Featured post

Preserving the Past – The V-2 Rocket

Preserving the Past – The V-2 Rocket

Clarence Simonsen has been preserving the past more than 50 years. He has finally gotten recognition for his research on the V-2 rocket.

The original research of Clarence Simonsen on the V-2 rocket

Dr Philipp Aumann sent Clarence three photos of the exhibition and one photo of himself. The book he wrote on the exhibition can be bought at the museum shop.

This is the link to the museum shop:


 This is the link to the publisher’s website:


Both sites are just in German, but the book itself is bilingual.

Featured post

In Memoriam – Gordon McKenzie Hill (1923-2021)

In 2017 Clarence Simonsen met veteran Spitfire pilot Gordon McKenzie Hill who then shared with him all he had kept from his service with the RCAF during WWII. He shared stories and photos but mostly he remembered his comrades-in-arms.

Clarence then wrote me because he wanted Gordon’s stories and photos online to preserve Gordon Hill’s past.

In 2017 I knew nothing about 416 Squadron, but with Clarence’s research I learned so much more about Gordon Hill and also some French-Canadian Spitfire pilots who according to Gordon Hill were damn good pilots. Being myself French-Canadian suffice to say that information made my day.

On Sunday Clarence wrote me again and asked something…

Hurricane 20

RCAF Pilot Gordon Hill died on 30 January 2021. Gordon was 97 years of age. Maybe you can add something at the end of this wonderful man’s history blog.


I then decided to add something and share Clarence’s research on the links below…

“Crabapple” Fighter, Hurricane Mk. XII, serial #814, RCAF 5389

“Crabapple” Fighter, Hurricane Mk. XII, serial #814, RCAF 5389 – PDF Version

The Making of a WWII RCAF Fighter Pilot – Part One

The Making of a WWII RCAF Spitfire Pilot – Part One (PDF version)

The Making of a WWII RCAF Spitfire Pilot – Part Two

The Making of a WWII RCAF Spitfire Pilot – Part Two (PDF version)

The Making of a WWII RCAF Spitfire Fighter Pilot – Part Three

The Making of a WWII RCAF Spitfire Pilot Part Three (PDF version)

Intermission One – Kittyhawk AK803 (1034)

Intermission Two – “Pic” Picard

Intermission Three – “Damn good pilots!”

Intermission Four – Crazy Frenchies

Intermission Five Petit Brogel

Intermission Six – More from Gordon

Intermission Seven – Jules, the Forgotten Batman in RCAF history

The Making of a WWII RCAF Spitfire Pilot Part Four

The Making of a WWII RCAF Spitfire Pilot – Part Four (PDF version)

The Making of a WW II RCAF Spitfire Pilot – Part Five

The Making of a WWII RCAF Spitfire Fighter Pilot – Part Five (PDF version)

The Making of a WWII RCAF Spitfire Pilot – Part Six

The Making of a WWII RCAF Spitfire Fighter Pilot Part Six (PDF version)

Postwar – Base 174, Utersen, Germany Part One

Postwar – [5 July 1945 to 21 March 1946] Base 174, Utersen, Germany Part One (PDF version)

Postwar – Base 174, Utersen, Germany, [5 July 45 to 21 March 1946] – Part Two

Postwar – [5 July 1945 to 21 March 1946] – Base 174, Utersen, Germany – Part Two (PDF version)

Postwar – [5 July 1945 to 21 March 1946] – Base 174, Utersen, Germany – Part Three

Postwar – [5 July 1945 to 21 March 1946] – Base 174, Utersen, Germany – Part Three (PDF version)


“Crabapple” Fighter, Hurricane Mk. XII, serial #814, RCAF 5389

Editor’s note

This post was already published on Preserving the Past.

“Crabapple” Fighter, Hurricane Mk. XII, serial #814, RCAF 5389

There are more than 160 posts on this blog created so Clarence Simonsen could share his research.

In 2016 I was amazed by his first research that the more Clarence was sending what he had done the more I felt it was important to publish what he had researched.

This is just a sample of what he wanted to share.

Pierre Lagacé

Exclusive research done by Clarence Simonsen about the little History of “Crabapple” Fighter, Hurricane Mk. XII, serial #814, RCAF 5389

“Crabapple” Fighter, Hurricane Mk. XII, serial #814, RCAF 5389

By Clarence Simonsen

RCAF Hurricane 5389 was constructed by the Canadian Car and Foundry factory in Fort William, Ontario, on the western tip of Lake Superior in May 1942.

The first production Hurricane Mk. XII aircraft serial RCAF 5376 was retained at the factory in Fort William for testing and was not assigned to the RCAF until taken on strength 6 August 1943. The next 25 production new Hurricane Mk. XII [serial 5377 to 5401] aircraft were flown directly by No. 124 ferry pilots to No. 4 Training Command at Calgary, Alberta, or their Ferry Detachment at Lethbridge, Alberta, then later assigned to No. 133 [Falcon] Squadron which was formed at Lethbridge, Alberta, on 3 June 1942.

The first Air Force Ferry Squadron was formed at Air Force Headquarters, RCAF Station, Rockcliffe, [Ottawa] Ontario, on 24 December 1941, Organization Order 173, Flight Lieutenant H. O. Madden [C1407] was approved as the first Ferry Squadron Commander. On 14 February 1942, they were officially numbered No. 124 [Ferry] Squadron, formed for the purpose of inter-command ferrying of all RCAF aircraft across Canada, with detachments located in Eastern Division at Moncton, New Brunswick, Montreal, Quebec, Megantic, Quebec, Malton, [Toronto] Ontario, North Bay, Ontario, Kapuskasing, Ontario, and Western Division at Armstrong, Ontario, Regina, Saskatchewan, Lethbridge, Alberta, Cranbrook, B.C. and Penticton, B.C. The Daily Diary records the first ferry aircraft were Oxford AT533 and AS6596 delivered to R.A.F. Station Penhold, Alberta, on 4 January 1942, before they were officially numbered 124 [Ferry] Squadron.

The month of June 1942, became a busy period for No. 124 [Ferry] Squadron as new Canadian built Hawker Hurricane Mk. XII aircraft were being delivered from the factory in Fort William to new formed units in Eastern and Western Canada. The Daily Diary records the number of aircraft delivered but no aircraft individual serial number is recorded. The No. 124 squadron ferry pilot who delivered Hurricane 5389 is not known, however this fighter was taken on charge by RCAF on 23 June 1942, and assigned to No. 133 [F] Squadron in the next few days.

Hurricane aircraft serial 5377 to 5382 were taken on charge by the RCAF 16 January 1942, and later in June delivered by 124 [Ferry] Squadron to No. 133 at Lethbridge, AB, which is recorded in the Daily Diary of squadron operations. Between 24 June and 30 June 1942, No. 124 Squadron will ferry 53 aircraft to allotted units and a large percentage are new Hurricane fighters, including 5389.

This RCAF photo [PL12324] which was a posed image taken at No. 133 Squadron at Lethbridge, Alberta, records two new Hurricane aircraft #5383 without code letter and #5398 [March of Dimes] with code “L” painted on fuselage. This was most likely taken around the end of July 1942, when the squadron was busy with training and painting code letters on their new Hurricane fighters.

The No. 133 Daily Diary records the following for 17 July 1942 – Hurricane “March of Dimes” aircraft No. 5398, together with No. 5395 arrived at his unit at 19:00 hrs from Fort William, Ontario.

Hurricane # 5398 was first ferried to Calgary from Fort William on 15 July 1942 and was officially taken on charge by the RCAF. This was a special presentation aircraft with the “March of Dimes” painted on both sides of the nose panel in white lettering.

Photo taken at No. 4 Training Command Headquarters, Calgary, Alberta, 15 July 1942.

No. 133 Squadron Commanding Officer received the new presentation fighter at Lethbridge, Alberta, 17 July 1942, newspaper clipping on left. The nose lettering reads – ‘CONTRIBUTIONS TO CANADA “MARCH OF DIMES” HELPED TO PURCHASE THE AEROPLANE.’

On 4 February 1943, No. 133 [Falcon] Squadron were based at Boundary Bay. B.C., conducting normal patrols and training exercises. P/O Grover Stewart Sargent, J11976, was assigned a night time map reading exercise [flying Hurricane 5398, “L”] to the training area at Pender Island, then west to Patricia Bay, fuel, and return to base at Boundary Bay. He never arrived at Patricia Bay and the next morning his body was recovered near Pender Island. The crash site has never been found, and the cause is unknown. The body of Pilot Officer Sargent, age 20 years, was returned to Quebec, where he was buried in Lake View Cemetery, Pointe-Claire, Quebec.

All Hurricane fighters were painted at Fort William in R.A.F. colors for period June 1940 to June 1942.

Aircraft code letters were painted on at assigned RCAF units as shown above.

This records the correct 1942 roundel markings on the Canadian Hurricane fighters that were delivered from Fort William to RCAF Home War Establishment units. Upper roundel was type “B” red and blue, under wing was type “A. II” and fuselage was type A. I, red, white, blue and matt yellow.

Hurricane RCAF 5389 was the thirteenth fighter delivered to the RCAF and taken on charge 23 June 1942 at Calgary, Alberta, delivered to Lethbridge two days later. The fighter was painted with the code letter “M” and began general pilot training on 1 July 42, where Hurricane flying time was recorded at 23:15 hrs. On 2 July 42, Wing Commander Gray arrived by air at 11:00 hrs to arrange the allotment of three No. 133 Hurricane aircraft for pilot training at No. 135 Squadron at Mossbank, Saskatchewan. On 8 July 42, RCAF Hurricane 5385, 5386 and 5389 were transferred to No. 135 [Bulldog] Squadron at Mossbank, Saskatchewan for pilot training. They arrived at Mossbank the next day, recorded in Diary. Pilots were S/L Brookes, P/O Sargent, [killed 4 February 1943, March of Dimes] and F/Sgt. Shavalier.

[It is recorded in the No. 135 [Bulldog] Squadron Daily Diary that all pilots had been fully trained and soloed in the Hurricane fighter aircraft by 17 July 1942. It should also be recorded that Hurricane 5389 trained many of the first RCAF fighter pilots in No. 135 ‘Bulldog’ Squadron].
It is most likely Hurricane 5389 received a new 135 squadron code letter, and possibly even the nose art of the 135 “Bulldog” appeared on her engine covering for a few weeks.

No. 135 pilot George Lawson in front of Hurricane “U”, at Mossbank, Sask., 13 July 1942, which could possibly be one of the loaned fighters, 5386, 5385 or [Calgary] 5389, with Bulldog nose art.

On 26 July 1942, Hurricane 5385 and 5389 are returned to No. 133 Squadron from Mossbank, Sask. RCAF Hurricane 5386 returns to Lethbridge on 31 July 42.

27 July 1942, Mr. E. J. Sousby, General Manager of Canadian Car and Foundry Co. arrives for a special meeting to discuss the new Hurricane aircraft. The following day all Hurricane Mk. XII aircraft are being tested by the flying instructors for a detailed report on their general condition, which will be sent to the Fort William factory.

On 31 July 1942, Officer Commanding No. 133 Squadron, S/Leader W. T. Brooks, reports 24 Hurricane and 6 Harvard aircraft on strength, only 9 Hurricane fighters are serviceable. 28 August 1942, at 15:20 hrs. Hurricane 5380 makes a crash landing on aerodrome and is a total loss. F/Sgt. Pilot E. B. Monypenny R108600 is suspended from further flying. This is the first Hurricane lost and not taken off charge until 11 February 1943. On 12 May 1943, F/Sgt. Monypenny lost control of Hurricane 5383 at 1,500 ft over base, crashed and was killed.

Pilot Eric Burk Monypenny

On 31 August 1942, No. 133 Squadron has 13 officers and 199 airmen on strength, 23 Hurricane aircraft and 6 Harvard trainers. Total Hurricane flying training time for the month is 30:55 hrs day and 7:30 hrs night. 15 September 1942, Captain D. M. Howard, Chief Test Pilot, Canadian Boeing Aircraft, Co. arrives to test all of the squadron Hurricane aircraft.

23 September 1942, S/L Brooks advises the Squadron they will be moving to Boundary Bay, B. C. in October. The advance party depart by rail for Boundary Bay on 30 September 1942. At 17:00 hrs that same day, [30 Sept.] No. 135 squadron [Bulldogs] arrive for fuel with 19 Hurricane aircraft on their southern route to Sea Island, [Vancouver] B.C. The “Bulldogs” will become the first RCAF Fighter Squadron to fly from Lethbridge, Alberta, to Spokane, Washington, Yakima, Washington, and then to Sea Island, [Vancouver] B.C., No. 133 Squadron will follow this same route on 5 October 1942.

No. 133 [Falcon] Squadron patrolled the Canadian section [orange] however, unknown to many Americans, they also patrolled and were even stationed from Bellingham to Tacoma, Washington, [yellow]. This is covered in detail with Daily Diary records in chapter on pilot Gordon Hill.

Secret orders – 8 December 1942- Daily Diary

October 4th, ground personnel consisting of 135 Airmen and Officers, departed from Lethbridge at 23:59 hrs by special C.P.R. train, under supervision of flying Officer Thompson. October 5th, 16 Hurricane and 4 Harvard aircraft, under the supervision of Squadron Leader W. T. Brooks, depart from Lethbridge at 07:20 hrs via Spokane [fuel] and Yakima [fuel-image below], arriving Boundary Bay at 16:00 hrs same day.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the United States government moved quickly to organize, purchase, or lease local airports to be used as Military training airfields. In the State of Washington, 17 municipal and local civilian airports would be used as military airfields, with new expanded runways, new constructed hangars, and many other improvements. Most of these airfields had been constructed in the 1930’s depression era with funds provided by the United States Works Progress Administration and the Public Work Administration. Three of these airfields became the main Hurricane aircraft ferry route from Alberta to the West Coastal RCAF Stations which were being constructed in 1941-1942.

Felts Field, Spokane, was constructed in 1927, home to the Air National Guard/116th Observation Squadron. It was named in honor of pilot Buell Felts, killed 30 May 1927. During WWII the airfield served as a Civilian Pilots Training Program and provided the USAAF with thousands of pilots. It also became the first ferry fuel stop for RCAF aircraft [No. 135 Bulldogs and No. 133 Falcon] leaving Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, for Sea Island and boundary Bay, B.C.

McAllister Flying School, Yakima, Washington was cleared of sagebrush in 1926 by Charles McAllister and the first building was completed in 1928, which still survives today. Above is the Yakima Air Terminal in 1940, the same sight the Hurricane pilots of No. 133 Squadron saw on 5 October 1942. This became the second important ferry flight fuel stop for RCAF aircraft, and during WWII the base was part of the Civilian Pilot Training Program.

Bellingham Army Airfield was constructed in 1936, the runway was paved in 1940, and it officially opened on 7 December 1941, the same day the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor. On 10 December 1941, the U. S. Army moved in and constructed 38 new hangars and buildings, expanded and constructed two more runways, making a major facility for bombers and fighter aircraft. This became the main American base for the protection and defending of Puget Sound area, shared by No. 133 Squadron of the RCAF north at Boundary Bay, B. C. The Daily Operations Record for No. 133 Squadron record many flights in and out of Bellingham Army Airfield, including that of Hurricane fighter 5389.

On 5 October 1942, this Army Airfield provided an emergency stop over for the ferry flight of No. 133 Squadron 16 Hurricane fighters and 4 Harvard trainer aircraft. No RCAF ferry aircraft were required to land at Bellingham Army Airfield. On landing [Boundary Bay] Hurricane 5399, pilot F/Sgt. J. A. Leslie, makes a hard landing [the runways are still under construction] and the aircraft is damaged as Cat. “C” crash.

Two of the squadron Hurricane 5391 and 5392 were left at Lethbridge as they required new Merlin engines, which were being shipped from Fort William. October 12th, Wing Commander Gray and Flight Lt. Assheton arrived at Boundary Bay at 17:25 hrs in Hurricane 5391 and 5392.

