Monthly Archives: February 2022

Alouette – Halifax Mk. III “B for Bully Beef” PDF and text versions

Halifax III B for Bully Beef

Excerpt

Research by Clarence Simonsen with contribution by Pierre Lagacé

Bully Beef, also called corned beef in Canada, is a variety of preserved meat made from a fine mixed corned beef and small part of gelatin jelly. It is believed the name comes from the French word “bouilli” [boiled] and possibly the head of a bull depicted on the British Hereford brand of canned corned beef.

Bully Beef and hardtack biscuits were the main mix of British Army and RAF field rations during WWI and WWII. These canned tins had a very distinctive oblong shape and were opened with an attached key, manufactured in the U.K., France, Brazil, and Uruguay [Fray Bentos]. They were still used in British Armed Forces field rations until 2009, and the British loved their Corned Beef Hash mix, still do.


Text version 

Alouette – Halifax Mk. III “B for Bully Beef”

Research by Clarence Simonsen with contribution by Pierre Lagacé

Bully Beef, also called corned beef in Canada, is a variety of preserved meat made from a fine mixed corned beef and small part of gelatin jelly. It is believed the name comes from the French word “bouilli” [boiled] and possibly the head of a bull depicted on the British Hereford brand of canned corned beef.

Bully Beef and hardtack biscuits were the main mix of British Army and RAF field rations during WWI and WWII. These canned tins had a very distinctive oblong shape and were opened with an attached key, manufactured in the U.K., France, Brazil, and Uruguay [Fray Bentos]. They were still used in British Armed Forces field rations until 2009, and the British loved their Corned Beef Hash mix, still do.

No. 425 [Alouette] Squadron was a unique RCAF Bomber Command “French-Canadian” air and ground crew formation.

Group photo taken in September 1944 via Pierre Lagacé

425 Alouette Ground Crews “A” Flight collection Réal St-Amour via Pierre Lagacé

425 Alouette Ground Crews “B” Flight collection Réal St-Amour via Pierre Lagacé

From June to October 1943, they flew tropicalized Vickers Wellington Mk. X aircraft in North Africa in support of the invasion of Sicily and Italy.

Wellington Mk X taking off from Kairouan in Tunisia

Wing Commander William St. Pierre was then in command of 425 Alouette Squadron. In this YouTube video Wing Commander William St. Pierre is seen at 6:00 with Group Captain Dunlap.

 

Screenshot

Wing Commander William St. Pierre was decorated by General Carl Spaatz with an American DFC.

collection Réal St-Amour via Pierre Lagacé

We see more of Wing Commander William St. Pierre on this YouTube video starting at 26;37.

 

These next photos were taken in North Africa. They are part of the collection of Roly Leblanc via his son.

 

 

 

 

More photos of the collection are found here on Pierre Lagacé’s blog Lest We Forget…

Rememberance Week: Off to North Africa

Issued with RAF rations, the meat was always tinned Corned Beef, which was not loved that much by Canadians.

One 425 Squadron RCAF Wellington aircraft [HE522 “B”] was painted with nose art of a Bull Head and was called “Bully-Beef” by all air and ground crews.

I have no photos of KW-B, HE522.  This Wellington flew 39 missions from Kairouan, Tunisia between 25 June 1943 and 05 October 1943.

If there are official “PL” photos, they would probably be between PL-16000 and PL-19000 mixed with photos of all the other Canadian bomber, fighter, transport, etc. squadrons present in England, North Africa, Malta, etc.  The descriptive cards generally give the names of the airmen but not where the photo was taken or the letters of the aircraft.  There are exceptions such as “Blues in the Nite” and “Turtle”.

The squadron returned to England, embarking for the U.K. on 26 October 1943. It arrived 6 November 1943 to No. 61 [RCAF] Base at Dishforth, Yorkshire, where crews began to convert to new Handley Page Halifax B. Mk. III aircraft.

 

On 10 December 1943, the unit moved to No. 62 [RCAF] Base at Tholthorpe, Yorkshire, and a new Halifax bomber [LW381] arrived on 12 December and was taken on charge, assigned the code letter “B” for Bull or Bully.

Halifax Mk. III, serial LW381 was given the code letters KW-B and nicknamed “Bully-Beef” by the ground and aircrew who flew her.

The simple white outline RCAF nose art featured a large snorting Bull Head, and she was considered to be a very ‘lucky’ aircraft flying 59 operations, from 24/25 February to 2 November 1944. That photo was taken after Op. # sixteen 22/23 May 1944.

First assigned to the aircrew of F/Sgt. M. Bryson on 20 February 1944, they flew her on the first operation on 24/25 February. It is possible this crew picked the Bull Head nose art and the name B for Bully Beef. They flew Halifax LW381 the most operations [fifteen]

February 24/25,

March 6/7, 15/16,

April 21/22, 26/27, 27/28, 30,

May 1/2, 7/8, 9/10, 10/11, 22/23, 27/28,

June 2/3, 6/7.

Other aircrew flew the Halifax once

F/O Taylor J.R. [Op. #3]

F/O Taylor J.R. image via Pierre Lagacé

F/O would later die.

Killed in action

F/O Wilmet R.B. [Op. #5]

P/O Dupuis L.B. [Op. #6]

P/O Dupuis L.B. image via Pierre Lagacé

F/Sgt Thomson R.A. [Op. #8]

P/O Côté J. A. [OP. #18]

P/O Côté J. A. image via Pierre Lagacé

WO2 Vincent V.R. [Op. #20]

F/O Gregson H. H. [Op. #22]

P/O Mauger A.R. [Op. #23]

P/O Haché J. P. D. [Op. #24]

P/O Haché J. P. D. image via Pierre Lagacé

P/O Brooks L. B. [Op. #25]

P/O Brochu L. B. [Op. #26]

P/O Brochu L. B. image via Pierre Lagacé

F/O Jacobs S.H. [Op. #27]

F/O Langlois S.H. [Op. #27]

F/O Langlois S.H. image via Pierre Lagacé

WO R151123 Boyer {Op. #29]

J86106 P/O Taillon A.F. [Op. #30]

J27416 F/O Jacobs [Op. #31].

Assigned to the RCAF aircrew of J27638 F/O N. E. Streight, they flew her fourteen times,

July 15/16, 18, 18/19, 20, 24/25

25/26; F/O N. Streight and crew flying Halifax III LW-381 coded KW-B was attacked by a unidentified single engine enemy aircraft, some strikes were seen.

August 3, 15, 16/17, 18/19;

September 9, 10, 12, and 17.

More single aircrew were now assigned, S/L Phelan [Op. #51, 6 October]

 collection William Phelan via Pierre Lagacé

For more information about Squadron Leader Phelan, click on the link below.

