Found more information about Little Norway on the Internet that dates back to last year.

Mark Clairmont |

GRAVENHURST — Norway never gave up, even after being defeated by the Germans in an April 1940 invasion.

Within months, the Norwegian government in exile began training army and navy pilots in Toronto, to fight the Nazis and regain their country.

In 1942, they expanded operations to Gravenhurst, and thus Little Norway north was born.

In 1944 Norway formally established the Royal Norwegian Air Force.

On Friday, 75 years later, they will celebrate those combined forces with a wreath-laying and luncheon ceremony at the Muskoka Airport, hosted by the Royal Norwegian Embassy.

Norway’s ambassador to Canada, Anne Kari Ovind and Major General Tonje Skinnarland, chief of the RNoAF will take part.


During the Second World War, the Norwegian government-in-exile was offered by Canada to build a training centre for the Royal Norwegian Air Force. This resulted in Little Norway, situated at the Muskoka Airport. To honour the men and women, who trained at Little Norway, a memorial site has been erected at the airport. The museum is now open for general public.

Little Norway was the site where 3300 Norwegians were trained before they went back to Europe to fight for freedom. “The invaluable contributions made by the veterans trained at Little Norway here in Canada will not be forgotten”, The Norwegian Prime Minister Stoltenberg said in his speech at the opening. “The Little Norway Memorial Building is a war memorial erected to prevent history from forgetting. It is also a memorial that expresses the lasting gratitude of the people of Norway and the Norwegian government – to Canada for her assistance to our nation when we needed it the most”.

The Little Norway Memorial Building is situated in Muskoka, about 2 hours drive north of Toronto. The museum hosts written and visual accounts of the history of Little Norway, in addition to artefacts, books, paintings and articles. The museum shows, by its exhibition, the long lasting relationship between Canada and Norway. The Little Norway Memorial Building invites you to come and learn and appreciate from the history that took place at the Muskoka Airport during the Second World War. (Source, District of Muskoka)

David Wold has contributed photos whose parents were stationed there during the war.


More about the museum’s tablecloth

20191110_123312 (1)

This is probably the most precious artifact of the museum.


The tablecloth he speaks of is one of the museum’s most valuable artifacts, consisting of 683 embroidered signatures from those who traveled to defend Norway in Canada in 1940. The historical significance of this object is evident from the fire instructions at the museum. In case of fire, the fire department is instructed to save one specific object from the collections, namely the tablecloth.



Here is the list of names on it.

Little Norway duk alfabetisk[1]

For more on Little Norway…

Introduction Little Norway (Text Version)

Introduction Little Norway (PDF Version)

Little Norway – Part One (Text Version)

Little Norway – Part One (PDF Version)

Little Norway – Part Two (Text Version)

Little Norway – Part Two (PDF Version)

Found his deceased father’s signature — The National Norwegian Aviation Museum

This is the story behind David Wold’s contribution to Preserving the Past II.


American David Wold wanted to find traces after his father’s time in “Little Norway”. The Norwegian Aviation Museum assisted him and found his father’s name on the famous tablecloth of World War II.

– Since mother and father passed away, we’ve been unable to talk to them about their lives. We became really interested in getting to know their past. When I heard of this tablecloth, I really wanted to find out if dad had signed it, says David Wold.

The tablecloth he speaks of is one of the museum’s most valuable artifacts, consisting of 683 embroidered signatures from those who traveled to defend Norway in Canada in 1940. The historical significance of this object is evident from the fire instructions at the museum. In case of fire, the fire department is instructed to save one specific object from the collections, namely the tablecloth.

David’s parents

More later about David’s contribution.

The National Norwegian Aviation Museum – Update

Posted last November

About Little Norway

More later on.

This is part of Little Norway history here:

American two-seater training aircraft for beginners


This trainer was originally developed for the American Army Air Force (USAAC) in 1939. The aircraft factory Fairchild designated it M-62, but during the war the aircraft type was further developed and given the American designations PT-19, PT-23 and PT-26. The external difference originally was that they had respectively an open cockpit (PT-19) and enclosed cabin (PT-26). PT stands for ‘Primary Trainer’. In total 8,130 of these aircraft, in different variants, were built by Fairchild Cornell.

After the battles in Norway during the second world war were over, a training camp known as “Little Norway” was established in Toronto, Canada. The Fairchild PT-19 Cornell was chosen as the training aircraft. In the early years 35 aircraft were purchased using Norwegian funds, or were received as gifts. From 1942 to 1944, 50 PT-26s were supplied on lease-lend conditions. After the war the Cornell was used as a trainer by the Flying School and as a communications aircraft by squadrons and stations. Between 1955 and 1958 all the aircraft were disposed of to civilian users.

The Royal Norwegian Air Force Museum’s Cornell was originally a Fairchild M-62B/PT-26. The aircraft was built under licence in Canada, taken over by the Norwegian authorities and marked with the registration 261 in “Little Norway”. After the aircraft came to Norway post-war it led a roaming existence between military and civil users. The aircraft crashed while landing at Hamar in 1952. It was later re-built using parts from a PT-19 and flew for a short time on the civil register as LN-BIS. Back with the RNoAF the aircraft was transferred to the Norwegian Defence Museum and chosen to convey the topic of the training camp “Little Norway” in the Royal Norwegian Air Force Museum.


The fuselage is painted light blue and the wings are in ‘training yellow’. On the top and bottom of the wings, and on the rudder, are bands in the Norwegian national colours. The aircraft has its registration number, 163, in white on each side of the fuselage. The name ”Spirit of Little Norway” is painted in yellow on the engine cowling.

As well as this…


The Vulgar Virgin


This 31” by 31” replica nose art painting was completed by the author on original B-25 WWII U.S. Navy aircraft skin, the green paint is original American wartime color. This is from a special private collection of Mr. Nose Art, Clarence Simonsen, and at age 76 years, the artist has decided to give his little nude “Petty Girl” a new home. She is for sale, but must have a good setting, and please keep her warm. This was painted in honour of the aircrew of “The Vulgar Virgin.” The November 1941, Esquire gatefold pin-up [below] is also included.

Clarence Simonsen

Contact form

Research by Clarence Simonsen

The Vulgar Virgin (PDF document)


Text version (with all images in the PDF document)

The Vulgar Virgin


This attractive lady appeared as the November 1941 gatefold issue of Esquire magazine, painted by the most famous illustrative pin-up artist in America, George Brown Petty IV. In his “Petty Girl” George created an American female icon, a full-figured beauty, all-color with a sensual look combining sophisticated sexuality with the American girl-next-door smile and sweetness. The Petty Esquire pin-up established the first fold-out [gatefold] for all future pin-up magazines, such as Playboy. These gatefolds reached new heights in popularity during World War Two, and became a major world wide aircraft nose art subject. First born, daughter Marjorie ‘Jule’ Petty [21 September 1919] became his family model plus the real living “Petty Girl” posing fully nude [1930-1948] for each and every original sketch and airbrush painting.


The Esquire cartoon nude, April 1935, was turning into the “Petty Girl” pin-up of 1937.


The American B-24 aircraft which the Petty Girl ‘Vulgar Virgin’ appeared on was one of 18,482 Liberators constructed between 1939 and 1945, designated as they were built at five American factories. The Consolidated Vultee Model 32 Liberator prototype first flew on 29 December 1939, and was put into production in September 1940, for the British, [164 bombers] and French [120 bombers] governments. When France fell to Nazi Germany, their production order was taken over by the British and Canadian government orders. The B-24 progressed through several changes under British contracts before it went into large scale production for the U.S. Army Air Corps. When a change was made at a production factory that did not require a new model designation, the change appeared in the aircraft “block number.” The factories assigned block numbers in multiples of five, B-24D-20-CO, with an Air Corps Serial 41-24198. The last two letters identified the factory where each aircraft was built, [CO] Consolidated, San Diego, and [CF] Consolidated Fort Worth, [DT] Douglas, Tulsa, [NT] North American, Dallas, and [FO] Ford, Willow Run.


When the final aircraft production was withdrawn on 31 May 1945, the two Consolidated Vultee plants at San Diego and Fort Worth had produced over 10,000 B-24 Liberators. Between 1940 – 1942 these two plants manufactured 2,728 B-24D models including “The Vulgar Virgin.”


Image from Reid Stewart Austin collection 1996

The Consolidated, San Diego, California plant constructed one-hundred and eight B-24D-20 models in four different batches during June 1942.
Batch #1 – Thirty-nine aircraft serial numbers 41-24100 – 41-24138
Batch #2 – Sixteen aircraft serial numbers 41-24142 – 4-24157
Batch #3 – Eight aircraft serial numbers 41-24164 – 4124171
Batch #4 – Forty-five aircraft serial numbers 41-24175 – 41-24219
The factory block numbers for “The Vulgar Virgin” clearly appear in the above 1943 photo.


In the spring of 1942, American Air Force planners had agreed to schedule nine combat groups for the Middle East and North Africa campaigns, beginning in September. This was planned to allow the American Eighth Air Force B-17 Flying Fortress aircrews to become well established and trained for combat operations in England. On 15 June a crisis developed in North Africa, with the British port at Tobruk about to fall to Rommel’s Afrika Korps. Tobruk was a valuable prize, with water supply, military stores, and an excellent Mediterranean harbor, which British and Australian troops had captured just months before. By the end of June, the British forces had pulled back 300 miles from Tobruk, to make a last stand defence at El Alamein, and the fate of Egypt lay in their fighting skills. General Lewis Brereten, commanding the American Tenth Air Force in India, was at once ordered by Washington to gather every available heavy bomber and proceed to the Middle East. At the same time, three new stateside bomb groups received orders to prepare for movement to North Africa, and that’s how B-24D-20-CO serial number 41-24198 and the 98th Bomb Group arrived at Palestine in the last week of July 1942.

In 1926, the United States Army began to expand its air arm and many new groups were formed and activated. On 1 March 1935, the U.S. War Department established an important change in the combat organization of the air arm, creating General Headquarters Air Force, under command of an Air Force Officer. All the pursuit, bombardment, and attack units in the United States now came under control of a new organization called Air Corps. These units received an approved official unit insignia or air corps badge. The separation of the General Headquarters Air Force [combat organization] and the Air Corps [logistic organization] caused many serious problems in coordination. On 20 June 1941, the War Department created the U. S. Army Air Forces, with the General Headquarters and Air Corps renamed Air Force Combat Command. In January 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt asked Congress to strengthen America’s air power. By the time the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, [7 Dec. 1941] the USAAF had expanded from 30 active air force groups to 67, with many more in the process of being constituted.

The USAAF 98th Bombardment Group was constituted on 28 January 1942, and activated on 3 February 1942. The Group squadrons were 343rd, 344th, 345th, and the 415th, which all trained in the early production model B-24 bombers. Formed at MacDill Field, Florida, 3 February 1942, training commenced at Barksdale Field, La, late February 1942. Flight training took place at Fort Myers, Fla, 30 March 1942, and lastly at Drane Field, Fla, 15 May to 3 July 1942. On 16 June 1942, the American assembled air arm near Cairo, Egypt, was given the official title United States Army Forces in the Middle East [USAFIME], containing a small number of American B-17s [nine] and [twelve] B-24 bombers, desperately needed to boost the British defence against the Desert Fox Rommel. Moving from Florida on 15 July 1942, the 98th [Pyramiders] ferried their new B-24D bombers across the South Atlantic route and began arriving at Ramat David, thirty-five miles east of Haifa, Palestine, on 25 July 1942, ready to join the 1st Provisional bombers in the United States Army Middle East Air Force.


The 98th Bomb Group aircrew members designed and applied for their official insignia during training, and their new shield with motto “For Freedom” was approved on 29 July 1942. They began the Egypt-Libya campaign just five weeks after it began, wearing their new official insignia. The above insignia is believed to be the original correct colors; however, the zig-zag black line was mainly painted yellow in North Africa.


This image shows a 98th B.G. B-24D in the period markings for August 1942 in Palestine. The national insignia star was type 2, diameter of 20 inches, tail serial number ten inches from top of fin and painted in yellow, for B-24s produced at San Diego, California, and radio-call letter “X” in middle of fin 16 inches high. These B-24Ds were painted in a special camouflage officially known as Sand and called “Desert Pink.” As the hot Mediterranean sun bleached the aircraft surface, the yellow pigments faded and the aircraft turned into a strong pink color, known as desert pink or more commonly called “tittie pink.” The 98th Bomb Group were able to go directly into action, [1 August 1942] and for these new American airmen, this was their first experience coordinating close air support with mixed [Australian, New Zealand, Canadian] British ground forces. The British techniques soon proved popular with the new American fliers, and they became instrumental in liberating both the RAF and American Air Forces from direct control of ground commanders. Air and ground staff in the British system shared the same headquarters and desert environment living quarters. This allowed the 98th to observe first hand the complex techniques of air-ground coordination which the British had developed over years of fighting in the Western Desert.

The American Egypt-Libya Theatre of war officially began on 11 June 1942, when the small Halverson Detachment equipped with twenty-five B-24 bombers began operations in the Middle East. American leaders had originally agreed that the Middle East was a British responsibility, however now American air support was essential for the region to remain in Allied hands. The 98th flew their first mission from Palestine on 1 August 1942, attacking Rommel’s fuel and oil supply convoy 90 miles north of Benghazi, Libya. They moved to St. Jean, Palestine, on 21 August, attacking German shipping convoys that same day and 29 August west of the island of Crete. The 98th continued to bomb shipping and harbor installations in Libya, Tunisia, Sicily, Italy, and Crete. From 25 October to 5 November they took part in the Battle of El Alamein and helped stop Rommel in his drive towards the Suez Canal. On 11 November 1942, the 98th flew to their new assigned RAF landing ground at Fayid or [Fayed], Egypt. The next day Lt. General Frank M. Andrews assumed command of United States Army Forces in the Middle East. His first act was to dissolved the [USAMEAF] United States Army Middle East Air Force and established the Ninth Air Force. [12 November 1942] Below – RAF base [tent city] at Fayid, Egypt in 1942, where the 345th and 415th B. Squadrons were based until 25 January 1943. The 343th and 344th Squadrons were based at Kabrit, Egypt, until March 1943.


On 8 November 1942, operation TORCH, the Anglo-American amphibious invasion of western North Africa began, and the Axis armies found themselves squeezed between the two Allied desert offensives. In February 1943, the British, with American air support, pushed across Libya, and the Egypt-Libya campaign ended on 12 February 1943.

The following three images were taken by a German Luftwaffe [POW] member during an Allied air attack on German base at Berka, [Benghazi, Libya], appearing in a Canadian newspaper “The Standard” Montreal, 26 September 1942. [author collection]


As British Air Superiority in the western desert grows daily they are striking harder and harder at Luftwaffe bases. These series of photos taken from a captured German show RAF bombs bursting among Ju 82’s at a Nazi aerodrome at Berka. Germans probably named the base after a German town 150 miles southwest of Berlin. Allied planes also blast Nazi convoys in the Mediterranean. The Germans built three aerodromes south-west of Benghazi, all named Berka #1, #2, and #3.


Number 20 was Berka #1, 19 was Berka #2, and 18 was Berka #3. Number 21 was Lete, #22 was Benina North and #23 was Benina, where the Ninth Air Force were later based.



Luftwaffe groundcrew scamper over the runway toward undamaged gasoline drums as RAF bombs turn a German troop carrying Ju 52 into a blazing hulk. A Me 110 can be seen in the air above the volumn of dense smoke coming from the burning wreckage.



As more RAF bombs smash home, a whole nest of Ju 52’s goes up in smoke. Nazis have rushed a firefighting truck on the field in a vane attempt to control the fire and save something from wreckage. Two unexploded bombs lie on the field in the forground.


An American soldier examines two German 88 mm cannons which they destroyed before retreating from Egypt, July 1942. These images were possibly taken around Sidi Barrani, landing ground #2 in Egypt. The RAF operated over 120 landing ground desert strips in Egypt, summer of 1942.


The Canadian newspaper recorded American Black soldiers in the Ninth Air Force, something U.S. magazines avoided, 26 September 1942.


The American Ninth Air Force in Egypt, November 1942, the beginning of the push into Libya.


In the last week of January 1943, the four squadrons of the 98th Bomb Group began movement west from Egypt to RAF bases in the Libyan desert. The 345th Squadron arrived at Tobruk, landing ground Gubbi West on 25 January. The 415th B. S. followed, arriving Tobruk, landing ground Gubbi East on 25 January. The 343rd B. S. arrived at landing ground Gambut, Libya, on the last day of January. The 344th B.S. remained at RAF Kabrit until 3 March 1943, then flew to landing ground Lete, just east of Benghazi, Libya, on 4 March 1943. The 98th Bomb Group Headquarters moved to landing ground Benina, Libya, on 9 February 1943, and her two squadrons 345th and 415th were based 436 k/m east at Tobruk, Libya.
The Egypt-Libya Desert Campaign was one of the smaller, less well known U.S. Army Air Force battles in WWII. This campaign made a major contribution of the first Anglo-American cooperation for the later, and much larger combined endeavors in the European conflict.


In April 1943, LIFE magazine dispatched reporters to Benghazi, Libya, and six full pages appeared in the 17 May 1943 issue, eleven on the Ninth Air Force.





This young woman on the plane of Lieut. Jack K. Wood of Wichita Falls, Texas, has seen a lot of action in Tunisia. Name “The Vulgar Virgin” was picked by squadron vote. LIFE magazine.

This Petty Girl nude gatefold appeared in the November 1941 issue of Esquire magazine, the same week George Petty’s wife [Jule] and daughter [Marjorie] the living Petty Girl, were steaming toward Hawaii for a deserved five-week holiday. Their ship “Lurline” sailed for San Francisco on Friday, 5 December 1941, and two days later the captain called all passengers to the salon and informed them Pearl Harbor had been bombed. The two Petty Girl’s were going to war.


In October 1940, artist Alberto Vargas was signed to a three-year contract by Esquire magazine and slowly George Petty learned he would be sharing the spotlight in the magazine beginning January 1941. This complete history can be read on many websites and the excellent book “Petty” by Reid Stewart Austin. The Esquire paintings by Petty in 1941 are considered to be some of his best in both grace and nudity, direct artist competition can cause that. Above is the last Petty gatefold to appear in Esquire, December 1941, and now Alberto Vargas [Varga Girl, the “s” was dropped] would take over. A generation of American and Canadian males had grown up with the Petty Girl pin-up on their walls and now the acceptance of these early gatefolds allowed her to coast through the war years. Thousands of RAF pilots trained in Canada, and were exposed to the Petty Girl, combined with RCAF aircrew who accepted the Petty painted girls in the mid-1930s, then took her to war. Many of these 1937 to 1940 calendar Petty Girls in fact first appeared in North Africa on British RAF aircraft flown by Allied pilots.


[author collection]



[author collection]


This North African B-24D carried the title “Cielito Lindo” a most famous 1882 Mexican song which is translated into Pretty Little Sky. The full nude on a swing came from the September 1941 Petty Girl gatefold in Esquire magazine, appearing as nose art on many American aircraft.

In the Middle East a handful of British permanent aerodromes had been developed and constructed between the two world wars. However, the majority of combat missions flown in North Africa during WW II were conducted from temporary Landing Grounds, and the RAF numbered over five-hundred such locations. As soon as the Axis forces had been defeated in North Africa, these temporary Landing Grounds were abandoned and quickly reclaimed by the desert sands. The RAF now concentrated on a chain of selected landing grounds along the coast, and these were slowly improved with the erection of permanent buldings and paved runways. Many of these bases had been first occupied by the Italians, Germans, and British forces a number of times. Bengasi, Libya, was captured from Rommel by the British on Christmas Day 1941, then a month later the Germans recaptured it and held it until November 1942, when Mongomery again permanently kicked the German Army out, supported by 98th B.G. air power. Bengashi was home to three major RAF landing grounds, L.G. Benina, which was located 21 k/m east of Benghazi, and L.G. Benina [North] located next door just 1.5 k/m away. The third L.G. was Lete, located 5 k/m west of Benina, constructed by both Germans and British. On 9 February 1943, 98th B.G. Headquarters moved to L.G. Benina, Libya, with the 343rd B.S. and 344th B.S. moving to L.G. Lete on 3 and 4 March 1943. This was during the middle of the Tunisia campaign when the Allies were fighting to take Tunis and Bizert, before the Germans could send reinforcements to Tunisia. In late-July 1943, photographer and author Ivan Dmitri flew into Benghazi, Libya, and recorded the history of the Ninth Air Force in action color, appearing in his book Flight to Everywhere, published 1944.


Rommel’s Rubbish. All that’s left of a Nazi plane rots in the desert while in the background a Ninth Air Force B-24D starts on a new mission.


