Old Hamilton Airport

Hamilton airport old

“Old” Hamilton Airport circa 1940.

 The blog photos of Bonanza “The Flying Chef” raised the question, “At which Hamilton airport did Bob Finlayson take these photos?” Hamilton’s first permanent airport dates to 1926, when Jack V. Elliot established a flying school along Beach Road. In 1928 the federal Air Board, established in Ottawa in 1919, recognized Elliot’s airfield. In 1927, however, with funding from the city of Hamilton and International Airways, work began on a new airport about a mile from Elliot’s field. The facility was ready for use in 1930. It included two hard-surface runways, two hangars, field lighting and a navigation beacon to help guide planes flying the Detroit-Toronto mail.

The airport was owned by the city and managed by the aero club. Cub Aircraft of Canada set up a factory in the late 1930s (see below) to manufacture small Piper planes and the aero club won a contract early in the war to train RCAF pilots. However, the airport by then was waning. It had only marginal facilities and was too close to the city for expansion. Instead, the DND built a major new training base up on the Niagara Escarpment at the rural center of Mount Hope – the site of today’s modern John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport (YHM).

Although outdated, Hamilton’s old airport continued through and after the war, especially with Cub and a new company, Peninsula Air Service. However the aero club had moved to Mount Hope, and urban sprawl was encroaching on all sides of the airport. In 1951 what by then was known as “Hamilton Municipal Airport” closed. Henceforth, Hamilton focused its aviation interests at Mount Hope.

In our rare heading photo of “old” Hamilton airport around 1940, you can see the same old hangar that’s in Bob photos. In his shots you can see that by 1950/51 the hangar had become the main base for Glen White’s Peninsula Air Service. Glen, however, inevitably relocated to Mount Hope, and old Hamilton Municipal Airport was ploughed under for development. The hangar to the right is Cub Aircraft of Canada, considerably expanded by 1950 since erected in 1939. In the more detailed photo of the Cub hangar (found in the rich collection of aviation photographer, the late Al Martin) you can see how Cub had raised its roof considerably, probably to accommodate wartime manufacturing and overhaul contracts. Several Hamilton-built Cubs remain airworthy in 2016.

Hamilton Airport hangar

 

Bonanza and Norseman Updates

blog-bonanza-1-n5002c_LRblog-bonanza-2-n5002c-aug-2018-1_LRBonanza D-2264 Had a Sad Ending

One day back in the early 1950s, my great pal, Bob Finlayson, snapped these lovely views of Bonanza N5002C “The Flying Chef”, visiting “old” (pre-WWII) Hamilton airport. Piloting it was owner/operator, Joseph E. Graves of South Bend, Indiana. These were the days when companies small and large were proud to fly the company logo on their planes. This made something like N5002C all the more interesting to photograph. I well recall the Canadair, Goodyear, Ontario Paper and Eaton’s DC-3s at Malton Airport (today’s YYZ) taxiing by “showing the corporate flag” back in the 1950s. They were always more interesting to photograph than the “no name” examples.

In the early days of bizjets, one of the more interesting logos that flew (if only briefly) was on the tail of a Falcon 20 operated for Conrad Black. I wish I had a photo, for it showed a snake suffocating a bunny. As one of the company pilots told me, this represented Conrad’s view of management vs labour. Try showing that logo in 2016, eh! These days one of the most secretive businesses on the planet is corporate aviation, so to see a corporate logo such as “Jack’s Foods Inc.” on a private plane is rare, Donald Trump’s Boeing 757 excepted.

Built in 1950, Bonanza N5002C (serial number D-2264) last was registered to the G&R Corp of South Bend, Indiana, but that was long ago – whatever happened to it, for it disappeared from the US civil aircraft register in 1953?  A report in the Williamsport, Pennsylvania Gazette And Bulletin tells the sad story of this lovely Bonanza. While flying from South Bend to New York City for a potato chip convention on January 26, 1953, Joseph E. Graves and three food industry companions all died when N5002C crashed in an orchard at State College, Pennsylvania. The newspaper noted: “The single-engine four-passenger plane which was almost out of gas, according to investigating state police, crashed as it approached the airport runway at this Central Pennsylvania community. The plane clipped off the trunk of a tree in the orchard and plowed into a mudhole … A few minutes before the crash the pilot of the plane contacted the nearby Phillipsburg Airport and reported he was lost and had only 10 minutes gas supply left.” Subsequently “N5002C” was re-used on a Ryan Navion in New Jersey.