Home

F/O Beaulieu [Op. # 52, 14/15 October]

F/O Séguin [Op. #54, 23 October]

F/O Desmarais [Op. #57, 30 October]

 image via Pierre Lagacé

For more information (in French) on F/O Desmarais, click on the link below.

9 décembre 1944 – Desmarais… et Laurent Dubois

 image via Pierre Lagacé

P/O Corbett [Op. #58, 1 November]

 image via Pierre Lagacé part of Réal St-Amour’s collection

and the very last flight

F/L Hemphill [Op. #59, 2 November 1944].

F/Lt. R. Hemphill had the port inner explode and burst into flames just before the target. The Flt/engineer was able to put out the fire and they returned safely to base on 3 engines.

After repairs the veteran Halifax was transferred to No. 1666 H.C.U. at Wombleton on 12 November 1944.

On 1 December, again it was transferred to No. 1664 H.C.U. at Dishforth, Yorkshire, where she flew training operations until 7 April 1945, when No. 1664 H.C.U. was disbanded. On 20 April 45 it was flown to RAF No. 41 Group, arrived at 45 M.U. for scrapping on 23 April 1945.

Record card “Bulls Head” prepared by RCAF F/L Lindsay in late May 1945, who also took photo Roll 1 print 2.

Lindsay photo Roll 1 Print 2 May 1945

If this nose art was selected for preservation and shipping to Canada, it is not in the War Museum collection today. The bomb total painted is 62, however only 59 operations were recorded in the squadron records. It is possible that three bombs were painted on during her training, for “Bulls-Eye” bombing training operations over Germany late in the war.

This was a true RCAF Halifax bomber veteran that survived 59 operations, plus unknown number of Bulls-eye training flights, and two reported German fighter contacts, 15 July 1944 operation #32 and 25 July 44 operation #36.

RCAF Combat reports follow.

Painting by Clarence Simonsen


Epilogue (contribution by Pierre Lagacé)

31 May 1944

RCAF photo PL29958  image via Pierre Lagacé

Caption

Bombs provide a not-too-comfortable seat for the five veterans of the RCAF Alouette squadron pictured ABOVE. They are all armourers and all have been with the famed RCAF Bomber Group unit since its formation. Shown are (left to right) LAC Maurice Déry, 24 St. Patrick St., Quebec City; Cpl. G.J. Pitre, 148 St. Patrick St., Ottawa; LAC P. B. Giguère, Valley Junction, P.2.; Sgt. H. W. Barnes, 30 Walker St., Wrightville, P.Q.; Cpl. J.A.F. Geraghty, 76 Sudbury Ave. Quebec City.

Note on PL-29958,

That photo was taken about 31 May 1944, just east of the 425 shed on the north-west side of Tholthorpe, with the firing range visible in the background looking north.  What appears to be snow on the roof of this structure is sand in front of a cement wall (to stop bullets).

The Halifax on one of the 425’s hardstands is KW-B (Bull), LW381. 21 bombs for 21 sorties are painted on the fuselage.  It survived 61 missions with the 425 between 24 February 1944 and 02 November 1944. In order to better identify the 5 armourers in photo PL-29958, here is the first name(s) of each one and their serial number.

LAC Maurice Déry, R/55196

Cpl. G.J. Pitre = Cpl. J. Georges Pitre, R/53571

LAC P. B. Giguère = LAC P. Bruno Giguère, R/155087

Sgt.  H. W. Barnes = Sgt. Harry William Barnes, R/54057

Cpl. J.A.F. Geraghty = Cpl. J.A. Fred Geraghty, R/55137

About the nose art of KW-B

 

Newspaper clippings provided by a reader who commented on my blog dedicated to RCAF 425 Alouette Squadron

 image via Pierre Lagacé

 

p.14 LE DROIT, OTTAWA, MARDI 23 FÉVRIER 1943

One year overseas

Flying Corporal GEORGES PITRE, of Ottawa, 148 St. Patricks, is one year overseas today. He arrived overseas on February 23, 1942.

Le Droit d’Ottawa 17 juillet 1944

They probably have a lot to talk about, as they both come from the mining town of Sudbury, in Northern Ontario. On the left a C.A.R.C. correspondent, Sergeant Maurice LACOURCIERE, 10 East Elm Street, interviews his old friend Aurèle RICARD, 159 King Street, Sudbury, Ont. (C.A.R.C. Photo)

The three armourers pictured above appear to be pondering for a moment the destructive power of the bombs they are about to hang from the belly of the Halifax bomber in the background. But their death mission, they know very well, has been imposed on them by the megalomaniac in Berlin. It is up to Hitler and his accomplices to stop the avenging arm of the Allied power; it is unconditional surrender. These veterans of the famous “Alouette” squadron are, from left to right: Senior Airman Maurice DERY, 24 St-Patrice St., Quebec; Corporal J.-G. PITRE, 148 St-Patrice St., Ottawa; Sergeant H. Wagner, 24 St-Patrice Ave. Ottawa; Sergeant H. W. BARNES, 30 Walker Street, Wright City. 30. Walker Street, Wright City, Que.

(Photo R.C.A.F.)

Note: Wrightville is part of Hull, now Gatineau. Maurice Lacourcière, war correspondent, became a judge later in life.

LE DROIT, OTTAWA, JEUDI 21 DECEMBRE 1944 – page 12

Two sons of Mrs. Lausianna Pitre, of 414 St.atrice Street, are members of the C.A.R.C. On the left, Corporal GEORGES PITRE, 30 years old, enlisted since 1939, has been overseas for the past three years: he has been in Sicily and North Africa, and is now with the “Alouettes” squadron. An employee of Continental Paper, he was a popular softball player for the Continental club. Chief Airman ROGER PITRE, 26, enlisted in the air force in 1941 and was stationed in Newfoundland for two years. He has been in Iceland for a few months.

 

p.14 LE DROIT, OTTAWA, VENDREDI 29 JUIN 1945

Corporal GEORGES PITRE. of the RCAF, 148 Clarence Street, arrived last night in a group of 300 repatriated airmen who disembarked about midnight at Union Station. He is the son of Mrs. Widow Laudiana Pitre, and has served three and a half years overseas. He belongs to the French-Canadian Alouette squadron.


Final note by Pierre Lagacé

Are there photos of KW-B? A reader sent me this note after I had asked him for some.

No, I have no photos of KW-B, HE522.  This Wellington flew 39 missions from Kairouan, Tunisia between 25 June 1943 and 5 October 1943.  If there are official “PL” photos, they would probably be between PL-16000 and PL-19000 mixed with photos of all the other Canadian bomber, fighter, transport, etc. squadrons present in England, North Africa, Malta, etc.  The descriptive cards generally give the names of the airmen but not where the photo was taken or the letters of the aircraft.  There are exceptions such as “Blues in the Nite” and “Turtle”.