31The Other Fight – Dust storms. B-24D-85-CO, serial 42-40657, 376th B.G. became “GI Ginnie.”


The 376th [Heavy] Bomb Group was activated at Lydda, Palestine on 31 October 1942, and began B-24D operations immediately. Their unofficial badge was created during combat at Abu Sueir, Egypt, featuring a stylized yellow winged sphinx, on red sand, with a yellow 500 lb. bomb pointed downward from a dark blue sky, with motto – LIBERANDOS. Their four squadrons in 1942-45 were 512th, 513th, 514th and 515th B.S. [This WWII badge was not officially approved until 8 November 1951, while equipped with B-29s in SAC] Aircraft #100 B-24D-85-CO, serial 42-40664, was named Teggie Anne and became the Command Aircraft on the Ploesti raid 1 August 1943. They flew out of Gambut, 1 Jan. 1943, Soluch, 22 Feb. and arrived at Bengasi, Libya, on 6 April 1943, where this image was taken three months later. The bomber nose art name “Teggie Anne” was only painted on the port side.


Twilight on the desert. B-24D Liberators from the 376th B.G. dispersed for miles along the Libyan coast, comprise the fighting strength of IX Bomber Command. B-24D #41 was assigned to the 513th Bomb Squadron, wearing the official approved emblem, a gold stylized falcon riding a 500 lb. light brown aerial bomb, over a black diamond with yellow trim. They arrived at Bengasi, Libya, on 6 April 1943.


In Rommel’s Seat. General Ent, center, occupies seat in War Room where Rommel worked.



Captured Italian truck with four-wheel drive put to good use by Ninth Air Force.


Those letters from home. A real floor in the tent, a bomb-fin casing for a table. What more could any American airmen ask?


New arrivals prepare for life of war, sand, and scorpions, setting up tent.


Mess kits and cooking utensils must be rinsed in boiling water to keep tropical germs at bay.



B-24D serial 41-23661, 98th B.G., 345th Bomb Squadron, Black Jack, “Roll them bombs.”


Beneath a 1000-pounder, crew member dusts sand from ammo to prevent possible fouling.

The Ninth Air Force flew their last mission to Rome on 19 July 1943, and the following day began intensive training on the desert east of Benghazi, Libya.


This was the target practice area where the outlines of Ploesti targets were traced in the desert sand.



Some of the Ninth Air Force nose art was recorded in color – “Homesick Susie” 42-40409, “Little Joe” serial 41-24195, 98th B. G. 415th B. Squadron, “Ubangi Webangi” serial unknown and “The Little Gramper” serial 42-40722, painted by nose artist Staff/Sgt. Charles Cavage. They all went to Ploesti on 1 August 1943.



The B-24D “Ubangi Webangi” had a sister ship named “Ubangi Bag” serial 41-24194, “B” with the same nose art painted on both sides, 415th Bomb Squadron. Nose artist S/Sgt. Cecil Lippard.

On 1 August 1943, 178 Consolidated B-24 Liberator bombers took off on a 2,700-mile round trip to bomb Ploesti, Romania. One-hundred and sixty-four bombers reached the target, and fifty-four did not return. Forty-one were lost to enemy action and fourteen to other causes, including eight interned in Turkey. A total of 1,725 airmen took part in this mission and 540 were lost in the skies over Ploesti, 310 killed in action. The tragedy of Ploesti has been published in hundreds of books and websites, measured only in the American airmen’s courage with no decisive combat results, or drop in German WWII oil supply.


The 389th Bomb Group [Heavy] “The Sky Scorpions” was activated on 24 December 1942, trained for overseas duty in the B-24 bomber, and arrived at Hethel, England, 11 June 1943. Almost immediately the 389th was loaned to the Ninth Air Force in North Africa, where they arrived at Bengashi, Libya, 3 July 1943, and prepared for the raid on Ploesti, Romania. This image was taken just before take-off, showing the nose art on “Wolf-Waggin,” [name recorded by Ivan Dmitri in 1943], B-24D-95-CO, serial 42-40775. She survived the trip to Ploesti and returned to temporarily combat in Tunisia on 25 August 1943, returning to England in October 1943.

The 389th B.G. had the least losses of all the Ploesti attacking groups, only six B-24s were lost from twenty-six attacking bombers.



At dawn [06:00 hrs] on Sunday, 1 August 1943, the first of 178 Liberators “Wingo-Wango” took off for the three-hour flight across the Mediterranean towards Ploesti.


Unknown B-24D pilot concentrates on flight to Ploesti, Romania.



The 98th Bomb Group [Pyramiders] were led by a tough, professional pilot from Texas, Colonel John R. Kane, [center] who carried the nickname “Killer.” This image [with his crew] was somewhat misleading as iron man Kane was never loved by his men, and was described as never fitting the image of today’s ‘officer and gentleman.’ Cold and ruthless, he was just as courageous, an amazing war leader of the Ninth Air Force in North Africa 1943. Kane crashed Hail Columbia “V” 41-11825 at RAF Station Nicosia, Cyprus. [below 2 Aug. 43]


The 1 August 1943, 98th B. G. flight crews which attacked Ploesti oil refineries, lead by [yellow marked] 344th B.S. Col. Kane in 41-11825 aircraft “V” Hail Columbia. B-24D #9, Nespor 41-11768, “D” Kickapoo, turned back and crashed, Gaston 41-11656, “H” Rowdy II, turned back, #2, Arens 41-11803 “E” Rosie Wreck’em, turned back, and #10 Edwards, 41-11040 “F” Big Operator, turned back. Circles B-24D #7 Hinch 41-24197 “A” Tagalong, and #6 Neeley 41-11819 “G” Raunchy, were both shot down over target. Four survived [#1 Kane 41-11825 “V”, #2 Hadley 41-24311 “L”, Hadley’s Harem, #5 Banks 41-40208 “K”, Sad Sack, and #8 LeBrecht 41-11761 “I”, The Squaw, only four out of the first nine aircraft, returned to land at RAF Station Nicosia, Cyprus.


Section “E” was a mix of squadron aircraft, two turned back, six attacked the target and only Lt. Weisler in a B-24D #026 “B” named “Baby” survived, landing at RAF Nicosia, Cyprus. “The Vulgar Virgin” never came out of the target smoke and flames, missing in action.
The five groups of B-24s aircraft took off 30 seconds apart, with the 98th Bomb Group [Sections A to E] in the third assigned group. The first 98th B.G. B-24D to become airborne at 07:09 hrs were 344th Bomb Squadron serial 41-24198, “The Vulgar Virgin” piloted by Capt. Wallace C. Taylor. [Missing in Action]


Lt. Weisler, B-24D serial 41-24026, named “Baby” followed at 07:10 hrs. [landed Cyprus]
Lt. Colchagoff, B-24D serial 41-11733, “Skipper” time 07:11 hrs. [Turn back – gas tank leak]
Col. Kane, B-24D serial 41-11825, “Hail Columbia” time 07:14 hrs. [landed Cyprus]
Lt. Arens, B-24D serial 41-11803, “Rosie Wreck’em” time 07:15 hrs. [Turn back – landed Malta]
Lt. Hadley, B-24D serial 41-24311, “Hadley’s Harm” time 07:16 hrs. [landed Cyprus]
Lt. Gaston, B-24D serial 41-11656, “Rowdy II” time 07:18 hrs. [Turned back – gas tank leak]
Lt. Banks, B-24D serial 41-24208, “Sad Sack”time 07:19 hrs. [landed Cyprus]
Lt. Neeley, B-24D serial 4-11819, “Raunchy” time 07:20 hrs. [Missing in Action]
Lt. Hinch, B-24D serial 41-24197, “Tagalong” time 07:21 hrs. [Missing in Action]
Lt. Le Brecht, B-24D serial 41-23795 “Sneezy” time 07:22 hrs. [landed Cyprus]
Lt. Nespor, B-24D serial 41-11768, “Kickapoo” time 07:23 hrs. [crash landing] Just after becoming air-borne 1st. Lt. Robert Nespor lost an engine with flames shooting out. Nespor turned around and headed back to base which was still obscured with clouds of red desert sand caused by all the bombers taking-off. Kickapoo landed, roughly bounced a couple of times, then over-shot striking a concrete telephone pole at the end of the runway.



Only navigator Polivka [left] and gunner Garner escaped the burning B-24D bomber.

Lt. Edwards, B-24D serial 41-24040, “What’s Cooking Doc” [Big Operator] time 07:24 hrs. [Turn back – #3 super-Charger out] The last B-24D in the 344th B. Squadron to take-off, then turned back, touching down at landing ground Lete, Libya, at 14:55 hrs.


Internet B-24 nose art collection

Killer Kane’s Pyramiders lifted off with forty-eight B-24D aircraft, in minutes “Kickapoo” crash landed, six others turned back, and now forty-one joined the others and headed for Ploesti. 165 of the original 178 Ninth Air Force aircraft hugged the sea for the first three-hour leg of the journey. The Pindus Mountains necessitated a climb to fourteen thousand feet where the next image was taken by photographer Ivan Dmitri.


With Col. Kane at the controls “Hail Columbia” entered the smoke and flame inferno, forty bombers followed, only twenty-three of the 98th Bomb Group B-24D bombers came out of the target area smoke. Eighteen bombers were shot down, one-hundred and eighty men killed or POWs. The cost to the Ninth Air Force for 30 minutes’ work was, indeed, too high, 54 bombers lost. Of the 164 Liberators which struck the target, 41 were lost to enemy action. Only 88 B-24D bombers returned to land at Benghazi, and barely half were still flyable. Fifty-five had been heavily damaged. Two hundred and sixteen American bodies were recovered with one-hundred and eighty-six captured.

LIFE magazine reported the raid on 30 August 1943, very brief in content.


Photos taken on 2 August 1943 by Ivan Dmitri recording the extent of damage.






B-24D serial 41-11766, “Chug-A-Lug” took six direct flak hits, instantly killing the engineer/gunner, but she made it home.


“Daisy Mae” serial 41-11815, had her tail shot-up, Sgt. Lewis M. Shields and T/Sgt. Chas J. Cammock repair the tail turret. Tail gunner Sgt. Nick Hunt from Las Animas, Colo. survived this 20 mm explosive shell.



Close-up of tail fin damage to “Daisy Mae” [nose art from internet] which somehow made it home to Lete, Libya.


This B-24D was in the 93rd B. G. called “Lucky” and the Panda Bear insignia was approved for the 409th B. Squadron on 16 February 1943. The Panda lived up to the bomber name, as the Ploesti flak hole [repaired and painted over] just missed the little running bear.



The B-24D repairs on 55 aircraft took weeks as some bombers had major flak damage.

In the fifty-five B-24s which returned to Bengasi, 54 aircrew members were wounded.



In September 1943, Jack Benny and his USO troop show landed at Bengasi and the special guests were housed in the officer’s mess, with fully topless pin-up wall art. Movie star Anna Lee talks with the Ninth Air Force officers, while her ‘look-a-like’ smiles from the wall.


These original buildings had been headquarters for the “Desert Fox” Rommel.


Blues singer Wini Shaw confers with Col. Nero [middle] and Col. Compton making plans for the evening outdoor show.



Jack Benny and Wini Shaw with the Ninth Air Force members after the evening open-air performance. Note the Corporal on Wini’s right who has turned away from the camera, possibly not wanting his wife back in the U. S. to see what is going on in North Africa.


Jack Benny has a B-24D named after him, serial 41-24112.


Jack Benny USO performer “Birdie Dean” becomes a living Ninth Air Force bomber pin-up girl. The Naples-Foggia campaign began on 18 August 1943, and continued until 21 January 1944. New B-24 bombers were arriving for the Ninth Air Force, joining Allied bombardment of communications and airfields in Italy. After the invasions of Sicily and Italy, the Ninth Air Force was ordered to England 3 October 1942. They would now become the tactical air force for the invasion of the Continent. Some of these new Libya painted B-24D desert nose art gals would become famous later in England, such as “Sack-Time Sally” of the 389th Bomb Group, 565th B. Squadron. This B-24D-95-CO serial 42-40749 took part in the 1 August raid on Ploesti, [without any nose art] and flew out of Bengasi from 3 July to 27 August 1943. The nose art nude was painted in early September possibly by ground crew artist S/Sgt. Cecil O. Lippard, taken from the September issue of Esquire “Varga” pin-up girl. Vargas [dropped the ‘s’] and took over from George Petty in January 1942 issue of Esquire.




The 565th began operations from Massicault, Tunisia, 20 September 1943, so that dates this image first two weeks in September at Bengasi, Libya.


American Air Museum Britain UPL15278

“Sally” flew from Hethel, England, and was shot down over Holland, on 26 November 1943. More detailed history can be found on the American Air Museum Britain website.


During the summer of 1943, two veteran B-24D bombers which survived the air war in North Africa, were sent home for American War Bond tours. This presented a major nose art nudity problem for the folks back home in the United States.


A most famous Ploesti survivor B-24D-20-CO, 41-117671, 98th Bomb Group, 343rd B. Squadron, with original painted nose art recorded on 16 mm film in July 1943, at Libya.


This little native nude flew with “The Vulgar Virgin” part of the infamous Ploesti raid on 1 August 1943, and survived seventy-three missions in North Africa. However, you could never show this to the American public [even in today’s museum’s 2020] so, the original nose art was [censored] repainted for her war bond tour.


This is the “fake” 1943 nose art painted on B-24D-2-CO, serial 41-11761, “The Squaw.” The full history can be found on a number of websites, but thanks to the internet, plus many professional model builders, the true history can now be told and shown in B-24D decals.


The true tragedy of what actually took place over Ploesti on 1 August 1943 would not be fully understood until postwar interviews were conducted with 186 American P.O.W. airmen.


The Bomb Group’s mix-up and military nightmare which took place afterwards has been recorded many, many, times and need not be repeated in detail here. The leading group to attack Ploesti were the 376th B.G. [twenty-nine B-24D] followed by the 93rd B.G. with thirty-nine bombers. These two groups made a turn too early, mistaking Targoviste for the [Initial Point] at Floresti, twenty miles further north/east. This pointed the two groups towards Bucharest, becoming the most fatal incident of the entire mission. The 389th B.G. [twenty-six B-24D] left the other four groups at the city of Pitest, [Initial Point] and at five hundred feet struck their targets at Campina. The 98th B.G. [forty-one B-24D] and 44th B.G. [thirty-six] bombers followed the correct flight plan, taking them directly over a heavily armed German flak train “Die Raupe” [caterpillar] on the main line from Floresti to Ploesti, which damaged several Liberators, shooting down seven B-24Ds in Killer Kane’s 98th Bomb Group. This German flak train [camouflaged as freight train] with a full head of steam, literally chased the two Bomb Groups towards Ploesti.
Col. Kane at the controls of “Hail Columbia” led thirty-four B-24s [the German flak train shot down seven bombers] of the 98th B.G. into the intense heat and flame of the target area, but only nineteen escaped the inferno and intense flak, twenty-two were shot down.
B-24D-20-CO “The Vulgar Virgin” led the last “E” Section of six bombers [two turned back] into the target and only Lt. Weisler in “B” serial #026 came out of the smoke and flame. Five B-24D aircraft were shot down.


The only survivor from B-24D, serial 41-24198 “The Vulgar Virgin” was the pilot Capt. Wallace C. Taylor. On 15 October 1945, Major [promoted postwar] #0-729382 Wallace Taylor was interrogated by 1St. Lt. Lucille Caldwell and the following was stated:
The Vulgar Virgin was flying as lead aircraft in “E” section of the 98th Bomb Group attacking formation. Over the target the bomber took a direct flak hit in the nose section and burst into flames. Capt. Taylor pulled out of the formation –

“I immediately called the nose and tail but could not contact either one. I then gave the bail out order and rang the alarm bell. I saw the co-pilot, engineer, and assistant engineer bail out. I do not know what happened to the other members of the crew. I bailed out and landed in the vicinity of Ploesti. I left the plane when those with me were out and it was impossible to stay longer in the flames and heat.”


F/O Paul W. Packer, Co-pilot [KIA], 1st Lt. Jack K. Wood, Navigator [KIA], 1st. Lt. Robert N. Austin, Bombardier [KIA], T/Sgt. Gerald E. Rabb, Engineer/top gunner, [KIA], T/Sgt. Alfred F. Turgeon, Radio Operator/left waist gunner [KIA], S/Sgt. Ralph M. Robbins, Gunner/asst. engineer [KIA], S/St. Louis Kaiser, Right waist gunner [KIA], S/Sgt. Donald H. Duchene, Tail gunner [KIA], Sgt. Arthur B. Van Kleek, Tunnel gunner, [KIA].
More than eighty brave American flyers who perished on that “Black Sunday” remain unrecovered.


This 31” by 31” replica nose art painting was completed by the author on original B-25 WWII U.S. Navy aircraft skin, the green paint is original American wartime color. This is from a special private collection of Mr. Nose Art, Clarence Simonsen, and at age 76 years, the artist has decided to give his little nude “Petty Girl” a new home. She is for sale, but must have a good setting, and please keep her warm. This was painted in honour of the aircrew of “The Vulgar Virgin.” The November 1941, Esquire gatefold pin-up [below] is also included.

“Oh, General, I bet you tell that to all the spies!”

The Power of American Aviation comics in the 1950s (PDF document)

Research by Clarence Simonsen

The Power of American Aviation comics 1950

See the link to a F-22 video at the end…

Text version (no images)

The Power of American Aviation comics

in the 1950s

Born on the farm in rural Alberta, Canada, 24 March 1944, I had no idea young Canadian artists drew, and Toronto publishers printed ‘our’ own Canadian comic books titled “Whites.” On 6 December 1940, our government passed the “War Exchange Act,” which banned non-essential goods from being imported to Canada.  This in short prevented the import of American comic books and the Canadian “Whites” were born, named because they lacked the color associated with their American counterparts. Canadians could only afford to print the covers in color. Our comics had a similar theme based on fictional Canadian war heroes and patriotic Canadian attitudes towards the Second World War.

The artists were mostly young Toronto art students, who created their own adventures, the most famous became “Johnny Canuck” by Leo Bachle. The artist in fact created Johnny Canuck in his own image, fighting the evils of Germany and Japan.

By 1945, the Canadian whites had been printed in over 20 million copies, but their end was fast approaching. The War Exchange Act was dropped at the end of World War Two and soon the American publishing power, combined with the mighty U.S. dollar, moved in to destroy the Canadian “White “comics. During the war years 1940-45, Canadian youth enjoyed their American comic heroes, which were printed in Canada newspapers, while they read their new Canadian comic heroes from the newsstands. Canadians in fact had the best of two worlds. The original Canadian “Whites” survive today in Toronto, and University donated collections, while much more can be read online about our wartime lost comic book past.

In 1995, Canada Post released a set of five comic book superhero stamps and one immortalized for all time a modern superhero “Captain Canuck.” Created in the 1970’s by 19-year-old Canadian artist Ron Leishman and story line by Richard Comely, they restored a small part of our lost past. The original Captain Canuck art comic designs are now kept at the National Archives in Ottawa. In 1995, Ron Leishman was teaching art class at Woodman junior high school in Calgary, Alberta.

By the mid-1950’s, I was a normal Canadian farm boy, however, I was hooked on aviation and my first interest became Air Force comics, American comics, there was nothing else. These American ten cent comics were 99% Hollywood fiction in content, and these American heroes never lost a battle, and very few were ever killed. Then from time to time [very rare] a story appeared featuring the R.A.F. and British aircraft, but nothing Canadian. It took a while for the farm kid to learn we even had an Air Force and they were involved in WWII. I was growing up thinking like an American, being educated like an American, thanks to their domination of comics, and the total lack of anything Canadian or RCAF to educate me otherwise.

Original American comic – “Lucky Lady.”

The B-17 “Lucky Lady” was named after RAF Sgt. Ann Chambers, by the American pilot who loved her.

The best education I received from American comics was the fact they introduced me to WWII aircraft nose art’ and a special feature on military insignia, contained in many issues.

These simple pages were a very powerful inspiration, even today. [May 1958]

In 1958, I was fourteen years of age and beginning to separate fact from fiction, plus a powerful urge to learn more about our Canadian Aviation History. Somehow, I heard Canada had built a jetliner that was far ahead of its time, but it was cancelled by our government. Why? I sent a letter to the Toronto Star Weekly magazine and to my surprise they answered my question, for all Canadians to read.

This was the beginning of a long quest to save RCAF WWII nose art, and also learn what I could about our lost C102 Jetliner aircraft. In 1965, I graduated from the Metro. Toronto Police College and two years later found myself stationed at No. 23 Division in Etobicoke, just two miles from the Malton plant where the Jetliner was constructed. I joined the local Malton branch of the Canadian Legion and my research began, very slow but very serious. I toured the Malton plant [thanks to being a police officer] asked many questions, and recorded what I could. At Malton, I would first learn a very important research lesson, the hard way.

