RCAF Air Display (1934)
The following advertisement appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on 11 July, 1934.
Aircraft included in the display were:
The following advertisement appeared in the Ottawa Citizen on 11 July, 1934.
Aircraft included in the display were:
From the Montreal Witness, 29 June 1910, quoted in the Militia Headquarters Intelligence Diary, July 1910
The importance of the aeroplane from a military standpoint was demonstrated at the Aviation meet at Montreal, on June 28th, before the Minister of Militia. The portion of the programme most interesting to the Minister was an exhibition of bomb dropping at a mark given by Mr. Walter Brookins. Sandbags were taken up, and a white tarpaulin was placed on the field as a target. With five bags, the aviator started his machine and commenced to ascend in huge circles. As he circled, he directed his course so as to pass over the white target. When about 200 feet from the ground, the first of the mimic bombs fell, landing a few feet from the target. When the five bombs lay scattered about the target, the aviator descended.
The Minister of Militia questioned Mr. Brookins as to his opinion on the possibilities of the aeroplane in war, to which the aviator replied that he thought the possibilities very great for bomb-throwing, scouting and surveying. He expected to see the application of a special apparatuis by which the relation of the machine to the target, and the effect of the wind at any particular height can be ascertained.
The Toronto World, 15 August 1918
Ottawa, Aug. 14.—The total number of Canadians of the strength of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service now amalgamated into the Royal Air Force stands at 13,495. This total comprises 1,008 officers seconded from the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1,640 other ranks discharged from the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 10,603 enlisted in Canada for R.F.C. and R.N.A.S.; 94 loaned to the R.A.F. for airplane construction and 150 civilians who came to England at their own expense and enlisted in the air service.
On account of their special adaptability and initiative Canadians proved to be excellent as flying officers. It is understood that no less than 35 per cent. Of the actual flying officers in France are Canadians.
Sir Edward Kemp on his arrival in England as minister of overseas military forces instituted plans which would ensure Canada receiving both now and after the war her due measure of credit for what her airmen were actually accomplishing.
What has not been obtained will provide for a Canadian Flying Corps trained in all branches including organization, administration, and technical. Further, every officer to be connected with the administration of the Canadian Air Force, from the senior to the most junior rank, has had active service flying experience at the front.
The preliminary step in the early discussions related to the establishment of a separate Canadian air force resulted in the decision of the imperial air ministry to maintain up-to-date records of the Canadians in the royal air force, their names to be grouped in a special Canadian section to include not only Canadian officers seconded from the Canadian overseas forces, but also those Canadian who joined the air service direct, either in England or Canada. The idea of Canadians in the Royal Air Force having a special Canadian distinguishing mark or badge on their uniform was also assented to, and it was agreed that the Canadian overseas ministry would be furnished with regular reports by the air ministry, giving full information of the exploits of Canadian airmen from month to month.
On the arrival in England of Sir Robert Borden, Sir Edward Kemp laid before him the agreement with the air ministry, embodying what had been accomplished, and the further consent of the air ministry that as soon as possible the Canadian air force should be formed, to be manned and officered exclusively by Canadians drawn from Canadians now in the R.A.F., reinforcements for the Canadian air force to be supplied wholly by Canadians who would be trained in the R.A.F. schools and under their instructors.
Entire acceptance was expressed by Air Edward Kemp to the scheme by his colleagues and the agreement approved.
As a preliminary step in the organization, the service of the distinguished flying officer, Major W.A. Bishop, was applied for to work in close conjunction with the air ministry and the Canadian overseas ministry.
It was decided to proceed immediately with the organization of the two Canadian squadrons, which would form part of the overseas military forces of Canada and be subject to the provisions of the Militia Act of Canada.
The Air Force Guide (Chap. III. Sec. 25), by "Group Captain," Toronto, 1940
1. Airmen should be distinguished from civilians by their smartness, cleanliness and sobriety, by their honesty and respect for authority, and by their cheerful readiness to carry on under difficulty. In short, their conduct at all times should be such as will honour the Force to which they have the honour to belong.
2. Every airman is bound to render assistance to the civil or military police when called upon to do so, and will remain with them until he is told that he is no longer required.
3. An airman is not permitted to take part in any political demonstration, nor to join in any procession, whatever its object. He will at all times avoid quarrels or disputes with civi1ians.
4. An airman is responsible for keeping his arms, equipment, clothing and necessaries at all times in serviceable condition; he will not lend, make away with, alter or deface any article or portion of them without the permission of the Officer Commanding his unit, and he will be required to replace, at his own expense, any article which has become unserviceable or incorrect by his own action or neglect.
5. Airmen will not waste or misuse their food. The habit of its careful use acquired in peace will be of utmost value in war.
6. Airmen will sit down to all meals in clean fatigue dress without caps.
7. When passing a funeral an airman will salute the body.
8. While an airman is not permitted, in any way, to question an order which he receives, and has no choice at the time but to obey, he has the fullest and freest right of appeal to his Squadron Commander, and through him to his Commanding Officer, whenever he considers that he has suffered injustice, or has other ground for complaint. No Warrant or Non-Commissioned Officer is permitted, on any consideration, to impede an airman in the exercise of this right. An airman is not subject to punishment on the ground of his complaint being frivolous nor on anyother ground except that of willful misstatement. The subject of any complaint made by an airman must, however, relate solely to himself; he is not permitted to act as the leader or spokesman of others.