 

 

 

Canada’s “Thunder-Gander” PDF and text version

Canada’s “Thunder-Gander” PDF and text version

Research by Clarence Simonsen

Canada’s Thunder-Gander

Excerpt

Robert B. Cornelius Noorduyn was born at Nijmegen, Holland, in 1893, and after receiving his formal education began his aviation career in Germany and England.

In 1926, he made his first trip to Canada, selling Fokker aircraft to the Canadian Government and Mr. James A. Richardson, the ‘father’ of Canada’s earliest airlines. [Richardson would be destroyed by the Canadian Government and dirty politics]

Noorduyn soon realized Canada was a virgin playing field filled with huge possibilities for air transport in the far frozen north. In 1933, Robert began on and off designs of a new ski/float-equipped aircraft, which could operate in the Canadian intense cold winter climate.

In 1934, he rented an office on the top floor of the Canada Cement Building on Philips Square in Montreal, Canada, where a full sized mock-up in wood was created.  His new concept was based on many years of experience with the design work on the Fokker Universal and Bellanca Skyrocket aircraft.

This in depth history can be found online and in many excellent published books. Noorduyn stated – “his new design, would have to be tough as a rhino, and water adaptable as a duck.”


Text version with images.

Canada’s “Thunder-Gander”

 

Robert B. Cornelius Noorduyn was born at Nijmegen, Holland, in 1893, and after receiving his formal education began his aviation career in Germany and England.

In 1926, he made his first trip to Canada, selling Fokker aircraft to the Canadian Government and Mr. James A. Richardson, the ‘father’ of Canada’s earliest airlines. [Richardson would be destroyed by the Canadian Government and dirty politics]

Noorduyn soon realized Canada was a virgin playing field filled with huge possibilities for air transport in the far frozen north. In 1933, Robert began on and off designs of a new ski/float-equipped aircraft, which could operate in the Canadian intense cold winter climate.

In 1934, he rented an office on the top floor of the Canada Cement Building on Philips Square in Montreal, Canada, where a full sized mock-up in wood was created.  His new concept was based on many years of experience with the design work on the Fokker Universal and Bellanca Skyrocket aircraft.

This in depth history can be found online and in many excellent published books. Noorduyn stated – “his new design, would have to be tough as a rhino, and water adaptable as a duck.”

In 1942, Robert Noorduyn was interviewed by a Montreal reporter Mr. Lawrence Earl, and one page is worth reading for Canadian Aviation history sake.

The 29th built Norseman Mk. IV #2456 was used for world-wide publication.

The 94th constructed Norseman Mk. IV aircraft was taken on strength by the RCAF on 9 September 1942, given the serial #494.

Photo Tony Jarvis – Edmonton

First assigned to No. 3 Training Command [Montreal, Quebec] it remained in storage until 8 January 1943, transferred to No. 1 O.T.U. [Operational training Unit] at RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec, where the above photo was taken. On 8 November 1944, the aircraft was returned to reserve storage at Eastern Air Command, Montreal. On 18 October 1945, the Norseman was flown to RCAF Station Mount Pleasant, Prince Edward Island, and placed into long term storage. On 1 August 1946, the aircraft was taken off strength by the RCAF and transferred to War Assets for disposal. On 5 May 1947, Norseman 494 was sold to Associated Airways at Edmonton, Alberta, for one dollar, and registered as CF-EIH. It was re-sold to McDonald Aviation Company in Edmonton on 29 May 1947, and passed its Certificate of Airworthiness on 8 August 1947. Flown by Charter Airways Ltd of Yellowknife, N.W.T., the aircraft crashed at Allen Lake on the Cameron River, 25 August 1947. Damaged beyond repair CF-EIH remained on the shore line for the next 46 years, and most of the original parts and wing sections were removed by first nation people who put them to a new use. In 1993, the remains of the aircraft were recovered by members of the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton, and slowly missing parts were located and restoration began.  The full history can be found in the archives of the Alberta Aviation Museum.

Cover from Alberta Aviation Museum Journal magazine 1998. – Tony Jarvis.

A well-known Alberta businessman, Mr. Sandy Mactaggart, and his U.K. based family donated $25,000 towards the restoration of CF-EIH and many missing parts were donated by Joe McBryan owner of Buffalo Airways, [“Ice Pilots”] fame]. After over 8,000 volunteer hours of labor the restored aircraft was unveiled on 18 April 1998, and dedicated to volunteer Chuck MacLaren.

Pilot Tony Jarvis [left] and author in front of “Thunder-Chicken” CF-EIH, 2013.

During the restoration of CF-EIH the remains of the original RCAF Norseman skins were not saved but thrown in the garbage. Pilot Tony Jarvis called the author and ask if I wanted them for my paintings and the answer was – Yes, Yes, please, Yes. I fully understood those were the original skins placed on the Norseman aircraft in Montreal, mid-August 1942, and not only flew the next three years with the RCAF, they also survived 46 years in the ice-cold waters of Allen Lake, N.W.T. That was just the type of original historical aircraft canvas I wanted for preserving my aviation paintings.

In 2010, the author retired and headed south to Mexico City, the birth place of my wife and where I had lived three or four weeks every year since 1990. The next four years would be spent living at many different locations where new relatives resided, both rich and poor. Two full years were spent a four-hour drive north of Mexico City, called San Miguel de Allende, in the state of Guanajuato. It has a small lake and a tiny beach, but it is truly a gem of the art world, and protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is best known as – “A Community of Artists” and it is a most special place which is still hidden from other tourist sites. Please Google the name and read, it is all true, and a hard place to leave, but always good memories.

It is impossible to describe and must be seen and enjoyed just once in your life, the streets are lined with mural art. The large main museum has every type of Mexican art in one huge street-like ex-factory complex, plus excellent food and drink.

My art room was bedroom size, where I painted four to six hours everyday and mixed Mexican true aviation with original Aztec and Maya history, which I had seen in person.