Born and raised on a quarter section of mixed farm land in southern Alberta featured lots of hard work and very little money, but growing up was good, and I learned the value of life and a full day’s work.  When John Diefenbaker was elected Prime Minister of Canada, my father and his local Acme, Alberta, farmers were overjoyed with the Tory government victory. I believed all of Canada felt the same way, boy was I wrong.

I honestly had no real idea of what P.M. John Diefenbaker had done to thousands of families in Malton and Toronto, when he scrapped the $400 million Avro Arrow program in 1959.  I soon learned to keep my mouth shut about Calgary, Alberta, the Tory government, and most of all our ex-P.M. Diefenbaker. The Tory decision to kill the Avro Arrow and then demolish every last aircraft will always remain a subject of very bitter controversy, forever. I soon found it was still being passed on from family to family; anger appears in many eyes, along with tears as they still speak in disbelief. I fully understand the dirt of politics today, but again, this was just so stupid “Canadian.” Afraid to step forward and believe in something created by fellow Canadians. We could not even protect, or save, our WWII comic book industry, while our best artists were absorbed into the United States and their powerful American comics. Canadians can’t hang onto symbols like our American neighbors and we allow our Liberal government to change our national emblems every few decades because it was too British. In 1951, federal Liberal politicians decided to get rid of the first commercial jetliner in North America, built by Canadians [taxpayers] and created for government owned Trans-Canada Air Lines. It’s the people of Canada who make our country great, yet it is always the political class who impose their values on the people of Canada without asking. Canadians are too quiet, subtle, and just too political polite [uninformed] to prevent politicians from tinkering with our country. That’s why the Avro Canada Jetliner was cancelled and scrapped. Canadians had no idea until it was just too late, and today we only have two aircraft cockpit sections from our past.

In 1974, I met a lady named Betty Schofield and learned her [deceased] father had worked on the Lancaster Mk. X, Jetliner, and Avro Arrow at Malton. He was one of over 13,800 aircraft workers who lost his job and he never fully recovered from this heartbreaking Canadian history. Hundreds of top Avro employees were quickly absorbed into the United States space program and helped put Americans on the Moon, while others were taken by the American aircraft industry. It was a double win for the Americans, as these new bitter Canadians soon became citizens of the U.S.A. and our jet technology was gone forever. Betty Schofield was kind enough to pass on many photos from her father’s collection in 1980, and then six years later the best book on the Avro Jetliner was published by Jim Floyd. This book titled – “The Avro Canada C102 Jetliner” is the bible on the real story behind the demise of our one and only jet transport aircraft. Jim Floyd stated –

“The Jetliner is without a doubt the major fiasco in the whole sweep of the history of Canadian technology.”

This undated photo was taken in the Avro Experimental Department, where the wood sub-assembly of the C102 Jetliner sections all came together. The real prototype is almost complete and only needs her engines installed, fall of 1948.

  [Betty Schofield – 1980]

This special lunch was held in late 1948, and the first engine test run was conducted on 24 June 1949. The people in the photo are not identified other than Mr. Schofield, location pinpointed by daughter Betty in April 1980. Middle of the table wearing a sweater with black trim, right hand on left arm, man to his right is wearing a dark suit.

The marry-up of the various sections went very smooth and everything fit properly. Some of the names in the photo are – Eric Peckham, [General Foreman] George Cross, Elmer Taylor, Norm Wootton, Stan Gooden, Russ Dicken, Merv Honsinger, Tommy Thomson, Bob Johnson, Henry Garside, and Dave Wagner.

[Betty Schofield – 1980]              Crash landing 16 August 1949

The first flight of the Jetliner took place on a Wednesday morning, 10 August 1949, and is described in detail in the book by Jim Floyd. The honour of flying the first jet transport in the world went to Britain’s de Havilland Comet airliner just thirteen days earlier. While the British jet had only hopped a few feet into the air, if was obvious they had beaten the Canadians to their world record. This first flight took place during the plant vacation shutdown and most of the workers who built the Jetliner were not present to witness this special event.

Due to the fact the plant employees were away on vacation a second flight was conducted on 16 August 1949 and this provided a spectacular unexpected crash landing [photo]. The attached history sheet with the above crash photo gives the date as 17 August 1949. This came from the 1956 book titled “Vapour Trails” by Mike Lithgow and possibly gives the wrong date for the crash landing of Jetliner C102.

It is important to note the control tower at Malton wanted the Avro Chief test pilot Jimmy Orrell to ditch the one and only Jetliner in Lake Ontario, and he stated – “Not Bloody Likely.” The damage was soon repaired and the Jetliner made her third flight on 20 September 1949.

On 10 March 1950, a CF-100 fighter and the new Jetliner were flown to Ottawa for a special official demonstration at Rockcliffe airfield.

The normal flight time from Malton to Rockcliffe was one hour and 40 minutes, the Jetliner made it in 38 minutes. The best was still to come, when the Mayor of New York, [Joe Morley] invited the new aircraft to appear in an American air show scheduled for 20 April 1950.

Up until this date, the C102 jetliner had been painted as seen in above photo image. For the special appearance in New York, the lettering “Canada’ was painted above the name Jetliner.

The crew and passengers of the historic first flight of a jet transport aircraft to the United States. Left to right – Mario Pesando, Jim Floyd, Bill Baker, Don Rogers, Mike Cooper-Slipper [pilot], Fred Smye, and Gordon McGregor, President of Trans-Canada Airlines. Note new painted – “CANADA.”

On 18 April 1950, Mike Cooper-Slipper flew the C102 Canadian Jetliner from Toronto to Idlewild, [now called Kennedy] International airport in New York.  The flight time was 59 minutes and Americans were stunned. An American photographer hired a helicopter, and while position over the Hudson River, captured the arrival of the Canadian Jetliner, with the New York skyline in the background. This image appeared on hundreds of newspaper and the aviation magazines, including Canadian Aviation, June 1950.

The Jetliner carried a special cargo of 15,000 airmail letters addressed to people all over the world. Each letter was officially stamped – Canada Post, “First Official Airmail” Jetliner Toronto to New York, and Canada had pulled off a first for the Canadian post Office in the aviation world.                       [author collection original letter]

During the four days the Canadian Jetliner was in New York, it made several local demonstration flights, which attracted huge publicity in both Canada and the United States. While the average Canadian had no idea what was going on, the Americans understood at once, and “Uncle Sam” was not pleased.  Several American newspapers ran commentary that was very critical of their own American aircraft industry, questioning how a nobody country like Canada could build and fly a top of the world jet transport aircraft. The top-selling American Aviation magazine “Air Trails” featured a full page editorial in their August 1950 edition. There was no doubt that Canada, in 1950-51, were years ahead of any other country in the world in design and development of her medium-range jet transport commercial airliner.

Yes – CANADA had designed and constructed the first Jet Transport in “AMERICA.”

Never again will a Canadian designed and constructed aircraft dominate the front cover of so many American publications.

The Korean War began in June 1950, and that is one of the reasons the Canadian Government gave for the cancelled of the Jetliner project. This chapter in Jim Floyd’s book makes for long and traumatic reading, but it in fact is only to me another political fiasco that destroyed Canadian aviation technology forever. The Liberal Government of Canada did not have the guts to take advantage of our Canadian lead in Jet Transport aviation, and Mr. C.D. Howe abandoned the Jetliner, which he in fact created with his Liberal government support and financial backing. In the fall of 1952, all funding for the jetliner was cancelled and no further flying was authorized. The Jetliner appeared in the 1953 and 1954 air shows at the Canadian National Exhibition on Toronto waterfront and then on 23 November 1956, flew her last check flight. The Jetliner was grounded immediately after this flight, and then ordered to be dismantled, as quickly and quietly as possible. The complete aircraft had first been given to the National Research Council in Ottawa, but they had no place to store the aircraft, and no brains to understand it was a one-of-a-kind, so it was scrapped. Two engines, the landing gear, and the cockpit were saved, placed into storage in Ottawa and forgotten.

In three short years the new rigid, paranoid government of P.M. John Diefenbaker would kill the complete Avro Arrow program and scrap the five aircraft produced and tested. Unforgiveable as this still is, Diefenbaker also ordered every blueprint, photo, film, document and trace of the Avro Arrow to be systematically destroyed.

Sorry Dief, but I still have one original memo pad from the Avro Arrow, even if I have no idea what it means.

This is Boeing B-47B, serial 51-2059, which was loaned to the RCAF in 1956 for Iroquois engine testing. Given RCAF number X059 she flew 35 hours of test flight, [Project North Wind] the only American B-47 to be flown by a foreign country

Diefenbaker was surely the most dominant Canadian political leader of that decade, but for all the wrong reasons. When he killed the Avro Arrow program, it turned out to be Canada’s biggest contribution to getting Americans on the Moon. The most important being when Dr. Werner von Braun surrendered his brains and Nazi rocket research to the Americans in May 1945. Other top Avro engineers went to Britain and helped develop the supersonic Concorde jetliner. The political backlash divided Canada, the government, and southern Ontario turned against the Conservatives. The elections in 1963 and 1965 produced unstable and ineffective minority governments. Canada lost half of its aerospace industry and most of its technological edge at the same time, plus it rendered Canada totally dependent on the United States for 80% of its defence needs. Ottawa had to quietly purchase 66 used Voodoo fighters from the United States for $260 million, and they were totally inferior to the Avro Arrow. In 1959, it was estimated $335 million was required to complete the Avro Arrow project. The most insane waste of Canadian taxpayer money was the purchase of the American Bomarc missile but without any warheads. They cost 1.2 million each in 1960, and “Dief” purchased 56 missiles.

Duncan Macpherson cartoon Toronto Star Ltd – title “Blast Off.”

The Diefenbaker Cabinet then somehow [wrongly] decided the Canadian Bomarc missiles should not be equipped with nuclear warheads, and they were filled with sand. This became an editorial cartoonist’s dream, and led to the collapse of the crazy Progressive Conservative government in 1963. The Liberal government under Lester Mike Pearson, wisely reversed their position on the nuclear warheads issue, and won the 1963 election. No. 446 SAM Squadron in North Bay, Ontario, and No. 447 SAM Squadron in La Macaza, Quebec, received fully operational American nuclear warheads in December 1963. Few Canadians understand this aviation history, even today.

Duncan Macpherson Toronto Star Ltd editorial cartoon 1961.

In 1972, the Department of National Defence closed both bunkers and the nuclear warheads were returned to the United States. Today the bunkers and facilities remain intact at both former sites. Three original Bomarc missile casings remain on display in Canadian museum’s, but none tell the true political facts or cost to Canadian taxpayer. You can also find an old American Voodoo fighter in almost every Canadian museum, again very short on telling their true history connected with our unforgiveable Avro Arrow past legacy. Most Canadians have no idea that many American aviation historians still enjoy a good laugh on what John Diefenbaker did to our world class aerospace industry.

Today more and more new generation immigrant Canadians are learning, thanks to the internet, this heartbreaking history of what might have been. [They will vote and form the next political Canada] This mess all began with the Liberal [C.D. Howe] destruction of the Avro Jetliner and finished with the Conservative cancellation and deliberate destruction of the Avro Arrows. It became the greatest social, economic, political, and military blunder that has ever befallen on Canadians and it involved both the Liberal and Conservative governments of Canada, imposing their values on an ill-informed Canadian public.  Today, [2020] many well researched aviation books tell the truth, if you have the heart and guts to read. The effects of 1959 can still be seen today, however, the majority of new Canadians are unaware as our major aviation [DND] museums do not educate or expose the complete truth.

 In 1958, Canadair Ltd. began to design and construct a jet aircraft intended for training Canadian pilots from elementary to wings parade. The first two prototypes were built as a private venture, with the first test flight on 13 January 1960. With the destruction of the Avro Arrow program the year before, Canada lost half her aerospace industry and technical experience, so the Canadair design team had no competition, and the RCAF [government] just ordered 190 Canadian trainer aircraft built. They were designated the CL-41A “Tutor” and the first, serial number 26001 was delivered to the RCAF on 16 December 1963. The last Tutor, serial 26190, was delivered on 28 September 1966. Today our “Canadian Ambassadors of the Sky”, the Snowbirds still fly the vintage Tutor, a last gasp of our past Canadian aviation industry. Today these same aircraft airframes are 55 to 57 years of age, old, vintage, unsafe jets from a forgotten Diefenbaker era.  The RCAF CF-18s are forty years of age, American jets P.M. Justin Trudeau’s father purchased in 1981. So, what did our Liberal government do, they purchased second-hand twenty-year-old American built CF-18’s from Australia.

If Canadians want the best trained pilots in the world, then our government must buy the best built aircraft in the world, and that will cost taxpayers big bucks.

Calgary Municipal Airport (PDF version)

Research by Clarence Simonsen

Calgary Municipal Airport

Click on the link above


Calgary TCA “McCall Field” and the Canadian “Speedbirds”

Calgary Municipal Airport 1

Undated color Post Card image was likely taken in postwar, showing [background north] No. 4 Hangar used by the RAF from 18 June 1941 to 10 March 1944.

The white [with blue trim] painted Calgary Municipal Trans Canada Airlines Terminal at [McCall Field] Airport was officially opened by the City of Calgary 25 September 1939. Due to the Canadian declaration of war against Germany on 10 September, the new airport now came under direct control of the Federal Department of Transportation. The airport was commonly known as TCA Airport, Calgary North or McCall Field until 24 January 1941, then it first appears on RCAF [No. 2 Wireless Flying School] Daily Diary records as RAF No. 35 SFTS, later renumbered No. 37 SFTS in October 1941.

In 1936, the Canadian Federal government created the Department of Transportation, headed by a dynamic Liberal Minister the Hon, Clarence Decatur Howe. Mr. C.D. Howe immediately set forth to establish a Trans-Canada airway system and organize a new airline to operate a flight schedule across Canada.

Calgary Municipal Airport 2

Word version (no images)

Calgary TCA “McCall Field” and the Canadian “Speedbirds”

Undated color Post Card image was likely taken in postwar, showing [background north] No. 4 Hangar used by the RAF from 18 June 1941 to 10 March 1944.

The white [with blue trim] painted Calgary Municipal Trans Canada Airlines Terminal at [McCall Field] Airport was officially opened by the City of Calgary 25 September 1939. Due to the Canadian declaration of war against Germany on 10 September, the new airport now came under direct control of the Federal Department of Transportation. The airport was commonly known as TCA Airport, Calgary North or McCall Field until 24 January 1941, then it first appears on RCAF [No. 2 Wireless Flying School] Daily Diary records as RAF No. 35 SFTS, later renumbered No. 37 SFTS in October 1941.

In 1936, the Canadian Federal government created the Department of Transportation, headed by a dynamic Liberal Minister the Hon, Clarence Decatur Howe. Mr. C.D. Howe immediately set forth to establish a Trans-Canada airway system and organize a new airline to operate a flight schedule across Canada.

The Canadian government plans were first published in Canada by Maclean’s magazine on 15 August 1936, “Wings for Tomorrow.” The full article can be read online.

Maclean’s magazine published Lockheed Electra model 10A, serial #1001, the prototype airliner which first flew on 23 February 1934, as X-233-Y. [ Free domain image – became NC-233Y]

On 10 April 1937, the new “Trans-Canada Air Lines Act” became Canadian law, while the construction of hundreds of airfields and emergency landing strips had commenced a year earlier. TCA was a monopoly airline controlled by the Canadian government owned CNR railway. It had no competitors when asking for a new air route from politicians in Ottawa. The new Western air route selected for trans-continental service ran east from Vancouver through the Crowsnest Pass to Lethbridge, Alberta, then stretched north to Calgary and Edmonton. The Calgary Municipal TCA hangar and terminal were built to service the new commercial aircraft built in Burbank, California, the Lockheed Electra Model-10A airliner.

The world famous Lockheed Electra Model-10-A was born in the fall of 1933, when three nationally known American aircraft designers, Robert Gross, Carl Squier, and Lloyd Shearman purchased a small bankrupt company named Lockheed Aircraft. The trio paid $40,000 which was a huge amount of money in the middle of the great depression. They also obtained all the tools, molds, and rights to build future aircraft designs on the old Lockheed files. One such design was an all metal 10 passenger single-engine fuselage and the second was a twin-engine transport aircraft. The two aircraft designs were reviewed, studied, and modified by Dr. Hall L. Hibbard who designed a new all-metal, twin-engine passenger monoplane. The new aircraft was christened “Electra” for one of the seven stars [seven sisters] Pleiades group found on the shoulder of Taurus the Bull. This new star became the official company logo with the motto “Look to Lockheed for Leadership.” In January 1933, Lockheed showed a net profit of $25,692 and some of these funds were used to design the new Electra model. In March 1933, the test model Electra was shipped to the University of Michigan for wind tunnel testing. A young student was working on his Masters of Science in Aeronautical Engineering, when he discovered the single fin and rudder of the Electra were inadequate for stable flight. Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson filed his report and was hired by Lockheed that same year. Kelly designed a new twin tail with two fins and new rudders, which cured the flight problems. The full scale Electra prototype X-233-Y flew on 23 February 1934. The aircraft had a 55 ft. wingspan, carried ten passengers, two crew, 450 lbs. of cargo and sold for $37,000, the lowest price of any multi-engine American airplane.

Clarence “Kelly” Johnson became Lockheed Chief Research Design Engineer in 1938, and designed nineteen of the best aircraft in the world. He managed Lockheed’s Advanced Development Projects Division at Area 51, [the Skunk Works], developed the F-104 double-sonic Starfighter, the high flying U-2 and the supersonic [Mach 3] SR-71. His genius in the design and production of state-of-the-art aircraft has yet to be equalled, even by the Russians. Few Canadians understand this renowned American Aero Engineer also gave Trans-Canada Airlines its first safe secure commercial airliner, on which all future Lockheed transports would be based, and TCA earned its first wings.

By July 1934, Lockheed had received contracts to build twenty-two Electra Model-10 airliners.

The Electra was born and Trans – Canada Air Lines will fly three different models of the Lockheed Airliner family. Design team were Dr. Hall Hibbard and Lloyd Shearman.

The Pleiades [seven sister stars] were included in the first February 1934 Lockheed Electra advertisement poster.

In just eighteen months the Lockheed Aircraft Company had been saved and the Electra Model-10 legend was born. The first customer of the Electra Model-10A serial #1001 became Northwest Airlines, [23 February 1934] Pan American Airlines, and Swissair followed, with flying operations beginning in 1935. The first two Canadian Electra’s were purchased by Mr. James Armstrong Richardson of Canadian Airways, in Winnipeg. [#1063, CF-AZY built by Lockheed 4 August 1936, and #1064, CF-BAF built 21 August 1936] purchased for $55,000 each.

This author water color was inspired by the front cover of American Aviation Weekly magazine for April 1934, featuring an early Lockheed Electra aircraft in flight. The Canadian Airways Ltd logo was added to honour James Armstrong Richardson, the father of Canadian trans-continental air service. Richardson was a pioneer of Canadian commercial aviation and his Canadian Airways was instrumental in creating the first trans-continental route and the government creation of Trans-Canada Air Lines, a monopoly airline, today Air Canada.

In December 1926, Richardson first formed Western Canada Airways Ltd., in his quest to expand and take control of Western Canadian Air Service.

Western Canada Airways Ltd. operated nine Fokker Universal commercial airliners on floats and winter time skies. Map drawn and photo taken in 1928.

His nine Fokker Universal commercial airliners were the first to carry the flying Canada Goose insignia created for Richardson’s new Winnipeg based company.

By 1929, Richardson had fifty-one single-engine aircraft piloted by war veterans and skilled northern bush fliers. He had built the back-bone of future Canadian commercial aviation.

In 1930, Richardson established Canadian Airways Ltd and his flying Goose became the trade-mark of his fast growing airline. By 1935, James Richardson had anticipated his Canadian Airways would be a front runner to operate the new planned government created Trans-Canada air route. On 29 September 1936, Richardson purchased two new Lockheed Model 10A Electra aircraft [CF-AZY and CF-BAF] and they were delivered to Boeing Field, Seattle, Washington. Both aircraft were painted with Canadian Airways new nose insignia of a flying Canada Goose, based to his original logo [above] and flew the first Canadian passenger route from Seattle, Washington, to Vancouver, B.C. in late 1936.