In Defence of Canada; From the Great War to the Great Depression, James Eayrs, 1964
In November 1918 Canada had no air force. But she had airmen. Many thousands of Canadians enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service; the official figure of nearly 23,000 is far short of those who actually served. A thousand Canadian officers were killed in aerial action. Ten of twenty-seven leading "aces" (officially, pilots with five or more enemy planes shot down) were Canadians, including the renowned Major W. A. "Billy" Bishop who alone destroyed seventy-two German aircraft in combat. So substantial was the Canadian contribution to Allied air power, and so distinguished the record of Canadian airmen, that there were in process of formation as the Great War ended two identifiably Canadian air units. One of these was organized, at the suggestion of the Admiralty, by the Department of the Naval Service in June 1918, for coastal patrol and escort duty. A Royal Canadian Naval Air Service was authorized by the Canadian Government in September 1918, and training of recruits begun both in the United Kingdom and in the United States; but it was disbanded on 5 December 1918 "for the time being"—though "for the time being" proved to be a generation. [Robert Laird Borden: His Memoirs (Toronto, 1938), vol. II, p. 841]
Offering positions as pilots, radio operators and navigators, successful applicants will receive a monthly pay of $284 after completion of basic training.
IN the background and in the sky over the head of the pictured flyer is a the DH 100 Vampire. Eighty five Vampires were in Canadian service between 1948 and 1956, including with Canada's first RCAF squadron to be deployed in a NATO air defence role in Europe. In the 1950s, the Vampires were replaced by the F86 Sabre.
G-CYEI started life in the Canadian Air Force as an Avro 504K on 27 October, 1921 when its certificate of registration was issued, after having been gifted to Canada in 1919 along with 113 other assorted Aircraft by Great Britain. (Source)
The Toronto World, 5 April 1920
This plan to develop a Canadian air militia began in July 1920 and ended in March 1922 when the air militia was dissolved.
Ottawa, April 4.—(By Canadian Press)—A Canadian air force is to be formed immediately, and the personnel will be drawn from volunteers from the ranks of ex-officers and airmen of the Royal Air Force, resident in Canada. These will train at centres, which will be in operation all the year round and officers and airmen enlisted in the new force will spend at least one month out of every 24 in active training, receiving pay and traveling expenses during their active period.
The force probably will be limited in the beginning to about five thousand, inclusive of all ranks, and the training centres will not number more than one or two to begin with for the whole Dominion. It is understood that the Government wishes to avoid an expensive permanent organization. The organization of the force will be placed in the hands of Canadians who have had experience at home and on the war fronts in flying, and who are interested in building up a Canadian air militia which can readily be extended and mobilized in an emergency. Age limit is set at about 30 for junior officers, and 33 for senior officers.
Applicants for enrolment in the new air force, giving all particulars of previous service may be sent at once to the secretary of the air board at Ottawa.
Volunteer provincial executive committees of seven, acting without remuneration, will administer the force by provinces. Four members of each committee will be nominated by the officers of the ative list in each province and three members will be nominated by the respective lieutenant governors. A grant will be made from headquarters to cover the expenses of an office and secretary.
The announcement of the air board in the connection follows:
"The government has been very carefully considering the question of the formation of a Canadian air force and has decided upon the immediate formation of such a force from among the ex-officers and airmen of the Royal Air Force resident in Canada. Provision will later be made for the recruitment of all ranks of the force so constituted, but the numbers of ex-officers and airmen in Canada is at present such that it is not necessary to make provision for such recruitment.
"The force will be a militia, not a permanent force. Almost the whole personnel will be non-professional, and the professional personnel will be negligible in number.
"The Total Authorized Strength will probably be in the neighbourhood of 5000. Commissions will be given to officers and airmen will be enlisted in the usual way. It is proposed that training should be carried on at training centres, which the personnel will attend, not by units, but as individuals attending as may be arranged or directed during one month in every twenty-four being on leave without pay at all other times. They will receive pay while on duty and their traveling expenses to and from the training centres will be paid.
"It is considered important that the training not only provide efficient junior officers and airmen, but that it should be such as to furnish a supply of senior officers qualified to take command of larger formations in emergencies and an opportunity will consequently be afforded to senior officers to take command of training centres for periods longer than one month, but probably not in any case exceeding six months. The undertaking of duty for such extended periods will not be compulsory, but officers who volunteer for extended periods of duty will, of course, be entitled to preference in the consideration of appointments and promotions.
"It is hoped that the same plan may be applied to the duties to be performed at Canadian air force headquarters and that a succession of officers will be found from time to time able to assume duties at Ottawa in connection with the administration of the force as a whole. In this way a large number of officers and particularly the senior officers will be afforded an opportunity in normal times to obtain as great a familiarity as possible with the duties which they would be called upon to perform in an emergency and the force will become more readily capable of expansion in circumstances required it.
"The training stations will be few in number. At first it may not be possible to establish more than one, but at least a second doubtless will have to be added shortly and plans for this purpose are under consideration.
"The local administration of the force will be carried on by provincial executives' committees acting without remuneration, but receiving a grant towards the expenses of maintaining an office and the payment of a secretary. It is proposed that these committees shall consist of seven members, of whom four shall, after the first year, be elected by officers on the active list of the force in the province, the remaining three being nominated by the lieutenant governor of the province, each lieutenant governor having been invited to act as honorary president of the branch of the Canadian Air Force Association in his province and to select all the members of the first executive committee and the three appointed members of subsequent committees. It is intended that the executive committee should keep the provincial rosters, arrange for the attendance of the provincial personnel for training and perform other necessary administrative duties, exercising a general supervision over the interests of the force within their respective provinces.
