dunlop. In September, with war declared, the flying Instructor school expanded month by month and more and more aircraft were required for pilot training.

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Fleet Fawn #264 was transferred to RCAF Camp Borden, Flying Instructors School, arriving 2 December 1939, pilot Macallister. With the demand for more qualified instructors, and to meet future requirements, the F.I.S. relocated to RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario, on 18 January 1940, and Fleet Fawn #264 found a new home. Twenty-nine Fleet Fawn aircraft flew at Flying Instructor Schools, training thousands of pilots under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, and #264 flew until 3 March 1942. A new Sgt. pilot H. McFarlane was taxiing #264 at Trenton when he ran into the rear of a fuel truck and sustained Category “C” damage to the trainer. The 1938 constructed Fawn was no longer a top priority trainer aircraft and repairs were not completed until 2 December 1942. The Fawn was now reissued to No. 1 Training Command as an Instructional Airframe with serial “A198.” On 4 August 1943, the airframe record entry shows “Free Issue” to West P.S. Centre 4, that location is still unknown. [info. required]

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By 1943, the Fleet Fawn primary trainer aircraft were no longer useful and thirty-two were kept around as squadron instructional airframes, until they were flown to Surplus Equipment Holding units. Fawn #264 was sent to No. 3 S.E.H.U. at Swift Current, Saskatchewan, on 24 September 1945. It was turned over to War Assets on 19 September 1947, sold to Ernie Oakman, Stewart Valley, Saskatchewan, and donated to Nanton Museum in 1990. In the following years the volunteers at Nanton, Alberta, [today the Bomber Command Museum of Canada] restored Fawn 264 back to almost flying condition, however it will never take to the skies again, it is too valuable. In 1998, the complete aircraft was reskinned and a rebuilt Kinner engine was installed in 2007. 

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During the restoration years of the Fleet Fawn, the author was a card carrying member of the Nanton Museum and followed the rebuild progress. After the reskinning of this trainer aircraft, the original skin was in very poor condition and only selected sections such as the RCAF roundels and fuselage original skin were saved. It was discovered the inside Fawn skin taken from the twin cockpit area contained many signatures, RCAF service numbers and date each WWII aircrew member had trained in Fawn #264. It was suggested this would make a perfect display and research project, however being a Bomber Command Museum, it fell on deaf ears. At this date, [2021] I have no idea if the Fawn original skin with signatures will ever be displayed or even still survives. The original skins thrown in the garbage were saved by the author [Special thanks to past curator Bob Evans] and over the past twenty plus years many have been restored and used to preserve WWII RCAF replica nose art paintings. 

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This is the original starboard side of Fleet Fawn #264 tail RCAF tri-color markings painted in 1938. This was recovered from the garbage in Nanton, Alberta, [1998] in three sections, missing a five-inch strip from the centre section. Restored by the author, it contains 80% of the original fabric and paint from Fawn #264, plus the original RCAF Instruction Airframe serial #A198, applied in December 1942. This was painted to preserve and honor the pilots and aircrew from No. 115 [Auxiliary] Squadron, St. Hubert, Quebec, [Montreal] who trained in this forgotten Fleet Fawn during 1938 and 1939.

 

No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron Canadians in Battle of Britain

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  1. F/O E.W. B. Beardmore [Montreal, Quebec] trained 164:20 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, damaged one Bf 109 5 October 1940, wounded 18 September 1940.
  2. F/O C.E. Briese [Rosetown, Saskatchewan] trained 55:15 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, no kills.
  3. F/O E. de P, Brown [Coronado, California] trained 56:20 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, damaged one Bf 109 30 September 1940 and destroyed one Do 215 on 27 September 1940.
  4. P/O J.A. Chevrier [St. Lambert, Quebec] no kills. Killed Mont Joli, Quebec, 6 July 1942.
  5. F/O B.E. Christmas [St. Hilaire, Quebec] trained 49:55 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, destroyed Bf 109, 31 August 1940, damaged Do 215, 1 September 1940, damaged He 111, 11 September 1940 and destroyed Bf 109, 5 October 1940.
  6. F/Lt. V.B. Corbett [Westmount, Quebec] trained 239:15 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, damaged one Do 17, 26 August 1940. Killed 20 February 1945.
  7. F/O J.P.J, Desloges [Ottawa, Ontario] trained 60:05 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, no kills, burned 31 August 1940, killed 8 May 1944.
  8. F/O R.L. Edwards [Cobourg, Ontario] trained 50:45 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, destroyed one Do 17 26 August 1940, killed same date.
  9. F/O F.W. Hillock [Toronto, Ontario] no kills.
  10. F/O G.G. Hyde [Westmount, Quebec] trained 191:15 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, no kills, wounded 31 August 1940, killed 17 May 1941.
  11. F/O J.W. Kerwin [Toronto, Ontario] trained 45:55 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215 destroyed 31 August 1940, one Bf 109 destroyed 1 September 1940 and one Do215 damaged 1 September 1940. Killed 16 July 1942.
  12. F/O T.B. Little [Montreal, Quebec] trained 44:15 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215, damaged 26 August 1940, one Bf 109, destroyed 31 August 1940, one Do 215, damaged 1 September 1940. Killed 27 August 1941.
  13. F/O P.W. Lochnan [Ottawa, Ontario] two Bf 109s damaged 9 September 1940, one Do 215, damaged 14 September 1940, shared kill of He 111, 15 September 1940, shared half kill of Bf 110, 27 September 1940, one Bf109, damaged 5 October 1940, and one Bf 109, destroyed 7 October 1940.  Killed 21 May 1941.
  14. F/Lt. G.R. McGregor [Montreal, Quebec] trained 109:15 Hrs, in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215, destroyed 26 August 1940, one Do 215, probably destroyed, one Do 215, damaged 1 September 1940. One Me 110 damaged 4 September 1940, one He 111, destroyed 11 September 1940, one He 111 probably destroyed 15 September 1940, one Ju 88 probably destroyed and one Bf 109 damaged 27 September 1940, one Bf 109, destroyed 30 September 1940, and one Bf 109, destroyed 5 October 1940. Died 1971.
  15. S/L E.A. McNab [Rosthern, Saskatchewan] one Do 215, destroyed 15 August 1940, one Do 215, destroyed 26 August 1940, one Bf 109, probably destroyed 7 September 1940, one Bf 109, damaged 9 September 1940, one He 111 shared kill and one Bf 110 damaged 11 September 1940. One He 111 destroyed and one He 111 damaged 15 September 1940, one Bf 110, destroyed and one Ju 88, destroyed 27 September 1940. 
  16. F/O W.B M. Millar [Penticton, B.C.] no kills, wounded 9 September 1940.
  17. F/O H. de M. Molson [Montreal, Quebec] trained 50:55 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215, damaged 26 August 1940, two Bf 110 damaged 4 September 1940, one He 111, destroyed 11 September 1940.
  18. F/O A.D. Nesbitt [Westmount, Quebec] trained 56:25 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215, damaged 26 August 1940, one Bf 110 destroyed 4 September 1940, one Bf 109 destroyed 15 September 1940. Wounded 15 September 1940. Won DFC.
  19. F/O R.W. Norris [Saskatoon, Saskatchewan] one Bf109 probably destroyed 15 September 1940, one Bf 110, damaged 27 September 1940.
  20. F/O O.J.Peterson [Halifax, Nova Scotia] trained 56:55 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215, damaged 1 September 1940, one Bf 110m damaged 4 September 1940, one Bf 109, destroyed 9 September 1940, one Bf 109, probable destroyed and one Bf 109 damaged on 18 September 1940, half kill shared Do 215, 25 September 1940. Killed 29 September 1940.
  21. F/O J.D. Pattison [Toronto, Ontario] no kills, won DFC.
  22. P/O P. B. Pitcher [Montreal, Quebec] trained 89:05 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one He 111, damaged 15 September 1940, one Do 215, damaged 27 September 1940, and one Bf 109 destroyed and one Bf 110, damaged 5 October 1940.
  23. F/L E. M. Reyno [Halifax, Nova Scotia] trained 38:00 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215, shared kill on 1 September 1940.
  24. F/O B.D. Russel [Toronto, Ontario] trained 45:35 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215, damaged 31 August 1940, one Bf 110, probably destroyed and one Ju 88 damaged on 4 September 1940. One He 111, probably destroyed on 15 September 1940, shared kill Do 215, 25 September 1940, one Bf 109, destroyed one Bf 110 destroyed and one Do 215, damaged on 27 September 1940.
  25. F/O R. Smither [London, Ontario] trained 58:55 hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Bf 109 damaged 31 August 1940, one Bf 110, destroyed and one Bf 110, damaged on 4 September 1940. Killed 15 September 1940.
  26. F/O W.P. Sprenger [Montreal, Quebec] trained 71:05 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, no kills. Shot down 31 August 1940, killed 26 November 1940.
  27. F/O C.W. Trevena [Regina, Saskatchewan] no kills, discharged medical grounds October 1943. 
  28. F/O A. Yuile [Montreal, Quebec] trained 43:55 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one He 111, destroyed 11 September 1940, one Do 215, damaged 27 September 1940.

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Four members of No. 115 [Auxiliary] Squadron flew during the Battle of Britain, flying Hawker Hurricane fighters with No. 1 [RCAF] Fighter Squadron. These four pilots were killed in action in United Kingdom, and two trained in Fleet Fawn #264 at St. Hubert, Quebec, 1938-39.

F/Lt. V. B. Corbett, Westmount, Quebec, killed 20 February 1945.

F/O W. P. Sprenger, Montreal, Quebec, killed 26 November 1940.

Canadian Bush pilot Ralph MacLaren Christie

Research by Clarence Simonsen

Excerpt

With the passing of the Canadian War Exchange Act on 6 December 1940, many ‘non-essential’ goods were banned from being imported into Canada. American comic books were declared non-essential and banned from import, which created new Canadian comic book publishers featuring Canadian heroes. The Canadian comics lacked color and were called Canadian “whites” as only the front and back covers were printed in color. Over twenty million would be printed by 1945, and while all retained a theme based on patriotic Canadian war attitudes, very few were based on true Canadian war heroes in WWII. 

When the United States of America entered WWII on 8 December 1941, many new “True War” comic magazines were created publishing the heroes from around the world. The following RCAF hero comic appeared in True Aviation, Picture Stories No. 6, dated December 1943, “Canadian Bush Pilot.” Most of these American Aviation comics were never sold or read in Canada until the internet came along. 

image 1

PDF file below.

Ralph MacLaren Christie

Text version without images. Images will be inserted later.

Canadian Bush pilot Ralph MacLaren Christie

With the passing of the Canadian War Exchange Act on 6 December 1940, many ‘non-essential’ goods were banned from being imported into Canada. American comic books were declared non-essential and banned from import, which created new Canadian comic book publishers featuring Canadian heroes. The Canadian comics lacked color and were called Canadian “whites” as only the front and back covers were printed in color. Over twenty million would be printed by 1945, and while all retained a theme based on patriotic Canadian war attitudes, very few were based on true Canadian war heroes in WWII. 

When the United States of America entered WWII on 8 December 1941, many new “True War” comic magazines were created publishing the heroes from around the world. The following RCAF hero comic appeared in True Aviation, Picture Stories No. 6, dated December 1943, “Canadian Bush Pilot.” Most of these American Aviation comics were never sold or read in Canada until the internet came along. 

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Ralph MacLaren Christie was born at L’Original, Ontario, on 15 February 1919, located 55 miles [88 k/m] east of Ottawa, Canada. His birth town was French named meaning “Moose Point”, a location on the Ottawa River, which Canadian Moose used for crossing back and forth into Quebec. In his youth, the family moved to North Bay, Ontario, where he was educated and graduated from High School. His first job was an employee at the Royal Bank of Canada in North Bay, and his spare time and money were taken up by learning to fly. Ralph soon received his commercial flying licence and obtained a bush pilot job with Northern Flying Service based in Ottawa, where after eighteen months flying he had over 1,300 hours in his log book. In 1935, more freight was being moved by air in Canada than in all the rest of the world combined. Bush flying greatly expanded during the development of iron ore reserves in Northern Ontario and Quebec. Ralph was one of the gallant new bush pilots who carried men, mining machinery, food, and even live cows into isolated mining camps, exposed at a young age to the lure of his adventurous vocation. He flew on the water in summer months and on the ice in winter with no instruments to guide him over the many mining camps in Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba. This Canadian bush flying by the seat of his pants would save his life during combat operations over Holland in 1942.

Canada declared war on Germany 10 September 1939, and Ralph enlisted in the RCAF on 9 October 1939, and thanks to his flying experience was appointed an early commission in the Air Force. Arrived at Central Flying School, Trenton, Ontario, 12 December 1939, graduated 8 January 1940. To Camp Borden, 23 January 1940, posted to No. 4 [B.R.] Squadron Vancouver, B.C., 25 March 1940. Posted to No. 6 [B.R.] Squadron 10 June 1940. Returned to Trenton Central Flying School for Flying Instructor training course 23 November 1940 to 18 January 1941. 

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During his F.I. course he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant and moved on to No. 5 S.F.T.S. at Brampton, Ontario, 19 January 1941. When he graduated as a fully qualified Flying Instructor on 15 April 1941, he had flown over 100 hrs. instructing, and his total flying time was 145 hrs. single-engine solo, 43 hrs. single-engine dual, 140 hrs. twin-engine solo, and 18 hrs. twin-engine dual. Arrived No. 1 “Y” Depot Halifax, Nova Scotia, 12 February 1942, sailed for England, arriving five days later. Posted to No. 1 [Coastal] Operational Training Unit at RAF Silloth, ten miles S-W of Kirkbride, Cumbria, England. Below is free domain air-photo of RAF Silloth taken in 1943, looking North-West to the Irish Sea. RAF Silloth was #82 on the Airfield map in WWII.

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RCAF photo Mikan #4315394, taken at RAF Silloth in 1940, two ground crew are RCAF members. RAF Hudson Mk. III serial N7388 belly-landed on 9 July 1940. From 16 March to 5 April 1942, F/L Christie trained at RAF Silloth in RAF Hudson Mk. III aircraft, fired 350 rounds air-to-ground, dropped 32 bombs, flew 6:20 hrs. day dual, 5:15 hrs. day as pilot, 6:05 hrs day second pilot, 55 minutes’ night dual, 45 minutes as first pilot, and one hour as second pilot. On 5 April 1942, an RAF Group Captain Commanding RAF Silloth wrote – “An officer with above average ability as a pilot: he handles Hudson aircraft very satisfactory.”

 

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Posted to RCAF No. 407 [Coastal] “Demon” Squadron, RAF No. 16 Group, Coastal Command, located at Bircham Newton, Norfolk, on 8 April 1942.

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The flying qualifications of F/Lt. Christie were included in the No. 407 Squadron Daily Diary. F/L Christie was promoted to Squadron Leader on orders dated 15 May 1942, the same date he would first lead twelve RCAF Demon Hudson aircraft on a German shipping attack over the Dutch Coast. Eight RAF Hudson aircraft from No. 320 [Dutch] squadron would also join the Canadian coastal raid over their Nazi controlled homeland.

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RCAF photo of No. 407 [Demon] Squadron in flight, from Chris Charland. The twelve Hudson Mk. V aircraft of No. 407 Squadron and the eight from No. 320 [Dutch] Squadron took off at 20:20 hrs, in two formations, the first ten Demons led by F/Lt. Christie. The second formation of two Demon aircraft and eight Dutch Hudson bombers were led by P/O Kay in Hudson “O” serial AM906. Hudson “V” serial AM701 piloted by Sgt. Santy had one engine pack it in and his crew had to abort and return to base. RCAF photo Hudson RR-G from Chris Charland.