On 26 November 1936, Hon. [not really honorable in what he did to James Richardson] C.D. Howe announced a wholly new Canadian Airline would be formed and given the monopoly to operate across Canada. The dream of James Richardson died that day, as he fully understood, thanks to backroom political deals, he would never obtain his airliner permit to operate across Canada. James Richardson sold his two Electra airlines to the newly formed TCA and died from a broken heart [stress] in 1939. His little Canada Goose had in fact made Canadian aviation history and went on to become the trademark of Canadian Pacific Airlines. Years later, the same Canada Goose would for a second time be swallowed by Canadian Government politics and that giant bird Air Canada. This Canadian Airways Ltd Goose aircraft logo carried the first Lockheed Electra Airline passengers in Canada, and now CF-AZY would carry the first TCA Canadian “Speedbird” insignia. TCA paid $55,234.00 for Electra CF-AZY and $63,618.00 for CF-BAF, which originally cost James Richardson $55,000 each.

I believe this is very close to the Canadian Airways insignia [above] on Electra CF-AZY.
The first Canadian TCA purchased Lockheed Model-10-A was serial number 1112, a 1937 constructed Electra delivered to Trans-Canada Airlines on 6 October 1937, registered as CF-TCA, Fin #23. She flew passenger service beginning 1 April 1939, then was sold to the RCAF 21 September 1939, given military serial #1526. Loaned back to TCA 22 July 1941, as CF-BTD, flew six months, struck off strength by RCAF 2 May 1946. In postwar SN-1112 was sold to Wisconsin Central Airlines, Truax Field, Wisconsin, resold to Miami, Florida, owner and flew operations into Mexico, crash landing in Mexico City. The full history can be found on internet websites. Purchased by mechanic Lee Koepke in 1962, she was slowly rebuilt to flying condition. In 1967, the thirty-year-old Electra N-79237 was flown by Lee, William Polhemus and pilot Ann Pellegreno retracing the Amelia Earhart’s route in her ill-fated special built Electra NR-16020.

In 1968, Lockheed Electra 1112 was purchased by Canada’s Aviation and Space Museum where this rare American/Canadian Aviation history is preserved today as the original CF-TCA, sadly wearing the wrong period TCA “Speedbird” Maple Leaf nose insignia.

This is Lockheed Model 10-A serial 1112, TCA number 23, wearing her correct nose insignia for 1938. Port side correct nose insignia markings in color painted to scale by author.

The Canadian public were introduced to the new TCA Lockheed Electra artwork on the front cover of Maclean’s magazine, 1 June 1939. Painted by Eric Aldwinckle [22 January 1909 – 13 January 1980] British born and immigrated to Canada at age fifteen years. He was a self-taught artist who developed a Deco art style, enlisted in the RCAF in 1942, and became an official War Artist the following year. His starboard [above] TCA art deco bird is facing the wrong direction.

The Art Deco bird logo painted on top of the new Canadian Maple Leaf TCA insignia was called a “Speedbird.” The first Speedbird was painted by another famous British artist who created many Art Deco designs in United Kingdom. Theyre Lee-Elliott [28 May 1903 – 24 December 1988] created the original “Speedbird” aircraft design, for British Imperial Airways in 1932, poster seen below left. The British Speedbird design logo is recorded as first appearing on the nose of an Imperial Airways Short S. 30 Flying Boat in 1938.

On 4 August 1939, Imperial Airways merged with British Airways, and formed British Overseas Airways Corporation with the Speedbird aircraft insignia becoming their copyright BOAC Trademark, plus the world-wide company aircraft call sign. BOAC decided to paint the logo on their airliners [September 1939] and aviation Speedbird history was created. [Possibly thanks to TCA Lockheed Electra’s having first painted a Canadian yellow designed “Speedbird” on their Lockheed Electra airliners] Trans-Canada Air Lines was created 10 April 1937, and the new aviation company hired American Philip Johnson [Past President of United Airlines] to form TCA, becoming Vice-President of airline operations. Johnson hired an artist to create a new TCA insignia for the Electra aircraft and employee’s uniforms. A long-forgotten Canadian artist painted a multi-color Maple Leaf [for Canada] with the yellow letters TCA, and then he decided to top it off with an Art Deco “Speedbird” design. Not wishing to steal the original copyright design created by British artist Theyre Lee-Elliott, he created his own Canadian Speedbird logo. I guess Canadian TCA President James S. Hungerford liked his new design as it was painted on Lockheed Electra Model 10-A, CF-AZY, sometime after 22 August 1937.

Artist Aldwinckle’s 1939 Maclean’s magazine Electra cover painting captures this very first TCA insignia on the nose of Electra Model-10-A, however his starboard “Speedbird” is pointing the wrong direction. This insignia was created for the 1 September 1937, historical event where CF-AZY made the first passenger flight from Vancouver B.C. to Seattle, USA. Photos show this insignia was hand painted on each side of the nose, a yellow Art Deco “Speedbird” over a Maple Leaf containing four colors, red, orange, yellow, and green

The author believes this was the very first use of an art deco “Speedbird” logo by any airliner in the world. This was also the very first “Canadian” designed aircraft Speedbird created in the world by an unknown artist for TCA uniforms and aircraft insignia. Rare forgotten Canadian Aviation aircraft nose art history, but not important to our modern Canadian aviation museum’s.

To fully understand the political back-stabbing/back-room deals that took place to create the monopoly air line Trans-Canada Air Lines, you will have to study the formation of Canadian Airways by Mr. James Armstrong Richardson in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I have met author Shirley Render, who wrote a well researched book titled “Father of Canadian Aviation” [James Armstrong Richardson] and Shirley uncovered the truth. James Richardson purchased Canada’s first modern airliner, Lockheed Electra Model 10-A, NC97227, serial #1063 in July 1936, and pilot Don MacLaren went to the Lockheed plant on 6 July, and flew her back to Boeing Field, Seattle. Registered as CF-AZY on 4 August 1936, she was joined by a second Electra, N16222, serial 1064, registered as CF-BAF on 29 August 1936. On 21 August 1937, James Richardson was politically forced to sell his Canadian air-route from Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle, Washington, plus his two Electra airliners to newly formed Trans-Canada Air Lines. The fuselage name Canadian Airways was hastily removed and Trans – Canada Air Lines painted [half-circle] over the fuselage rear passenger door. The first TCA insignia and Canadian “Speedbird” were painted where the original Canadian Airways “Canada Goose” appeared on each side of the nose section.

Vancouver newspaper image showing Electra CF-AZY Fin #21 on TCA first commercial passenger flight 1 September 1937. The nose partly shows the very first TCA painted insignia, which is shown to scale and correct colors below. Electra CF-AZY #1063 was purchased from Canadian Airways on 21 August 1937, [$55,234] and the new TCA insignia first officially flew eleven days later. Photos show the first original hand painted TCA insignia only flew on CF-AZY, CF-TCA, CF-TCB, and CF-TCC, however it became the pattern for all future nose insignia and new TCA pilot hat badge until September 1941. I believe it was the first commercial airliner use of a Speedbird in the world, plus the first “Canadian Speedbird” to fly on a Canadian commercial airliner.

This is the author replica scale drawing of the first hand painted TCA insignia that flew on both sides of the nose section of Lockheed Electra Model 10-A, CF-AZY, 1 September 1937. TCA hired former American President of United Airlines, Philip Johnson, and he brought with him an experienced American staff from United A. L., Eastern Airlines, and North West Airlines, who all understood the importance of a company trademark and insignia. The first President of TCA was former President of C.N.R. James S. Hungerford, and many of his directors were ex-CNR employees, who also understood the importance of a company trademark design. The Art Deco “Speedbird” was a first for Canada, and possibly the first to appear on any commercial airliner in the world, painted in late August 1937.

The story of TCA first pilot training from Sea Island Airport, [Vancouver, B.C.] to Winnipeg, Manitoba, [Operations H.Q. and training base] appeared in the 15 April 1938 issue of Maclean’s Magazine. The first operational training flights from Vancouver to Winnipeg began on 1 February 1938.

This image on the cover of 1 June 1940 Maclean’s magazine contains no information on the two TCA pilots or the Electra aircraft. I have been told the man on the left looks like Bush pilot Herb Seagrim, one of the original TCA pilots who joined in December 1937. Herb took his flight training at Winnipeg Operations H.Q. training centre in 1938, and that is possibly where this photo by Maclean’s Scott Malcolm was taken. CF-BAF was used for pilot training at Winnipeg, and possibly this is that same Lockheed Electra.

The first five Lockheed Electra Model 10-A aircraft all became early TCA pilot trainers, Fin #21 CF-AZY, Fin #22 CF-BAF, Fin #23 CF-TCA, Fin #24 CF-TCB, and Fin #25 CF-TCC. The 1st test-hop flight from Sea Island, Vancouver, B.C., to Lethbridge, Alberta, 1 February 1938 was flown by Electra CF-TCC, Fin #25.

The new original TCA pilot hat badge was designed from the first TCA aircraft nose insignia, including the Canadian “Speedbird.” This was highlighted in 1 March 1942 issue of Maclean’s.

CF-BAF serial #1063, NC97227, was originally purchased from Lockheed by James Armstrong Richardson 29 August 1936, and flown in the “Goose” markings of Canadian Airways Ltd. [Please read “Father of Canadian Aviation” by Shirley Render] Purchased by TCA 21 August 1937, she carried airliner Fin #22, a flight trainer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. TCA took many promo photos of CF-BAF including the above [and below] image of her wearing her original TCA nose insignia.

For some unknown reason CF-BAF Canadian “Speedbird” insignia contained a different Maple Leaf design than the other four Lockheed Electra aircraft. This Maple Leaf from the top down contains seventeen sharp points on each side and was two-tone red in color. The letters TCA were also a thinner design, “A” than the other Electra’s. The Maple Leaf shape, “B” was possibly due to a different artist painting the Electra at training H.Q. Winnipeg, Manitoba.

This is the TCA insignia painted on sister airliner Lockheed 10A Electra, CF-TCA Fin with nose #23. Note the Maple Leaf and TCA lettering are different then that painted on Electra CF-BAF #22 top images.

This is the correct TCA aircraft nose insignia, with Canadian “Speedbird” carried on four of the Lockheed Model 10A Electra airlines CF-AZY, CF-TCA, CF-TCB, and CF-TCC. This same design was painted on all sixteen Lockheed 14-H2 Super Electra and the first six Model L18-08 Lodestar airliners until early September 1941. This original 1937, TCA insignia should be displayed on CF-TCC in the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada at Winnipeg, and on CF-TCA in the Canada Aviation and Space Museum at Ottawa. [Both of these rare Electra’s wrongly carry the September 1941 “Speedbird” painted on Super Electra’s and Lodestar airliners]

By 1937, the price of a Lockheed model 10-A Electra had increased from $37,000 to $73,000, TCA purchased three, the last being CF-TCC, serial 1116 built 28 October 1937, which is today a rare airworthy example. CF-TCC was given tail fin #25 and flew until late 1939, then was sold to the Canadian Department of Transport, which flew her until 1956. Acquired by Matane Air Service in Quebec, CF-TCC flew until 1961.

It is important for model builders to note CF-TCC flew with a second career French/Canadian “Speedbird” logo painted on her engines and tail fin in Quebec, Canada.

In June 1961, TCA leased CF-TCC from Matane Air Service in Montreal, Quebec, stripped the aircraft and repainted her white [seen above in 1962]. The man in charge of the repainting was Mr. Alan Hunt, and I’m sorry to say he made a major mistake with the TCA insignia. Mr. Hunt painted the TCA Maple Leaf with the BOAC “Speedbird” which would not appear on TCA Lodestar airliners until September 1941. CF-TCC flew across Canada for the 25th Anniversary of TCA and after four months was returned to Matane Air Services in 1962. Matane Air offered the historical aircraft to TCA for the price of $20,000, but the offer was turned down. In 1965, Matane Air Service was taken over by Quebec Air and CF-TCC was sold to an American citizen. In 1975, Mr. Ernie Sykes, a former Air Canada employee, discovered the rare Canadian Electra CF-TCC at the annual Confederate Air Force Show in Harlingen, Texas. Owned by a CAF member she was painted in a color scheme of the RCAF in the 1970s with serial #7656. In 1983, CF-TCC was purchased by Air Canada at four times the original offer of $20,000 back in 1962. In January 1984, CF-TCC was flown by Air Canada Captain Ray Lank and the former owner Bud Clark from Florida, where it was acquired, to Air Canada facilities at Winnipeg, Manitoba. Extensive restoration was required and the rare Electra was first flown by pilot Brian Harrington of Canadian Warplane Heritage on 18 March 1986. This rare airworthy example was flown across Canada to Vancouver, B.C., where it was a star attraction at Expo ’86. During the restoration, TCA copied the same TCA insignia which Mr. Hunt had painted in 1961, and this error is still on the aircraft in Winnipeg, Manitoba, today [2020]. Should it be repainted correctly for TCA history, well that’s up to Air Canada historians and their retired TCA veterans?

CF-TCC with 1941 BOAC Speedbird. Correct Canadian Speedbird on CF-TCC in 1938.

Trans Canada Air Lines was so impressed with the Lockheed Electra performance they ordered sixteen new Super Electra Model 14H-2 aircraft before construction began. These were a scaled-up version of the Model-10 Electra with 1,200 H.P. [R-1830-S1C3-6] engines. Lockheed took full advantage to advertise the first Canadian pre-production order of twelve Super Electra’s. TCA Lockheed 14H-2, #1429 was delivered on 12 May 1938, and given Canadian registration CF-TCD, Fin #26. Fifteen more would follow as they were constructed, the last CF-TCS #1504, Fin #41 was delivered in 21 September 1939.

Ten new Lockheed Model 14H-2 Super Electra’s were on strength at TCA by 21 September 1938.
CF-TCD #1429, CF-TCE #1430, CF-TCF #1450, CF-TCG #1451, CF-TCH #1471, CF-TCI #1472, CF-TCJ #1473, CF-TCK #1474, CF-TCL #1475, and CF-TCM #1476. [CF-TCN #1499, CF-TCO #1500, CF-TCP #1501, CF-TCQ #1502, CF-TCR #1503, and CF-TCS #1504 would arrive May to September 1939.] The sixteen TCA aircraft Fin numbers ran from CF-TCD #26 to CF-TCS #41. CF-TCL, [18 Nov. 1938] CF-TCP [6 Feb. 1941] and CF-TCF [27 Feb. 1945] crashed.

CF-TCD Fin #26 and CF-TCE Fin #27 arrived in May 1938, both wearing the original 1937 insignia.

A 1939 Postcard showing CF-TCG Fin #29 at Kapuskasing Airport in Ontario. She was built on 24 June 1938, and delivered a few days later, wearing 1937 insignia.

Sixteen Lockheed Super Electra Model 14-H2 purchased by Trans-Canada Air Lines in 1938-39

TCA registration Serial Built TCA Fin #
CF-TCD #1429 12 May 1938 #26
CF-TCE #1430 12 May 1938 #27
CF-TCF #1450 24 June 1938 #28
Crashed 27 February 1943, written off in forced landing Moncton, New Brunswick, no fatalities. Capt. James H. Hattie and First Officer Kenneth Moreland.
CF-TCG #1451 24 June 1938 #29
CF-TCH #1471 30 Aug. 1938 #30
CF-TCI #1472 30 Aug. 1938 #31
CF-TCJ #1473 7 Sept. 1938 #32
Crashed 2 September 1946, during training flight at Moncton, New Brunswick. Right engine failed, lost altitude turning and hit trees, killing both pilots.

CF-TCK #1474 7 Sept. 1938 #33
CF-TCL #1475 21 Sept. 1938 #34
Crashed 18 Nov. 1938, on a flight from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Vancouver B.C. with a load of mail. Crashed after take-off from Regina, Sask. Airport killing both pilots.

CF-TCM #1476 21 Sept. 1938 #35
CF-TCN #1499 27 May 1939 #36
CF-TCO #1500 24 July 1939 #37
CF-TCP #1501 24 July 1939 #38
Crashed 6 February 1941, hit trees one mile short of Armstrong, Ontario, airport, killing nine passengers and three crew members.
CF-TCQ #1502 2 Aug. 1939 #39
Crashed 23 January 1947, crashed on takeoff at Winnipeg, Manitoba, killing both pilots.
CF-TCR #1503 14 Aug. 1939 #40
CF-TCS #1504 18 Aug. 1939 #41

CF-TCO survives today in the Kermit Weeks collection in Florida, reg. N14126. Badly damaged by Hurricane Charley, 13 August 2004.

May 1939 issue of American Aeronautical Aviation Weekly created a special art cover to “Salute Trans-Canada Air Lines” and the launch of the first trans-continental flight on 1 April 1939. The new TCA insignia Maple Leaf can be seen on the aircraft nose cover painting. Three Lockheed Electra Model – 10A and ten Super Electra Model – 14H aircraft opened Canada’s first coast-to-coast high-speed passenger service.
American Aviation Weekly magazine Lockheed ad for June 1939, displaying the original TCA insignia, Speedbird and TCA over Maple Leaf. Lockheed 14-H2, Super Electra N66578, serial #1471, CF-TCH was built 30 August 1938, the fifth Model 14 delivered to TCA at Winnipeg, in September 1938, Fin #30. Photos below were – Fin #37 CF-TCO and Fin #28 CF-TCF.

The Lockheed 14-H2 aircraft were delivered to TCA with a clear glass nose and a large nose cargo door. These show up in the Lockheed ad appearing in Aviation Weekly June 1939. The airlines are top Fin #37, CF-TCO and bottom Fin #28, CF-TCF.

Super Electra CF-TCF [#28 under nose] displays the nose loop antenna [RDF] Radio Direction Finding, for picking up ground signals transmitted from radio towers for route location, and the TCA insignia with 1937 Canadian “Speedbird” logo.

Trans-Canada Airlines Lockheed sponsored full page ads first appearing in the 26 June 1939 issue of LIFE magazine. Super Electra #1471, CF-TCH appears in the TCA drawing.

The fifth delivered Super Electra 14-H2, CF-TCH arrived at Winnipeg in September 1938, possibly when this image was taken in front of the Stevenson Field, TCA terminal.

Another Super Electra at TCA terminal McCall Field, Calgary, Alberta, showing the 1937 aircraft insignia with Canadian “Speedbird” and Maple Leaf in multi-colors. Aircraft port side image in color below for model builders.

#1 photo – TCA Calgary hangar “McCall Field” with the first new Electra Model 10-A, serial 1112, CF-TCA, seen at night as the Alberta May sun sets in the far west, and #2 the TCA modern two-way aircraft radio communication at Calgary in 1939. CF-TCA was sold to Dept. of National Defence, RCAF on 21 September 1939. Maclean’s Magazine images published 1 June 1939.
Canada declared war on Germany 10 September 1939, while the United States of America and her citizens remained determinedly an isolated nation. The looming world conflict with Hitler and Nazi Germany was not a problem to be solved by Americans.

In 1937, the Super Electra was born, a Model 14-H2 transport, which was destined to test her design in combat as the famous Hudson RAF/RCAF bomber. This ad appeared in January 1940 issue of LIFE magazine, as the Lockheed Super Electra went to war. Lockheed was not afraid to fight for world democracy, while making money from her Allies, a double winner.

The new Lockheed L-18-08A Lodestar airliner featured an extended fuselage [168 inches] version of the L-14 Super Elecrta with seating for 14 to 18 passengers. This 1940 Lockheed ad shows the seating for fourteen passengers. The American air worthy certificate was received on 30 March 1940, and TCA would order six of these new aircraft.

On 7 January 1941, six new Lodestars were flown from the U.S. aircraft factory at Burbank, California, to the TCA terminal at Seattle, by Lockheed pilots. After clearing U. S. customs, [9 January] three new aircraft [CF-TCT, CF-TCU, and CF-TCV] were flown to Sea Island Airport, Vancouver, B.C. The next morning the first plane took off piloted by Capt. R.F. George, TCA’s flight superintendent and First Officer D.S. Driscoll, headed for Winnipeg, Manitoba. Top speed was 263 miles per hour, faster than any other passenger ship for that time. The Lodestar landed at Stevenson Field, Winnipeg, just before sundown, setting a new speed record of five hours and ten minutes. The other two aircraft followed but they would not begin flight operations until May 1941. The new aircraft needed minor modifications and TCA personnel required training to become accustom to the larger, heavier, and faster aircraft. One Lodestar remained at Lethbridge, Alberta, for pilot and ground crew training. The last three CF-TCW, CF-TCX and CF-TCY arrived Winnipeg on 13 January 1942. The new Lodestar could carry fourteen passengers, a crew of three, and 2,500 pounds of cargo, cruising at 225 miles an hour. First six TCA Fin numbers were: CF-TCT, Fin #42 to CF-TCY, Fin #47.

