Research by Clarence Simonsen
Updated 30 December 2020
This is Avro Lancaster B I serial R5727 sitting at Victory Aircraft in Malton, Canada in August 1942. Contract B62974/40, this aircraft was originally allocated to 44 Sdqn RAF on the 31st July 1942. However, on 16th August 1942 she was diverted to Prestwick, Ayrshire, and prepared to be the pattern aircraft for the the design and tooling up of the Canadian production of Lancaster Mk. Xs. In this way she became the first of her type to conduct a transatlantic crossing! Later she would she R5727 was converted as transatlantic passenger and mail carrier by Victory Aircraft Ltd of Canada, and operated by Trans-Canada Air Lines. She would be lost in later conversion trials in January of 1946.
Photo: Authors Personal Collection – Via RAF Museum.
Image Repair & Colourisation – Nathan Howland @HowdiColourWorks.
I could not believe my eyes when I saw those photographs. Click on them for a closer look.
I got curious to know more about R5727. Being a native-born Montrealer I could easily see some of Montreal’s landmarks.
I went further on my research and found this information on the Internet.
This is the source: http://www.bombercommandmuseum.ca/lanccanadian.html
They have a caption for this picture…
They also have this picture…
On September 18, 1941 a decision was made to build Lancasters in Canada and the first drawings arrived in January 1942. For a country still largely agrarian and just recovering from a decade of depression, the challenge was immense. 500,000 manufacturing operations were involved in building a Lancaster which was made up of some 55,000 separate parts even when engines and turrets were only considered as one and small items such as rivets, nuts, and bolts were not included. A Lancaster from England was flown across the Atlantic in August, 1942 to act as a “pattern” and a Crown Corporation named Victory Aircraft was formed to do the work in Malton, Ontario.
I posted my pictures on a Facebook group page. Then Jean Claude Charlebois reacted and posted these three “then and now” images…
Ending with this one with a comment…
Aviation Historians in Canada
World aviation historians are trained in history and other related fields, focusing their research on aviation-related topics concerned with the history of flight, its social, technological, and economic dimensions. Their job also tends to involve travel for conducting interviews, preserving important history, and visiting crucial areas of interest which includes Aviation Museums. In the U.K. and United States, a mix of historians and retired veterans from the Air Force, visit and advise the authorities of Aviation Museums on the correct history and markings of vintage aircraft. Their most important skill is communicating with the museum authorities on saving and preserving the aircraft for the future education of a new generation, as well as future historians and students. In 2016, the average annual salary for an aviation historian was around $60,000 [U.S.].
In the past fifty plus years, I have worked closely with a number of Canadian Aviation Museums and a wide range of Canadian Aviation Historians. In far too many cases, the skills and abilities of Canadian Aviation experts and historians are ignored by the local city run museum experts and this also involves our RCAF and Federal DND run Museums. The Museums in Canada, have no one of authority in control over the history or how our aircraft are painted and as a result history is being lost or twisted. Our Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X WWII bomber is a perfect example.
The world’s largest number of surviving WWII Lancaster Mk. X aircraft, [as you might expect] remain in Canada, with a total of eight. Most of these veteran bombers were saved by pure luck, thanks to the Canadian Public, when they were purchased as war memorials for $500 to $1,000 each. Today they are worth two million each and museums are beginning to take an interest in these veterans and a few are being restored back to flying condition. To the average Canadian this looks and appears to be the right approach to persevering our past. The history of each Lancaster can be found on line and it clearly records we in Canada have only two KB series Mk. X Lancaster bombers that flew operations during World War Two. The original history and original markings of our last two Lancaster bombers have been altered and painted in replica markings, and our “Canadian Aviation Historians” and other powerful V.I.P.’s in Ottawa remain silent. Aviation Historians are trained to discover the truth and make sure these sources of history are in fact true. All historians study history to learn and save our past, preventing these mistakes from happening again. History is preserved in original objects, monuments, written documents, and most of all paintings. Museums then present this history allowing students an analysis of our human past and make change over time, in the world we live in. Out Aviation Museums in Canada are in fact destroying original aircraft and painting them incorrectly.
KB839 in Greenwood, Nova Scotia, has been repainted as a British RAF Lancaster, and now our second original veteran WWII bomber KB882, is being restored to her postwar markings. The other five FM series Lancaster aircraft are all painted in replica WWII markings, etc. Out of eight original Lancaster aircraft, our Canadian authorities, and most of all our Canadian Aviation Historians have not been able to save one Lancaster and paint it in “ORIGINAL” World War Two markings.
If the Canadian authorities in Ottawa can just repaint KB944 as she appeared in No. 425 Squadron markings, and display the true history, they would have the only original WWII KB series Canadian built Lancaster bomber in the world.
It is very simple – “History is the analysis and interpretation of our human past that enables us to study continuity and change over time.”
The real story behind the Lancaster in the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum – KW-K
Research by Clarence Simonsen with contribution by Pierre Lagacé
In 2006, I made letter contact with François G. Savard and soon learned this had turned into a French/English political fight, as the museum, now called the “Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, wanted to display a WWII veteran Lancaster, and Alouette Squadron had never flown the Canadian Lancaster on active operations during WWII.
Letter from the collection of Jacques Morin 425 Alouettes rear gunner
F/O F.G. Savard J45004 had been the navigator for pilot F/Sgt. J. R. Beaudoin R194267, and flew on Halifax NP941 “W” on the last operation 25 April 1945. The French-Canadians had also inherited the RAF absurd system of WWII promotion and flight pay, which they objected to, wanting equal pay as a crew. The pilot was a Flight/Sgt. [NCO] and received 75 cents per day, while F/O Savard, an officer received two dollars per day. On 14-15 May 1945, F/Sgt Beaudoin and navigator Savard ferried five Halifax bombers to the graveyards at Rawcliffe, at 20-minute flight from Tholthorpe, Yorkshire. The bombers were…
KW-K [LW415], and
KW-B [NR252], “Bang On.”
“Bang On” Halifax Mk. III, serial NR252, ferried to Rawcliffe, Yorkshire, graveyard on 14 May 45, by F/Sgt. Beaudoin and navigator Savard. A few days later F/L Harold Lindsay took this image, however the nose art was not selected to be saved and it was scrapped a few weeks later.
Little LULU, KW-U, serial MZ425 flew 16 operations with 425 squadron 3 January 45 to 14 April 45. Replaced by LV860 “Spook’N Droop” on 16 April 45, her career was short, having an accident on 19 April 45. Both 425 Halifax bombers ended up at Rawcliffe, with Lulu scrapped 30 May 1945.
F/Sgt Beaudoin and crew were now assigned a new Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X serial KB936, coded KW-G with nose art Gallopin’ “Gus.” This is the Lancaster they trained in for return flight to Canada.
Lancaster Mk. X serial KB936, coded KW-G
1 May 45, No. 425 received the first Lancaster Mk. X, and two days later they had reached fifteen bombers, all were deployed in flight training. On 1 June 45, nine crews had been fully trained for the trans-Atlantic flight, including F/Sgt. Beaudoin and crew. They were then informed they would be flying KB944, “King of the Air” to Canada and completed a test flight in their new bomber. 5 June 45, all fifteen Lancaster aircraft in No. 425 did a test flight in preparation for take-off to Canada, then due to bad weather the flight was cancelled.
The pilot side nose art on KB944
The starboard markings in French read – “The famous Alouettes Squadron is glad to be back to the country of riches and beauties.” [ photo- François G. Savard]
On 13 June 45, the fifteen Lancaster bombers of No. 425 Squadron were lined up for an afternoon take-off but again the weather cancelled the departure. The following day at 18:00 hrs, the weather cleared and the fifteen Lancaster aircraft departed on the first leg of their journey to Canada.
They arrived at Debert, Nova Scotia, 16 June 45 as part of No. 633 [RCAF] Wing of Tiger Force and the crew went on 30 days leave. The war ended, Tiger Force was disbanded 5 September 45, and the nose art and Lancaster aircraft were flown to Pearce, Alberta, for long-term storage.
I do not have the correct number, but by my count approximately 288 Lancaster bombers returned to Canada and around 100 reappeared as postwar Lancaster Mk. Xs, in eight new designations. Not one of our famous veteran bombers were saved and all were unceremoniously scrapped by our Government authorities beginning in 1947. As might be expected, today Canada has the largest number of Canadian built Lancaster aircraft in the world at eight, and almost all were saved by pure luck. From this collection of eight, only two are in fact veterans that flew operations during WWII, KB839 at Greenwood, Nova Scotia, which today is painted as British built JB226, that flew with No. 405 Pathfinder Squadron. The other is KB882, which spent its postwar days out in the weather at Edmunston, New Brunswick. As I speak, KB882 is being prepared for shipment to the National Air Force Museum at Trenton, Ontario, and to the persons responsible, a special thank you. This is our second most famous WWII veteran Lancaster and it will be restored to her postwar Area Reconnaissance [AR] configuration. At last, KB882 will be protected from the elements and displayed indoors for future generations to see. I just hope the persons in charge will not forget her WWII past and the operations she flew.
The other five Lancaster aircraft were all from the FM series and never flew operations, the oldest being FM104 which was assigned to No. 428 Squadron, and today is in storage in Toronto. FM159 in Nanton is painted as a British built No. 635 Squadron, ND811, RAF bomber, FM212 in Windsor, postwar No. 405 Pathfinder Squadron, Manna, Netherlands, food drop. FM136 in Calgary is almost painted correctly to honor pilot Ron Jenkins, KB895, but still needs corrections, which I submitted to Anne Lindsay over a year ago. The pride of the world is FM213 in the Canadian Warplane Heritage at Hamilton, which not only flies, but once a year it flies in true colors of other WWII RCAF Lancaster aircraft. Thanks to Warplane Heritage for painting their bomber correctly and educating future generations of new Canadians.
Now, forgotten in all this confusion is KB944 in our Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. For the record, in 2006, and today, I fully support the painting of KB944 in her ‘ORIGINAL’ No. 425 [Alouette] May 1945 markings. We have eight Lancaster bombers in Canada, but not one displays history of 425 French-Canadian squadron, yet as crazy as it sounds, we have the one and only original Lancaster that contains part of their history during the last days of WWII. This aircraft also contained nose art in both English and French, the true meaning of Canada, and the bomber was in fact the “King of the Air.”
The Canadian Aviation and Space Museum organization are very powerful and controlled by politicians and well paid bureaucrats. This is what they decided to do for our WWII RCAF veterans of No. 425 Alouette Squadron. They spent $350.00 to have a model made in England and displayed in the markings of KB944 “King of the Air.” Is this the best they can do for our veteran RCAF French-Canadians?
Source Pierre Lagacé – 2012 images
Source Pierre Lagacé – 2012 images
I feel this is a disgrace to 425 veterans but what can I do, in Ottawa they are too powerful and create their own history. Then when you look up at the original Lancaster KB944, it is not painted correctly and it has been displayed that way for the past fifty years. OK, enough said, I needed action not words.
If our Canadian Aviation and Space Museum can’t repaint KB944 as she originally appeared in May 1945, with No. 425 [Alouette] Squadron, then please, paint her correctly as KB760 “P for Panic.” I have supplied the full history, with photos and it is all free. If you hire someone in Ottawa to conduct this research, it would cost $100,000 or more.
I have a motto –
“It’s always much better to be divided on the Truth, then united in Error.”
This is dedicated to the original pilot J22971 F/O Jack A. Carter and his crew, who flew P for Panic the most operations during WWII and painted her markings.
No. 425 [Alouette] Squadron Lancaster Mk. X Bombers
They flew Wellington and Halifax bombers on tactical operations over Europe and tropicalized Wellington aircraft in North Africa. After the end of hostilities in Europe [8 May 1945] they were selected as part of “Tiger Force” and the war against Japan in the Pacific.
