Stories from Clarence Simonsen’s lifelong research


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.




12 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,




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