On 10 May 1941, TCA inaugurates a new faster return flight from Toronto to New York City, New York. This 1941, La Guardia Field, New York, Post Card honours new Lodestar CF-TCX, Fin #46, wearing her original 1937 TCA nose insignia. Trans-Canada Air Lines has become the first foreign airline to land at La Guardia Field, New York.

TCA CF-TCX Lodestar 18-08A Fin #46, landing at La Guardia Field, New York, proudly displaying her 1937 Canadian “Speedbird” and Maple Leaf insignia.
On the eve of the Pearl Harbour attack, LIFE 17 November 1941 issue featured a full page color Lockheed ad on new ordered TCA Lodestars and the first painted 1937 original Speedbird Canadian Maple Leaf insignia. CF-TCK was in fact a Model 14-H2 Super Electra, built 7 September 1938, serial #1474, Fin #33, converted to a L18-08A airliner. It crashed in Jamaica 23 March 1949, operated by Kenting Aerial Survey.

The cockpit of a new Lockheed 14-H2 Super Electra most likely taken in 1939, with pilots [left] K. Edmison and J. Storey. Published in Maclean’s magazine on 1 March 1942. [author collection]

The new Lodestar arrives January 1941, and the TCA “Speedbird” logo changes in September.

The September 1941 issue of American magazine Air Trails published a two page article on the TCA Lockheed Lodestar airliners with eight photos supplied by TCA. This was the first publication which featured the new TCA aircraft insignia with the second British BOAC style “Speedbird.”

This image used in the American article was in fact a Lockheed Model 14-H2 Super Electra CF-TCN, Fin #36, built 27 May 1939. This same image appeared in Maclean’s magazine 1 June 1939.

Maclean’s magazine 1 June 1942. Lodestar L18-08A, CF-TCV delivered to Winnipeg, Manitoba, 10 January 1941. Serial 18-2061, began flights in May 1941, sold postwar Imperial Oil [Canada] Ltd. [Author collection] The original first painted 1937 TCA insignia and yellow Canadian Speedbird has now evolved into the original British design created by Theyre Lee-Elliott, the Trademark owned and used by BOAC airlines in U.K. since 1939.

Canadian Speedbird September 1937- Sept. 1941 New Speedbird Sept. 1941 – April 1943
Beginning with the original TCA insignia in 1937, [left] the insignia evolved into a more solid red Maple Leaf and the Canadian Speedbird has been replaced by the British Speedbird design. This June 1942, original BOAC Speedbird design was short lived and all were replaced in 1943.

This TCA insignia change should be important for model builders and aviation museums. In June 1942, six more Lockheed Lodestar L18-08A airlines were purchased by TCA and each airliner received the new British style Speedbird nose insignia. [seen above] Airliners – CF-TDB, CF-TDE, CF-TDF, CF-TDG, CF-TDH, and CF-TDI flew with this nose insignia until April 1943.

The reason for this TCA aircraft and company “Speedbird” insignia logo change is not explained by historians and the answer may still be found in old company letters or archives. The insignia was used until April 1943, and then gave way to the new solid red Maple Leaf with white letters TCA. It’s possible this original 1932 British copyright Speedbird plus official trade mark and call sign of BOAC was observed by U.K. pilots on the TCA aircraft. BOAC possibly sent a “Stop and Desist” letter to TCA and a third new Maple Leaf logo appeared, lasting until 1965.

Canada Post Office ad appearing in Canadian publications, the date would be mid-1943, when the four Avro Lancaster’s [Lancastrians] arrived. KB702 [TCA-101, CF-CMT] KB703 [TCA-102, CF-CMU] KB729 [TCA-103, CF-CMV] and KB730 [TCA-104. CF-CMW]. Lockheed Lodestar CF-TCT, #2059, Fin #42, was the first delivered to Winnipeg, Manitoba, 10 January 1941, setting a new speed record. PICRYL free domain image.

From early 1942 until 1947, the British BOAC “Speedbird” logo appeared on the fuselage of the TCA fleet, just forward of the lettering Trans-Canada Air Lines. Seen above on Lodestar 18-08A, Fin #53, which went missing 28 April 1947. Found on Mount Elsay, North Vancouver, 47 years later.

Four Lockheed Model 10A Electra aircraft CF-AZY, CF-TCA, CF-TCB, and CF-TCC all flew wearing the first 1937 TCA insignia with the Canadian “Speedbird” logo “A.” CF-BAF flew with a different Male Leaf design and smaller TCA lettering, same Canadian Speedbird.
The original sixteen Lockheed Model 14-H2 Super Electra were all painted with the “A” TCA insignia, five crashed, [CF-TCL, CF-TCP, CF-TCF, CF-TCJ, and CF-TCQ] the eleven survivors would all wear the second “B” insignia and the third “C” insignia.

Lockheed Model 14-H2, CF-TCK, Fin #33, arrived Winnipeg in September 1938. In July 1942, she lost both engines after take-off from Winnipeg airport and made a forced landing. CF-TCK is now wearing the BOAC style logo “D” and Trans – Canada Air Lines lettering.

Eleven Lockheed Lodestar L18-08A aircraft were painted with “A” insignia and later wore “B” and “C” insignia. CF-TCT, CF-TCU, CF-TCV, CF-TCW, CF-TCX, CF-TCY, CF-TDB, CF-TDE, CF-TDF, CF-TDG, and CF-TDI. In summer 1942, these aircraft also received the fuselage marking “D” featuring the BOAC Speedbird logo painted in bright red. Two Lodestars [CF-TCX, and CF-TDF] crashed.

In 1944, the fleet received a new tail Fin marking “E” featuring a double “Speedbird” in a circle with letters TCA. This was painted over the original Lockheed insignia with star, seen in photo on markings page, highlighted in yellow.

Research information and photos of this TCA tail insignia are hard to obtain. It is unknown how many aircraft wore this tail art or for how long.

The third new TCA insignia begins to appear on aircraft and advertisements in April 1942.

This image of Lockheed 18-08A Lodestar CF-TCV first appeared in Maclean’s magazine on 1 June 1942, wearing the second TCA insignia, with British design Speedbird. On 12 May 1943, this new ad [above] appeared in Maclean’s and CF-TCV is wearing her new TCA insignia with red Maple Leaf. This insignia will remain with TCA until 1965.

On 13 July 1940, the Canadian government was informed the R.A.F. wished to move four service flying training schools from the United Kingdom to Canada. In August this total was increased to eight RAF service flying training schools and the Calgary TCA Airport was first selected as RAF No. 35 service flying training school. The Canadian construction industry suddenly experienced a burst of priority in a vigorous attempt to construct the new RAF airfields. The movement of RAF schools to Canada began in earnest in October 1940, and by the New Year five new British training schools were operating in Canada. In March 1941, the British again revised the number of schools they would like to move from the U.K. and nine more service flying training schools were added to the eight selected for movement to Canada. It was very clear the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was rapidly outgrowing the original dimensions signed in December 1939, and training space had to be found for the new arriving RAF ground and training staff. Calgary TCA terminal would now share its air space with the Royal Air Force who were sailing for Canada on the “Queen Mary” from England.

Calgary TCA Municipal Airport [McCall Field] was originally constructed in 1938 as a major stop for north-south daily flights of the newly formed Trans-Canada Airlines. The TCA terminal and control tower hangar were equipped with the most modern RCA Victor radio communications, now taken over and operated by the RCAF.

This TCA Calgary terminal postcard contains no data, however six of the seven Lockheed airlines in the image can be identified from top to bottom #2063, CF-TCX [L18-08], #2059, CF-TCT [L18-08], #1450, CF-TCF [14-H2], #2248, CF-TDF [L18-08], CF-TDG, [L18-08], and #2064, CF-TCY, [L18-08]. Five of these Lodestar aircraft began coast-to-coast service in May 1941, thus, this air shot was taken some time later possibly to promote the new aircraft at McCall Field, Calgary.

Today [2020] Lodestar CF-TCY [bottom left] survives and is being preserved by the Canadian Museum of Flight at Langley Airport, British Columbia. They have the choice of three different sets of correct TCA markings with nose insignia and it will be interesting to see their final selection. I hope my research will assist them with selecting the correct period markings, and not end up like a dog’s breakfast of markings, which has occurred in a few Canadian Aviation Museums including the Hangar Flight Museum at Calgary, Alberta.

During the winter of 1940 construction, the RAF Calgary sign [above] gave no indication the base was RAF No. 35 SFTS, changes were being made every week. The first RCAF records using No. 35 SFTS appeared in the Daily Diary of No. 2 Wireless Flying School which moved from RCAF No. 3 SFTS at Currie Barracks [Mount Royal University] to RAF No. 35 SFTS TCA Airport, Calgary, on 24 January 1941. This RCAF squadron began wireless air/gunner training in Menasco [American engine] Tiger-Moth aircraft [Course #8] on 4 April 1941. Five weeks later [12 May 1941] No. 2 Wireless Flying Squadron was ordered back to RCAF No. 3 SFTS, today Mount Royal University of Calgary. The new RAF student pilot trainees [No. 31 EFTS] were arriving in Canada and almost 200 would learn to fly at Calgary, and RAF relief field at Airdrie, Alberta.

In 1985, a photo album belonging to student/pilot LAC Gafney came up for auction in United Kingdom, which captured his RAF training taken at Calgary and graduation at No. 31 EFTS De Winton, Alberta. Nothing else is known about this British officer other than the names recorded on the back of each photo. Above are four classmates of Gafney, L to R: Ian Reekie, Ted Jones, Ted Ivison and Geoff Knowles. For the next four months, 18 June 1941 until 12 October 1941, RAF No. 31 EFTS conducted flying training from Calgary, Alberta, while their home base further south at De Winton was still under construction. While the Tiger-Moth aircraft were stored in the hangars at Calgary, the actual RAF flying training took place further north at the Airdrie Relief field.
Airdrie Relief landing field was also used as an emergency landing base for the many daily TCA flights from Calgary to Edmonton.

LAC Gafney [right] and his RAF Flying Instructor Reg Eastwood, Course #30, September 1941.
RAF pilot training of No. 31 EFTS began at Calgary TCA Municipal airport [McCall Field] on 18 June 1941, Course number 22. Ninety-three RAF pilot trainees began the course and seventy-four graduated on 8 August 1941, nineteen failed the course. These first British pilots received 35 hours of flying in Tiger Moth [Canadian built] trainers before their final test. The next RAF Course number 25 began on 15 July 1941, with ninety students and sixty-two graduated on 1 September 1941. Course number 27 began on 8 August 1941 with ninety-six students and graduated 54 pilots on 29 September 1941. The failure rate in this class was very high, with wastage of 34 students, eight were posted to the next course number 30, which began on 1 September 1941. Number 27 was the last RAF course to graduate students at Calgary Airport, with a three-course total of 190 trainees moving on to SFTS training in Alberta. RAF Course #30 and #33 began at Calgary and graduated at least 170 students at their home base at De Winton, Alberta, where they moved on 12 October 1941. The particulars of RAF Course #25, #27, #30 and # 33 follow.

Group Capt. W.H. Poole, AFC, M.M., arrived at Calgary, Alberta, on 19 September 1941, and officially took over command of the new RAF No. 37 SFTS. On 22 September 1941, No. 35 SFTS at Calgary TCA Municipal Airport was officially renumbered RAF No. 37 SFTS, RAF orders #228.
RAF student LAC Gafney was part of Course #30 which began training at Calgary on 1 September 1941, with ninety-eight students. On 13 October 1941, the RAF movement of No. 31 EFTS from Calgary to their new base at De Winton, Alberta, began and Gafney took one image of No. 37 SFTS Calgary, Alberta. This was possibly his last look of No. 37 SFTS Calgary taken from a Tiger Moth flying at around 5,000 ft. LAC Gafney would graduate [88 pupils] on 19 October 1942, at De Winton, Alberta, then was selected for RAF training at RCAF No. 15 SFTS at Claresholm, Alberta. Today hangar #1, [far left] the Calgary Hangar Flight Museum [top left] and the original TCA terminal hangar [far right] still remain, all TCA/RAF/RCAF wartime history forgotten by the passage of time.

Gafney began his service flying training at Claresholm in January 1942, and graduated in class #44 on 25 March 1942. It appears he was in the top of his class, as he remained at Claresholm and was selected for RAF Flying Instructor training. He would complete his Flying Instructor course at RCAF Vulcan, Alberta, in August 1942, and moved on to RAF No. 32 SFTS Bowden, Alberta, where he taught British students to fly the American PT-27 Stearman trainer. His photo album suddenly ends in late September 1942 at Bowden, Alberta. His collection of training photos records and preserves a large section of our Calgary WWII RAF past, however there is no Canadian museum which wishes to display the history of the British Royal Air Force training in Canada, 1940 to 1944.

LAC Gafney [middle row fourth from left] graduation of Class #44 at RCAF Claresholm, Alberta, on 25 March 1942. A large number of these first student pilots [at least 190] received their first RAF flying training at Calgary, Alberta.
On 21 October 1941, No. 37 SFTS RAF Calgary began training bomber pilots in the British built Airspeed Oxford trainers which had been shipped by rail to Calgary, Alberta. This full history with aircraft serial numbers can be found on my Blog titled – “Calgary Wings.”

The 1st class of RAF bomber pilots begins training on 21 October 1941, Class #31, and the last class graduates on 26 September 1942. In just over ten months the British have trained and graduated 385 bomber pilots at RAF No. 37 SFTS, Calgary, Alberta.

This was the new Royal Air Force insignia created by No. 37 Service Flying Training School at Calgary, Alberta, first appearing November 1941. TCA not only share their airfield with the British, they now also share a new base flying badge. The new Thunderbird and TCA Speedbird both fly out of Calgary.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941, it became imperative for the Americans to rush troops and war material to defend Alaska. The first American northwest route survey flight took place in March 1942, and a line of bases in varying sizes was laid out on paper for the ferrying of aircraft to Russia. The ferry flights began at Great Falls, Montana, continued north to Lethbridge, Calgary, Edmonton, and Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. The total flight covered a distance of over 2,000 air miles to Ladd Field at Fairbanks, Alaska. On 3 June 1942, the Japanese attacked Dutch Harbor, and the invasion of Kiska and Attu followed. On 20 July 1942, the 7th Army Air Forces Ferrying Group was formed, with detachments of the 385th Air Base sent to Lethbridge and Calgary, Alberta. A new and mostly forgotten chapter in Calgary aviation history is about to begin. On 26 August 1942, Russian ferry pilots began to arrive at Ladd Field, Alaska, and on 12 October 1942, the deliveries of American lend-lease aircraft to Russia began. The numbers of aircraft deliveries during October were: fifteen B-25s, fifty A-20s, sixty P-39s, and twenty P40s. All of these American aircraft passed directly over the TCA control tower at Calgary, Alberta, which maintained radio control and provided a refueling and emergency landing base for any aircraft in trouble.

This American lend-lease P-39 [in Russian Red Star markings] awaits repairs at No. 37 S.F.T.S. Calgary, Alberta, winter 1942. The Lend-Lease Act was passed on 11 March 1941, allowing neutral U.S. to lend war material to other nations at war. Russia will receive almost 8,000 American built aircraft during World War Two.

Lend Lease P-63 over Alaska 1943.

This is a copy of the original route map and information given to all American ferry pilots during WWII. The American ferry pilots were flying over a major training area for the RAF and RCAF aircraft in the BCATP. Calgary alone had seven major training airfields with hundreds of aircraft in the air day and night. From December 1942 until September 1945, Air Transport Command delivered 7,926 lend-lease American aircraft to Russia, and they all passed over Calgary, TCA terminal. The aircraft total delivered over Calgary, Alberta, follows:
P-39 2,618
P-63 2,397
A-20 1,363
B-25 732
C-47 710
C-46 1
P-40 48
P-47 3
AT-6 54

This sky road to Russia was code named “Amber Airway #2”, [orange lines] which passed directly over the TCA Terminal #2 [McCall Field] at Calgary.

From 1941 until March 1944, Calgary [McCall Field] was home to four major BCATP Pilot, Bomber Pilot, and Wireless Air Gunner training schools, which are marked numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5. Three of these main schools had Relief Field landing grounds for training, which are marked #1, #6, and #7. The four training schools had on charge an average total of 360 to 430 training aircraft during the years 1941 to 1945, and they were flying night and day, crossing the flight path of Amber Airway #2, the sky road to Russia. It is impossible to give a count of the number of aircraft in the air over Calgary each day, but it was a very crowded air space. Add to this total three or four daily TCA Lockheed airliner flights from Lethbridge to Edmonton, Alberta, over this same sky road Amber Airway #2. The Air Traffic controllers at Calgary TCA McCall Field had a most dangerous job and only one mid-air collision took place over Calgary during the war years. RAF Harvard Mk. II AJ796 collided with RCAF Cessna Crane #8127 over Calgary on 28 August 1943, three airmen killed. The British and RCAF training aircraft had no radios, and received Morse code lamp signals for air traffic control directions.

This air traffic controller was on duty at the CPA/TCA tower in Edmonton, Alberta, November 1942, showing his Signal lamp or Morse Lamp. It was held by two hands like a gun and sighted on the top which was pointed at the aircraft cockpit area. In a period of two and one half hours he averaged six-planes-a-minute, mostly American aircraft going to Russia. [Maclean’s magazine page 19, 1 November 1942.

On 26 September 1942, seventy-eight British Airspeed Oxford trainers were flown to No. 39 SFTS at RAF Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and exchanged for one-hundred Harvard II fighter pilot training aircraft. [flown to Calgary 25-27 September 1942] The final RAF course #94 graduated 53 fighter pilots at Calgary on 10 March 1944, the same day the school officially closed. That evening two special CPR trains [one for officers and one for NCOs and Airmen] departed Calgary train station [one hour apart] for Halifax, Nova Scotia, and return to United Kingdom. The RCAF Ensign flag flew for the very first time at Calgary [Ex-No. 37 SFTS] at 08:00 hrs 11 March 1944. Calgary ex-RAF No. 37 SFTS became No. 2 Aircrew Graduate Training School, which was an RCAF ground school training for Canadian aircrew officer’s in special escape duties. The school had been located in Quebec City, P.Q. and the Commanding Officer, W.C Paul G. Rodier, arrived on 25 March 1944. The first class #6, containing 174 RCAF aircrew officers’ [70 Pilots’, 52 Navigators, and 52 Air bombers] graduated on 21 April 1944, and class #27 with 56 officers’ was terminated on 27 November 1944. The war was coming to an end and RCAF Calgary joined hundreds of other war time bases, used for storage and run by skeleton RCAF staff.

The Lockheed aircraft family had also served the RCAF and Trans-Canada Air Lines with speed and stamina during WWII. Calgary McCall Field now returned to civil use and TCA passenger flights continued.



August 1949

Avro Canada built the first North American jet transport in the world and flew the first jet “Air-Mail” in the world from Toronto to New York City. Built for Trans-Canada Air Lines, the Jetliner was rejected by TCA and the Canadian government cancelled further production. Only the nose section remains in storage in Ottawa, today 2020.

TCA was created by back room political deals in 1937, and the Canadian built first commercial jet liner in North America was destroyed by Canadian government back-room deals. TCA went from Canadian “Jetliner” back to American propeller “Skyliner” and the Canadian aviation industry would never recover. Buy American, paint a Maple Leaf on it, and fly it, the Canadian airliner motto forever.


On 10 December 2006, Winnipeg International Airport was officially renamed James Armstrong Richardson International Airport, in honour of Winnipeg’s Canadian “Father of commercial aviation” Mr. James Richardson, Senior.

Two of TCA Lockheed Electra original five aircraft, CF-TCA [6 October 1937] and CF-TCC [28 October 1937] survive, preserved in Ottawa and Air Canada at Winnipeg, Manitoba. Both of these rare historical airliners are painted with the incorrect September 1941 TCA insignia, containing the BOAC style “Speedbird” logo.

TCA operated from their Calgary terminal and hangar at McCall Field, from 1939 until 1962, when a new modern Calgary terminal opened. On this date the original name of WWI pilot hero Fred McCall was dropped and the name Calgary International Airport was adopted and is still in use.

This is the original TCA control tower and passenger terminal exit door to awaiting aircraft, looking much the same as it appeared eighty years ago. The building is privately owned and not protected as an historical cultural site by the City of Calgary.

Many aviation historians [including the author] feel the original name “Fred McCall” should be applied to the title of the Calgary International Airport. If Freddie McCall had been a pioneer Calgary Cowboy, I’m sure his name would have reappeared many years ago. In the 1920s, American pilots were nicknamed “Cloudboys” and that’s what Freddy McCall was.