 

Mexican main building material is cement and stone of all shape, size, and colour. For the first time in my life, I was introduced to painting replica Maya art on original rock that dates back to ancient America, and you can really become immersed in all this skilled artistic past history. The above rock art was painted for a special day I experienced on 21 December 2012, the end of the Maya calendar known as the long count. This replica was the scene painted on the 14th century A.D. Codex which survives today in Dresden, Germany, [also survived WWII allied bombing] depicting the Maya sun and moon gods with a catastrophic flood. The Maya Long Count odometer turns over every 5,125.37 years, which was 21 December 2012, and there I stood with hundreds of Mexicans at the base of an ancient site and waited for the Apocalypse. Many Mexicans believed the end of the world was coming, with food offerings and prayers to their ancient gods. Nothing happened, the Gods were happy, no flood, so I went back to painting aircraft nose art.  We can all thank our Christian Gods for not naming an exact date of death and only stating in their Bible, the end will come on Judgement day. During my four years in Mexico, I had also transported soft aircraft skins taken from Noorduyn Norseman RCAF #494, for future aviation paintings.

This RCAF Tactical Helicopter war art was painted for the aviation component who were fighting in Afghanistan, original skin from Norseman #494, painted at San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and later presented to 1 Wing Headquarters, Kingston, Ontario, 16 December 2013.

The Canadian/Dutch Noorduyn Norseman is often called the “Thunder-Chicken” and will always be connected with two aviation accidents because of the famous personalities killed. Major Glen Miller, Director of the USAAF band, boarded a UC-64A Norseman in England on 15 December 1944, but never arrived in Paris.

On 20 May 1948, top-scoring RCAF fighter pilot ace George F. Beurling was ferrying a Norseman to Israel, when it caught fire over Rome, and he died in the fiery crash landing.

On 20 December 2012, I sent an email to Mr. Dennis M. Spragg, Senior Consultant, Glenn Miller Archive, American Music and Research Center, University of Colorado Boulder

Mr. Spragg had just finalized a comprehensive study on all aspects of the circumstances surrounding the Major Glenn Miller Norseman crash 15 December 1944, including over 5,000 pages of documents and first-hand reports. The research would soon be published in his book titled “Resolved.” I was not sure Mr. Spragg would even answer my email, [from Mexico] however he not only answered, he shared his research, answered all my questions, and gave in-depth advice on the correct painting of the Glenn Miller aircraft, Norseman USAAF serial 44-70285.

My painting began [2 January 2013] with a basic outline of the famous U.S.A.A.F. UC-64A type Norseman aircraft on original skin from RCAF Norseman serial #494. Photos were taken and submitted online to Dennis Spragg, who in turn replied with corrections and pages from his relevant documents and photograph base.

No complete aircraft photos of 44-70285 are known to exist, and many paintings have been completed showing different Glenn Miller Norseman markings. My interpretation would be based on the intense research conducted by Mr. Dennis Spragg and the Glenn Miller Archives at Boulder, University of Colorado, and Mr. Alan Cass. The Glenn Miller Norseman aircraft 44-70285 was the 550th aircraft constructed at Montreal, Quebec, Canada, in early July 1944.

 

Departure RAF Twinwood Farm at 1:55 pm, 15 December 1944.

 

The flight was charted over Beachy Head, England, via the normal American transport flight path. It did not reappear over Fecamp, France, [between 57 and 58 on map] on the other side of the English Channel, the standard route for American transport aircraft flight.

Photo sent by Dennis M. Spragg, showing Alconbury ground crew S/Sgt. Arthur Nanas posing with right foot on left wheel strut of Norseman #44-70285. Nanas testified the Norseman had maintenance repair on 12 December 1944, due to carburetor de-icing equipment malfunction, which was common in the UC-64A Norseman. The Board of Inquiry took this documented maintenance information into account when determining possible causes of the 15 December 1944 accident.

Painting completed in Mexico on 22 January 2013.

Original skin from Norseman RCAF #494

The author painting was based on the recorded known facts combined with the relevant documents and investigation conducted by Mr. Dennis M. Spragg, Glenn Miller Archives, American Music Research Center, University of Colorado Boulder, USA. The painting was mailed to Mr. Spragg in April 2013 and passed on to Mr. Alan Cass, Glenn Miller Archives.

 

Due to the fact this Canadian art was painted on original skin from RCAF Norseman #949, the Noorduyn Aviation Insignia and #94 [construction number] were included in the painting. An original strip of skin from Norseman #949 was also sent to the Glenn Miller Archives in an attempt to determine how many years the original skin of Norseman 44-70285 might survive in the English Channel.  RCAF Norseman #494 spent 46 years in fresh water at Allen Lake, [N.W.T.] Northwest Territories, Canada. The author’s surviving original #494 silver painted skin looked and felt like new material.

 

The RCAF was very slow to order their first Norseman aircraft, which had been offered to the Canadian Government in 1937, by Noorduyn himself, as a Canadian advanced trainer. Canadian officials still looked to Britain for building cheaper obsolete aircraft, and shipping British manufactured engines across the ocean, due to the simple fact Canadian’s could not manufacture top quality aircraft engines. The first major RCAF contracts came in May 1940, when 47 Mk. IV Norseman were ordered for navigational trainers. In total 759 Norseman were constructed for the USAAF and 79 for the RCAF. After fifty years of searching for a few good nose art examples that were painted on the famous Canadian [Thunder-Chicken] Norseman, I can still only find one, and it appeared in the RCAF at Gander, Newfoundland, which was not even part of Canada. I call this special forgotten simple “Canada Goose” Norseman aircraft nose art, “The Thunder Gander.”

The years between the two World Wars saw a great deal of turmoil in the Dominion of Newfoundland, which saw it revert back to the status of a British Crown colony. The “Rock” had become the Dominion of Newfoundland on 26 September 1907, but staggering under horrendous debt, they gave-up on self-governing and selected British rule by an appointed Commission of Government, with three members from Newfoundland and three from United Kingdom. In 1935, the Newfoundland airport originated in a signed agreement between Canada, United Kingdom, the free state of Ireland, and Newfoundland. In 1936, construction of the airbase commenced beside Gander Lake, and adjacent to the Newfoundland Railway line, which was very important for building supplies, etc. When the British Government declared war on Germany, 3 September 1939, Newfoundland was a British colony and this automatically brought Newfoundland into a state of war against Germany, seven days before the Canadian government declared war. With the United Kingdom struggling for survival and unable to find the resources to defend an invasion of Newfoundland, [Labrador] who had no money for any defence, negotiations for Canadian protection began. In May 1940, the Newfoundland airport was the largest in the world and with the fall of France, the defence of Newfoundland became even more precarious. As soon as an agreement for protection from Canada was signed by the Government of Newfoundland, the Newfoundland airport was placed under control of the RCAF and Canadian Department of Transport personnel. The RCAF moved in on 5 May 1941, Commanding Officer Group/Capt. A. Lewis, while most of the buildings were still under construction at RCAF Station, Newfoundland Airport. On 1 November 1941, the name in the Daily Diary becomes RCAF Station Gander, Newfoundland. On 1 December, the first edition of the station magazine is published, title – The “Gander” RCAF Station Gander, Newfoundland.