"It is proposed that the active list should include only officers of such an age that they can be expected to render useful air service in war and retirement from the active list will be compulsory for junior officers at or about the age of 30 and for the most senior officers at or about the age of 38.
"Negotiations are on foot with the British Air Ministry, looking to an arrangement whereby any duties that may be assumed by officers on the reserve of the Royal Air Force will not be inconsistent with the duties they assume as officers of the Canadian Air Force. Officers on the reserve of the Royal Air Force may, therefore, volunteer to serve with the Canadian Air force and such use of their services in the latter force will be made as the arrangement with the air ministry renders possible.
"All officers and airmen who have served with the Royal Air Force in any branch or department and are willing to undertake service with the Canadian Air Force on the lines of the proposition above indicated and in the ranks which they held on demobilization are invited to send notice to the secretary of the air board, Ottawa, with particulars in each case showing the full name of the applicant in block capitals, his permanent address, his age and his rank on discharge from the Royal Air Force or of his transfer to or discharge from the reserve of such force. The application should be accompanied by a copy of the applicants discharge certificate or of the advice that he has been transferred to the Royal Air Force reserve."
Offering a monthly pay of $284 after completion of basic training, requirements for applicants were:
The Defence of Canada, Colonel Norman L. Dodd, The Army Quarterly and Defence Journal, Vol. 108, No. 1, January 1978
The Canadian Air Command was formed in 1975, it is responsible for the provision of operationally-ready regular and reserve air forces to meet Canada's national, continental and international commitments. It has also become the focal point of tradition and personal expertise for the airmen of the Canadian Forces in the same way as sailors and soldiers relate to the Maritime and Mobile Commands. The Air HQ is at Winnipeg and the Commander is also responsible for the Prairie Region. The total strength is about 22,700 regulars, 750 reservists and 8,600 civilians, they are deployed in five Groups. These are the Maritime Air Group, the 10 Tactical Air Group, the Air Transport Group, the Air Defence Group and the Air Reserve Group.
The Maritime Air Group squadrons are under the operational command of the Maritime Commander flying the patrol aircraft and the, Sea King helicopters for the naval forces. The 10 Tactical Group supports Mobile Command and has two fighter squadrons of CF-5 aircraft though some of the 24 aircraft are in care and maintenance, there are also a variety of helicopters in this group. The Air Transport Group operates ATG Boeing 707s and C-130 transport aircraft providing strategic and tactical mobility for Mobile Command and supporting the various UN Peacekeeping Forces. Air Reserve Group comprises four Reserve Wings flying Otters, Dakotas and Twin Otters, some Air Reserve personnel help to man Tracker aircraft of 420. Squadron based at Shearwater.
The Air Defence Group …, is responsible for maintaining the sovereignty of Canada's Air space. … Aircraft include three all-weather fighter squadrons equipped with CF-101 Voodoos, a Voodoo training squadron and an electronic warfare squadron with CF-100 and T-33 aircraft…
After a long delay the Government has at last realized that if the Canadian air forces are to remain in the "first league" some new fighter aircraft must soon be purchased. The Cabinet has therefore authorized the Department of National Defence to obtain from manufacturers proposals for a total of between 130 and 150 new high performance multi-purpose fighters. They are to replace the CF-104s and CF-101 aircraft, the CF-5s would then be converted to advanced trainers for use in the 1980s. The six possible candidates are the Grumman F-14, the McDonnell-Douglas F-15i, the General Dynamics F-16, the McDonnell-Douglas/Northrop F-18, the Panavia Tornado and the Dassault-Breguet F1 E.
The Canadian Annual Review War Series; 1916, by J. Castell Hopkins, F.S.S., F.R.G.S., published 1918 (pp. 300-302)
H.R.H. the Governor-General … "endorses the War Office letter to the effect that if you train 5 to 10 candidates per month for the Royal Flying Corps, … they will be accepted for enlistment in the Royal Flying Corps…" It was, however, pointed out … that "this has nothing to do with a future Canadian Flying Service, as His Royal Highness understands that the Canadian Government does not contemplate any such department at present."
Aviation called for a select and limited number of men; it required special aptitudes and training. As a military arm in Canada it had during 1915 no strong official support as the Minister of Militia was understood not to care for this branch of the Service in comparison with others. During that year there had been tentative private efforts at organization and training and the raising of the necessary funds; an active class of young men were anxious to take up aviation and a movement along this line was energetically pressed by Col. W. Hamilton Merritt of Toronto. It was understood that the British War Office wanted aviators and individual Canadians who went over from time to time soon found a place in the British service when its requirements were met. Col. Merritt wrote the War Office as to his efforts to organize a Canadian Fund for the purpose of training aviators, which he had started months before, and a reply of Feb. 18, 1916, stated that his scheme should prove of "material assistance" and that "on completion of their training in Canada, these men would be enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps as 2nd-class air mechanics, draw pay as such at the rates provided in the royal warrant for pay, etc., and be granted free passage." Meanwhile Lieut.-Col. C.J. Burke, D.S.O., had been sent to Canada to make extensive first-hand inquiries regarding the possibility of training young Canadians to become military and naval aviators. He had travelled from coast to coast making inspections, and on his return to London early in 1916 was understood to have reported favourably upon the proposals of Col. Merritt and others in Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver who had been specially anxious in the matter.
Lieutenant-Colonel Charles James Burke, DSO, (1881 or 82 – 9 April 1917) was an officer in the Royal Irish Regiment and the Royal Flying Corps and a military aviation pioneer.