And in case you are wondering, that little Canadian “Speedbird” and Maple Leaf, still fly out of Calgary, Alberta. In fact, their home base is located at Calgary, Alberta, and they appear in two shades of Blue with a large White “V” in color.

Thanks WestJet for preserving our Calgary “Speedbird” past.
Dedicated to the Canadian Father of Commercial Aviation – James Armstrong Richardson, Senior, 21 August 1885 to 26 June 1939.

Royal Air Force in Manitoba – No. 33 S.F.T.S. 1940 – 1944 (PDF version)

Research by Clarence Simonsen

No. 33 SFTS

Click on the link above.

Text version without images

Royal Air Force in Manitoba – No. 33

S.F.T.S. 1940 – 1944

No. 33 S.F.T.S.

RAF Station Carberry, Manitoba

On 13 July 1940, the Canadian government was informed that the British RAF “wished” to move four complete service flying training schools for training in Canada. After conferring with Canadian Cabinet colleagues, the British High Commissioner and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Minister Hon. Charles Gavin [Chubby] Power decided that the movement of four schools to Canada could be accommodated. C.G. Power then further stated – If the British wished to transfer more training schools to Canada, more space for them could also be found, provided all costs would be borne by the United Kingdom. This opened the flood gates as the RAF now revised its original request to include eight service flying training schools, two air observer schools, one bombing and gunnery school, one air navigation school, one general reconnaissance school, and one torpedo bombing school.

The movement to Canada began on 29 August, when No. 7 SFTS from Peterborough sailed for Halifax, Canada. All numbers 31 and above were now reserved for the new arriving RAF schools and the re-designated No. 7 SFTS became No. 31 SFTS at Collins Bay, near Kingston, Ontario. On 5 September, the Battle of Britain delayed the RAF transfer of additional schools, however by October, the movement to Canada began in earnest. Four complete new schools were now in transit to Canada, including No. 33 SFTS, twin-engine pilot training, to be located at Carberry, Manitoba, in No. 2 Training Command of RCAF.

The British government made a special request that all movement of RAF schools to Canada be given no publicity. The message did not reach Winnipeg, and in route to their new Canadian home, the first echelon of thirty-five RAF Officers and forty-one NCOs with five hundred and ninety-three British lads received an enthusiastic welcome to Canada. These members of No. 33 were officially met by Air Commodore A.B. Shearer, RCAF Air Officer Commanding No. 2 Training Command, and No 112 Squadron Ladies Auxiliary providing a cheerful Manitoba reception for all. The RAF arrival news appeared in Canadian newspapers.

The official Coat of Arms of Manitoba was granted by King Edward VII in a Royal Warrant on 10 May 1905. The red cross was used by the Hudson’s Bay Company since the 1800s and the North American Plains Bison represents the aboriginal people of Manitoba, used on the Great Seal of Manitoba since 1870. The British Chester Herald in England received a request dated 8 February 1941, asking the Bison symbol be used in a new official RAF training school badge for No. 33 SFTS in Manitoba. The new official badge [title page] was completed in August 1941, and approved by the King.

This Manitoba land survey map was completed in 1962, a year after the old RAF base was purchased by Midwest Food Products [American Carnation Foods Ltd] showing the buildings [black] of the new French Fries food processing plant. On 10 September 2004, the assets of Midwest Food Products were purchased by McCain Foods and major construction of the plant has taken place since that date.  Today the six runways are long gone, and very little of the WWII RAF buildings era remains, possibly only two still stand. Others were sold to farmers in postwar and could survive but Canadians don’t really care. The R to L [west-east] railway was CPR and the north-south [top to bottom] was CNR. In 1940, the population of Carberry, Manitoba, was almost 900 people, about half the size of the above shown Town map image.

Relief Field Petrel was located eight miles north, a paved triangular pattern landing ground. Relief Field Oberon was located fifteen miles north, three grass runways formed in a triangle.

On 10 October 1939, it was agreed upon in Ottawa, that because of its airport construction experience, the Canadian Department of Transportation would undertake the initial selection of BCATP sites. Once a site was selected, it must be approved by the RCAF, who would then proceed with development and erection of selected buildings for proper training. On 24 January 1940, one-hundred and twenty tentatively selected sites for main aerodrome and relief landing fields had been submitted for RCAF approval. Pilot training schools required large areas [at the very least one-hundred square miles] where trainees would get practice flying a variety of aircraft over various types of terrain including large bodies of open water. The general plan of the Carberry airfield was designed in early 1940, constructed by a Winnipeg based construction company Carter-Halls-Aldinger, built for twin-engine bomber pilot service flying training school, however the runways were not constructed in the typical three single runways formed in a triangle. The airfield cost $850,000 [winning bid in 1940 dollars] being one of only a few originally designed and constructed in what was called “double-sided” with six parallel runways formed in a large triangle.

In 1907, William H. Carter, Frank E. Halls, and Albert H. Aldinger, established the Winnipeg based construction firm titled “Carter-Halls-Aldinger.” They constructed many historic buildings in Winnipeg, then moved west to construct even more important Canadian historic buildings. In Calgary they constructed the famous Hudson’s Bay Company store and an extension to the old Palliser Hotel. In 1920, they reconstructed the Banff Springs Hotel and an extension to the Chateau Lake Louise. In the spring of 1940, they received the government winning bid to build the new Royal Air Force flying training school at Carberry, Manitoba.

The runways were 100 feet [30 m] wide and 2,710 feet [826 m] to 2,850 feet [869 m] in length. This allowed more than one twin-engine Avro Anson aircraft to land or take off at the same time. Further north Lake Winnipeg proved the large body of open water for each pilot to navigate by both day and night, to fly on instruments, and handle the bomber in average situations. On 8 September 1942, pilots began armament [smoke-bomb] air exercises.

This free domain image was most likely taken after May 1943, when RAF Carberry had on strength a peak number of 118 to 121 Canadian Avro Anson Mk. II trainer aircraft. Sixty of these Anson can be seen on the ground. The official formation of No. 33 SFTS took place at RAF Station Wilmslow, England, between 20 – 24 November 1940.

The British RAF staff found five completed hangars, less heating, as the steam heating system had not been completed to the Drill Hall, Officer’s Quarters, or several other important buildings. The water supply came from temporary sources, which had a major effect on lavatory accommodation for the entire base. The British built Avro Anson Mk. I aircraft had not arrived, [1,368 would be sent by ship from England, then delivered to assigned stations by CPR or CNR railway from Halifax, Nova Scotia] and when they did arrive, each aircraft had to be reassembled by the maintenance ground crews before any training could begin. A very large number of these British built Anson Mk. I would be shipped to Canada without wings, another delay problem. The new aerodrome six runways consisted of compacted snow as the base had not received any snow blowing equipment for runway clearing. Tractors pulled heavy rollers compacting the snow into a hard icy surface several inches thick, making the runways available for winter landing and take off. It would be one full year before RCAF snow blowing equipment came into regular use at RAF Station Carberry. The RAF had originally planned on a production target of 540 fully service-trained pilots every six weeks, but that would be impossible for at least the next month or more. The students attended ground lectures and did drill day after day. The first Christmas in a new land arrived at the correct time.

Merry Christmas 1940

RCAF records indicate Anson Mk. I, serial N4938 was the first aircraft to be taken on strength by RAF Carberry, 14 October 1940, followed by N5162 on 22 October, and N5023, N5370, K8775, on 27 October 1940. These first five Mk. I trainer aircraft were most likely left on the CPR railway cars until make-shift heat was supplied at Hangar No. 2, allowing the first Anson aircraft assembly on 11 January 1941. The Daily Diary contains no serial number or arrival dates for the first five Anson Mk. I trainer aircraft or the date they were first test flown.

As the RCAF records below show Avro Anson MK. I serial N4938 was taken on strength at No. 33 RAF Carberry, Manitoba, 14 October 1941 and flew until replaced by Canadian built Anson Mk. II aircraft in mid-August 1942.  Struck off strength by RCAF on 9 February 1945, scrapped.

The Anson trainers continued to arrive in the New Year, serial numbers – N5357, N5362, N5370, N9529, N9547, N9549, N9555, N9559, N9566, N9572, N9604, N9640, N9644, N9651, N9665, N9670, N9675, N9688, N9715, N9719, N9724, N9728, N9746, N9750, N9752, N9779, N9786, N9779, N9820, N9845, N9851, N9888, N98912, N9894, N9901, and N9905.

British built Avro Anson Mk. I aircraft began to arrive by rail in large numbers in late January, and each aircraft trainer [two at a time] had to be reassembled in No. 2 Hangar, which was the only work area with steam heat. The above Daily Diary cartoon records the RAF maintenance ground crews at work. Possibly capturing more RAF truth than any wartime historian could ever describe.

On 6 January 1941, twenty-seven U/T [untrained] RAF pilots arrived, but no aircraft had been assembled for flying. On 26 January 1941, the second echelon of 26 officers, 8 senior NCOs and 256 airmen arrived at RAF Carberry. This included 56 U/T pilots, bringing the RAF total to one-hundred and twelve students waiting for flying training to begin. This disparity was partly solved on 29 January when the RAF arranged a loan of twelve Harvard [pilot trainers] from No. 32 SFTS at RAF Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, known serial numbers were – 2717, 2789, 2790, 2924, and 2926. The British RAF student feelings are expressed in the Daily Diary cartoon below. Class #1 and #2 mixed aircraft Harvard/Anson pilot training began 30 January 1941.

The old British built Anson Mk. Is were assembled and repainted in BCATP trainer yellow markings. Each RAF school in Canada had a different set of markings and RAF Carberry displayed a slightly different application of the yellow areas. The Anson aircraft remained in British Dark Earth and Dark Green camouflage on forward fuselage, upper wings and fixed areas of tail plane. The under surface was completely painted in trainer yellow, along with rear fuselage and inboard areas of upper wing surface. The blue/white/red roundels appeared in six positions, four on main wing and two on each side of fuselage. The RAF serial [numbers only] appeared in large black letters on each side of yellow painted fuselage. Two upper red lines appeared on each engine, possibly for inflight squadron identification.

On 22 February 1941, RAF Carberry had on strength eighteen Harvards and twenty-eight Anson Mk. I trainers. The Harvard trainers reached a total of thirty-four on strength and by mid-May 1941, they were being allocated to other RAF stations, 18 to Dauphin, 7 to Yorkton, 6 to Medicine Hat, 2 to Moose Jaw, and 1 to MacDonald.

Anson Mk. I trainers continue to arrive in March, April, and May 1941 – serials L7054, L7946, L9159, N5041, N5207, K6278, K6297, K6298, K6300, K6303, K8714, K8729, K8734, and K8751. When you read the Daily Diary it becomes clear the old British constructed Anson Mk. Is where a major problem to keep flying in Canada, due to lack of spare parts and many arriving without wings.  By the end of June 1941, RAF Carberry had on strength sixty-eight Ansons, however twenty-six of these aircraft were grounded waiting for spare parts. This situation would not be solved until 30 April 1943, when 110 Canadian-built Avro Anson Mk. IIs replaced all of the older British bombers at the bomber school. The Royal Air Force SFTS [bomber] was organized into three wings – headquarters, maintenance, and twin-engine pilot training. On average 68 new student pilots arrived every twenty-four days from England, and they were assigned to one of three flights in a squadron. The school operated two squadrons “A” and “B” with three flights in each squadron, originally composed of one new intermediate flight course and one advanced flight course close to graduation and presentation of their wings. The majority of RAF single-engine Harvard [fighter pilot] training took place in the western provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, while the twin-engine bomber training took place from Carberry, Manitoba, eastwards to Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes. Due to the shortage of twin-engine Avro Anson trainers, the first future RAF bomber pilots at Carberry received their service training in the more powerful Harvard trainer aircraft. Ground school training came first, which included armament, airmanship, airframes, engines, signals, day and night navigation, [over land and water] photography/reconnaissance, meteorology, and hours of Link trainer practice. The average student bomber pilot in 1940-41, received 75 hours flying time and 40 hours were solo [eight weeks training], soon this pilot training was extended to 100 hours and 50 hours solo, [twelve weeks] effective by the beginning of 1942. The majority of Anson pilot training at Carberry was RAF, however the RCAF were in total charge of all British training schools in Canada, and a few priority courses were conducted in summer of 1941. On 2 July 1941, course #15 graduated with 2 RAF, 2 American RCAF pilots, and 51 RCAF, [two killed 29 June 42] this was followed by a special course for new Americans who had joined the RCAF, 8 July 41, graduating fifteen American RCAF staff bomber pilots for bomber training in BCATP.

In August 1941, the official RAF badge for No. 33 SFTS was designed by the Chester Herald, College of Arms, approved and signed by the King. In December 1941, four copies were received by the unit, appearing in the January 1942, Daily Diary. The North American Plains Bison, which first appeared as a symbol in the 1870 Great Seal of Manitoba, was picked for the RAF training school unit badge. This same Bison symbol was officially granted in a Royal Warrant by King Edward VII, on 10 May 1905, and now it would fly on Avro Anson trainers in the RAF Manitoba.

By mid-March 1942, it appeared the Canadian winter was over, then on 25 March, with little warning, a three-day blizzard stuck southern Manitoba. These images were recorded in the Daily Diary showing the base control tower.

On 4 April spring at last arrived and the rapid thaw caused massive flooding, and again Anson flight training was cancelled. This image of hangar #4 [looking south] shows the extend of flooding, from the Daily Diary records. Course #36 delayed 300 hrs, course #52 delayed 100 hrs, course #48 delayed 600 hrs, and course #50 delayed 100 hrs. The drill hall [which never flooded] was always full of marching student pilots. 30 April 1942, Anson Mk. I trainers on strength totalled 55, unserviceable 37, due to parts and wet weather.

The first official Journal of RAF Carberry, appeared in June 1942, featuring the new official Manitoba Bison Badge. This was a high quality magazine, featuring all the station events, postings, and general wartime news, articles, photos, and art work. The Journal office was located in Hangar #1, which was constructed as a small half-size building, and possible used for administration duties rather than for aircraft maintenance. Caricatures of senior new arrivals [by artist J.H. Waterson] were a main feature, supplying an identity for the many NCO’s and officer’s faces arriving in Canada. This was the only British RAF quality magazine published in the Province of Manitoba during World War Two.

July 1942 – artist J. H. Waterson RAF.

August 1942 – artist J.H. Waterson RAF.

September 1942 – artist J.H. Waterson RAF.

In mid-August 1942, the first Canadian built Avro Anson Mk. II trainers begin to arrive at RAF No. 33 Carberry, and training hours begin to climb. By the end of the month the station had 20 new Anson Mk. II trainers on strength. Anson bombing training was about to begin for all student RAF pilots.

On 8 September 1942, seventeen new Anson Mk. II aircraft were fitted with bomb sites/bomb racks and the following day the first RAF Carberry pilot armament air bombing exercises began. It is believed the new bombing training took place over Lake Manitoba, however no location is given in the squadron Daily Diary. Possibly due to the new bombing routine a new repainting [trainer yellow] of the old British Anson Mk. I aircraft began [110 on strength] and now all Anson Mk. I and Mk. IIs received new nose markings with large black aircraft training numbers from #01 to #121. All Anson aircraft also received a new black stencil nose art marking featuring the RAF Bison official badge.

New Canadian built Anson aircraft received this new RAF Anson stencil nose art.

The rear fuselage large black aircraft serial numbers, six roundel locations, and fixed tail plane red, white and blue markings all remained the same. The only training number to appear in the Daily Dairy came on 14 March 1944, Anson Mk. II serial 11331 carried trainer number 25.

Now that new Canadian Anson Mk. II aircraft were arriving and training hours were increasing, good old “Mother Nature” decided to step in and cause more problems. Since their arrival at 12 noon on 8 December 1940, the RAF personnel had already experienced two Canadian blizzards, weeks of sub-zero -30 F winter conditions and now a Manitoba thunderstorm approached. Course #56 was scheduled to graduate in the afternoon of 10 September 1942, and receive their wings, special guests arrived, and then the clouds grew dark. In the next hour and a half, 2.2 inches of rain fell, again flooding the base. The Daily Diary records the extent of the hail storm, [over one inch in diameter] which damaged and grounded 52 Anson aircraft, from 130 on strength. The new “Gen” RAF station magazine cartoon gave some idea of the damage and clean-up required the following sunny morning.

Hail damage cartoon appeared in September issue of “Gen” magazine, –  J.H. Waterson.

Hail storms became another part of RAF pilot training in Canada. This No. 33 Carberry Anson Mk. I showing the extent of damage caused from flying into the September hail storm. The image also records the upper main wing triangle yellow marking with the two six-inch red stripes painted on top covering of each engine. Important for Anson Mk. I aircraft model builders.

Thanks to the hail damage, thirty-five new Anson Mk. II trainers arrived at RAF Carberry by the end of October 1942.

Still flying 70 old Mk. Is, while 65 new Anson Mk. II trainers have been taken on strength. The first Anson night-flying training began on 16 February 1941, and doubled by fall of 1942.

These first Canadian constructed Anson Mk. II aircraft were picked from a block assigned to No. 2 Training Command beginning with Anson serial number #8382, 8391, 8414, 8420, 8422, 8422, 8424, 8426, 8429, and onwards ending with #8649. The following two pages list the serial numbers beginning with #8426 and the ones marked yellow, [15] are confirmed from the Daily Diary records as being on charge to No. 33 SFTS at Carberry, Manitoba. The serial numbers marked No. 2 T.C. most likely served with the RAF at Carberry, which totals 44 more Ansons, for a grand total of 59 aircraft.

Avro Anson Mk. II RCAF serial #8426 to #8649 follows:

Other Anson Mk. IIs were assigned from the serial block FP712 to FP999, however only six of these aircraft can be confirmed from Daily Diary. FP755, FP775, FP764, FP787, FP902 and FP998.

More Anson II trainers came from the serial block JS151 to JS218, eleven are confirmed JS105, JS202, JS203, JS206, JS213, JS117, JS118, JS197, JS216, JS218, and JS216.

The final selection of Anson Mk. II aircraft came from serial block 11194, 11196, 11197, 11198, 11199, 11201, 11202, 11203, 11204 11205, 11213, 11215, 11219, 11269, 11270, 11271, 11272, 11277, 11278, 11279, 11280, 11283, 11284, 11285, 11286, 11287, 11288, 11290, 11313, 11318, 11319, 11322, 11331, 11332, 11322, 11332, 11342, 11343, 11468, 11469, 11470, 11471, 11561, 11562, 11563, 11564, 11565, 11566, 11567, 11568, 11569 and 11570.

The new Anson Mk. II aircraft [and old Mk. I] all carried a special RAF Bison stencil badge on each side of the aircraft nose, with large nose painted black training numbers, as seen below. The only training number listed in the Daily Diary was Anson Mk. II serial 11331, which arrived on 12 February 1943, and carried number 25 until the school closed 1 December 1944.

The Third Anniversary of No. 33 SFTS takes place on 17 December 1942.

On 31 December 1942, RAF Carberry have on strength British Anson Mk. I – 16 [all awaiting transfer] and new Canadian Anson Mk. II – 107. Course #64 graduates 52 bomber pilots and a very cold New Year 1943 arrives.

Once again “Mother Nature” decides to make a visit to the flying training school and cuts the flying time for student pilots. The Daily Dialy temperture for the month follows and very little flying takes place.

1 Jan. 43        -23 F   No flying

8 Jan 43         -21 F   No flying

9 Jan 43         -25 F   No flying

17 Jan 43       -36 F   No flying

18 Jan 43       -34 F   only five of 107 Ansons will even start.

20 Jan 43       -40 F   No flying

22 Jan 43       -18 F   1st solo flying begins.

23 Jan 43       -20 F   solo flying, very limited.

24 Jan 43       -19 F   4 inches of snow, runways closed.

25 Jan 43       -35 F   No flying

30 Jan 43       -16 F   solo flying at 08:55 hrs.

The Canadian built Avro Anson Mk. II with American built Jacobs engines would not operate in the cold Manitoba winter, and nothing could be done thanks to Mother Nature. A new revised issue of the station RAF journal magazine appeared in February 1943, originally published as an RAF journal in June 1942. The only British newspaper “Gen” published for the RAF in the Province of Manitoba, during WWII.

The new Gen publishing staff in February 1943.

1 April 1943, Course #70 graduated 46 pilots from intake of 63 trainees.

29 April 43, Course #72 graduated 47 pilots from intake of 60 trainees.

27 May 1943, Course #74 graduated 46 pilots from intake of 66, each student averaged 181 hours of flying training.

21 June 1943, two RCAF Officers and fifty other ranks of Fort Arthur Air Cadets arrived for two weeks’ RAF bomber pilot training.