Forrest Klies’ “Oshkosh” Norseman Has New Home

N78691 IMG_2394N78691 IMG_2396

The story of UC-64A Norseman N78691 is told in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman, Vol.2. Originally US Army 44-70372, it had a postwar career as NC58691 with the US Department of Agriculture, before joining Ontario Central Airlines in 1961 as CF-LSS. Further adventures followed with such Ontario and Manitoba operators as Cross Lake Air Service, Perimeter Aviation, Bob Polinuk and Kyro’s-Albany River Airways. CF-LSS seemed to have been dormant since 1975, then retired crop duster pilot, Forrest Klies of Montana, acquired it in 2011. Registering it N78691, he told me in 2013 that he spent $700,000 rebuilding the airframe and zero-timing the engine. For several seasons, Forrest showed his pristine “Big Beautiful Babushka”, as he called N78691, at Oshkosh. Eventually, he felt that he was getting a bit too old for such a big plane. In 2013 he offered it for sale for $300,000 or “a Beaver on wheels plus cash”. Others were seeking buyers for their own Norsemans, but not many operators or collectors were shopping. The picture looked bleak.

N78691 IMG_2397

On p.111 of “Norseman, Vol.2” are two excellent Lambert de Gavère photos of Norseman N225BL (formerly CF-GUE) in Alaska in Ingram Air colours. N225BL later flew for Wade Renfro’s Alaska Adventure of Bethel, but on July 11, 2009 it went into the trees following engine failure. By then, however, Wade had come to appreciate the special features of this classic bushplane. His passion led him to purchase Forrest’s old beauty for a price north of US$160K. This week Lambert sent me these three fine views of N78691 on Lake Hood in Anchorage, waiting for the right weather before flying the 600 or so kilometers to its new home in Bethel, an isolated spot on the Kuskokwim River delta in western Alaska.

Update: Alaska Adventure Norseman N78691 flew off Lake Hood for Bethel on August 31 carrying a hefty load. Sad to say, however, the company lost a Super Cub the same day in a disastrous mid-air collision at Russian Mission in Western Alaska. In clear weather, it collided with a Hageland Aviation Cessna Caravan. All  five aboard the two bushplanes died. It's often a tough world out there in the wilds of coast, bush, valley and mountains.

Update: Alaska Adventure Norseman N78691 flew off Lake Hood for Bethel on August 31 carrying a hefty load. Sad to say, however, the company lost a Super Cub the same day in a disastrous mid-air collision at Russian Mission in Western Alaska. In clear weather, it collided with a Hageland Aviation Cessna Caravan. All  five aboard the two bushplanes died. It’s often a tough world out there in the wilds of coast, bush, valley and mountains.

In other recent Norseman news, Rodney Kozar reports that Glenn Crandall’s famous Norseman CF-UUD (see  Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman, Vol.2) now is N164UC with Wendell Phillipi of Minnesota. Rodney adds that Norsemans CF-JIN, CF-KAO and CF-ZMX all flew at this year’s Norseman Festival in Red Lake and that 80-90 visitors slapped down the cash for a Norseman flight.

Summer’s here, so it’s time to treat yourself to a set of CANAV’s wonderful Norseman books!

CF-GLI, delivered by Noorduyn to the US Army in February 1944

CF-GLI, originally delivered to the US Army in February 1944, now is under restoration in the Netherlands (click to enlarge).