Revived efforts followed with the appointment of a Committee in Toronto (A.G.C. Dinnick, Chairman) to arrange the establishment of a local Training School; the collection of a Fund in Vancouver to help the B.C. Aviation School in the purchase of 5 aeroplanes then under local construction; a statement dated Mar. 16 from H.R.H. the Governor-General that "he endorses the War Office letter to the effect that if you train 5 to 10 candidates per month for the Royal Flying Corps, who are under 30 years of age, medically qualified, of proved British birth and obtain a flying pilot's certificate, they will be accepted for enlistment in the Royal Flying Corps during the War." It was, however, pointed out by Col. E.A. Stanton in the same letter that "this has nothing to do with a future Canadian Flying Service, as His Royal Highness understands that the Canadian Government does not contemplate any such department at present." On May 12 the Naval Services Department announced from Ottawa that the Admiralty was calling for a limited number of trained aviators from Canada for commissions in the Royal Naval Air Service, and that, with a view to providing training, the Curtis Aviation School would be re-opened in Toronto. Canadian aviators wishing to enter the service were requested to apply to the Department and the age limits of candidates were set at 19 to 25 years. Only well-educated, athletic and thoroughly fit men, with excellent eye-sight, could be accepted. A month later nine casualties were announced amongst the 400 or more Canadian Aviators already in the British service.
Meantime the Curtiss Flying School of Aviation had been underway with 5 men a month in training at a payment of $1,000 each and, on July 13, a Deputation headed by Col. Merritt and Mayor Church asked the Ontario Government to either aid in the establishment of an Inter-Provincial School at Deseronto or join the Dominion Government in granting $100 to each student upon completion of his course; the City Council granted $8.00 a week to each student from Toronto preparing for the Royal Flying Corps; the British Government guaranteed $375 of his expenses to each accepted aviator. During the summer the movement extended and from London came a cable on Aug. 23 to the Montreal Gazette stating that "the establishment of a Canadian Flying Corps is urged not only for military utility but for commercial benefits, as it would mean a new industry for Canada, the proposal being to build the aeroplanes in the Dominion." It was added that 8 Canadian Flying officers were on their way to Canada to act as instructors. The Aviators in training at Long Branch, near Toronto, were inspected by H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught on Sept. 7 and a statement of work done and progress made by the Canadian Aviation Fund was read by Col. Hamilton Merritt who, also, urged the presentation by each Canadian Province of a squadron of 10 Battle-planes to the Royal Flying Corps. At the end of this month Capt. Lord Alastair Innes-Ker, D.S.O., arrived in Canada to recruit for officers and men in the Military branch of the Service and he visited Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Regina, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria.
Matters moved swiftly after this. Mr. Premier Hearst of Ontario returned from England in October strongly favourable to the establishment of a Canadian Corps and it was announced about the same time that an Aeroplane factory costing $1,000,000 and equipped to turn out 6 machines a month was to be erected in Toronto with advance contracts of purchase from the British Government. The project was to be financed by the Imperial Government, and controlled by a Board of three members one representing the Admiralty, one the War Office, with a business man nominated by the Imperial Munitions Board of Canada. It was understood that this action was taken as the result of a careful inquiry made in which the Board found that very large orders for aeroplanes had been placed in the United States—$12,000,000, for instance, with the Curtiss Company of Buffalo. On Nov. 24 it was stated that Canadian Aeroplanes, Ltd., a creation of the Board, had been organized with a capital stock of $500,000 for the purpose of taking over the Curtiss Aeroplane Co. plant in Toronto. Frank W. Baillie of the Canadian Cartridge Co., Hamilton, who had given to the Government $750,000, representing profits on war orders, was appointed Managing-Director.
J.W. Flavelle, E.R. Wood and Mr. Baillie were the men chiefly associated with the project which would, in time, involve many millions of capital and expenditure. In December the Naval Services Department called for more Canadian aviators for the Royal Naval Air Service and also for Canadian recruits as Naval Signallers and an Aero Club of Canada was formed, in touch with the Royal Flying Corps, with Col. Hamilton Merritt as President, Lieut.-Col. H.C. Cox, Toronto, Vice-President for Ontario; Carl Riordon, Montreal, Vice-President for Quebec; W. R. Allan, Winnipeg, Vice-President for Manitoba. Its objects were as follows: "To encourage various forms of aviation, to develop the science of aeronautics and kindred sciences, to encourage the manufacture of aeronautic devices, to plan conferences, expositions and contests, to issue pilots' licenses to qualified aviators, and to assist those desirous of taking up aviation with a view to serving in the War. The year closed with a complete Squadron of Canadian airmen at Belfort in France and other Canadian aviators in Mesopotamia, on the Somme, at Dunkirk and in East Africa. In Montreal the Canadian Division of the Aerial League of the British Empire continued in 1916 its active work with Sir H.S. Holt as President and G.R. Lighthall Hon.-Secretary.
Following the example of the British Army's Field Service Pocket Book, the Royal Air Force authorizes the RAF Pocket Book. No doubt many officers of the Royal Flying Corps, and then the Royal Ar Force, were familiar with and probably carried the Field Service Pocket Book in the early years of the Air Services. The RAF Pocket Book provided much of the same information, but with a distinctive "air force" flavour with the inclusion of specific sections useful to their flying and ground support officers. One other change was made to ensure the Pocket Book's branding as an RAF item, the change from the standard brown cover of the Army editions to a distinctive blue.
