Updated 22 July 2021

This blog was created to share stories from Clarence Simonsen’s lifelong research.

This is his biography I took from a Website.

Clarence Simonsen was born in a small farmhouse six miles from Acme, Alberta on 24 March 1944. During the postwar RCAF era, Simonsen watched bright yellow Harvard trainers buzz across the farm on the flying instructor’s course from Medicine Hat to Penhold, Alberta. That thunderous sound left a lasting impact on the young farm lad, who always seemed to be drawing aircraft in his spare time. In his early teens, Simonsen had his first exposure to artist Alberto Vargas and subsequently discovered the world of aircraft nose art and the pin-up in time of war.

During a four-year stint in the Canadian Army (Provost Corps, Simonsen was posted to Cyprus with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in 1965. As he left Canada for the first time, he wondered if this was how bomber crews felt twenty-five years earlier. For the next six months he conducted Military Police duties with members of six other countries. In his spare time he painted unit cartoons and did his first large mural art work. He began to understand the effect art can have on isolated military men. By late 1966, Simonsen was a member of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Force with his major avocation being the research, collection and repainting of aircraft nose art.



I believe every story has to be shared. This is why I am helping Clarence Simonsen to publish on WordPress his amazing research.

Pierre Lagacé

40 thoughts on “About

  1. Ken Newman

    Hello Clarence,
    In your blog about the “History of RCAF Hurricane serial 5424” I found several references and a few photos of the Hurricanes squadron that was station here in Terrace, BC. I work for the City of Terrace and we are doing a heritage recognition project for some of the WWII structures still remaining at the Terrace Airport (YXT). I am doing some background research on the airport’s history and came across your blog. We still have a gunnery backstop at the airport and want to do some clean up of the structure and add an interpretive sign about the airport’s history and the aircraft that were stationed here. Do you have more details about the Terrace operations? Most of the time in your blog Terrace is mentioned in passing. As I search the internet there seems to be more info about other locations. Any info you are willing to share or direction you might be able to give would be appreciated.
    I did noticed that you have a photo of the crash of the 5406 and it is said to be at Pat Bay, but I can confirm that it is at the Terrace airport. I recognize the snow covered mountains to the north of the airport in the background.


  2. Ken Newman

    Absolutely. Thanks again Pierre.
    There are a few other photos in the article that look like they might be from Terrace but I have to go up to the airport and have a look to compare. I am interested to know details about the Terrace operation. I know the 135 squadron was here but for how long and it would be nice to know some of the names of the pilots and the aircraft numbers. These kind of little details I believe enhance the local story for people and bring it to life.
    I read in Clarence’s blog that there were occasions where the squadron were out patrolling for Japanese fire balloons but it only mentions those around Patricia Bay. We had them in this area too. Are there any stories about pilots from Terrace going out to intercept them around here? It was interesting to read about the death of a pilot (Sedgwick) in 5404 after an unauthorized low flight and hitting the ferry cable at Kitwanga. Kitwanga is about 100 km northeast of Terrace. Were the only planes stationed here Hurricanes? Or were there any Kittyhawks here?


    1. Pierre Lagacé Post author

      Clarence just wrote… He has computer problem with Windows 10 being installed without his consent. I will write you a personal email.


  3. Chris Labbé

    Good day,
    I’m a serving member of 424 (T&R) Sqn based out of CFB Trenton. We are celebrating our 75th Anniversary this year and will host events in the Hamilton area in the Fall.

    I’m not sure if it would be possible or if this information is available to you, but I want to get in touch with Mr. Tom Walton or his family. We intend on honoring one of his designs for our 75th Anniversary and would like to involve them. Thanks!


  4. Roger

    Hello Clarence,

    I read your excellent article about No. 416 Squadron and came across a very interesting shot of a Me 262 (see https://clarencesimonsen.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/postwar-part-one-8.jpg).

    My main interest has been the Me 262 for more than 20 years and I have been researching its technical development history. After visiting various archives incl. the NASM and NARA for together several weeks, I have accumulated thousands of wartime documents of which I have summarized about 3000 pages by topic and date. My ultimate goal is to publish a book. For this I have also collected a few hundreds of previously unpublished original photos of captured Me 262s. In 2011, I published my first book ‘Captured Eagles Vol. I’ (see my website http://www.vintageeagle.com).

    I wanted to ask you whether it is possible get a high resolution scan of that Me 262 photo for my book? Its serial number most likely starts with 110 and not with 418. There was no 418 serial number block, but just 170, 110, 111, 112, 113 and then some with starting with 5. What appears to be a vertical white bar on the tail was just bare metail where a stripe of fabric that was applied for a smooth transition between the main fuselage and the tail had fallen off.

    I hope to hear from you soon.