The Squadron diary notes –

Housing condition was very poor and inadequate. The Senior NCO’s and airmen were placed in various uncomfortable sections of the station. Civilian construction personnel occupying 2 H-huts and Airmen’s Mess. One hangar is remodeled and at once lectures, physical training and organized sports are started while ground crews attempt their normal duties. The Squadron consists of 29 pilots, 27 trained for overseas duty, 17 Hurricane aircraft and 2 Harvard ready for instrument training. Due to the fact the runways are still under construction no hours of actual flight training are allowed.

The No. 133 Squadron Operations Record [below] states – NOTE –

We submit a “Nil Report” for this period, Oct. 1st to Oct. 26th, 1942, inclusive as the runways at this station are under construction.

The first Hurricane to officially take to the air at Boundary Bay, B.C. was recorded as Hurricane 5389, pilot F/O F. H. Sproule, Practice Scramble, 11:00 to 11:20 hrs, 27 October 1942 [20 minutes].

1 November 1942, strength of unit is :

RCAF Officers [Aircrew] 7,

Ground Crew Officers 2,

Airmen Aircrew 18 and Ground crew 173.

RAF Officers – 4.

Aircraft service ability

Hurricane 12,

Harvard 2.

Duties – Local flying of Sector Reconnaissance, Hurricane Scrambles, and Instrument flying in Harvard aircraft. Each month, five qualified fighter pilots will be posted overseas and replaced by five new graduates from Service Flying Training Schools in Canada.

This RCAF pilot training produced new Canadian fighter pilots for mostly England and gave coastal protection for Canadian Home War Establishment against possible Japanese attack. Only 14 flights had taken place in the month of October and now November would prove to be the break-in period for No. 133 [F] Squadron RCAF.

The total number of flights, date, and pilot name, are now listed for RCAF Hurricane [Calgary] 5389.

November 1942

Hurricane 5389 will make 17 flights in the month of November, which totals 13:25 hrs.

1 November 1942 Sgt. Millar G. G. 9:20 to 10:20 hrs Sector Reconnaissance
1 November 1942 F/Sgt. Curtis W. S. 10:35 to 11:30 hrs Sector Recon.
7 November 1942 P/O D. C. Laubman 15:40 to 16:45 hrs Formation Training
8 November 1942 F/Sgt. Tomlinson C. J 09:40 to 10:40 hrs Formation Training
8 November 1942 P/O D. C. Laubman 15:40 to 1645 hrs Formation Training
10 November 1942 F/Sgt. Walton N. R. 11:10 to 12:10 hrs Practice Scramble
13 November 1942 F/Sgt. McGowan J. G. 10:50 to 11:35 hrs Formation Flying
13 November 1942 Sgt. Costello G. A. 10:20 to 11:20 hrs Formation Flying
15 November 1942 Sgt. Monypenny E. B. 10:55 to 11:55 hrs Formation Flying
18 November 1942 P/O L. R. Brooks 15:10 to 15:40 hrs Scramble
19 November 1942 F/O F. H. Sproule 12:00 to 12:15 hrs Scramble
23 November 1942 Sgt. Young F. B. 13:25 to 13:40 hrs Scramble
24 November 1942 Sgt. Costello G. A. 11:30 to 12:20 hrs Scramble
24 November 1942 F/O R. M. Tracy 15:15 to 15:30 hrs Aircraft Test
27 November 1942 P/O L. R. Allman 16:15 to 17:05 hrs Air Test
28 November 1942 F/Sgt. Walton N. R. 09:35 to 10:35 hrs Squadron drill
28 November 1942 F/ Sgt. R. F. Gainforth 14:00 to 14:40 hrs Squadron Drill

December 1942

1 December 1942, 17 Hurricanes on strength and 5389 will make 13 flights.
1 December 1942 P/O L.R. Allman
1 December 1942 F/Sgt. McGowan J. G.
13 December 1942 P/O L. R. Allman
13 December 1942 P/O G. S. Sargent
14 December 1942 P/O G. S. Sargent
20 December 1942 F/Sgt. Shavalier R.
22 December 1942 F/Sgt. Le Gear F. S.
23 December 1942 P/O D. C. Laubman
30 December 1942 F/Sgt. Law R. R.
30 December 1942 Sgt. Dalsell D. J.
30 December 1942 F/O R. N. Gull
31 December 1942 F/O F. H. Sproule
31 December 1942 Sgt. Gaskin R. A.

January 1943

1 January 1943, 15 Hurricanes on strength and 5389 will make 11 flights.
3 January 1943 Sgt. Young F. B.
4 January 1943 F/Lt. R. W. Mc Nair [DFC] local formation flying.
7 January 1943 F/O F. H. Sproule
7 January 1943 F/O G. S. Sargent
11 January 1943 S/L W. T. Breeks
14 January 1943 P/O D. C. Laubman
27 January 1943 F/Sgt. Walton N. R.
28 January 1943 Sgt. Dalzell D. J.
29 January 1943 P/O R. M. Tracy
30 January 1943 F/Sgt. Law R.R.
31 January 1943 F/Sgt. R. F. Gainforth.

February 1943

1 February 1943, 17 Hurricanes on strength 5389 assigned 31 flights
2 February 1943 F/Sgt. W. S. Curtis
2 February 1943 Sgt. E. E. Grissom
3 February 1943 F/Sgt. H. F. Wakeman
3 February 1943 F/Sgt. R. F. Gainforth

On 4 February 1943, Pilot Officer G. S. Sargent is assigned to fly Hurricane 5398, “March of Dimes” presentation fighter, on a routine map reading night-time exercise. The aircraft never arrives at Patricia Bay, and next morning a search is conducted. The body of pilot Sargent is found.

Mayne, Saturna and North and South Pinder Islands were used by No. 133 squadron for many training flights, conducted between home base at Boundary Bay and Patricia Bay, on Vancouver Island. A number of Hurricane fighters crashed into the waters around these islands, in 1943, 1944 and 1945.

6 February 1943 F/Sgt. A. J. Ness

11 February 1943 F/O R. N. Gull
11 February 1943 F/Sgt A J. Ness
11 February 1943 F/Sgt. F. S. Le Gear
12 February 1943 F/ Sgt. F. S. Le Gear
12 February 1943 F/Sgt. F. S. Le Gear
16 February 1943 Sgt. D. J. Dalsell
19 February 1943 F/L E. H. Treleaven
19 February 1943 F/Sgt. F. S. Le Gear
20 February 1943 Sgt. F. B. Young
20 February 1943 F/O F. H. Sproule
21 February 1943 F/Sgt. W. S. Curtis
21 February 1943 P/O L. R. Allman
22 February 1943 Sgt. Gaskin R. A.
22 February 1943 Sgt. E. E. Grissom
22 February 1943 P/O L. R. Allman
23 February 1943 F/Sgt. H. F. Wakeman
23 February 1943 P/O L. R. Allman
23 February 1943 F/Sgt. F. S. Le Gear
25 February 1943 Sgt. F. B. Young
25 February 1943 Sgt. E. E. Grissom
27 February 1943 P/O L. R. Allman
27 February 1943 F/O R. M. Tracy
27 February 1943 F/Sgt J. A. Leslie
28 February 1943 P/O L. R. Allman
28 February 1943 Sgt. F. B. Young.

March 1943

1 March 1943, 17 Hurricane on strength, 5389 assigned 34 flights
2 March 1943 F/Sgt. C. J. Tomlinson
3 March 1943 F/Sgt. C. J. Tomlinson
5 March 1943 P/O L. R. Allman
5 March 1943 Sgt. E. E. Grissom
7 March 1943 F/Sgt. H. F. Wakeman
7 March 1943 F/Sgt. A. J. Ness
7 March 1943 P/O G. G. Millar
9 March 1943 F/Sgt/ R. A. Gaskin
10 March 1943 F/Sgt. W. S. Curtis
10 March 1943 P/O L. R. Allman
11 March 1943 F/Sgt. J. A. Leslie
11 March 1943 F/Sgt. F. S. Le Gear
13 March 1943 F/Sgt. R. Shavalier
15 March 1943 P/O D. C. Laubman
16 March 1943 F/Sgt. W.S. Curtis
16 March 1943 F/Sgt. J. A. Leslie
17 March 1943 F/Sgt. F. S. Le Gear
17 March 1943 F/Sgt. F. S. Le Gear
17 March 1943 F/Sgt. F. S. Le Gear
19 March 1943 F/Sgt. C. J. Tomlinson
19 March 1943 F/Sgt. C. J. Tomlinson
20 March 1943 F/Sgt. G. A. Costello
20 March 1943 F/Sgt. G. A. Costello
25 March 1943 F/Sgt. C. J. Tomlinson
25 March 1943 F/Sgt. C. J. Tomlinson
25 March 1943 F/Sgt. C. J. Tomlinson
25 March 1943 F/Sgt. C. J. Tomlinson
25 March 1943 F/Sgt. C. J. Tomlinson
26 March 1943 P/O G. G. Millar
28 March 1943 F/Sgt. J. A. Leslie
28 March 1943 F/Sgt. F. B. Young
29 March 1943 F/Sgt. N. R. Walton
29 March 1943 F/Sgt. W.S. Curtis
29 March 1943 F/Sgt. E. B. Monypenny

April 1943

1 April 1943, 16 Hurricanes on strength, 5389 assigned 35 flights
1 April 1943 F/Sgt. W. S. Curtis
2 April 1943 Sgt. E. E. Grissom
2 April 1943 F/Sgt. C. J. Tomlinson
3 April 1943 F/Sgt. H. F. Wakeman
4 April 1943 Sgt. E. E. Grissom
4 April 1943 F/Sgt. C. J. Tomlinson
4 April 1943 Sgt. E. E. Grissom
5 April 1943 F/O F. H. Sproule
5 April 1943 Sgt. E. E. Allman
6 April 1943 P/O L. R. Allman
8 April 1943 F/O F. H. Sproule
9 April 1943 F/Sgt. C. J. Tomlinson
10 April 1943 F/Sgt. R. F. Gainforth
11 April 1943 F/Sgt. G. A. Costello
11 April 1943 F/O F. H. Sproule
12 April 1943 F/O F. H. Sproule
13 April 1943 F/O J. M. Ingalls
13 April 1943 F/O J. M. Ingalls
14 April 1943 F/Sgt. F. B. Young
14 April 1943 F/Sgt. F. B. Young
15 April 1943 F/Sgt. E. B. Monypenny
15 April 1943 F/Sgt. J. A. Leslie
15 April 1943 F/O F. H. Sproule
18 April 1943 P/O J. G. McGowan
18 April 1943 F/Sgt. H. F. Wakeman
18 April 1943 F/O J. M. Ingalls
18 April 1943 F/Sgt. F. B. Young
18 April 1943 F/O F. H. Sproule
19 April 1943 F/O J. M. Ingalls
19 April 1943 F/Sgt. F. B. Young
19 April 1943 F/O R. W. Ferguson
19 April 1943 F/Sgt. F. S. Le Gear
21 April 1943 F/Sgt. E. B. Monypenny
28 April 1943 F/O D. C. Laubman
29 April 1943 F/Sgt. W. S. Curtis.

May 1943

1 May 1943, 6 Officers and 17 Airmen, 19 Hurricanes on strength, 5389 assigned 49 flights.
2 May 1943 F/O R. M. Tracy
2 May 1943 F/Lt. J. B. McCall
2 May 1943 F/O R. M. Tracy
2 May 1943 F/O L. R. Allman
3 May 1943 F/O D. C. Laubman
5 May 1943 F/Sgt. R. F. Gainforth
5 May 1943 F/Sgt. G. J. Tomlinson
6 May 1943 P/O R.R. Law
6 May 1943 P/O R. R. Law
6 May 1943 F/O F. H. Sproule
7 May 1943 F/O R. W. Ferguson
8 May 1943 Sgt. D. J. Dalsell
8 May 1943 F/Sgt. F. S. le Gear
8 May 1943 F/Sgt. F. S. Le Gear
9 May 1943 P/O J. G. McGowan
9 May 1943 F/O R. M. Tracy
9 May 1943 F/Lt. J. B. McCall
9 May 1943 P/O J. G. McGowan
9 May 1943 F/Sgt. R. A. Gaskin
10 May 1943 Sgt. D. J. Dalsell
10 May 1943 F/Lt. J. B. Deek

On 11 May 1943, two new pilots reported to No. 133 squadron, P/O T. W. Wann and Sgt. Gordon M. Hill. The next day, 12 May, F/Sgt. Monypenny was killed flying Hurricane 5383.

Source Facebook page Boundary Bay 1941-1945 

14 May 1943 F/Sgt. R. Shavalier
14 May 1943 F/Sgt. L. R. Allman

15 May 1943 Sgt. Gordon M. Hill [R14282] first flight in Hurricane 5389.

Gordon M. Hill Course #65, continued his pilot training in fall of 1942, No. 13 S. F. T. S. St. Hubert, Quebec. He graduated and received his “Wings” on 22 January 1943, posted to No. 1 Operational Training Unit at Bagotville, Quebec, training Hurricane pilots. Course #8 began on 30 January 1943 and 29 pupils graduated as Hurricane pilots on 23 April 1943. Two pilots were posted to Eastern Air Command of Home War Establishment, while P/O Wann and Sgt. Hill were posted to Western Air Command, No. 133 Squadron at Boundary Bay. B.C.

Graduation photo – 22 January 1943

The full RCAF career of pilot F/O Gordon Hill will be covered in two complete chapters, with over 400 unpublished photos, and new art work.

15 May 1943 F/O F. H. Sproule
16 May 1943 F/Sgt. W. S. Curtis
17 May 1943 F/Sgt. R. Shavalier
18 May 1943 P/O T. W. Wann
18 May 1943 P/O T. W. Wann
18 May 1943 F/O R. M. Tracy
19 May 1943 F/O R. M. Tracy
20 May 1943 P/O R. R. Law
20 May 1943 P/O R. R. Law
20 May 1943 F/O R. M. Tracy
20 May 1943 F/O R. M. Tracy
23 May 1943 F/Sgt. H. F. Wakeman
23 May 1943 Sgt. G. M. Hill
23 May 1943 F/Sgt. H. F. Wakeman
24 May 1943 F/O L. R. Allman
24 May 1943 F/O L. R. Allman
25 May 1943 F/Sgt. W. S. Curtis
25 May 1943 P/O J. M. Ingalls
25 May 1943 F/Sgt. F. S. Le Gear
26 May 1943 F/Sgt. C. J. Tomlinson
26 May 1943 F/Sgt. R. Shavalier
28 May 1943 P/O T. W. Wann
31 May 1943 Sgt. G. M. Hill
31 May 1943 P/O R. R. Law
31 May 1943 F/O F. H. Sproule

June 1943

1 June 1943, 15 Hurricane on strength, 5389 assigned 47 flights.
1 June 1943 Sgt. G. M. Hill
1 June 1943 F/L J. B. McCall
1 June 1943 F/L J. B. McCall
1 June 1943 F/Sgt. F. S. Le Gear
2 June 1943 F/L J. B. McCall
3 June 1943 F/O F. H. Sproule
4 June 1943 F/Sgt. H. F. Wakeman
4 June 1943 F/Sgt. H. F. Wakeman
5 June 1943 F/Sgt. H. F. Wakeman
5 June 1943 F/Sgt. N.F. Wakeman
5 June 1943 F/Sgt. R. A. Gaskin
6 June 1943 F/Sgt. R. A. Gaskin
6 June 1943 WO2 W. S. Curtis
6 June 1943 Sgt. G. M. Hill [13:00) to 14:00 hrs – submarine search]
6 June 1943 Sgt. D. J. Dalsell
7 June 1943 F/L J. B. McCall
7 June 1943 F/Sgt. R. A. Gaskin
7 June 1943 Sgt. D. J. Dalsell
7 June 1943 F/Sgt. J. A. Leslie
7 June 1943 W02 W.S. Curtis
7 June 1943 W02 W. S. Curtis
8 June 1943 W02 W. S. Curtis
8 June 1943 W02 W. S. Curtis
9 June 1943 P/O R. R. Law
9 June 1943 W02 W. S. Curtis
9 June 1943 F/Sgt. R. A. Gaskin
10 June 1943 F/O R. M. Tracy
11 June 1943 W02 A. J. Ness
12 June 1943 W02 A. J. Ness
13 June 1943 W02 R. F. Gainforth
13 June 1943 F/Sgt. R. A. Gaskin
13 June 1943 W02 R. F. Gainforth
13 June 1943 W02 R. F. Gainforth
17 June 1943 W02 F. S. LeGear
18 June 1943 F/O T. W. Wann
18 June 1943 F/Sgt. R. A. Gaskin
19 June 1943 F/O L. R. Allman
21 June 1943 Sgt. D. J. Dalsell
22 June 1943 Sgt. D. J. Dalsell
22 June 1943 F/O R. M. Tracy
22 June 1943 F/O R. M. Tracy
23 June 1943 F/Sgt. R. A. Gaskin
23 June 1943 F/L J. B. McCall
23 June 1943 F/O L. R. Allman
24 June 1943 W02 R. W. Ferguson
27 June 1943 W02 A. J. Ness
28 June 1943 F/L J. B. McCall

The last scramble at Boundry Bay, B.C. is recorded on 30 June 1943, 08:00 to 08:50 hrs when two Hurricane aircraft 5395 and 5397 complete a sea patrol. The squadron now prepare for the movement to Tofino, B.C.