The introductory note in the RAF Pocket Book reads (in part):
1. This publication is a Pocket Reference Book for use by personnel on active or overseas service, or on Staff and other Training Exercises, where the usual official manuals are not immediately available.
2. It is not to be quoted as authority for action, nor is it to be used as a text book for the study of subjects that are explained fully in training or other Royal Air Force publications. When necessary, however, official reference may be made to subjects that are not yet dealt with elsewhere.
3. Data likely to become obsolescent within a few years, such as the weight and dimensions of aircraft and other equipment, are given in a separate Appendix ("Weights and Dimensions," Appendix IV), which is to be kept in the pocket of the cover.
Image from the Canadian Forces magazine Sentinel, Vol. 6, No. 2, February, 1970
Ottawa Citizen, 26 May 1983
Hugh Adami, Citizen Staff Writer
F/L J.R. Mulhall
F/L D.H. McElmon
F/L W.G. Hollingshead
F/L R.J. Prescott
F/L D.O. Schneider
F/L H.B. Sheasby
F/L I.W. MacLean
F/L J.N. Stacey
F/L I.W. McKnight
F/L D.C. Lawson
F/L H.W. Robbins
F/O R.J. Zemek
F/L R.S. Dunn
S/L D.J. Misselbrook
F/O J.W. Holmes
Capt. R.C. Archibald
Capt. R.J. Swantston
Lt. R.B. Kaiser
Capt. W.E. Brason
Lt. R. Fetchyshyn
Capt. W.M. Wright
Lt. L.S. Hebetler
Capt. J.K. Salter
Capt. P.J. Rackham
Capt. D.L. McCullough
Maj. G.A. Hermanson
Capt. J.O. Shaw
Capt. D.M. Danko
Maj. J.M.A. Coutu
Capt. W.D. Card
Capt. D.B. Breen
Capt. G. Power
Capt. B.B. Reid
Capt. D.R. Owen
Capt. J.L.A. Tremblay
Capt. S.M. Ritchie
To Owen's father, Glyn , there is no doubt his son meant those words as they talked one day last year about the perils of being a Starfighter pilot.
Since his boyhood days, the Ponoka, Alta., native had always wanted to fly. And the Starfighter became his ultimate flying machine once he joined the military.
Like many other Starfighter pilots, some of Owen's best friends had died in CF-104 crashes. But the pilot would never criticize the aircraft.
"He used to say most (crashes) were the result of pilot error," his father recalled Wednesday.
The crash involving Owen was just that.
Military investigators determined that Owen and fellow pilot, Capt. Andrew Tremblay, flying in another Starfighter, collided in mid-air while on a test mission near Cold Lake, Alta. Tremblay was also killed.
But the military won't tell the pilots' relatives which airman was at fault.
Said Owen's father: "It doesn't want to create any bad feelings."
Had David been alive to hear about Sunday's crash in West Germany involving a Canadian Forces Starfighter that killed five people, Owen said his son would be appalled by the controversy surrounding the safety record of the aircraft.
"(Starfighter pilots) are a breed apart."
Lyle Misselbrook of Saskatchewan, who lost his brother Donald as a result of a Starfighter crash in 1967, agrees.
Relatives of men who fly the Starfighter do worry about them, Misselbrook said, but they soon come to the realization that "what will be will be."
"The role of the service creates hazards. But the men who join know exactly what they are getting into."
James Stephenson, father of the pilot who safely bailed out of his Starfighter moments before its fiery crash on a West German highway Sunday, said he knows there's no point trying to tell his son to quit.
His son, Capt Al Stephenson of 439 Tactical Fighter Squadron in Baden-Solingen, West Germany, was a "close buddy" of Capt. Scott Ritchie, the Ottawa native who died last week after his Starfighter went down near Cold lake, Alta.
Ritchie's mother Betty knows why Stephenson could never be persuaded to stop flying the Starfighter. Starfighter pilots, she said, work so hard to get to fly the Starfighter.
"It's separating the men from the boys," she said.
Sunday's crash brought the total of Canadian Forces Starfighters lost to 100. Less than 100 of the original 239 purchased in the early 1960s by the Canadian military remain. Sunday's crash and the crash involving Ritchie are still being investigated.
Defence Minister Gilles Lamontagne has refused to ground the airplane.
Image from the Canadian Forces magazine Sentinel, Vol. 6, No. 2, February, 1970
Nicknamed the "widowmaker" by Canadian airmen and a "rocket with a man in it" by the Americans, about 40 Canadian Forces pilots have died in Starfighter crashes.
The U.S. Air Force, which phased out the Starfighter over the last few years, lost 167 of the 275 it purchased from Lockheed Corp. in the mid-1950s. Of 643,500 hours air time for the entire U.S. Starfighter fleet, 25.2 planes were lost for every 100,000 hours of flying.
Experts, including those in the military, say part of the reason for the high crash rate of the Canadian Starfighter is due to its role as a ground-attack aircraft — a function for which the CF-104 was not primarily designed. The aircraft was originally built as a high altitude interceptor.
Experts say pilots who lose control in low-altitude flying — whether it is due to environmental conditions or pilot error — simply don't have the time to regain control.
The single-engine, narrow winged aircraft can travel up to 2,400 kilometres an hour — twice the speed of sound.
Col. Herb Sievert said it is imperative that the Canadian Forces through its role in NATO — continue to use the Starfighter as a ground-attack aircraft since it is believed the only effective way to get to the enemy. The tactic has been widely used in the Middle east wars by the Israelis, said Sievert.