Beginning on 1 May 1945, the squadron was assigned its first Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X, and by the 15th of the month had taken on charge a mix of  new,  from 420 squadron, and  veteran Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X aircraft. Training in the new Lancaster for the return flights to Canada began at once, and during this period most of the new bombers received new French/Canadian nose art paintings. Three of the transferred Lancaster bombers from No. 429 Snowy Owl contained nose art and these paintings were not removed, which caused some problems when they returned to Canada. The French/Canadian artist was F/Sgt. Raymond St-Onge, the rear gunner in the Halifax crew of pilot F/L J. R. Laporte. He flew his first operation on 2 January 1945, in Halifax NA527 “A” and painted a number [eight] of the postwar Lancaster bombers which returned to Canada wearing his art.
KB894 KW-A New Alouette – Badge. [Raymond St-Onge]
KB916 KW-C from No. 420 [Snowy Owl] as PT-C.
KB962 KW-D New
KB917 KW-E from No. 420 [Snowy Owl] as PT-E Nose Art – “Easy Does It!” [possibly Raymond St-Onge]
KB926 KW-F New
KB936 KW-G New
KB915 KW-H Veteran No. 419 [Moose] squadron as VR-H, Nose Art – “Happy Hoolican”.
KB934 KW-I New
KB944 KW-K New Nose Art photo – “King of the Air” – in Ottawa today.
KB876 KW-L New Nose Art photo – “Lucky Lady”. [Raymond St-Onge]
KB930 KW-N New Nose Art -“The Nightmare”, then Nite Mare. [Raymond St-Onge]
KB932 KW-O from No. 420 [Snowy Owl] – Nose Art – “Oozy Oscar”. Raymond St-Onge]
KB918 KW-P from No. 420 [Snowy Owl] as PT-P, Nose Art photo – “Owl Be Seeing Ya”.
KB912 KW-Q New
KB903 KW-R New Nose Art – Rabbit’s Stew. [Raymond St-Onge]
KB931 KW-S New Nose Art – “Samson”. [Raymond St-Onge]
KB924 KW-T New Nose Art – “T for Tarzan”. [Raymond St-Onge]
KB875 KW-U Veteran served with No. 419 [Moose] Squadron as VR-Z Nose Art – “I’ll Get By”.
KB954 KW-V New
KB899 KW-X Veteran no. 428 [Ghost] Squadron as NA-V
KB894, KW-A for Alouette, painted by Raymond St-Onge. Richard Koval image taken at Debert, N.S.
KB917, PT-E, No. 420 [Snowy Owl] becomes KW-E, with same nose art “Easy does It!”.
Ex-No. 419 [Moose] Squadron Lancaster KB915, with new 425 nose art -“Happy Hoolican” as KW-H, May 1945.
The most famous [unknown] nose art in Canada. This new Lancaster Mk. X, serial KB944, KW-K, “King of the Air” May 1945. This 425 squadron bomber remains in the Ottawa collection painted incorrectly for the past 65 years. The only nose art I have found in 50 years that shows French and English and the true meaning of what all Canadians fought for in WWII.
Photo from Col. [retired] Savard No. 425 Squadron who flew this KB944 to Canada. French lettering on starboard side.
KB932, KW-O for “Oozy Oscar.”
New Lancaster Mk. X, serial KB876, pilot Al Davies and his “Lucky Lady.” Getting ready for the flight to Canada.
French/Canadian ground crew and their markings of flying Alouette on tail of KB876, “Lucky Lady” May 1945. Some birds appeared in red and others as white.
Lucky Lady” was from the April 1945 issue of Esquire, Alberto Varga pin-up lady.
New Lancaster Mk. X, serial KB930, and the original nose art painted in England by Raymond St-Onge. “The Nightmare” which came from a Walt Disney design for No. 122 Squadron in Pat Bay, B.C. The Lancaster was repainted and the nose art was altered to read “The Nite Mare” with more color blue added.
Color photo Richard Koval at Debert, Nova Scotia, June 45.
When Lancaster KB930 arrived at Debert, Nova Scotia, 15 June 45, the original nose art had been altered by No. 425 squadron artist Raymond St-Onge and read – “Nite Mare.”
Veteran Lancaster Mk. X, serial KB918, PT-P, No. 420 [Snowy Owl] Squadron was not changed, just became KW-P, “Owl Be Seeing Ya” flying owl with bomb while looking at target
This color image from Richard Koval was taken at Debert, Nova Scotia, 15 June 1945, KB903, KW-R for “Rabbit’s Stew” Artist confirmed as rear gunner Raymond St-Onge.
This exchanging of Lancaster bombers with No. 420 caused errors to be made and PT-R [KB909] was confused with KW-R KB903.
1952, major overhaul begins at Malton and modification of KB903 to Mk.10 AR.
KB924, KW-T Tarzan, artist Raymond St-Onge.
The first image of Samson being created in England by St-Onge.
Color final image KB931 taken at Debert, Nova Scotia, 15 June 1945. Richard Koval. Artist Raymond St-Onge.
This is veteran Lancaster Mk. X, serial KB875 which first flew combat with No. 419 [Moose] Squadron as VR-Z, then became KW-U with 425 squadron in May 1945. The nose art is the pilot’s wife with name “I’ll Get By” but it is not known which squadron painted her. Possibly Raymond St-Onge?
The First Vintage Flying Wings of Canada at Calgary, Alberta
Research by Clarence Simonsen
Flying Officer Jack Carter and his Lancaster KB760, NA-P for “Panic.”
Arthur John Edward “Jack” Carter was born in Wadena, Saskatchewan, on 16 April 1922. He graduated from High School in 1939, and enlisted in the RCAF at Saskatoon, Sask., on 8 May 1941. He spent four weeks at a manning depot where he was interviewed, tested, and lectured, plus long hours of drill where he learned to salute and march for the salary of $1.30 per day. After recruit training, he moved a step higher when he was selected for pilot training, which took him to three different training schools.
Jack was first posted to No. 4 Initial Training School, Edmonton, Alberta, graduated 5 August 1941, and arrived at No. 5 E.F.T.S. at Lethbridge, Alberta, where he graduated on 25 September 1941.
His final posting was to No. 7 Service Flying Training School at Fort Macleod, Alberta, where he graduated and received his wings on 19 December 1941. The entire pilot course was designed for twenty-seven weeks of training, however in 1941 the RCAF urgently needed pilots and the course was shortened to twenty-two weeks. The pilot failure rate at elementary training schools was 22.5 per cent, and that did not include students who could not complete the course due to sickness, injury and death.
Jack not only passed, he finished in the “above average” and was posted as a flight instructor to Central Flying School at Trenton for flying training and ground school. He became a flying Instructor at No. 6 E.F.T.S. at Prince Alberta, Sask., where he trained pupils until 8 June 1943, then returned for a refresher course.
Next he was posted to No. 2 Flying Instructors School at Pearce, Alberta, where he remained until 7 June 1944.
While Jack was busy training new pilots for duty in Canada and overseas, the number ninth RCAF Bomber Squadron was formed at Dalton, Yorkshire, England, on 7 November 1942. They took the official badge of a ‘ghost’, a designation earned through the hours of night bombing operations over Europe and Germany, bringing death and destruction to the Nazi enemy. The badge featured a death head in a shroud, with the motto “Usque ad finem” [to the very end].
No. 428 [Ghost] Squadron flew the Vickers Wellington B. Mk. III & Mk. X, Handley Page Halifax B Mk. V & Mk. II, and the Canadian built Avro Lancaster B. Mk. X on strategic and tactical bombing operations over Europe. On 26 November 1942, total squadron strength was – Aircrew RCAF 15, RAF 25, officers RCAF 47, RAF 66. Ground crew – 2 RCAF officers and 2 RAF officers, 24 RCAF other ranks and 203 RAF other ranks. Percentage of Canadian personnel was – Aircrew 68.13%, ground crew 12.68%.
No. 428 Squadron flew the RCAF’s first Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X operation on 14 June 1944. Percentage of Canadian RCAF aircrew was 73.20% and ground crew was 91.91%.
When the RCAF entered WWII they had on strength a very small number of flying-instructors, however these members had a sound tradition for pilot training, and in June 1942, three separate schools for flying instructors were created. No. 1 located a Trenton, Ontario, trained instructors on twin engine aircraft, No. 2 was first formed at Vulcan, Alberta, and later moved to ex-RAF school at Pearce, Alberta, training students in the powerful Harvard aircraft. The third school was located at Arnprior, Ontario, and they turned out instructors for elementary flying schools.
This cartoon appeared in the opening day program for No. 2 Flying Instructors School, Vulcan, Alberta, 30 October 1942. It’s humour clearly shows the duties of an RCAF flying instructor.
Many young RCAF pilots who had recently won their wings, objected to being posted as a flying instructor in Canada. More education was required to convince them they were needed even more in Canada as flying instructors. The wastage rate for training of flying instructors was twenty-one percent, and many of these were deliberate failures. This problem of discontent continued until March 1944, when some flying schools were closed, and experienced pilots were finally posted overseas. The RCAF command gave priority to flying instructors, and over five hundred were released for posting overseas, including F/O Jack Carter.
Jack had thoroughly mastered the art of flying during his two tours of instructional duty in Canada, and now he would take this experience into combat over Europe.
On 7 June 1944, he was posted to No. 17 SFTS at Souris, Manitoba, where he completed a refresher course, in preparation for overseas operational combat.
No. 17 SFTS published a weekly newsletter titled – “Out of the Scramble, hot off the tarmac.” It contained all the local news with many cartoons, and a first class pin-up lady in the Petty – Vargas style.
At 18:45 hrs. 26 June 44, the Coca Cola Victory Parade entertained the airmen and visitors with a forty-five-minute program, followed by a live CBC nationwide broadcast at 19:00 hrs. Mart Kenney and his band then supplied the music for a dance in the drill hall attended by 1,400 RCAF members. This was the last entertainment for P/O Carter, in twenty-one days Jack would be in England, and seventeen days later flying a Canadian built Lancaster bomber over Germany.
No. 428 Squadron moved from Dalton, Yorkshire, to No. 64 [RCAF] Base at Middleton St. George, Yorkshire, on 4 June 1943. One year later, 17 July 1944, F/O Jack Carter [he was promoted from Pilot Officer to Flying Officer] and his crew arrived at Middleton St. George.
F/O Carter flew his first operation as “Second Dickey” to F/O Nicholl-Carne J27904, in Lancaster Mk. X, code “L”, serial KB725, on 3 July 1944.
Second Dickey – was the RAF slang given to a new pilot who flew his first operation with a fully operational-seasoned crew, which gave the new Captain experience before he took his own crew on their first operation. On this first sortie as Captain of the Lancaster KB725, Flying Officer Jack Carter had an engine burst into flame shortly after leaving his base at Middle St. George. The Lancaster lost height but F/O Carter proceeded to the target at Bois de Cassan, France, and executed his successful bombing attack. He returned safely to base and his determination and devotion to duty was recorded in the 428 Operation Record book.
Jack was not the normal pilot flying his first operation, as he had completed two flying training instructional tours in Canada. In May 1942, the minimum instructional tour was twelve months and this was gradually extended to eighteen months. In 1943, the RCAF found it impossible to find competent instructors, in both the number required and pilot devoted to their training duty. Commanding officers at service flying training schools were directed to point out that selection as a flying instructor was a tribute to their own ability to fly and also teach new pupils. Jack Carter became a senior flying instructor who was mild mannered with pupils, unassuming, and devoted to his duty of training new young men to fly. While some RCAF flying instructors were frustrated and a small number were inclined to take it out on their pupils, the majority performed their task with conscientiously. Hundreds of these ex-flying instructors would prove themselves in combat with an outstanding record and a very low casualty rate. F/O Jack Carter was one such pilot and now we can follow his operational record with No. 428 [Ghost] Squadron and his Lancaster aircraft NA-P for Peter, which soon became P for “Panic.”