Fourteen Hurricane Mk. XII fighter aircraft and two Harvard Mk. IIB aircraft fly to the new base at Tofino, B. C. Hurricane 5389 is piloted by F/O R. W. Ferguson and his flight time is 15:45 to 17:00 hrs.

July 1943

The squadron begin operations on 5 July and Hurricane 5389 will make 19 flights in the month of July 1943.

5 July 1943 W02 A. J. Ness
5 July 1943 F/O J. M. Ingalls
6 July 1943 P/O J. G. McGowan
6 July 1943 W02 J. A. Leslie
9 July 1943 W02 W.S. Curtis
9 July 1943 W02 W. S. Curtis
9 July 1943 Sgt. G. M. Hill Formation Attack – 14:10 to 15:00 hrs.
10 July 1943 F/O V. J. Le Gear
11 July 1943 F/Sgt. J. V. Burke
11 July 1943 W02 J. A. Leslie
11 July 1943 F/O T. W. Wann
12 July 1943 W02 J. A. Leslie
12 July 1943 W02 J. A. Leslie
12 July 1943 W02 J. A. Leslie
12 July 1943 W/C C. N. Greenway
13 July 1943 F/Sgt. J. V. Burke
13 July 1943 F/Sgt. R. A. Gaskin
14 July 1943 P/O R. H. Brown
14 July 1943 P/O F. D. Hague 15:05 to 16:15 hrs., – “Crashed” Cat. “B”.

On 22 July 1943, Hurricane 5389 is loaded onto a ship and transported to No. 13 Aeronautical Inspection District, Vancouver, B. C. [Coates Ltd.] for repairs. Hurricane 5389 remained at No. 13 A.I.D. until 15 March 1944.

In the fall of 1938, the RCAF decided to create repair units close to major aircraft companies in Canada. This allowed technically experienced civilian personnel to assist aircraft contractors and report back to the RCAF Headquarters on how repair work was being carried out as well as inspections on the quality of repair work. These new units were designated as RCAF Technical Detachments and given numbers. No. 11 T.D. – Montreal, Quebec, No. 12 T.D. – Toronto, Ontario, No. 13 T.D. – Vancouver, B. C., No. 14 T. D. – Ottawa, Ontario, No. 15 T. D. – Winnipeg, Manitoba, No. 16 T. D. – Edmonton, Alberta, and No. 17 T. D. at Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1940, these units were re-designated as RCAF Aeronautical Inspection Districts and formerly No. 13 Technical Detachment became No. 13 A.I.D. at Vancouver, B.C. also called “Coates Ltd” for the civilian company. In July 1943, a significant number of RCAF aircraft required repair work and to assist this high demand a priority system was established. The Canadian built Hurricane fighters were no longer a front line aircraft and they took a backseat to repair of other important aircraft. Hurricane 5389 would remain [parked] under repair when time permitted, at No. 13 A.I.D. Vancouver, B. C. for the next eight months.

No. 133 [Falcon] Fighter Squadron continued to fly Hurricane aircraft on West Coast air defence from Tofino, B. C., until 9 March 1944, when they were transferred to Sea Island, [Vancouver] B.C. This became part of what many historians call the “RCAF musical chairs” when complete squadrons moved from base to base and switched aircraft from squadron to squadron.

This has caused many problems for Internet historians and fogged over the true history of Hurricane 5389. Fortunately, the wartime Daily Diaries of both No. 133 and 135 squadrons are very detailed and contain a wealth of information on what in fact took place.

On 10 March 1944, [above record Daily Diary] No. 133 Squadron ferried 17 of their original Hurricane Mk. XII fighters from Tofino, to Patricia Bay, and then to Sea Island, [Vancouver, B.C. F/O Gordon Hill flew Hurricane 5378 to Sea Island, Vancouver, B. C. These Hurricanes are now parked [Vancouver] and No. 133 Squadron will receive 18 Kittyhawk fighters, Mk. I, [11] Mk. IA, [2] and Mk. III [5] aircraft transferred from No. 163 Squadron, which will be disbanded at Patricia Bay, B. C. on 15 March 1944.

To add to this confusion, we have 16 ex-135 Hurricane fighters parked at Terrace, B.C.
No. 135 [Bulldog] Squadron began to ferry their 16 Hurricane fighters [plus two Harvard trainers] from Annette Island, Alaska, [U. S. Command] to Terrace, B.C. on 17 November 1943. They flew patrols from Terrace until 29 February 1944 when they stood down until 11 March 1944, pending a move to Patricia Bay, B.C. They left their original Hurricane aircraft at Terrace, B.C. and the pilots were ferried to Patricia Bay. B. C. on 12 March 1944. No. 170 [Ferry] Squadron began moving the 16 Hurricanes fighters to Patricia Bay on 31 March 1944. The last #5579 arrived at Patricia Bay, B.C. 31 January 1945.

The No. 135 Squadron Daily Diary for 12 March 1944 records – “Arrived Vancouver, Sunday Morning at 10:00 hrs. The party split at C.N.R. Depot and 18 pilots led by S/L Smith [Sqdn. O. C.] proceeding to Sea Island to ferry Hurricane aircraft which formerly operated by No. 133 [F] Squadron. Upon arrival at Sea Island it was discovered only 15 Hurricanes were available, and three Harvard. The party under S/L Smith, piloted the Hurricanes over to Patricia Bay and arrived at 12:00 hrs.

These 15 original No. 133 Squadron Hurricane aircraft are now transferred to No. 135 [Bulldog] Squadron and flown from Sea Island, [Vancouver] to Patricia Bay. B. C. on 12 March 1944. Hurricane 5394 [original No. 133 Sqn. fighter] and 5413 [original No. 135 Sqn. fighter] were not serviceable and after repairs, will join No. 135 Squadron at Patricia Bay on 22 April 1944.

Thanks to this confusion of RCAF Hurricane fighters being switched [musical chairs] from No. 133 Squadron to No. 135 Squadron, the location of Hurricane 5389 has been lost by many historians. The Daily Diary of No. 13 Aeronautical Inspection [Coates Ltd. Vancouver] contains the facts on [Calgary] Hurricane 5389.

On 15 March 1944, No. 13 Aeronautical Inspection District, [Coates Ltd. Vancouver] notify No. 133 Squadron that Hurricane 5389 has been repaired and is ready for return to their squadron. P/O R. A. Gaskin [No. 133 Sqn.] picks up Hurricane 5389 at 10:10 hrs and flies it to No. 135 Squadron in Patricia Bay, arriving at 10:40 hrs. Hurricane 5389 will become the 17th ex-No. 133 Squadron fighter aircraft to be transferred to No. 135 [Bulldog] Squadron and for the second time in her career, 5389 will now fly with the ‘Bulldogs’ stationed at Patricia Bay, B. C.

Remember, Hurricane 5389 began her RCAF career training No. 135 pilots at Mossbank, Saskatchewan, from 8-26 July 1942, and now she will end her career with No. 135 [Bulldog] Squadron at Patricia Bay, B.C.

No. 133 Squadron will fly the Curtiss Kittyhawk from mid-March 1944 to July 1945.

The No. 135 Daily Diary reports on 10 May 1944 all pilots have soloed on the new Kittyhawk fighters, with the exception of two pilots on leave. The old ex-No. 133 Squadron Hurricane fighters are only flown for airframe and engine tests, preparing them for upcoming ferry flights.
Hurricane 5389 is last flown in No. 135 Squadron on 22 May 1944, pilot P/O Hodgins B. H., 15:15 to 16:15 hrs airframe and engine testing.

The next chapter in Hurricane 5389 is about to begin, and this involves the ferrying of thousands of war surplus aircraft across Canada.

In early December 1943, the Ottawa Supervisory Board began discussing the need to expand the BCATP in Canada, beyond the 31 March 1945 termination date which had been agreed upon in 1942. In early February 1944, Harold Balfour, British Under Secretary of State for Air and Air Marshal Sir Peter Drummond, RAF Air Member for Training arrived in Ottawa for meetings with Canadian Air Minister C. G. Power. On 16 February, Power officially explained to the Canadian House of Commons the need for a cutback in BCATP aircrew training. The reduction would be forty per cent and this involved the closing of 33 aircrew training schools out of a total of eight-two currently in operation.

At the request of the British government, Canada had agreed to close the 26 RAF schools first, and this began on 14 January 1944, when No. 33 [RAF] Elementary Flying Training School at Caron, Saskatchewan was closed. No. 41 [RAF] Service Flying Training School, Weyburn, Sask., was closed on 22 January 44, followed by No. 35 [RAF] S.F.T.S. North Battleford, Sask., on 25 February 1944, then No. 37 S.F.T.S. [RAF H.Q.] at Calgary, Alberta, 10 March 1944, and so on.
By the end of November 1944, all but two British RAF Schools in Canada had closed, including 13 schools located in No. 4 and No. 2 Air Training Commands in Western Canada. With the closing of these BCATP airfields, the Canadian Government began to plan for the end of hostilities and the future plans for these abandoned military airfields.

The first priority became the huge storage of surplus military equipment, including thousands of unwanted vehicles, supplies, and ex-wartime aircraft. To move this vast amount of military aircraft to the new storage holding units a new ferry squadron of RCAF pilots was required. On 1 March 1944, No. 170 [Ferry] Squadron was formed at Winnipeg, Manitoba, using RCAF personnel from the Western Detachment of No. 124 [Ferry] Squadron. This new squadron was assigned the task of ferrying over 5,000 training and operational aircraft in Western Canada, including the old Hurricane fighters used by No. 163, No. 135, and No. 133 Squadrons in the air defense of the West Coast.

On 26 May 1944, No. 170 [Ferry] Squadron pilots arrived at No. 135 [Bulldog] Squadron Patricia Bay, and ferry out the first two Hurricane aircraft, 5379 and 5425. Hurricane 5379 was an original No. 133 Squadron Hurricane fighter [16 June 1942] and 5425 was an original No. 135 Squadron fighter [18 June 1942]. Hurricane 5425 was ferried from Terrace, B. C. to Patricia Bay, B. C. on 3 October 1944.

On 27 May 44, No. 170 ferry pilots arrive at No. 135 Squadron and ferry out 5394 and 5413. Again, Hurricane 5394 is an original No. 133 Sqn. fighter [30 June 1942] and 5413 is an original No. 135 Sqn. fighter [23 July 1942]. Hurricane 5413 was ferried from Terrace, B. C. to Patricia Bay, on 31 March 1944.

On 1 June 1944, No. 135 [Bulldog] Squadron have 13 Hurricane fighters on strength but not in use. These 13 fighters are all ex-No. 133 Squadron aircraft which now includes [Calgary] Hurricane 5389. On 21 June 44, No. 170 [Ferry] squadron pilots begin the movement of Hurricanes from Patricia Bay, B. C. to Yakima and Spokane, Washington, USA, to Lethbridge detachment in southern Alberta. The last flight of a Hurricane by No. 135 Squadron took place at Patricia Bay on 25 June 1944, W02 Connor J. W. flew Hurricane 5377 from 16:30 to 17:00 hrs on engine test. This became the last Hurricane to leave No. 135 Squadron for Lethbridge that same date. The exact date that Hurricane 5389 was ferried to Lethbridge, Alberta, was never recorded in the Daily Diary of No. 135 Squadron or by No. 170 [Ferry] squadron, who only recorded the number of aircraft ferried on each date. On 24 June 44, No. 170 Sqn. ferried six Hurricanes from Patricia Bay, B. C. to Lethbridge Detachment, Alberta, and I believe that was the date Hurricane 5389 arrived at Lethbridge, Alberta. It appears the Hurricane fighters remained at Lethbridge for at least five months. No. 32 SFTS [RAF] Moose Jaw, Sask., closed on 17 October 1944, and No. 4 Training Command ceased to exist on 1 December 1944, replaced by No. 2 Air Command.

On 2 December 1944, the old RAF base became No. 2 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit, RCAF, Moose Jaw, Sask. The first “Forty-Two” storage aircraft arrived on 5 December 1944, and were placed into hangars. The very last RAF personnel are repatriated back to the United Kingdom on 2 January 1945. In the next few weeks No. 170 [Ferry] Squadron pilots will fly eleven Hurricane fighters for “Reserve Storage” at Moose Jaw, Sask.

One of them is 5389, today Calgary Flight Hangar Museum.

On 1 July 1944, the Canadian Government began to plan and create Surplus Equipment Holding Units at the abandoned WWII British Commonwealth Air Training Plan bases across Canada. No. 170 [Ferry] squadron which had been formed on 1 March 1944, were now responsible for the ferrying of all surplus RCAF aircraft to these vacant training bases. The RCAF had on strength 12,000 surplus aircraft, and many, like the Avro Ansons, were just set on fire and destroyed. Others, including the Hurricanes Mk. XIIs, were flown to an “Aircraft Holding Unit” where they were stored and maintained in flying condition, and could be flown out on short notice.
On 1 December 1944, a total reorganization and re-naming of the storage units took place. The name was changed to “RESERVE EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE UNITS” with a Headquarters and reserve satellite units located in the old training bases. On this date No. 4 and No. 2 [WWII] Training Commands ceased to exist and were replaced by No. 2 Air Command. On record cards, it appears that aircraft were moved, however only the Air Force Command names were changed.

No. 1 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit was established at Lethbridge, Alberta, on 15 December 1944, ex-No. 8 Bombing and Gunnery School. Under its command were three Satellite Units, No. 101 at Macleod, Alberta, No. 102 at Pearce, Alberta, and No. 103 at Vulcan, Alberta.

No. 2 Reserve E. M. U. was located at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, on 2 December 1944, [Ex-RAF 32 SFTS] and under it were formed four Reserve Equipment Maintenance Satellite Units. No. 201 at Dafoe, Sask., No. 202 at Mossbank, Sask., No. 203 at Caron, Sask., No. 204 at Assiniboia, Sask., and No. 205 at Davidson, Saskatchewan.

At least eleven Hurricane fighters were held in storage at units under command of No. 2 Reserved Equipment Maintenance Unit, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. Their serial numbers appear in the Daily Diary of various units, when they were flown during some special event. They were just a group of old WWII fighters, which were outdated, ready for scrapping and of no further use to the Air Force. That all changed in early November 1944, and saved them from being scrapped. The confirmed Hurricane serial numbers are – 5377, 5389 [Calgary], 5393, 5418 [Wetaskiwin], 5414, 5424 [fake serial in England], 5447, 5584 [Ottawa], and 5588. The two unidentified Hurricane fighters are possibly – 5395 and 5478.