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F/Lt. Christie explains his trip back to home base. “The experience I had in Northern Ontario really paid big dividends that night. I don’t know how I would have gotten that aircraft back if it hadn’t been for all the things I learned the hard way bush flying up north.”  When he joined the RCAF Christie had 1,300 hours of flying ‘by the seat of his pants’ over lakes, forest, muskegs, and finding the tangled mining camps in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba. 

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“The wings, fuselage and tail were all peppered by flak and some of the controls were shot away. My navigator was wounded and my instruments were useless but somehow we made it to the coast and sighted an RAF Base [Docking] where I came in and did a belly landing at terrific speed and we seemed to skid along the ground forever.” 

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At 00:39 hrs. 16 May 1942, F/Lt. Ralph MacLaren Christie C1278 crash landed his heavily damaged Lockheed Hudson Mk. V, serial AM626, bomber at RAF Station Docking, [#24 on map] just a few miles from his home base located at Bircham Newton #22 on map.  A second Hudson “O” serial AM906 had a wounded pilot P/O Kay, and a dead observer, P/O Kippen. They had followed the flight of Ralph Christie across the North Sea and also crash landed at RAF Docking. Four Hudson crews returned safely to No. 407 Squadron base at Bircham Newton, one aborted the operation, four aircraft are missing and one crash landed at RAF Coningsby killing the five aircrew.

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Twelve Lockheed Hudson Mk. V RCAF bombers attacked the German convoy and only four intact aircraft returned to base.  Explained in the words of F/Lt. Christie: “We fly at zero feet – by that I mean just over the wave tops. The reason for this is it makes it more difficult for the ship we are attacking, to bring its guns to bear on us. It also offers protection to some degree against enemy German fighters, as they don’t like to dive so close to the sea in order to attack our aircraft successfully. This particular night it was not a long flight until we were in enemy waters. Then everybody was on qui trying to spot the enemy convoy of ships. It was dusk and the light was fading when we went in to attack just off the Dutch coastline. It was a very important convoy well protected by armed ships and destroyers. All hell broke loose as we swept in to deliver our attack. There was a veritable screen of fire coming up from the German ships escorting the convoy. I saw one of our Hudson aircraft hit fully and then crash into the sea. The aircraft in front of me was hit, the aircraft sort of shuddered, picked up speed and got through the fire. I learned later the first burst of flak had peppered up through the floor of the bomber, wounding pilot Frank Kay from Montreal, Quebec. He continued on and managed to drop his bombs almost at deck level. There was no doubt he scored a direct hit. This all happened in seconds, and by this time, I was on my way into the large ship I had selected for my attack. I don’t mind admitting I was scared and scared plenty, but we didn’t have much time to think of what was going to happen to us. I gave the engines full throttle, pulled up to mast height and when we were directly over the deck, I let my bombs go. We were credited with direct hits and destruction of the largest ship in the German convoy.”

Squadron Leader Ralph M. Christie became the first RCAF flyer in WWII to be awarded the Distinguished Service Order, effective 30 May 1942, per London Gazette 16 June 1942, AFRO 880-881/42. 

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In 1943, S/L Christie was honoured in a Men of Valor RCAF poster by Hubert Rogers. Original painting stored in Canadian War Museum collection in Ottawa.

S/L Christie had completed 208 hrs, flying Lockheed Hudson bombers on low level anti-shipping and offensive patrols. Posted to No. 4 O.T.U. at RAF Station Stranraer on 10 June 1942, where he completed seven weeks of Flying Boat training. Posted to RCAF No. 423 [General Reconnaissance] Squadron on 18 August 1942, where he flew 254 hrs. in Short Sunderland Mk. III flying boats until posted to RCAF Overseas Headquarters on 2 November 1942. 

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Repatriated back to Canada 11 December 1942, thirty days leave, posted to Composite Training School on 10 January 1943, for administration course. Posted to No. 12 Operational Training Group, Eastern Air Command, 14 February 1943. To No. 2 Group Headquarters, Victoria, B.C. 8 March 1943. To Western Air Command H.Q. 20 July 1943, then promoted to Wing Commander 15 August 1943. Attended War Staff College in Toronto, January to March 1944. To No. 8 A.O.S. Vancouver, B.C. 12 March 1944. To RCAF H.Q. Ottawa, 15 July 1944. To No. 8 A.O.S., Ancienne Lorette, 22 December 1944. To Eastern Air Command, 15 April 1945. RCAF Gander, Newfoundland, 20 April to 2 July 1945, RCAF Station Sydney, Nova Scotia, 25 August to 3 November 1945. To RCAF release Centre, 19 December 1945, released on 20 December 1945. 

Married hometown North Bay girlfriend Helen M. Angus, wearing the same uniform he wore when King George presented him with his coveted award. Died in Oliver, B.C., 17 September 1986.  W/C Ralph MacLaren Christie was the real Canadian bush-pilot “Captains of the Clouds.”

VE Day – Muskoka Airport – 8 May Norwegian Veterans Day

David Wold is sharing this today…

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The wreath was safely delivered this morning! See attached photo.
For some reason the ribbon looks quite pale in the photo but it is darker in
person, like last year.

Eleven poppies to symbolize the 11 provinces of Norway.

Let us never forget what Canada did and what those who got their training
there contributed to the liberation of Norway.

My understanding is that there was at least 7 nations that stepped into
Norwegian uniforms to take part in the fighting for liberty.

Thank God and Country ,

Regards
David

Fleet Fawn II – R.C.A.F. #264

Research by Clarence Simonsen (May 2021)

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Fleet Fawn RCAF 264

Click on the link above for the PDF.

Introduction

The full history of Fleet Aircraft Limited and their Canadian aircraft manufacture can be found on many websites and need not be repeated. The first Fleet Model 7B aircraft was taken on charge by the RCAF 1 April 1931, and nineteen more [Mk. Is] were delivered from Fort Erie, Ontario. They were given the name “Fleet Fawn” and these two-seater primary trainers not only impressed the RCAF, they greatly improved pilot flying standards in the pre-war 1930s.  

Thirty-one Model 7C trainers Mk. II were constructed and delivered to the RCAF between 5 March 1936 and 16 November 1938, fitted with a more powerful but quieter engine. They became the definitive trainer variant aircraft. Forty-three Fleet Fawn Model 7B [Mk. I] and 7C [Mk. II] trainers were on operational pilot training duties when war was declared on 10 September 1939. 

Fleet Fawn 7C [Mk. II], manufacturer construction number FAL-123 [Fleet Aircraft Ltd.] was completed in early July 1938 and officially taken on charge by the RCAF on 7 July. The aircraft was assigned RCAF serial number 264 and flown to No. 115 [Fighter] Squadron [Auxiliary] at Montreal [St. Hubert] Quebec, 16 July 1938.


Text version (with images) 

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Maclean’s Magazine – 15 May 1944

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The full history of Fleet Aircraft Limited and their Canadian aircraft manufacture can be found on many websites and need not be repeated. The first Fleet Model 7B aircraft was taken on charge by the RCAF 1 April 1931, and nineteen more [Mk. Is] were delivered from Fort Erie, Ontario. They were given the name “Fleet Fawn” and these two-seater primary trainers not only impressed the RCAF, they greatly improved pilot flying standards in the pre-war 1930s.  

Thirty-one Model 7C trainers Mk. II were constructed and delivered to the RCAF between 5 March 1936 and 16 November 1938, fitted with a more powerful but quieter engine. They became the definitive trainer variant aircraft. Forty-three Fleet Fawn Model 7B [Mk. I] and 7C [Mk. II] trainers were on operational pilot training duties when war was declared on 10 September 1939. 

Fleet Fawn 7C [Mk. II], manufacturer construction number FAL-123 [Fleet Aircraft Ltd.] was completed in early July 1938 and officially taken on charge by the RCAF on 7 July. The aircraft was assigned RCAF serial number 264 and flown to No. 115 [Fighter] Squadron [Auxiliary] at Montreal [St. Hubert] Quebec, 16 July 1938.

Early history of No. 15 [Fighter] Squadron – reformed No. 115 [Fighter] Squadron

No. 15 [Fighter] Squadron [Auxiliary] was formed at Montreal, Quebec, on 1 September 1934, however they would be flightless birds for the next twenty-one months. No flying, just ground school duties showing as ‘NIL’ in their Daily Diary. The Great Depression had caused a delay in the development of RCAF training, aircraft, and qualified pilots, coupled with the over-cautious approach taken by P.M. Mackenzie King and his political advisers, who believed Hitler and Germany were not a threat to world peace. 

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In May 1936, No. 15 Squadron received four Tiger Moth DH-60 trainer aircraft serial #64, #72, #81, and #110, allowing their first pilot training to begin that summer. 

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On 15 September 1937, No. 15 Squadron was renumbered No. 115 [Fighter] Squadron [Auxiliary] and flying training increased. At militia summer camp in Camp Borden, 2 June 1938, Tiger Moth serial #81 crashed at Ivy, Ontario, killing P/O P. F. Birks, resulting in four new Fleet Fawn trainers being assigned to No. 115 Squadron beginning 3 July 1938. 

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The first modern Fleet Fawn Mk. II two-seat trainer serial RCAF #262 arrived 3 July 1938, followed by Fawn #263 and #264 [Nanton, Alberta, Museum today] on 16 July. The fourth and last Fawn 7B Mk. I trainer RCAF #198 [below] arrived at St. Hubert airbase 30 August 1938.

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At times historians and Canadian aviation museums lose sight of the importance involving a few aircraft or their small part in forming WWII RCAF history, thus, too often it is just overlooked and forgotten. These four forgotten Fleet Fawn trainer aircraft provided vital pilot training for the auxiliary pilots in No. 115 [Fighter] Squadron for twelve months, August 1938 to August 1939. [In August 1939, the RCAF listed only 235 fully trained pilots, including 57 Flying Instructors] When war began, 10 September 1939, Auxiliary units represented one-third of RCAF total strength, and supplied two complete squadrons which sailed for England in 1940.

No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron was formed as a fighter unit at Trenton, Ontario, on 21 September 1937, training in obsolete WWI Siskin aircraft. 

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Canadian Department of National Defence (Royal Canadian Air Force photo) – From: Dempsey, Daniel V. A Tradition of Excellence: Canada’s Airshow Team Heritage. Victoria, BC: High Flight Enterprises, 2002.

The squadron moved to Calgary, Alberta, in August 1938, and continued Siskin training until February 1939, when the first British Mk. I Hurricanes began arriving at Sea Island in shipping crates. These first modern RCAF Hurricanes were uncrated, reassembled, test flown and then ferried over the Canadian Rocky Mountains to Calgary, Alberta. When war was declared, 10 September 1939, No. 1 Squadron was ordered to St. Hubert, Quebec, for Hurricane training and by 27 September the balance of the squadron had arrived, total strength five Officers and seventy-two airmen. 

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A new No. 1 Squadron “unofficial” badge [Motto – “Always Faithful”] appeared in Quebec with the squadron but the details are still unknown. I believe this art originated in Calgary, Alberta, after February, when the new Hurricanes fighters began arriving. [author scale replica from original photo in P/O Nesbitt collection] On 6 November 1939, No. 1 Squadron moved to Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, for further Hurricane training. 

The auxiliary fighter pilots in No. 115 Squadron had their first look at a new British Modern Hurricane fighter, but they continued to train in their four Fleet Fawn aircraft. The flight training pilot names listed for one day, 1 November 1939, [below] demonstrates the importance of this Fleet Fawn training as nine of these Montreal pilot’s will later fly Hurricane fighters with No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron in the Battle of Britain. These same nine pilots would destroy [confirmed kills] thirteen German aircraft and claim another fourteen damaged during the Battle of Britain, thanks in part for their Fleet Fawn training obtained at St. Hubert, Quebec. 

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Daily Operations Record for No. 115 Squadron list twenty-four [Auxiliary] members of the squadron who flew one or more training flights in Fleet Fawn #264 from 1 November to 2 December 1939. The nine underlined flew in the Battle of Britain.

P/O Pitcher, P/O Brown, P/O Beardmore, P/O Hyde, P/O Hill, F/O Molson, P/O McCarthy, P/O Jones, F/O Mclean, P/O Nesbitt, F/Lt. Pollock, F/Sgt. Horsley, S/L Foss, P/O Russel, Cpl. Phillips, AC2 L’Abbe, P/O Hanbury, S/L Fullerton, A/C Stone, Lt. Smallere [RCE Army], Sgt. Carpenter, P/O Sprenger, Cpl. Fair, and F/O Corbett.  

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This free domain photo possibly came from the collection of P/O Nesbitt, showing the RCAF auxiliary pilot strapping his skies to the port side of a No. 115 Squadron Fleet Fawn trainer. The Fleet Aircraft Ltd insignia can be seen under the cockpit fuselage in the image.

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P/O Nesbitt flew all four of the Fleet Fawn trainers in 1938-39 [56:25 Hrs.] and trained in Fawn #264 twice on 2 November 1939, [10:25 to 11:40 hrs.] and [12:45 to 13:20 hrs.] The following day he flew #264 from 10:50 to 11:45 hrs. It is possible this snowy scene was taken in November 1939, as his name was no longer recorded in the Daily Operations from this date onwards. Three North American Harvard trainers arrived on 1 December 1939, serial #1341, #1342, and #1343, pilot P/O Nesbitt flew Harvard training flights totalling 48:35 Hrs. 

Eight Senior Officers, eleven Officer pilots, and 86 airmen of No. 115 [Fighter] Squadron arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 27 May 1940. On 28 May 1940, all personnel were absorbed into No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron and the new unit sailed for England [11 June] as a complete mobile force prepared to go to air war in France. The total No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron personnel which arrived in England were twenty-seven Officers, including twenty-one pilots and 314 Airmen. Almost half of this new composite RCAF squadron personnel came from Montreal, Quebec, 43 per cent from No. 115 Squadron [Auxiliary] St. Hubert, Quebec, September 1937 to May 1940.

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This RCAF group photo of No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron was taken on the Steamship “Duchess of Atholl” ship E.37 in Halifax harbour around 21:00 hrs., 10 June 1940. Departed Halifax 10:00 hrs 11 June 1940. Forty-five ranks are in the photo, including 27 officers, 21 are pilots. Eleven of these pilots are from No. 115 Squadron and have no flying experience in Hawker Hurricane fighters. They will be treated as new pilots and receive Hurricane fighter training in England. This reveals the importance of their many hours of training in four Fleet Fawn trainers at St. Hubert, Quebec. 

The following chart records the flying training hours completed by twenty of these No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron pilots when they arrived in the United Kingdom on 20 June 1940. The average age of No. 1 Squadron pilots was twenty-five years. 

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Twenty-seven Canadian pilots [one American F/O Brown] in No. 1 Squadron will fly Hurricanes in the Battle of Britain, original copy of No. 1 Squadron [Renumbered No. 401 Squadron 1 March 1941] list follows. 

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No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron photo taken 5 July 1940, arrival at Croydon, England.