    Kind regards,



  5. Stewart Devlin

    I would like to meet Clarence if he is planing to go to Ottawa any time soon. I am coming to Ottawa to see my father’s aircraft nose art in the museum some time this year, no date fixed yet. I exchanged emails with Clarence some years ago but the email address I have for him no longer works.


  6. Saundra Howard

    There is an image of the woman on the moon in this article that someone I know wants to put on a t-shirt. Are the images copyrighted? or can permission be granted to use one of them for a personal project?


  7. Tricia Lo

    Hi Pierre,

    Tricia here from CBC Calgary News. We’re working on a story about the CF-100 Canuck and saw this photo of the aircraft parked outside the Planetarium in this post: https://clarencesimonsen.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/the-calgary-clunk-draft-version/

    We’d like to use the photo in our coverage, but the credit is the Estate of Sig Weiser. We’re wondering if you would be able to put us in touch with the people who own the rights to the image so that we can request permission.

    Thanks very much!


      1. Pierre Lagacé Post author


        The photo was taken by Sig Weiser, [deceased] and was in the collection of the Planetarium, around 1983. At that time the old “Aero Space Museum” had no home. Credit Clarence Simonsen.

        The man who saved the CF-100 is still alive in Haiti, and I can give you his email if needed. The man who hauled the aircraft to Calgary is still alive, Mr. Herb Spear, 95 years old, worked for West-jet until three years ago.

        I live in Airdrie, phone is….



      2. Pierre Lagacé Post author

        I think you could give due credit to the Estate without any problem since you are in a hurry. I am not sure if Clarence will reply today.


  8. Philipp Aumann

    Dear Clarence Simonsen,
    the Peenemünde Historical-Technical Museum is planning an exhibition about Gerd de Beek and his nose-art paintings on the Peenemünde V2-rockets. We would like to present the existing historical photos and photos of your paintings. How do you think about making digital replicas of your paintings and allowing us to print and prsent them?
    Best wishes,
    Philipp Aumann


    1. Pierre Lagacé Post author

      I have sent Clarence Simonsen an email using your email address you have provided with your comment. He should reply today. Please stay in contact.


  9. Janel Mann

    Hi Clarence and Pierre,
    My Grandpa, F/O Norman Arnott Folkersen was a pilot with WAC from 1942-44, (120 Squadron & 122 Squadron) then was sent over to the UK. My Great Uncle, Flight Sgt John Brock Folkersen who was a MUG with the Cradle Crew, 408 Squadron Linton-On-Ouse (usual Halifax PN225). As well, my other Great Uncle F/O Victor Roy Folkersen was a navigator who died along with his crew and an instructor in Lanc W4929 Sept 5/43 on a training flight out of RAF Winthorpe with 1661 HCU. I just wanted to pass along that I have read many your books and online articles on the nose art and insignia.
    If it wasn’t for your research, our family wouldn’t have known that the RCAF 122 Squadron unofficial insignia of Patricia Bay was the “Flying Nightmare” created by Disney Studios, or that 120 BR Squadron of Coal Harbour, also had an original unofficial insignia drawn by a squadron member or that Disney studios also provided a redone insignia (Pluto on a bomb).
    Also discovered that the Cradle Crew flew one sortie I Halifax NP714, Veni Vidi Vici, the Drum Major Girl on Feb 9/45 to Wanne Eickel. Lovely to find out that original piece of nose art is in the Canadian War Museum, also which you’ve written extensively about.
    I have started a private family Facebook group (we are only 36 members), but have been providing research links and articles as my research goes along, as have one of Brock’s sons, Ross. The family history we have is being shared and also researched further. Your work has contributed to our family WWII history and remembrance, so no amount of thanks can be enough.
    Thanks from the Folkersen Family tree.


  10. Meagen McMillan

    Hello Clarence, I have recently found your work « The Lost Vargas Girls. » It is fascinating and the amount of research is thrilling. We are currently offering Mara Corday True Girl February 1952 original Vargas at Heritage Auctions. With your permission, I would like to utilize a few of your images (the model image in particular) as well as including part of your writing in our catalog. We will cite you as the author. Please let me know your thoughts!



    Meagen McMillan
    Consignment Director, Illustration Art
    Heritage Auctionsmeagenm@ha.com


  11. Joe Thorley

    My Great Uncle was on Course 76 at 37 SFTS Calgary & I have his Flight log book along with an album of photos / Christmas menus etc from his time there, would this be something Clarence would be interested in seeing?


  12. Michael Kaye

    Thank you for all you hard work. I have recently started going through Dad’s log and notes regarding his service with 427 SQ. In 1945 he was F/O piloting ZL-T primarily, but also other aircraft. I hope to find a picture of this very Lancaster. His notes detail their final operational flight May 3 1945 in ZL-R to Kiel but were recalled as Kiel had surrendered while they were enroute. His final flight was June 1 1945, « training » including buzzing Dingle Bay Ireland- his Father’s birthplace. Dad was just 20 when his war ended. Cheers, Mike



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