Author Archives: Pierre Lagacé


Gordon flew that plane!


















For sale!




​P-40E AK803 was invoiced to the RAF on October 2nd, 1941. AK803 was accepted by the RAF on 8th Oct 1941, and was delivered on the 15th Oct 1941 in fly away condition. The cost of AK803 was US $36,347.00.

1941: A production order that was intended for the RAF was diverted to the RCAF, on October 16th, 1941, AK803 was the fifth P-40 of 156 to land in Canada. Initially posted to the RCAF Station in Dartmouth Nova Scotia. AK803 was utilized in anti submarine patrols. In June 1942 AK803 and 16 other 118 Squadron Kittyhawks made a record breaking 4,000 mile crossing from Dartmouth to Annette Island, Alaska.

1942: AK803 is located at Annette Island, Alaska. Upon take-off, as the P-40 roared down the rough runway a wheel hit a rough spot and the gear collapsed. Later in 1942 the minor damage caused to the P-40 was repaired and AK803’s British Serial Number was dropped and AK803 became 1034. After its repair it was posted to Boundary Bay, south of Vancouver, British Columbia. The P-40 was used for fighter affiliation work with Liberators and Mitchells stationed in the Vancouver Area. From Vancouver, AK803 made a short flight to Patricia Bay/ Victoria International Airport on Vancouver Island, a Squadron change to 133 RCAF was issued. Upon landing on the runway the landing gear gave way, and the P-40 ended up on its belly. Soon after the P-40 was barged to Coates Limited on Sea Island (now Vancouver International Airport) across the Strait of Georgia for repair and camouflage removal. 1034 was stripped of war paint, polished and sent on a War Bond drive to sit, shining in the sun at Brockton Point Oval in Vancouver. Later the P-40 was ferried back to Patricia Bay where it was stored in bare metal condition until declared surplus in August 1946.

1946: George Maude, who grew up on Saltspring Island joined the RCAF in 1943. He was posted to Patricia Bay and had a fond interest in aircraft. After the war ended the RCAF held a surplus sale and 1034 came up for auction. George Maude paid $50 for the Kittyhawk. Later that same year, Maude, along with some help from a friend by the name of Pete Stevens, towed the Kittyhawk , on a raft of logs, from Patricia Bay, to Saltspring Island, BC. Upon reaching Saltspring the wings had to be cut off to clear the telephone poles that lined the street leading to the Maude Family house. The aircraft remained on Saltspring for 28 years and was frequently started up. The P-40 was a well known tourist attraction on the Island.

1974: The P-40, with the tail wheel placed in a wooden box in the back of a pickup truck boarded the Saltspring Queen, a local BC Ferry, and headed back to Patricia Bay, where a full wing change took place. The wing change took place first by removing the old cut up wings and there after replaced with a pair that George Maude had found in Champion, Alberta, in 1963, To the present day the Kittyhawk is credited as being one of the most original P-40s in existence, with the exception of the six 50 inch caliber machine-guns. Since the restoration George Maude, and son David Maude have collected many spare parts, including a long-range belly fuel tank and the radios.

This is free to share…

Colorised by Pierre Lagacé


Remembering Tom Walton

This is a research that was done by Clarence Simonsen. It was originally posted here on my blog Lest We Forget II. Why Lest We Forget II? Because I had a blog called Lest We Forget. Since I did not have anymore space to add more pictures, I had to create another blog.

When Clarence asked me to put his research on Lest We Forget II, I had this great idea…

Create his own blog for him called Preserving the Past.

This is what was originally posted on Lest We Forget II, but there is a little surprise at the end.

Research and story by Clarence Simonsen

The original “Hamilton Tigers” motto [Noli me Tangere] ‘Touch Me Not’ and Tiger Head badge represented the City of Hamilton and the very first squadron [No. 19] formed in this city. The badge never flew in the City of Hamilton.

No. 19 [Auxiliary] Squadron RCAF was formed in Hamilton, Ontario, on 15 May 1935, and began flying four Tiger Moth aircraft in May 1937. They were renumbered No. 119 Squadron on 15 November 1939, and called to full duty when war was declared [England] 3 September 1939. They left Hamilton [for Western Air Command] on 4 January 1940 and flew out of Jericho Bay, B.C. from 9 Jan. 1940 to 15 July 1940.

On 21 July 1940 the squadron returned to Eastern Air Command at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. On 23 August 1942, S/L H. Wigle took over command at Sydney, N.S., at which time approval was granted for an official crest. The Hamilton Tigers Football [rugby] club allowed the use of their tiger which was prepared by artist J.D. Heaton-Armstrong, then submitted to the Chester of Herald of the Royal College of Arms, in London, England.