Beginning on 3 November 1944, and continuing until late June 1945, Japan launched between 9,000 and 10,000 incendiary balloons from their home islands. This history can be found on many websites and in numerous publications, which does not need to be repeated. The first line of defence for the RCAF became the West Coast of Canada, and this involved de Havilland F.B. Mk. 26 Mosquito fighters flown by No. 133 Squadron. The RCAF Mosquito aircraft were the only West Coast fighters to attain the speed and altitude to possibly intercept the Japanese balloons, travelling at 125 m.p.h. at over 35,000 feet.

In January 1945, a ‘secret’ second line of defence was being established by the RCAF and this involved old Hurricanes based in the Prairies, to track and possibly shoot-down the Fu-go weapons. In February 1945, Air Commodore B. F. Johnson, No. 2 Air Command, [Winnipeg] ordered a number of Hawker Hurricane fighters be removed from reserve storage at [No. 2 R.E.M.U.] Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, flown to No. 8 Repair Depot, Winnipeg, and made ready for flying Fu-go [Japanese Fire-Balloon] interception duties. Historians record the number of Hurricane fighters at five, however my research indicates six or possibly seven Hurricane aircraft were involved in these patrols for balloons. The proof is there, in Ottawa, if you take time to research it, page by page.

These Hurricane fighter serial numbers first appear recorded in the Daily Diary for No. 8 Repair Depot, Winnipeg, Manitoba, dated 2 February 1945. Hurricane 5418 arrives for a new Merlin 29 engine, from No. 2 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The fighter is stored in hangar #4, awaiting a new engine and other parts. A Merlin 29-233 engine is installed, and completed on 17 February 1945, the fighter is returned to storage at No. 2 R.E.H.U, by a pilot from 170 [Ferry] Squadron.

This rare fighter survives today in the world class aviation museum at Wetaskiwin, Alberta, today run by Alberta Culture and Community Spirit Heritage, with Byron Reynolds, AME, Honorary Curator of the Aviation Program.

Movement of Airframe and Aero Engines for month of February 1944, No. 8 Repair Depot, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Hurricane 5418 is one of the first five fighters selected for duty in Saskatchewan. It is flown to No. 8 Repair Depot for minor engine repairs on 2 February 1945, and requires a new Merlin engine, which is installed by 17 February 1945. This Merlin 29 remains in the fighter today.
In 1986, I met Bryon Reynolds, at the then titled “Reynolds Museum Ltd” Wetaskiwin, Alberta. In 1998, I was invited, and gave two lectures on my subject of WWII aircraft nose art. On 27 December 2000, I received a phone call from Bryon, and he ask if I would paint the replica No. 135 “Bulldog” on the nose of Hurricane 5418. He knew my answer, but made it very clear, the nose art must be as close to the original as possible, and that including counting the aircraft rivets. Working with Byron was very professional and followed the same standard as that in the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C., USA.

This was the original pattern ‘nose art’ Bulldog approved by Bryon Reynolds. I spent six hours with Bryon and obtained as much history on Hurricane 5418 as I could. I was in for a big surprise, involving a rare part of unknown RCAF “Fu-go” nose art. This complete new history, with paintings, will appear next year [2018] on my Blog. Here is a small part of that story.

The Reynolds-Alberta Museum Hurricane 5418, ex-No. 135 [Bulldog] Squadron, was obtained by Stan Reynolds from a Saskatchewan farmer in November 1960.

Byron Reynolds – March 2001

When Hurricane 5418 arrived at No. 4 S.F.T.S. at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, on 15 June 1945, it still contained the original image of the 135 Bulldog nose art. This was over-painted and a new nose art image appeared over the section where the Bulldog had been painted. This “Beautifull Balloon” nose art was still on the Hurricane engine cowling when it arrived at Wetaskiwin in November 1960. Bryon Reynolds copied the image and my replica painting is being shown for the first time.

The only WWII RCAF “Fu-go” nose art in the world. [Complete history coming in 2018]

Yes, that is the correct spelling for Hurricane 5418 nose art, painted in June 1945.

On 22 February 1945, Hurricane 5588 arrives at No. 8 Repair Depot for modification. This is completed on 9 April, and No. 170 [Ferry] squadron fly 5588 to No. 23 E.F.T.S. at Yorkton, Saskatchewan. The Daily Diary records one Hurricane taken on charge, no pilot name, no report of balloon sightings, and no scramble of the fighter. It appears there was total censorship by the C.O. at Yorkton, Sask.

On 12 March 1945, Hurricane, 5377, 5584, [Ottawa] and 5389 [Calgary] are flown in by No. 170 [Ferry] Sqdn. pilots for modification. When these three aircraft were placed into “Reserve Storage” [No. 2 R.E.M.U.] Moose Jaw, Sask., the radio, all armour plating, and the twelve .303 Cal. Browning machine guns were removed. The modification at Winnipeg involved replacing the radio and one .303 machine gun, for shooting at the Japanese balloons. Hurricane 5389, [Calgary] is completed on 14 March 1945, and flown to No. 23 EFTS at Yorkton, Saskatchewan, joining Hurricane 5588.

On 17 March 1945, Hurricane 5393 arrives for modification [below] and leaves the same date, flown by 170 [Ferry] Squadron to No. 4 SFTS at Saskatoon, Sask.

Hurricane 5393 completes patrols with no balloon sightings, or records appearing, until 8 June 1945, at 21:55 hrs.

Hurricane 5584 arrives at Winnipeg on 12 March 1945, and departs (No. 170 [Ferry] Sqn.) 19 March 1945, for No. 32 SFTS at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. [seen with records of Hurricane 5393, 17 March 1945] Hurricane 5377, which arrived with 5584 [Ottawa] and 5389 [Calgary] was never modified or assigned to any RCAF Station. It was prepared for being inhibited, 30 May 1945, and returned to No 3 S.E.H.U at Swift Current, Sask.

5377 remained at Swift Current, Sask., where it was sold on 13 July 1946.

Hurricane 5418 arrived at No. 8 Repair Depot on 7 May 1945, for modification of radio and machine gun.

Hurricane 5418, was taken on charge at No. 4 S.F.T.S at Saskatoon, Sask. 15 June 1945 and joins 5393 in patrols. Its first action is recorded on 21 June 1945, over Climax, Sask.

Thanks to these No. 8 Repair Depot records and base RCAF Daily Diary reports, the number and location of the RCAF Hurricane “Fu-go” fighters can be confirmed. There were five original Hurricanes, which No. 2 Air Command stationed at Saskatoon, [two] Yorkton, [two] and Moose Jaw, [one] Saskatchewan, beginning on 14 March 1945 and then removed, one by one, ending on 12 July 1945.

The Government assigned the Canadian Army as the chief agency to find, and most of all transport bomb disposal experts to the crash site. This same operation is going on today, as these 1944-1945 fire balloon bombs are still being discovered, the latest at Lumby, B.C., in October 2014.

The five RCAF Hurricane fighters were given the task of shooting down the balloons, then the RCAF would transport Army experts to the site, and last, the recovered material was flown by RCAF transport to Ottawa. The Canadian Government feared the balloons were transporting biological weapons of war, and total censorship was applied. This lack of records and no newspaper reporting has affected the true research and history to present day. The use of old RCAF Daily Diary for the period has released many hidden facts.

The peak Japanese balloon-launching months were February, March, and April 1945. Only four RCAF Hurricane fighters were on patrol during these three months. #5389 on 14 March 1945, #5393 on 17 March 1945, #5584 on 19 March 1945, and #5588 on 10 April 1945. Hurricane 5418 arrived on 15 June, near the end of the patrol period. A sixth [and last] Hurricane #5447, arrived at Yorkton, Sask., on 6 June 1945, but never taken on strength, [two Hurricanes appear in Daily Diary for end of June, 5588-5389] after twenty days, 5447 was flown to No. 3 S.E.H.U. at Swift Current, Saskatchewan, 26-27 June, and inhibited by 1 October 1945. Hurricane 5447, never appears in the Daily Diary and only two Hurricanes are ever shown taken on strength at Yorkton, Sask., for the month of June 1945. I believe 5447 was assigned to Moose Jaw, then during delivery the patrols were cancelled, and 5447 ended up at Yorkton, for twenty days and one photo was taken. [Photo on Vintage Wings site]

Hurricane 5447 was being ferried by P/O Ramsay of No. 124 [Ferry] Squadron, Rockcliffe, Ontario, on 4 September 1942. It had a category “A” crash one-half mile north-west of Porquis Junction, Ontario. It was salvaged and transported back to Fort William for a completed rebuild. Taken on strength RCAF No. 1 Training Command, it served with Home War Establishment at Nova Scotia from 2 October 1942 to 5 July 1943. It was sent to No. 3 Training Command for repairs and placed into storage 29 November 1944. On 4 June 1945, it was taken out of storage and flown to No. 2 Air Command at Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

There are no records of modification for Hurricane 5447 at No. 8 Repair Depot, Winnipeg, and it appears no machine gun was ever installed. No. 8 R.D. had a fleet of mobile panel trucks with mechanics who drove to RCAF Stations for minor aircraft repairs. On 24 June 1945, Winnipeg, No. 8 R.D. mobile party [five workers] did a special inspection [M.5] on Hurricane 5389 and 5447 at No. 23 E.F.T.S., Yorkton, Sask. This proves the Hurricane was at the station, but never shows up in any other records. I believe this was to prepare the two fighters for storage [inhibited], and they were next flown to No. 3 Surplus Equipment Holding Unit at Swift Current, Saskatchewan, between 12 and 18 July. No. 5447 was recorded ready for disposal on 12 July 1945, inhibited in October, with 312:40 hrs airframe flying time. Sold on 28 August 1946.

On 28 August 1946, #5447 was sold to a Regina farmer and years later re-sold to Harry Whereatt of Assiniboia, Sask. in 1988. The aircraft came with nose art name “Star Dust” and large yellow 71 painted on the original engine cowling. It was slowly being restored to flying condition by Harry until he became ill [stroke] and sold it to Vintage Wings of Canada, 23 August 2006. It is still under restoration at V.W. in Ottawa, and will appear as the famous fighter of Calgary’s Willie McKnight. Vintage Wings have many highly qualified research experts, and I’m sure the full history of #5447 will appear on their website. I am interested to see if my amateur research is at all close.

Swift Current, Saskatchewan

No. 39 Service Flying Training School. Swift Current, Saskatchewan, was a British R.A.F. school, one of 26 that operated in Canada during WWII. The last class of trainees, Course #63, began on 29 November 1943 and 55 graduated on 24 March 1944. That is the same date the British school was disbanded. On 1 April 44, a new school re-opened by the RCAF as No. 402 Aircraft Holding Unit. It was unique in RCAF history, as it was never fully established when it was disbanded at 23:59 hrs, 21 May 1944. It had a staff of six officers, 51 airmen and 42 civilians, plus temporary personnel of 103. It was formed to store and maintain RCAF surplus aircraft in flying condition, then the RCAF senior command began to restructure aircraft holding units, and it became RCAF Station, Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

On 1 May 1945, RCAF Swift Current re-opened as No. 3 Surplus Equipment Holding Unit, Swift Current. By the end of the month they had 432 aircraft in storage, including two Hurricane Mk. XII fighters. The Daily Diary for May 1945, contains only one Hurricane serial number, #5414 which had been on a Victory Loan Drive from 11 April 1945. This is an ex-135 [Bulldog] fighter which records her tire being repaired on 4 August 1945, at No. 3 S.E.H.U. 5414 was inhibited in October 1945, and sold on 20 August 1946.

From early June to 18 July 1945, eight Hurricane fighters arrive for storage and the following day [19] one more Hurricane arrives. That brings the total to 11 Hurricanes on strength. This is recorded in the Daily Diary for 31 July 1945, and they also have 205 Avro Anson trainers in storage. A good number of these will be set on fire and destroyed.

Five of these Hurricane Mk. XII fighters were ex- “Fu-go” Japanese Balloon fighters, which were taken on charge at Yorkton, Moose Jaw, and Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The following history was found in a number of RCAF Daily Diary records, giving a much clearer picture of what took place in after June 1945.
1. #5389 [ex-133 Sqn.] returned 26 June 1945, Inhibited 15 November 1945. Sold 20 August 1946.
2. #5393 [ex-133 Sqn.] returned 18 July 1945. Sold 20 August 1946.
3. #5418 [ex-135 Sqn.] returned 18 July 1945, flown to Air show at Winnipeg, 4 August, and returned 22 August 1945. Inhibited in October 1945. Sold 20 August 1946.
4. #5447 (No. 170 [Ferry] Sqn.) arrived 26-27 June 1945. Inhibited in October. Sold 28 August 1946.
5. #5584 [ex-163- 135] [at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, in Ottawa, today] arrived 22 August 1945, picked up by F/O Saidler, 13 June 1946, flew in Winnipeg airshow 12-13th July and then Edmonton 26 July 46. F/L Anderson was the Edmonton pilot, then the Hurricane had engine problems and could not fly. 28 July 1946, flown to Winnipeg. Never sold, saved for display and today in Ottawa, still owned by Canadian Government. Flown only 196:55 hrs.

6. #5588 [ex-163 Sqn.] arrived early June 1945. Picked up by F/O Dibnah R.H. at Swift Current, on 13 June 1946, and flown in Airshow at Winnipeg, by F/O Saidler D. 12-13 July 46. Flown in Edmonton Airshow by F/L Anderson on 26 July 65. Suffered a flat tire at Suffield, Alberta, 28 July 46. Inhibited at unknown location, and not sold until 22 October 1953.

The mystery Hurricane #5424. [Possibly flew in Manitoba]

This Hurricane 5424, was an original No. 135 [Bulldog] Squadron fighter which was stored at No. 18 Staging Unit, Terrace, B.C. on 12 March 1944. The ferrying of 15 Bulldog stored Hurricanes from Terrace to Patricia Bay, B.C. began on 31 March 44, when No. 170 [Ferry] squadron pilots departed with #5413 and #5414. They completed a second record flight for the RCAF, when they returned using the little known “Internal British Columbia Staging Route” with airfields at RCAF Vanderhoof, RCAF Quesnel, RCAF Williams Lake and the most important RCAF Dog Creek.

When No. 135 Squadron flew to join the Americans in their Alaskan Command [RCAF “Y” Wing, Annette, Alaska] on 16 August 1943, they were the first RCAF squadron to fly this interior route, which was still under construction. Now they became the first to return to Patricia Bay, using the same interior route. On 7 September 1944, Lodestar 555 delivered six 170 ferry pilots to Terrace, B.C. at 15:30 hrs. They were assigned Hurricane #5407, #5411, #5418, #5421, #5424 [above] and #5589, departing Terrace, B.C. at 18:00 hrs. The remote RCAF Station Dog Creek had just been installed with night time landing lights, due to the fact it was a most important 24-hour fueling point. [In 1944-1945, this RCAF Station saved the lives of many Canadian and American fuel-starved aircraft] Today it is gone from sight and totally forgotten. Just before midnight, 7 Sept. 1944, the six Hurricane aircraft arrived for fuel, and became the first night-time landing and take-off at RCAF Station Dog Creek. Hurricane 5424 was now flown to Patricia Bay, and next ferried back to Lethbridge, Alberta, by No. 170 Squadron, possibly in November 1944. Possibly placed into storage at No. 2 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit, Moose Jaw, Sask., on 5 December 1945. Forty-two aircraft arrived on that date. I cannot find any serial record in any RCAF unit Daily Diary.

No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School at MacDonald, Manitoba, did not close until 17 February 1945. On 13 September 1944, they had on charge two Hawker Hurricane fighters and received three more on that date, total now five. No serial numbers are listed.

On the 19 September 1945, Hurricane 5424 arrives at No. 8 Repair Depot, Winnipeg, for minor repairs. It is next flown to No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School, Macdonald, Manitoba, for storage.

