Request from Clarence Simonsen – Flight Lieutenant Hugh Rickard (Updated)

Updated 15 January 2022

Clarence Simonsen wrote with this request…

LAC H. Rickard was an RCAF unknown artist, at some forgotten unit in 1940. He began a cartoon strip on his RCAF duties – “AC2 ERK, Joe” and it became a hit. He was posted to Ottawa, maybe in 1941, then began drawing RCAF training posters, plus his cartoon which appeared in WINGS magazine – RCAF log.

He was posted to London, England in [?], I think 1944, promoted to F/O, serial unknown.

Images shared by Clarence Simonsen


Thanks Ricky !

No. 3 I.T.S., and “The Take-Off” in particular, are deeply indebted to Flying Officer H. Rickard, who spent two days at this Station During July and subsequently produced the cartoons which now adorn our magazine.

“Ricky”, as he is known thoughout the Service, is the R.C.A.F. official cartoonist who has drawn hundreds of cartoons of all kinds, single ones and in series, in connection with Air Force matters. Not an Air Force Station in Canada, (and we doubt not, abroad) but has his works on its walls, drawing attention to rules and advice of all kinds in a far more striking way than could ever be done by mere printed words.

Our cover is his product, and we think you will agree that it is a mighty good one! So are the frontispiece and end cartoons. and most of the other drawings. “Ricky” is a quiet man and one didn’t see much of him during his visit, but his eyes were open and he saw things—witness his inimitable cartoons of the “snipe hunt” and the hot July route marches in our first issue.

Having seen things, he returned to Ottawa and went to work. He was shortly afterwards taken ill, but kept at his work and had it in Victoriaville in time for our first issue.

We can never appreciate enough his wonderful contributions to our magazine and we hope to have a lot more of them in the future.

Thanks “Ricky” !

Our First Editor is Posted

“The Take-Off” records with much regret the departure of its first editor, Flying Officer W. F. Burke. Mr. Burke has left oil temporary duty to take the course with the Fighter Command School at Orlando. Florida, subsequent to which he will be posted to other duties.

While envious of Flying Officer Burke’s trip to the Sunny South, where there seems no doubt he will he able to combine some pleasure with his duties (for it is difficult to imagine a month in Florida without some fun, we were sorry to see him leave.

”The Take-Off” was his child. He was amongst those who conceived the idea of publishing a magazine at No. 3 I.T.S., and was its guiding spirit in its earliest days. It followed as a matter of course that. he became the first editor. He did a good job and saw the baby safely born. It was on after the first edition of the magazine appeared that he was posted, but he left knowing that his work was well established.

The best of good luck, Flying Officer Bill!


Our congratulations this month to F/Sgt. Pat Winder, who was recently elevated to that rank. Also to Sgt. Errett, a new-comer in our midst. Welcome.

We understand that Sgt. Hankins is quite a ladies’ man. It must be that classic profile.

Attention Sgt “Sandy” Robertson. Is it true what they say about gophers?

Sgt. L’Heureux is speaking with a decidedly English accent these days—the Curle-Salter influence, no doubt.

We hear that W. 0. 2 Kirkham received 2 aspirins and 25c from Drummondville the other day. Better hang on to them Major. You never know, when you’ll need them.

Favourite expressions

Sgt. Howie: “Do you think that’s right ?”
F/Sgt. Gervais: Censored. It could not he printed.
W. O. 2 Blanchette: “Would you like to hear me sing?”
Sgt. MacDonald: “I think I’ll get married.”

What station Sgt. Major had to jump the gate to get in Friday evening? It’s funny how gates can get in the way.


Postings, marriages, births, promotions, with postings most frequent and promotions least, such is the news of the officers’ mess. Despite their rarity there have been three changes in rank. Allen Hern and Gerard Aubry, who also makes the news with his marriage, have become F/O’s. Our B.O, Mayne has been demoted from S.F.O. to Flight Loot.

F/O’s Ray Cotton and Don Edward each have another mouth to feed. Congratulations.

Friends departing were : F/L “Taffy” Davies to Moncton; F/L Paul Green and Sister Pitkethly for overseas; F/L Gus Dubuc for Lachine “M” Depot: F/O Cliff Church for No. I: F/O’s Burke and Tardif for Florida (yes, Florida) ; and F/O Charlie Young for No. 10 A.O.S., Chatham. We may also have lost, though. we aren’t quite sure F/O Bergeron.

New arrivals are: Padre Curry (May he have luck with our souls); F/O Blackwood and Sister Larose for the Hospital; Lt. Mussels, jaw-breaker: and three officer trainees: P/O’s Zeller, Smith, and Dernier. Bobbie Zeller is no stranger here. He was equipment officer here when No.3 was a pup. So to him and all the newcomers, welcome!

P. S.—There were some parties but everyone who needs to know about them knows already.

Images found on the Internet

Remembering Squadron Leader Carroll McLeod (source Internet)

Dick Lidstone ( now of Victoria), with whom I spent the summer of 1957 in Centralia and 1958 in Trenton with the RCAF, wrote to tell me that S/L McLeod’s poem rang a bell with him, and when he checked his collection he found the book of poetry in which the poem appeared,

Dat H’ampire H’air Train Plan. It was first published in 1943 and printed by Gaylord Printing Co. Ltd. of Toronto.

So having the name of the book, I went to, which I have used several times to locate and purchase used, old, and out-of-print books. I picked up the phone and ordered the book from Alice at Cal’s Books in Saskatoon.

The little hardcover book arrived the next day. It has 7 poems by S/L McLeod, illustrated with 33 cartoons by F/O H. Rickard. The cartoon sent with the poem as it appears in the February Page was not one of those by Rickard. I think it may have been drawn by someone for a station newsletter.

The book is the story of a French-Canadian airman named Joe, who trains in the BCATP, earns his pilot’s wings, is shipped overseas where he flies Halifax bombers, survives a belly landing after a mid-air collision with a German night fighter, is shot down overseas, evades capture, returns to England and is decorated by the king. It is all told in first-person with good humour about a young man who served his country in time of war.

S/L McLeod has inspired me to write my own poetic response to all this. It follows below, and is called, “Dat Poetry Book.”

I know that some folks may take exception to the accent used by S/L McLeod, but I’m sure he meant no offence to anyone. Nor do I. We’re just having fun with words. As McLeod wrote in the book about Joe, “You will find him an earnest, brave, hard-working airman. He trained hard, studied hard, and proved to his superiors that he was the ‘stuff’ of which heroes could be made.”

Following is my response to finding S/L McLeod’s book. I would welcome any information about him or his illustrator, F/O Rickard at…

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