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This image was taken from the Hamilton Tigers [Rugby] Football team insignia and was not created until after 23 August 1942. It was officially approved October 1942 by King George VI. The unit was now based at Sydney, Nova Scotia, flying four aircraft [Lockheed Hudson Mk. III] on anti-submarine reconnaissance over the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Cape Breton Island. I can find no proof the official badge appeared on any aircraft from this date until disbanded on 15 March 1944.

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Official No. 119 Squadron Canadian badge, which featured
the Hamilton Tigers Football [rugby] club image

The squadron title or nickname became “Hamilton Tigers” with motto – [Touch Me Not] approved by King George VII, October 1942. This first tiger insignia was used in Canada for only eighteen months or until the unit was disbanded at Sydney, Nova Scotia, 15 March 1944. Note- this Tiger face is not the same as the original British design and the B.R. for Bomber Reconnaissance is omitted.

The History of the Second Tiger Insignia [and the forgotten “Erk” who created the badge]

No. 424 Squadron began to form at Topcliffe, Yorkshire, England, 15 October 1942, under No. 4 Group RAF Bomber Command. They had no badge, motto, or connections to the City of Hamilton. Wing Commander H.M. Carscallen, DFC, a Canadian pilot who had been on operations since the beginning of the war, became the first Commanding Officer on 20 October 1942. The next two months marked a period of intensive training, and by the end of December the squadron had on charge one-hundred and twenty-two aircrew with two-hundred and eight-five ground crew. On 1 January 1943, they became part of the newly formed No. 6 [RCAF] Group of Bomber Command. In the next four months they took part in major bombing raids on targets as Cologne, Wilhelmshaven, Oldenburg, Essen, Hamburg, Duisburg, and mine laying [gardening] at the Frisian Islands, Heligoland, and Den Helder. On 3 April 1943, the British Air Minister asks the Canadian government for their approval to deploy three RCAF experienced Wellington squadrons for a two month tour of operations in support of the invasion of Sicily. No. 420, 424, and 425 squadrons were selected to serve under number 331 Wing, Mediterranean Air Command, part of 205 [RAF] Group. On 1 May 43, they were taken off bombing operations and informed they were part of a new formed Canadian Wing going to North Africa. The squadron aircrew departed England for North Africa, [Tunisia] on 16 May 1943, flying new tropicalized Vickers Wellington B. Mk. X bombers. The ground crew were issued tropical gear and departed by boat, arriving in Algiers on 26 May. A young artistic air engine mechanic from Calgary, Alberta, was part of the ground crew, LAC Matthew Cecil Ferguson.

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LAC Mat Ferguson from Calgary, Alberta. [From his loving wife Levina 2001]

The main targets in the Sicilian campaign became the enemy airfields on Sicily and mainland Italy, preventing the Luftwaffe and Italian Regia Aeronautica from taking off and bombing the landing Allied troops. Canadian operations began on 26/27 June 1943. Beginning in mid-June 1943, Calgary artist Mat Ferguson painted at least nine squadron Wellington bombers with Canadian Nose Art

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One contained the side profile of a tiger on a Maple Leaf with name “The “A” Train”. The name was in reference to a train that was leaving track “A” in a Canadian train station. [More trains would follow from Canada]

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Replica of Ferguson’s nose art on Wellington aircraft North Africa by Clarence Simonsen

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“Marie and Black Bull” painted by Ferguson at Kairouan, Tunisia, North Africa June 1943

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This Wellington nose art was found in the Mat Ferguson photo album and it is based on the same nude image he painted for 424 bomber “Jersey Bounce”. The original art was created by Norman Pett for an RAF night fighter squadron in England, and the nude was the famous “Jane.” I believe this was in fact a Wellington Mk. X that served with No. 425 Alouette Squadron who shared the two dirt landing stripes with No. 424 and No. 420 squadrons in Tunisia.

Group Captain Clarence Rupert Larry Dunlap was in charge of the three RCAF squadrons that arrived in the Tunisia theatre of operations on 21 June 1943. They would operate under RAF No. 331 Wing, however the area was taken by three RAF squadrons and the Canadians were informed they would fly from a mountainous area further south-west on the region between Algerian and Tunisia. Thanks to some cash lost in poker games and a few bottles of rare Scotch whiskey, two new RCAF dirt landing strips were constructed in four days by a Major in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. RCAF G/Capt. Dunlap then informed the RAF Mediterranean Air Command Headquarters his three squadrons would be located beside the RAF in the Tunisian plains, and the British should find the means to supply his squadrons with fuel, ammunition, and food. The RAF reluctantly agreed and the RCAF went to war in a much safer landing zone, thirty miles from the Mediterranean coastal city of Sousse. The two dirt strips were only ten miles apart, and this would allow Mat Ferguson to paint nose art on other squadron aircraft.