 

The first RCAF Gander base aircraft, a D.H. Fox Moth arrives on 17 December, given RCAF Instructional Airframe #A135.

The second edition Vol. 1, #2, arrives in early January 1942, complete with impressive cover art of a flying Goose by squadron artist Sgt. R.G. Falconer.

 

The back cover contains a single drawing of a Canada Goose, wearing a pilot helmet, and saluting with his right wing. This art by Sgt. Falconer becomes an instant hit with all members, and the RCAF Gander will now become the mascot, badge, insignia, trademark, and even rare aircraft nose art at RCAF Gander, Newfoundland.

Crest Craft in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, manufactured a number of different “Gander” crests which were worn by RCAF members from Canada and Newfoundland with pride.

The next Crest Craft design was created for the Gander Signals Section, a rare “Ganderia Wogosid” wireless bird.

In July 1934, Imperial Airways of London, England, purchased two D.H. 83 aircraft equipped with floats, for operation in the Newfoundland Government Air Service. In August 1934, they were registered as VO-ABC [#4093] and VO-ADE [#4094]. While anchored during a windstorm, 25 September 1934, both aircraft were damaged by a log boom and VO-ABC could not be repaired. VO-ADE was salvaged and required extensive repairs before returning to service. On 11 January 1938, VO-ADE made the first inauguration flight into the new Newfoundland Airport, and this history can be found online.

This free domain image dated 12 January 1938, records the special aviation moment, and the special markings on D.H. Fox Moth VO-ADE. The special orange markings on the Fox Moth can be found online in model sites and other fine publications. This aircraft made the last official Newfoundland Government Air Service flight from St. John’s to Gander on 24 February 1941, and was then turned over to RAF Ferry Command. On 17 December 1941, the Fox Moth was taken on strength at RCAF Gander, Newfoundland, and used as an Instructional Airframe, given RCAF # A135. At some unknown date the aircraft was painted RCAF yellow and received the famous nose art of the Newfoundland Gander.

The author believes these were the possible RCAF colours applied to A135, but photos are very hard to find. In 1944, F/O Horace William “Jimmy” Westaway C10734, RCAF Gander Mercy Flight pilot, had his photo taken in front of Fox Moth A135. This image was found in the Daily Diary and is very bad quality, however it confirms the unofficial “Gander” nose art did in fact appear on the famous Fox Moth airframe. The correct colours of the aircraft striping are unknown. This trainer aircraft did not require any RCAF code letters of national markings, only the A135 which most likely appeared on the tail fin. Any RCAF images of this aircraft would be appreciated by the author. The RCAF Fox Moth was damaged beyond repair at Gander Bay on 22 February 1944, struck off strength by Government of Newfoundland on 24 October 1945.

The first Norseman #2479 to arrive at RCAF Gander was the 52nd built, assigned to No. 12 Squadron, Rockcliffe and Search and Rescue Command on 9 March 1942. Taken on strength Gander in mid-July 1942, crashed at Ochre Pit Cove, [near St. John’s] Newfoundland, 21 August 1942.

 

 

Norseman #3527, the 71st built was assigned to No. 3 Training Command 14 September 1942, placed into reserve storage, arrived RCAF Gander in early April 1943. Flew Newfoundland training and mercy flights the next five months. On 19 September 43, transferred to E.A.C. and assigned No. 121 “C” Squadron. Flew in Western Canada [Alberta] until 12 June 1947. Destroyed in No. 1 Hangar fire at Edmonton, Alberta. [#2485 was also destroyed in fire].

On 7 October 1942, two D.H. 82C Tiger Moth aircraft with floats were taken on strength at RCAF Gander, Newfoundland, used for rescue work. It is unknown if these different aircraft, Norseman #2479, Lysander #447, and Tiger Moth float planes #9693 and #9695 ever carried RCAF Gander nose art. [Needs research]

RCAF #491, the 91st constructed Norseman, 9 September 42, arrived Eastern Air Command on 7 November 42, to RCAF Gander April 1943. Category “A” accident at Torbay, Newfoundland, 26 October 1944. The author believes this Norseman possibly carried the first unofficial RCAF Gander nose art, however photos are required for proof.

The fourth and last Norseman assigned RCAF Gander on 13 August 1943, the 138th built, serial RCAF #789. Constructed for the USAAF the aircraft was Lend-Least to the RCAF for Air-Sea rescue missions.

 

Photo – Gander RCAF magazine Summer 1945

Constructed for the USAAF as 43-5147, delivered 10 June 1943, and then lend-lease to the RCAF, receiving serial #789, arrived RCAF Gander, Newfoundland, August 1943. RCAF pilot F/O “Jimmy” Westaway was posted to RCAF Gander on 13 June 1943, and this became his main “Mercy” flight sea/rescue aircraft.

Norseman RCAF #789 was painted with impressive “Gander” nose art.

The main pilot for “Mercy” flights was Officer-Commanding RCAF Air-Sea rescue at Gander, Flying Officer “Jimmy” Westaway. The second pilot was F/O Labreche, and the mechanic, who flew on all missions was Cpl. Upton, [above] with nose art on Norseman #789. The 6 September 1944, rescue flight was published in RCAF Wings magazine September the same year, with F/O Westaway standing beside “Gander” nose art on trainer RCAF Fox Moth #A135.

 

The RCAF Gander, Newfoundland, continued to be used in Victory Loan drive art and even the Officer’s Christmas Menu for 1945.

 

 

The RCAF Gander insignia appeared on the rear cover of the Gander magazine on the last issue published in June 1945. The USAAF side of the base even copied and used the same insignia on two humorous certificates [Master Fog Eater] issued for time posted in Newfoundland.

 

The little Canadian nose art lady “Sierra Sue” landed at Gander on her return to Canada from England. RCAF Lancaster Mk. X serial KB746, VR-S [for Sue] flew the fourth most trips of all Canadian built Lancaster’s, surviving 68 operations. Above photos taken at Pearce, Alberta, September 1945, where “Sue” was scrapped two years later.

 

In the summer of 1945, [August] RCAF Gander demobilized while the airport remained an important commercial transport landing base. As the years passed, the WWII RCAF Gander was slowly forgotten and just disappeared. The military returned in 1957, however a Gander did not reappear until 1 April 1993, the date CFB Gander was renamed 9 Wing Gander with an official flying Goose insignia and badge. RCAF history had repeated itself with a design close to the original that was created in December 1941, for a foreign country, Newfoundland.