One of Canada’s most historic Norsemans is CF-GLI. Delivered by Noorduyn to the US Army in February 1944, this UC-64 Norseman served on the US homefront as 43-5374. After its brief Army career, it was retired and sold in the summer of 1945 by the US Reconstruction Finance Corp. (the US equivalent to Canada’s War Assets Disposal Corp.) to Los Angeles based Aero Service, where it flew as NC88719. It’s history there still isn’t known, but in September 1951 it was sold to Queen Charlotte Airlines of Vancouver, thence to Air-Dale of Sault Ste. Marie in 1953 and Lee Cole’s Chapleau Air Services in 1982. Other operators followed until CF-GLI joined Gogal Air Services of Snow Lake, Manitoba in 1994, where it worked steadily in the summer tourist trade until a crash in the bush in June 2010. Old ‘GLI now seemed to be kaput.

In January 2011, however, the bent old Norseman was hauled out in pieces by helicopter and trucked away for safe keeping. In 2015 ‘GLI was sold to a group in the Netherlands (headed by Arno van der Holst) with plans to rebuild it to flying status. For the latest about this important project, check out their Facebook page.

Also, you can read all about CF-GLI’s many adventures in Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman, Vol.2.

Recently, Chris Cole sent along this great new photo, above, of CF-GLI. Chris writes: “I attach this picture of CF-GLI that I took one summer at my dad’s business — Sunset View Camp/Chapleau Air Service — on Unegam Lake just south of Chapleau on Hwy 129. I remember going out in a boat, so I could take this  picture.”

You can order your set of Norseman books right here: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2.

Cheers and I hope your summer goes well so far … Larry

CANAV Anniversary Highlight: The Canadair Sabre

Canadair Sabre dust jacketThirty-five years ago I stepped into the deep end of the pool without a life jacket by founding CANAV Books and publishing The Avro CF-100. Happily, things worked out. Overnight the book became a best-selling Canadian hardcover with 6000 copies sold in Year 1. When McGraw Hill-Ryerson followed up with a small reprint, the CF-100 topped 7500 in print before fading. Buoyed by such numbers, CANAV turned out The Canadair North Star (1982), The De Havilland Canada Story (1983), Sixty Years (1984), then Austin Airways and Helicopters: The British Columbia Story (1985). Happily, the world still was full keen, liberally-educated, book-minded people, so Canadian publishers were not afraid to keep producing good books. So, “What next for CANAV?” became the question, and that soon was resolved.

RCAF Sabre at Downsview c. 1960

I photographed this lovely RCAF Sabre when it stopped into Downsview one sunny day c1960. 23404 is listed in my Sabre notes as having crashed on September 9, 1963.

This is the announcement I mailed out in 1985, once I decided to do the Sabre book.

This is the announcement I mailed out in 1985, once I decided to do the Sabre book.

As a kid in the late 1950s I used to cycle 15 miles each way to meet some pals and hang out along the fences at Downsview to watch the Sabres flown by Toronto’s RCAF weekend warriors. There seemed to be no more exotic jet fighter back then, and to this day Sabre’s aesthetic looks still impress. Gradually, I met many who had flown or worked on Sabres, and started filling notebooks with interviews, and gathering other Sabre “stuff”. Then, while I was down at Canadair doing North Star research in the early 1980s, Ron Pickler and Ian Geddes showed me a big pile of rare Sabre production info. This was too much to resist, so I really got to work, and before long had the basis for a solid general history of the Canadian-built Sabre. In August 1986 the book was launched in a flurry of great fun in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. RCAF Sabre people, bibliophiles, modellers, all sorts of in-depth people keen on the Sabre flocked to our launches, starting in Toronto on August 19. Toronto was smashing, crowded with leading Sabre people and other fans. Shoulder to shoulder that evening were such Kings of the Sabre as RCAF pilots Denny Denouden, Ken Hagerty, Paul Hayes, Dean Kelly, Scotty McKay, Bernie Reid, Ernie Saunders and Jerry Tobin.

No trouble moving a few copies at the book launch 30 years ago. At the left here is Chuck Kemp (430 Sqn 1960-63), Gerhard Joos (Luftwaffe F-84F), Spitfire veteran Raymond Munro (dark tie), photographer/artist Bob Finlayson, modeller Derek Pennington, author Larry Milberry with daughter Stephanie, and Max Nerriere (Orenda).

