Category Archives: RCAF Artist

Short Early History of No. 416 Lynx Squadron Badge

Intermission Eight – RCAF 416 Squadron Blog

RCAF 416 Squadron

This is the first post on this blog.

It’s all about a research done by Clarence Simonsen who met a Spitfire pilot. Gordon McKenzie Hill was a Spitfire pilot with RCAF 416 Squadron during World War Two. He has so much information and so many photographs it is impossible to post all of it on Preserving the Past which is where Clarence Simonsen publishes his research.

The story of Gordon Hill is on Preserving the Past if you want to read it.

This is a short early history of No. 416 Lynx Squadron Badge.

Formed 22 November 1941, at Peterhead, Aberdeen, Scotland, first officers and Spitfire aircraft [above].

The second commanding officer arrived on 9 March 1942, Squadron Leader L.V. Chadburn, DFC, and remained C.O. until 7 January 1943.

Mat Cecil Ferguson was posted from Alliford Bay, B.C. to No. 416 in early March 1942, and was assigned airframe mechanic…

View original post 389 more words


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,



Sergeant John Dana DUCHAK, R176475, RCAF Artist – WordPress version

Research by Clarence Simonsen

John “Napper” Dana Duchak was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, 10 July 1921, the son of Mike and Mary Duchak. John was educated in the Regina school system and enjoyed playing hockey and lacrosse. He was a self taught artist, born with a talent to paint, draw, and cartoons became his major creative ability, which formed a secret part of his official RCAF art work overseas 1943-45.

John was first employed in Regina as a commercial artist in 1941 and early 1942. On 24 July 1942, he arrived at No. 2 Manning Depot in Brandon, Manitoba, and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, he had just turned 21 years of age. At this point, it appears fate stepped in and directed him to his love of drawing cartoons.

In early 1942, manning depots had taken over all RCAF aircrew selection programs, and it was in these large reception centres where all new RCAF recruits were funnelled and in the process changed from a civilian to an airman. Each new recruit appeared before an aircrew selection board of at least two officers, and they examined his medical reports, personal history file, and scores obtained on the Classification Test, and aptitude testing. These officers decided if the candidate had good pilot potential or if he should be assigned another aircrew category or ground trade. The candidate had no choice other than to accept the board’s decision. In January 1942, there were five manning depots in Canada, No. 1 in Toronto, Ontario, No. 2 in Brandon, Manitoba, No. 3 Edmonton, Alberta, No. 4 in Quebec, and No. 5 in Montreal, Quebec. Most of the recruits were sent to Edmonton, Brandon, and Toronto, the last of which had accommodation for five thousand men.

No. 2 RCAF Manning Depot, was formed at Brandon, Manitoba, on 29 April 1940, and the staff strength in July 1942 was 35 officers and 280 other ranks. They processed an average of 1,300 recruits per month, under Commanding Officer Wing Commander H. G. Reid. The manning depot also published a high quality monthly magazine titled “The Airman’s Post” which featured a large amount of cartoons and a sexy pin-up lady created by their artist AC2 P. Kuch.

Source Internet

Artist Kuch was being posted to No. 2 Initial Training School at Regina, Sask., and they needed a new artist for their publication.
When the selection board finished with John Duchak, he was selected for aircrew training but he would first be posted to No. 2 Manning Depot, [29 August 1942] where he would replace out going artist P. Kuch.

The October 1942 issue of “The Airman’s Post featured the last work of artist AC2 P. Kuch and the first drawings from AC2 John Duchak, RCAF.

The first cartoon by John Duchak depicts ex-artist Kuch leaving for the Initial Training School and artist Duchak arriving at Brandon, No. 2 Manning Depot.

The signature trademark of RCAF artist AC2 John “Napper” Dana Duchak [R176475] No. 2 Manning Depot magazine [The Airman’s Post] October 1942.