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The same nose art would appear on a No. 425 Halifax at Tholthorpe, Yorkshire, England in 1944.

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The Capture of Sicily was not intended to be the pre-invasion of Italy, but that changed with a new campaign to capture Naples and southern Italy. Bombing support for this invasion meant an extension for the Canadians of 331 Wing, and the planned return to England was delayed from late July until 10 October 43. Throughout the month of September and the first week of October the Wellington bombers pounded the area around Naples and the airfields of Foggia. In early October the Germans were pushed north, the front line was stabilized and the Canadians of 331 Wing prepared to depart for return to cold and wet England. The RCAF Wellington bombers had flown 2,182 sorties and only lost eighteen aircraft in combat, a further eighteen written off in accidents. One of the Wellingtons lost in an accident carried the art work of tiger face with words – The “A” Train.

The old trusty RCAF Wellington aircraft were left for the British RAF as the three squadrons boarded troop ships at Algiers on 27 October 1943. The nose art of The “A” Train was cut from the crashed Wellington bomber by ground crew and taken to England. [This was confirmed by 424 pilot Jack Dundas, who saw it in the Officers Mess at Skipton]. On 6 November 1943, No. 424 Squadron returned to No. 63 RCAF base in England, Skipton-on-Swale, where they received new four engine Handley-Page Halifax Mk. III bombers.

The original aircrew of the North African flown Wellington [The “A” Train] request Mat Ferguson to repaint the same Tiger “A” Train nose art on their new Halifax Mk. III, serial LV951, code QB-A. On 12/13 August 1944, 36 RCAF Halifax bombers and 12 Lancaster bombers attack German ground troops at Draunschweig, in the Falaise Gap. Hamilton born pilot F/O Jack Dundas was hit by flak but returned to base in his Halifax painted by Mat Ferguson, “Bambi.” The crew of F/O G. Campbell are flying QB-A, “The A Train” and they are attacked by a German night fighter and six jump becoming prisoners of war. F/O G. Campbell, Sgt. E. Harvey, F/O W. Barrett, F/O W. Cram, Sgt. L. Maki, and Sgt. R. Austin. Sgt. W. Harris never leaves his burning bomber and is killed in the crash of LV951. “The A Train.” That should have been the end of the Tiger nose art, however it is only the beginning.

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Nose artist Mat Ferguson [far right] sits on the Halifax Mk. III serial LV951 in spring of 1944. The other two ground crew are unknown but I’m sure they were assigned to the bomber which Mat has just painted with nose art of “The A Train.” This is the second nose art to feature the Tiger face profile.

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Mat Ferguson continues to paint nose art such as “Hellzapoppin”

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This image came from the private photo album of Mat Ferguson.

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Mat Ferguson painted nose art from the pages of Esquire magazine such as March 1944.

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Hamilton born pilot Jack Dundas wanted Bambi for his Halifax serial MZ813, nose art and that is what Mat Ferguson painted.

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1995 replica painted on original Halifax skin from NA337, Bomber Command Museum Nanton, Alberta
On 10 March 1944, the City of Hamilton was advised that No. 119 [Hamilton Tigers”] Squadron was being disbanded by the RCAF on 15 March. No. 119 Squadron died that day, but the City of Hamilton Tiger had nine lives.

In May 1944, the City of Hamilton decided to officially adopt No. 424 Squadron and a special committee of prominent citizens was set up. The new fund was called the “Hamilton Tiger Squadron Fund”. Each month supplies of cigarettes, lifesavers, gum, and chocolate bars were sent to the squadron through the Canadian Red Cross.

The Squadron was officially adopted by the City of Hamilton in September 1944 and received the nickname “Tiger” Squadron. In October, Mat Ferguson painted the new squadron badge which was the same art as the nose painting on the “A” Train. This nose art was loved by all squadron members and voted to become the new squadron badge. The Ferguson painting was submitted to the Chester Herald of the Royal College of Arms and for some unknown reason the British rejected the Ferguson badge and created a new badge which is today the official 424 badge. This badge was approved by King George VI in June 1945.

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This is the original Mat Ferguson drawing [from his photo album] submitted to the British Chester Herald

Pilot Jack Dundas [born in Hamilton] recalled when the British design appeared the Canadian 424 squadron members refused to wear it and called it the “Fucking British Dog”. This caused a small munity and the C.O. [W.C. G.A. Roy] had to step in and inform his squadron this was their official badge and that was it.