9 August 1944, the first time the crew of Jack Carter were assigned to fly Lancaster KB760, with call sign “P for Peter.”
On 18/19 August 1944, 100 bombers were despatched on operations to Bremen, Germany. Five aircraft aborted the operation and 94 struck the primary target, with one shot down. This became the 2000th sortie flown by No. 428 [Ghost] Squadron and Lancaster KB760 would carry a special decorated bomb [cookie] which would be dropped on Bremen for this event. Just before take off a photo was taken of five ground crew and two flight crew. The two aircrew officers in the center were [left] bomb aimer F/O W.C. Chester from Lethbridge, Alberta, and on his right was his pilot F/O A. J. Carter from Regina, Saskatchewan.
The Ghost Squadron Operational Record Book records the special bombing of Bremen, Germany, 18/19 August 1944, and the selected crew.
This is a copy of the newspaper clipping Jack Carter had in 1986, and it shows a badge on the nose of KB760, which appears to be some type of nose art. It is in fact the official badge of the “Imperial Order Daughters of the Empire.”
In 1899, a young Canadian lady was in England and she became swept up in the British wave of patriotic support for the soldiers of the British Empire. Her name was Margaret Polsen Murray, and when she returned to Canada to began to organise a women’s support group of colonial patriotism. On 15 January 1900, the founding meeting of the first Canadian chapter was held in Fredericton, New Brunswick. On 13 February 1900, a meeting was held in Montreal, Quebec, and a national organization was formed called the “Federation of the Daughters of the Empire” who designed the above official badge.
Forty-three years later, the Toronto Chapter of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire, adopted No. 428 [Ghost] Squadron at Dalton, Yorkshire, England. For the official photo of the 2,000th sortie flown by 428 squadron, the badge of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire was painted on the bomber nose, and flew the operation to bomb Bremen, Germany, pilot Jack Carter. This was not nose art created by the crew, and was only used to show their adopted “Daughters of the Empire” in the public relations photo, which the squadron understood would appear nationwide in Canadian newspapers. After the operation to bomb Bremen, Germany, the new Commanding Officer of 428 Squadron, W/C Chester Hull, DFC, informed P/O Jack Carter, Lancaster KB760, P for Peter would now be his own bomber.
On the 1 September 1944, P/O Jack Carter was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The award took effect on 3 October 1944, and was presented to Jack on 22 February 1947.
On 6 September 1944, the P/O Carter crew begin operations in ‘their’ Lancaster, KB760, NA-P.
The crew first changed their call sign to “P for Panic” and named their Lancaster Panic Inn, directed at P/O Carter, who they nicknamed Pilot/Officer Prune.
This famous cartoon character was created for the WWII RAF training magazine called Tee Emm, founded on 1 April 1940, by Anthony Armstrong Willis. Anthony Willis was born in Esquimalt, British Columbia, Canada, on 2 January 1897, but spent the majority of his adult life in England. He became a famous British author of crime novels, historical books, humorous short stories, plays, radio and film scripts., under the name Anthony Armstrong.
In 1940, he founded the RAF training manual or magazine TEE EMM, and served as its editor until its demise in 1946. The drawings of the famous P/O Percy Prune, and his humorous adventures in the RAF in fact saved hundreds of lives during WWII. The famous P/O Prune was created by an RAF General Duties clerk who had a growing reputation for his aviation cartoons, his name was Aircraftsmen W. J. Hooper RAFVR. If you find original copies of TEE EMM they are a gem, and the book “Pilot Officer Prune” published in 1991, by Tim Hamilton is also a keeper. You can also obtain the complete collection in CD format, which can be purchased online from England.
This is the introduction to the book by Anthony Armstrong, titled “Prune’s Progress” February 1943.
P/O Jack Carter’s crew understood their Captain was one of the best qualified pilots in the RCAF and in naming him P/O Prune, well, it was in fact a humorous compliment. They decided to record each and every operation flown by Lancaster KB760, with a white bomb, and out of a tour of 30 operations, Jack and his crew flew 17 in ‘their’ bomber, NA-P for Panic. Op. #12, #17, #20, #21, #22, #23, #24. #25, # 26, #27, #28, #33, #34, #36, #37, #41 and # 42.
P/O Jack Carter became the “Canadian” P/O Prune flying his “Panic Inn.”
In September 1944, the crew painted the Starboard side, [right side] with their new call sign “P for Panic” in bright red, and beside the large white “P” the outline in white of a ghost and words Ghost Sqdn.
The rear door to the Lancaster received the sign “Panic Inn” red letters. [Jack Carter collection, England, September 1944]
Rear gunner art – “The Ghost Speaks.”
On 21/22 November 1944, 230 RCAF bombers struck Castrop-Rauxel and six returned early, four were shot down. No. 428 [Ghost] Squadron sent 20 Lancaster bombers, and this became the last  operation for P/O Jack Carter. His crew were on their 30th operation, the seventeenth flown in their bomber, NA-P for Panic, KB760.
P/O Carter and crew were screened and returned to Canada, while their Lancaster KB760 would fly 30 more operations with 20 different RCAF crews.
On 31 March 1945, the crew of F/O Boyle were assigned to fly KB760 to bomb Hamburg, Germany, the fifth operation for the new crew, the sixth for their Captain. They were forced to turn back to base when they lost an engine. On 4/5 April 45, the Boyle crew flew their only operation in “P for Panic” when they attacked Merseburg, Germany. On 25 April 45, F/L Googe and crew flew KB760 to Wangerooge, Germany, as the Canadian Group sent 192 bombers as part of 482 that attacked the coastal batteries at the eastern end of the Frisian Island chain. The last Canadian bomber from No. 6 [RCAF] Group to return to base was NA-D [D for Dolly] KB843, F/L D.R. Walsh from No. 428 Squadron. When F/L Walsh touched down at 20:36 hrs. the long Canadian Bomber Group’s war had come to an end.
” P for Panic” was now coming home to Canada carrying all her original P/O Carter aircraft markings.
In September 1944, the Canadian Cabinet War Committee began to prepare for a new fight, joining the Americans in the invasion of the Japanese home islands. The formation of the 6th Canadian Army Division, with 30,000 combat ready troops who had fought in Europe, were being rushed home to Canada, given thirty days leave, and then shipped to Okinawa in the Pacific. The advanced air element of RAF “Tiger Force” would consist of one RAF Mosquito and nine Lancaster squadrons, five would be RAF, two from Canada, and one from Australia. RCAF Overseas Headquarters wanted No. 419 and No. 428 squadrons to be ready for bombing operations against Japan on 1 January 1946, and ordered they be returned to Canada as soon as possible. No. 428 became the first squadron selected for return to Canada, leaving Middleton St. George on 31 May 1945. This is their official order of arrival back home.
On 2 June 1945, personnel of No. 6 [RCAF] Group Advance Headquarters arrived at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, to discuss the establishment of a Lancaster bomber “Wing” , which would proceed to the Pacific Threatre of operations, after a period of training at this station. In the afternoon, a conference was held in the office of the Commanding Offcier, at which time plans were formed for the reception of personnel scheduled to arrive aboard the Lancaster aircraft from Overseas.
Daily Diary – At 19:00 hrs., 8 June 1945, nine four-engine Lancaster bombers appeared out of the north sky, and slowly one after another began to let down and land at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The serial numbers were – KB757, KB843, KB891, KB848, KB744, KB920, KB864, KB781 and KB747.
F/O David Walsh and crew [KB843] touch down at Yarmouth, N.S. 8 June 1945. [D. Walsh collection via Lisa Sharp]
This is the Lancaster which flew No. 6 [RCAF] Group’s last offensive operation on 25 April 1945, crew F/O David Walsh, Sgt. Ted Taylor, F/Sgt. Norm Pratt, P/O Ken Daley, F/O Jim Hope, F/O Jim Harris and F/O Arnold Lindsay. Passenger to Canada was F/O D. J. Lindsay from Brantford, Ontario. [30 days leave – 9 June 45]. F/L S.V. Eliosoff lands KB891 [below].
Pilot F/L A. L. Googe taxies KB920, Yarmount, N.S. 8 June 45. Crew – WO2 A.J. Myers, F/O K.G. Poole, WO2 C.F. Parr, F/O W.K. Todd, WO2 R.N. Thompson, F/O W.C. Hinkle, F/O R. B. Fereaux, passengers – F/L N. Nagon, and Cpl. V.A. R. Nalnquist.
The first Ghost Squadron bomber to arrive KB920, pilot Googe shuts off his engines. [D. Walsh via L. Sharp] Flown to Pearce, Alberta, departed Yarmouth, 7 Sept. 45, by ferry crew F/L Brown.
The Yarmouth Daily Diary records the “over-shoot” by P/O E.T. Lewis, “Madam X”, KB747, 8 June 45. On 4 Sept. 45, she will be flown to Debert, N. S. by ferry crew of S/L MacDonell, then to Pearce, Alberta.
Flown to Pearce, Alberta, departed Yarmouth, 7 Sept. 45, ferry crew F/L H. E. Batty.
KB846 “S for Sugar” arrived with the first nine aircraft on 8 June 45. She spent eight hours at Gander getting a tire changed, and carried a crew of ten with three passengers, the most of all the aircraft. Her famous nose art was painted by my friend P/O Thomas Walton.
I first met Tom Walton in Nanton, July 1997 and we have remained friends to the present day. At age 94 years, Tom lives in Northern Ontario, where he spends may hours fishing, and enjoying the freedom of Canada, which he fought to save for all of us. I believe Thomas Walton is the only living RCAF No. 6 [Group] Nose Artist, and one of the finest Canadian veterans I have ever met.
The bomb record was a British ‘Jerry [PEE] pot’, which rained on Germany eighteen times.
On Sunday 10 June 1945, twenty more Lancaster aircraft landed at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. This included the first bombers of No. 419 [Moose] Squadron and three more from 428 [Ghost] Squadron. One of these was KB867, piloted by F/L A. S. Webb, “L for Lanky.”
Lanky was flown to Ottawa on 12 June 45, winterized and remained with No. 2 Air Command, Winnipeg, until struck off charge by RCAF 15 April 1948, and sold for scrap.
The only accident of thirty-eight Lancaster bombers which landed at Yarmouth, N. S., was No. 419 “F” KB783. It had rained for two days and when KB783 did an over-shoot, the soft ground caused her to nose – over. Scrapped 26 November 1947.
The famous KB772 “Ropey” who arrived a Yarmouth on 10 June 45, then to Greenwood, N. S. on 4 Sept. and finally to Pearce, Alberta, 14 September 45. One of only two Lancaster Mk. X’s which carried shark teeth on her four Merlin engines.
This is KB772, No. 419 [Moose] Squadron at Middleton St. George in late May 1945. After flying 64 operations she was scrapped on 13 May 1947, and a valuable part of RCAF history just slipped away. Today, this lost history is being reborn by the “Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum” in Hamilton, Ontario. In the past three years, they began repainting their Mynarski Lancaster in our lost WWII nose art colors. I can’t say enough about their decision to fly and save history, just look at the images and you will understand. This special two-day event occurs each year on “Father’s Day”, honouring No. 6 [RCAF] Group World War Two.