Eight months later, spring of 1946, Hurricane #5424 is found in storage at No. 3 S.E.H.U. at Swift Current, Saskatchewan, where it is sold on 15 August 1946. It was later obtained by Lynn Garrison and moved to Calgary, along with Hurricane 5389. 5424 is leased, without any approval by owner Lynn Garrison, to a man in Saskatchewan, where it is secretly sold to a millionaire in U.K. It arrives in England, then it is reported ‘stolen’ to Calgary Police, and nothing can be done. It sits for five years in U.K. with no serial number, then it is registered with a false number. It is sold, and then appears with a new serial number, again false, and now the owners are attempting to flog it to anyone with over two million bucks to thrown away on a false fighter, with a false history. A pure crime of Canadian and British greed, caused by money, which can only be solved by more money. Buy it, return it to Canada, and paint it correctly as 5424.

Hurricane 5424 is the ninth confirmed WWII Canadian Mk. XII Hurricane, out of a total of eleven, which were in storage at No. 3 S.E.H.U. at Swift Current, Saskatchewan, June 1945 to July-August 1946. For many years, it has been rumored this Hurricane flew patrols against the Japanese Fu-go Balloons, however this history is still a mystery. Rivers, Manitoba, had one Spitfire and one Mosquito for tracking balloons drifting that far East.

Thanks to the Japanese Fu-go Balloons, the five [original] Hurricanes assigned to shoot them down, remained protected and stored in Western Canada. That protected them from being scrapped, and three [5389, 5418 and 5447] were purchased by Saskatchewan farmers, preserving our RCAF past, and now they are found in Calgary, Wetaskiwin, and [Vintage Wings of Canada] Ottawa.

The fourth Hurricane 5584 can be found in the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, sitting beside our Lancaster Mk. X which has been painted incorrectly for the past fifty years.

Collection Pierre Lagacé 2015

Collection Pierre Lagacé 2015

Collection Pierre Lagacé 2015

Collection Pierre Lagacé 2015

Such a beautiful Canadian built Mk. XII Hurricane fighter, with almost no historical information. It flew with No. 163 Squadron, and was placed into “Reserve Storage” a number of times, available for disposal 12 July 1945. On 18 April 1946, retained by RCAF for purpose of display. To the average visitor of “our” Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, this is not a very important or interesting WWII fighter aircraft. But wait, it is most important, provided it receives the correct historical information, and they remove the British spinner from the nose.

The Ottawa Hurricane [today] is displayed with a “Canadian” manufactured spinner, which the average person has no idea about. So, visitors just think it is “British”, and that’s the point I am attempting to make.

Here is a photo which shows a first Canadian spinner, appearing in No. 133 Squadron at Tofino, B.C., March 1944.

Collection Gordon Hill

Only a few Hurricanes received this spinner, as the aircraft was obsolete by 1944, and being replaced by the Kittyhawks. The photo was taken at Tofino, B.C. before the move to Sea Island, Vancouver, on 10 March 1944. This was Hurricane #5377 [“S”] of S/L W.C. Connell, the C.O., and possibly the only one to received this Canadian spinner.

No. 163 [Army Co-operation] Squadron was formed at Sea Island, [Vancouver] B.C. on 1 March 1943. They flew obsolete Bristol Bolingbroke Mk. IV aircraft on West Coast photographic assignments, and the North American Harvard Mk. II, in close support of Army troops in ground training exercises at Camp Wainwright, Alberta. In late June 1943, the squadron was converted to fly the Hurricane Mk. XII fighter and the first two arrived on 5 July 1943. Hurricane #5584 was not only the first to arrive, it became the very first to fly on 11 July 1943, F/L Wilson. 5584 will complete 22 patrols from Sea Island, until end of July 1943, and continue patrols until 13 November 1943.

No. 163 is re-designated a Fighter Squadron on 14 October 1943, and ordered to re-equip with the modern Curtiss Kittyhawk aircraft on 28 November 1943. The last flight of 5584 is on 13 November 1943, F/Sgt. Senecal. By 19 November, the complete squadron has converted to Kittyhawk fighters. Hurricane 5584, 5586 and 5590 are now flown from Sea Island to No. 133 Squadron at Tofino, B.C., on 4 December 1943, and placed into Command Reserve. The squadron is over-strength with fighters and they remain in reserve, never flown, until 4 August 1944. Hurricane 5584 is now returned to No. 2 Training Command, Winnipeg, Manitoba, and placed into storage at an “Aircraft Holding Unit” possibly No. 401 at Swift Current, Sask.

On 1 December 1944, No. 2 Training Command becomes No. 2 Air Command, and 5584 remains in storage. In early March 1945, #5584, #5377, and 5389, are removed from storage and flown to No. 8 Repair Depot, Winnipeg, Manitoba, arriving 12 March 1945. Modification with radio and one 303 Browning machine gun is completed on Hurricane 5584 and 5389, 19 March 1945. They are now flown by No. 170 [Ferry] Squadron pilots to assigned Japanese Fu-go patrol units, and 5389 is assigned Yorkton, Saskatchewan.

On 15 March 1945, F/O W.A. Doyle, #J22160 arrives from Winnipeg, assigned No. 2 R.E.M.U. at Moose Jaw, Sask., a new Hurricane “Fu-go” fighter pilot. Hurricane 5584 arrives on 20 March 1945, and is flown to Rivers, Manitoba, by pilot Doyle on 29 March, [reason unknown] returning to Moose Jaw on 2 April 1945. RCAF Station Rivers Manitoba, had on strength one Spitfire and one Mosquito for tracking Japanese Balloons, and 5584 was possibly involved in training with these fighters.

Hurricane 5584 is air tested on 27 May by pilot Doyle. No Balloons sighted.

Hurricane 5584 is scrambled at 16:00 hrs as a “Crabapple” is sighted 5 miles south of climax, Saskatchewan. This is the first use of the RCAF code word for Japanese Balloons, “CRABAPPLE.”

On 22 August 1945, F/O Hanneson G. J47498 returns Hurricane 5584 to No. 3 S.E.H.U., RCAF, Swift Current, Sask. The fighter is inhibited in November and remains in hangar storage until June 1946.

On 8 December 1945, the RCAF form No. 2 Air Command [H.Q. “K” Composite Flight] at Winnipeg, Manitoba. Assigned aircraft are used for communication, target towing, practice flying, including Canadian “Airshow” flying. On 13 June 1946, F/L Dibnah R.H. and F/O Saidler D. arrive at No. 3 S.E.H.U. Swift Current where they pick up Hurricane 5588 and 5584, flying both back to Winnipeg. On 12-13 July, the two Hurricanes appear in a Winnipeg airshow. On 29 July, both 5588 and 5584 are test flown and head off for an airshow in Edmonton, Alberta. The airshow is held on 26 July 1946, and during an engine run-up, pilot F/O Saidler encounters problems and cannot take part in the airshow. Hurricane 5584 is returned to No 8 Repair Depot on 28 July 1946, for repairs and placed into stored reserve in Manitoba.

In 1960, the new National Aeronautical Museum in Ottawa begins looking for RCAF aircraft to preserve. Hurricane 5584 is discovered in Mountain View, Ontario, where it will soon be scrapped. It is saved and flown to RCAF Uplands, Ottawa, in August 1962, and repainted for public display. This is the most original preserved Canadian built Hurricane Mk. XII in the world, and has always remained property of the taxpayer [Government] of Canada. On 6 February 1964, it went on public display, where it remains today, wearing a British nose spinner.

Today, the Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, have on display an original “Crabapple” Japanese Fu-go bottom [bomb-sand bag] section, without Balloon. Now, if they [Ottawa] could just get this WWII rare artifact together with the Canadian built Hurricane Mk. XII that hunted “Crabapples”, Wow!

Left is part of a “crabapple” recovered at Provost, Alberta, 7 February 1945, and [right] the one recovered at Minton, Saskatchewan, 12 January 1945, and now in the Canadian War Museum Ottawa.

Hurricane 5584 is powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin engine. Most visitors to the museum take for granted, it was the best engine, and it was British made. Not true, it was the best, but produced in the United States of America!

In 1939, the Canadian Government was in such a rush to support Britain, it signed a contract to produce training aircraft, and in their eagerness forgot about fighter aircraft and protection of Canada. On 9 March 1941, the Canadian Chief of the Air Staff submitted a proposal for the increased of Hurricane fighters for the Defence of Canada, in the Home War Establishment. Canada had no aero-engine industry and they suddenly realized, the American and British produced all front-line combat aircraft engines, and the real shocker was they also controlled the allocation of engines needed for the airframes built in Canada. In brief, there were chronic shortages of aircraft, aero-engines, and spare parts for the war in Europe 1940-41. Up until 7 December 1941, the British and Americans together opposed the allocation of any Canadian built fighters, with American engines, for the protection of Canada. The events in Washington, D.C., after the attack on Pearl Harbor, changed both the British and American thinking, as fighters were now needed for the protected of the West Coast of both Canada and United States.

In September 1940, the American Packard Motor Company, Detroit, Michigan, signed a multi-million-dollar contract to build the British Rolls-Royce Merlin engine for both the American and British Governments. The first American Packard original Merlin 28 was built with the designation V-1650-1 and shown to the American public on 2 August 1941. Canadian Car and Foundry Co. Ltd. also signed a contract with the British Ministry of Aircraft Production for the manufacture of Canadian Hawker Hurricanes for the R.A.F. The first Canadian built Hurricane began flying trials in January 1940, and were delivered to England in the following month. All this history can be found on many websites.

By October 1941, the Packard-built Merlin engines were in full production at Detroit, [Many on the production line were young American ladies] and the second production engine became the Merlin 29. These new engines were shipped from Detroit, to the Can. Car and Foundry plant at Fort William, Ontario, [Now-Thunder Bay] and installed in the Hurricane Mk. XII fighters. The Merlin 29 was a 1,300 h.p. engine manufactured with splined airscrew shaft, fitted with an American built Nash-Kelvinator Hamilton Standard propeller. This American propeller could not accommodate the British made Hurricane spinners, and thus ‘our’ fighters gained a special “Canadian” built-in trademark. They flew without any spinners.

Pilot F/O Gordon Hill began his Hurricane training at No. 1 Operational Training Unit, Bagotville, Quebec, Course #8, on 30 January 1943. His course was delayed by a two-day snow fall, which can be seen in this image, taken around 3 February 1943. This is what Hurricane “Y” looked like, and how Hurricane 5584 should be displayed in Ottawa. England is full of ‘their’ Hurricane fighters, with British spinners. 5584 is the best original Canadian built Hurricane fighter, but to many, a spinner confuses it with a British production aircraft. The original “Crabapple” Hurricane Mk. XII, 5418, in Reynolds Alberta Museum, is displayed correctly, with an American Packard-Rolls-Royce engine displayed beside it.

Canadian Army reports dated 28 March 1945, claim a Japanese Balloon was intercepted and shot down at Strathmore, Alberta. No verified records can be found in any RCAF unit of Station Daily Diary. Two Mitchell B-25 bombers were stationed at Suffield, Alberta, again no record can be found. Tight press censorship was applied to all newspapers, but at times the government allowed some “fake” news to leak out. On 28 May 1945, a Japanese Balloon landed intact at High River, Alberta, just south of Calgary. A reporter for the Calgary Albertan [Calgary Sun today] obtained these photos, but he could not publish until 23 June 1945, and only without revealing location, date, or time.

Fu-Go Balloons in Canada

Released in Japan, during normal winter wind conditions, the Japanese Fire Balloons took approximately 70 hours to reach the west coast of Canada. As would be expected, most balloons with positive identification landed in British Columbia, with 39 found, the last in October 2014. Once they crossed the Rocky Mountains, Alberta discovered 17, then 9 in Saskatchewan, and 5 in Manitoba. It is estimated that 1,000 balloons reached North America and combined, Canadian and American authorities only found, [or reported] 285. That means around 600 are still out there someplace.

This is a list of the positive known balloons [or parts] that were found in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba, from 1 January 1945 to 15 June 45. March was clearly the month most balloons appeared over the Prairies, and when four Hurricane fighter were flying patrols.
1 January 1945 Stony Rapids, Sask.
12 January 1945 Minton, Sask.
7 February 1945 Provost, Alberta.
9 February 1945 Moose Jaw, Sask.
22 February 1945 Manyberries [Lethbridge] Alberta.
22 February 1945 Porcupine Plains, Sask.
10 March 1945 Nelson House, Manitoba.
11 March 1945 Edson, Alberta.
12 March 1945 Oxford House, Manitoba.
13 March 1945 Baril Lake, Alberta.
14 March 1945 Hay Lake, Alberta.
19 March 1945 Marie Lake, Manitoba.
20 March 1945 Fort Chipewyn, Alberta.
20 March 1945 William Lake, Manitoba.
20 March 1945 Olds, Alberta.
20 March 1945 Wimborne, Alberta.
21 March 1945 Delburne, Alberta.
21 March 1945 Camsell Portage, Sask.
23 March 1945 Athabasca, Alberta.
23 March 1945 Delburne, Alberta.
24 March 1945 Medicine Hat, Alberta.
28 March 1945 Strathmore, Alberta.
29 March 1945 Medicine Hat, Alberta.
30 March 1945 Consul, Sask.
30 March 1945 Waterton Lake, Manitoba.
31 March 1945 Ituna, Sask.
1 April 1945 Yorkton, Sask.
5 May 1945 Stettler, Alberta.
15 May 1945 Kelvington, Sask.
23 May 1945 Milo, Alberta.
28 May 1945 High River, Alberta. Reported in newspaper 23 June 1945.
15 June 1945 Whitecourt, Alberta.

Alberta had two aircraft stationed at RCAF Detachment, Suffield, Alberta. Very little has been recorded or researched on their operation. One B-25 Mitchell bomber KJ641, was on strength in February 1945, and reported in articles, as used to track Japanese Balloons. It appears in the Daily Dairy with a number of different pilots, conducting what they called ‘Local 104” or “Local 101” and other numbers. A Boston Bomber BE410 was also used for camera work, and that’s about all I can make out.

On 7 February 1945, a single Mosquito fighter arrived at 17:00 hrs, with a No. 170 ferry pilot and navigator. They returned to No. 1 R.E.H.U. at Lethbridge, Alberta. The Mosquito was flown by different crews and did special tests called F.E. 291 or F.E. 293, and other code numbers. The tests were conducted at 30,000 feet and recorded on film by the Boston Bomber. The Mosquito remained on strength until 4 April 1945, and then left for Regina, Sask. I believe this was all top secret, involving the Japanese Balloons, during the same time period 22 Balloons were found in the three Prairies provinces. Canadian Government officials were very concerned the balloons were being used to carry a biological war to Canada.

About the Mosquito

I have attached here the RCAF Suffield Daily Diary 7 Feb, and end of month 28 Feb. 45. I believe this RCAF Mosquito worked with the five Hurricanes in Saskatchewan, but I have no further proof.

I think releasing this information is a good time and place.

The known balloons to land in Canada up until 28 August 1945, was 88, which includes N.W.T, and Yukon. Historians report the Japanese stopped releasing balloons in early April 1945, and that is not correct. The High River balloon arrived on 28 May 45, and it was intact, after releasing incendiary bombs and anti-personnel bomb, possibly over the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. The self-destruct bomb mechanism failed to work, and the bomb came down in a farmers field, bouncing along until it hit a fence. This Japanese Fu-Go balloon was launched around 23-24 May, then 70-80 hours later was recovered and flown to Ottawa. One more balloon would be found in Alberta in June 45, and two in Yukon. In July 45, six balloons were found in B.C. and one in Yukon. In August 45, three balloons were found in B.C.

Born and raised on a farm in Southern Alberta, I fully understand the winds that seem to always blow in Alberta. That is the reason many balloons were blown north from United Sates and landed in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. Right in the middle of this was the location of RCAF Detachment, Suffield, Alberta, today a British Army [restricted] training area. The truth may never be fully released.

The last original “Crabapple” Hurricane fighter 5389

The last original “Crabapple” Hurricane fighter 5389, has been stored outside, lost, forgotten, and almost given away to another millionaire in England. This fighter is truly a survivor, in more ways than I could ever describe.