If the Starfighter was to be used as a high-altitude attacker, military officials believe the enemy would have the better hand.
But Seivert said the ground-attack method will be less hazardous as the forces begin the switch to the new F-18 Hornet, a twin-engine jet fighter suited for both high- and low-altitude warfare.
The Starfighter will be gradually phased out by the F-18. Sievert said the first squadron to change of to the F-18 will be at CFB Cold Lake, where pilot training will start next January .
The three remaining squadrons using the Starfighter — all stationed in West Germany — will change to the F-18 over three, six-month periods starting in 1985.
The Montreal Gazette, 15 November, 1984
The last nuclear weapons on Canadian soil were removed without fanfare in July , the Department of Defence confirmed yesterday.
"These weapons were no longer required," said Lieut. Jill Robinson, a department official. The return to the United States of an estimated 55 nuclear-tipped was not publicly announced.
Robinson said the department simply followed up on a commitment made by former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau to strip the Canadian Forces of any nuclear role.
An official of the Department of External Affairs was there was "no great foreign-policy implications: in the removal, because Canada still remains a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the North American Aerospace Defence Command.
"We haven't completely disassociated ourselves:" said Louise de Lafayette. "We just don't have (nuclear weapons) and we won't use them."
Trudeau told the House of Commons in March that, with the introduction of the new CF-18 fighters, the Genies would be sent back to the United States.
The missiles were under U.S. control and, in the event of an attack on Canada by manned bombers, they were to be fitted to Canada's CF-101 Voodoo interceptors.
The aging Voodoos are being placed by CF-18s.
The Trudeau government made a commitment to equip the CF-18 with conventional weapons when it was chosen in 1981 as the main combat aircraft of the Canadian Forces.
Trudeau had frequently called on the western alliance to commit itself not to be the first to use nuclear weapons.
NATO policy now envisages use of tactical "battlefield" nuclear weapons to stop an attack by Soviet bloc conventional forces on Western Europe.
After he succeeded Pearson as leader of the Liberal party and Prime Minister, Trudeau oversaw the phase-out of the Bomarcs in 1971 and gradually changed Canada's NATO role.
The Honest John short-range nuclear missiles were taken away from Canada's ground forces in Europe and the CF-104 Starfighters based at Lahr, West Germany, were given a low-level ground-support and reconnaissance role, using conventional weapons.
Bristol 149 Bolingbroke, see full image at the Canadian Museum of Flight website.
Ottawa Citizen, 22 November, 1939
Two of the several types of machines that will make up Canada's fighting and reconnaissance air armada were viewed by members of the press at Ottawa Air Station of the Royal Canadian Air Force yesterday afternoon. Major Thomas Wayling, press liaison officer of the Department of National Defence arranged the visit and writers and photographers were received at the station by Squadron Leader A.J. Ashton, commanding officer.
The machines were the Bristol Bolingbroke and the Westland Lysander. The Bolingbroke is a bomber of British design and made in Canada. The Lysander is a reconnaissance craft but is equipped with machine guns and can also carry bombs. It is also made in Canada.
Squadron Leader Lawrence Wray gave the visitors a brief demonstration of the Bolingbroke, on one occasion zooming past one of the hangers at 265 miles per hour. This is by no means the top speed of this sleek machine, which has been camouflaged for obvious reasons. The Lysander also wears a coat of camouflage. Various advantages of both craft were explained to the visitors.
Delivery to an acceptance by the Royal Canadian Air Force on Friday of last week of the first Bristol Bolingbroke aircraft manufactured in Canada is another milestone in the development os the aircraft industry in this Dominion.
This bomber reconnaissance version of the Bristol Blenheim, which is a twin-engined high-performance day and night bomber, is the first of eighteen for which the Fairchild Aircraft, Limited, at Longueuil, Que., received an order.
Although the Blenheim was provided with accommodation for a crew of three, that of the Bolingbroke is enabled to carry a crew of four, together with a camera mounting. Compensation for the additional weight is in part provided by a reduction in the number of bombs, which are carried internally in a bomb-cell under the center section of the aircraft.
The Royal Canadian Air Force establishment makes provision for a number of bomber reconnaissance squadrons.
Army co-operation squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force are now being equipped with Westland two-seat army co-operation high-wing monoplanes. An order for twenty-eight of these aircraft was placed with the National Steel car Corporation, Limited, and a number of these have already been delivered to the R.C.A.F. from the factory established at Malton, Ont., and adjoining Toronto's inland terminal airport.
This aircraft represents the result of many years' experience secured by army co-operation pilots and is now in quantity production for the Royal Air Force. The cockpit is located in front of and level with the leading edge of the wings, which provides the pilot with an exceptional view desirable for spotter and reconnaissance duties.
Since this type of aircraft is often obliged to operate from temporary and confined landing grounds, the Lysander has been given a remarkably quick take-off, a low landing speed and a steep climb. The wings incorporate Handley Page wing tip and root slots and trailing edge slotted flaps, whose operation is entirely automatic. This assists in the retention of control at slow speeds, necessary for close co-operation and camera duties.
The Westland Lysander aircraft being built in Canada are powered with the Bristol Perseus XII sleeve valve engine, the maximum output of which is 905 horsepower at 6.500 feet. Great Britain is the only country in the world producing these engines, advantages claimed for which are less noise, lower fuel consumption, easier maintenance, fewer and simpler parts, reduced wight, minimum risk of fire and simpler manufacture. The Guggenheim Gold Medal for the most outstanding contribution to aeronautical progress, was presented to Mr. A.H.R. Fedden, who perfected the design of this engine.