AC2 Duchak cartoons at No. 2 Manning Depot, September – October 1942

The next part of John Duchak’s RCAF training is a bit of a mystery, as his Ottawa records do not show him posted to any Initial Training School or Elementary Flying Training School. If he was selected for pilot training, he would spend four weeks at an initial training school, followed by ten weeks of elementary flying training where the pilot candidates came face to face with their first aircraft and the RCAF instructor who will teach them how to fly it. John was posted to No. 2 Manning Depot on 29 August 1942 and then directly to No. 12 SFTS on 6 November 1942, both located at Brandon, Manitoba.

On 6 November 1942, AC2 John Duchak proceeded to No. 12 S.F.T.S. at Brandon, Manitoba, and joined Course #67 in training. The Daily Diary records on 1 December 1942, Course #67 pupils were interviewed in regards to their unsatisfactory progress and a number failed the course. They received their wings on 18 February 43, and cleared the station the following day. It would appear John Duchak failed this course, was reassigned, and posted to No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School at Macdonald, Manitoba, on 21 February 1943.

On 22 February 1943, Course #51 commenced at No. 3 B and G School with 90 trainees. On 5 April 1943, AC2 Duchak was promoted to LAC, and graduated on 14 May 43. His Gunnery Wings were presented by C.O. Group Capt. R.F. Gibb, AFC, with graduation of 63, 43 being RCAF who were posted to No. 1 “Y” Depot at Halifax, Nova Scotia. LAC Duchak was promoted to Sergeant on graduation and arrived at Halifax on 19 May 1943. On 17 June 43, Draft No.73, with 80 officers and 167 sergeants departed Halifax at 16:00 hrs. He arrived in the U.K. on 24 June 43, and was assigned to No. 23 Operational Training Unit, where he repeatedly suffered airsickness and failed his operational training.

The next step in Duchak’s air force career involves the very creation of No. 6 [RCAF] Group and the Headquarters’ know as “Castle Dismal.” Canada’s indigenous bombing group began operations at one minute after midnight on the first day of 1943. The planning and creation of No. 6 Group on paper had began in August 1942, and this clearly showed the RCAF was short on officers and required a number of RAF officers to be posted [loaned] to the new Canadian group. This mix caused a number of serious problems and a lot of training was required before the Canadians would be an effective force on bombing operations. Air Vice-Marshall George E. Brookes, A.O.C. of No. 1 Training Command, was selected to provide a diplomatic bridge between the RAF senior officers and the new Canadian airmen. In September 1942, Brookes first task was the selection of a new permanent site for the Canadian Headquarters of No. 6 [RCAF] Group. He found a rambling old seventy-five room Victorian style castle at Allerton Park near Knaresborough and this was taken over by the RCAF. The property was owned by forty-seven-year-old Lord Mowbray, and he showed no patriotism or love for the Canadians, and complained vociferously about the war, the RCAF, and the alterations being done to his rundown castle. The new RCAF officers soon found Brookes to have a few shortcomings, lack of command experience, a very fussy man, inclined to dwell on trivial British matters, and concentrated excessively on the renovations to his new castle. To the majority of RCAF airmen, Allerton Park, [Allerton Hall] became known during its Canadian tenancy as “Castle Dismal.” This is where all bombing operations were planned for No. 6 [RCAF] Group beginning on 1 January 1943.

On 5 January 1943, No. 6 [RCAF] Group H.Q. Allerton Park was officially changed to read – “Allerton Hall.” The new Headquarters’ for the Dominion “HOME” Stations of the Royal Air Force in England.

On 28 June 1943, orders were received that initiated the collection and publication of historical records from No. 6 [RCAF] Group, which were titled “Summary of Activities. At first these typed sheets of ‘secret’ information was very simple and contained no art work or cartoons. Unknown to Sgt. John Ducahk, these reports would form a major part of his future RCAF wartime career.