24 June 1943, Course #76 graduated 45 pilots from intake of 69 trainees.

The peak strength of Canadian Anson Mk. II aircraft is reached in the month of July 1943, with 121 at the station.

The Canadian Avro Ansons level off with 118 on strength 30 September, from 119 on 30 June, and peak strength of 121 on 31 July 1943.

On 3 December 1943, four members are killed in the crash of Avro Anson Mk. II serial 8637.

This British built Avro Anson serial R9941 was taken on strength by RCAF on 11 September 1940, given serial #6083. Assigned to No. 1 Central Navigational School, Rivers, Manitoba, she came to her end on 10 June 1942. Twenty-four Anson trainers flew into a rain storm, three never came out.  Anson #6069 – four killed, Anson #6083, – four seriously injured, Anson #6377 – four injured. Even experienced RCAF pilots were being killed by Manitoba thunderstorms.

“New Year” – 1 January 1944, the station has on strength 118 Anson Mk. II aircraft, [89 are serviceable] and this on strength number will remain constant until August of the year.

18 January 44, fifty untrained RAF student pilots arrived and begin Course #100. 11 February 44, Course #90 graduates 39 pilots, intake was 67. 9 March 44, Course #92 graduates 49 pilots, intake was 71. A number of Australian pilots are arriving for training, and two are injured on 20 March 1944, flying in Anson #8459. The RAF pilot F/Sgt. R.W. McNeil [1804343] crash lands the trainer and Aus. #8776 LAC H.t. Rogers and Aus. #5695 LAC J.K. Mason are both injured and sent to hospital. 8 April 44, Course #94 graduates 58, intake was 81 students. 5 May 44, Course #96 graduates 59, intake was 61. The Avro Anson aircraft begin to leave and 88 are on strength by end of August. 13 September 1944, LAC W.B. Naylor [1685780] is on a solo cross-country flight in Anson FP988, and fails to return. He is found dead in his crashed Anson, [Kelly’s Farm, Crawford Park] the last and 27th young student to lose his life at No. 33 SFTS Carberry.

22 September 1944, Course #102 graduates 53, intake was 68 students. 19 October 44, Course #104 graduates 48, intake was 59 students. 16 November 1944, the last class Course #106 graduates 56, intake 66 students.

The last photos of the base are taken and appear in the Daily Diary for 31 September 1944.

No. 33 SFTS Carberry, Manitoba, trained 5,906 RAF bomber pilots, with 26 killed in accidents. On 30 October 1944, Relief Landing Ground at Oberon is closed.

The young future British pilots who graduated to bomber training at No. 33 SFTS were an average age twenty to twenty-two years. The British RAF [and Fleet Air Arm] trained 47,325 aircrew members in Canada during World War Two, and just over one-thousand never returned home to United Kingdom, they remain in burial sites across the vast sections of Canada. Thousands of others were seriously injured during training and returned home to suffer for the rest of their semi-normal lives, mostly forgotten by today’s historians. From March 1941, until January 1945, the RAF trained 22,135 pilots in Canada, however I can’t find the statistical count for total bomber pilots. No. 33 SFTS became the third RAF school to arrive in Canada, No. 31 SFTS Kingston, Ontario, arrived 7 October 1940, No. 32 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, arrived 9 December 1940, and No. 33 SFTS Carberry, arrived 26 December 1940. RAF Carberry completed 106 Courses, with an average of 50 bomber pilots graduating in each course, for a total of around 5,900 pilots returning to United Kingdom, and combat operations. Over half will be killed in combat operations.

The first No. 33 SFTS aircraft accident [Harvard] took place 3 February 1941, no injuries. The first ground accident at No. 33 SFTS Carberry took place on 18 May 1941, LAC #909800 A.C. Richardson struck by Anson spinning prop and was seriously injured in his spine and back. Four days later, 22 May, LAC #1258117 J.H. Baker walks into another Anson airscrew and his left arm was amputated in half a second.

29 June 1941, two RCAF pilots [Course #15] are training in Anson #6391, LAC #76623, Edward Charles Helmer [1st pilot] 26 years and LAC #4032 Donald Hugh Ross [2nd pilot] 22 years, lose control of their Anson in a turn, crash to the ground and explode in flames, five miles from Pleasant Point, Manitoba. Both Alberta born student pilots were due to graduate their wings in just three days. Special RCAF pilot bomber course #15 graduates 51 students on 2 July 1941.

Twenty-six British members of RAF No. 33 SFTS were killed during training at Carberry, Manitoba, all interned in Airmen’s section at Brandon Cemetery, Manitoba. Twenty-four RAF students were killed in aircraft accidents, eighteen in the Avro Anson trainer.

2 April 1941               Harvard                     LAC D.M. Livingston, [410404]

4 April 1941               Harvard #2926          LAC David Millis Wesley, 27 years. Crashed solo night-flying, died in hospital.

12 April 1941             Harvard #2717,         LAC Lawrence Walter Huge Lloyd, 20 years.

19 April 1941             Harvard #2924          LAC John Arthur Camp, 19 years.

19 April 1941             Harvard #2924          LAC Joseph Horace Giles, 20 years.

27 April 1941             Harvard #2790          LAC John George Permuth, 20 years.

20 July 1941              Drowning                  LAC H.J. Killner, fell out of boat at Birds Hill, Man.

16 August 1941         Anson #9670             LAC Leslie Richard Reader, 28 years.

13 September 1941   Anson #FP988          LAC W.B. Naylor, [1685780] 20 years.

19 February 1942     Anson #9607             F/O Desmond Pelham Watson, [42922] 23 years.

19 February 1942     Anson #9607             LAC Geoffrey Charles Wellings, [1087357] 20 years.

1 March 1942                        Anson Prop               LAC Kenneth Mark Townsend, [644744] 21 years, walked into Anson prop, died Brandon hospital, 28 September 1944.

19 October 1942        Anson #                     LAC John Arthur Woods, 21 years.

19 October 1942        Anson #8446             LAC Paul Ernest Sayer, 20 years.

19 October 1942        Anson #8446             LAC D.M. Watson, 19 years.

24 August 1943         Anson #JS197           F/Sgt. Antony William Ingram, [571510] 23 years.

24 August 1943         Anson #JS197           LAC Frank Robert Shorney, [1588744] 31 years.

3 December 1943      Anson #8637             LAC Timothy Gurney Whiteland, [1399640]

3 December 1943      Anson #8637             LAC Alastair Farquahar Blue, [1566934] 21 years.

3 December 1943      Anson #8637             LAC John Harold Bolsworth, [1800818] 19 years.

3 December 1943      Anson #8637             F/O John Francis Lee, [136860] 33 years.

17 February 1944     Hospital                      LAC R.A.P. Pott [1606291] pus in lungs, died from Pneumonia.

20 May 1944              Anson #8457             LAC Alan Ernest King [1587863] 19 years.

29 May 1944              Anson #8463             LAC Godfrey Neil Weightman [1584229] 21 years. Anson pilot crashed during take-off, Flying Instructor was thrown clear; F/O P.H.G. Spray was not injured in the crash, his student was killed instantly.

16 August 1944         Anson                          LAC William Davis [101425]

13 September 1944   Anson #FP988          LAC W.B. Naylor [1685780]

The last Cat. “A” flying accident takes place on 3 August 1944, LAC J. Rothwell [1625385] on solo flight in Anson JS216, lost control and bailed out.

All official flying training ends on 15 November 1944, when Course #106 completes their training. The next day No. 12 SFTS RCAF Brandon begin using Carberry as a relief landing ground.

Between 17 December 1944 and 1 January 1945, the rear party of RAF airmen dig a pit and bury all the British RAF inventory of No. 33 SFTS Carberry. It remains in the ground at the base today.

No. 3 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit RCAF Carberry is formed on 2 December 1944, under command of F/L R.A. Durkin RCAF. On 31 March 1945, the unit had 37 Lysander, 105 Bolingbroke, and 108 Avro Anson Mk. II aircraft in storage. The RCAF base records will close one year later, 31 March 1946. Today [2020] the land is owned by McCain Foods Canada, and each year they process 430 million pounds of Manitoba grown potatoes, most are turned into wholesome Canadian French Fries. Very few Canadians or aviation historians understand there is something else found in the ground at Carberry, Manitoba, and it’s not potatoes. It’s Royal Air Force Secret records and archives from WWII 1940 to 1944.

By late 1943, Britain had amassed an immense debt of around 20 billion pounds, as they had been forced into borrowing heavily in order to finance the war against Germany and the other Axis powers. Most of this debt was held by foreign countries, 4 billion owed to United States and 1.5 billion to Canada. Some of these loans would be forgiven [Canada wrote off 250 million owed for building the BCATP] while many [586 million to U.S.] would not be paid off until the 21st century. The final U.S. wartime loan would not be paid off until 31 December 2006, when 83 million U.S., the last loan payment from WWII, was paid in full to the American government.

In December 1943, the British government and Canada agreed that all RAF schools in Canada would be slowly closed as soon as possible, to save further U.K. debt. This joint government planning began in January 1944, and by November, all but two of the twenty-six RAF schools in Canada had been closed and the staff returned to Britain. The British could not afford to ship the large inventory of their 26 RAF Canadian training schools back to U.K., so they ordered it to be secretly placed in the ground and forgotten. To date not one has been found, because nobody knows they exist. The author not only proved they exist but he even found one in Alberta, Canada.


In 1983, the author began his own research into the six WWII Royal Air Force Schools which had been located in the Province of Alberta. Other than the RAF Daily Diary, on file in the archives at Ottawa, Canada, no WWII records of even one British school can be found in United Kingdom or in Canada. That was a big question mark, WHY? The answer to my question came in the summer of 1985, thanks to making contact with Mr. George Frost, the Chief Air-Engineer for the RAF at No. 32 EFTS located at Bowden, Alberta.

This RAF school officially closed on 8 September 1944, and Mr. Frost received his last two weeks pay cheque and the following instructions from the United Kingdom. As soon as the RAF training staff cleared the base, the rear party were instructed to bulldoze a deep pit [twenty feet in depth] and bury all of the British inventory in this pit, then cover it over and forget about it.

On 23 September 1944, a bulldozer dug the burial pit, in the remote north-west corner of the base, which was described as thirty feet in length and the width of the bulldozer blade. Over the next two days all of the RAF inventory, records, student exams, crash site photos, kitchen pots, pans, dishes, aircraft parts, two Red Indian motorcycles, uniforms, rifles, ammo, aircraft training aids, shovels, hammers, flying gear, flying boots, leather helmets, all the RAF ground crew tools, etc. were thrown into the pit and covered over.

After the first day of dumping, the pit was covered by sheets of plywood, and one foot of earth, to prevent any theft of RAF inventory by local Alberta farmers. In October 1944, the RCAF took over the base, then sold the property to the Alberta Government Corrections, where it became a boy’s reform school in 1974.

In 1982, the property was sold to the Federal Government of Canada and converted to a Canada Corrections Federal Prison. In 1994, I obtained permission from Mr. John Edwards, Commissioner of Corrections Service in Ottawa, to meet with the Bowden Warden [Mr. Mitch Kassen] and begin a search for the WWII secret burial pit.

Digs on this government property were conducted in October 1999, and June 2001, thanks to prison inmates and Corrections machinery supplied for the two dig searches.

In September 2005, I contacted Professor J.M. Maillol of the Earth Science Program of the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Calgary. Professor Maillol and his wife agreed to donate a day to carry out a magnetic ground survey. [I had no money to pay them] This search was successful and the WWII burial pit was pinpointed by a dark blue rectangle on the computer earth color-coded screen scan.

I also interviewed the daughter of George Frost, who was in the burial pit at lunch time September 1944. When the two RAF guards went for lunch, this nine-year-old girl climbed into the open pit and recovered dishes and knives, which she has to this day.

The secret WWII burial “time-capsule” of the RAF in Canada was at last found and could be preserved in an aviation museum in Canada. A letter was drafted and sent to my Federal government in Ottawa. After allowing the author to search for the burial site [three times] and spending years of research, interviews, and my limited money, the answer came back – “NO.” This is the only RAF burial pit site located in all of Canada, however twenty-five other sites remain, mostly in remote privately owned abandoned training bases used by the British eighty years ago.

The complete World War Two time-capsule of No. 32 EFTS, Bowden, Alberta, remains in the far north-west corner of Correctional Service of Canada, Bowden Institution. Yet, thanks to our Canadian Government, these eighty-year-old artifacts might as well be on the Moon.

In 2006, Federal government permission to continue the dig at Bowden was turned down flat, “Permission can no longer be granted. Consultation with our legal services has an issue with uncertainty surrounding the ‘ownership’ issue and any artifacts in the ground are property of the Crown.”

For the past fourteen years, I have made repeated contact with two Alberta MLAs, RCAF Association, historical groups, Mike Potter of Vintage Wings of Canada, the Flight Hangar Museum of Calgary, Honorary Colonel John E. Melbourne, CD, and even the TV program “War Junk” in an attempt to save this RAF history for a museum. No reply, not one. The biggest disappointment came from my Airdrie M.P. Mr. Blake Richards, no reply after three face-to-face meetings. At age 76 years, the author has decided to pass on his quest to save British Royal Air Force time-capsule artifacts buried at Bowden, Alberta, Canada. I’m not very good at kissing political bums, and the people with the means, money, and political clout to assist just refuse to get involved.

The World War Two RAF Station Carberry, Manitoba, is another forgotten base with a secret burial pit, and it is only thirty miles from the BCATP Museum at Brandon, Manitoba. With the cooperation of the property owners, McCain Foods Canada, maybe the results in the Province of Manitoba could prove positive, unlike my home Province of Alberta.

Or maybe it’s just another lost cause?

No. 9 B&G Mont-Joli (PDF file)

Research by Clarence Simonsen 

No.9 B&G


The new Fairey Battle RAF medium day-bomber was constructed with all-metal stressed-skin, retractable landing gear, flaps, and a transparent canopy over the two cockpits. The first production Battle flew in early June 1937. It flew faster and carried double the bomb load of the Hawker Hind biplane it replaced, and by May 1939, seventeen RAF squadrons were equipped with Battles.

During five short weeks in the summer of 1940, [The Battle of France] hundreds of young men met their death flying in the Fairey Battle, which had no defence against the German fighters such as the Bf 109E fighter. On 10 May 1940, the German assault began and by 22 June, France accepted terms for an armistice, and three days later the war in France ceased. The RAF lost 959 aircraft, 200 were Fairey Battles. With the total failure of the Battle medium bomber during the German attack of the Low Countries, most of these RAF aircraft were turned over to flying training in the United Kingdom, and later 739 came to Canada.

On 21 August 1939, the first eight pre-war British Fairey Battle aircraft arrived by rail at RCAF Station Camp Borden, Ontario. The first seven aircraft were assembled, test flown, and delivered to RCAF Trenton, Ontario, on 3 and 4 September 1939. The seven Battle aircraft serial P2155, P2171, P2172, P2185, P2186, P2187, and P2196, would be used mainly for RCAF flying instruction only. In total twenty pre-war Fairey Battle aircraft would be taken on strength by the RCAF from 21 August to 2 November 1939.

Text version without the images

No. 9 Bombing and Gunnery School,
Mont-Joli, Québec

This 1939 painting by Richard J. Treirthick appeared on the rear cover of the 20 May 1939, Royal Air Force Empire Air Day Official Flying Programme.

The new Fairey Battle RAF medium day-bomber was constructed with all-metal stressed-skin, retractable landing gear, flaps, and a transparent canopy over the two cockpits. The first production Battle flew in early June 1937. It flew faster and carried double the bomb load of the Hawker Hind biplane it replaced, and by May 1939, seventeen RAF squadrons were equipped with Battles.

During five short weeks in the summer of 1940, [The Battle of France] hundreds of young men met their death flying in the Fairey Battle, which had no defence against the German fighters such as the Bf 109E fighter. On 10 May 1940, the German assault began and by 22 June, France accepted terms for an armistice, and three days later the war in France ceased. The RAF lost 959 aircraft, 200 were Fairey Battles. With the total failure of the Battle medium bomber during the German attack of the Low Countries, most of these RAF aircraft were turned over to flying training in the United Kingdom, and later 739 came to Canada.

On 21 August 1939, the first eight pre-war British Fairey Battle aircraft arrived by rail at RCAF Station Camp Borden, Ontario. The first seven aircraft were assembled, test flown, and delivered to RCAF Trenton, Ontario, on 3 and 4 September 1939. The seven Battle aircraft serial P2155, P2171, P2172, P2185, P2186, P2187, and P2196, would be used mainly for RCAF flying instruction only. In total twenty pre-war Fairey Battle aircraft would be taken on strength by the RCAF from 21 August to 2 November 1939.

The first seven Fairey Battle aircraft with assigned RCAF serial number 21 August 1939

The RCAF list of twenty pre-war Fairey Battle aircraft which were purchased by Canada

Forty-Nine more Fairey Battle trainers would arrive in Canada and all were given RCAF serial numbers beginning with A51 and ending with A330. On 14 February 1935, the RCAF created an instructional register for all Canadian aircraft which were no longer fit for active service flying but still useful as a ground instructional aircraft, where airframe engine running could be practised. These instructional aircraft register all began with an “A” prefix followed by a numerical order. The first two Fairey Battle instructional airframes received by the RCAF were RAF #1314, which became Instructional A51 and RAF #1312 which became A52, both taken on charge by RCAF 20 September 1939. Battle RAF #1317 arrived on 3 November 1939 and became RCAF instruction airframe A56. Three more would arrive on 30 May 1940, instructional airframe A86, [ex-K7596] A87, [ex-L7636] and A88, [ex-L5089].

The RCAF instructional airframe serial numbers for Battle A86 to A125

The largest group of twelve Fairey Battle RCAF instructional airframes arrived in late 1940 and 1941, RCAF serial A132 to A187. A few of these instructional airframes were transferred by the RCAF back to flying status, from its original “A” state. It is almost impossible to identify these airframes, some which served with bombing and gunnery schools in the BCATP until 1945.

Battle RCAF instruction serial #A249 to A296

Battle RCAF serial #1601 to 1619

Battle RCAF serial #1620 to #1682

Battle RCAF serial # 1683 to 1745

Battle RCAF serial #1746 to 1808

Battle RCAF serial # 1809 to 1871

Battle RCAF serial #1872 to 1934

Battle RCAF serial #1935 to 1997

Battle RCAF serial # 1998 to 2060

Battle RCAF serial #2061 to 2123

Battle RCAF serial # 2124 to 2140

The RCAF expansion of bombing and gunnery schools began in early 1941, to meet the operational demands for more air bombers, navigators class “B”, wireless operator/air gunners and air gunners. No. 9 Bombing and Gunnery School at Mont-Joli, Québec, became one of the largest constructed [work beginning 8 September 1941] and was used exclusively to train air gunners after 19 July 1942, first class #22A of eighteen trainees arrived 15 December 1941. On the official opening day, 15 August 1942, the school had 1,021 RCAF training staff, 304 gunnery trainees, and flew 84 aircraft. Fifty-nine gunnery trainers were British built Fairey Battles, thirteen equipped for drogue towing and forty-six fitted with Bristol turrets for air-to-air test firing. The first six American Northrop Nomad Target Tow aircraft arrived 17 July, and four Hudson aircraft arrived for German U-Boat patrols. U-132 sank three freighters on 5 July off Cape Magdalen, one on the doorstep of Mont-Joli.

This map appeared in the official opening program on 15 August 1942
The Official badge and map was created by LAC Ross on 4 July 1942

Modern Flying Training comes to French Canada, Star Weekly 13 February 1943.

15 December 1941 was the early official opening of No. 9 B & G school for ground training only as they had no aircraft on strength. The first aircraft arrived on 21 December, RCAF Norseman #3524, followed by the first two Fairey Battle aircraft on 9 January 1941. One of these aircraft was Battle IT [Turret], RCAF serial 1311 [RAF #P2233] which had arrived by rail at Camp Borden on 21 August 1939. This aircraft had its air gunner training turret installed on 18 February 1943, and flew at Mont-Joli until 16 February 1945, a true veteran. The base strength as of 31 January 1942 was 41 Officers, 543 Airmen, 79 Trainees, 3 Army, 43 Civilians and one Can. Dental Corps officer. The Aircraft Strength was 2 Norseman, and fifteen Battles for training. The known Battle serial numbers were – 1311, 1625, 1635, 1640, 1644, 1668, 1670, 1780, 1794, 1993, 2022, and 2129. [Serials recorded in Daily Diary records] Until late 1941, RCAF air gunners were trained in the United Kingdom, and there was a deficiency of Canadians for RAF gunners.

