The First Vintage Flying Wings of Canada at Calgary, Alberta
Research by Clarence Simonsen
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.
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
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