Hurricane 5389, [in Calgary today] was taken out of No. 2 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit, RCAF, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in March 1945. It was flown to No. 8 Repair Depot, at Winnipeg, Manitoba, 12 March 1945, along with #5377 and #5584. [in Ottawa today] The modification of radio and one .303 Browning machine gun was completed on 14 March, and No. 170 [Ferry] Squadron flew 5389 to No. 23 E.F.T.S. at Yorkton, Saskatchewan, where it is taken on strength, Daily Diary, [15 March 1945]. No. 23 EFTS did not close until 15 September 1945, and records of all activities appear in Daily Diary, however there is no record of Hurricane pilot, any scramble or sightings of Japanese Balloon, just one Hurricane taken on strength. A second Hurricane 5588 arrived on 10 April 1945, and again is only shown taken on charge. On 24 June 1945, a mobile repair party of five, from No. 8 Repair Depot, complete an M.5 inspection of Hurricane 5389 at Yorkton, Sask. The machine gun is removed and No. 170 [Ferry] squadron fly the fighter back to storage at No. 3 S.E.H.U. Swift Current, Sask. The Daily Diary at Swift Current record shows Hurricane 5389 is inhibited in a hangar on 15 November 1946. In the spring of 1946, the Hurricane is ready for disposal, taken off strength by RCAF and sold by War Assets Corporation on 20 August 1946. The new owner is Mr. Robert R. Hamilton, 3915 Montague St. Regina, Saskatchewan. The Hurricane is placed on a farm outside Regina and forgotten.

During his flying days with No. 403 Squadron in Calgary, Lynn Garrison befriended a young 15-year-old who wanted to be a fighter pilot, Joe E. McGoldrick. Lynn would take him to the airport and left him sit in the Mustangs and Harvard aircraft. When he was old enough, Joe joined the RCAF, but they made him a navigator, so he dropped out, as he wanted to be a pilot. He returned to Calgary and began a concerted effort to become a pilot. He obtained his licence, spent many hours as a flight instructor and was finally accepted by Pacific Western Airlines. During the early days Garrison was forming the Alberta Aviation Museum, Joe was a student pilot in training for navigator, at RCAF Station Winnipeg. On weekends Joe would drive around and locate WWII aircraft. He learned that Hurricane 5389 was for sale and Calgary mechanic Ed Fleming purchased 5389 and 5424 from the farmer owners in Regina, Saskatchewan. Later in 1962, Lynn Garrison was looking for Hurricane fighters and Ed was doing a rebuild of a WWII P-51 Mustang. Lynn Garrison traded a set of Mustang wings, one Packard Merlin 29 engine and a Mustang propeller to Ed Fleming for the two Hurricane fighters, 5424 and 5389. The two Hurricanes were transported to Calgary courtesy of Wolton Lumber Company, and placed in the Shell Oil Pipeline storage yard on Edmonton Trail, Calgary. If you are still interested, more details can be found on the website of The Calgary Mosquito Society.

On 21 December 2011, the City of Calgary awards the restoration of “Crabapple” Hurricane fighter 5389 to the Calgary Mosquito Society. The fighter is moved to Historic Aviation Services in Wetaskiwin on 27 October 2012, for restoration to taxi condition. The restoration is expected to be completed a year from now, summer 2018. Today [September 2017] only three RCAF original “Crabapple” Hurricane fighters survive, and two are back together at Wetaskiwin, Alberta.

Next Chapter – The WWII pilot who flew Hurricane 5389, 94-year-old F/O Gordon Hill, from Calgary, Alberta.

Fleet Fawn II – R.C.A.F. #264

Research by Clarence Simonsen (May 2021)

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Fleet Fawn RCAF 264

Click on the link above for the PDF.


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

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

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

Text version (with images) 

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Maclean’s Magazine – 15 May 1944

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Petty Girl Ice Capades

Reaseach by Clarence Simonsen

Petty Girl Ice Capades “unknown” model

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

The story is below in PDF form.

Text version without images

Petty Girl Ice Capades “unknown” model 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

American Artist George Petty and his French Connection

Research by Clarence Simonsen


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

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

Below is the story in PDF form you can download…

American Artist George Petty and his French Connection

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

Author’s Preface

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



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




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

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

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



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

B-24-D replica serial 41-24198.


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



B-17-F replica serial 42-29896


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



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



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




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


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

Clarence Simonsen

“Come with Me.”



American Artist George Petty and his French Connection

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


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



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


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


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

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



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



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

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



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

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


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




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

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



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





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









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

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





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



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


WWI French poster art.



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



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




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


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


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



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


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




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


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


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



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



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


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




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

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



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


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


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




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


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



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





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


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


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



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



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


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


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


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


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




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


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

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


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





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




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





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



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



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



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


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


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



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




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


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





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



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



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




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


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



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


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


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



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




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

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

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



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

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

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


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


Original November 1941                                                  June 2000 fake



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


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



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


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


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





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

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



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


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

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


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


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




Marjorie [Mugs] Jule Petty born 21 September 1919 –


February 1948 True calendar [author collection]


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

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


The Making of a WWII RCAF Fighter pilot – First Flight – July 22, 1942

Updated post 10 November 2020

This first chapter was published two years ago. Today the son of Flight Lieutenant Ken Williams contacted me. 

I believe my father flew with squadron 416 toward the end of the war.
He didn’t talk a lot about the war, but did mention his friend Larry Spur from time to time, and I see on this website that name. I am wondering if you have any information on my father F/L Ken Williams Spitfire pilot.


Ken Williams

Flight Lieutenant Ken Williams’ son spotted his father. He is seen behind the propeller.

Original post

All the information you need to know will be on these first pages.

These are taken from Gordon McKenzie Hill’s logbook carefully scanned by Clarence Simonsen.

This is the first page of the logbook. Gordon Hill is taken on strength at No. 4 EFTS Windsor Mills, Quebec.

His first flight is on July 22, 1942. Sergeant Cochand is flying Tiger Moth DH82E serial number 8929.

As always, I wonder what happened to the people whose names appear in a logbook.

What about Sergeant M. Cochand?

What about Tiger Moth 8922?

Tiger Moth #8922 was built at Downsview, Ontario in 1942. It saw service with No. 12 EFTS, Goderich, Ontario and No. 4 EFTS, Windsor Mills, Quebec until 1945, when it was sold to the Royal Canadian Air Force Association. The Tiger Moth was then stored for over 25 years. The Museum acquired the aircraft through George Neal, then a de Havilland Canada test pilot. The Tiger Moth was donated to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum by John Weir in 1973. A five year restoration program followed before the Tiger Moth returned to the skies once again.



Update – Alexander “Patrick” Beaumont Anderson, Mosquito XXX, Air Navigator/Radar Operator No. 410 [Cougar] Squadron WWII

Update with a comment I received on January 31, 2020

Lovely to see the article about my dad. He did love to tell his stories about his wartime career and his passion for the Mosquito. I am glad someone wrote it down. Just to set the record straight, he worked in Washington for the British Embassy when he was 17.. He was sitting in a baseball game when Pearl Harbour was bombed and he recalled thinking it was strange that the loudspeaker kept calling out for high ranking officers to report for duty.

Lynn Anderson


Research by Clarence Simonsen

Alexander “Patrick” Beaumont Anderson, Mosquito XXX, Air Navigator/Radar Operator No. 410 [Cougar] Squadron WWII

Patrick A. B. Anderson was born in our Canadian Capital City of Ottawa, Ontario, on 31 March 1923. His father was a wealthy prominent senior official for the Bank of Nova Scotia, Hugh B. Anderson, whose family roots formed one of the most distinguished military families in all of Canada. Patrick was named after his uncle Lt. General William Alexander Beaumont Anderson OBE, CD. His second uncle Major General Thomas Victor Anderson, DSO, CD, was Chief of Staff of the Canadian Army 1938-1940, and led Canada into war. The third uncle Colonel A. A. Anderson, DSO, was second in command of the Royal Canadian Signals Training, Kingston, Ontario, during WWII. His grandfather was Colonel W.P. Anderson who had commanded the old 43rd Army Regiment, [Ottawa] Duke of Cornwall’s Own. Educated at Lisgar Collegiate Institute, his family influence led to his first job, working for the Canadian Government in New York City, N.Y.

When Patrick arrived in New York City, late 1941, [Canada was at war], while the American people remained a determinedly isolationist nation. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Patrick witnessed how the American Governments state of war denial was crushed and almost overnight a huge propaganda effort was launched to move the public in support of WWII. This massive propaganda drive involved every branch of the American media, including the animation cartoons of Walt Disney and the music of Glenn Miller. Patrick attended one of these public events and recorded a photo of the Glenn Miller concert held in support of Americans buying War Defense Bonds. His amazing photo records the very beginning of the wartime Glenn Miller era.

Twenty year old Patrick returned to Ottawa and joined the RCAF in the spring of 1943, becoming LAC Patrick Anderson #R188871. He was selected for Air Navigator and began training at No. 1 Air Observer School, Malton, Ontario, 26 July 1943. He graduated on 10 December 1943 with an average of 72%. Next stop was overseas, No. 62 O.T.U. [Operational Training Unit] RAF Ouston, Radio Course, [used to train radar operators, which was top secret] 4 April 1944 until 9 May 1944. He then attended #46 Course at No. 54 O.T.U. Charterhall, near Greenlaw, Berwickshire, Scotland, Operational Training Unit for Mosquito Night Fighters, 27 June to 20 September 1944. No. 51 O.T.U. at RAF Cranfield, [Night-fighter training] 25 Sept. to 28 Sept. 44 and then back to No. 54 O.T.U. at Charterhall for Mosquito night fighter conversion course, 6 Oct. to 12 Oct. 1944.

On 27 October 1944, he was posted to No. 410 Cougar squadron of the RCAF at Amiens/Glisy, France, [22 September to 2 November 44.] The squadron then moved to Lille/Vendeville, France, 3 November 1944 to 6 January 1945, where he began flying night operations.

On 1 August 1944, No. 410 Cougar Sqn. began to fly the new Mosquito [night-fighter] Mk. XXX aircraft, which had a very distinctive up-turned plywood nose. The Mosquito XXX was equipped with the most modern [secret] American built AI [Airborne Interception] radar system. The complete nose of the Mosquito had to be rebuilt to allow the new parabolic rotating radar, power unit and cable to fit. It soon became a Canadian night killing machine, feared by the Germans.

Pat Anderson first flew as navigator and radar operator with pilot F/L James Watt Fullerton J18771, in Mosquito Mk. XXX, serial MM744. This night-fighter carried door art of the “Pugnacious Pup” first appeared in an issue of December 1944 Saturday Evening Post.

The Mosquito Mk. XXX up-turned radar nose

C.A. Simonsen creation donated to Richard de Boer [President] of the Calgary Mosquito Society in 2010, to help raise funds for saving the Calgary Mosquito. Painted on Original WWII Avro Anson wood from Nanton Museum restoration.

F/L Jim Fullerton and his Mosquito Mk. XXX door art. Pat Anderson collection

F/L Jim Fullerton Mosquito door art was painted by LAC Don Jarvis of Vancouver, B.C. The idea originated from the December 1944 issue of “The Saturday Evening Post”, created for the American 355th Fighter Squadron, who were flying from Rosieres-en-Haye, France in December 1944. The insignia was used during WWII and never approved. [Unofficial]

The official 355th F. Sqn. insignia was not approved until 25 June 1957.

The Pat Anderson photo album also records the pilot he flew most operations with, F/L Stan King from Markdale, Ontario.

F/L Stan King and ground crew at Glisy, France, 1945 Mosquito Mk. XXX code “W”. Pat stated this was normally flown by F/L Bob Bayliss. The impressive Black Cougar Mosquito door art was painted by Don Jarvis from Vancouver.

The RCAF Black Cougar Mosquito ‘door art’ idea came from another Saturday Evening Post magazine ad for an American Army tank destroyer unit.

Pat also flew with Stan King in Mosquito Mk. XXX, serial NT275, with door art from a Canadian car tire ad, named “The Lil Bear Behind.”

Pat Anderson photo

F/L Stan King and the port side nose art name “LiL Bear Behind” on Mosquito XXX, code RA-K, serial NT275. [Pat Anderson]

The collection of Pat also contained a most detailed complete history [104 pages] of wartime No. 410 squadron with drawings, possibly done by Don Jarvis squadron artist. When Pat arrived with Cougar squadron [28 October 1944] the top scoring Mosquito-Night-Fighter team consisted of an American pilot and his Canadian navigator, Pilot [left] F/L C.E. Edinger J10272, DFC, and his navigator F/O C.L. Vaesson, DFC.

The team of F/L Edinger and F/O Vaessen flew most of the squadron Mosquito Mk. XXX, aircraft [serial MM456, MM743, MM760, MV527, and MM744] and many of these combat reports are also in the Anderson collection. Beginning 1 August 1944, the Mosquito XXX, was flown by the Cougars on 1,181 sorties, 29 enemy aircraft were shot out of the night sky and 6 were downed by American pilot Edinger and his radar navigator. On 16/17 September they flew Mosquito Mk. XXX, serial MM743, the sister to MM774 which contained the door art of the American “Bulldog’ from Saturday Evening Post magazine. On this night they claimed one unidentified German aircraft destroyed, without a shot being fired. Just the fear of the new RCAF Mosquito XXX night-fighter caused the German night-fighter pilot to lose control and crash into the sea. This is the original combat report from Pat Anderson collection, one of six.

This came from the Anderson collection and Pat stated LAC Don Jarvis was the squadron mural and nose art artist. Don Jarvis was born in Vancouver, B.C. in 1923, and during his teenage years studied drawing and became an aspiring cartoon artist. He joined the RCAF, [1942?] and this issue of RCAF Wings Abroad shows he did a number of Air Force wall mural paintings during WWII. In the postwar years he returned to Vancouver and enrolled in the Vancouver School of Art and Design, graduating in 1948. His WWII art is probably lost and forgotten, however thanks to Pat Anderson three of his nose art images survive. I believe he drew the art work in the 1945 soft-cover No. 410 Cougar History book, and possibly even typed the complete history. He died in Sechelt, British Columbia in 2001.

Possibly the work of Don Jarvis – 1945?

This is why the Aero Space Museum of Calgary Mosquito was so important to Pat Anderson. Thirty-nine members of No. 410 [Cougar] Squadron were killed flying in the Mosquito during WWII.


After WWII, Pat Anderson graduated from Queens University with a degree in chemical engineering, and for the next twenty-three years worked for Shell Canada. A second career began in Winnipeg, as a representative for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Pat and wife Elizabeth retired in 1994 and settled in their new home at Valley Ridge Hts., Calgary, Alberta. Pat became a member of the Calgary Aero Space Museum and that is where I met him, which later led to six visits to his home for RCAF research. Pat was a soft spoken man, who liked to discuss his WWII days and processed a very strong opinion, which included strong feelings on the attempted [under-the-table] sale of the Calgary Mosquito to a millionaire in England. Patrick was very proud of his most distinguished Canadian military family background, and it upset him to accept the unbelievable fact that two senior postwar Air Force officers, who had worn the same uniform he did, master-minded the plan to get rid of the Calgary Mosquito. That upset him until the day he died, and if possible you would totally avoid these two ex-Air Force officers names.

As a veteran Mosquito crew member, he attended the meetings where shameful Calgary politicians, pilots, including these same two ex-Air Force officers, attempted to defend their unspeakable actions. Pat joined the fight, [and that’s what it was] becoming an active member the Calgary Mosquito Society, formed by Richard de Boer and did everything he could to save this vintage Mosquito aircraft, the likes of which he flew in during WWII. Pat passed away on 25 March 2013, and ask that donations be made in his memory to the Calgary Mosquito Society. A true RCAF veteran to the very end.

As I turned pages in his photo album [2009], another surprise group of photos jumped out of this book.

Who is this pilot standing with James Cagney? Pat replied – “Oh, that’s my deceased brother P/O Thomas Anderson, he was an instructor at RCAF Uplands and became the pilot double for Cagney in the filming of “Captains of the Clouds.” “James Cagney was in fact afraid to fly.”