A special thanks to Lisa Sharp [ex-ground crew member] for the images, and for keeping our Canadian Lancaster safely flying for so many years, now preserving RCAF nose art history. Lisa was also one of the original members who suggested they preserve our Lancaster nose art heritage. Her grandfather flew KB721, “Linden Rose” in No. 419 Squadron during WWII.
On 10 June 1945, F/O W. J. Smith landed VR-B, “Linden Rose” KB721, at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, as part of Tiger Force. [photo from Lisa Sharpe – in her grandfather’s collection] Thanks to the efforts of Peter Whitfield, a replica nose art on original WWII Lancaster skin was presented to Lisa for her grandmother.
The crew of “P for Panic” KB760, arrived late 12 June 1945, due to bad weather, and their photo appeared in the Daily Diary for that date. Note the Panic Inn painted by Jack Carter crew.
On arrival at Yarmouth, N. S. each member of F/O Boyle crew posed beside the tail art, including their Captain. On leaving Middleton St. George, 31 May 45, Boyle and crew headed for St. Mawgan, Cornwall, England, the departure point for the Lancaster’s making the Atlantic crossing to Canada. They remained at St. Mawgan for six days until the weather cleared, then flew to Lajes in the Azores on 7 June 45. Adverse weather forced them to turn back and they left for Gander, Newfoundland, on 8 June, a seven and one half hour flight, fuel at Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and after a weather delay, final destination Yarmouth on 12 June 1945. Under a special arrangement between the RCAF and Victory Aircraft, Toronto, they flew KB760 to the plant where she was built, one year earlier.
On 13 June 1945, Boyle and his crew flew KB760 to Victory Aircraft Ltd. at Malton, Ontario.
On arrival at RCAF Station Yarmouth, N. S. on 8 June 45, their Daily Diary recorded the words on the bomb bay door of P for Panic.
P for Panic hit old Jerry, in every conceivable place. The war in Europe is over and gone. Let’s get cracking on that YELLOW race.
This message was read by thousands at Malton, who understood this very Lancaster they built was now going to war to bomb Japan.
“P for Panic” code NA-P, serial KB760, remained at Malton for the next four days, and her crew received a tremendous welcome from the employees who built the Canadian Lancaster and the citizens of Toronto. Hundreds of photos were taken of this veteran WWII bomber and her crew. On 18 June 45, KB760 was returned to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and the Boyle crew departed for 31 days’ leave at different parts of Canada. In late July 45, the RCAF bomber crews returned for training in the strategic air bombing of Japan.
Today historians know the Japanese fierce determination to fight against the Allied invasion of their home islands would cost millions of lives, as they were committed to mass suicide. The vast area bombing of Japan by the American Air Force had already taken millions of lives, and now it has been estimated another 10,000,000 would be killed by the Allied bombers including the Lancaster aircraft in “Tiger Force.” The true number will never be known, only because of two American atomic bombs, which at a huge cost, [in lives and money] brought peace to our world.
To today’s political correct generation and Government controlled War Museum’s, the strategic bombing of WWII appears a cruel way to win a world war. The simple fact is, in 1945, there was no other way to win the war other than invasion by ground troops, supported by air power. Then on 6 August 1945, the first atomic bomb fell on Hiroshima, followed by a second dropped on Nagasaki on 9 August 45. The Japanese were forced [Yes, I said Forced] to accept the Allied forces terms of surrender on 15 August, with the official signing on 2 September 1945. [It took the leaders of Japan five days to realize they would suffer the same fate as their people, if they continued to fight].
The figures don’t really matter, the fact remains tens of millions of Japanese lives were saved, along with millions of American, British, and Canadian lives. No. 6 [RCAF] Group as part of “Tiger Force” were prepared to again do the dangerous, and dirty job of bombing the enemy. Many were troubled by the morality of bombing cities and killing civilians, yet they had no choice to save, protect, and defend our civilization. Japan surrendered, No. 6 [RCAF] Group was disbanded before they could commence training, and World War Two was over.
Today the mass carpet bombing of WWII cities has gone forever, we have smart bombs, but war is still a cruel force, that kills innocent civilians. Only the leaders of countries can prevent war, the direct result of greed, land, power, and today more than ever religion.
Most of the veterans from No. 6 [RCAF] Group have now passed away and the survivors are in the 93 to 95 year of age range. Our politicians are slowly drifting away from these old men who contributed so much to the air wars over Europe and our museums are not painting ‘their’ aircraft correctly, including “P for Panic.” Canada will never again have an Air Force or Bomber Group like World War Two, the best force of young men and women this country ever raised, the finest volunteer generation. They will always have a special place in Canadian history and today we must also attempt to protect our Canadian built Lancaster, that gave such an outstanding service to our airmen during World War Two.
The Lancaster Mk. X also demonstrated to the world that Canada could manufacture a large, modern, four-engine war machine, even if the Merlin engines had to be produced in the United States.
In June and July 1945, 288 Lancaster Mk. X aircraft returned to Canada, most were veteran survivors, while others had never been assigned to an RCAF unit in England.
With the end of WWII, these bomber veterans became worthless aircraft, and many would be cut up and destroyed. They were now flown west to Pearce, Alberta, for long-term storage, and scrapping in 1947.
On 7 September 1945, the first fifteen Lancaster bombers departed Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, for No. 102 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Satellite, Pearce, Alberta. They were a mixture on No. 419 and No. 428 bombers, with KB878 lifting off at 14:25 hrs.
The Lancaster Ferry Crews were made up of four members – Pilot, Navigator, Flight engineer, and Wireless air gunner. Thirty crews were selected and each given a number, two crews were held as spare aircrew. F/O R. L. Boyle was pilot of crew number 22, assigned to fly Lancaster KB760, “P for Panic.”
Beginning at 14:25 hours each Lancaster departed Yarmouth, N. S. at one-minute intervals for the three-hour plus flight to St. Hubert Airport, Montreal, Quebec. The take-off order was as follows –KB878, KB923, KB794, KB889, KB744, KB920, KB915, KB 917, KB781 KB848, KB860, KB746, KB854, KB945, and KB884.
All fifteen Lancaster aircraft arrived safely at Montreal, the last touch-down at 17:46 hours. These became the first aircraft to arrive at Pearce, Alberta, on 8 September 45. While these aircraft were landing in Alberta, the last group of fifteen bombers departed Yarmouth, N. S. at 13:38 hours, for Montreal. The take-off order is recorded as – KB857, KB891, KB927, KB839, KB865, KB838, KB760 [P for Panic] KB882, KB864, KB732, KB843, KB968, KB 841, KB881, and KB851, which was flown by P/O Connelly to Debert, N. S. [Reason unknown] The last fourteen Lancaster bombers arrived at Pearce, Alberta, on 9 September 1945.
The bombers remained over night at St. Hubert, Quebec, the next stop RCAF Station Gimli, Manitoba, for fuel [above] and then on to Pearce, Alberta. It is possible the bombers stopped at Calgary for fuel and then proceeded to Pearce. [that has not been confirmed] This would become the last stop for many of these veteran WWII proud No. 6 [RCAF] Group bombers.
Pearce, Alberta, had been constructed as No. 36 Elementary Flying Training School for the Royal Air Force and opened on 30 March 1942. The southern Alberta high wind conditions became a daily problem for the British students and the school was closed on 14 August 1942. On 3 May 1943, Pearce opened as RCAF No. 2 Flying Instructor’s School, which moved from Vulcan, Alberta. The base closed 20 January 1945, reopened 1 September, as temporary No. 102 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Satellite.
Pearce, Alberta, dust storm in August 1943, below No. 102 R.E.M.S 1945.
Beginning on 8 September 1945, fifteen veteran Lancaster Mk. X bombers were flown to Pearce, Alberta, in preparation for long-term storage at other selected RCAF Stations in the Province. On 9 September, fifteen more bombers arrived. By 15 September, they formed three long rows and most contained ‘nose art’ from No. 6 [RCAF] Group. These were the cream of the crop that flew the war torn skies over Europe. [Ray Wise images taken after 15 September 45]
The Daily Diary of No. 1 R.E.M.U. [Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit] at Lethbridge, Alberta reported thirty more Lancaster aircraft arrived on 13 September, followed by sixteen more on the morning of 14 September, with fifteen more expected to arrive that same evening. That brings the total to 91 Lancaster bombers, eight more than the 83 total Ray Wise gave me during my interview.
This is KB918, “Owl Be Seeing Ya” which was assigned to No. 420 [Snowy Owl] Squadron in early April 1945. In mid-May the bomber was transferred to No. 425 [Alouette] Squadron and became KW-P, flown back to Debert, Nova Scotia, with the Snowy Owl original nose art.
This photo was taken at Pearce, Alberta, by Ray Wise, after 15 September 45.
Along with their nose art, many were scrapped and forgotten by RCAF history. This was painted at Linton-on-Ouse in England, No. 408 Squadron KB979, EQ-L. Photo taken at Medicine Hat, Alberta, where she is being placed into long-term storage spring 1946. Scrapped 27 January 1948.
A staff of four were sent to Pearce, and each day they had to start all of the four Merlin engines on 83 to 91 Lancaster bombers. The NCO in charge was Cpl. Edge, LAC Cook [in cockpit], LAC Wyers, [left] and LAC Ray Wise, hand on prop. [the man who supplied his collection for preserving RCAF history]
LAC Wyers, Cpl. Edge, and LAC Cook stand in front of the most famous Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X which completed a record 84 operations and shot down two confirmed German fighters. The date is 10 September 1945, photo taken by LAC Ray Wise. Placed into long-term storage at RCAF Station Calgary, it was removed, struck off charge by RCAF and unceremoniously scrapped 15 May 1948.
On 8 September 45, F/O Boyle flew “P for Panic” to Pearce and parked her. Two days later Cpl. Edge is running up her engines, possibly the last image ever taken. Scrapped 16 January 1947.
It was a Sunday afternoon, mid 1990’s, and I was painting Willie McKnight’s Hurricane on a wall in the Aero Space Museum of Calgary. A 93-year-old visitor from British Columbia stopped and we began to chat, his name was Ray Wise. He told me how he recorded most of the nose art on the Lancaster bombers at Pearce, Alberta, in September 1945, and he would send me the box of images, some were water stained. Without any due thought by Canadian RCAF and Government authorities, our Lancaster history was allowed to slip away and no photos were taken. Thanks to Ray Wise, at least his photo images have helped preserved a good part of our Canadian built Lancaster nose art heritage.
Lancaster KB746, VR-S No. 419 Squadron, Sierra Sue was a photo winner.
I keep an artist fact sheet on nose art and this is KB746. She flew with 419 [Moose] Squadron, a true WWII veteran the Germans could not shoot down, she never left Alberta, scrapped 16 January 1947.
In 1947, Jack Carter had joined his brother-in-law at Gallant Motors in Swift Current, Saskatchewan, and he had no idea his old bomber KB760 was soon to be scrapped. Ten years later, Jack became sole owner of the dealership and the name changed to Century Motors. In 1962, Jack sold his business and moved to Calgary, Alberta, where he built and established “Jack Carter Chev Olds”, located at Glenmore Trail and Macleod Trail.
In 1967, the Air Museum of Canada [Calgary] was defunct and the aircraft are being sold to interested parties, with the understanding they keep their mouth shut. In Ottawa, plans for a new national RCAF aviation museum have been taking place since 1961, then in 1964 the idea was dropped for another government museum. In 1965, the National Aeronautical collection was established in the old RCAF hangars at Rockcliffe, and they begin looking for important Canadian aircraft. A Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X aircraft was located and flown to Rockcliffe, Ontario, her serial number is KB944.