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This is the official No. 424 Squadron badge [British dog] worn in Trenton by the squadron today.
The upset squadron members ask Mat Ferguson to create a new cloth badge using the original “A” train image. This drawing was mailed to Mrs. Ferguson in Calgary, with instructions to have 100 cloth badges made by Crest Craft in Saskatoon. Mrs. Ferguson divided the new cloth crests into three packages of 33 and mailed them off to her husband [Mat] in England. She kept the 100th badge which is pictured below. This 100th Tiger badge was donated to Bomber Command Museum of Canada, Nanton, on 12 May 2003 by Mrs. Ferguson.

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The most amazing part is the fact the Mat Ferguson rejected badge from the “A” Train nose art, is still worn [unofficially] today by 424 squadron members. As you can see it is by far the most impressive “Tiger Squadron” insignia. Mat Ferguson was murdered in his backyard in Calgary in 1982, so he never knew the lasting power of his little nose art; he created for a RCAF Wellington bomber in far off North African 1943. I was very lucky to meet Mrs. Levina Ferguson just two years [2001] before she passed away from cancer. Thanks to this brave lady, the true story of the 424 Tiger squadron Badge was saved. God Bless her.

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Clarence Simonsen and Mrs. Levina Ferguson – Nanton 12 May 2003

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Mat Ferguson is the only RCAF artist I have located who painted “Canadian” WWII jacket art, just like the Americans. This is very rare and again the unofficial No. 424 Tiger has appeared on the jacket of an unknown RCAF member [far left]. Artist Mat [right] wears another of his creations which possibly flew in Tiger Squadron. I believe this Grim Reaper with yellow bomb also appeared as nose art in No. 424, but photo evidence has never been found.

It was common for RCAF artists to copy WWII nose art and insignia from the United States. Mat Ferguson was “Canada’s Greatest Nose Artist of WWII” and his talent was always in high demand. The skeleton in black cloak, wearing black aviator’s helmet, and holding a yellow aerial bomb was the official emblem of the United States 308th Bombardment Group, 375th Bomb Squadron, flying B-24 bombers from Chengkung, and Hsinching, China, 1942-45. It was officially approved on 11 January 1943, and copied by Mat for use in 424 Squadron in 1944. Replica art painted on original skin from Halifax NA337, in private collection of Mr. Robert Curtin, Calgary, Alberta, 2009.

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During the last three months of WW2 the squadron converted to the British built Mk. B. I and B. III bomber aircraft which were also decorated by nose artist Mat Ferguson. In total 31 British Lancaster aircraft were flown by Tiger Squadron and the 2,000 sortie was flown by QB-V, serial RF128, with nose art by Mat. He also painted the special bomb Tiger “Easter Egg” which was dropped by the Lancaster “V” Victorious Virgin. Struck Off Charge by R.A.F. on 25 March 1948.

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British built Lancaster aircraft used by No. 424 [Tiger] Squadron

QB-A PB899 Missing 15 February 1945.

QB-A RF148 Struck off charge RAF 15 May 1947.

QB-B PB897 Struck off charge RAF 16 January 1947.

QB-B RA504 Swung on take-off hit dispersal pen, 27 November 1945.

QB-C NG457 Missing Dessau, 8 March 1945.

QB-D NG456 Struck off charge RAF 24 January 1947.

QB-E NG451 Struck off charge RAF 10 September 1946.

QB-F NN777 Ran out of fuel, crash landed Dishforth, 15 March 1945.

QB-G NG277 Struck off charge RAF 16 October 1946.

QB-H NG457 Used code letter “C” lost 8 March 1945.

QB-H PA286 Struck off charge RAF 9 January 1947.

QB-J NG446 Went to 427 Sqn. Struck off charge RAF 7 April 1949.

QB-K ME456 Missing Dortmund 21 February 1945.

QB-K NG459 Struck off charge RAF 29 January 1947.

QB-K PA324 Struck off charge RAF 12 December 1946.

QB-L NG441 Struck off charge RAF 16 July 1946.

QB-L NG484 Struck off charge RAF 20 January 1947. Painted by Mat Ferguson.

QB-M RA504 Used code “B” crashed 27 November 1945.

QB-N NG346 Missing Dessau 8 March 1945.

QB-N NX587 Struck of charge RAF 7 May 1947.

QB-O NG279 Struck off charge RAF 25 March 1948.

QB-P NG347 Struck off charge RAF 15 May 1947.

QB-Q NG348 Struck off charge RAF 9 December 1946.

QB-R NG400 Struck off charge RAF 15 May 1947.

QB-S RA507 Struck off charge RAF 13 February 1947.

QB-T ME458 Struck off charge RAF 14 November 1946.

QB-U NG280 Struck off charge RAF 15 May 1947.

QB-V RF128 Struck off charge RAF 25 March 1948. Painted by Mat, dropped “Easter Egg’

QB-W PA326 Struck off charge RAF 24 March 1947.