Top row left to right – F/O R. Smither #C1594, F/O Thomas B. Little #C1117, P/O Arthur M. Yuile #C1328, F/O Eric W. Beardmore #C820, P/O Dal B. Russel #C1319, F/O C.E. Briese #C1591, 

Middle row L to R – F/O B.E. Christmas #C925, Capt. Donald Rankin, Medical Officer, P/O O. J. Peterson #C900, F/Lt. Gordon R. McGregor #C936, F/O Deane A. Nesbitt #C1322, F/O S. T. Blaiklock #C1817, Intelligence Officer, F/O Hartland de M. Molson #C1226, P/O E. M. Reyno #C806, P/O J.B.J. Desloges #C788, S/L E.A. McNab #C134, F/O P.B. Pitcher #C615.

Front row L to R – F/O George G. Hyde #C948, F/O William P Sprenger #C895 [with dog mascot] and F/O J. W. Kerwin #C922. 

Missing from the photo are F/O V.B. Corbett #C299 and F/O R.L. Edwards #C903. 

On arrival at Liverpool, 15:30 hrs, 20 June 1940, these Canadian pilots were assigned to No. 11 Group Middle Wallop, Hants. and seventeen were given RAF procedure and elementary attack courses between 5 and 12 June 1940. RAF Command wanted to see how well trained these new Canadian pilots were compared to British trained pilots and the test results obtained were above average. 

In the total of seventeen Canadian pilots tested, eight were original members on No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron and were all fully qualified to fly the British Hawker Hurricane Mk. I fighters. The remaining eight pilots [marked in yellow highlight] were all auxiliary trained pilots from No. 115 Squadron at St. Hubert, Quebec, and were only qualified in Fleet Fawn trainer aircraft and American Harvard trainers. F/L Corbett had only trained 5:50 Hrs. in the Hurricane Mk. I fighter. 

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Course No. 18 contained eight [yellow highlight] ex-members of No. 115 [Auxiliary] Squadron from St. Hubert, Quebec, trained mostly in the Fleet Fawn trainer [sixteen months] and the American Harvard [five months flying time]. P/O A.M. Yuile had no Hurricane training. These Canadian course pilots scored almost the same test results as the Canadians in course No. 17, seven of whom were fully qualified to fly the modern Hawker Hurricane fighter. The four two-seater primary Fleet Fawn trainers had proved their full value in properly training the auxiliary pilots in No. 115 Squadron and now these pilots moved on converting to the Hurricane fighters assigned to No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron in England. 

No. 1 Squadron moved to RAF Croydon, Surrey 6 July to 16 August 1940, then to Northolt, Middlesex, 17 August to 10 October 1940. After the Battle of Britain, the Canadians moved to Castletown Caithness, Scotland, to regroup, a base described as a cold, wet, ‘pigsty.”

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No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron moved to No. 12 Group, Driffield, Yorkshire, from 11 February until 28 February 1941. On 1 March 1941, they were renumbered No. 401 [Fighter] Squadron based at Digby, Lincolnshire, No. 12 Group, Canadian Digby Wing.

Due to the large number of Dominion Squadrons formed in the United Kingdom under R.A.F. control, a large number of low numbered squadrons had caused confusion. No. 1 [Fighter] Squadron RAF and No. 1 [RCAF] [Fighter] Squadron were both stationed at the same base causing many air control problems. The British Air Ministry assigned the number block 400-445 to the RCAF and No. 1 became No. 401 [fighter] Squadron on 1 March 1941, with a new official badge and motto.

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The unofficial No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron badge with Motto – Semper Fidelis [Always Faithful] had been painted and used by members, however it is still unknown if this art ever appeared on Hurricane fighter aircraft. 

The new No. 401 Badge featured the head of a Rocky Mountain sheep with Motto – Mors Celerrima Hostibus [Very Swift Death for the Enemy].

Today it is hard to believe the RCAF entered the Second World War with only sixty-three qualified flying instructors, who did not even warrant a separate organization in the Air Force. In April 1939, the RCAF began preparation for the formation of their first instructional flight at Camp Borden, Ontario, and Fleet Fawn trainers were now transferred to the new F.I.S. In July 1939, this first instructional flight was elevated to status of a school under command of F/Lt. G.P. Dunlop. In September, with war declared, the flying Instructor school expanded month by month and more and more aircraft were required for pilot training.

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Fleet Fawn #264 was transferred to RCAF Camp Borden, Flying Instructors School, arriving 2 December 1939, pilot Macallister. With the demand for more qualified instructors, and to meet future requirements, the F.I.S. relocated to RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario, on 18 January 1940, and Fleet Fawn #264 found a new home. Twenty-nine Fleet Fawn aircraft flew at Flying Instructor Schools, training thousands of pilots under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, and #264 flew until 3 March 1942. A new Sgt. pilot H. McFarlane was taxiing #264 at Trenton when he ran into the rear of a fuel truck and sustained Category “C” damage to the trainer. The 1938 constructed Fawn was no longer a top priority trainer aircraft and repairs were not completed until 2 December 1942. The Fawn was now reissued to No. 1 Training Command as an Instructional Airframe with serial “A198.” On 4 August 1943, the airframe record entry shows “Free Issue” to West P.S. Centre 4, that location is still unknown. [info. required]

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By 1943, the Fleet Fawn primary trainer aircraft were no longer useful and thirty-two were kept around as squadron instructional airframes, until they were flown to Surplus Equipment Holding units. Fawn #264 was sent to No. 3 S.E.H.U. at Swift Current, Saskatchewan, on 24 September 1945. It was turned over to War Assets on 19 September 1947, sold to Ernie Oakman, Stewart Valley, Saskatchewan, and donated to Nanton Museum in 1990. In the following years the volunteers at Nanton, Alberta, [today the Bomber Command Museum of Canada] restored Fawn 264 back to almost flying condition, however it will never take to the skies again, it is too valuable. In 1998, the complete aircraft was reskinned and a rebuilt Kinner engine was installed in 2007. 

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During the restoration years of the Fleet Fawn, the author was a card carrying member of the Nanton Museum and followed the rebuild progress. After the reskinning of this trainer aircraft, the original skin was in very poor condition and only selected sections such as the RCAF roundels and fuselage original skin were saved. It was discovered the inside Fawn skin taken from the twin cockpit area contained many signatures, RCAF service numbers and date each WWII aircrew member had trained in Fawn #264. It was suggested this would make a perfect display and research project, however being a Bomber Command Museum, it fell on deaf ears. At this date, [2021] I have no idea if the Fawn original skin with signatures will ever be displayed or even still survives. The original skins thrown in the garbage were saved by the author [Special thanks to past curator Bob Evans] and over the past twenty plus years many have been restored and used to preserve WWII RCAF replica nose art paintings. 

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This is the original starboard side of Fleet Fawn #264 tail RCAF tri-color markings painted in 1938. This was recovered from the garbage in Nanton, Alberta, [1998] in three sections, missing a five-inch strip from the centre section. Restored by the author, it contains 80% of the original fabric and paint from Fawn #264, plus the original RCAF Instruction Airframe serial #A198, applied in December 1942. This was painted to preserve and honor the pilots and aircrew from No. 115 [Auxiliary] Squadron, St. Hubert, Quebec, [Montreal] who trained in this forgotten Fleet Fawn during 1938 and 1939.

No. 1 [RCAF] Squadron Canadians in Battle of Britain

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  1. F/O E.W. B. Beardmore [Montreal, Quebec] trained 164:20 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, damaged one Bf 109 5 October 1940, wounded 18 September 1940.
  2. F/O C.E. Briese [Rosetown, Saskatchewan] trained 55:15 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, no kills.
  3. F/O E. de P, Brown [Coronado, California] trained 56:20 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, damaged one Bf 109 30 September 1940 and destroyed one Do 215 on 27 September 1940.
  4. P/O J.A. Chevrier [St. Lambert, Quebec] no kills. Killed Mont Joli, Quebec, 6 July 1942.
  5. F/O B.E. Christmas [St. Hilaire, Quebec] trained 49:55 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, destroyed Bf 109, 31 August 1940, damaged Do 215, 1 September 1940, damaged He 111, 11 September 1940 and destroyed Bf 109, 5 October 1940.
  6. F/Lt. V.B. Corbett [Westmount, Quebec] trained 239:15 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, damaged one Do 17, 26 August 1940. Killed 20 February 1945.
  7. F/O J.P.J, Desloges [Ottawa, Ontario] trained 60:05 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, no kills, burned 31 August 1940, killed 8 May 1944.
  8. F/O R.L. Edwards [Cobourg, Ontario] trained 50:45 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, destroyed one Do 17 26 August 1940, killed same date.
  9. F/O F.W. Hillock [Toronto, Ontario] no kills.
  10. F/O G.G. Hyde [Westmount, Quebec] trained 191:15 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, no kills, wounded 31 August 1940, killed 17 May 1941.
  11. F/O J.W. Kerwin [Toronto, Ontario] trained 45:55 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215 destroyed 31 August 1940, one Bf 109 destroyed 1 September 1940 and one Do215 damaged 1 September 1940. Killed 16 July 1942.
  12. F/O T.B. Little [Montreal, Quebec] trained 44:15 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215, damaged 26 August 1940, one Bf 109, destroyed 31 August 1940, one Do 215, damaged 1 September 1940. Killed 27 August 1941.
  13. F/O P.W. Lochnan [Ottawa, Ontario] two Bf 109s damaged 9 September 1940, one Do 215, damaged 14 September 1940, shared kill of He 111, 15 September 1940, shared half kill of Bf 110, 27 September 1940, one Bf109, damaged 5 October 1940, and one Bf 109, destroyed 7 October 1940.  Killed 21 May 1941.
  14. F/Lt. G.R. McGregor [Montreal, Quebec] trained 109:15 Hrs, in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215, destroyed 26 August 1940, one Do 215, probably destroyed, one Do 215, damaged 1 September 1940. One Me 110 damaged 4 September 1940, one He 111, destroyed 11 September 1940, one He 111 probably destroyed 15 September 1940, one Ju 88 probably destroyed and one Bf 109 damaged 27 September 1940, one Bf 109, destroyed 30 September 1940, and one Bf 109, destroyed 5 October 1940. Died 1971.
  15. S/L E.A. McNab [Rosthern, Saskatchewan] one Do 215, destroyed 15 August 1940, one Do 215, destroyed 26 August 1940, one Bf 109, probably destroyed 7 September 1940, one Bf 109, damaged 9 September 1940, one He 111 shared kill and one Bf 110 damaged 11 September 1940. One He 111 destroyed and one He 111 damaged 15 September 1940, one Bf 110, destroyed and one Ju 88, destroyed 27 September 1940. 
  16. F/O W.B M. Millar [Penticton, B.C.] no kills, wounded 9 September 1940.
  17. F/O H. de M. Molson [Montreal, Quebec] trained 50:55 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215, damaged 26 August 1940, two Bf 110 damaged 4 September 1940, one He 111, destroyed 11 September 1940.
  18. F/O A.D. Nesbitt [Westmount, Quebec] trained 56:25 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215, damaged 26 August 1940, one Bf 110 destroyed 4 September 1940, one Bf 109 destroyed 15 September 1940. Wounded 15 September 1940. Won DFC.
  19. F/O R.W. Norris [Saskatoon, Saskatchewan] one Bf109 probably destroyed 15 September 1940, one Bf 110, damaged 27 September 1940.
  20. F/O O.J.Peterson [Halifax, Nova Scotia] trained 56:55 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215, damaged 1 September 1940, one Bf 110m damaged 4 September 1940, one Bf 109, destroyed 9 September 1940, one Bf 109, probable destroyed and one Bf 109 damaged on 18 September 1940, half kill shared Do 215, 25 September 1940. Killed 29 September 1940.
  21. F/O J.D. Pattison [Toronto, Ontario] no kills, won DFC.
  22. P/O P. B. Pitcher [Montreal, Quebec] trained 89:05 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one He 111, damaged 15 September 1940, one Do 215, damaged 27 September 1940, and one Bf 109 destroyed and one Bf 110, damaged 5 October 1940.
  23. F/L E. M. Reyno [Halifax, Nova Scotia] trained 38:00 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215, shared kill on 1 September 1940.
  24. F/O B.D. Russel [Toronto, Ontario] trained 45:35 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Do 215, damaged 31 August 1940, one Bf 110, probably destroyed and one Ju 88 damaged on 4 September 1940. One He 111, probably destroyed on 15 September 1940, shared kill Do 215, 25 September 1940, one Bf 109, destroyed one Bf 110 destroyed and one Do 215, damaged on 27 September 1940.
  25. F/O R. Smither [London, Ontario] trained 58:55 hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one Bf 109 damaged 31 August 1940, one Bf 110, destroyed and one Bf 110, damaged on 4 September 1940. Killed 15 September 1940.
  26. F/O W.P. Sprenger [Montreal, Quebec] trained 71:05 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, no kills. Shot down 31 August 1940, killed 26 November 1940.
  27. F/O C.W. Trevena [Regina, Saskatchewan] no kills, discharged medical grounds October 1943. 
  28. F/O A. Yuile [Montreal, Quebec] trained 43:55 Hrs. in Fleet Fawn, one He 111, destroyed 11 September 1940, one Do 215, damaged 27 September 1940.

Screenshot 2021-05-08 15.06.59

Four members of No. 115 [Auxiliary] Squadron flew during the Battle of Britain, flying Hawker Hurricane fighters with No. 1 [RCAF] Fighter Squadron. These four pilots were killed in action in United Kingdom, and two trained in Fleet Fawn #264 at St. Hubert, Quebec, 1938-39.

F/Lt. V. B. Corbett, Westmount, Quebec, killed 20 February 1945.

F/O W. P. Sprenger, Montreal, Quebec, killed 26 November 1940.

Petty Girl Ice Capades

Reaseach by Clarence Simonsen

Petty Girl Ice Capades “unknown” model
1943-1948

If you Google the two names Charles G. Martignette and Louis K. Meisel, you will learn both were art dealers, collectors, and both had the world’s largest collection of commercial illustration and contemporary art housed in their own galleries. In addition to this art, both men had saved the world’s largest collection of illustrated pin-up art, which had been exhibited in many American and European museums. Close friends and partners, they were working on the publication titled “The Great American Pin-Up” when Charles Martignette received a letter from photographer Robert B. Kohl.

The story is below in PDF form.

Text version without images

Petty Girl Ice Capades “unknown” model 

1943-1948

If you Google the two names Charles G. Martignette and Louis K. Meisel, you will learn both were art dealers, collectors, and both had the world’s largest collection of commercial illustration and contemporary art housed in their own galleries. In addition to this art, both men had saved the world’s largest collection of illustrated pin-up art, which had been exhibited in many American and European museums. Close friends and partners, they were working on the publication titled “The Great American Pin-Up” when Charles Martignette received a letter from photographer Robert B. Kohl. 

The letter detailed Kohl had a collection of 45 black and white 5”x 7” and 8” x 10” images taken of an unknown nude model used by artist George Petty. After their purchase by Martignette, the photos were sent to Louis Meisel but never published. In 2008, Martignette died of a heart attack and his huge collection of original pin-up art was left to his best friend Louis K. Meisel. Today [2021] Meisel describes himself as a “different kind of collector” and the only real world collector of original illustrator pin-up paintings. In 2019, a few of his original black and white unknown nude model images taken for George Petty were released by Louis Meisel for sale in his Gallery, and these were purchased by Peter Perrault. In the last year a few more nude model images have surfaced and again were purchased by Peter for his Petty Girl collection. [unknown third Petty Girl nude model]

George Petty painted his first Ice Capades poster in 1942, featuring skating star Belita.