No trouble moving a few copies at the book launch 30 years ago. At the left here is Chuck Kemp (430 Sqn 1960-63), Gerhard Joos (Luftwaffe F-84F), Spitfire veteran Raymond Munro (dark tie), photographer/artist Bob Finlayson, modeller Derek Pennington, author Larry Milberry with daughter Stephanie, and Max Nerriere (Orenda).

The Canadair Sabre book won immediate praise from the old-guard reviewers. Air Combat simply called it, “The aviation literary event of the year”. France’s leading aviation monthly, Air Fan, added a delicious compliment: “Ici encore, les anecdotes savoureuses fourmillent. Ce sont celles-ci qui rendent les livres de Milberry différents des publications anglo-saxonnes ou américaines, qui sont généralement moins humaines”. So … Air Fan picked up on my two chief objectives in doing any book – to tell the human side of the history as carefully as the airplane side. The inimitable Air International commented: “There seems scant prospect of a better history.” Greece’s aviation monthly, Ptisi, added that the book was “a real oasis for F-86 fans”. No publisher or author could have had his book better received.

Many Sabre pilots joined us for the launch, Ralph Heard (left) and Ken “Hagis McPuke” Hagerty (center) included. By this time Ralph was flying helicopters for Ontario Hydro. Hagis was pretty well retired. Cancer since deprived us of these wonderful Canadians. On the right is the great Moe Servos, retired from Air Canada and enjoying the joys of flying his classic Beech 17 Staggerwing. Moe later died in a traffic accident.

Many Sabre pilots joined us for the launch, Ralph Heard (left) and Ken “Hagis McPuke” Hagerty (center) included. By this time Ralph was flying helicopters for Ontario Hydro. Hagis was pretty well retired. Cancer since deprived us of these wonderful Canadians. On the right is the great Moe Servos, retired from Air Canada and enjoying the joys of flying his classic Beech 17 Staggerwing. Moe later died in a traffic accident.

The Bryant Press of Toronto was my printer/binder for this project. All such old-time Canadian book manufacturers long since have faded, forced out by changing technology and management styles. They could or would not adapt. Those were the days when big, mainline Canadian book publishers would do a first-run of any major hardcover trade book of 3500 to 5000 copies. If required, a reprint could be ordered, but the big publishers never really were risk takers – there could be no more conservative an industry back then. For CANAV, however, in the 1980s it always was a balls-to-the-wall effort, when a new book was in the offing, so I ordered a first printing of 10,000. Bryant thought I was nuts, but put its seasoned pressmen on the job. That August they delivered 10,422 copies of The Canadair Sabre. With each book at 3.27 lb that gave me a job weighing in at about 17 tons. What made a fellow think he could ever sell 17 tons of Sabre books still is a bit of a mystery, but I was encouraged by advance sales in the hundreds.

Revered wartime Spitfire pilot, Dean Kelly (left), was one of the first to do a Sabre solo demo airshow, while on 441 Sqn. Dean (as they say) could make your eyes water with his amazing display. Here he is with John L. “Denny” Den Ouden (410 Sqn), well-known on squadron and with the wild and crazy Overseas Ferry Unit. Denny later practiced law in Niagara Falls and built up a spectacular 5000-volume aviation library. Both of these fine aviators have departed.

Revered wartime Spitfire pilot, Dean Kelly (left), was one of the first to do a Sabre solo demo airshow, while on 441 Sqn. Dean (as they say) could make your eyes water with his amazing display. Here he is with John L. “Denny” Den Ouden (410 Sqn), well-known on squadron and with the wild and crazy Overseas Ferry Unit. Denny later practiced law in Niagara Falls and built up a spectacular 5000-volume aviation library. Both of these fine aviators have departed.

How time flies, right. This summer is the 30th anniversary of The Canadair Sabre. This hefty hardcover remains the premier tribute to all those who flew or supported the Sabre in the RCAF (I estimate about 6000 pilots, so roughly 60,000 people in all trades over about 18 years). The book also honours the thousands at Canadair and Orenda, and the many other air forces that used Canadian-built Sabres from the USAF (which operated 60 of them in Korea) to the RAF, West Germans, Italians, Greeks, Turks on to the Colombians, Hondurans, Pakistanis and South Africans. This classic title has hundreds of photos and an appendix with a full production list of the 1815 Canadair Sabres.