The following souvenir booklet commemorating the official opening of No. 9 B & G School, Mont-Joli, Québec, at 2:30 pm 15 August 1942. Major General the Honorable Sir Eugene-Marie-Joseph Fiset, Kt., CMG, DSO, MD and the Lieutenant-Governor of the Province of Québec, officially opened the new school.

The first graduation of Air Gunners Course #24, took place 16 February 1942, 29 trainees graduated and received their Air Gunner Wings. The A/G course had been increased from four to eight and now twelve weeks.

No. 9 BGS first fatal aircraft crash, 19 May 1942

The two students were part of Wireless Air Gunners Course #30, which was due to graduate on 23 May 1942. The body of the American pilot was never found. The next day [20 May] six members of the class had their photo taken under a shark mouth Fairey Battle serial #1679, trainer #73, an aircraft they had most likely trained in.
Names L to R – LAC J.L.H. Gougeon
LAC A.C. Reay
LAC J.C.M. Brosseau
LAC F.G. Bourque
LAC D.W. Fraser
LAC J.E.J. St. Michel
Official RCAF photo PL8928.
Course WAG #30 graduated on 23 May 1942, seen below photo.

Two months before the Axis powers went to war against the United States, 8 December 1941, the Roosevelt administration began making plans for their country’s eventual involvement in the European war against Hitler. These secret plans involved the American forces joining the British in a major air offensive against Germany. On 28 January 1942, these plans took effect when the U.S. Eighth Air Force was officially activated at Savannah Army Air Base in Georgia. Moving a bomber force of this size to England required quantities of ordnance, fuel, lubricants, and parts. The northern aircraft ferry route began at Presque Island, Maine, then Goose Bay, Labrador, Bluie West 1, Greenland, Prestwick, Scotland, and United Kingdom. Suddenly, the American pilots of these bomber aircraft required thousands of aerial maps for Québec, Labrador, and Newfoundland. [Newfoundland and Labrador were still a self-governing colony under British rule, not part of Canada]

The 1st Photographic [Recon] Squadron of the USAAF was activated on 1 February 1940, re-designated the 1st Mapping Squadron on 13 January 1942. They had requested and received an official emblem created by Walt Disney artists on 3 October 1941.

On a blue disc bordered with yellow with white clouds, a flying Falcon “Butch” in dark brown, light brown and white feathers, with yellow feet and beak, wearing an aviator’s helmet, focusing on black and light blue trim aerial camera.

No. 1 Mapping Squadron flew two Lockheed Model 14 Hudson Mk. III aircraft. The Hudson was originally built in 1939 for the British Government as a military conversion of the Type 14 model transport aircraft. The Hudson Mk. III was designated as A-28 or A-29 by the U.S. Army Air Forces, and “A” flight had two converted to carry aerial mapping cameras, US serial 41-23383 and 41-23394. The image below was taken by RCAF aerial gunner in training, LAC Leonard E.J. Cote, from Pierre Lagacé collection. The American Hudson A-29B on the right was one of the aircraft which aerial mapped the Province of Québec and Newfoundland [Labrador] for five months in summer of 1942, based at Mont-Joli, Québec.

The Star Weekly issue for 5 July 1941 contained an article on RCAF aircraft Nose Art.

This posed image from Star Weekly was taken at the Federal Aircraft Ltd. plant in Montreal. The worker appears to be painting a nose art stencil of a Devil on an Avro Anson Mk. II aircraft, however very few Avro Anson Mk. II aircraft carried any form of RCAF nose art during WWII.

Eleven Canadian aircraft plants were originally entrusted to manufacture the components of the Canadian Avro Anson Mk. II aircraft. In June 1940, Federal Aircraft Ltd. [Wholly-owned Government of Canada Company] was formed to place this Avro Anson aircraft programme under one management and construction plant. The head office became 276 James Street West, Montreal, Québec. The Canadian Anson II was basically the English Anson modified with the installation of two 330 h.p. Jacobs L-6BM engines. Canada had purchased 2,300 engines from Jacobs Aircraft Company of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, at a cost of ten million dollars. The nose section was a Canadian moulded plastic-plywood aircraft front made by the Vidal process, with the first production aircraft flying in August 1941. Most of the Canadian production of the Anson II in 1942 were sent to pilot training schools in the BCATP. The RCAF navigator schools struggled alone with the old British Anson Mk. I, III and IV until 1943 when the Canadian Anson V began to appear. Beginning of 10 February 1942, sixteen new Canadian Avro Anson Mk. II trainers arrived at No. 9 B & G School, Mont-Joli, Québec, as bombing trainers.

In March 1942, Walt Disney artists created this insignia for the American 33rd Flying Training Wing, 68th Two-Engine Flying Training School at Ellington Field, Houston, Texas. This was a Texas flying training school for pilots who had advanced to two-engine aircraft, flying the B-25 Bomber. The Western Union stork first appeared in the 1941 movie “Dumbo” where he insisted on singing “Happy Birthday” to Mrs. Jumbo as he delivered her new baby Dumbo. Disney animator Art Babbitt created the stork and Dumbo went on to become the most affectionately characterized Disney movie of all time. This Disney insignia soon caught the eye of RCAF members in the BCATP training in Canada, which was ready made for the training duties being conducted by the Canadian built RCAF Avro Anson Mk. II bomber.

This Disney inspired nose art first appeared on the Avro Anson aircraft at No. 5 SFTS at Brantford, Ontario. In May 1942, sixteen Avro Anson Mk. II trainers at No. 9 B & G School received new markings featuring the same Disney Stork [below] inspired nose art insignia.

The new RCAF Avro Anson Mk. II bomber training aircraft received a diagonal red strip on the fuselage [50“wide] with white numbers beginning with #78 for RCAF serial 7111 and ending with #93 for serial 7130. Its unknown if Anson serial 7116 and 7117 were ever assigned to Mont-Joli, Québec, they do not appear on the Daily Diary records. The Disney stork insignia appeared on each bomber nose [possibly both sides] inside a 50” white disk. The first of four Anson bombing training exercises took place on the morning of 20 June 1942, however they would be short lived. On 19 July 1942, RCAF Command issued orders that no further Air Observer or Bombing Training would take place at No. 9 B & G School. From this date on No. 9 at Mont-Joli, would only train RCAF Air Gunners. On 16 September 1942, thirteen Canadian Federal-built Anson Mk. II aircraft were sold to the USAAF for testing at Wright Field, designated AT-20 aircraft. Eleven of these Anson’s had been on strength at No. 9 B & G at Mont-Joli, Québec, serial 7114, 7115, 7119, 7120, 7121, 7122, 7123, “7126” 7128, 7129, and 7130.

One of the Canadian built Anson’s as an American AT-20 with new serial and markings.

RCAF Official War Artist Sgt. Donald Kenneth Anderson [promoted to Sgt. 1 Feb. 1942] painted this Air Gunner in training beside his Fairey Battle I serial 1904, taken on strength by RCAF 21 April 1941. Beginning on 19 July 1942, No. 9 B & G School at Mont-Joli, Québec, was officially used exclusively for the twelve-week training of air gunners, painted by Sgt. Anderson in April 1942, for Star Weekly magazine in Toronto
The first class of eighteen air gunners arrived at No. 9 B & G on 15 December 1941, however the school was still under construction and had no aircraft on strength. The first two Courses [thirty-five trainees] #22A Air Gunners and #23 Wireless Air Gunners completed their ground training on 15 January 1942, then were posted to No. 6 B & G School at Mountain View, Ontario, to complete their flying training. The first Wings Parade at No. 9 B & G was Course #24 Air Gunners which graduated 29 students on 16 February 1942. This was followed by the first Air Observer Course #34, graduated 21 students on 28 February 1942. Each course originally lasted four weeks, was extended to eight, then to twelve weeks 19 July 1942.

1 March 42 Course #35 Air Observers graduated 29 trainees.
28 March 42 Course #36 Air Observers [20 students] and Course #26A Air Gunners [28 students] had a joint graduation ceremony.
11 April 42 A/G #38 graduated 32 students and WAG #27 graduated 29 students.
25 April 42 A/G #39 graduated 33 students and WAG #28 graduated 35 students.
9 May 42 A/G #40 graduated 29 and WAG #29 graduated 28 students.
23 May 42 A/G #41 graduated 23 and WAG #30 graduated 37 students.
26 June 42 WAG #32 graduated 32 students.
4 July 42 Air Observers #44 graduated 29 and WAG #33 graduated 31 students.
19 July 42 No. 9 B & G officially trained only Air Gunners beginning with Course #35A which graduated 34 students on 15 August 1942.

The school officially opened on 15 August 1942 and graduated 29 students from A/G Course # 36A on 25 August 1942. During the first eight months of operation No. 9 B & G School had managed to train 315 Air Gunners, 50 Air Observers, and 205 Wireless Air Gunners, while they were still under civilian construction. Now they prepared for full-time RCAF Air Gunner training [twelve weeks] with obsolete [originally French purchased] American built Nomad trainer aircraft which begin to arrive at Mont-Joli in late July.

In June 1940, the French government purchased 93 ex-USAAC Northrop A-17A ‘Nomad’ fighter planes but they were not delivered before the fall of France to Nazi Germany. The French government order was taken over by Great Britain and 32 of these aircraft were directed to Canada to be used for BCATP training. These aircraft were all taken on strength by the RCAF on 13 and 26 August 1940, with all assigned to No. 3 Training Command. In late July 1942, the first six RCAF Northrop Nomad aircraft arrived at No. 9 B & G School at Mont-Joli, and by the end of September they had received twenty of these obsolete old American fighters. The following serial numbers in yellow are known to have first flown at No. 9 B & G School, however by January 1943, Mont-Joli had on strength twenty-four Nomad trainers, which trained [towing Drogue Lines for twenty-months] until August 1944.

Nomad serial 3509 was converted to a Target Tow on 1 October 1941, and possibly delivered to No. 9 B & G with the first six arriving in late July 1942. This free domain image was from the aviation collection of Charles Daniels in B.C. Wearing her Mont-Joli trainer marking #60 she would tow drogue lines until 29 April 1943. The other nine Nomad aircraft [serial 3491, 3497, 3498, 3500, 3503, 3510, 3512, 3514, and 3521] flew at Camp Borden. Nomad 3491, 3503, 3512, and 3521 were all lost at Camp Borden, in early 1941, and 3521 was not found until 27 July 2010. This rare RCAF Nomad history and recovery can be found on many excellent websites.

This image taken by M/Cpl. Roy Maclelland appeared in the Globe and Mail newspaper on 30 October 2014, when Northrop Nomad RCAF 3521 came to the surface of Lake Muskoka in Ontario. A very rare part of RCAF WWII aviation history saved and preserved for future generations of Canadians. Only eight of these Nomad trainers remained at RCAF Camp Bordon, while the other twenty-four were all taken on strength at No. 9 B & G School Mont-Joli, Québec. Northrop Nomad #3506 had a Cat. “A” accident on 30 November 1942, and #3513 caught fire in mid-air and crew bailed-out on 9 May 1944. Pilot R168256, F/Sgt. C.A. Robertson was too low and his parachute failed to open, killed on impact. The old Nomad target tow trainers were all transferred from No. 9 B & G by mid-August 1944, they had done their job for Canada.

The old RCAF Northrop Nomad did her duty at Mont-Joli and managed to appear in a cartoon drawing for the December 1943 “First Issue” of local RCAF newsletter “Target.” As this cartoon suggests, flying a target towing Nomad was an unpopular assignment. The station had on strength 22 Nomad Drogue [Target Tow] aircraft on 31 December 1943. By October 1943, the base strength had grown to over 2,000 and A/G trainee’s strength from 600 to 800 students.

No. 9 B & G School had become the largest Air Gunners training base in the BCATP, with 5,394 air gunners training exercises completed in the month of August 1944. They had 75 Fairey Battle on strength and 17 in reserve storage. August was the first month they did not have on strength or fly any American Nomad Drogue aircraft.

No. 9 B & G flew the Nomad until August 1944, with peak aircraft on strength [23] for Nov. 1942, [23] for December 42, and [24] for January February and [22] for March 1943. The only RCAF School in the BCATP to train with twenty-four original French government purchased Nomad Target Tow trainers. The French connection you might say.
LAC Jacques Morin began his Air Gunner training at No. 9 Mont-Joli, Québec, in early January 1944, Class #74 which graduated on 6 April 1944. His training targets were towed by Nomad aircraft.

During his air gunner training LAC Morin had his photo taken on Fairey Battle #43 and in the background is #36. Both contain the same [nose art] of a Red Devil on cloud, holding a white bomb with his pitch-fork. Photo Sgt. Jacques Morin from Jacques Morin’s collection via Pierre Lagacé.

The last Course #100 to graduate 31 March 1945.

This shows how RCAF No. 9 Bombing and Gunnery School divided each air gunner course into classes containing 14 – 15 students. It’s possible none of these graduates went overseas.
Beginning on 25 September 1942, No. 9 B & G School conducted 56 Air Gunners Courses, [#35B to #100] 31 March 1945, where they graduated 5,874 Air Gunner Wings. The first Flight/Engineer Air Gunner training began with Course #1 on 30 December 1942, and 29 Courses were conducted until 29 June 1944, Course #35, graduating Wings to 573 RCAF Flight/Engineers.
The RCAF operated ten Bombing and Gunnery Schools in Canada during WWII [plus RAF No. 31 B & G at Picton, Ontario, which trained 1,392 British gunners] and trained a total of 12,917 RCAF Air Gunners. They also trained 244 RAAF and 443 RNZAF gunners. No. 9 B & G trained a total of 6,189 Air Gunners or almost half the total Wings who graduated from RCAF schools. In total 1,913 Flight Engineers were trained in Canada, with 573 receiving their Wings at No. 9 B & G School. They also graduated 50 Air Observers, [ended October 1942] and 205 Wireless Air Gunners. In over-all total, No. 9 B & G School graduated a total of 6,444 Air Gunners Wings from 15 December 1941 [Class 22A] until 31 March 1945 [Class #100].

No. 9 BGS at Mont-Joli, Québec was designed and constructed as the largest air gunner’s training school and used exclusively for the twelve-week course designed for air gunners. It was a very sound training base which provided so many with as close as possible real experiences of air gunner’s combat.

More about No. 9 B&G Mont-Joli by Clarence Simonsen
8 May 1942
The Battle of the St. Lawrence began on 8 May 1942, when German U-553 slipped into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. During the early hours of 12 May, U-553 torpedoed and sank the freighter’s “Leto” and Nicoya” on the north Gaspe coast.

German U-132 entered the Cabot Strait on 30 June 1942, and in the twilight of 6 July 1942, fired torpedoes into two ships of convoy QS-15, and two hours later struck another ship in the same convoy. Two Fairey Battles took off on recon, very rare history.

Two Fairey Battles from No. 9 BGS were dispatched with two 250 lb bombs, and they did not even have radio equipment in the old trainers. This is the only known RCAF combat patrol carried out by the British Battle trainers in WWII.
In the next six weeks U-517 and U-165 would proceed into the Gulf and carry out the most successful German sinking’s of the war.

More about No. 9 B&G Mont-Joli by Pierre Lagacé
19 May 1942
These photos are courtesy of Mark Cote whose father Leonard E. J. Cote was an air gunner during World War Two.

Collection Leonard E. J. Cote (courtesy Mark Cote)

Collection Leonard E. J. Cote (courtesy Mark Cote)
Chris Charland had added this information about the crash scene.
The accident record cards noted that the aircraft was on a gunnery exercise when it crashed at high speed and burned five miles south-west of St. Eluce, P.Q. Pilot Officer Halamka was originally declared missing and believed killed. He had a total of 30 hours dual and 105 hours solo on the Fairey Battle.
Then I got thinking five miles south-west of St.Eluce?
Salut Pierre – Lots of spelling mistakes on the accident records cards. St. Luce had no military affiliation during the Second World War according to ‘Abandoned Military Installations of Canada’ Volume 2 – Québec. It is a highly researched series by Ottawa-based Paul Ozorak. Worth the money if you can find a used copy.
St. Eluce was a typo of course, but five miles south-west of St.Luce would put the crash in the St. Lawrence River!
So I read the crash report again.

Farmer’s field in Ste. Flavie Parish!

That made more sense to pinpoint where the crash scene was photographed on May 19, 1942.

Category A
+ HALAMKA, P/O A.F. (Pilot)
+ ROOKE, Cpl C.J. – RCAF
Battle Mk. I
Ex RAF L5207.
Serving at No. 9 Bombing and Gunnery School, Mt.-Joli, PQ at time of crash.
first date: 22 July 1941
last date: 3 July 1942
Taken on strength
Struck off, after Category A crash on 19 May 1942

Accident report

About the pilot (body never recovered)

About the accident (Rooke’s death certificate)

About the other two airmen
Initials: K G
Nationality: New Zealand
Rank: Leading Aircraftman
Regiment/Service: Royal New Zealand Air Force
Age: 19
Date of Death: 19/05/1942
Service No: 413287
Additional information: Son of Arthur Thomas Weal and Christina Weal, of Pukeatua, Auckland, New Zealand.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Lot 34. Grave 1.

Initials: I J
Nationality: Australian
Rank: Leading Aircraftman
Regiment/Service: Royal Australian Air Force
Age: 27
Date of Death: 19/05/1942
Service No: 413494
Additional information: Son of John Henry and Emelie Shaw; husband of Kathleen Mary Shaw, of Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference: Lot 34. Grave 2.

About this photo, this is the information David Young added…

Fairey Battle S/N 1794 of the 9 B&GS at Mont-Joli……
On the 4th July 1942, the Battle 1794 struck the airfields boundary fence during its take-off and the undercarriage sustained damage. During the subsequent landing the undercarriage collapsed and the aircraft was damaged further. Initially it was thought repairable but this was not confirmed and the aircraft was cannibalised for spares. The three crew members survived uninjured…..
(Clipped Wings Vol 2)

More photos from the collection of dated
Summer 1942 – No. 9 Bombing and Gunnery School, Mont-Joli, Québec

Collection Leonard E. J. Cote (courtesy Mark Cote)

Collection Leonard E. J. Cote (courtesy Mark Cote)

Collection Leonard E. J. Cote (courtesy Mark Cote)

Collection Leonard E. J. Cote (courtesy Mark Cote)

Collection Leonard E. J. Cote (courtesy Mark Cote)

Collection Leonard E. J. Cote (courtesy Mark Cote)

Marc Cote wrote a book about his father.

More about Jacques Morin by Pierre Lagacé
I have met Jacques Morin in 2011. He had never talked about his war years except with a few people. When I saw I knew about 425 Alouette Squadron and I was writing a blog about it, he shared what he knew and what he had: photos, stories, log book…

Jacques Morin’s collection

Jacques Morin’s collection

Jacques Morin’s friend at Mont-Joli was Georges Tremblay. He lost sight of him after the war. In 2016 Georges’ son visited Jacques Morin and shared some of his father’s photos.

Georges Tremblay’s Collection

Unknown LAC
Georges Tremblay’s collection

Unknown LACs
Jacques Morin’s collection

Unknown LACs with Jacques Morin (center)
and Georges Tremblay (last one in the back)
Jacques Morin’s collection

George Tremblay, Jacques Morin and unknown LAC
Jacques Morin’s collection

This is a booklet, part of Jacques Morin’s collection of memorabilia. The annotations are from him. The booklet were given to LACs during their training.

Jacques Morin’s
log book pages

Training at No. 9 B&G

No. 22 O.T.U.

No. 1666 C.U. Wombleton

425 Alouette Squadron

Jacques Morin’s crew with
RCAF 425 Alouette Squadron

LW207 “Willie the Wolf from the West – tail art “Ol’ Daid Eye” (PDF version)

Another Clarence Simonsen’s research

Click on the link below.

LW207 Willie the Wolf from the West

P/O Jack Ryan (Collection Réal St-Amour)


This Halifax bomber was air tested by S/L Bedford Donald Chase Patterson J10296, from Calgary, Alberta, on 17 June 1944, and then became his aircraft. Patterson was the Officer Commanding “B” Flight in No. 426 Thunderbird Squadron, and thus he could pick the bomber he wanted to fly. The nose art of pilot Willie the Wolf was also picked by Patterson, his name￾sake and the nose art name “Willie the Wolf from the West” in reference to his place of birth Calgary, Alberta. S/L Patterson would fly Halifax MZ674 on seven operations dated – 19 May, 24 May, 5 June, 9 June, 12 June, and 15 June 1944. Transferred to No. 425 Squadron and the crew of P/O Jack Ryan from Toronto, the pilot Wolf nose art remained but the named changed to “Nobody’s Baby” above image. Halifax MZ674 was shot down over Duisburg, Germany, 14 October 1945. The following log book pages from S/L Patterson records his operations flown in MZ674, 19 May to 15 June 1944.