QB-W RF150 Flew into hill High Wycombe, 5 April 1945.

QB-X NG281 Struck off charge RAF 24 March 1947.

QB-Y NN780 Struck off charge RAF 3 September 1947.

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This is the most famous Tiger Squadron nose art created by Mat for British Lancaster code “L”.

The squadron had two Lancaster aircraft coded “L” and I believe this is serial NG484 which was struck off charge by RAF on 20 January 1946. The other RCAF Lancaster first served with No. 433 [Porcupine] Squadron as BM-L and then transferred to No. 424 as serial NG441. This photo was found in the Ferguson photo album with no serial number recorded.

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Author painting in Nanton, Alberta

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Hank Porter [right] and Roy Williams who created over 1,200 Walt Disney insignia during WWII.

In 1941, Walt Disney put together a team of five experienced artists to just create insignia designs for WWII units. The team was headed by Hank Porter [left with glasses] and six-foot four inch, 250 lb. Roy Williams. Roy created the very first “Flying Tiger” insignia which was used by General Chennault in China. On 4 July 1942, the original American Volunteer Group, [Flying Tigers] became the new 23rd Fighter Group of the 14th Air Force. This new 23rd F.G. insignia of a tiger with wings on a lightning bolt was created by Roy Williams. This Williams Tiger image was copied by Mat Ferguson and used on Lancaster NG484, QB-L, “The “ELL CAT.”

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No. 424 [Tiger] Squadron remained in England after the end of war in Europe, transferred to No. 1 Group R.A.F. on 30 August 1945. Based at Skipton-on-Swale, Yorkshire, they transported 884 British and Canadian troops from Italy back to United Kingdom, making 39 trips. They were disbanded on 15 October 1945 and returned to Canada.

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The unofficial 424 badge created by Mat Ferguson is still in use by 424 Helicopter Squadron today.

The sad fact remains that the true history of the Mat Ferguson creation is still not recorded in the RCAF history books and this proud LAC is still forgotten by the very members that still fly Helicopters and use his unofficial WWII “Tiger” badge. This error must be changed.

Mat Ferguson became the first “Erk” who created No. 424 Squadron nose art history and the first to be forgotten by the passage of time.

A second WW II Sgt. wireless/air gunner was the man who created the postwar Tiger image on five of the P-51 Mustang aircraft fuselages, and again Tom Walton has been forgotten by his squadron and the City of Hamilton where he was born.

Postwar artist Thomas Walton from Hamilton, Ontario

Hamilton born Sgt. Thomas Walton served as a wireless/air gunner on a No. 428 [Ghost] squadron Lancaster KB864. In 1945 he was promoted to the RCAF rank of Pilot Officer. Tom was the nose artist who decorated both sides of his bomber with impressive paintings completed on request of his American pilot Latumer and his favorite 1931 Jazz song “Sugar Blues.” Pilot Officer Latumer was known as Capt. “Overshoot” after he had crash landed two Canadian Lancaster bombers, KB766 [3 December 1944] and KB795 [7 April 1945].

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Tom Walton Images

Photo image P/O Tom Walton, England 1945. This image of KB864 was taken after 8 May 1945 and during the preparation for the return to Canada of No. 428 [Ghost] Squadron on 31 May 1945. The Squadron would arrive at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, on 8 June 1945.

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The impressive “Vargas” Redhead in the January 1945 issue of Esquire magazine.

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Sgt. Tom Walton painting the nose art of “Sugar’s Blues”

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Tom Walton images

No. 428 [Ghost] Squadron arrive at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, 8 June 1945, and the RCAF members crowd around looking at a veteran WWII Lancaster Mk. X. The impressive starboard nose art of a Ghost dropping a bomb was painted by Sgt. Tom Walton. [photo credits Tom Walton]

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Ray Wish image – September 1945

10 September 1945, Pearce, Alberta, and Canada’s veteran WWII bombers arrive for long-term storage. The five man RCAF crew stationed at Pearce must start the four engines on each of 83 Lancaster aircraft once every day. Three pose to have their photo taken in KB864, Sugar’s Blues. LAC Cook in the cockpit, LAC Wyers on left and LAC Raymond Wise in white coveralls and hand on prop. [Photo credit – Ray Wise]

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A number of WWII veteran Lancaster aircraft will forever remain at Pearce, Alberta, including Sugar’s Blues, KB864. This is the last known photo taken in summer of 1955. The once proud bomber is now home to the pigeons of southern Alberta. I had the pleasure to meet the lady in the photo at Nanton, Alberta, 2003.