It is now believed the 1942 poster was painted using posed nude photos from the unknown model hired by George Petty. To date no known images have appeared to confirm this possibility, however they might still survive.  [Peter Perrault collection]

The 1943 and 1944 Ice Capades posters were in fact created from photos taken of the unknown nude model assisted by Marjorie Petty and two photo assistants. 

The 1945 to 1948 covers were also created from photos taken of the nude unknown model at George Huka and Robert Kohl “Photo Color Studios” in Chicago.

In March 2021, Peter Perrault contacted Louis Meisel in regards to the lost Petty nude model images and a few more images were released by Paul Mcdermott of the Meisel Art Gallery. The above image was taken at the George Hukar and Robert Kohl Photo Color Studios in Chicago, posed for George Petty cover art of the 1948 Ice Capades poster. This image was rejected and I’m positive many more photos were taken of this same pose. 

This is the pose selected by artist George Petty for his 1948 Ice Capades cover and poster painting, featuring the body of his ‘secret’ unknown model.

A black and white photo taken of the finished Petty Girl painting. The very same art was used on the cover of Ice Cycles magazine program of 1949.

Internet signed cover for the 1948 Ice Capades, body from secret nude model.

Special thanks to Louis Meisel and Peter Perrault for preserving this secret Petty past.

Searching for the “Secret” Third Petty Model 1945-49

Screenshot 2021-04-12 15.51.27

Research by Clarence Simonsen

Searching for the “Secret” Third Petty Model 1945-49

Click on the link above for the PDF file.

Excerpt
The American pin-up girl evolved as a concept from many different sources, posters, post cards, calendars, cigarette cards and mostly magazines. They were all tied to themes, stories, and commercial products, using female anatomy and sex in advertising and selling its social content. The Golden age of the American pin-up era has been defined by art dealer and American illustration pin-up collector Charles G. Martignette as the years 1920 to 1970. This American process of shedding and painting the female anatomy was very gradual, beginning with the Gibson Girl whose body showed High Class Fashion, Integrity, refinement, and Love. From 1925 to 1933, the American emergence of naked breasts and female buttocks in paintings began the slow process of undressing the All-American pin-up girl. Today we can read and study online the pin-up magazines of the past American Golden Age and just the American titles alone record the promotion of the sex life in Paris, France. The American male seemed to regard French women as much more sexually exotic and more sophisticated than their own American gals. Some of this attraction came from American troops in WWI who had experienced the night-life in Paris, and the affection shown by French ladies. American publications were now given French names such as French Frills, French Follies, Les Dames, Paris by Night, Paris Life, Paris Nights, and Gay Parisienne. These magazines contained many drawings of nude ladies in sub-title headings, replacing the Gibson girl era which ended in 1910.

Text version with all images

     

Screenshot 2021-04-12 15.51.27

Searching for the “Secret” Third Petty Model 1945-49

Screenshot 2021-04-13 06.41.07

The American pin-up girl evolved as a concept from many different sources, posters, post cards, calendars, cigarette cards and mostly magazines. They were all tied to themes, stories, and commercial products, using female anatomy and sex in advertising and selling its social content. The Golden age of the American pin-up era has been defined by art dealer and American illustration pin-up collector Charles G. Martignette as the years 1920 to 1970. This American process of shedding and painting the female anatomy was very gradual, beginning with the Gibson Girl whose body showed High Class Fashion, Integrity, refinement, and Love. From 1925 to 1933, the American emergence of naked breasts and female buttocks in paintings began the slow process of undressing the All-American pin-up girl. Today we can read and study online the pin-up magazines of the past American Golden Age and just the American titles alone record the promotion of the sex life in Paris, France. The American male seemed to regard French women as much more sexually exotic and more sophisticated than their own American gals. Some of this attraction came from American troops in WWI who had experienced the night-life in Paris, and the affection shown by French ladies. American publications were now given French names such as French Frills, French Follies, Les Dames, Paris by Night, Paris Life, Paris Nights, and Gay Parisienne. These magazines contained many drawings of nude ladies in sub-title headings, replacing the Gibson girl era which ended in 1910.

     

In 1910, French nude postcards sold 123 million pictures, ten years later, American publishers made more money on French style pin-ups than French publishers did in France.

Screenshot 2021-04-13 06.44.18

American published French Follies 1931 [Free domain]

1920-1933 America is taking the lead in publishing girlie magazines with France the closest competitor. Hundreds of unknown American artists [illustrators] painted the girls and used themes as nudism, sports up-skirt, physical fitness, the wind, and party games to expose stockings, girdles, black hose, legs, panties and full frontal nudity. [free domain]

Screenshot 2021-04-13 06.44.48

Thousands of American illustrators took an assignment, put his or her work on paper, were paid, and then forgotten, their name was even omitted in the published magazine and many were lost forever. [free domain]

Another unknown American artist 1933. The artist illustrator and his girl art became the single most exploited guise for painting female full nudes provided the vulva was never showing. [free domain]

     

Sometimes an unknown artist submitted art work and his name was published like this December 1933 issue of Follies [Vol. 10, #1] magazine. The signature reads – ALBERT VARGAS 1927, who went on to become world famous girl illustration fame in Esquire, True, and Playboy magazines. The King of aircraft nose art paintings in three wars, WWII, Korea, and Viet Nam. [free domain]

Until the invention of the camera in early 1900s, world artists illustrated still life, portraits, and yes even full nudes, preserving the earliest form of human life. Like it or not, the most popular subject for artists were the topless or fully nude female form. The introduction of the camera and photographs were slowly taking over from the artist in illustrating nudes by 1910, but this did not create much concern. In reality, the photos of their nude models became the new normal and freed the artist from hours of posing and live model painting in his studio. When you study the portrait style of famous girl illustrators such as Earl Moran, or Gil Elvgren, [who photographed his own girls] you will find most used models and sets, combined with 8” x 10” photos which captured the natural face expressions they sought in their work. This created a huge new industry for the photographers of pin-up images, both for magazines and the artist illustrator. The female nude photo was now appearing more and more in pin-up magazines.

The photographer was paid to produce images for the art illustrator and retained his copyright, reselling his photos to publishers. Original 1926 “Spice of Life” magazine photo. A few pin-up photo models went on to become favorite girl illustrator models, appearing in color cover art on hundreds of magazines. [free domain]

     

The American pin-up illustrator artist model was created. Follies magazine Fall 1924, featuring Marion Orr who became a true nude model for artists. [free domain]

     

The cover of Spicy magazine for September 1933. The American color pin-up girl had appeared on magazine covers since 1920, then in December 1939, the first pin-up two-page gatefold Petty Girl began appearing inside Esquire magazine.

Today, [2021] the free-world recognizes everyone, male, female, and gay couples, deal with erotic fantasies everyday. Erotic fantasies are derived mostly by the social experiences in

childhood, religion, family, and many other thoughts and feelings experienced during our lifetime. Today we are exposed to more erotic fantasies and sexual seduction from the internet, Facebook, and Wi-Fi, than any other past generation could ever imagine. In fact, it has gone way beyond control for all age groups, and makes billions of dollars world-wide.

I have used American drawings and photos from 1923-1933, to demonstrate the average thoughts and feelings of the main-stream American public in that time period. Just as there were millions of degrees of sexual fantasy and escape, there were just as many public responses to the developing pin-up images in American magazines. The most common American problem, [which was hidden but fully understood] became the simple fact male masturbation used the pin-up girl as their fantasy stimulation. This upset millions of below average looking females who could never come close to the male fantasy pin-up girls. The original American Gibson Girl image had universal appeal to rich and poor, young and old, educated and uneducated, male and female, but she was distinctly “high class.” The Gibson Girl was not based on a real person, she was born on the sketch pad of Charles Dana Gibson and became an American way of female life. The Gibson era ended in 1910, and there was no new American girl to replace her until after World War One came to an end. The new 1920 pin-up girl was at once attacked by feminist groups who saw pretty girls being used as sex objects and part of a men’s dirty barroom domain, and it worked. Sociological studies revealed a greater sex-associated male guilt feeling among the American male lower class than the middle or higher social class males. They also found in studies that this guilt feeling easily dissipates when a group of male’s [Military or University] share a wall covered with pin-ups, much like the nude nose art that later appeared on aircraft in WWII. This study also found the quality of the pin-up girl usually reflects the social taste of the reader, which might explain what took place next in the United States. The first sexy almost nude airbrushed Petty Girl cartoon appeared in the Autumn issue of Esquire magazine in 1933. This slowly set a new trend in establishing the new American pin-up girl as an “upper-class” good taste sophisticated lady, to all classes of Americans. [Just like the Gibson Girl] The pin-ups by George Petty and later [1942] by Alberto Vargas offered high-class painted nudes to a generation of Americans and Canadians alike, and it was OK to look at them or even pin [pin-ups] on their family bedroom wall.

Reid Stewart Austin fell in love with the art work of Alberta Vargas in his teens, and later as photo director of Playboy magazine, brought Alberto Vargas and Hugh Hefner together. Reid left Playboy to become the personal art director of Mr. Vargas for seventeen years. In 1978, Reid published “Vargas” the story of Arequipa, Peru, born Alberta Vargas. The book “Petty” followed in 1997, and it received top reviews. Both books describe and display the Petty and Vargas girls that changed the attitude of pin-up girls in North America forever.

Both books also contain a chapter which details the airbrush technique used by each artist. Vargas used a large number of live posed models during his long career, while the Petty Girl was a close guarded family project. In the 1997 book PETTY, [In George Petty’s Studio: A Memoir] daughter Marjorie explains the full role she played in posing and creating the new

Petty Girls. At no time did Marjorie mentioned the use of any model photographs of herself or any other models in creating the Petty Girl. That all changed on 10 February 1998, when a letter was received by Charles G. Martignette in Florida.

Charles Martignette was an art dealer and collector of American illustrator artists. His gallery in Hallandale Beach, Florida, housed the world’s largest collection of commercial illustrated art, including original paintings by George Petty and Vargas.

     

This letter from photographer Robert B. Kohl opened up a new can of worms in regards to the George Petty Girls creation and paintings from 1945 to 56. [Peter Perrault collection]

George Hukar [1895-1975] Internet.

George Hukar was an illustrator and photographer from California. He attended the Taliesin Fellowship Studio in Spring Green, Wisconsin, [Google and read, most interesting] and became a gifted commercial photographer of nude women. George worked for a number of major photo studios in New York and Chicago, but he had a serious drinking problem and moved around a lot. He created a number of commercial illustrations for jewellery, Nutone, Ovaltine, and Simoniz car wax. In 1936 – 37 he completed six fully nude ads for Simoniz car wax which were published in the photo news magazine LIFE. In 1945, George was elected a delegate to the General Assembly of the Photographic Society of America, Chicago Chapter and that’s where he met fellow photographer Robert B. Kohl from Chicago. In 1946, these two photographers formed a studio in the American Furniture Mart Building on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, name Photo-color Studios, Inc. This is the location where secret nude photos of an unknown Petty Girl model were taken in late 1946 and possibly until 1949. It’s believed Hukar took earlier nude photos at another location for artist George Petty, but never confirmed. Robert Kohl stated this in his 10 February 1998 letter, page one, last paragraph.

George Hukar May and June 1937 Simoniz nude ads in Life magazine. [author LIFE collection] 

     

This same George Hukar unknown nude model also appeared in many pin-up pulp magazines 1930s. [author magazine collection]

     

Popular Photography magazine September 1949, photographer Robert B. Kohl and his first model [Helen Horne] who became Mrs. L. Kohl.

     

     

Robert Kohl did women’s fashions, hair styles, and commercial nudes using eighteen-year-old model Mitzi Proulx from Minneapolis.

The Robert B. Kohl 1998 letter to collector Martignette in regards to a secret long-time model used by George Petty for posed photos taken by George Hukar.     

This photo is one of 45 purchased by Charles Martignette in 1998 and intended for publication by Reid Stewart Austin and Peter Perrault. With the death of Reid Austin [2006] and collector Martignette [2008] the photos were never published and now Peter Perrault [owner] has allowed the author to use a few in this Blog story. The date is likely 1946, George Hukar is on the left holding the unknown model shoe, and the lady on the right is the one and only “Petty Girl” Marjorie Petty. These secret posed photos will be used by George Petty in his TRUE magazine paintings and calendar for 1945 and 1948. The model name is still unknown, outside of the Petty Estate.

Copy of 10 February 1998 letter from Robert and Helen Kohl

Charles G. Martignette

P. O. Box 293

Hallandale, Florida 33009

Dear Sir:

I have some photographs that may be of interest to you and to collectors of George Petty memorabilia.

As the popular story goes, Petty used his daughter Marjorie [age five] then her mother, and Marjorie again [1929] when she reached her ‘teens. Popular, and often so-published, but not accurate.

I have in my possession 45 black-and-white 5×7’s and 8×10’s of the real nude model, and a number of tear sheets from ESQUIRE and TRUE magazines, showing the relationship of the artist/copy photos and finished/published artwork.

The story is this: George Hukar, a gifted commercial photographer had worked for major studios in New York and Chicago, and he had a drinking problem, later resolved by joining Al-Anon. [Al-Anon alcohol-rehab formed in 1951] He formed a partnership with me in Chicago in 1946 as Photo-color Studios, Inc. In general, I did women’s fashion, furs, and hair-style, and some very discreet nudes for commercial advertising. George did the commercial illustration, jewellery, NuTone, Simoniz, Ovaltine, etc.

Our first studio was in the American Furniture Mart building on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. Later, we moved to a new studio in the Cossard Building at Rush and Ohio in Chicago. The partnership was dissolved in 1949, George moved to the role of instructor at the Art Center in California and my wife and I moved to Bemidji, Minnesota, for the next 32 years where we owned and operated a large resort.

During the studio years I had occasion to visit with Petty and on at least one occasion with his daughter Marjorie, while shooting his long-time model. I assisted in the making of some of the photographs. One of the shots shows partner Hukar holding the elevated foot of the model, with Marjorie holding the typical contorted hand of the model favored by Petty.

Actually, Hukar had photographed the same model for years for Petty. Petty would call George and the model, who originally lived in Chicago, and arrived for studio time at off-hours to avoid any uninvited interruption or publicity. It became more difficult for Petty to make arrangements when the model moved to Indianapolis.

I also believe that the model became less enchanted with the anonymous glamor of being a Petty model, with the train trips to Chicago, and the minimum fee and expense paid by Petty. Further, the model married in Indianapolis and may have run into some marital objections.

On a number of occasions, we made test shots of other nude models but none had the anatomical features of his favorite model.

A sitting would usually last for up to four hours with dozens of slight variations of one or two primary poses directed by Petty. We would make 8 x 10 proofs from each sitting and these would be numbered and sent to Petty’s north Chicago home.

Within a few days Petty would telephone and request several poses by number to be enlarged to exactly so many inches from top of model’s head to tip of toe: 18 5/8 inches, for example.

Two facts should be noted: First, to the best of my knowledge, Marjorie Petty never posed for any artist copy pix by George Hukar [or me], nor had her mother ever been photographed by Hukar for that purpose.

Second, Petty did not paint from life, and this was his most jealously guarded secret. Petty airbrushed apparently did his artwork on a trace [transparent] overlay, also working with gouache [body water color] and some brush.

A comparison of artists copy photos in my possession with the finished artwork for an Ice Capades poster reveals an exactness of detail of muscular structure, highlights and shadows, pose and props. The only embellishment was facial—the finished art work was not the face of the model, and the costume which was usually transparent and followed the model’s anatomical detail exactly.