On 22 November 1943, [after failing his Bombing and Gunnery course] Sgt. John Dana Duchak was posted to R.C.A.F. Overseas Headquarters, known as RCAF Overseas. Formed on 1 January 1940, it was based in London, [20 Lincoln’s Inn Fields] where it provided a central location for personnel records and general RCAF administration. By 1943, the administration had top authority over the movement of Canadian RCAF personnel in England, working closely with RCAF H.Q. at Allerton Hall. It is not clear why Sgt. Duchak was posted to RCAF Overseas, but this was possibly due to his artistic talents. He was also possibly involved in the forming of No. 19 Dental Company, as he completed at least three newsletter covers for this new unit in early February-March-April 1944.

The RCAF Overseas official badge was an eagle in flight over a blue disk [sky] and in its claws it carried a sprig of branch from a Canadian Maple tree. Six Maple Leafs show in the design. Il was approved by King George VI, in June 1944.

In 1938, the Canadian Dental Association lobbied the Minister of National Defence to create an independent dental service for use by the Canadian Army, Navy, and Air Force. By 1939, the Canadian Army Dental Corps was replaced by the Canadian Dental Corps, which provided diet and oral dental standards for servicemen and servicewomen around the world. In December 1942, No. 18 Base [Dental] Company, RCAF, was formed at London, England, under command of Major L. L. Kent, from Lachine, Quebec. In charge of the Canadian Dental Corps of the RCAF in England, was Lt. Col. E. M. Wansbrought, M. M., E.D., from Shelburne, Ontario. As more Canadian graduates of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan reached Britain, the demands for the Dental Corps were increased and the expansion from a single Base Company to two Base Companies was announced in February 1943. No. 19 [Dental] Company, was formed at RCAF Station Leeming in March 1943. By October 1943, dental work done for the RCAF in England, involved 11 mobile clinics, which attended bomber and fighter bases, plus No. 18 Base in London and No. 19 Base [Company] at Leeming. In October 1943, 7,600 patients received treatment totalling 13,000 operations by forty-three dental officers and more than 100 dental assistants. On 22 November 1943, Sgt. Duchak possibly joined this select group of dental technicians and assistants which were staffed by a large number of female members of the RCAF’s Women’s Division. No. 19 Dental Company left Station Leeming and moved to No. 6 [RCAF] Group H.Q. on 15 December 1943. The artistic talents of Sgt. Duchak were soon discovered by senior RCAF officers and on 21 December 1943, he was officially posted to No. 6 [RCAF] Group H.Q. at Allerton Hall on “General Duties.”

This was the first “Bombing Digest” cover with art drawn title, possibly created by Sgt. Duchak, late November 1943. He had just been posted to RCAF Overseas Headquarters on 22 November 1943.

Cover art by Duchak for the 24 February 1944 issue of the No. 19 Company, Canadian Dental Corps Newsletter. This is making fun of the No. 19 Company O. C. Major R.A. Gilbert, from St. Thomas, Ontario. You must keep in mind No. 19 Company did dental work on the most senior officers at “Castle Dismal” Allerton Hall, and it was made up of 45 dental assistants from the RCAF Women’s Division. Thus, this cartoon cover art featured some form of sexual humor directed at their Commanding Officer.

In March 1944, O.C. [Officer Commanding] of No. 19 Company Canadian Dental Corps, Major R.A. Gilbert was promoted to Lt. Colonel and artist Duchak gave his congratulations with a special cover art. Sgt. Duchak was now on charge No. 6 [RCAF] Group, [Ground] at Allerton Hall, as their official artist, however it appears he had close connections to the newly formed No. 19 Company Dental Corps, the connection is unknown.

Sgt. Duchak was officially posted to No. 6 [RCAF] Group H.Q., as an artist on 25 January 1944. In February 44, he became the N.C.O. placed in charge of a new formed art section, with three draftsman working under him. His first cover art for operational duties “Summary of Encounters” appeared March 1944, followed by 28 more covers which I have in my collection. It is possible he created more than the 29 known RCAF covers, which were classified secret, resulting in most being destroyed.