Tom Walton returned to the postwar world of art, becoming an art director in the City of Hamilton. On 15 April 1946, No. 424 [City of Hamilton] Squadron was formed as an RCAF Auxiliary squadron. From November 1950 until September 1956, the squadron flew the North American Mustang Mk. IV. On each side of the fighter fuselage a large yellow tiger was painted posed on a rock searching for prey. The artist who created this fuselage art is still unknown. North American Mustang Mk. IV [US serial 44-74582] RCAF 9253, taken on strength 6 December 1950, code BA-S, flew until 10 August 1959.

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In 1997, Clarence Simonsen freehand painted the nose art of KB864 on the movie prop Lancaster nose section in the Nanton [Bomber Command Museum of Canada]. In 1998, the original nose artist Tom Walton came to visit Nanton and I enjoyed the afternoon with Tom and his wife Millie. I insisted Tom repaint his original “Sugar’s Blues” but being the perfect gentleman he is, he just said, “Leave her as is, just change the shoes and skirt to the correct color Green.”

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Millie and Tom Walton at Nanton in 1998

Tom and I would became close friends and he shared his full RCAF history with me. When I ask about his postwar career, he surprised me by stating he rejoined the RCAF Auxiliary in Hamilton and he was the artist who painted the Tiger insignia on five of the squadron Mustang aircraft.

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Tom Walton was very kind to autograph this 424 Squadron Mustang print in 1998, however he then surprised me stating – “This was not my work, but the art of another earlier unknown squadron artist.”

This P-51 was flown by Warplane Heritage as CF-BAU, RCAF #9567. which was destroyed by fire after a forced landing in 1984. This fuselage art had been based on the early Tiger badge which contained cat stripes that were painted in solid lines like rings. This art appeared on both sides of the Mustang fuselage and appeared on at least six of the aircraft in July 1951.

In the summer of 1953, Tom was ask by a squadron pilot [F/O Murray E. Linkert] to paint the same style insignia on five of the remaining P-51 Mustang fighters. Tom first created a scale stencil of the first Tiger insignia and using the pin pricked outline applied blue powder to the fuselage of the Mustang. He then free handed the new tiger image with black paint and completed the painting in three to four hours. Tom painted outside in the summer evenings, and his insignia only appeared on the port [left] side of the five fighters. Tom lived twelve miles from the Mount Hope airport and painted two nights each week, receiving $10 per aircraft, cost of paint. While the original July 1951 striped Tiger art featured a downed fighter plane under the paw of the tiger, a P-51 fighter circled near the face of the tiger. Tom changed these two aircraft to a WWII German Messerschmitt Bf109.

While Tom took no images of his Tiger insignia, he did have copies of his art work from an old newspaper article, which also pointed out his painting of two WW II German fighters aircraft.

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The style of the original P-51 Tiger insignia by unknown artist in July 1951.

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It is still not confirmed if the early art was painted on both sides of the fuselage.

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This is the Tom Walton 424 Tiger insignia painted on Mustang serial 92577, PV577, for friend and pilot F/O Murray E. Linkert.

The writing is by Tom Walton showing he painted the German Bf109 fighter twice, for his WWII wireless/air gunner Lancaster operations.

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Mustang serial 9577 was taken on strength 7 June 1947, ex-U.S. serial 44-74311A. This Tiger insignia was painted by Tom in August 1953, and the aircraft flew until taken off charge by RCAF on 27 December 1957. This was the P-51 of C.O. and flight Instructor F/O M. E. Linkert, he was not the pilot who crashed.

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Three newspaper clippings from artist Tom Walton

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Unpublished painting by Clarence Simonsen

These colors have been confirmed by original artist Thomas Walton. Rock – Dark Blue, German aircraft are both Bf109’s and both are dark green in overall color. Luftwaffe cross was painted on both aircraft. Tiger was yellow, orange and white with blood coming from mouth.

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Tom Walton also painted the Tiger on Mustang serial 9252, PV252.
Taken on charge 6 December 1947, U.S. serial 44-74543. Flew until 17 December 1959.

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In 1965, Tom Walton was transferred to a new studio opened in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where he became Mid-West Art Director. Photo from Tom taken at Saskatoon in 1977. At age 93 years, he remains a close friend and the only living WWII RCAF nose artist.