Reid Austin was overwhelmed by the collection but they were too late for publication in his 1997 PETTY book. I was pleased to receive an autographed copy of the beautiful book from Reid.

In telephone conversations with Reid he recalled seeing some photo paste-ups on Petty’s work table, using legs, from one shot, torso from another, and so on, but he did not make any connection at the time with the nude model source.

Signed – Sincerely, Robert B. Kohl.

A small selection of the secret Petty model 5” x 7” test photos showing different hand poses, two wearing shoes, taken in studio by Robert B. Kohl and George Hukar 1946-49. Petty picked out what he wanted and scale measured enlarged body part photos were ordered by number. [Peter Perrault collection]

[Peter Perrault collection] George Petty created his 1947 True Girls like a mad surgeon using different posed body part photos of his secret model.

This rare Petty photograph was owned by Ted Kimer, St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1990. Ted painted a series of pin-up girls called “Teddy’s Girls” which can be found and purchased online. Peter Perrault captured this Petty image that was hanging in the art studio of Ted Kimer, which had little meaning at that date. The body of this Petty girl came from his secret model photos, and now George Petty is replacing her face with the face of Marjorie Petty. These images have been photographed to correct size as directed by Petty, in the studio of Robert B. Kohl and George Huker. They are then sent to the north Chicago home of George Petty where they are arranged as his next Petty girl painting. As stated in the Robert Kohl letter [10 February 1998] Petty did not paint the 1945-47 TRUE girls with Marjorie posing live, as the general public were led to believe. He painted from hundreds of photos posed by his “secret” unknown model, and these were arranged in different forms of arms, legs, and shoes. The Marjorie face was then cut out and placed on the body of the unknown model, and a new Petty Girl was painted, appearing in True December 1948. I believe the left face was in fact the unknown model first painting. For obvious reasons, this was a jealously guarded secret between artist and photographer, until exposed in the letter from Robert Kohl, along with his 45 original nude images. I’m positive the Petty Estate continue to hide the name of this secret model who was in fact the “true” body of perhaps all thirty-five TRUE Petty girls, plus the 1955-56 Esquire calendars.

This TRUE magazine December 1945 gatefold enlarged face became the finished Petty girl with her new Marjorie face and secret model body. [author collection]

This TRUE magazine gatefold also appeared in the December 1948 Petty TRUE calendar, and tens of thousands of Petty match covers.

     

Petty Girl match covers, first five printed by Mercury Match Co. in 1946, the same time George Petty was creating his TRUE magazine series of thirty-five girls. This is possibly where Petty began to mix body part photos and resell as different Petty girls. [author collection]

In 1938, Superior Match Company was founded by Harold Meitus, headquarters on Greenwood, Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. They introduced the now famous Elvgren Girls first five match cover set in the same year, followed by fourteen other sets, totalling seventy-five girls. Several other match companies [Monarch, National Press, Mercury, and Regal] soon jumped on the money wagon and began producing pin-up girl covers. In 1945, Mercury Match Co. secured a contract with George Petty and his first set of five girls appeared as match covers, seen above. These five girls were all originally painted for Esquire magazine and appeared in 1939-41 issues, but Petty retained his copyright, and two girls [Gold Ball Curves and Yes, I’m Home] were then altered from his original art. This was done using the same unknown model and photos taken at the Kohl-Hukar studio in Chicago. Many glamour girl artists appeared on match covers, including Alberto Vargas, however it was the Petty girl which caused eyeballs to roll when lighting up a cigarette. Once again the well formed body and tiny waist sent a message to the healthy male hormones, and the Petty Girl became the high-point of match cover pin-ups. These same Petty Girls soon appeared on all other company match covers with the most appearing on Superior Match Company covers beginning in 1948, with nine sets of five girls per set. These Petty match covers were printed in the tens of thousands, mixed in sets, and continued to appear until 1956, when real women, showing real female flesh, began appearing on match covers. Today match covers are still being collected by a new generation.

     

[author collection]

           

George Petty took his original March 1941 Esquire girl and gave her a new hair style with flower, adding a key-hole background and the match cover “Yes, I’m Home’ first sold for Mercury match covers.

This is the original [under protective cover] George Petty altered hair style with flower which became the image used in tens of thousands of match covers 1946 to 56. This is property of the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, copied by Peter Perrault. Somehow this original Petty [match cover] art ended up in the Esquire collection which was donated to the Spencer Museum. This demonstraes the talent of Petty to change a painting, reselling time and time again, using scale photo images as a model.

           

This origianl June 1941 Petty Esquire girl became a Superior match cover titled “Golf Ball Curves” appearing from 1948 to 1956. She first appeared on Mercury match cover in 1946.

This original match cover art also survives in the Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, donated as part of the Esquire collection. Petty cut off the original arm, repainted a new arm with golf club and this was printed on tens of thousands of match covers. Some of his original masking tape remains on the painting, and the golf club remains unpainted over the left shoe. I believe this new arm came from photos of his secret nude model. [Peter Perrault image]

[Internet free domain]

These Petty girls were used by all companies as sales promotion which were printed ‘Made in U.S.A.’ Today these match cover sales books are collector’s items, and somehow the two original altered paintings survive in the Spencer Museum of Art. It is still a mystery how these two original girls were found in the Esquire archives, when George Petty closely guarded all his original paintings. The above page is from a National Press Match Company sales book dated 1950, the Petty girls are still selling. By 1960 the match cover paintings had been replaced by real photos of real models, and by 1970, the golden age of the American girl illustrator had come to an end. The gatefold nude models appearing in Playboy magazine had taken over the world by 1955, and Hugh M. Hefner became the father of photo posed Nudes and American Pin-up Bunnies.

     

Without the complete set of secret posed photos, [hundreds photographed] it is impossible to match every single TRUE magazine or calendar Petty girl to an image. At the same time, the few nude photo posed images which survive preserved a very clear record of how George Petty was using his posed nude images to create the TRUE magazine Petty girls of 1945-47. This Petty girl painted bust can be clearly seen in the posed photos of unknown model.

His new Petty girls created from secret model photos for TRUE magazine were also sold to the major match cover companies again and again. Everyone believed they were Marjorie Petty, but it was possibly only her Petty face, and that can now be questioned. [Peter Perrault collection]

The TRUE February 1947 Petty Girl, body from unknown model and face of Marjorie. [author collection]

     

Unknown model in 1945-46 posing for February 1947 TRUE girl. Photo by George Hukar, one of hundreds taken. [Free domain Internet]

     

Not the same photo, check shadow on left shoe, and space between leg and chair top, meaning many images of the same pose were taken. [Free domain internet]

     

[Free domain internet] Photo George Hukar 1946.

Final pose with face of Marjorie Petty, body from unknown nude model?

Columbia Pictures movie “The Petty Girl” premiered in New York on 17 August 1950, and Joan Caulfield posted live for the movie poster, no photographs used. [Author collection]

[Peter Perrault collection]

Picture magazine, 1 October 1950, featuring a story on artist George Petty [56 years] with his first model, wife Jule [right] and daughter Marjorie, now his favorite model. “George Petty joined his public in believing that the voluptuous, long-legged girls he draws – are like nothing human.” He did, that is, until he saw [and measured] actress Joan Caulfield, who plays the lead in the Columbia film, “The Petty Girl.” Then he had to eat his words, because Joan fulfills to a remarkable degree the ‘biologically improbable” Petty Girl measurements. [5’ 5”, weight 110 pounds, burst 35 ½, hips 35 ½, with honey-blonde hair] Joan did a number of Petty Girl photos but of course never nude.

Unknown to his public, George Petty had his own favorite model with all the anatomical features he wanted, and Marjorie had not posed nude for her father in at least the past six years. Robert B. Kohl wrote – “On a number of occasions, we made test shots of other nude models but none had the anatomical features of his favorite model.” I believe this third “unknown” model had measurements very close to those of Joan Caulfield, which Petty liked and used for his paintings. The complete set of nude photos would make for interesting research.

The three-year TRUE series begins in January 1945 and ends with the December 1947 issue. A total of thirty-five girls are painted and I believe all were created from the nude photos of the unknown model. Marjorie Petty acts as the supervisor in the taking of nude photos by Robert B. Kohl and Georeg Hukar in their Chicago studio. It is possible some used the model face.

     

Marjorie Petty, the real Petty Girl not only knows what is taking place, plus the name of the secret model, she even appears in a few images, believed to be taken in 1946, at first Chicago studio, Lake Shore Drive. It would appear Marjorie no longer wanted to pose nude for her father, as she was dating her future husband, who I’m sure objected to this family nudity relationship. Marjorie marries in 1948, and moves to southern California, her modeling days are over. The studio partnership of Robert Kohl and George Hukar is dissolved in late 1949, and they move to different parts of the U.S. George Petty retains his huge collection of nude photos from his unknown model and continues painting from these images.

The largest reproduction of a Petty Girl appeared in TRUE magazine December 1946. The caption read – “Don’t Tell Me That’s a Hobby Too.” Today I know my copy is not the body of Marjorie Petty, and even her face is now suspect. [author collection]

In 1952, the first of two calendars are issued by the Ridge Tool Company, a second follows in 1953. These girl images were painted with enlarged images of industrial machines and tools, exposing a strange mix of oversize clothing, large heads, and face expressions never seen before in the artist’s work. In 1954, two consecutive Petty calendars are issued by Esquire magazine, and these will be reproduced in 1955 and 1956 calendars. Hundreds of these images can be found for sale on the internet and the author believes they were all created using the collection of nude photos from the unknown model.

Three Petty Girl gatefolds will also appear in the April, August, and November 1955 issues of Esquire magazine.

Esquire April 1955 gatefold.

The author obtained his first 1955 Petty Girl in 1988, [above] and at once realized these girls were a different style than his earlier work. This remained a mystery until 2021 when Peter Perrault sent me the Robert B. Kohl letter from 10 February 1998, and some of his unknown nude model photos. I believe these paintings were all created from nude photos and even the new face was created by George Petty in his studio. George Petty retired in 1956 and his little “secret” nude model was forgotten.

Face created by George Petty from model photos.

     

Top Esquire August 1955, Mexican was November 1955. [Peter Perrault collection]

This secret history needs much more research to preserve the Petty past, and one large question remains – “Who was this forgotten American third nude Petty Girl?” I call her “George’s Prostitute” he used her body, paid her little, and never wanted her to be seen in public. Please, it’s time to give her a place in Petty Girl history.

Charles G. Martignette and Louis K. Meisel were partners and the real experts on the Petty history. It’s possible Louis Meisel knows the name of the unknown nude model and has more posed photos. Both are authors of many fine books on artists and photorealism, including the 2011 book titled “The Great American Pin-Up.”

“Lightning on Skates” – 1932-34

Research by Clarence Simonsen

Screenshot 2021-03-30 at 19.31.56

Excerpt

George Brown Petty IV [1894-1975] was known as the American girl illustrator who created a better-designed female than God, all posed by daughter Marjorie, as her dad puffed away on his pipe.

In his pre-teens, George spent summer holidays in his father’s retouching photographic studio in Chicago, where he perfected the airbrush paint spray like an artist brush. His favorite cover artist was Joseph C. Leyendecker who painted over 400 American magazine covers during the Golden age of United States Illustrated art. George admired the style of Leyendecker and studied his powerful interpretation of the strong built All-American male. Today we have little information on which artists influenced George the most during his formative years, but it is clear a large part of the Leyendecker male design rubbed off on young George Petty. Both artists attended the world famous Academies Julian Studio in Paris, France, and were instructed by Jean-Paul Laurens. [Joseph Christian Leyendecker 1896-97 and George Brown Petty IV 1914-16.] Both artists returned to the United States and both became the most famous illustrative painters of the male and female anatomy for all time.

Joseph Leyendecker was fascinated with male anatomy, asses, muscles, the All-American male masculinity, and with each painting he had to secretly hide and never expose to the American public the fact he was Gay. In doing such, he painted his younger Canadian lover, Charles Beach, as the Icon of American Military and Sports hero’s. He was talented, a genius, brave, and so un-American for this time frame.

Click on the link below to read the story in PDF form.

Lightning on Skates 1932-33 (PDF)

Text version only

“Lightning on Skates” – 1932-34

George Brown Petty IV [1894-1975] was known as the American girl illustrator who created a better-designed female than God, all posed by daughter Marjorie, as her dad puffed away on his pipe.

In his pre-teens, George spent summer holidays in his father’s retouching photographic studio in Chicago, where he perfected the airbrush paint spray like an artist brush. His favorite cover artist was Joseph C. Leyendecker who painted over 400 American magazine covers during the Golden age of United States Illustrated art. George admired the style of Leyendecker and studied his powerful interpretation of the strong built All-American male. Today we have little information on which artists influenced George the most during his formative years, but it is clear a large part of the Leyendecker male design rubbed off on young George Petty. Both artists attended the world famous Académie Julian Studio in Paris, France, and were instructed by Jean-Paul Laurens. [Joseph Christian Leyendecker 1896-97 and George Brown Petty IV 1914-16.] Both artists returned to the United States and both became the most famous illustrative painters of the male and female anatomy for all time.

Joseph Leyendecker was fascinated with male anatomy, asses, muscles, the All-American male masculinity, and with each painting he had to secretly hide and never expose to the American public the fact he was gay. In doing such, he painted his younger Canadian lover, Charles Beach, as the Icon of American Military and Sports heroes. He was talented, a genius, brave, and so un-American for this time frame.

1928, head study of “Canadian” Charles Beach by Joseph Leyendecker. [Free domain]

 

J. Leyendecker 1911 Hockey goalie. [Free domain] George Petty was seventeen when this art was published, which likely influenced the younger budding artist.

In 1914, George Petty IV began art training at the famous Paris Académie Julian Studio with principal instruction by founder Jean-Paul Laurens. Possibly influenced by the fact J. Leyendecker had attended the same school and received the same instruction in 1896-97. In late 1916, as America prepared for entry into WWI, American Ambassador Joseph P. Herrick ordered all American citizens in France to return at once to the United States. George began an apprenticeship in engraving and retouching photo department, then his father died from gall bladder blockage. George no longer wished to follow his father’s role in photo retouching, and wanted to become a commercial artist. He had watched his father struggle in the business, and became determined to protect his art interests, retaining his resale rights from the paintings he created. This was very “revolutionary” for the times as large photo and magazine publishers paid a price for each artists work and then retained the copyright, making millions of dollars reselling his or her original art. Early samples of George Petty advertising display artworks are extremely rare, however the influence of Leyendecker’s males can be clearly seen in a few.

This 1928 American School of Aviation Petty brochure shows the influence of Leyendecker males. [James Camperos, courtesy Peter Perrault collection]

In the 1930s, George willingly stated he preferred drawing the British style and American Leyenbecker strong bold male paintings. Without his art teaching in Paris, France, and his ability to draw a strong, appealing American male, it’s possible the Petty Girl would never have been created.

His biggest contract came in 1930, when he signed with Atlas Beer, painting both male and female, beer bottles, and street scenes. During Prohibition, [1920-1933] many American [legal] Breweries went bankrupt, or were taken over by organized crime, which made a fortune selling illegal booze. In 1919, U.S. Congress approved [the Volstead Act] where breweries could produce ‘near-beer’ with an alcohol content of 0.5 per cent. The Atlas Brewing Company, 2107 Blue Island Avenue, Chicago. Ill. brewed a Green Label Atlas Special Beer, 0.5 % alcohol content which could be delivered to your door for 15 cents per bottle. A case of twenty-four bottles sold for ten cents per bottle. The Chicago Sunday Tribune ran full page color ads with the first Petty [family] painting appearing 18 May 1930.