Image obtained in Ottawa in 1977
This is what KB944 looked like at Rockcliffe, Ontario, in 1967, wearing her postwar markings with 404 [M.P.] Squadron based at Greenwood, Nova Scotia. In WWII this Lancaster was flown to England on 8 March 1945, and in May, [after end of war] became one of twenty new Canadian built Lancaster aircraft assigned to No. 425 [Alouette] Squadron, the only French-Canadian Squadron in No. 6 [RCAF] Group, RAF Bomber Command.
No. 425 Squadron flew the British built Vickers Wellington and Handley Page Halifax bombers during WWII, the last operation on 25 April 45, when eighteen Halifax Mk. III bombers struck the German gun positions at the Island of Wangerooge. These Halifax bombers were decorated with French-Canadian nose art and few original panels survive. No. 420 Snowy Owl and No. 425 Alouette squadrons were still flying the old Halifax Mk. III bomber when the war came to an end 8 May 1945. When you read the battle orders, you will find as other RCAF squadrons received British built or new Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X bombers, they passed their old Halifax veterans on to No. 425 Alouette to fly. The French-Canadian Alouette Squadron never flew the Canadian Lancaster Mk. X bomber on operations during WWII, and that would later become a political problem in Ottawa early 2002.
Halifax Mk. III, serial NP-957 was received new by No. 427 Squadron on 9 September 1944, and went on to fly 40 operations, the last on 25 February 1945. In March, 427 received new British built Lancaster bombers. NP-957 was then transferred to No. 429 Squadron and flew three operations until 13 March 1945. In mid-March, 429 received new British built Lancaster bombers. On 16 March 45, the old Halifax was transferred to No. 425 Alouette and would fly ten more operations as KW-Q, the last in WWII on 25 April 1945, pilot F/O Nezan to bomb Wangerooge.
A most talented tail gunner in 425 squadron, Raymond St-Onge, decided to decorate the veteran Halifax bomber and completed an amazing painting “Ville de Quebec.” [photo Pierre Lagacé]
F/Sgt. Raymond St-Onge was the rear gunner on the crew of F/L J. R. Laporte #J6958.
Collection Jacques Pacifique Lamontagne courtesy Laurent Lamontagne
They were posted to No. 425 Squadron on 23 December 1944, flying their first operation in Halifax NA527 “A” on 2 January 1945. On 15/16 March 45, they were shot down flying Halifax PN172, “G”, parachuted into Allied lines and returned to base. F/Engineer Sgt. J. R. Arcand did not leave the plane and was killed in the crash.
The crew had completed nineteen operations when the war ended. They flew in nine different Halifax bombers but were never assigned NP957, KW-Q for “Ville de Quebec.” I believe this was painted between 25 March to 4 April 1945, when Halifax Mk. III, NP957 flew no operations.
As soon as the war came to an end on 8 May 1945, the British Government created large aircraft storage maintenance units in England. One of the largest became the ex-Halifax aircraft repair unit located at Croft, Yorkshire, named No. 43 Group, Rawcliffe. Beginning in early May 45, 1,376 Halifax surplus bombers were flown to the airfield and scrapping began at once. RCAF French-Canadian pilots delivered their old 425 squadron Halifax bombers to Croft and returned to base, knowing their WWII nose art was gone forever. The RAF records show 811 Mk. II, MK. III, and MK. V, Halifax bombers were scrapped at Croft, including 533 Halifax Mk. III aircraft, and all of the Alouette veteran aircraft. A huge pile of cut up aircraft metal reached 80 feet in height and could be seen from the nearby village of Rawcliffe. These chopped-up metal sections also contained the best of our RCAF World War Two Halifax nose art paintings.
Halifax NP957 flew her last operation on 25 April, ready for disposal on 6 May, and was flown to No. 43 Group at Rawcliffe, Yorkshire, on 14 May 1945. This photo was captured by RCAF Officer Harold Lindsay a few days later, and you can see the wings and engines from the WWII bombers have been chopped off. This RCAF officer photographed all the Canadian Halifax nose art and selected fourteen for return to Canada, where they arrived in July 1946. We can all thank F/L Lindsay for his efforts in selecting and preserving our past, including this impressive painting created in England by nose artist Raymond St-Onge. This panel remained in storage in Hull, Quebec, for the next 42 years, then in September 1988, seventy-year old veteran Raymond St-Onge was informed his nose art survived and was going on display at the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa. [In 1982, the National Aeronautical Museum was renamed the National Aviation Museum] This original Halifax Mk. III nose art panel was moved in 2004, and hangs today in our Canadian War Museum, sadly with little WWII history to educate our youth or world aviation historians.
Source Pierre Lagacé
I have been researching the fourteen nose art panels since 1977 and from time to time saw one or two originals. In 2005, I visited the War Museum and observed the complete collection at once, they are mix of styles, by many different forgotten RCAF artists from WWII, but Ville de Quebec is a pure work of French-Canadian art.
No. 420 Snowy Owl Squadron shared the base at Tholthorpe, Yorkshire, with No. 425 Alouette Squadron, both flying Halifax Mk. III bombers. On 1 April 1945, No. 420 squadron began to receive their first Canadian built Lancaster Mk. X aircraft, with ground crew training beginning on 10 April, followed the next day when six crews began flight training. By 30 April, Snowy Owl squadron had received 24 bombers and a number of these were receiving new nose art images. No. 420 received nineteen new bombers, and five old veteran bombers, four of these were now transferred to her sister squadron, No. 425. [KB902, KW-C, KB917, KW-E, KB918, KW-P, and KB903 KW-R] The first Canadian Lancaster arrived at No. 425 Squadron on 1 May 45, and by the end of the month, Alouette Squadron had received on charge, twenty Canadian built Lancaster bombers. The crews began training flights for the trans-Atlantic flight to Canada.
On 1 May 45, No. 425 Alouette Squadron received their first Canadian built Lancaster, possibly PT-A, KB894. Flight/Sgt. Raymond St-Onge, the squadron nose artist, began to decorate the new Lancaster bombers with French-Canadian nose paintings. This is a full story on its own, so I will only give a few samples.
Lancaster KB894 was a new aircraft which received the code KW-A for Alouette. This is the nose art created by F/Sgt. St-Onge. [Photo Richard Koval collection]
KB903 was first assigned to No. 420 as PT-P then came to Alouette and became KW-R Rabbit’s Stew. Painted by F/Sgt. St-Onge. [Photo – Richard Koval collection]
New Lancaster KB924 “T for Tarzan” KW-T, was most impressive work by F/Sgt. St-Onge.
He followed this with KB931, KW-S for Samson, and his little dog.
All twenty of the 425 Squadron Lancaster bombers received some form of art on the nose, while KB915 KW-H sported just the name “Happy Hoolican”. Artist is unknown.
Lancaster KB944, KW-K was the only nose art to have both English and French, and in May 1945, just an innocent painting done by an unknown French-Canadian artist. When the war ended, KB944 was flown to Pearce, Alberta, placed into long-term storage at McLeod and forgotten. In 1952, K for King was flown to Fairey Aviation in Halifax, her old painted was removed along with the nose art, and she was restored to a Mk.10MR/MP Maritime Reconnaissance/Patrol, flying with 404 Squadron at Greenwood, Nova Scotia, until 1956.
In March 1955, the old Lancaster Mk. X bombers were being replaced by the American Lockheed Neptune patrol aircraft and #944 was placed into reserve storage at Dunnville, Ontario, in 1957. In 1966, the new Canadian National Aeronautical collection discovered her and she was transferred to RCAF Station Rockcliffe, where #944 was officially handed over to the museum. [above photo at Rockcliffe] In 1967, the powers to be in Ottawa decided to paint KB944 in Second World War colours of a famous No. 6 [RCAF] Group bomber, and they decided on KB760 from No. 428 [Ghost] Squadron, “P for Panic.” [below 1967] The Lancaster was never painted correctly.
In 1963, I was stationed at Kingston, Ontario, as a member of the “Canadian Provost Corps” Army Military Police. In May of that year, I was sent to Ottawa as part of the Quebec F.L.Q. crisis, my first visit to our nation’s capital city, and Quebec. By 1975, I was a ten-year veteran of the Metro Toronto Police Force, making my first visit to the old Canadian War Museum and the Canadian National Aeronautical collection in the WWII hangars at Rockcliffe, Ottawa, Ontario. I saw our Canadian Lancaster but had very limited knowledge of nose art or No. 6 [RCAF] Group at that time. It was during this trip, I learned I could pay to have someone do WWII research for me or I could travel to Ottawa, stay in a motel, do my research, pay for photocopies and photos, etc. That’s what I decided to do, and two years later, I made my return research trip to Ottawa. In the Canadian War Museum, I was lucky enough to meet the Deputy Curator of Collections and Research, Mr. Hugh A. Halliday. He invited me into his office and for the next 30 minutes explained where to go and what I would fine on nose art and RCAF records, a huge boost to my early research from an expert himself. In the next few years, I began to record and interview veterans from the RCAF and learned to my surprise, the Lancaster in our National Collection was in fact painted incorrectly. It soon became clear that some bureaucrat in charge of the Rockcliffe collection had objected to the World War Two art bestowed on the original KB760, and only painted one-third of the bomber nose, in the wrong color yellow and not even close to WWII replica. In 1977, the Canadian National Aeronautical Collection was in fact our equal to the American Smithsonian, well to Canadian thinking, and I was positive this error would be corrected in time. In the next nine years, I became totally involved in nose art research and publishing two books on this subject, I just forgot about the improper painting of KB944 as KB760 in Ottawa.
The Calgary Lancaster FM136, painted as “P for Panic” in 1991
Then in 1986, with the re-painting of the Calgary Lancaster FM136 as KB760 “P for Panic” and learning the history from the original pilot Jack Carter, I decided something must be done to correct the error in Ottawa. We had two Lancaster aircraft in Canada, both painted as “P for Panic” and both were painted incorrectly. To make matters even worse, neither museum [Ottawa or Calgary] displayed any history beside the WWII bombers. November 1986, I sent a letter to Mr. Hugh Halliday at the Canadian War Museum. The reply is attached.
A follow-up letter [with images] was sent to Mr. Bob Bradford but no reply was ever received. It soon became clear, I needed help from some organization, or V.I.P., as it was just impossible to find anyone interested. In November 2005, I donated a replica WWII Halifax bomber nose art panel to be auctioned off at an Ottawa charity event called “Cocktails for Cancer.” At the end of the evening, my nose art sold for $4,400.00.
At this same charity event, I learned for the first time, that 425 “Alouette” Squadron Association, headed by Honorary Colonel Paul Bourdages, were attempting to have Lancaster KB944 painted in the original WWII colors of No. 425 Squadron, with the nose art “King of the Air.”
The real story behind the Lancaster
in the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum…KW-K “King of the Air.”
F/O Nicholl-Carke J27904, in Lancaster Mk. X, code “L”, serial KB725, on 3 July 1944.
It should be
F/O Carter flew his first operation as “Second Dickey” to F/O Nicholl-Carne J27904, in Lancaster Mk. X, code “L”, serial KB725, on 3 July 1944.
The First Vintage Flying Wings of Canada at Calgary, Alberta
Research by Clarence Simonsen
The Calgary Lancaster FM136
The preparation for the long ferry flights of the surplus P-51 fighter aircraft from RCAF storage areas in Western Canada, spurred Garrison into the idea of saving a World War Two Lancaster bomber aircraft. The words of Garrison tell the true story of finding and saving FM136 for Calgary.