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Not original Tom Walton replica but close [author collection Calgary, Alberta, 1996]

North American Mustang Mk. IV flown by 424 [Tiger] Squadron

9247 6 December 1950 to 27 December 1957 U.S. 44-73849 Code BA-R

9252 6 December 1947 to 17 December 1959 U.S. 44-74543 BA-252
Painted by Tom Walton

9253 6 December 1950 to 10 August 1959 U.S. 44-74582 Code “T” & “S”
Stripe tiger art

9254 6 December 1950 to 17 September 1957 U.S. 44-74325 BA-254

9255 6 December 1950 to 1 November 1960 U.S. 44-74603 BA-U & “N”
Stripe tiger art

9259 10 January 1951 to 17 September 1957 U.S. 44-74878

9264 10 January 1950 to 17 September 1957 U.S. 44-74860 BA-264 & PV-264

9275 11 January 1951 to 17 September 1957 U.S 44-74009 BA-275

9276 11 January 1951 to 27 December 1957 U.S. 44-74404

9277 11 January 1951 to 17 September 1957 U.S. 44-74472

9557 7 June 1947 to 20 September 1960 U.S. 44-63843 BA-Z

9567 7 June 1947 to 20 September 1960 U.S. 44-73140 BA-U

9577 7 June 1947 to 27 December 1957 U.S. 44-74311 PV-577
Painted by Tom Walton

9583 12 October 1950 to 17 September 1957 U.S. 44-74327

9584 13 October 1950 to 12 November 1952 U.S. 44-74341
Stripe tiger art

9585 12 October 1950 to 17 September 1957 U.S. 44-74360 BA-585

9587 8 November 1950 to 6 April 1953 U.S. 44-74421
Crashed “A”

9588 8 November 1950 to 14 May 1959 U.S. 44-74430

9589 8 November 1950 to 14 July 1952 U.S. 44-74438 BA-W
Crashed June 52 – killing pilot F/O D.K. Russell Stripe tiger art.

9590 8 November 1950 to 1 November 1960 U.S. 44-74451

This is dedicated to WWII nose artists Mathew Ferguson and Thomas Walton. Today Warplane Heritage at Hamilton, Ontario, are repainting the nose art of WWII and I hope these two men will be remembered.

Now the surprise…

And a message Tom Walton’s son sent to Clarence…

Hi Clarence,

About 12 crew members arrived in the C 130 Hercules, an awesome sight for a 4500′ runway.
Everyone came out to meet Dad.
They were all young and very gracious. They took some photos of Dad in front of the nose…..below it actually, with his Tiger in the nose of the plane.
They then took in in the Herc to show him around.
Did an interview to be put on the internet in the near future.
He had a ball. The two young ladies in the crew treated him awesome and I know he enjoyed their attention.
Thanks for helping out Clarence, that was great of you.
I have attached some photos, use them as you like.

Thanks again,



The Making of a RCAF WWII Fighter Pilot – Part One

The Making of a WWII RCAF Spitfire Pilot – P/O Gordon Hill J37340

Maclean’s RCAF Sergeant Fighter Pilot cover for 15 November 1943, artist – W.A. Winter

Part One

After flying Canadian built Hurricane fighters in protection of our Canadian West Coast, P/O Gordon Hill was posted overseas, from RCAF No. 133 Squadron, effective 18 April 1944.

Comox Air Force Museum via Mike Kaehler

He arrived at No. 1, “Y” Depot, Lachine, Quebec, on 6 May 1944, reporting for posting overseas.

Canadian Pacific poster showing the S.S. Empress of Scotland leaving Quebec City.
Gordon Hill recalls he sailed for Glasgow, [Greenook] Scotland, on the Canadian Pacific Steamship Lines S.S. Empress of Scotland. He was in Draft E.870, with 340 Officers, 642 Sergeants, and 675 other ranks. He said the funny part was all the direction markings of the ship interior were in Japanese, with no English.

Originally constructed in 1930, for Canadian Steamship Lines, it was named the “Empress of Japan” and sailed from Vancouver to Yokohama, to Hong Kong and then returned same route to Vancouver. That’s why the ship lettering was all in Japanese. With the attack on Pearl Harbor the name was changed to “Empress of Scotland” and she would make twelve return trips, taking troops to the war in Europe, and returning RAF cadets for pilot training in Canada. The major shipping ports were Halifax, Nova Scotia, and New York City, New York.

Draft E.870 left Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 17 June 44, and sailed 3,098 miles to dock at Greenook, Scotland, [25 miles west of Glasgow] on 23 June. The pilots then boarded a train and travelled south to RAF Station Innsworth, which was located N-E of RAF Personnel and Training Command at Gloucester. RAF Innsworth was a non-flying station, associated with the Women’s branch of the service, and some 4,000 females were on strength. Gordon said the Canadians had no idea, and never saw any British WAAF.
The RCAF pilots Gordon can remember were Doug Douglas, Terry Watt, Mac Donald, Scotty Galbraith, Digger Harrison, Vic Legear, Don Campbell, Keith Lyle, Gus Gaskin, John Cordick, Deke Passmore and Reilly Jackson. They all spent one week in London, drinking, before they assumed training. Gordon was not a drinker, and kept control of the group, when they tipped a few too many.