Daughter Marjorie posed for the women in the beer ads and the males took on the bold Leyenbecker style all-American look. Another influence came from motion pictures where George painted the makeup, clothing, and ladies’ hair styles used by Hollywood. He created a romantic family atmosphere around the subject of beer with a universal appeal for both men and women, plus a large hidden gay community in United States.

These Atlas Beer ads were appearing across the Midwest and Southern United States in store front posters, billboards, street car cards, and sports event magazines. That is possibly how George obtained a contract to paint three Chicago Stadium program covers for the 1932 season. Two of these covers featured his ability to paint a strong male figure for boxing events, the third was for a tough fast-action hockey player titled – “Lightning on Skates.”

“Lightning on Skates” Chicago Black Hawks Hockey cover 1 January 1933. Note the Leyenbecker style painted hockey player face by George Petty. This same male face appeared in the 18 May 1930 Atlas Beer poster ad. [author collection]

Chicago Black Hawks played their first NHL game on 17 November 1926, where their first logo [above] appeared in black and white. They were named after the 333rd Machine-gun Battalion, 85th [Blackhawk] Division, U.S. Army. Modern U.S. Army Helicopters are named after Native American Tribes, Apache, Kiowa, Comanche, Black Hawk, etc., and native leaders bestow tribal blessings during the official U.S. Army naming ceremony.

In 1932-33 the nine NHL teams were the New York Americans, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadians, Montreal Maroons, and Chicago Black Hawks. Each team played 48 games and the Stanley Cup playoffs were won by the New York Rangers. The Black Hawks won their first Stanley Cup the following year, the 1933-34 season. It is believed the Petty Hockey Player cover art was only printed for the 1932-33 and 1933-34 seasons, and it is unknown if it appeared on each cover program.  This program also contained many rare hockey advertisements, two painted by George Petty.

The Hawks won the Stanley Cup in 1933-34 with twelve Canadians, five Americans, one Russian, and one Canadian who was born in Scotland. Chuck Gardiner came to Canada at a young age and grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He first excelled in the C.F.L. [Football] and played in the 13th Grey Cup game in 1925. He came to the Chicago Black Hawks in 1927 and his records were many. In those past glory days’ players often took to the ice when they were sick, hurt, or had an infection. Tonsillar infection caused the death of Chuck who died from a brain hemorrhage on 13 June 1943, leaving a wife [Myrtle Brooks] and one son.

Page seven contained the black and white Atlas special brew painted by George Petty, and the U.S. Prohibition alcoholic content is ½ of 1% by volume, which lasted until December 1933. The same posed face of Marjorie Petty also appeared on page twenty for Red Hots. George was becoming a master of reusing the same face again and again.

Page twenty contained another George Petty ad for Singer’s Red Hots served at Chicago Stadium, and the face was the same used in the Atlas Beer advertisement on page seven. I wonder if daughter Marjorie Petty used ketchup on her Chicago Red Hots?

George at his studio in the family home at Roger’s Park, Illinois, in 1935. This original coal-storage area was called the “coal hole” and that is where the Chicago Black Hawks Hockey cover art was created in 1932. [original photo James Camperos, copy gifted to author from Peter Perrault collection]

George Petty begins a series of cartoons which were published in the first issue of Esquire magazine fall of 1933. In March 1935, the first Petty Girl cartoon without the old man appears in Esquire magazine. In July 1935, the first Petty girl pin-up with all white background appears in Esquire and the trademark white telephone appears in the September issue. The first two-page gatefold Petty Girl appears in the December 1939 issue of Esquire and the Petty Girl pin- up is truly born. It’s clear today, viewing these early Petty advertising paintings you realize the success of the Atlas Beer ads and the bold, strong, Leyenbecker male paintings reflected in the creation of the famous Petty Girl pin-up.

This history involves very little aviation nose art but it has a special meaning for the author. I attended my very first professional hockey game at the old Calgary Corral Hockey Stadium in 1955, I was eleven years old. The Calgary Stampeders were a western farm-club of the NHL Chicago Black Hawks, and a few of the players made it to the big league. I became a life-long Hawks fan and during my 1965-78 Toronto police days, attended many Chicago games at the old Maple Leaf Gardens. Last year, [July 2020] the City of Calgary demolished the original Corral Hockey Stadium for a more modern and money making Stampede Park, so now only memories remain. In 2021, I learned for the very first time George Petty painted a cover for the Chicago Black Hawks and my friend Peter Perrault even donated an original Hawks program to the author. I had to paint and tell the history of the Petty ‘Lightning on Skates’ hockey player.  

Maybe in the year 2032, the Chicago Blackhawks [modern spelling] will republish the Petty hockey program cover art that sold in old Chicago Stadium. That would be a very fitting honor for George Brown Petty IV.

American Artist George Petty and his French Connection

Research by Clarence Simonsen

Excerpt

My life-long interest has been painting and preserving aircraft markings whether they be official, functional, or merely a pilots’ self-expression which was titled “Nose Art” during WWII. The images of aircraft nose art were first learned from American Air Force comics in my pre-teen years, and followed by the pages of Playboy magazine in the early 1960s. The editor and publisher Mr. Hugh M. Hefner was world known for creating his men’s entertainment magazine, and his associate picture editor, Reid Austin, had no read meaning at all. I recall thinking what would an associate picture editor do every day, just look at hundreds of photos featuring beautiful nude women. To this average Canadian teenager, that seemed like the best working conditions in the world and you got paid for picking the best erotic looking photos for each monthly issue of Playboy magazine. During my four-year stint in the Canadian Army Military Police, six months of 1965-66 were spent with the United Nations on the Island of Cyprus. During off-duty hours, I painted large wall murals and life-size images of the girls from the centre-fold of Playboy magazine. In the following years as a Metro. Toronto Police constable my nose art research and collection grew in size, producing three historical books on this forgotten aircraft art form. My research came from many sources, and today I consider myself very fortunate in being able to meet, interview, and copy the nose art images from the surviving veterans World War Two photo albums. There was no internet, interviews were done with pen and pad, and each photo was copied with 35 mm camera and three-power lens, then hand developed in a rented dark room studio where you mixed your own chemicals. It took hours of learning at photo classes [partly taught in 1976 when I served in Metro. Toronto Police Identification Bureau] and in the end saved thousands of nose art photos are a low cost. Since my first publication of photos in Gary Valant’s Vintage Aircraft Nose Art book in December 1987, it was a learning experience in the harsh world totally controlled by giant book publishers. If you were rich and famous, they tossed you thousands of up front money, but if you were a nobody, you got six or eight per cent and the publisher made millions from your years of hard work. I soon learned that if you did long proper research and seek out the forgotten or government hidden history, you could still make good profit, if you sold forty-thousand books or more. [nose art did just that] I will always be indebted to the many readers and war veterans who enjoyed the fact I stuck my neck out and told the truth, even if a few times it stepped on the toes of our Canadian Department of National Defence, War Museum, or RCAF Association magazine editor in Ottawa. When they screwed up, I told them and backed it up with photos or documents, and bureaucrats then hate you for life. In 1982, I received a letter from Mr. Reid Stewart Austin, [Yes, the Playboy picture editor] he was conducting research on a new book titled “PETTY” and wanted aircraft nose art.

We became friends and I will always be very grateful for his assistance, phone chats, and sharing his pictures, plus amazing knowledge of George Petty and daughter Marjorie, the Petty Girl. On 27 July 1996, Reid Austin signed a book contract with Gramercy Books in New York, and the book PETTY was published in September 1997.


Below is the story in PDF form you can download…

American Artist George Petty and his French Connection


Text version without images to make this story available on search engines.

Author’s Preface

My life-long interest has been painting and preserving aircraft markings whether they be official, functional, or merely a pilots’ self-expression which was titled “Nose Art” during WWII. The images of aircraft nose art were first learned from American Air Force comics in my pre-teen years, and followed by the pages of Playboy magazine in the early 1960s. The editor and publisher Mr. Hugh M. Hefner was world known for creating his men’s entertainment magazine, and his associate picture editor, Reid Austin, had no read meaning at all. I recall thinking what would an associate picture editor do every day, just look at hundreds of photos featuring beautiful nude women. To this average Canadian teenager, that seemed like the best working conditions in the world and you got paid for picking the best erotic looking photos for each monthly issue of Playboy magazine. During my four-year stint in the Canadian Army Military Police, six months of 1965-66 were spent with the United Nations on the Island of Cyprus. During off-duty hours, I painted large wall murals and life-size images of the girls from the centre-fold of Playboy magazine. In the following years as a Metro. Toronto Police constable my nose art research and collection grew in size, producing three historical books on this forgotten aircraft art form. My research came from many sources, and today I consider myself very fortunate in being able to meet, interview, and copy the nose art images from the surviving veterans World War Two photo albums. There was no internet, interviews were done with pen and pad, and each photo was copied with 35 mm camera and three-power lens, then hand developed in a rented dark room studio where you mixed your own chemicals. It took hours of learning at photo classes [partly taught in 1976 when I served in Metro. Toronto Police Identification Bureau] and in the end saved thousands of nose art photos are a low cost. Since my first publication of photos in Gary Valant’s Vintage Aircraft Nose Art book in December 1987, it was a learning experience in the harsh world totally controlled by giant book publishers. If you were rich and famous, they tossed you thousands of up front money, but if you were a nobody, you got six or eight per cent and the publisher made millions from your years of hard work. I soon learned that if you did long proper research and seek out the forgotten or government hidden history, you could still make good profit, if you sold forty-thousand books or more. [nose art did just that] I will always be indebted to the many readers and war veterans who enjoyed the fact I stuck my neck out and told the truth, even if a few times it stepped on the toes of our Canadian Department of National Defence, War Museum, or RCAF Association magazine editor in Ottawa. When they screwed up, I told them and backed it up with photos or documents, and bureaucrats then hate you for life. In 1982, I received a letter from Mr. Reid Stewart Austin, [Yes, the Playboy picture editor] he was conducting research on a new book titled “PETTY” and wanted aircraft nose art.

 

 

We became friends and I will always be very grateful for his assistance, phone chats, and sharing his pictures, plus amazing knowledge of George Petty and daughter Marjorie, the Petty Girl. On 27 July 1996, Reid Austin signed a book contract with Gramercy Books in New York, and the book PETTY was published in September 1997.

 

 

 

The book reviews were tops and Reid was very happy, then he disclosed to me he had throat cancer. To pay his mounting medical bills Reid was forced to sell a few of his original American illustrator paintings to the vast girl art collection of Charles G. Martignette in Florida.  In 2000, Reid Austin made contact with Peter Perrault in Kentucky, and discovered another vast collection of rare unpublished George Petty advertisement posters and printed material. Samples of George Petty’s early work, particularly his European Paris paintings, and early advertising display art work are extremely hard to find today. Peter Perrault spent a life-time collecting and a fortune preserving the rare advertising art from the air brush hand of George Petty and a new book was now planned. Professional photo images of the Peter Perrault collection were taken and mailed to Reid Austin in Washington State, then in early September 2006, cancer claimed the life of Reid Stewart Austin. Two years later, art dealer and American illustrator collector Charles G. Martignette died in Hallandale, Florida. His private gallery housed the largest collection of commercial illustrated girl art in the world, and today it is slowly being separated and sold at auctions in the United States. Private collectors and art historians spend a life-time collecting and preserving, then they die, and their work is sold to the rich and famous, to hang lost in some five-million-dollar mansion. That’s the simple, and main reason I attempt to educate and preserve girl and nose art to the world using the Blog. Which is free. In 2020, Peter Perrault made email contact with the author and explained his life-long Petty art collection of advertising art material and his connection to Reid Stewart Austin before he died. The original copied photos [including original Petty art] from the Perrault commercial art collection have been lost or still remain somewhere with the Reid S. Austin estate. I am grateful for my fifty plus years of obsession with aircraft nose art, the best part being the wonderful average group of people I have made contact with and their willingness to share and preserve this lost girl art mostly preserved through the eye of an old camera. My special affection and appreciation must now go to my new American friend Peter Perrault, who allowed me to publish any selected Petty images from his vast collection, some being viewed on the Blog for the very first time. To Peter with all my gratitude, for also giving me hours of new found Petty pleasure and new history.

For – Reid Stewart Austin:  Been there, done it, preserved the Petty Girl.

In November 1997, a replica nose art Petty Girl image was painted on original RCAF WWII aircraft skin and gifted to Reid Stewart Austin. His Christmas card reply sparked the idea of featuring a Petty Nose Art book with a few of my replica paintings. The first two replica nose art were selected as a B-24 “The Vulgar Virgin” and a B-17 “Tondelayo” both remained in my basement almost twenty years. Any future Petty nose art book and the Peter Perrault advertising book ideas died with Reid S. Austin in 2006.

 

 

My Petty Girl replica WWII nose art panels were offered to Canadian Aviation Museum’s but declined. Today my four Petty replica nose art panels are property of the Peter Perrault collection, who understood the value of nose art history and wanted them preserved.

B-24-D replica serial 41-24198.

 

Originally painted for Reid Stewart Austin in 2004, size 31” by 31” on WWII B-25 aircraft skin. The B-25 WWII original U.S. Navy skins were obtained from Kermit Weeks in Miami, Florida, in the 1990s and used in the restoration of the Alberta Aviation Museum [Edmonton, Alberta] B-25D [Mitchell] RCAF bomber. The Green camouflage paint is original WWII U. S. production.

 

 

B-17-F replica serial 42-29896

 

Painting originally started for Reid Stewart Austin in 2005, size 31” by 31” on WWII B-25 aircraft skin. The skins were saved from the garbage by pilot friend Tony Jarvis and the author picked them up in Edmonton, Alberta, in 2004. The painting was replica 8th Air Force, England, B-17F of Hedy Lamarr [famous American actress, inventor, and film producer] but the pose came from the Esquire magazine Petty Girl Suit of 1940. This replica nose art was not completed until December 2020 for Peter Perrault collection.

 

 

WWII replica B-24 bomber, 8th A. F. England, Petty Girl nose art painted in 2020 for authors Blog nose art story. [Peter Perrault collection] Another B-25 skin saved from a garbage bin of the Alberta Aviation Museum, Edmonton in Alberta,. Their B-25J history can be read online, and the bomber contains excellent RCAF nose art history, a job well done.

 

 

Rare WWII RCAF Halifax B. Mk. V replica nose art painted on original B-25 skin for authors Blog nose art story. [Peter Perrault collection] Another original WWII B-25 skin panel from the Alberta Aviation Museum restoration, saved from garbage by Tony Jarvis.

 

 

 

Today [2021] the Helen Foresman Spencer Museum of Art, University of Kansas, have 26 huge metal cases which contain the Esquire collection, 1,600 drawings and girl paintings. One-hundred and fifty are Vargas Girls and seven are original George Petty Girl Art. Above is the original June 1941 Petty Girl painting. [Peter Perrault collection]

 

Now – the early forgotten and rare George Petty advertising art history thanks to the amazing collection of Peter Perrault.

Clarence Simonsen

“Come with Me.”

 

 

American Artist George Petty and his French Connection

The Petty Girl became an American painted icon which captured the admiration of millions of males in United States and Canada from 1933 to 1956. Her creator, George Brown Petty IV, was born on 27 April 1894 in Abbeville, Louisiana, USA. The father, senior George Brown Petty III moved his new family to Chicago at the turn of the century, where he enjoyed success in the business of photographing and hand-tinting colour images of young children, ladies, and nudes.