Central Chancery Of The Orders Of Knighthood.
St. James's Palace, S.W.I, 11th June, 1942.
The KING has been graciously pleased, on the advice of Canadian Ministers, to approve the posthumous award of the GEORGE CROSS to the undermentioned:
In November, 1941, a training aircraft crashed and immediately burst into flames. Leading Aircraftman Gravell, who was under training as a wireless air gunner, managed to extricate himself from the wreckage and get clear. In spite of the intense shock caused by the loss of one eye and severe burns, suffered at the time of the crash, Leading Aircraftman Gravell's first and only thought was for the welfare of his pilot. The pilot was still in the aircraft and Gravell ignoring his own serious injuries and the fact that his clothes were ablaze attempted to get back to the flaming wreckage to pull him clear. He had barely reached the aircraft when he was dragged away and rolled on the ground to extinguish the flames which had, by this time, completely enveloped his clothing. Leading Aircraftman Gravell subsequently died from his burns. Had he not considered his pilot before his own safety and had he immediately proceeded to extinguish the flames on his own clothing, he would probably not have lost his life.
Government House, Ottawa
28th December, 1943
Royal Canadian Air Force
The King has been graciously pleased to approve the following Award:
This airman, a student Navigator with no pilot training displayed great courage, resolution and unselfishness in the face of harassing circumstances when the pilot of the aircraft fainted at the controls. White other crew members were vainly trying to remove him from his seat he temporarily regained consciousness and froze on the controls causing the aircraft to loose altitude rapidly. Immediately after the pilot became indisposed, L.A.C. Spooner, with extreme coolness and courage assumed charge, ordered the remainder of the crew to bail out while he look over the controls and endeavoured to keep the aircraft at a safe height. Three memben of the crew bailed out as instructed and shortly after the aircraft crashed carrying the unconscious pilot and L.A .C. Spooner to their death. The crash occurred approximately one hour after the pilot had lost control. This airman, with complete disregard for his personal safety and in conformity with the highest tradition of the Service sacrificed his life in order to save the lives of his comrades.
Central Chancery Of The Orders Of Knighthood.
St. James's Palace, S.W.I, 27th October, 1944.
The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards of the GEORGE CROSS, the George Medal and the British Empire Medal (Military Division) to the undermentioned: —
Awarded the George Medal.
Awarded the British Empire Medal (Military Division).
One night in June, 1944, an aircraft, while attempting to land, crashed into another which was parked in the dispersal area and fully loaded with bombs. The former aircraft had broken into 3 parts and was burning furiously. Air Commodore Ross was at the airfield to attend the return of aircraft from operations and the interrogation of aircrews. Flight Sergeant St. Germain a bomb aimer, had just returned from an operational sortie and 'Corporal Marquet was in charge of the night ground crew, whilst leading Aircraftmen McKenzie and Wolfe were members of the crew of the crash tender. Air Commodore Ross with the assistance of Corporal Marquet, extricated the pilot who had sustained severe injuries. At that moment ten 500 lb. bombs in the second aircraft, about 8o yards away, exploded, and this officer and airman were hurled to the ground. When the hail of debris had subsided, cries were heard from the rear turret of the crashed aircraft. Despite further explosions from bombs and petrol tanks which might have occurred, Air Commodore Ross and Corporal Marquet returned to the blazing wreckage and endeavoured in vain to swing the turret to release the rear gunner. Although the port tail plane was blazing furiously, Air Commodore Ross hacked at the perspex with an axe and then handed the axe through the turret to the rear gunner who enlarged the aperture. Taking the axe again the air commodore, assisted now by Flight Sergeant St. Germain as well as by Corporal Marquet, finally broke the perspex steel frame supports and extricated the rear gunner. Another 500 Ib. bomb exploded which threw the 3 rescuers to the ground. Flight Sergeant St. Germain quickly rose and threw himself upon a victim in order to shield him from flying debris. Air Commodore Ross's arm was practically severed between' the wrist and elbow by the second explosion. Pie calmly walked to the ambulance and an emergency amputation was performed on arrival at station sick quarters. Meanwhile, Corporal Marquet had inspected the surroundings, and seeing petrol running down towards two nearby aircraft, directed their removal from the vicinity by tractor. Leading Aircraftmen McKenzie and Wolfe rendered valuable assistance in trying to bring the fire under control and they also helped to extricate the trapped reai gunner both being seriously injured by flying debris.
Air Commodore Ross showed fine leadership and great heroism in an action which resulted in the saving of the lives of the pilot and rear gunner. He was ably assisted by Flight Sergeant St. Germain and Corporal Marquet who both displayed courage of a high order. Valuable service was also rendered 'by Leading Aircraftmen McKenzie and Wolfe in circumstances of great danger.
From the 1974/3 edition of the Canadian Armed Forces journal Sentinel, Volume 10, number 3; which featured the 50th Anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
And you couldn't do much with the indestructible, canvas-lined "iron-suit." Unlike comfortable army battledress or natty navy tiddlys, the RCAF uniform of wartime and immediate post-war years defied improvement. It just "was." By the time you got the fuzzy nap worn off. the seams were splitting and you were issued with a new one.
But we tried.
We put a bash in our hat and sewed on Canada flashes every time we were off the base. The hat badge was "rounded" by poking it into a drainhole with a broomhandle. We soaped the inside of our trouser creases to sharpen them up.