The No. 6 [RCAF] Group, H.Q. monthly “Summary of Activities” publications officially began in 28 July 1943. These early editions were small, containing 10 to 12 pages of typed secret information and no artwork. Each month the pages of information increased, April 1944, had 21 pages, May 1944, contained 26 pages, and the June 1944, increased to 28 pages. This information was classified “secret”, printed in limited copies and distributed to 54 units of the RCAF in Bomber Command located in Yorkshire, England. Each month a new summary publication arrived and the old copies were ordered to be destroyed by RCAF Headquarters.

In May 1944, Sgt. Duchak was granted permission to create small black and white drawings to add to the Summary of Activities publication, and he created hundreds of cartoons for the title pages. A few samples are shown, but each month he created ten to twenty new images for the RCAF Summary of Activities, plus full page cartoons. Some images were later repainted in color and survive today.

This header with cartoon art first appeared in the June 1944 issue.


These small header cartoon captions reveal the true ability and originally of Sgt. Duchak. The title for the RCAF ground crew making aircraft repairs soon became their unofficial motto – “U Bend Em – We Mend Em.”

It has been well documented by famous historians and official RCAF publications, that the forming of No. 6 [RCAF] Group involved hidden private fighting with hostile words. In short, the British RAF High Command did not want the formation of No. 6 RCAF Group. The R.A.F. chiefs wanted the Canadians to remain under British control in the existing RAF groups. This became a political nightmare for both the Canadian Liberal Government in Ottawa, and the British Government under Churchill. In the end the Canadians won, for the simple reason it was politically desirable to form the new ‘all-Canadian’ Group.

Even Sir Arthur T. Harris, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief R.A.F. Bomber Command, had little respect for the RCAF’s Air Officer Commanding 6 Group, Air Vice-Marshal G. E. Brookes, who he nicknamed “Babbling Brook.” Harris was equally critical of the Canadian 6 Group Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief overseas, Air Marshal “Gus” Edwards, who he described as unsuitable for any Command.

When No. 6 [RCAF] Group demanded to be equipped with new Lancaster aircraft, “Bomber” Harris drew a line, which is still disputed by historians today. From the National Bestseller – “Reap the Whirlwind” published in 1991, page 15. In September 1942, Harris wrote to Portal – “I fail to see why we should give these people, [Canadians] who are determined to huddle into a corner by themselves on purely political grounds, the best equipment [Lancaster aircraft] at the expense of British and other Dominion crews.”

Harris was true to his word, and for the majority of No. 6 [RCAF] Group aircrew, the Halifax bomber became their dominant aircraft, which they flew through the toughest days, and costliest period of World War Two.

Even finding a new headquarters for the Canadians proved to be a British political struggle, as Lord Mowbray put up many obstructions for the RCAF taking over his enormous castle estate of two thousand acres. The main building [Allerton Castle] was located four miles east of Knaresborough, at Allerton Mauleverer, some ten miles east of Harrogate, England.

Post Card image of Allerton Park

In the early months of 1943, No. 6 [RCAF] Group regularly recorded the highest casualties in RAF Bomber Command, and the worst early return to base rates of all squadrons. It took time and combat experience for the RCAF to mature and form a true team spirit from a new ‘independent Canada.’ All members of No. 6 [RCAF] Group knew they were the first non-British formation of this size to ever become part of R.A.F. Bomber Command, but they needed a symbol to pull them together as one. I believe this impressive winged 6 with bomb symbol, became their ‘own’ new RCAF identity.

In March 1944, Sgt. Duchak created his first black and white cover for the Summary of Activities and this became his unofficial insignia for No. 6 [RCAF] Group, appearing in a number of different designs. It appears to me, this 1944 cover art was a very fast sketch done by the artist, possibly just an idea forming in his head. He improved on his original design in the May and July cover issues and this slowly became the ‘unofficial’ insignia for No. 6 [RCAF] Group, H.Q. in England.

At the same time, he created a yellow six with grey bomb inside, imposed over a red Maple Leaf, which began to appear in cover art as well as his full page cartoons. I believe this impressive symbol became the missing link the RCAF aircrew in England needed, to show they were an independent Canadian bomber force. This also became the trademark for the artist, appearing below most of his drawings, maps, charts, and cartoons, created in his art room at Castle Dismal, Allerton Hall, from June 1944 to May 1945.