 

An undated colour retouched nude image by George Brown Petty III. [courtesy Peter Perrault collection]

 

 

Young George junior grew up around the family photo retouching business and showed a natural talent in drawing, which prompted his father to enroll him in evening classes at Chicago’s Fine Art Institute. He also excelled in track and field events, and became the staff artist at McKinley High School monthly “The Voice” in 1911. George won High School peer approval through his excellent art drawings and his star quality inter-class Track Meets. He was always sketching in class and not the best academic student.

 

This George Petty sketch “The Runner” is possibly 1912, where he won the 100-yard, 220-yard, and half-mile dashes in an inter-city tournament. [Internet public domain]

 

In 1913, George won second in a world-wide poster competition and his father recognized his growing talent required further artistic training. In 1914, George Jr’s most favorite American cover artist was Joseph Christian Leyendecker, who created 322 cover paintings for The Saturday Evening Post magazine. Joseph Leyendecker was born in Montabour, Germany, 23 March 1874, and the family immigrated to Chicago in 1882. Joseph and brother Frank studied art in Paris at the Académie Julian studio in 1896-97 where they developed their artistic styles. Jean-Paul Laurens stressed hours of study on the male and female anatomy, and considered the knowledge of the human body especially important in drawing or painting of all action figures. The school trained both sexes in separate classes, while both received the same hours of studies drawing and painting fully nude models.

Photo – 1896 Académie Julian, J.C. Leyendecker, American student school painting of French male model, public domain.

 

 

The Saturday Evening Post, 4 July 1914, cover art by Joseph C. Leyendecker, author collection. He painted hundreds of American military images and Arrow Shirt ads showing the perfect All-American male, including full male nudity mainly posed by his model Charles Beach.

 

 

Public domain of Leyendecker front cover poster [Charles Beach] painting for Chevrolet Review, January 1922, featuring American nude male art.

Leyendecker painted over 400 magazine covers during the Golden Age of American illustration and defined the perfect image of the sleek nude All-American muscle-men. Norman Rockwell worshipped his fellow artist and even copied his style plus a few of his cover ideas, until after his death, when he learned Joseph and brother Frank were both Gay. These All-American men paintings were mostly modeled by Joseph’s twelve-year junior lover and lifelong companion, Charles Beach, a Gay muscle-bound Canadian. It is highly possible the decision to send George Petty IV to train under instruction of Jean-Paul Laurens in his Paris studio was largely influenced by the realistic cover art of J.C. Leyendecker, who created hundreds of perfect American male and female paintings until his death in 1951.

 

 

Joseph Leyendecker was an amazing artist, who also had the gall to paint his Canadian lover on the front cover of major American magazines and make him the icon of American masculinity, which he was also able to hide from the world. The Leyendecker brothers Paris Académie Julian training inspired the Golden Age of American illustration and influenced hundreds of future American and Canadian artists, including George Petty and his new pin-up girl which became another American female icon. [2021 – Petty original paintings sell for over $100,000 and the work of Joseph Leyendecker for over $400,000.]

After graduation from high school in 1914, George Petty IV traveled to Paris, France, rented an apartment, and studied art at the Académie Julian under principal instruction from Parisian Jean-Paul Laurens.

 

Free domain self-portrait painting of the master French artist Jean-Paul Laurens.

 

 

 

Free domain of Académie Julian Paris, France, date unknown.

Laurens was a painter of French historical scenes who established “Académie Julian” in 1868, a private art school in Paris, France. His paintings and complete history can be read on many websites. The school played host to painters and sculptors from over fifty countries and never required they follow any particular line of art studies; they were free to develop their own style; from which they were graded.

 

 

Man and women were trained separately, however, both participated in the very same studies, and equal hours of drawing and painting French nude models. Laurens stressed the study of anatomy, and considered it a most important asset in the artist’s new knowledge, especially when painting or drawing action figures from imagination. The students were each given a vote in picking their next nude model and learned in a progressive and liberal style of art teaching. These modern teachings attracted at least ninety-two Americans, of which nineteen were female, all benefitted from his free-style instruction which they took back to the United States. For over forty years, 1890-1930, American Cultural Art strongly reflected the teachings of the Académie Julian schools in Paris. Forty-five Canadians were also trained at this famous private art school, and their paintings are displayed across Canada today. Laurens became the most sought after French teacher for both Americans and Canadians and today his teachings are part of both countries North American cultural art painting styles forever.

 

 

 

 

This famous painting by American Jefferson David Chalfant, titled “Bouguereau’s Atelier” was painted at Académie Julian in 1891. A male and female nude model pose for the artists and American Chalfant included himself [bottom right corner] in his own painting. This image captures the roof lighting, air venting, and the stove which supplied the heat. This is a public domain image and the original art can be seen in the Fine Arts Museum at San Francisco, California. This is believed to be the very same studio where George Petty IV received his first teachings. When you check the list of American trained artists you will not find the name George Brown Petty IV, but sometimes you need photo proof to correct an over-sight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This rare photo was the property of artist George Petty IV, taken in Paris studio class of Jean-Paul Laurens, 1914, when George was twenty years of age. When the image was snapped, the face of George Petty [far right] was cut in half, and George then sketched in the missing half of his face and body. After the death of George Petty 21 July 1975, this photo became the property of close family friend James Camperos and was later purchased for the collection of Peter Perrault. Used courtesy Peter Perrault, a rare gem in the missing Petty years in Paris, France. At one time or another twelve different Laurens art schools operated in Paris, and this photo location is believed to be the original studio where German/American Joseph Leyendecker studied and painted in 1896-97. I believe his full nude male painting in the lead-in history was posed at the exact same spot as the young nude lady is laying. I’m also positive the young artist Petty realized the connection and importance of this location and treasured his photo.

Pages 16 and 17 of the Reid Stewart Austin book “PETTY” detail the art learning skills obtained by George at the Laurens school in Paris, however, his original sketches and paintings from Paris are still missing. I’m sure a few survive in or around Paris today, but will they ever be located or displayed? Images of George Petty art from Paris 1914-16 would be most appreciated by the author or Peter Perrault.

 

 

 

 

In 1903, the United States of America became the cradle of the world’s first powered aircraft flight, however by 1909, France became the new baby’s nursery. This brilliant [public domain] cover painting by J.C. Leyendecker for The Saturday Evening Post shows a lot of hidden truth in regards to the American invention of powered flight, and their shaky development of the early airplane. Thanks in part to American pilot Wilbur Wright, France became the center of aviation on the eve of the Great War. The U.S. government showed very little interest in flying until 1909.

 

 

In 1909, the French aviation aircraft words” Aileron”, “Fuselage”, and “Nacelle” were admitted to the Oxford English Dictionary, and the following year the world’s first pilot flying instruction under military control took place outside Paris, France. Numerous other French aviation developments followed but only three are relevant to my story. In July 1912, the French Army recommended a three-ring red-white-and-blue “roundel” be painted on all aircraft for identification to ground troops, an aviation first. This was followed by the establishment of ten or more aircraft which were called “Escadrille” or Squadron. Each escadrille then received a number which remained constant, and a prefix which varied according to the aircraft they were flying. The French then created and painted an insignia for each escadrille and this was located mostly on the nacelle or fuselage of each aircraft. Birds were used 34 times, animals 12, Dragon 3, Star 3, letters 2, Knight 2, then a skeleton, Demon, fat girl, flower, and Dutch windmill. In 1916, the French introduced green and light brown “camouflage” to the fuselage and upper wings of aircraft and light blue or clear finish to the under surface. The French Air Force entered World War One with the best aircraft, best aircraft engines, best markings, and best organization in the world and most Allied countries would follow WWI French aircraft markings, which is a long detailed history. In short, the French took the American invention, improved the design, engine, named parts, organized squadrons, created insignia and introduced French art to airplane markings. The very beginning of future aircraft nose art paintings.

 

WWI French poster art.

 

 

French war poster art became a huge part of World War One.

 

 

George Petty IV spent over two years in wartime France, sketching, painting, and learning, yet, his art for this period is sadly missing. In July 1916, American Ambassador Joseph P. Herrick ordered all Americans in France to return home to the United States and George Petty’s art training came to an end. In the fall of 1916, father Petty III senior developed gall bladder blockage and with no known medical treatment, passed away. On 8 June 1917, American General Pershing landed in Liverpool, England, with his staff in route to France to organize the American Expeditionary Force. This produced a new poster blend of 1776 American revolution memories and hopes for the 1917 American participation in WWI.

 

 

 

In the United States a new war poster art Liberty Bond drive suddenly appeared.

 

This 1917 Liberty Drive poster by American artist Charles Nicolas Sarka [18 June 1879 – 27 May 1960] was more Knight’s Templar Catholic Military Order than WWI United States of America. [Author collection]

 

Charles Sarka spent most of his life in New York City where he created three Liberty Bond posters in 1917-18. This 1918 poster showed an American aviator as a Roman Warrior throwing bombs at German ground forces. [Author collection]

 

 

Cyrus Leroy Baldridge [27 May 1889 – 6 June 1977] became a war illustrator in France in 1915, was allowed behind German lines to record the battles. When America entered the war in 1917, he served as a painter for the Stars and Stripes and illustrated the common American doughboys expression after battle. Cyrus refused to paint American officers.

 

He painted fast with bold wide strokes and recorded many Belgium and American troops. In 1919, he enrolled in the Académie Julian Paris art studio and returned to U.S. in 1920. He shot himself in 1977, with his WWI issue pistol, after learning he had cancer.

 

 

 

James Montgomery Flagg [18 June 1877 – 27 May 1960] another American artist who took art instruction at Académie Julian in Paris 1898 to 1900. In 1917 he began painting American War poster art. [Author collection]

 

James Flagg painted the most famous American War Poster art [ever] in 1917, and he used his own mirror face reflection for that of Uncle Sam. [Internet free domain]

 

Orson Byron Lowell [1871 – 1956] studied at the Art Institute of Chicago 1893, moved to New York in 1905. Well known for his pen and ink humorous art and war poster art above in 1917. He was part of a close knit social group including Norman Rockwell and the Leyendecker brothers, however little else is recorded from this time frame. [Author collection]

 

 

Norman Percevel Rockwell [3 February 1894 – 8 November 1978] early 1918 war poster art. Rockwell admired and imitated the rich style of J.C. Leyendecker, and each enjoyed a warm friendship as neighbors in New Rochelle, New York. [Author collection]

 

 

The art of George Petty IV is missing from 1916 until 1918, and possibly some hidden treasures are still waiting to be found. George married Julia Donohue on 6 April 1918, which most likely explains his lack of painting, he was in love.

 

This 1919 painting of Gladys Engel Dobbrodt was done by George Petty as her wedding present. [Private collection courtesy Peter Perrault, unpublished]

 

 

 

In 1920, Van-Ess Laboratories, Chicago, produced a new liquid scalp dandruff message which sold in an amber colored glass bottle with rubber tipped nipples. The dandruff message was advertised for use by all ages and a number of half and full page ads were printed in black and white for magazines and newspapers. George Petty painted an early full color poster ad [1920-22] for the company, which contained his early signature in simple block lettering.

These black and white newspaper ads were very common until 1925.

 

 

This ad appeared in the Saturday Evening Post magazine for 1924.

 

Poster date unknown 1920-22 [Peter Perrault collection, unpublished]

 

The Marshall Field & Company imposing building was the second largest department building in the world, a Chicago, Illinois, tourist attraction and landmark. The company published six 32-40-page high quality catalogues each year, with no advertising, and the cover was always French Art Deco. [Internet 1922 cover image $225]

 

 

 

George Petty painted an Art Deco cover for January 1920 catalogue, [Petty book page 16] plus a June 1922 Art Deco cover for the Marshall Field & Company. [Reid Stewart Austin collection – Value $400]

 

In 1924, George received his first freelance work and painted two covers for “The Household Magazine” and Marjorie posed for her first painting, [Courtesy Peter Perrault] The other cover is found in the book “PETTY” page 13, by Reid Stewart Austin.

 

 

In 1925, George sold three pastel portraits of Art Deco French style Petty girls for Vesta calendars of 1926. [Three images – Courtesy Peter Perrault collection]

 

 

 

 

This American Petty Girl is so French looking you would think she was in Paris. The calendar girls didn’t pay that much and George turned to other illustrations where good money could be found. These three calendars were all signed George Petty, very rare.

 

In 1925-26 George secured a new contract with a very controversial female product, birth control. It’s possible he planned this painting knowing it would advertise his new nude lady to North America. For good or bad it worked.

 

This nude poster posed by Catholic raised wife Julie also appeared in American magazines and match covers. The Petty Girl was suddenly being noticed in U.S. and Canada. [Internet image value $3,000]

 

 

The long red stroke “Y” in Petty appeared in 1925 and this rare undated ad was likely 1926-27 for the Venus company featuring a new Art Deco French Silhouette Girdle. Found in pin-up collection of Pauline Harry, who Reid Austin called “Cissy.” [Peter Perrault collection]

 

 

In 1920, the French Flapper Silhouette became the new American design and the bone ribbed lady corset gave way to a new undergarment, the Latex Girdle. The new Venus Latex girdle created a flat-chested, no curves, boy-like appearance which focused on slenderness, requiring the use of starvation diets and fat ‘rolling machines.’ Movies and Hollywood styles helped create this new vision of beauty and for the first time weight loss ads began appearing in American fashion magazines. This continues today part of a billion-dollar super rich skinny robot stroll modelling industry. That was just the opposite image which George Petty was painting, but he had to think ‘thin’ for his Venus Girdle French Silhouette poster.

 

The famous 2 February 1922 LIFE cover art of “The Flapper” by Frank Xavier Leyendecker, [brother of Joseph] who also trained at Académie Julian in Paris, France. [Public domain]

 

In 1929, Julie Petty posed for her last paintings, daughter Marjorie [age ten] was ready to step up and take over as the Petty Girl. [Peter Perrault] This De Vilbiss perfume spray Art Deco poster sells today for $4,000.

 

A rare June 1929 Petty ad which also appeared in Canadian papers at Walkerville, Ontario. [Peter Perrault collection]

 

Princess Nariva, possibly the last nude posed ad by wife Julie 1929. Peter Perrault collection.

 

 

 

Marjorie Petty first posed nude for this Lesser Slim Figure Bath Salts ad in 1929. [Peter Perrault collection]

 

In 1930, George Petty openly stated he preferred to draw the male strong British types and his favorite American artist Joseph Leyendecker’s style. The male nude painting studies he learned at Académie Julian in Paris [1914-16] gave George the ability to draw his strong and appealing male, which provided much of his subsequent success and money in the 30’s. The Atlas Beer ads of 1930, 31 and 32 can be found in the book PETTY by Reid Stewart Austin, page 18 and 19. These paintings are powerful, bold, and clearly show the influence of Leyendecker’s males which dominated many American magazines [The Saturday Evening Post] and male fashion covers.

In 1932, George painted three program covers for the world’s largest indoor sports area, Chicago, Stadium. Two were for boxing events and one cover is described in the PETTY book on page 21. [left] A second [right] is displayed from the Peter Perrault collection below.

 

A second child, George Brown Petty V, was born on 8 July 1922, and it is possible he posed for these boxing covers showing a young fighter. Daughter Marjorie began posing at the same age.