Brother Thomas C. Anderson was also educated at Lisgar Collegiate Institute in Downtown Ottawa. He was on staff on the Bank of Nova Scotia in East Ottawa when Canada entered WWII. He joined the RCAF in 1940, and graduated from course #18 at Dunnville, Ontario, [No. 6 Service Flying Training School] on 21 March 1941, Sgt/Pilot Anderson was next posted to Trenton, Ontario. After he completed Flying Instructor School , he was promoted to Pilot/Officer #J4925 and posted to RCAF Uplands, No. 2 Service Flying Training School, near Ottawa.

This photo of P/O Thomas Anderson was taken in February 1942, in front of Harvard Mk. II, serial 2664. This aircraft was involved in a Category “C” accident on 5 May 1941, repaired, it received a new paint job and possibly appeared as the aircraft flown by Brian McLean [James Cagney].

These promo shots were possibly taken in Harvard #2664 at RCAF Uplands.

P/O Thomas C. Anderson, the man who flew for James Cagney in the film “Captains of the Clouds”, and his Harvard #2664. When I ask Patrick, if his distinguished Ottawa military family background had any connection to his brother being posted to RCAF Station Uplands and flying in the classic Warner Brothers film, he simply stated “possibly”? I’m positive Air Marshal W.A. Bishop, VC,CB,DSO,MC, DFC,ED, had connections with the Anderson family. This Harvard was placed into storage on 25 March 1943, sold by War Assets on 26 June 1947.


P/O Thomas Anderson was also a member of the RCAF baseball team that lost to the Warner Brothers team at the completion of the filming. The Ball game was played at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa.

Link to more information on RAF Chatterhall


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Sergeant John Dana DUCHAK, R176475, RCAF Artist – Update

A reader sent me this…

In Memory of John Dana Duchak

1921 – 2012

ROCKLAND, MAINE – John D. Duchak, 91, died Tuesday, September 25, 2012, at Windward Gardens in Camden, Maine, following a period of declining health.
Born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, July 10, 1921, he was the son of Mike and Mary Duchak. He was educated in Regina schools and from an early age, played hockey and lacrosse.
He later attended Martin School of Art in London, England and Warrington School of Art in Manchester, England.
Throughout World War II, Mr. Duchak served overseas with the Royal Canadian Air Force as a cartoonist. He was mentioned in several dispatches and was ultimately awarded the Oak Leaf by the late King George V of England.
Returning from military duty, he appeared in several movies with Tom Tryon and Steve McQueen.
On August 17, 1947, he married Lois A. Ross in Regina, Saskatchewan.
The couple made their home in North Reading, Massachusetts where they raised their family.
Throughout his career, Mr. Duchak worked as an advertising artist with W.T. Grant & Company,
S.S. Kresge Company, and F.W. Woolworth & Company. During that same period, he served as cartoonist for the Boston Bruins Hockey team and illustrated the book “Hockey Tip-Ins”, written by longtime Bruins Captain, Ferny Flaman.
In 1990, Mr. Duchak moved with his wife to Rockland, Maine, where until last year they enjoyed their quaint harbor side cottage. Since moving to Rockland, Mr. Duchak was pleased to express his artistic gift by painting windows on Main Street, announcing the Lobster Festival, Blues Festival and Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors Show. While providing that service, he made and enjoyed many friendships with Rockland merchants and residents.
For the past year, Mr. Duchak resided at Windward Gardens in Camden.
Besides his beloved wife Lois, now of North Reading, MA, Mr. Duchak is survived by three sons, Dana C. Duchak and his companion Rochelle Pauletti of Lynnfield, MA, Kevin W. Duchak and his wife Pamela of Jupiter, FL, Brian V. Duchak and his wife Linda of North Reading, MA; two daughters, Sharon M. Duchak of Manchester, NH, Patricia L. Duchak of Glendale, AZ; six grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; as well as several nieces and nephews.
A celebration of Mr. Duchak’s life will be held at 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 3, 2012, at Burpee, Carpenter & Hutchins Funeral Home, 110 Limerock Street, Rockland, where friends are invited to visit with the Duchak family following the service, until 6:00 p.m.
Those who wish may make memorial contributions in Mr. Duchak’s memory to the Bob Gagnon Cancer Care Fund, C/O PenBay Healthcare, 22 White Street, Rockland, ME 04841.
To share a memory or story with Mr. Duchak’s family, please visit his online Book of Memories at http://www.bchfh.com

Original post

Research by Clarence Simonsen

John “Napper” Dana Duchak was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, 10 July 1921, the son of Mike and Mary Duchak. John was educated in the Regina school system and enjoyed playing hockey and lacrosse. He was a self taught artist, born with a talent to paint, draw, and cartoons became his major creative ability, which formed a secret part of his official RCAF art work overseas 1943-45.

John was first employed in Regina as a commercial artist in 1941 and early 1942. On 24 July 1942, he arrived at No. 2 Manning Depot in Brandon, Manitoba, and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, he had just turned 21 years of age. At this point, it appears fate stepped in and directed him to his love of drawing cartoons.

In early 1942, manning depots had taken over all RCAF aircrew selection programs, and it was in these large reception centres where all new RCAF recruits were funnelled and in the process changed from a civilian to an airman. Each new recruit appeared before an aircrew selection board of at least two officers, and they examined his medical reports, personal history file, and scores obtained on the Classification Test, and aptitude testing. These officers decided if the candidate had good pilot potential or if he should be assigned another aircrew category or ground trade. The candidate had no choice other than to accept the board’s decision. In January 1942, there were five manning depots in Canada, No. 1 in Toronto, Ontario, No. 2 in Brandon, Manitoba, No. 3 Edmonton, Alberta, No. 4 in Quebec, and No. 5 in Montreal, Quebec. Most of the recruits were sent to Edmonton, Brandon, and Toronto, the last of which had accommodation for five thousand men.

No. 2 RCAF Manning Depot, was formed at Brandon, Manitoba, on 29 April 1940, and the staff strength in July 1942 was 35 officers and 280 other ranks. They processed an average of 1,300 recruits per month, under Commanding Officer Wing Commander H. G. Reid. The manning depot also published a high quality monthly magazine titled “The Airman’s Post” which featured a large amount of cartoons and a sexy pin-up lady created by their artist AC2 P. Kuch.

Source Internet

Artist Kuch was being posted to No. 2 Initial Training School at Regina, Sask., and they needed a new artist for their publication.
When the selection board finished with John Duchak, he was selected for aircrew training but he would first be posted to No. 2 Manning Depot, [29 August 1942] where he would replace out going artist P. Kuch.

The October 1942 issue of “The Airman’s Post featured the last work of artist AC2 P. Kuch and the first drawings from AC2 John Duchak, RCAF.

The first cartoon by John Duchak depicts ex-artist Kuch leaving for the Initial Training School and artist Duchak arriving at Brandon, No. 2 Manning Depot.

The signature trademark of RCAF artist AC2 John “Napper” Dana Duchak [R176475] No. 2 Manning Depot magazine [The Airman’s Post] October 1942.

AC2 Duchak cartoons at No. 2 Manning Depot, September – October 1942

The next part of John Duchak’s RCAF training is a bit of a mystery, as his Ottawa records do not show him posted to any Initial Training School or Elementary Flying Training School. If he was selected for pilot training, he would spend four weeks at an initial training school, followed by ten weeks of elementary flying training where the pilot candidates came face to face with their first aircraft and the RCAF instructor who will teach them how to fly it. John was posted to No. 2 Manning Depot on 29 August 1942 and then directly to No. 12 SFTS on 6 November 1942, both located at Brandon, Manitoba.

On 6 November 1942, AC2 John Duchak proceeded to No. 12 S.F.T.S. at Brandon, Manitoba, and joined Course #67 in training. The Daily Diary records on 1 December 1942, Course #67 pupils were interviewed in regards to their unsatisfactory progress and a number failed the course. They received their wings on 18 February 43, and cleared the station the following day. It would appear John Duchak failed this course, was reassigned, and posted to No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School at Macdonald, Manitoba, on 21 February 1943.

On 22 February 1943, Course #51 commenced at No. 3 B and G School with 90 trainees. On 5 April 1943, AC2 Duchak was promoted to LAC, and graduated on 14 May 43. His Gunnery Wings were presented by C.O. Group Capt. R.F. Gibb, AFC, with graduation of 63, 43 being RCAF who were posted to No. 1 “Y” Depot at Halifax, Nova Scotia. LAC Duchak was promoted to Sergeant on graduation and arrived at Halifax on 19 May 1943. On 17 June 43, Draft No.73, with 80 officers and 167 sergeants departed Halifax at 16:00 hrs. He arrived in the U.K. on 24 June 43, and was assigned to No. 23 Operational Training Unit, where he repeatedly suffered airsickness and failed his operational training.

The next step in Duchak’s air force career involves the very creation of No. 6 [RCAF] Group and the Headquarters’ know as “Castle Dismal.” Canada’s indigenous bombing group began operations at one minute after midnight on the first day of 1943. The planning and creation of No. 6 Group on paper had began in August 1942, and this clearly showed the RCAF was short on officers and required a number of RAF officers to be posted [loaned] to the new Canadian group. This mix caused a number of serious problems and a lot of training was required before the Canadians would be an effective force on bombing operations. Air Vice-Marshall George E. Brookes, A.O.C. of No. 1 Training Command, was selected to provide a diplomatic bridge between the RAF senior officers and the new Canadian airmen. In September 1942, Brookes first task was the selection of a new permanent site for the Canadian Headquarters of No. 6 [RCAF] Group. He found a rambling old seventy-five room Victorian style castle at Allerton Park near Knaresborough and this was taken over by the RCAF. The property was owned by forty-seven-year-old Lord Mowbray, and he showed no patriotism or love for the Canadians, and complained vociferously about the war, the RCAF, and the alterations being done to his rundown castle. The new RCAF officers soon found Brookes to have a few shortcomings, lack of command experience, a very fussy man, inclined to dwell on trivial British matters, and concentrated excessively on the renovations to his new castle. To the majority of RCAF airmen, Allerton Park, [Allerton Hall] became known during its Canadian tenancy as “Castle Dismal.” This is where all bombing operations were planned for No. 6 [RCAF] Group beginning on 1 January 1943.

On 5 January 1943, No. 6 [RCAF] Group H.Q. Allerton Park was officially changed to read – “Allerton Hall.” The new Headquarters’ for the Dominion “HOME” Stations of the Royal Air Force in England.

On 28 June 1943, orders were received that initiated the collection and publication of historical records from No. 6 [RCAF] Group, which were titled “Summary of Activities. At first these typed sheets of ‘secret’ information was very simple and contained no art work or cartoons. Unknown to Sgt. John Ducahk, these reports would form a major part of his future RCAF wartime career.

On 22 November 1943, [after failing his Bombing and Gunnery course] Sgt. John Dana Duchak was posted to R.C.A.F. Overseas Headquarters, known as RCAF Overseas. Formed on 1 January 1940, it was based in London, [20 Lincoln’s Inn Fields] where it provided a central location for personnel records and general RCAF administration. By 1943, the administration had top authority over the movement of Canadian RCAF personnel in England, working closely with RCAF H.Q. at Allerton Hall. It is not clear why Sgt. Duchak was posted to RCAF Overseas, but this was possibly due to his artistic talents. He was also possibly involved in the forming of No. 19 Dental Company, as he completed at least three newsletter covers for this new unit in early February-March-April 1944.

The RCAF Overseas official badge was an eagle in flight over a blue disk [sky] and in its claws it carried a sprig of branch from a Canadian Maple tree. Six Maple Leafs show in the design. Il was approved by King George VI, in June 1944.

In 1938, the Canadian Dental Association lobbied the Minister of National Defence to create an independent dental service for use by the Canadian Army, Navy, and Air Force. By 1939, the Canadian Army Dental Corps was replaced by the Canadian Dental Corps, which provided diet and oral dental standards for servicemen and servicewomen around the world. In December 1942, No. 18 Base [Dental] Company, RCAF, was formed at London, England, under command of Major L. L. Kent, from Lachine, Quebec. In charge of the Canadian Dental Corps of the RCAF in England, was Lt. Col. E. M. Wansbrought, M. M., E.D., from Shelburne, Ontario. As more Canadian graduates of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan reached Britain, the demands for the Dental Corps were increased and the expansion from a single Base Company to two Base Companies was announced in February 1943. No. 19 [Dental] Company, was formed at RCAF Station Leeming in March 1943. By October 1943, dental work done for the RCAF in England, involved 11 mobile clinics, which attended bomber and fighter bases, plus No. 18 Base in London and No. 19 Base [Company] at Leeming. In October 1943, 7,600 patients received treatment totalling 13,000 operations by forty-three dental officers and more than 100 dental assistants. On 22 November 1943, Sgt. Duchak possibly joined this select group of dental technicians and assistants which were staffed by a large number of female members of the RCAF’s Women’s Division. No. 19 Dental Company left Station Leeming and moved to No. 6 [RCAF] Group H.Q. on 15 December 1943. The artistic talents of Sgt. Duchak were soon discovered by senior RCAF officers and on 21 December 1943, he was officially posted to No. 6 [RCAF] Group H.Q. at Allerton Hall on “General Duties.”

This was the first “Bombing Digest” cover with art drawn title, possibly created by Sgt. Duchak, late November 1943. He had just been posted to RCAF Overseas Headquarters on 22 November 1943.

Cover art by Duchak for the 24 February 1944 issue of the No. 19 Company, Canadian Dental Corps Newsletter. This is making fun of the No. 19 Company O. C. Major R.A. Gilbert, from St. Thomas, Ontario. You must keep in mind No. 19 Company did dental work on the most senior officers at “Castle Dismal” Allerton Hall, and it was made up of 45 dental assistants from the RCAF Women’s Division. Thus, this cartoon cover art featured some form of sexual humor directed at their Commanding Officer.

In March 1944, O.C. [Officer Commanding] of No. 19 Company Canadian Dental Corps, Major R.A. Gilbert was promoted to Lt. Colonel and artist Duchak gave his congratulations with a special cover art. Sgt. Duchak was now on charge No. 6 [RCAF] Group, [Ground] at Allerton Hall, as their official artist, however it appears he had close connections to the newly formed No. 19 Company Dental Corps, the connection is unknown.

Sgt. Duchak was officially posted to No. 6 [RCAF] Group H.Q., as an artist on 25 January 1944. In February 44, he became the N.C.O. placed in charge of a new formed art section, with three draftsman working under him. His first cover art for operational duties “Summary of Encounters” appeared March 1944, followed by 28 more covers which I have in my collection. It is possible he created more than the 29 known RCAF covers, which were classified secret, resulting in most being destroyed.

The No. 6 [RCAF] Group, H.Q. monthly “Summary of Activities” publications officially began in 28 July 1943. These early editions were small, containing 10 to 12 pages of typed secret information and no artwork. Each month the pages of information increased, April 1944, had 21 pages, May 1944, contained 26 pages, and the June 1944, increased to 28 pages. This information was classified “secret”, printed in limited copies and distributed to 54 units of the RCAF in Bomber Command located in Yorkshire, England. Each month a new summary publication arrived and the old copies were ordered to be destroyed by RCAF Headquarters.

In May 1944, Sgt. Duchak was granted permission to create small black and white drawings to add to the Summary of Activities publication, and he created hundreds of cartoons for the title pages. A few samples are shown, but each month he created ten to twenty new images for the RCAF Summary of Activities, plus full page cartoons. Some images were later repainted in color and survive today.

This header with cartoon art first appeared in the June 1944 issue.


These small header cartoon captions reveal the true ability and originally of Sgt. Duchak. The title for the RCAF ground crew making aircraft repairs soon became their unofficial motto – “U Bend Em – We Mend Em.”

It has been well documented by famous historians and official RCAF publications, that the forming of No. 6 [RCAF] Group involved hidden private fighting with hostile words. In short, the British RAF High Command did not want the formation of No. 6 RCAF Group. The R.A.F. chiefs wanted the Canadians to remain under British control in the existing RAF groups. This became a political nightmare for both the Canadian Liberal Government in Ottawa, and the British Government under Churchill. In the end the Canadians won, for the simple reason it was politically desirable to form the new ‘all-Canadian’ Group.