“Before Milt Harradence and I began to ferry the Mustangs, we first visited the old RCAF Station Macleod facility, now used by Canadian Pacific Airlines Repair for storage and maintenance. We drove to Macleod on a Saturday afternoon 1960, my 23rd birthday. It is an emotional thing to visit an abandoned airfield that once was full of life, noise, and activity. Now, the silence was only broken by the constant whisper of the wind in the popular tress, the flapping of loose metal against a hangar wall and grass growing through breaks in the parking ramp, and abandoned runways. One segment of the hangar door system was open two feet and we squeezed into the area where our Mustangs were stored. Our Mustangs were nested beneath the large wings of Lancaster bombers, and a couple of Auster fuselages sat wingless against the back wall. Our Mustangs would be saved to fly another day but the B-25s and Lancaster Mk. Xs faced the final extinction, turned into cookware or aluminum siding for new homes.
It was this moment I decided to save a Lancaster Mk. X bomber and bring it to Calgary. Milt and I made the necessary arrangements for our P-51 aircraft maintenance crew to gain access to the Mustangs and we drove back to Calgary. I had been dealing with Margaret Bidgood at C.A.D.C for the Mustang project, so I phoned her to enquire about purchasing a Lancaster bomber from Macleod. She was enthused about the concept and said I could have my pick for $975.00. That was a lot of money in 1961 and I didn’t have the cash. I had an account at the Bank of Montreal on Center St. and 16th Ave. and recalled the manager had flown PBY Catalinas during the war. When he heard of the project he was enthusiastic and loaned me the money.”
Original crown Assets letter to purchase Lancaster FM-136 for $975.00,
dated 5 April 1961.
Original Bill of Sale for FM-136 to Lynn Garrison, 15 April 1961. Total cost $975.00 cash for Lancaster serial number 253-182649. This has been shortened from the original to save blank space.
The Calgary Lancaster FM-136 is now owned by Lynn Garrison but never registered in the name of the Air Museum of Canada, and never transferred to the City of Calgary.
Garrison had obtained one WWII Lancaster and now he had to move it to Calgary, which required cash plus hard work. The “Lancaster Memorial Trust Fund” was formed by Lynn to obtain the necessary cash and material needed to get his bomber to Calgary and build a suitable display area. The committee included a handful of Lynn’s close friends most being 403 Squadron members or ex-RCAF World War Two.
When the Lancaster was officially dedicated, the plaque contained dozens of names, listing people who had nothing to do with the project. Their names had been included by Don Patterson, for personal political reasons. Don was a S/L on Lancasters during the war. Don was the Lancaster Fund finance manager.
“I then started the Lancaster Memorial Fund, with Clarence Mack promoting it on his radio program. He had previously done this for the 5900 Locomotive Fund. For a dollar a person you got a membership card. However, over the term only $229.00 was raised. Ron Jenkins, the owner of a major market chain bearing his family name, had flown Lancasters in the war, as had Art Smith, DFC., M.P. for Calgary South. Both promised their support, however Ron Jenkins never attended any functions, donated no money, while other RCAF veterans declined the opportunity to become involved. Art Smith was a big help.
Soon after I purchased Lancaster FM136, I approached Gordon Burke, an old family friend, and chief of the Canadian Pacific Airlines team in Macleod. He told me the undercarriage was too wide for the road and there was a bridge in-route to Calgary, which would block us. Gordon said his crew would volunteer to install the engines, and service the Lancaster, for a ferry flight to Calgary, if I could borrow the four engines from the RCAF. A special meeting with Doug Harkness, Minister of Defence, was arranged. Milt Harradence, Art Smith, and I met Harkness at the Palliser Hotel, where I made my pitch for the engines. He agreed to loan me four new Merlin powerplants, if I could supply an insurance policy for $89,000 covering their potential loss. Herb Spear, a 403 Mustang fighter pilot, was employed with Guardian Caledonian Insurance Company. He negotiated a policy for $89,000, with a premium of $2,400.00, which only had to be paid if we made a claim.
Tony Lansdown, another 403 fighter pilot, worked with Imperial Oil and he arranged for a donation of all fuel and lubricants for the flight to Calgary. Volunteers with Local 886 International Association of Machinists, prepared the Lancaster for the ferry flight to Calgary, installing the four new Merlin engines. Doug Holland was the Chief Test Pilot with Canadian Pacific Airlines and he would pilot my Lancaster to Calgary. Air Marshall Campbell, Chief of the RCAF Air Staff was the guest of honor along with Freddie McCall’s wife. For the flight Lancaster FM136 had received the civil registration CF-NJQ, and this allowed it to be flown to McCall Field,
When the big day arrived only a couple of hundred citizens stood waiting, while the Lancaster was parked on the grass strip near the terminal entrance. For some reason people believed they had the right to strip pieces off the aircraft. I had to hire a policeman to sit next to the bomber. A pedestal was required. My parents’ neighbor, Ron Graham, had his company begin the design and completed the job at no cost.
I wanted to paint the Lancaster for display. This is where I attempted to get 403 Squadron involved in the Lancaster Memorial Fund. This soon turned into a senior officer’s takeover attempt. Pressure was placed on me to relinquish control to Group Captains and Wing Commanders in the local reserve organization. W/C Gordon J. C. McLaws had taken over as Commanding Officer of 403 Squadron 8 September 1960. When I didn’t go along with the plan this resulted in a formal refusal to allow my Lancaster to be painted in the 403 hangar. Tensions were further increased when Defence Minister Doug Harkness ordered Wing Commander J. C. McLaws to make space, in his hangar, for the painting of Lancaster FM136. The painting took several weeks. McLaws had to walk under my Lancaster every time he needed to go to the bathroom, or get a cup of coffee. Needless to say, this caused certain frictions for me and 403 Squadron officers. The Lancaster painting was completed by a volunteer team from Canadian Pacific Airlines and finally appeared in a gorgeous new camouflage depicting an Royal Air Force Lancaster with code letters VN-N, which flew with No. 50 Squadron RAF during WWII. I selected this paint job because I had a photo of the wartime Lanc.”
Garrison image after the completed paint job
Lancaster Mk. I, serial R5689 was one of 200 built by Avro Manchester and delivered to the RAF between February and July 1942. This was a much photographed bomber which Lynn Garrison picked for the painting of FM136. It had no connections to the City of Calgary or Canadians in the RCAF. She was one of 48 bombers on a mine laying operation 18/19 September 1942. On landing at Thurlby, Lincolnshire, the aircraft crashed and was destroyed.
On 11 April 1962, Lancaster FM136 was lifted into position by three large cranes, supervised by ex-Lancaster pilot Red Whittit, of Dominion Bridge, Calgary.
Image from Lynn Garrison – 11 April 1962
This was followed on 14 April 1962, by an impressive dedication ceremony officiated by Air Marshal Hugh Campbell of the RCAF. Lynn Garrison purchased the display plaque and ex-Lancaster pilot Don Patterson selected the wording which reads as follows –
Dedicated to all personnel who served and trained
in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
The most important centre of this Plan was Calgary,
and this area saw nearly 30,000 men and women trained from 1941-45.
From here personnel went to all theatres of combat throughout the word.
Dedicated by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Hugh Campbell, CBE, CD,
April 14, 1962.
Don Patterson wanted Lynn Garrison to sign over ownership of the Lancaster to Calgary Mayor Jack Leslie, but that suggestion was declined.
The pedestal was designed and constructed by a family friend and neighbour of Garrison, Ron Graham owner of the Hurst Construction Company.
The Calgary airport had officially been christened “McCall Field” in honor of WWI Calgary pilot Fred McCall. In 1966, the City of Calgary could not afford the rising cost of running McCall Field and it was sold to the Federal Government for $2 million. The Lancaster bomber now became the main entrance to the new Calgary terminal and name “Calgary International Airport.”
In 1964, Lynn Garrison held a dinner for the members of the “Lancaster Memorial Fund” at Hy’s Steakhouse on 4th Avenue, S.W. in Calgary. This was the best steak house in North America featuring Alberta triple “A” beef. Thirty-nine members signed the cover of the Air Museum of Canada magazine. Ron Jenkins and Art Smith did not attend the event.
Black and white image to clearly shows some of the signatures – Garrison collection.
Original signed cover from Lynn Garrison.
The hot, humid, climate of Haiti caused stained areas.
These pages from Lynn Garrison collection contain much more information on the related Lancaster events, names, and construction costs.
At age 24, Lynn Garrison had purchased and preserved Lancaster FM136 plus collected a very good selection of vintage WWII aircraft. In March 1964, Lynn purchased his second Lancaster KB976 for $1,500.00. The cash was raised by a No. 403 Squadron pilot, Brian B. McKay and a note in that sum was held to cover the purchase. Garrison was also responsible for the funding and initiated the first Calgary International Air show in July 1964. Defence Minister Paul Hellyer was the guest of honour. Garrison wanted to fly Lancaster KB976 at the air show and contacted Dick Beatty of the DOT in Edmonton, asking for permission to fly the bomber. He was informed he would require more than flight permit. A complete certification of airworthiness inspection was required. This was impossible, so Lynn suggested one last flight by the RCAF might be authorized. MP Art Smith ask his friend Paul Hellyer if this could have arranged and the minister replied it was no problem. The full story is contained in other websites and should be read in full to appreciate the complex problems encountered to get KB976 into the air.
The night before the 4 July Air Show Garrison slipped and broke his ankle. Ralph Langeman and others carried Lynn to a car and off to the Calgary General Hospital emergency room. A rubber bandage was wound around the broken ankle and Lynn went home. On the morning of the air show, the crew lifted Lynn into the rear Lancaster door and he crawled to the cockpit. Ralph Langeman sat in the co-pilot seat, Brian B. McKay stood behind the pilot holding a VHF radio set over Lynn’s head. Joe McGoldrick crawled into the nose section and Jimmy Hamilton took over the flight engineer’s position. This signed print from Lynn Garrison captures the classic occasion he piloted Lancaster KB976 over Lancaster FM136. Lynn purchased, saved, and owned both WWII bombers.
Garrison organized a second Calgary air show in 1965 and he managed to get an RAF Vulcan bomber and Valiant refueling aircraft from England. Shell Oil sponsored the famous legless RAF ace Douglas Bader as his guest of honour. The show was gaining a widespread reputation. In 1966, Calgary City Hall and political infighting caused the air show to transferred to Red Deer, and the future breakup of the Air Museum of Canada was beginning. This has been explained by Lynn Garrison in his book.
The events from 1967 until 1973, have been destroyed, lost or just forgotten by the ‘unknown’ group who sold the fifty-plus aircraft in the original Lynn Garrison collection. Many still fly today in museums around the world. His Hurricane G-HURI flies with the Battle of Britain Flight in the UK. His Spitfire AR614 flies in Paul Allen’s collection in Seattle, Both of these aircraft were sold by Peter D. Norman. At the time of this article, [April 2017] Lynn Garrison is working on a new book which details all his stolen collection of aircraft, and the people involved.
On 23 July 1973, the City of Calgary becomes the official new owners of the assets of the defunct “Air Museum of Canada” (Actually the Air Museum of Canada never had any assets.) Recently retired Calgary International Airport Manager Bill Watts takes over the daily operations of the homeless museum. The City of Calgary places the seven aircraft [outside] at the Planetarium property for safe keeping and give Bill Watts an office plus pay his wages as a museum manager.
In the summer of 1975, the “Aero Space Museum Association of Calgary” is registered as a non-profit, charitable, organization and pilot Roy Staniland becomes the founding President. In March 1979, I became a 30-year card carrying member of the Aero Space Museum Association of Calgary. The monthly meetings were held at the downtown Planetarium basement, where we drank coffee, and hoped ‘our’ future plans would at least include a building to house the aircraft and artifacts.
The Calgary motto should have read – “On a Broken Wing and a Prayer.” My first contact with our new founding President Roy Staniland was during one of these evening meetings in the Planetarium. President Roy Staniland was the finest person I have had the pleasure of meeting, and working under in Calgary.