The Flying Gander created by RCAF artist Sgt. R.G. Falconer in December 1941, [when Newfoundland was a British Colony] once again flies with 9 Wing Gander, Newfoundland, Canada. On 1 April 1924, the prefix “Royal” was officially adopted to the Canadian Air Force, and 1 April 2024 marks their 100th Birthday. The original Gander insignia is eighty-three years old.

Author replica “Gander” painting on original Norseman aircraft skin from RCAF #494, aircraft preserved today at Alberta Aviation Museum, Edmonton, Alberta. Will the WWII “Thunder Gander” even fly over Newfoundland again?  How about April 2024, the 100th Anniversary of the RCAF, over to you “Mother Goose” [Lt. Colonel Lydia Evequoz] C.O. of 9 Wing Gander Newfoundland, Canada. This nose art flew with the first RCAF sea/rescue flight at Gander, Newfoundland, 1942-45.

 Wireless Air Gunners War Art

Wireless Air Gunners War Art

Research by Clarence Simonsen

Wireless Air Gunners War Art

Click on the link above for the PDF version


Text version with all the images

Wireless Air Gunners War Art

From October 1940 to March 1945, 18,496 Wireless/Air Gunners were trained in four RCAF Wireless Schools in Canada. Aircrew W.S. graduates by country were:

RCAF – 12,744,

Royal Australian Air Force – 2,875,

Royal New Zealand Air Force – 2,122,

Royal Air Force – 755.

Today [2022] a large part of RCAF Wireless School training history is still preserved in forgotten photo albums in Australia, New Zealand, England and Canada. Please share and help the author preserve our past, mostly lost aircraft markings and art from the war era.

The majority of young RCAF aircrew volunteers began their wartime career at the local RCAF Recruiting Centre, which was full of inspiring WWII air force painted poster art. Secretly, each one wanted to be the handsome hero pilot painted on many posters, but only a selected few would become pilots, and the majority would become bomber pilots, not fighter pilots. The BCATP trained 131,533 aircrew members in Canada, which included 49,808 pilots, 29,963 navigators, 18,496 Wireless Air Gunners, 15,674 Air Bombers, and 14,996 Air Gunners.

In 1940, the aircrew selection began with the recruiting officers, who accepted candidates in two broad categories “Pilot or Navigator.” Next came a Manning Depot, and after five weeks the recruit learned the basic elements of life in the RCAF. The course at Initial Training School lasted another four weeks, class room lectures, navigation, mathematics, armament, aerodynamics, mixed with parade square foot drill and daily physical training to keep in shape. The final and vital concern to all trainees was the sorting of students into five aircrew categories, and deciding for some they would remain on the ground and never fly.

Once again the RCAF used official training poster drawings which stressed the importance of teamwork and working together in aircrew positions. In the first 166 recruits who entered No. 1 Initial Training School on 29 April 1940, eight failed, ninety-two were chosen as pilot, forty-one air observer [air navigator] and twenty-five wireless operator/air gunner.

No. 1 Wireless School, Montreal, Quebec

The first wireless operator/air gunner trainees were sent to No. 1 Wireless School at Montreal, Quebec. First formed at Trenton, Ontario, in January 1937, the Wireless School transferred to Montreal, beginning 16 February 1940, [advance party] with the new formed Flying Squadron located at St. Hubert, Quebec. After twenty-four weeks of wireless instruction and in-flight training, the first wartime class graduated from Montreal on 16 August 1940. They now attended four weeks of gunnery training at a bombing and gunnery school, then off to England.

During this early BCATP construction and growing period, the training of wireless / air gunners was a haphazard learning experience and many arrived overseas never using the equipment they would fly with on combat operations. On 20 December 1940, a simple line in the Daily Dairy read – “2,000 copies of the new No. 1 Wireless “Review” newsletter was distributed to unit personnel.

The front cover came with a new unit insignia created by artists LAC A.E. Danes and AC2 Woodman the school cartoonist.

The first RCAF Wireless School “unofficial” unit insignia designed by RCAF members in Canada. Coloured by the author, which gives a better idea of this first created wireless image which most likely appeared on Mess walls and possibly even painted on trainer aircraft, or beside the W.A.G. poem of 1941.

On 3 March 1941, LAC Woodman drew a page dedicated to the Staff of the Newsletter, including the two artists who created No. 1 Wireless School Insignia.

A busy [cartoon] training day at No. 1 Wireless School, Montreal, 3 April 1941.

“Personalities” cartoons from LAC Woodman, W.A.G. Class 9A.

The first twenty-three DH 82C-2 Menasco Moth II aircraft constructed were all assigned to No. 1 Wireless School at Montreal, St. Hubert Airport. Menasco Moth II #4816-4817 and 4818 arrived St. Hubert on 3 January 1941. On 22 January 41 Moth – #4812-4813-4814-4819-4821 and 4822 arrived. The next day #4810-4815 and 4820 arrived, all recorded in Daily Diary.

DH.82C-2 Menasco Moth I, [ten built] D-4 Super Pirate 125 h.p. inline inverted 4-cylinder engine. Opposite rotation of propeller and reversal of the cowling openings.

DH.82C-4 Menasco Moth II, [125 built] same as the DH82C-2 but with reduced fuel capacity and minor alterations for wireless radios.

DH.82C-4 Menasco Moth III [one built – serial 4934] fitted with American AT-1/AR-2 radio, which was intended to be a radio trainer. Cancelled when British Gipsy Major engines arrived at de Havilland, [Toronto] Canada.

The ten DH 82C-2 Moth I trainers built by de Havilland in Toronto, Ontario, assigned RCAF 15 May and 11 June 1941.

Only one DH 82C-2 Menasco Moth I was assigned to No. 1 W.S. Flying Squadron at St. Hubert, Quebec, serial #4943.

Grant Macdonald was an official War Artist and one of Canada’s most famous portrait artists. This is his self-portrait completed in December 1943. He drew and painted men and women in all three services of Canada. His WWII sketch art sells for average $1,000 on today’s market.

Grant Macdonald came to No. 1 W.S. in 1942 and completed a number of drawings.

 

On 14 September 1944, No. 1 Wireless School moved to Mount Hope, Ontario, [today home of Warplane Heritage] where they operated until 31 October 1945. The new magazine was called “The Circuit.”