This black and white image appeared on hundreds of drawings, all classified as “Secret.”

By July 1944, the Summary of Activities cover became very detailed artwork, which I believe Duchak took pride in creating.

In the same month, [July 1944] this impressive symbol [A Red Maple Leaf superimposed over a White Rose of York] had slowly become the “unofficial’’ insignia for all members of No. 6 [RCAF] Group, manufactured by Crest Craft in Saskatoon, Canada, and worn in England with pride as a cloth badge [left] and also as a British made ‘sweetheart’ pin.

A new design appeared on the RCAF Education cover page in January 1945

His final “Victory Number” cover design in April 1945

No. 6 [RCAF] Group was transferred from England to RCAF Eastern Air Command, Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 14 July 1945, and began to organize and train for RAF “Tiger Force.” The atomic bombing of Hiroshima [6 August 45] and Nagasaki [9 August 45] resulted in the Japanese acceptance of the Allied terms of surrender, officially signed 2 September 45. No. 6 [RCAF] Group was disbanded on 1 September 1945, and now became Canadian aviation history.

On 19 April 1943, No. 405 Squadron became part of No. 8 Pathfinder Group at Gransden Hodge, Beds., and they were honoured by Sgt. Duchak in June 1944, issue of Summary of Activities.

Sgt. Duchak created full page drawings for special events and cartoon poster art. The Royal visit in August 1944, with his trademark 6 Group bomb, Maple Leaf design.

Sgt. Duchak could turn a special message into an art poster.

Full page cartoon art with a warning, and a depressed Luftwaffe vulture image which appeared in many cartoons.

August 1944 issue, which contained 18 pages of cartoon art just like this one.

Special art created for “Sea Mining” August 1944

1 January 1944, the 2nd Anniversary of No. 6 [RCAF] Group in England.

This American 8th Air Force [B-17 tail] and 6 RCAF Group [Halifax] nose art cartoon appeared full page in August 1944. Note – Canadian Beaver as nose art.

“Fishpond” was the codename given to a British H2S airborne tail warning radar, which was suppose to detect enemy aircraft and German night fighters from belly attacks on bomber aircraft. Its radar signal was unknowingly attracting German night fighters to the very Allied bombers, it was designed to protect. The cat and mouse game was captured in this cartoon.

RCAF ground crew humour directed at their Officers

Sgt. Duchak began to use his yellow six, grey bomb, over a red Maple Leaf as his trademark. He also created a cartoon featuring German pilot Otto and his son Otto Jr. Note – the RCAF aircrew giving a hair cut – “Short Cut.”

A caution for RCAF bomber aircrew to watch for the new German jets

The creation of bomb charts became a monthly report in the Summary of Activities. These were drawn by the three draftsman who worked under Sgt. Duchak, and were all classified “Secret.”

No. 6 [RCAF] Group map by draftsmen J. W. Kressler who worked under Sgt. Duchak and created many maps and charts, which appeared in Monthly Summary of Activities.
Sgt. Duchak and his three artists were all cleared to “Top Secret” as they were reading secret classified RCAF bomber material on a daily basis. The monthly Summary of Activities was first read by senior officers in No. 6 [RCAF] Group Headquarters, then passed on to senior officers in RCAF squadrons. This also contained special drawn maps of each bomber raid into Germany and the position of each aircraft in the bomber stream, called “Gaggle Formation.”

The Allerton Hall RCAF switchboard was a very busy place in 1944-45. It was staffed by RCAF Airwomen [W.D.] and 444 were on strength in September 1944. The total strength of all ranks operating at Allerton Hall in 1944, was 718. They included 149 RCAF Officers, 20 RAF Officers, 249 RCAF other ranks, and 261 RCAF [W.D.] other ranks, with 20 assorted RAF other ranks and one Canadian Army officer. The W.D. RCAF switchboard became the main line of communication, captured in this July 1944, cartoon by Sgt. Duchak.