 

 

 

Internet

The third Petty cover was painted for the Chicago Blackhawks NHL hockey game program and appeared in 1932-33 and 1933-34 seasons. [Image from the internet] This art shows his ability to capture a strong male figure in a fast action sport, created in black and white for two-colour printing in black and red.  The hockey player was created by Petty [not modeled on a real player] and the uniform is not created for any special NHL team, it was just magazine cover art for the Blackhawks hockey home game program. This original art is for sale on the internet for $17,000, reduced to $14,000 at time of my research. It is way over-priced and should be around $7-8 thousand range. The real artistic value in this painting is found on the face, which shows the strong influence Joseph Leyendecker painted males had on the style of George Petty. Most readers commonly assume the paintings of the Petty Girl in Esquire led to the fame and fortune of George Petty. In fact, it was the 1935 Jantzen advertising of both Petty Girl and brother George V which gave the artist his biggest advertising break. It’s possible this NHL Hockey painting was the very beginning of the Petty created male reaching a large man’s audience. The cover lettering and color changed slightly from one printing to another.

 

 

 

The Black Hawks won their first Stanley Cup in 1933-34 and their star goalie was Scottish born Charlie “Chuck” Gardiner. [front row uniform far right] He never played another hockey game, died from a brain tumor 13 June 1934. The Chicago Black Hawks logo also received first new colors for the 1934-35 season. A 1933-34 Hawks jersey sells for around $10,000 range, so the Petty hockey cover art is a bit over-priced. Now, if it had the Black and White 1934 logo, that would possibly raise the value.

 

 

 

 

The 1934 Jantzen bathing suit Petty Girl ads were both anatomically and politically incorrect for the time, but nobody noticed. In 1935, George Petty V began posing for his father and the male figure was introduced to create sexual chemistry for the bathing suit line. It worked, and men’s swimsuit line sales tripled, as a result, the Zantzen advertising began appearing full page color in Esquire magazine. While the new male figure was again anatomically incorrect, it is clear to see his admiration for Joseph Leyendecer’s male paintings were now appearing in his new Petty male art.

 

 

In 1935 a single Zantzen billboard painting sold for one-time usage at $600, five years later the same billboard painting, plus one magazine ad of this painting sold for $2,000. Jantzen sales had increased by 45 per cent over those five years and the Petty boy and girl had changed North America forever, in more ways than one.

 

 

While the original idea of using his Petty girl and boy was fully intended as sexual chemistry for the Jantzen bathing suits, they also became sexual chemistry for the large hidden Gay community in North America. I have no idea if George Petty ever understood or intended this powerful result. [Jantzen author collection]

 

 

From 1930 to 39 George produced a beautiful series of full-color pages in the Chicago Tribune and these are extremely rare and hard to find today. Mass produced on newsprint, they were short lived and most ended up in the dumpster, forgotten. Peter Perrault saved many from this series and a few are published now after eighty-plus years.

 

May 1933 “Chicago American” cover page. The first Petty cartoon appeared in the first issue of Esquire magazine August 1933, and editor Arnold Gingrich paid George twenty-five dollars.

 

The Petty Girl face was still appearing in June 1939 – new style Chicago American

 

 

June 1935 cover for New York Journal. In late 1934, the Old Gold Cigarette ads, with the rich fat old-codger, began appearing in major American magazines. The first Old Gold Petty ad appeared in Esquire magazine February 1935.

 

 

 

This beautiful “Raccoon Rah-Rah” also appeared in Vanity Fair magazine for November 1935, clearly showing the quickly developing Petty-Pin-Up with French accent showing in her face. [Peter Perrault collection]

 

These 1935 Old Gold cigarette ads and posters [above] proved so successful they became a major campaign for the new Petty Girl, even when his signature was omitted from his art. George received $600 for one-time usage of each painting, and retained his copyright.

 

 

 

 

The February 1935 issue of Esquire also produced a rare Petty cartoon first. This is the only painting with the fat-rich-old-codger where the Petty girl [Miss Dean] exposes her nipples. This airbrush pose is also very pin-up sexy style for Esquire male readers. I believe this is where George Petty recognized the power of the pin-up and the fact he was becoming a girl illustrator. [Courtesy Peter Perrault collection]

 

 

On 19 October 1935 Marjorie was featured in person on the cover of Saturday Home Magazine, she was fifteen years old. Years later [July 1996] she would sign this cover and mail to the author. Donated to Peter Perrault vast collection which contains many letters and signatures from George and Marjorie preserving their past.

 

 

George Petty not only described his favorite pin-up model, he began to realize he was creating the typical American pin-up girl with elegant and powerful sex appeal. From this point on George became a girl illustrative artist, who created a new American pin-up female icon which changed North America forever.

 

 

 

The sexy Petty Girl appeared in the 1933 first issue of Esquire as a cartoon and evolved into a true pin-up girl by 1936. She was not created by the artist; it was the public demand mostly by male readers who in fact forced the air-brush hand of George Petty.

 

3 July 1939, the Petty Girl continues to appear on newspaper covers showing her Patriotism. In two months the world goes to war, the U.S. remains neutral. In 1940, the U.S. Air Corps will begin to expand and advertising for Flying Cadets will appear in major magazines.

 

 

22 July 1940, full page two-color printing ads for Old Gold start appearing in LIFE magazine. [author collection]

 

1940 U.S. Army Recruiting Service begin with new mobile stations using the 1917 war poster created by James Flagg. [LIFE magazine author collection]

 

In the fall of 1940, the United States Army adopted a very impressive Army Aviation Cadet recruitment poster with the new motto – ‘KEEP ‘EM FLYING’ LET’S GO! U.S.A.

 

 

There is no advertising using the title U.S. Air Corps or the new U.S. Army Air Forces which came into effect on 20 June 1941. [author collection] These brave young Americans will be some of the first to enter WWII against the Japanese and Germans.

 

 

 

On 4 June 1920, an act in United States Congress created the American Air Service as a combat air-arm of the United States Army. On 2 July 1926, the new Air Service officially became the U.S. Air Corps, but they did not control their own aircraft combat units. Jurisdiction for training and combat came under control of Army ground forces, outdated principles laid down by the War Department back in 1919. This Air Corps structure was bitterly condemned by Billy Mitchell, and we all know what happened to him, he was court-marshalled. During the 1930s the Air Corps were always in conflict with the Army ground officers over organization and command of their American military aviation. The most important change in U.S. military aviation history came on 1 March 1935, the War Department established a General Headquarters of the Air Force, [GHQAF] under command of an air force officer. All Air Corps pursuit, bombardment and attack units came under direct control of the new formed [G.H.Q.A.F.]. Air Corps Observation units still remained under control of U.S. Army ground officers. In January 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt told Congress America’s air power was ‘utterly inadequate’ to protect the United States in time of war. In the next six months, the U.S. Air Corps began to rapidly expand, and by early 1940 they were composed of thirty groups. This sudden growth of the air arm required the total re-organization of group and wing levels plus created many serious problems of coordination between the combat organization [GHQAF] and the Air Corps, which were still operating as separate units.  This became confusing times for the air arm, which was all corrected by orders from the new officer in command, Major General Henry [Hap] Arnold. Arnold combined the combat organization [GHQAF] and the logistic organization [Air Corps] and they were officially renamed the U.S. Army Air Forces on 20 June 1941. On 9 March 1942, the old Air Corps and Combat Command were officially discontinued forever, and Gen. Arnold was made Commanding General of the newly formed U.S. Army Air Forces. [The correct spelling is Forces]

1941 is a very busy year for George Petty, as he completes his last twelve Petty Girls for Esquire magazine, and a host of other paintings. The list can be found on page 187 of the PETTY book by Reid S. Austin, and the last line reads – “George offers the War Department an air corps recruiting poster; there is no record of its use.

The Air Corps Petty Girl poster created on the motto “Keep ‘Em Flying” was presented to Major Frank Lane on 6 November 1941, while George Petty had no idea the U.S. Air Corps was now a title from the past. The air arm officially became the United States Army Air Forces [20 June 1941] and the Japanese will attack Peal Harbor in thirty-one days. It appears both of these events resulted in the possible unknown fate of the only painted air force Petty Girl recruiting poster.

 

 

Peter Perrault photo of artist George Petty presenting his original U.S. Air Corps recruiting poster to Major Frank Lane of the U.S.A.A.F [War Department] on 6 November 1941.

This original girl painting was never seen or displayed and the Army Air Forces never published the poster, or at least no records can be found the poster was ever used by the new U.S.A.A.F. Due to the “incorrect title – U.S. Air Corps” it could not be displayed by the newly formed Army Air Forces and was possibly just lost as the United States went to war. It remains a mystery why the air force never changed the wording and used this powerful Petty Girl poster art. The Petty Girl was the best viewed pin-up in 1941 and her finger motioning you to join the air force was an effective recruitment idea. If you happen to find this in an old book store or antique shop, it could be worth a few dollars. [maybe around $150,000]

A color image or further information on this lost Petty pre-war poster would be appreciated by the author.

 

Peter Perrault collection, photo blow-up showing rare air force Petty Girl face. In June 2000, a fake U.S. Air Corps drawing appeared for sale on the internet. Reid Stewart Austin was not impressed and his post card to Peter Perrault is published.

 

Original November 1941                                                  June 2000 fake

 

 

The very same face and most of the Petty Girl pose were used again April 1942. [James Camperos from Peter Perrault collection]

 

On 6 April 1942, George Petty presented the Navy with a new poster – “Join The Waves or Spars.” The pose and face are the same girl as he painted for the rejected U.S. Air Corps poster 6 November 1941. If she was not good enough for the air force, the U. S. Navy had no problems with their recruiting poster.

 

 

Even with no wartime editorial outlet, Esquire magazine and Alberto Vargas controlled the pin-up art field, the “Petty Girl” still held her own in aircraft nose art paintings. These images can be found all over the internet, but finding an original Petty Girl is not always that easy.

 

In 1924 a young artist Alberta Vargas created this music cover for Ziegfeld Follies.

 

Twenty years later George Petty completed six paintings for the 1944 film version of “Ziegfeld Follies” which were described as his best work. [MGM Poster from internet]

 

 

 

 

The often delayed film finally opened on 15 July 1946, becoming a box-office success, and George and daughter Marjorie are seen getting off the train at Los Angles around the premier date. George created six paintings of his Petty Girl for advertising and six MGM lovelies, with white telephones, met the famous pair at the train. The film earned $5,344,000 but due to the large budge cost for the all-star cast, it in fact lost $269,000.  It is believed George earned $3,000 per girl painting, which were used extensively in film promoting by MGM. [Reid Stewart Austin collection]

From January 1945 until December 1947, the Petty Girl appeared in True magazine and these thirty-five paintings were again the best George created to that date. Reid Austin believed he was paid $3,000 per painting as no contract or known records survive. Two Petty Girl True calendars were also published, [1947-48] possibly part of the original deal. The two-page fold-out paintings were highlighted with an analysis by author and lecturer on female psychology, Dr. William Moulton Marston.

 

 

The TRUE Petty March 1946 girl was titled “MISS PADDY WHACK” also appearing in the March 1947 TRUE Petty calendar. [author collection]

 

In November 1971, retired artist George Petty was asked why the American Pin-Up had slipped so far down the list in calendar sales. George – “Today, everything must be shared with one’s wife and children, a man can not longer enjoy his girl calendar art in his own room.”

21 July 1975, George Brown Petty IV dies in the family home of Marjorie MacLeod in San Pedro, Southern California.

 

[Image from Reid Stewart Austin – Petty Estate] Photo was first published in June/July issue of Modern Maturity magazine for 1983, courtesy Marjorie MacLeod.

 

The June/July 1983 issue of Modern Maturity magazine publishes the first story told by the Petty Girl, sixty-four-year-old Marjorie MacLeod, written by Derek Gill. [Peter Perrault collection]

 

 

 

Marjorie [Mugs] Jule Petty born 21 September 1919 –

 

February 1948 True calendar [author collection]

 

The February 1948 Petty True magazine original can still be found for sale on the internet but it might cost over $100,000. [internet image]

Please don’t worry, if you can’t afford an original to hang in your special men’s collection, the Petty Girls are still selling in affordable calendar’s, pleasing men for over one-hundred years. George Petty would be very proud and the Petty Estate might still be making money. Petty Girls will always offend a few close-minded people, however once they get past that, the true nostalgic value is very positive.

 

In Memoriam Kaare

Updated 15 March 2021

Kaare Nevdal 1920—2021


On Saturday, March 13, 2021, Kaare Nevdal, 100, loving husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, uncle, brother and friend passed away at his home in Rockford, IL, with his children by his side. Kaare was born in 1920 and raised in Ytra Arne, Norway, surrounded by the love of parents, siblings, and friends in this small town just outside Bergen.

In 1941, after one year of living under the Nazi occupation, he escaped by boat to the Shetland Islands and enlisted in the Royal Norwegian Air Force in exile in London. While training in Toronto, Canada, he met his wife, Muriel Jones. They immigrated to Rockford in 1948, and raised three children, Karen, Sandra and Mark.

Kaare’s first job when he came to Rockford was at Ingersoll as a pipefitter and then a draftsman. He sold real estate in the evenings and eventually was employed full time for Lutheran Brotherhood as an insurance salesman. He then worked for Home Life of New York (Phoenix). In 1976 Kaare became certified as a CLU (Certified Life Underwriter).

The family joined Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in 1952, where Kaare served as Chairman of the congregation several times, taught Sunday School and remained a member for the rest of this life. Kaare was a past President and an active member of the Rockford Kiwanis Club for 56 years.

He was also a member of the World War II Combat Flyers Club. Kaare regularly and openly spoke of his many blessings. One of his final blessings he considered to be the wonderful care he received from Heartland Hospice, the family expresses special thanks to Robin and Rosa for their loving care.

Special thanks also to Vicky of Siena of Brendenwood, he really treasured her friendship and support.

Kaare is survived by his children, Sandra Rogers (Doug) of Marietta, GA, Mark Nevdal (Sue) of Davis, IL; grandchildren Eric Nelson (Mary), Jennifer Serrano (Jacob), Todd Rogers (Keri), Jake Nevdal (Kara), Aaron Nevdal (Kristen), Ben Nevdal (Breezy), and Luke Nevdal; and 15 great-grandchildren.

Kaare’s surviving siblings include his sister, Halldis, 96 and Arne, 83, who live in Norway. He was predeceased by wife, Muriel, daughter Karen, brothers Birger, Arnold, Johannes and Knut.

There will be a walk-through visitation from 11:00 to 1:00 on Thursday, March 18, 2021 with masks and social distancing required at Fred C. Olson Chapel, 1001 Second Ave, Rockford, IL. A funeral service with only family in attendance will be held at 10:00 pm prior to the visitation.

Those wishing to view the service may do via Zoom:

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88284365919?pwd=a1hoazhxTThELzVaOU5jZU03V3UwQT09

Meeting ID: 882 8436 5919

Passcode: 097363.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in Kaare’s name to Samaritan’s Purse, PO Box 3000, Boone, NC 28607; Lutheran World Relief, 700 Light St., Baltimore, MD 21230; or Vets Roll, 1777 Gardner St., South Beloit, IL 61080. Please share your memories by posting on his tribute wall at www.olsonfh.com.

Original post

I have just received the sad news that my friend, even if we never meet, Kaare Nevdal passed away in his sleep, at home, yesterday morning. He had been brought home after a few days in the hospital after falling and broken his hip. His son and daughter with in-laws where at his side. He was very satisfied with his life here on earth and lately he had express no higher wish that the Lord would come and take him on the eternal flight. Greatly missed already , what a Guy he was !!

David Wold