Even Sir Arthur T. Harris, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief R.A.F. Bomber Command, had little respect for the RCAF’s Air Officer Commanding 6 Group, Air Vice-Marshal G. E. Brookes, who he nicknamed “Babbling Brook.” Harris was equally critical of the Canadian 6 Group Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief overseas, Air Marshal “Gus” Edwards, who he described as unsuitable for any Command.

When No. 6 [RCAF] Group demanded to be equipped with new Lancaster aircraft, “Bomber” Harris drew a line, which is still disputed by historians today. From the National Bestseller – “Reap the Whirlwind” published in 1991, page 15. In September 1942, Harris wrote to Portal – “I fail to see why we should give these people, [Canadians] who are determined to huddle into a corner by themselves on purely political grounds, the best equipment [Lancaster aircraft] at the expense of British and other Dominion crews.”

Harris was true to his word, and for the majority of No. 6 [RCAF] Group aircrew, the Halifax bomber became their dominant aircraft, which they flew through the toughest days, and costliest period of World War Two.

Even finding a new headquarters for the Canadians proved to be a British political struggle, as Lord Mowbray put up many obstructions for the RCAF taking over his enormous castle estate of two thousand acres. The main building [Allerton Castle] was located four miles east of Knaresborough, at Allerton Mauleverer, some ten miles east of Harrogate, England.

Post Card image of Allerton Park

In the early months of 1943, No. 6 [RCAF] Group regularly recorded the highest casualties in RAF Bomber Command, and the worst early return to base rates of all squadrons. It took time and combat experience for the RCAF to mature and form a true team spirit from a new ‘independent Canada.’ All members of No. 6 [RCAF] Group knew they were the first non-British formation of this size to ever become part of R.A.F. Bomber Command, but they needed a symbol to pull them together as one. I believe this impressive winged 6 with bomb symbol, became their ‘own’ new RCAF identity.

In March 1944, Sgt. Duchak created his first black and white cover for the Summary of Activities and this became his unofficial insignia for No. 6 [RCAF] Group, appearing in a number of different designs. It appears to me, this 1944 cover art was a very fast sketch done by the artist, possibly just an idea forming in his head. He improved on his original design in the May and July cover issues and this slowly became the ‘unofficial’ insignia for No. 6 [RCAF] Group, H.Q. in England.

At the same time, he created a yellow six with grey bomb inside, imposed over a red Maple Leaf, which began to appear in cover art as well as his full page cartoons. I believe this impressive symbol became the missing link the RCAF aircrew in England needed, to show they were an independent Canadian bomber force. This also became the trademark for the artist, appearing below most of his drawings, maps, charts, and cartoons, created in his art room at Castle Dismal, Allerton Hall, from June 1944 to May 1945.

This black and white image appeared on hundreds of drawings, all classified as “Secret.”

By July 1944, the Summary of Activities cover became very detailed artwork, which I believe Duchak took pride in creating.

In the same month, [July 1944] this impressive symbol [A Red Maple Leaf superimposed over a White Rose of York] had slowly become the “unofficial’’ insignia for all members of No. 6 [RCAF] Group, manufactured by Crest Craft in Saskatoon, Canada, and worn in England with pride as a cloth badge [left] and also as a British made ‘sweetheart’ pin.

A new design appeared on the RCAF Education cover page in January 1945

His final “Victory Number” cover design in April 1945

No. 6 [RCAF] Group was transferred from England to RCAF Eastern Air Command, Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 14 July 1945, and began to organize and train for RAF “Tiger Force.” The atomic bombing of Hiroshima [6 August 45] and Nagasaki [9 August 45] resulted in the Japanese acceptance of the Allied terms of surrender, officially signed 2 September 45. No. 6 [RCAF] Group was disbanded on 1 September 1945, and now became Canadian aviation history.

On 19 April 1943, No. 405 Squadron became part of No. 8 Pathfinder Group at Gransden Hodge, Beds., and they were honoured by Sgt. Duchak in June 1944, issue of Summary of Activities.

Sgt. Duchak created full page drawings for special events and cartoon poster art. The Royal visit in August 1944, with his trademark 6 Group bomb, Maple Leaf design.

Sgt. Duchak could turn a special message into an art poster.

Full page cartoon art with a warning, and a depressed Luftwaffe vulture image which appeared in many cartoons.

August 1944 issue, which contained 18 pages of cartoon art just like this one.

Special art created for “Sea Mining” August 1944

1 January 1944, the 2nd Anniversary of No. 6 [RCAF] Group in England.

This American 8th Air Force [B-17 tail] and 6 RCAF Group [Halifax] nose art cartoon appeared full page in August 1944. Note – Canadian Beaver as nose art.

“Fishpond” was the codename given to a British H2S airborne tail warning radar, which was suppose to detect enemy aircraft and German night fighters from belly attacks on bomber aircraft. Its radar signal was unknowingly attracting German night fighters to the very Allied bombers, it was designed to protect. The cat and mouse game was captured in this cartoon.

RCAF ground crew humour directed at their Officers

Sgt. Duchak began to use his yellow six, grey bomb, over a red Maple Leaf as his trademark. He also created a cartoon featuring German pilot Otto and his son Otto Jr. Note – the RCAF aircrew giving a hair cut – “Short Cut.”

A caution for RCAF bomber aircrew to watch for the new German jets

The creation of bomb charts became a monthly report in the Summary of Activities. These were drawn by the three draftsman who worked under Sgt. Duchak, and were all classified “Secret.”

No. 6 [RCAF] Group map by draftsmen J. W. Kressler who worked under Sgt. Duchak and created many maps and charts, which appeared in Monthly Summary of Activities.
Sgt. Duchak and his three artists were all cleared to “Top Secret” as they were reading secret classified RCAF bomber material on a daily basis. The monthly Summary of Activities was first read by senior officers in No. 6 [RCAF] Group Headquarters, then passed on to senior officers in RCAF squadrons. This also contained special drawn maps of each bomber raid into Germany and the position of each aircraft in the bomber stream, called “Gaggle Formation.”

The Allerton Hall RCAF switchboard was a very busy place in 1944-45. It was staffed by RCAF Airwomen [W.D.] and 444 were on strength in September 1944. The total strength of all ranks operating at Allerton Hall in 1944, was 718. They included 149 RCAF Officers, 20 RAF Officers, 249 RCAF other ranks, and 261 RCAF [W.D.] other ranks, with 20 assorted RAF other ranks and one Canadian Army officer. The W.D. RCAF switchboard became the main line of communication, captured in this July 1944, cartoon by Sgt. Duchak.

The first A.O.C. of No. 6 [RCAF] Group, Air Vice-Marshal George Brookes gave no priority to obtaining decorations for the Canadians under his bomber command. That all changed on 29 February 1944, when Air Vice-Marshal Clifford Mackay McEwen, known as “Black Mike”, took over command. He ordered RCAF base commanders to increase the number of award submissions, and this had a desired effect on morale and performance. This is reflected in the Duchak cartoon – “Black Mike’s” Boys.

The No. 17 cover art for “Bombing Digest” in October 1944

Hitler and his V-1 rocket charge off a cliff in France, and the depressed vulture “Luftwaffe” waits for the crash.


The cover art for December 1944 “Gunnery Encounters” would appear inside the same edition, under Squadron training.

The new bomber ‘baby’ for January 1945

By March 1945, at least 102 copies of Monthly Summary of Activities were being printed, bound in booklet form and delivered to appointed units, above. These booklets contained all secret classified No. 6 RCAF Group information with a large number of Sgt. Duchak cartoons, charts, and bomber stream attacks of Germany. Beginning January 1945, special instructions were received and ordered drawn on the front cover art by Sgt. Duchak.

The last offensive operation by No. 6 [RCAF] Group was an attack on two coastal batteries on Wangerooge Island, on the eastern end of the Frisian island chain. The date was 25 April 1945, and the Canadian Group sent 192 bombers of 482 that hit the target. Six bombers would be lost due to tragic pilot error, as one bomber lost control when it hit the slipstream of another, lurched into a third, and in seconds six bombers were lost. Four of the aircraft were from No. 6 Group and all twenty-eight Canadian occupants were killed. This map of the attack was drawn by draftsman J. W. Kressler on 4 May 45, the last gaggle formation completed at Allerton Hall.

The War in Europe was over and the Canadian bombers were coming home.

A cover by draftsman J.W. Kressler, end of April 1945

Special technical “Secret” detailed drawings were also created at Allerton Hall and published in the Summary of Activities, plus printed as poster size training aids for the RCAF squadrons involved. This was drawn by an RCAF artist named Davies, who worked under Sgt. Duchak.

Sgt. Duchak and his staff also produced hundreds of RCAF charts which appeared monthly in the Summary of Activities booklet. GEE was a British radio aid using three ground transmitting stations. H2S was an airborne ground-mapping radar aid to navigation and target identification.

It was time to return to Canada, where No. 6 [RCAF] Group would join the Americans in bombing Japan. This Canadian navigator is taking his RCAF files, and Allerton Hall is seen in the background.

This is the April 1945 [last] cover art created by Sgt. Duchak, with the RAF [left] and RCAF [right] flags flying from the “unofficial” badge of No. 6 [RCAF] Group, Yorkshire, England. This was created by Sgt. Duchak with the Canadian Maple Leaf superimposed over a white rose of York. This clever design symbolized the close association the Canadian Bomber crews had with the people of Yorkshire, from 25 October 1942 until 14 July 1945. This badge would now move to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and join the Americans to bomb the Japanese in the invasion of Japan.
On 25 October 1946, King George VI, gave authority to the official badge of No. 6 [RCAF] Group, Headquarters, with the motto – Sollertia et ingenium, [Initiative and Skill].

It’s amazing how close this official RCAF Headquarters badge is to the ‘unofficial’ badge created by Sgt. Duchak in 1944. This official badge was never used at Allerton Hall, [closed 14 July 45] in fact, No. 6 Group was disbanded at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on 1 September 1945. I’m not sure why this badge was even created, possibly ordered for official use by No. 6 [RCAF] Group as part of the upcoming bombing campaign against Japan in Tiger Force. Then the war suddenly ended and the badge was placed in files and forgotten, along with the art of Sgt. Duchak. Today some modern internet historians record this badge as the one used at Allerton Hall during WWII. That is wrong, and I hope this error can be corrected by my story on the man who created both No 6 Group unofficial badges.

These are the secret organization orders dated 20 July 1945, which officially transferred [advance H.Q.] No. 6 [RCAF] Group from Allerton Hall, Yorkshire, to the new headquarters at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 14 July 1945. They will now reorganize and train for the Pacific bombing campaign against Japan, as part of RAF “Tiger Force.”
Lost in all this official RCAF history, is the simple fact the “unofficial” No. 6 [RCAF] Group badge created by Sgt. Duchak at Allerton Hall, now served with pride in Canada, until 1 September 1945. [Six Weeks]

In November 1944, Sgt. Duchak featured his Allerton Hall Christmas Card on the cover for the Summary of Activities. He also created the table menu art work for the 1944 Christmas dinner at the castle.

The formation of No. 6 [RCAF] Group “Advanced Headquarters” took effect on 14 July 1945, at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. On 1 October 1945, the official “Handing Over” of Allerton Hall appeared in the Operations Record Book. The total strength at Allerton Hall Headquarters on 30 October 45, was 97. Made up of the following:

RCAF Officers 16
RAF Officers 1

RCAF [WD] Officers 5
RAF WAAF Officers 1

RCAF other Ranks 67
RAF other Ranks 6

RAF WAAF other Ranks 1

Disbandment of No. 6 [RCAF] Group, H.Q. [rear party] at Allerton Hall came into effect 1 November 1945.
Sgt. Duchak was posted to “R” Depot at Torquay, Devon. on 11 July 1945 [RCAF rear party] and attended Martin School of Art in London, and Warrington School of Art in Manchester, England, on what was recorded as “Temporary Duty in York.” He was repatriated to Canada on 18 February 1946, and released from the RCAF at Winnipeg, Manitoba, 15 April 1946. On 17 August 1947, he married Lois A. Ross in Regina, Saskatchewan, and moved to North Reading, Massachusetts, where they raised their family.
He appeared in several movies with Tom Tryon and Steve McQueen. John became an advertising artist with W.T. Grant and Company, S. S. Kresge Company and the F.W. Woolworth Company. In 1952, he served as a cartoonist for the Boston Bruins Hockey Team and completed cartoons for the book “Hockey Tip-Ins” by former Bruins Captain Ferny Flaman. In 1990, John and wife moved to Rockland, Maine, where he continued to draw and paint windows on the main street advertising Lobster Festival, Blues Festival, Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbor Shows.
RCAF WWII cartoonist Sgt. John “Napper” Dana Duchak passed away Tuesday, 25 September 2012, at Windward Gardens in Camden, Maine.
Like his fellow RCAF nose artists in WWII, official RCAF cartoonist Sgt. Duchak and his hundreds of drawings and paintings have been lost and forgotten by his country of birth and the official history of the RCAF. I hope to change that for you “Sarge.”

24 July 1921 – 25 September 2012

In 1946, Allerton Castle was returned to Lord Mowbray, who is described as still being a very difficult and domineering person. By 1960, Lord Mowbray was involved in a messy marriage break-up which affected the complete family and details can be read on the internet. When Lord Mowbray passed on in 1965, no provision was left in his will for his wife and the bulk of his estate was left his eldest grandson, Edward Stourton, who was just 12 years of age. For the next 30 years, the family estate and Allerton Park Castle, was run by trustees, then it was sold to an American businessman, Dr. Gerald Rolph, in 1983. After a tragic fire in January 2005, the castle has been restored to a high standard, which only the British can do in period style. All the details and breath taking images can be viewed on line, and yes, you should all take a look, most of all Canadians. Dr. Gerald Rolph has saved Allerton Castle, a Victorian Gothic house with history going back to the Norman conquest, and possibly unknown to him, he has also saved a small part of RCAF WW II history for Canadians. Guided tours of the main floors are available for visitors, and if you should take the tour and see the shape of a man drawing cartoons, don’t worry. It is just the ghost of Sgt. Duchak, hard at work. Somewhere in Allerton Park [Castle] there is a room, where this Canadian created all of his RCAF WWII cartoons, maps, and other paintings in 1944-45. And, if you should have a few in a British public house, near Allerton Castle, tip a pint for Canadian “Napper” Duchak. I wish I could join you.

Photo from my friend Ken Cothliff [Aviation Historian, Author, and Display Commentator] and the MG Car Club who meet at Allerton Castle. The orange MG belongs to Ken.


In 1999, the Greenwood Aviation Museum had in their collections, two original paintings by RCAF artist Sgt. John Duchak, and both were signed by the man in charge of RCAF Bomber Command, “Bomber” Harris. This would give them a little more value that an unsigned painting. On 17 March, I phoned the man in charge, [Mr. R.A. Johnson] and explained everything to him. In return he sent me his email and the attached message was sent.
To date, I have received no reply.

Mr. Johnson,

Next week my history of Sgt. John Duchak will appear on my Blog titled “Preserving the Past.” This research has been sent to Prof. Heather Hughes, International Bomber Command, and RAF Linton Museum [Wing Commander Al Mawby], in U.K.
In short, this is very important RCAF history that has been forgotten by Canada, and needs to be updated. During WWII, No. 6 [RCAF] Group never received any official badge or insignia, however Sgt. Duchak created both an ‘unofficial’ badge and insignia [March 1944] which was used at RCAF 6 Group H.Q. Allerton Castle [Hall] until 14 July 1945. On 15 July 1945, No. 6 [RCAF] Group was transferred from England to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and thus, this unofficial badge served in Canada until “Tiger Force” was disbanded on 1 September 1945. Greenwood, Nova Scotia, was part of the new formed Tiger Force and this badge also has a connection to your museum.

Can you please confirm, you still have the two original paintings by Sgt. Duchak, and if possible what they look like? I wish to use this in my history.

You are welcome to my complete history, if you wish?

Best regards – Clarence