The first A.O.C. of No. 6 [RCAF] Group, Air Vice-Marshal George Brookes gave no priority to obtaining decorations for the Canadians under his bomber command. That all changed on 29 February 1944, when Air Vice-Marshal Clifford Mackay McEwen, known as “Black Mike”, took over command. He ordered RCAF base commanders to increase the number of award submissions, and this had a desired effect on morale and performance. This is reflected in the Duchak cartoon – “Black Mike’s” Boys.

The No. 17 cover art for “Bombing Digest” in October 1944

Hitler and his V-1 rocket charge off a cliff in France, and the depressed vulture “Luftwaffe” waits for the crash.


The cover art for December 1944 “Gunnery Encounters” would appear inside the same edition, under Squadron training.

The new bomber ‘baby’ for January 1945

By March 1945, at least 102 copies of Monthly Summary of Activities were being printed, bound in booklet form and delivered to appointed units, above. These booklets contained all secret classified No. 6 RCAF Group information with a large number of Sgt. Duchak cartoons, charts, and bomber stream attacks of Germany. Beginning January 1945, special instructions were received and ordered drawn on the front cover art by Sgt. Duchak.

The last offensive operation by No. 6 [RCAF] Group was an attack on two coastal batteries on Wangerooge Island, on the eastern end of the Frisian island chain. The date was 25 April 1945, and the Canadian Group sent 192 bombers of 482 that hit the target. Six bombers would be lost due to tragic pilot error, as one bomber lost control when it hit the slipstream of another, lurched into a third, and in seconds six bombers were lost. Four of the aircraft were from No. 6 Group and all twenty-eight Canadian occupants were killed. This map of the attack was drawn by draftsman J. W. Kressler on 4 May 45, the last gaggle formation completed at Allerton Hall.

The War in Europe was over and the Canadian bombers were coming home.

A cover by draftsman J.W. Kressler, end of April 1945

Special technical “Secret” detailed drawings were also created at Allerton Hall and published in the Summary of Activities, plus printed as poster size training aids for the RCAF squadrons involved. This was drawn by an RCAF artist named Davies, who worked under Sgt. Duchak.

Sgt. Duchak and his staff also produced hundreds of RCAF charts which appeared monthly in the Summary of Activities booklet. GEE was a British radio aid using three ground transmitting stations. H2S was an airborne ground-mapping radar aid to navigation and target identification.

It was time to return to Canada, where No. 6 [RCAF] Group would join the Americans in bombing Japan. This Canadian navigator is taking his RCAF files, and Allerton Hall is seen in the background.

This is the April 1945 [last] cover art created by Sgt. Duchak, with the RAF [left] and RCAF [right] flags flying from the “unofficial” badge of No. 6 [RCAF] Group, Yorkshire, England. This was created by Sgt. Duchak with the Canadian Maple Leaf superimposed over a white rose of York. This clever design symbolized the close association the Canadian Bomber crews had with the people of Yorkshire, from 25 October 1942 until 14 July 1945. This badge would now move to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and join the Americans to bomb the Japanese in the invasion of Japan.
On 25 October 1946, King George VI, gave authority to the official badge of No. 6 [RCAF] Group, Headquarters, with the motto – Sollertia et ingenium, [Initiative and Skill].

It’s amazing how close this official RCAF Headquarters badge is to the ‘unofficial’ badge created by Sgt. Duchak in 1944. This official badge was never used at Allerton Hall, [closed 14 July 45] in fact, No. 6 Group was disbanded at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on 1 September 1945. I’m not sure why this badge was even created, possibly ordered for official use by No. 6 [RCAF] Group as part of the upcoming bombing campaign against Japan in Tiger Force. Then the war suddenly ended and the badge was placed in files and forgotten, along with the art of Sgt. Duchak. Today some modern internet historians record this badge as the one used at Allerton Hall during WWII. That is wrong, and I hope this error can be corrected by my story on the man who created both No 6 Group unofficial badges.