At the time,  he was Manager of the Helicopter Branch of Petro Canada and in the third year of recovering a rare Barkley-Grow bush plane which crashed into a lake in Quebec. Only eleven of these aircraft were constructed [1938-39] and today three remain in Alberta, the prototype, serial #1 in the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Westaskiwin. Barkley-Grow CF-BQM was number 8, constructed by the B-G Corporation of Detroit, Michigan, in 1939. It flew for several Canadian companies in the far north and was flown by pilot Roy Staniland on many occasions. In 1976, Roy Staniland purchased this aircraft which was submerged in a lake in Quebec. In the following two summers Art Bell, Jim Dick, and Roy worked on the aircraft and by the spring of 1979 it received certification for a one-way flight to Calgary, Alberta.
Image from Kathleen Staniland, Quebec, April 1979, Roy [left] and Jim Dick.
In May 1979, pilot Art Bell, co-pilot Roy Staniland and maintenance chief Jim Dick lake hopped B-G T8P-1 across Canada from Quebec to Chestermere Lake, just East of Calgary. The Cross-Canada flight took two days with 17 hours, 45 minutes’ flight time. The aircraft was then trucked to Calgary International Airport where it would be converted from floats to wheels in the repair hangar of Petro Canada Helicopters. Roy always welcomed me to his office, and if he was not busy, it was coffee and plane talk. His newly arrived float-plane B-G was parked on airport property, however due to security you could not walk over and take a photo. During a visit in July 1979, I mention I would love a photo. In a flash we were both in a Petro Canada vehicle driving across the Calgary airport to his ‘baby.’
Due to the simple fact the Aero Space Association of Calgary had no building or restoration area in May 1979, this rare aircraft had to be restored in the Government of Canada helicopter hangar. Some of this restoration work, converting from floats to wheels, was unknowingly donated by the Canadian taxpayer, which saved a very rare aircraft for all of Canada. No money was ever received from the City of Calgary for this rare aircraft and most of the cost came from President Roy Staniland. Roy arranged for full Canadian Government protection of his aircraft before he donated it to the Aero Space Museum of Calgary. Today Barkley-Grow #8 is registered and declared a Canadian National Treasure, protected for life, unlike the Lynn Garrison collection which was stolen and sold for profit.
While under restoration the Barkley-Grow was first displayed to the Calgary public in the Government of Canada hangar for Petro Canada Helicopters. I took this photo in 1984 and the Aero Space Museum of Calgary will not receive a home until the following year. I had the pleasure to sit in Roy Staniland’s home, drink coffee, and watch his 35 mm slide presentation of how he located and recovered this aircraft for Calgary and Canada. Today this is the only restored to flying condition B-G in the world, thanks to Roy. In 1985, Barkley-Grow T8P-1 was moved to the Aero Space Museum building and the remaining restoration was completed by a Canadian Federal Government Job Training Grant Program. Today this rare aircraft is one of a kind and the very first aircraft saved in the post Lynn Garrison era.
I feel the period between 1986 to 1991 became a major time of change for the Aero Space Museum of Calgary, and these decisions, good and bad, still effect the museum today, twenty-plus years later. A new management has taken hold but some of the old ‘powerful’ directors still linger in the background. The name has been changed to “The Hangar Flight Museum” under Executive Director Anne Lindsay, and I wish her well. In April 2016, Anne gave me a tour of the old 1940 RAF Drill Hall, and informed me the City of Calgary had just spent one million dollars, to upgrade the WWII building and make it fire proof.
Roy Staniland was the driving force to get a home for the new Aero Space Museum and the collection of aircraft including his rare Barkley Grow. Built in 1940, [the same year the museum was built] it left the B-G factory with pilot Lee Britnell at the controls, purchased by MacKenzie Air Service in Edmonton, Alberta. It flew for Pacific Western Airlines, Canadian Pacific Airlines, Sioux Narrows Airways, Parson Airways, Northland Wild Rice Ltd., Northern Airlines and last Associated Airways. Roy not only saved this aircraft, he had been the pilot of “his baby” for a number of years. Thanks to his position with Petro Canada Helicopters, Roy was able to secure a Canadian Government Job Development Training Program Grant to complete the restoration of his B-G aircraft. This Federal grant money not only saved the Calgary taxpayer restoration fees, it saved, and restored to flying condition, a most valuable part of Western aviation history for all of Canada. Today, it sits alone with very little history, but I do hope that will change under the new directors.
Now that the Aero Space Museum had a place to call home , another big question remained, who in fact legally owned the Lancaster bomber FM136? When Lynn Garrison departed for California in the fall of 1966, the WWII bomber was situated at the main entrance to McCall Field, property owned by the City of Calgary. In that same year, the City of Calgary could no longer afford to run the fast growing airport and it was sold to Transport Canada for two million dollars. The Government of Canada began planning for a new airport which opened in November 1977. The WWII memorial bomber was now left unprotected in the old airport industrial area, and vandals soon moved in to steal, destroy, and damage the once proud aircraft. Large sections of glass in the cockpit area were broken and the original instrument panel gauges was stolen, or damaged beyond repair. The pigeons soon found a new home and by 1986, some sections in the bomber contained four inches of pigeon droppings.
At last the City of Calgary put up a security fence, but refused to spend taxpayer money on a bomber they did not own, and ownership was still a legal question to be decided later in a court of law. President Roy Staniland and a group of RCAF WWII veterans from the Aero Space Museum of Calgary stepped forward and decided to save the aircraft, as they believed it still came under their protection. The broken glass was replaced, the inside cleaned of pigeon droppings, and a complete repainting was undertaken thanks to public donations, most received from the owner of Jack Carter Chev Olds in Calgary. The Lancaster paint now appeared in new squadron code letters [NA] and the aircraft single code letter [P], the same as the Lancaster in the National Aeronautical Collection museum at ex-RCAF Station Rockcliffe, Ontario. I had seen the Ottawa Lancaster during my first visit in 1977, yet it contained no information on the WWII crew or its combat history. What came next was a total surprise.
Calgary FM136 in 1986, being painted as KB760, No. 428 [Ghost] Squadron code NA-P for “Panic.”
The image of KB944 painted as KB760 NA-P for “Panic” in Ottawa, 1967.
In the fall of 1986, I met ex-F/O Arthur John Edward Carter and my first question was –
“Why have we painted Calgary Lancaster FM136 in the markings of No. 428 [Ghost] squadron NA-P [P for Panic] KB760?”
His quick answer was very simple –
“That was my Lancaster, which I flew seventeen times, after I joined No. 428 Ghost Squadron in July 1943.”
That would lead to extensive research and the fact both ‘our’ Canadian built Lancaster aircraft [Ottawa and Calgary] were painted incorrectly.
End of Part One
More on Lynn Garrison
The First Vintage Flying Wings of Canada
at Calgary, Alberta
Research by Clarence Simonsen
Herb Spear (Courtesy Lynn Garrison)
The vision of forming the first Vintage Flying Wings Aviation Museum in Canada belonged to Lynn Garrison, a very young RCAF pilot. He was 22 years old, attending university at the time, flying with 403 City of Calgary Squadron on weekends.
Today, many in the Aviation industry authoritatively recount the origins of our Aero Space Museum Association of Calgary, including the Aero Space Museum Website, which is today re-named The Hangar Flight Museum, with no mention of Lynn Garrison, its true founder. With absolutely no ulterior motive, Garrison had accumulated a huge collection for permanent display in his home town. Lynn has published a new book, EVOLUTION – From 90 mph to Supersonic in 30 Years, giving some detail of what happened between 1954 and 1978. Due to the fact almost all of the people in his book are deceased, it will serve as a missing link to the original formation saga of what should have been Canada’s first flying aviation museum. He is completing another book, GRAND THEFT AIRCRAFT which tells of aircraft stolen from him over the years. Some are very famous today.
Lynn Garrison in Mustang 9279 cockpit 1960,
prior to ferry flight to New York. (Garrison collection 2013)
The following brief history contains photos and facts from the new book EVOLUTION. I have been given carte blanche to use whatever I wish. The majority of this text is from my memory, photos, and records, regarding Avro Lancaster FM136, and creation of the old Aero Space Museum of Calgary. I have also included photos and descriptions of events supplied by Garrison.
Garrison’s idea of forming a museum in Calgary began in 1959, with the name Alberta Aviation Museum and restoration of a Supermarine Seafire.
The concept was launched with nothing more than a box of letterhead, printed by Roy Farran and Graham Smith, of the North Hill News, and Garrison’s imaginative determination. It would later become a registered entity. These two men became the first real and strongest supporters. Major Roy Farran D.S.O. M.C. was a founder of the famed British Special Air Service. S/L Graham Smith D.F.C. had been a Pathfinder Mosquito pilot, with the RAF in WWII. One of the first aircraft acquired was a de Havilland Mosquito CF-HMS, RS-700 with the concept of painting it in Grahams wartime colors.
This is the very same RAF Mosquito that two senior Colonels of the RCAF Association, attempted an under the table sale to a rich millionaire in England. They nearly succeeded! Forgotten in all the Aero Space Museum of Calgary infighting, lies, politics and greed, is the fact that Lynn Garrison personally, on a university student’s budget, saved these rare aircraft, for future generations of Calgary citizens.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
In a twist of fate, this Mosquito aircraft is now being restored to the very same markings as seen in these first Garrison photo images. While the old Aero Space Museum directors, politicians, and aviation V.I.P.’s of Calgary involved never intended to honor Lynn Garrison, that is just what they will do. History can be twisted, but never destroyed.
As Garrison once said:
“I have been painted as the devil incarnate. Not being there to defend myself allowed the guilty to draw attention from their crimes. Now, one of my Hurricanes flies as G-HURI, in the United Kingdom, while my Spitfire AR614 flies with Paul Allen’s museum in Seattle. Both were sold by Peter D. Norman as his personal possessions.”
Their current valuation is well over $2,000,000 per aircraft.
Back to the beginning: In the fall of 1962, Lynn was talking with Jim Lipinsky, his friend who managed Spartan Air Services in Ottawa.
“We discussed my interest in collecting aircraft for the new museum in Calgary. He offered me a retired Spartan Air Service de Havilland Mosquito, sitting in Ottawa. A price of $900.00 was agreed upon. I sent him a cheque and delayed payment of my tuition.. Lipinsky replied with a telegram, acknowledging payment. He suggested one of his contacts at de Havilland Canada [Downsview] might help prepare the Mosquito for rail shipment to Calgary. William Duck became involved. He had been with de Havilland for years and soon had a team of volunteers preparing the aircraft for its move to Calgary. Canadian National Railway donated 2 flat cars to carry the Mosquito from Ontario to the Shell Oil pipe yard on Calgary’s Edmonton Trail. The transfer was completed during the winter of 1963.”
Photos Lynn Garrison – 2013
“In April 1964, the new AIR MUSEUM OF CANADA was incorporated by Lynn Garrison. Calgary lawyer Albert Ludwig filed the documentation. It began as a charitable corporation and none of the aircraft acquired over the years, were ever transferred into the museum’s name for ownership. The Museum had 100 shares. 98 were held by Lynn, 1 by his wife Evelyn and the other by his mother.”
“In 1964, I obtained two Canadair Saber Mk. 6 jet aircraft, in original Golden Hawk colours from Crown Assets Disposal Corporation with the understanding that I mutilate them before disposal. My friend Milt Harradence wanted one and I declined, because of my agreement with the government. He insisted promising to get approval from his cousin, Jack Horner, the Minister of Commerce. I agreed, conditioned upon receiving authorisation in writing. I received a phone call, agreeing to release of the Sabre, but promised written approval never arrived, so I refused.”