The cover art for No. 2 Wireless School at Calgary, Alberta. [The complete author history with school art can be found on Preserving the Past II]

https://clarencesimonsen745590793.wordpress.com/2018/11/29/no-2-wireless-school-pdf-version/

https://clarencesimonsen745590793.wordpress.com/2019/09/28/no-2-wireless-school-updated-text-version/

No. 2 Wireless School, Calgary, AB, “W.A.G. magazine” contains some very good art, insignia, maps, and cartoons. [Today the large collection is stored in archives at SAIT Campus, Calgary]

The Calgary Wireless School Flying Squadron was formed 6 January 1941, flying eight D.H. 82C-4 Menasco Moth II trainers which had been ferried from Montreal, No. 1 Wireless School. They flew training flights from the Municipal Airport TCA [Trans Canada Airlines] hangar at RAF No. 35 SFTS North Calgary. [Later became No. 37 SFTS R.A.F. Calgary] On 12 May 1941 they moved to a hangar at No. 3 SFTS [RCAF] which is today the campus of Mount Royal University, Calgary. The third and final move was made on 25 November 1942, to “their own” RCAF No. 2 Wireless School Flying Squadron at Station Shepard, [South Calgary].

Today the WWII Wireless training base is a huge industrial area, however, the original C.P.R. Railway station, used by the RCAF during training, survives at Heritage Park, Calgary, Alberta. The author has been inside many times, sadly, the world visitors to Heritage Park have no idea it had roots with the W.A.G. trained in Calgary during WWII. The Flying Squadron also created a “Willie the Wolf” Walt Disney inspired training badge, which was manufactured by Crestcraft in Saskatoon, Sask. [A few Wolves survive, the author has seen them, but they are way over-priced by collectors]

No. 2 W.S. Flying Squadron at RCAF Shepard, Alberta, “The Shepard Wolves.”

No. 2 Wireless School Trumpet Band, March 1941, Calgary. [SAIT Archives]

Painting by author based on original cloth badge [from private collection] used at RCAF Shepard, Alberta, November 1942 to 30 March 1945.

The RCAF H-hut ‘Wolves’ living quarters [top] and Airmen’s Lounge, No. 2 W.S. Calgary.

This was the standard Combined Training graduation diploma presented at the four RCAF Wireless Schools in Canada by the RCAF. This New Zealand student at No. 2 Calgary graduated with 22 words per minute and no errors, Class 100, 9 February 1945. [SAIT Archives] I’m sure his life was spared, as the war would be over in Europe [three months] 8 May 1945.

No. 2 W.S. Calgary closed on 14 April 1945.

No. 3 Wireless School, Winnipeg, Manitoba

The wireless training at No. 3 W.S. Winnipeg was delayed because of inadequate facilities and an embarrassing shortage of training aircraft.  The first non-Canadian personnel trained under the BCATP in 1940 were forty Australian pilots. They were the vanguard of 9,606 who would sail to Vancouver, B.C., then disembark and board special trains for their RCAF trades training location across Canada. No. 3 W.S. at Winnipeg, Manitoba, was first selected as the main wireless training school for Australian and New Zealand recruits, and in the first year they outnumbered RCAF recruits four to one.

The Wireless Training rooms as described in their Daily Diary – 31 March 1941.

 

Aerial photo of No. 3 W.S. which appeared in the first issue of W.A.G. Vol. 1, #1 – December 1941.

On 1 March 1941, 118 New Zealand Air Force recruits arrived by train from Vancouver, B.C., and Course 13 began wireless training on 19 of the month, with 145 students. The R.N.Z.A.F. recruits were divided into four groups of 36 students and numbered Squadron 13, Flights A-B-C and D. The students in No. 13D Class [Flight] mailed a letter to Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, requesting a Disney Wireless Insignia for their training class. Disney artists would design over 1,200 insignia for American and Allied Nations in WWII.

[On file at Walt Disney Archives, Burbank, California, – 1986]

When Hank Porter [Disney artist] designed the Royal New Zealand Air Force Squadron No. 13 insignia, his choice of a Canadian Bear became an instant hit. The Insignia included a Canadian Brown Bear [Winnipeg] standing on a 500 lb. blue bomb, as he directs wireless signals to the ground. [The author has painted this replica wireless Bear many times, one hangs in the Bomber Command Museum of Canada at Nanton, Alberta, and the second in the Western Canada Aviation Museum at Winnipeg, Manitoba] This Disney insignia is a big hit with museum visitors of all ages, and I’m sure it was painted on walls and a few trainer aircraft. The needed proof might still be contained in a long forgotten Australian or New Zealand photo album, like the image seen below.

Internet New Zealand Air Force Museum – MUS0604812. The inside of a RNZAF H-Hut at No. 3 W.S. Winnipeg, 1941. [Below] The Wireless Air Gunners badge they would earn on graduation.

On 31 March 1941, the RCAF trainees were out numbered by four to one, 290 New Zealand and Australians to 73 Canadians.

The BCATP number of training aircraft allotted to No. 3 W.S. Winnipeg, 19 December 1940.

The Canadian constructed D.H. 82C Tiger-Moth, Primary Training Biplane, was powered with a 130 H.P. Gipsy-Moth four cylinder in-line inverted air cooled engine. When British engine delivery to Canada stopped, 136 DH 82-C, T-Moth aircraft were fitted with American purchased Menasco D-4 Pirate engines, and became D.H. 82C-2 [ten built] and D.H. 82C-4 Menasco Moth II trainers. One-hundred and twenty-five [serial #4810-4945, see list at end of history] were fitted with the D-4 Menasco Pirate 125 H.P. engine, and assigned to RCAF wireless schools for [air experience] wireless trainers.

Twenty-five D.H. 82C-4 Menasco Moth II from the above block were assigned to No. 3 W.S. at Winnipeg in early April 1941. The ten marked in yellow were confirmed, including a rare survivor serial 4861, below DND Archives PCN-4631. [Can. Air and Space Museum at Ottawa]

On 18 May 1941, three flights from No. 3 W.S. Flying Squadron, D.H. Menasco Moth II aircraft took part in the Winnipeg Decoration parade. On 31 May 41, forty-four wireless trainees were given their first air experience training flight in five Norseman and twenty-one Menasco Moth II aircraft.  The R.N.Z.A.F. students from Squadron 13, Flights A-B-C- and D [Bear] began their wireless air training [air experience] on 13 July 1941, and graduated 1 August 1941.

This image from the WAG magazine December 1941, shows the very basic markings used on the Menasco Moth II trainers. Only a single trainer tail fin letter was painted on the Moth IIs.

D.H. 82C-4 Menasco Moth II serial 4870 was taken on strength RCAF 29 March 1941, arrived No. 8 R.D. Winnipeg, 30 April and was assembled, assigned No. 3 W.S. Burnt 17 May 1944, at Winnipeg.

The first Canadian built Fleet Fort was taken on charge No. 3 W.S. Winnipeg on 4 April 1942 and in total forty-three would be used as trainers until 14 July 1944.