These are the secret organization orders dated 20 July 1945, which officially transferred [advance H.Q.] No. 6 [RCAF] Group from Allerton Hall, Yorkshire, to the new headquarters at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 14 July 1945. They will now reorganize and train for the Pacific bombing campaign against Japan, as part of RAF “Tiger Force.”
Lost in all this official RCAF history, is the simple fact the “unofficial” No. 6 [RCAF] Group badge created by Sgt. Duchak at Allerton Hall, now served with pride in Canada, until 1 September 1945. [Six Weeks]

In November 1944, Sgt. Duchak featured his Allerton Hall Christmas Card on the cover for the Summary of Activities. He also created the table menu art work for the 1944 Christmas dinner at the castle.

The formation of No. 6 [RCAF] Group “Advanced Headquarters” took effect on 14 July 1945, at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. On 1 October 1945, the official “Handing Over” of Allerton Hall appeared in the Operations Record Book. The total strength at Allerton Hall Headquarters on 30 October 45, was 97. Made up of the following:

RCAF Officers 16
RAF Officers 1

RCAF [WD] Officers 5
RAF WAAF Officers 1

RCAF other Ranks 67
RAF other Ranks 6

RAF WAAF other Ranks 1

Disbandment of No. 6 [RCAF] Group, H.Q. [rear party] at Allerton Hall came into effect 1 November 1945.
Sgt. Duchak was posted to “R” Depot at Torquay, Devon. on 11 July 1945 [RCAF rear party] and attended Martin School of Art in London, and Warrington School of Art in Manchester, England, on what was recorded as “Temporary Duty in York.” He was repatriated to Canada on 18 February 1946, and released from the RCAF at Winnipeg, Manitoba, 15 April 1946. On 17 August 1947, he married Lois A. Ross in Regina, Saskatchewan, and moved to North Reading, Massachusetts, where they raised their family.
He appeared in several movies with Tom Tryon and Steve McQueen. John became an advertising artist with W.T. Grant and Company, S. S. Kresge Company and the F.W. Woolworth Company. In 1952, he served as a cartoonist for the Boston Bruins Hockey Team and completed cartoons for the book “Hockey Tip-Ins” by former Bruins Captain Ferny Flaman. In 1990, John and wife moved to Rockland, Maine, where he continued to draw and paint windows on the main street advertising Lobster Festival, Blues Festival, Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbor Shows.
RCAF WWII cartoonist Sgt. John “Napper” Dana Duchak passed away Tuesday, 25 September 2012, at Windward Gardens in Camden, Maine.
Like his fellow RCAF nose artists in WWII, official RCAF cartoonist Sgt. Duchak and his hundreds of drawings and paintings have been lost and forgotten by his country of birth and the official history of the RCAF. I hope to change that for you “Sarge.”

24 July 1921 – 25 September 2012

In 1946, Allerton Castle was returned to Lord Mowbray, who is described as still being a very difficult and domineering person. By 1960, Lord Mowbray was involved in a messy marriage break-up which affected the complete family and details can be read on the internet. When Lord Mowbray passed on in 1965, no provision was left in his will for his wife and the bulk of his estate was left his eldest grandson, Edward Stourton, who was just 12 years of age. For the next 30 years, the family estate and Allerton Park Castle, was run by trustees, then it was sold to an American businessman, Dr. Gerald Rolph, in 1983. After a tragic fire in January 2005, the castle has been restored to a high standard, which only the British can do in period style. All the details and breath taking images can be viewed on line, and yes, you should all take a look, most of all Canadians. Dr. Gerald Rolph has saved Allerton Castle, a Victorian Gothic house with history going back to the Norman conquest, and possibly unknown to him, he has also saved a small part of RCAF WW II history for Canadians. Guided tours of the main floors are available for visitors, and if you should take the tour and see the shape of a man drawing cartoons, don’t worry. It is just the ghost of Sgt. Duchak, hard at work. Somewhere in Allerton Park [Castle] there is a room, where this Canadian created all of his RCAF WWII cartoons, maps, and other paintings in 1944-45. And, if you should have a few in a British public house, near Allerton Castle, tip a pint for Canadian “Napper” Duchak. I wish I could join you.