Original RCAF Golden Hawk #23424 at Calgary airport 1964, (Lynn Garrison image)
In short, the Golden Hawk Sabre generated litigation between Lynn Garrison and his close friend, best man Milt Harradence, a major political power in the Alberta Government and the City of Calgary. Milt wanted one of the Sabres as his personal aircraft. Lynn’s refusal to violate his word launched litigation that would eventually destroy the entire concept. It’s not my story to tell, but it gives some idea of what was going on to destroy Canadians first Vintage Flying Aviation Museum at Calgary, Alberta.
This is the ex-Golden Hawk CF-AMN that caused the destruction of Canada’s first Vintage Aviation Museum. Note the “MH” on tail for pilot Milt Harradence, and the Confederate Air Force marking, plus the “R” from RCAF has been removed. [Photo from Lynn Garrison]
By the summer of 1965, Lynn Garrison, a 28-year-old college student, was involved in major litigation with Milt Harradence, one of Canada’s leading trial attorneys, head of the Progressive Conservative team, and serving his second term as a Calgary Alderman. (Lynn had managed his campaign.) By this date Garrison had accumulated over 45 aircraft, along with a massive collection of aircraft-related material. A few of these aircraft were acquired in two or more, allowing for a spare parts inventory, or for future flying or trading with other groups.
During the summer of 1965, Milt Harradence filed a legal action against Lynn Garrison, and the Air Museum of Canada, claiming a violation of contract, even though the original handshake understanding that the government was required to give written permission was never met. This led to legal infighting when Albert Ludwig filed a response. Albert was a lawyer with strong ties to the Alberta Social Credit (he was a Member of the Legislative Assembly) party and wished to make this a political thing; Garrison refused.
During 1966 Garrison was involved with a film titled the Darling Lili. While he was in California coordinating pre-production for the film, Peter D. Norman had his home raided by the Sheriff. Norman obtained papers, memorabilia, and Bills of Sale of 45 aircraft, including the location and photos of aircraft that had not been delivered to Calgary. The documents also included all his personal papers, including his daughter’s first report card.
Norman was claiming to act on behalf of the Air Museum of Canada in which he had no official standing. The Museum had 3 Governors (Directors) Lynn Garrison, Evelyn Garrison and Jean Garrison, holding 100% of the shares. The Museum never owned anything so all Norman got was a lot of material and a filing cabinet. No legal control of anything! All material was still in the name of Lynn Garrison/Alberta Aviation Museum, a fact that was clarified during 1993 when Garrison visited Calgary to block sale of Lancaster FM-136 by Bill Watts to the Confederate Air Force.
Disgusted, Garrison returned to Calgary, sold his home at 2732, Brecken Road, sold his possessions, loaded what was left in a U-Haul and departed for California.
While the litigation is not important to my story, the following information should be taken into consideration by the City of Calgary taxpayers, and all aviation historians. When Lynn Garrison left Calgary, his total aircraft collection was around 65 aircraft.
Prior to 1964, Joe McGoldrick, an RCAF 403 Squadron sponsored nav student, training at RCAF Station, Winnipeg, was the man who travelled the countryside, on weekends, locating a variety of old WWII aircraft. He took photos of each aircraft, then noted the location and contact details for the aircraft. Milt Harradence had prepared a simple legal document. Joe carried a load of blank copies with him. Whenever possible Joe would obtain a written agreement to donate the aircraft to the Alberta Aviation Museum in Calgary. Owners were overjoyed to have their derelict aircraft considered for museum display. Joe McGoldrick would become Chief Pilot with Canadian Air.
By 1965, Joe McGoldrick had obtained definite paperwork for  Bristol Bolingbroke, one Fairey Battle,  Westland Lysanders,  Airspeed Oxfords,  Fairchild Cornels,  Fleet Finch,  Tiger Moth,  Cessna Crane,  North American Yales,  Hawker Hurricanes,  Fairy Swordfish, (one now in Stan Reynold’s collection)  Avro Anson Mk, II  Avro Anson Mk. IV,  Barkley Grow,  Fairchild 82, [minus engine] a de Havilland Mosquito fuselage K-114,  Avro Lancaster fuselage, the front half of a Handley Page Hampton, plus a scattered collection of aircraft parts and engines.
“While in the United States I registered Spitfire BM-597 and Lancaster KB-976 with the FAA since I had 2 American teams ready to restore them for the Calgary flying museum ” At the time, I offered my collection to Eric Harvey, and his Glenbow Foundation. He had been a friend of my father, since World War One, and had helped me with the cost of purchasing aircraft. At one point he bought an ex-RCAF H-5 Sikorsky helicopter from CADC for $2,500. It is still in Calgary.”
“Eric declined my offer saying… ‘Lynn, your project is a personality project. Without you it will fail.’”
He was correct, and it did fail.
“Having received no assistance, from the Canadian government, in support of my legal action with Milt Harradence, I gave him a Sabre in exchange for 2 Vampires, and sold the remaining ‘Golden Hawk’ F-86 to the Flight Test Research, owned by Russ O’Quinn in San Diego. The $19,000 received paid the account owing for the 1966 Red Deer Airshow, [$7,000.00]. The balance was left in the museum account. This money was taken over by Peter D. Norman, with the Bills of Sale for 45 aircraft, plus the photos and location of the above listed 23 aircraft.”
I have a copy of the original Bill of Sale [22407 CA] of the Air Museum of Canada to the City of Calgary, dated 23 July 1973 at 1:39 P.M. for the price of one dollar.
The back page is “Schedule A” which lists the seven aircraft of the legal sale to the City of Calgary.
One Avro CF-100 Canuck #18126
One de Havilland DH 98 Mosquito CF-HMS #RS700
One de Havilland DH100 Vampire CF-RLK #17069
One Hawker Hurricane X11A, AC#41 # 48084
One North American Harvard Ground Trainer [unmarked]
One de Havilland Tiger-moth serial unknown
One Sikorsky H-5 #9607
Fact – when Lynn Garrison departed Calgary, he had amassed in part or whole a collection of over 50 aircraft for the Air Museum of Canada. Lynn sold one Sabre and the remainder were left with Milt Harradence and Peter D. Norman. In 1973, Peter D. Norman sold seven aircraft to the City of Calgary for one dollar.
Where did the other fifty plus aircraft disappear to?
It should be pointed out that none of the aircraft acquired were ever sold or transferred to The Air Museum of Canada – ever! So the entire Peter D. Norman transfer was legally meaningless.
They were stolen from the citizens of Calgary and sold [for huge profit] to other worldwide museums, where you will still find them flying today.
What is most interesting about this official Bill of Sale is the fact the Lancaster Mk. X, serial number FM136 is not listed as sold to the City of Calgary? Also a second Hawker Hurricane and Spitfire AR614. The huge question remains. Was this a simple oversight by Calgary lawyers, or was it done for the purpose of later selling these multi-million dollar aircraft privately?
The historical fact is Lynn Garrison purchased two complete Canadian-built Lancaster Mk. X aircraft and had both delivered to Lynn Garrison serial FM136, and the Alberta Aviation Museum – KB976.
This story begins on 15 October 1948, when No. 403 [Fighter/Bomber] Auxiliary Squadron was formed at Calgary, Alberta, ex-No. 3 S.F.T.S. base from World War two days, disbanded 28 September 1945. The squadron began flying the North American Harvard Mk. II in August 1949 and used the unit code “AD” until 1951. The unit code was changed to “PR” from 1952 to 1958.
Winter of 1951, Harvard #2772, taken on charge by RCAF 10 January 1941
and off charge 14 December 1960. [author collection]
This 1951 air to air image shows the Harvard Mk. II’s in formation flying over the snow covered Calgary farm country. The title City of Calgary would not become official until 3 September 1952, however it was used on the white nose along with the Wolf head as early as 1950. These were the days, when postwar aircraft carried impressive markings, bright yellow Harvard, white radio direction dome, white tail, white wing-tips, and white nose cowling with black and red wolf nose art badge.
Lynn Garrison was born in 1937, joined the RCAF at Calgary in 1954, entered pilot training aged 17, receiving his wings at RCAF Station Portage-la-Prairie [6 April 1955] aged 18 years. The youngest pilot in the RCAF, since World War Two, a record that still stands today. He flew these Harvard aircraft a number of hours until they were struck off charge in March 1959.
In November 1950, No. 403 Squadron began to fly the North American Mustang Mk. IV, which remained on charge until October 1958.
Image Lynn Garrison – the good old days in Calgary.
[note the white tail, wing-tips and spinner, same markings as the Harvard]
“Milt Harradence and I flew P-51 Mustangs with No. 403 City of Calgary Squadron from 1954 to 58. Although a generation apart, we became very close friends. When I obtained a contract to ferry 75 surplus RCAF squadron Mustangs,  Milt joined me to complete a number of those trips.”
Lynn Garrison original newspaper image signed by Calgary Alderman Milt Harradence 1961.
Lynn Garrison image 1960, on old Runway 29, McCall Field, Calgary, Alberta.
Eight of the P-51 Mustangs ferried to New York had been on charge with No. 403 City of Calgary squadron and had been flown by both Milt Harradence and Lynn Garrison. This is P-51D, serial 9279 seen at McCall Field, Calgary, USAAF # 44-73877. It was taken on charge by RCAF on 23 January 1951 and off charge 29 April 1958. Other Mustang aircraft were in long-term storage at RCAF Station Macleod, Alberta and RCAF Station Carberry, Manitoba.
The history of the Mustang ferry flights is covered in detail in Garrison’s new book, which contains many unpublished photo images. The following photo is published for the first time from the collection of Garrison, an original image RCAF “Golden Hawks” Government of Canada, taken near Calgary [flight to Banff] in 1962. Copy obtained from Milt Harradence archives and used with permission of Lynn Garrison.
This is the P-51D Mustang, ex-USAAF serial 44-74435, which was RCAF serial #9221, Canadian civil registration CF-LOQ. The photos were taken at Calgary airport on 19 July 1962. In the background of one photo you will see the Calgary Lancaster bomber Lynn Garrison saved and placed on the pedestal.
Credit for both photos go to F.W. [Bill] Wunsch of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
As partial payment for ferrying 75 surplus RCAF P-51 Mustang aircraft to New York, both Garrison and Harradence received their own ex-RCAF Mustang, 26 September 1961. In 1962, the Golden Hawks came to Calgary and Milt Harradence appeared in a few RCAF images taken flying formation with the team. (Garrison’s fellow RCAF class member Ed Keogh was a team member) This is the free Mustang Harradence received for the 1960-61 ferry flights, ex-U.S. P-51D-30-NA, serial 44-7446, RCAF serial 9223, registered as CF-LOR, and still airworthy today in the United States. Lynn Garrison obtained ex-U.S. P-51D, serial 44-74435, RCAF serial 9221, registered as CF-LOQ. This fighter crashed in Calgary 29 April 1966, was rebuilt, and later sold to an American owner. Crashed in Texas with major damage on 23 October 1970. Parts used in other ex-RCAF Mustang restoration.
Another Mustang 9598 was acquired by Garrison, in Carberry, Manitoba. This was loaned to RCAF Station Lincoln Park as a gate guardian, in 1961, and disappeared while Garrison was flying with 115 ATU, UNEF Egypt in 1962. It now flies under a swapped serial number 9560 as Glamorous Glen 111 in the States. 9560 had been scrapped by Garrison in 1962,
The Calgary Lancaster FM-136
More on Lynn Garrison here…
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The soldier sleeps – in distant foreign lands,
Beneath the ice or shifting desert sands.
An airman in the sun-split clouds.
The sailor in his watery shroud.
Their sacrifice, in time is lost,
With scant appreciation of the cost
Lest we forget.