Air-to-air photo Fort 3614 which arrived No. 8 Repair Depot, Winnipeg, 23 February 1942. Caught fire mid-air made forced landing, scrapped 23 October 1943. [Norman Malayney]

Fort 3622 No. 3 W.S. Winnipeg. [Norman Malayney]

The Question remains: – “Was the Winnipeg “Wireless Bear” even painted on a Norseman, Menasco Moth or Fleet Fort Wireless Flying Squadron aircraft?” Replica on original Norseman skin painted by author for Bomber Command Museum of Canada at Nanton, Alberta.

The new No. 3 W.S. insignia appears in 1943.

The W.S. closed at Winnipeg on 20 January 1945.

No. 4 Wireless School – Guelph, Ontario

Opening day RCAF free domain image. The citizens of Guelph did not want the Wireless Training School.

In February 1942, the first edition [Vol. 1, #1] of the local wireless magazine was published, with small cover header created by L.A.C. Lynn J. Chapters, entry class No. 39.

Training classes began at No. 4 W.S. on 7 July 1941, the official opening on 9 August 1941. The original wireless program was twenty weeks, followed by four weeks of gunnery training.

No. 4 W.S. Guelph was the fourth and last wireless school formed, yet, they became the first to select the “Fist and Sparks” official trade badge as their cover newsletter title. The official wireless air gunner sleeve trade badge is giving Hitler a punch in the nose, which was a very truthful drawing by artist LAC Chapters.

The magazine was very professional, high quality, and contained very good informative articles, but it totally lacked any humor, art, unit badge, pin-up girls, or RCAF cartoons. It was very British style conservative, [southern Ontario] to the point of being boring. I believe this was possibly due to the two consulting editors who were both man of the cloth. [See above]

The first full cover art appeared in Vol. 1, #7, for September 1942, created by RCAF Armament Section Sgt. “Tex” Wilson, and I believe the original was painted in full colour. Dedicated to the Vickers-Armstrong Wellington bomber, where thousands of Canadian wireless operators flew combat operations, and died. [RCAF lost 127 Wellington aircraft with aircrew of five]

Colour painted by author. The wireless trainee is seen sending a Morse signal from his D.H. 82C-4 Menasco Moth II trainer and three Wellington bombers fly in formation, [top] Mk. II, Mk. III, bottom Mk. X aircraft.

February 1943 issue cover was dedicated to the RCAF Mosquito. Top aircraft is a Mosquito Mk. VI, center a Mk. XIII, and bottom a Mk. XXX fighter, with up-turned ‘radar’ nose section.

In July 1942, RCAF aircrew special categories and wireless training changed, thanks to the new fast de Havilland Mosquito fighter/bomber aircraft. In September 42, navigator “B” and navigator “W” categories were formed and training began in November. The navigator “B” remained with RCAF bomber squadrons, [gunnery training] while the new navigator “W” was a special trained wireless operator trained to navigate, provide wireless, and read radar, in the fast twin-engine Mosquito. This special trained recruit spent twenty-eight weeks at a wireless school, then another twenty-two weeks at an air observer school, where he earned his navigator’s badge, while wearing his “Fist and Sparks” wireless sleeve badge. This special aircrew member became the eyes, [navigation-radar] ears, [wireless-radar] and mouth [wireless] for his pilot in the fast RCAF Mosquito night-fighter squadrons. The Luftwaffe feared these Mosquito RCAF intruder night-fighters.

No. 410 [Cougar] Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force earned the distinction of becoming the top-scoring night-fighter squadron in the Second Tactical Air Force, from 6 June 44 [D-Day] to 8 May 45, flying Mosquito Mk. XXX aircraft. They saved thousands of Canadian Army lives.

Patrick Anderson photo

This image was taken at Glisy, France, early March 1945. The RCAF pilot was F/L Stan R. King J27022, [Markham, Ontario] and the ground crew of No. 410 [Cougar] Squadron, Mosquito code “W.” The photo was taken by [Air Navigator] F/O Alexander “Patrick” Anderson, [note Cougar door art], who flew training in this Mosquito [“W”] once. Pat flew 15 operations as a Mosquito navigator, wireless, radar operator, plus numerous training flights, eleven in “G” MM757, six in “O” MM767, nine in “P” NT491, and ten in “Y” serial NT377. This image clearly shows the up-turned ‘radar’ nose on the Mosquito Mk. XXX aircraft, the first twelve arrived with No. 410 in the first days of August 1944. This was the reason Sgt. Wilson dedicated the February 1943 cover of Sparks magazine to the Mosquito aircraft and the new Navigator/Wireless aircrew members. The Mosquito “W” could be serial MM757, MM786, MT485 or NT377.

The No. 410 Cougar door art was painted by LAC Donald Jarvis from Vancouver, B.C. [1923-2001]. Born in Vancouver, he became a cartoonist in his teens, enrolled in the Vancouver School of Art and Design after WWII, graduated in 1948, becoming a well known Canadian abstract artist. He also decorated RCAF Mess buildings with mural art during 1944-45, his forgotten lost wall war art, and painted at least three No. 410 [Cougar] Squadron Mosquito Night-Fighter nose and one Mosquito door art – “Death in the Dark.”

The author replica “Door” art is painted in correct colours.

Beginning November 1942, the four RCAF Wireless Schools in Canada trained 4,298 Navigator/Wireless aircrew members, 3,847 were R.A.F. and 412 were RCAF. Most of these graduates served in RAF/RCAF Mosquito radar intruder squadrons during 1944-45.

Records on the Flying Squadron at No. 4 W.S. are very difficult to locate. The citizens of Guelph did not want the Wireless School during the original formation and their air exercise station was constructed 43 [air] miles south at RCAF Burtch. Students were bused [1 ½ hours] to the airfield for their ‘air experience’ training.

This little No. 4 W.S. Flying Squadron “RCAF Gremlins” cartoon [LAC Pinnegar] appeared in 1943 and it just might be the best way to preserve their Menasco Moth II past at Burtch, Ontario.

Photo MIKAN 4820767 of RCAF Burtch on 9 December 1941, taken from the control tower, showing one two story H-Hut, one fire hall, one aircraft hangar, and one D.H. Menasco Moth II, serial 4896, [engine running] delivered and taken on charge by RCAF 3 June 1941. Involved in Category “C” accident on 28 October 1941, and it is possible this photo records the return of the aircraft after repairs had been completed. Major aircraft repairs and maintenance were completed at RCAF Station Jarvis, Ontario. This aircraft was struck off charge by RCAF on 25 February 1944.

The Flying Squadron moved to No. 5 SFTS St. Catharines on 25 February 1944, the school closed 12 January 1945.

The total of 136 DH.82C [Menasco Moth I, ten built] DH.82C-4 [Menasco Moth II, 125 built] and one DH.82C-4 [Menasco Moth III] serial #4934.