Photo from my friend Ken Cothliff [Aviation Historian, Author, and Display Commentator] and the MG Car Club who meet at Allerton Castle. The orange MG belongs to Ken.


In 1999, the Greenwood Aviation Museum had in their collections, two original paintings by RCAF artist Sgt. John Duchak, and both were signed by the man in charge of RCAF Bomber Command, “Bomber” Harris. This would give them a little more value that an unsigned painting. On 17 March, I phoned the man in charge, [Mr. R.A. Johnson] and explained everything to him. In return he sent me his email and the attached message was sent.
To date, I have received no reply.

Mr. Johnson,

Next week my history of Sgt. John Duchak will appear on my Blog titled “Preserving the Past.” This research has been sent to Prof. Heather Hughes, International Bomber Command, and RAF Linton Museum [Wing Commander Al Mawby], in U.K.
In short, this is very important RCAF history that has been forgotten by Canada, and needs to be updated. During WWII, No. 6 [RCAF] Group never received any official badge or insignia, however Sgt. Duchak created both an ‘unofficial’ badge and insignia [March 1944] which was used at RCAF 6 Group H.Q. Allerton Castle [Hall] until 14 July 1945. On 15 July 1945, No. 6 [RCAF] Group was transferred from England to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and thus, this unofficial badge served in Canada until “Tiger Force” was disbanded on 1 September 1945. Greenwood, Nova Scotia, was part of the new formed Tiger Force and this badge also has a connection to your museum.

Can you please confirm, you still have the two original paintings by Sgt. Duchak, and if possible what they look like? I wish to use this in my history.

You are welcome to my complete history, if you wish?

Best regards – Clarence

Sergeant John Dana DUCHAK, R176475, RCAF Artist

Research by Clarence Simonsen

This is a draft version for now.

Sergeant John Dana DUCHAK


It has been well documented by famous historians and official RCAF publications, that the forming of No. 6 [RCAF] Group involved hidden private fighting with hostile words. In short, the British RAF High Command did not want the formation of No. 6 RCAF Group.  The R.A.F. chiefs wanted the Canadians to remain under British control in the existing RAF groups. This became a political nightmare for both the Canadian Liberal Government in Ottawa, and the British Government under Churchill. In the end the Canadians won, for the simple reason it was politically desirable to form the new ‘all-Canadian’ Group.

Even Sir Arthur T. Harris, the Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief R.A.F. Bomber Command, had little respect for the RCAF’s Air Officer Commanding 6 Group, Air Vice-Marshal G. E. Brookes, who he nicknamed “Babbling Brook.” Harris was equally critical of the Canadian 6 Group Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief overseas, Air Marshal “Gus” Edwards, who he described as unsuitable for any Command.

When No. 6 [RCAF] Group demanded to be equipped with new Lancaster aircraft, “Bomber” Harris drew a line, which is still disputed by historians today. From the National Bestseller – “Reap the Whirlwind” published in 1991, page 15. In September 1942, Harris wrote to Portal

“I fail to see why we should give these people, [Canadians] who are determined to huddle into a corner by themselves on purely political grounds, the best equipment [Lancaster aircraft] at the expense of British and other Dominion crews.”

Harris was true to his word, and for the majority of No. 6 [RCAF] Group aircrew, the Halifax bomber became their dominant aircraft, which they flew through the toughest days, and costliest period of World War Two.

Even finding a new headquarters for the Canadians proved to be a British political struggle, as Lord Mowbray put up many obstructions for the RCAF taking over his enormous castle estate of two thousand acres. The main building [Allerton Castle] was located four miles east of Knaresborough, at Allerton Mauleverer, some ten miles east of Harrogate, England.

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