Mac Donald, Digger Harrison, Scotty Galbraith, waiting for train to London.

Gord and Deke Passmore in London, 1944.

Gord, Passmore, Jackson – London June 1944.


Jackson and Passmore drinking beer in London, 1944.

Reilly Jackson drinking beer in London.

F/O Gordon Hill at RAF Innsworth, with 4,000 females?


Next stop No. 53 Operational Training Unit RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey, arriving 3 July 1944.

No. 53 Operational Training Unit

From the British historical point of view, there seems to be some uncertainty in regards to the correct name for RAF Station Kirton Lindsey. The nearby railway station was constructed in 1849, with the name Kirton Lindsey. In December 1916, a military airfield was constructed just north of the railway station, used by the Royal Flying Corps, with name RAF Kirton Lindsey. In 1919, the airfield was dismantled and returned for agricultural use.

On 15 May 1940, a new airfield was constructed just a few miles south of the original location, used by Fighter Command RAF Station covering Northeast England. The early Operations Records Book used the name Kirton Lindsey, and that remained until July 1941, when the title Kirton-in-Lindsey begins to appear.

A relief field was constructed eight miles east of the aerodrome, titled RAF Caistor. A second relief field was opened on 12 May 1941, located two miles Northeast, titled RAF Hibaldstow.

No. 53 Operational Training Unit was formed on 18 February 1941, at RAF Heston, under control of No. 81 Group, for the purpose of training Spitfire pilots for Fighter Command. The three original flights were separated in June 1941, and two remained at Heston, forming the basis of No. 61 O.T.U. In April 1943, control was transferred to No. 9 Group, Fighter Command, and they were re-located to RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey on 9 May 1943. The first Spitfire pilot course conducted at Kirton-in-Lindsey was No. 46 which began on 23 May 1944.

Course No. 48 began on 5 July 1944, and P/O Gordon Hill soloed in his first Spitfire Mk. I on 8 July 1944.


R.A.F. Kirton-in-Lindsey and the village [top left] with same name.

The RAF base had three British Type “C” aircraft hangars, four blister aircraft hangars, Sergeant and Officers Mess, technical buildings, and accommodation for married quarters. It also had an Officers tennis court, where Gordon spent many hours. The airfield had some early Fighter Command history, as this was where No. 71 RAF Squadron of American volunteers, “Eagle Squadron” trained and flew from November 41 to April 1942. The Canadian pilots arrived on 4 July 1944, were assigned quarters and a British RAF bicycle for transportation. The largest town in the area was Scunthorpe, which was seven miles Northwest of the airfield.

First Solo in Spitfire Mk. I, code “H”, 8 July 1944.

Gordon on the RAF bikes.

Gus Gaskin

“Bins” John Cordick, #53 OTU

F/O Don Campbell and Keith Lyle studying.


A large number of squadrons used this airfield and this is No. 65 Squadron, which shows the grass landing area looking south from the hangars.

There was spare time for playing tennis. The other pilots were all RCAF, however Gordon cannot recall their names.

Course #48 ended on 4 September 1944.

P/O Hill was graded – “Good on Average”

No. 83 Group Support Unit

The next posting was No. 83 Group Support Unit [G.S.U.] located at Bognor Regis on the southern coast of England, P/O Hill arrived on 7 September. These Group Support Units were formed in February 1944, and were holding units for aircraft and pilots of two Groups in 2nd Tactical Air Force. They maintained around 90 aircraft of different types, ready for issue to squadrons to replace losses. Gordon spent eight days living in tents at this station, then posted for more fighter pilot Spitfire air-firing at No. 13 P.T.U. at Warmwell, on 19 to 27 September 44.


Living in tents at #83 G.S.U. Bognor Regis, seaside resort [55 miles] 89 k/m southwest of London.

Doug Douglas, Terry Watt and Digger Harrison in old school house at Thorney Island,
27 September to 2 October 44, waiting for posting to combat unit.

P/O Hill recorded his last training flight in Spitfire Mk. IXB, code “L”, on 25 September 44, dog-fighting over 10,000 feet. Gordon now had a grand total of 656 hrs. and 25 mins. in his log book. Posted to No. 127 Wing, No. 416 [Lynx] Squadron, he would next see frontline combat flying at Grave, Holland, just six miles from the German front lines. F/L S. H. Straub, F/O E.E. Whitehead, and P/O Gordon Hill, were flown by Avro Anson to Grave, Holland, on 2 October 44, arriving at 15:40 hrs.

Next, in Part Two, a short history of No. 416 Squadron follows.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What about Sergeant M. Cochand?

What about Tiger Moth 8922?

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