Our Steve Canyon hero shows the slightly stooped posture caused from wearing the wide, no-elastic "Police" braces under his skin-tight tunic. Elastic must have been in short supply … the issue undershorts featured dainty string bows on each side to hold them temporarily in place.
Our hero has left behind his issue oil-cloth raincoat which, treated with some strange preservative, literally stunk to high heaven, especially when wet, especially when there were 50 men to a barrack-room.
But our dapper young airman is prepared for a happy weekend. He's wearing his "Spiffy" collar-stay to keep his soft collar in shape. No doubt it will spring loose just as he's making a pitch for some sweet young thing.
And he hasn't forgotten his buttonstick. Not that he's terribly keen about polishing but a high gloss on buttons and belt buckle reflected enough glare from oncoming headlights to prevent being run over on the highway.
Once in town he'll sew up his illegal "Canada" flashes and be ready for action and proceed to blow his fortnightly LAC's pay … about 35 bucks in 1949-50.
ln the early 50's he'll get the good news … smooth fabric Eisenhower jackets and pants will be issued. Then he'll get the bad news… you must wear out both old uniforms first.
Over a decade before the origins of the V-22 Osprey, Canada experimented with its own VSTOL aircraft, the CX-84 Dynavert. Featured in the pages of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) publication, Sentinel, in 1969, this experimental VSTOL (vertical and short take-off and landing) aircraft went into limited production for trials by Canada's military.
Three of the four Canadair CL-84 Dynaverts that were produced were used for flight testing and demonstration. The CAF evaluated the aircraft with the intention of trialing them in a variety of operational roles. Planned mission types for the aircraft included resue and evacuation, visial, electronic and photo reconnassance and armed escort. It was also considered for shipboard operation in the Navy and all types of tactical airmobility tasks.
The CL-84-1 prototype, in the hands of 18 pilots, "accumulated 405 operating hours, including 145 flight hours in 305 flights." Following this success, the three operational aircaft totaled over 700 flights at the hands of pilots from Canada, the UK and the US.
Following the success of the prototype, In February 1968, the RCAF ordered three aircraft for evaluation in various military roles. Initially designated CX-84 and numbered 8401, 8402 and 8403, the creation of the CAF through Unification resulted in their designations changing to CX-131, with the aircraft serialized 13101 to 13103. Although delivered in CAF markings, the CAF designation and serials were never applied, instead the RCAF designation and serials were shown and were continued to be used. Despite the Dynavert's performance, no production orders resulted from its trials.
Two remaining CL-84s can be seen at:
More on the Dynavert:
Tourists with an interest in military history are often aware of the military history of the cities they visit. based on this they seek out and tour museums, forts and other sites of interest. But the sites that are often overlooked are ones that most seldom associate with warlike intents; the city's churches and cathedrals. Once the concept is introduced, it makes sense to anyone familiar with places of worship in our older garrison towns, but surprises await even those who know to look.
The older the town, the greater the possibility that the original churches in the city will have plaques, memorials and other artifacts deposited by military units and by the families of those who served from the towns environs, or who lived in the city and had military family members who served elsewhere.
In early May, 2013, I had occasion to spend a few hours in the Cathedral Church of All Saints in Halifax, Nova Scotia. One of the significant military connections found in this cathedral is the Squadron Colour for 434 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force.
Presented to the re-activated 434 Tactical Fighter Squadron on 2 July 1977, this Colour shows the perpetuation of the Second World War predecessor. Carried for 11 years, the Colour was deposited in the Cathedral on 26 Jun 1988.
Battle Honours emblazoned on the Colour are:
English Channel and North Sea 1943-1944, Baltic 1943-1944, Fortress Europe 1943-1944, France and Germany 1944-1945, Biscay Ports 1944, Ruhr 1943-1945, Berlin 1943-1944, German Ports 1944-1945, Normandy 1944, Rhine
Links to further information on 434 Squadron:
Tucked behind a thin wood-line that almost hides it from the Trans-Canada Highway is a Canadian aviation treasure that few are aware of, or take the time to visit. One of the last surviving Lancaster bombers of the Second World War, in its last configuration as Royal Canadian Air Force photo reconnaissance aircraft, sits outside the Edmundston Airport in northern New Brunswick.View Google map.
The plaque erected at the site states:
AVRO Lancaster KB 882 Type 10 A.R.
Flew with RAF Bomber Command No. 6 Group, 428 Squadron, a Canadian formation on World War II. This aircraft flew eleven successful missions over enemy territory.
Kept in storage from 1945 until 1952, it was then used as a photo reconnaissance aircraft with the 408 Squadron at Rockcliffe, Ontario, until 1964. The KB 882 was flown to Edmundston on July 14, 1964, where it remains one of only three aircraft of this type in existence.
This monument was erected in September 1985 by 251 Madawaska Wing RCAFA in recognition for services rendered by the RCAF and its airmen during the two world wars.
From the Wikipedia article on surviving Lancasters, comes the following information:
Lancaster Mk 10P KB882 was built by Victory Aircraft in 1945 and delivered to Britain, the aircraft joined No. 428 Squadron RCAF in March of that year. Flown on six operational sorties over Germany, the aircraft was returned to Canada in June 1945 and entered storage. In 1952, the aircraft was modified to Mk 10P configuration and flew with No. 408 Squadron RCAF. In 1964, the aircraft was purchased by the City of Edmundston, New Brunswick and has since been on outside display at the Municipal Airport.
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