If you still don’t have The Canadair Sabre, here’s your chance to fix that. Usually CDN$40.00 but … my last 300 copies now available at $30.00 + $12.00 shipping for Canada + $2.10 tax, so (Canada) all-in $44.10. USA and overseas all-in CDN$54.00. Mail your cheque to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto M4E 3B6 or pay by PayPal to larry@canavbooks.com or order on-line (see canavbooks.wordpress.com). I’m autographing all these last copies.

All the best as usual … Larry

Caption Air reservists attending the book launch included Jim Foy, Denny Den Ouden, Mike Valenti, Ron Richardson and Gord Mansell. All but Mike (from the Otter era) had flown Sabre 5s from Downsview.

Caption Air reservists attending the book launch included Jim Foy, Denny Den Ouden, Mike Valenti, Ron Richardson and Gord Mansell. All but Mike (from the Otter era) had flown Sabre 5s from Downsview.

The success of the Sabre book counted heavily on the talents and patience of graphics man and editorial guru Robin Brass. I met Robin in the early 1970s, when he was a sponsoring editor at McGraw Hill-Ryerson. I then was trying to sell the idea for a general Canadian aviation book to succeed Frank Ellis’ 1954 Canada’s Flying Heritage. Through Robin, the idea was accepted by MHR, appearing in 1979 as Aviation in Canada, which eventually sold out five printings. Robin soon left MHR to go freelance. As such he became the production brains behind the first wave of CANAV titles. Here (right) he chats at the book launch with Ralph Clint, the project’s indispensible proof reader, fact checker, and line drawing/map making perfectionist. Left is our great mutual pal and darkroom practitioner, Bob Finlayson. Bob and Ralph since have left us. Robin recently guided the Ontario Regiment through the complex task of producing Fidelis et Paratus: The History of the Ontario Regiment, 1866-2016.

The success of the Sabre book counted heavily on the talents and patience of graphics man and editorial guru Robin Brass. I met Robin in the early 1970s, when he was a sponsoring editor at McGraw Hill-Ryerson. I then was trying to sell the idea for a general Canadian aviation book to succeed Frank Ellis’ 1954 Canada’s Flying Heritage. Through Robin, the idea was accepted by MHR, appearing in 1979 as Aviation in Canada, which eventually sold out five printings. Robin soon left MHR to go freelance. As such he became the production brains behind the first wave of CANAV titles. Here (right) he chats at the book launch with Ralph Clint, the project’s indispensible proof reader, fact checker, and line drawing/map making perfectionist. Left is our great mutual pal and darkroom practitioner, Bob Finlayson. Bob and Ralph since have left us. Robin recently guided the Ontario Regiment through the complex task of producing Fidelis et Paratus: The History of the Ontario Regiment, 1866-2016.

Some younger fans at the book launch: Simon and Stephanie Milberry, Zoe Brass, Kate Milberry, Jane Werniuk and Matt Milberry.

Some younger fans at the book launch: Simon and Stephanie Milberry, Zoe Brass, Kate Milberry, Jane Werniuk and Matt Milberry.

So many contributed to the Sabre project. Here I am with Gerhard Joos, who researched the basic material for Ch.11 “The German Sabre Story”. As a young postwar aviator, Gerhard flew the F-84F in the newly re-formed Luftwaffe, but his unfulfilled dream had been to fly the Canadair Sabre. Later, he flew with Condor Airlines and to this day is keen about all things aviation. Yes, those were the days when a fellow would drop everything and fly an ocean to attend a book launch. For our North Star launch at the same hotel people flew in from the UK, Bermuda and California, while Canadair showed up from Montreal with a Learjet full of old timers. By comparison, these days people barely will cross the street to attend a book event. Times and priorities change, eh.

So many contributed to the Sabre project. Here I am with Gerhard Joos, who researched the basic material for Ch.11 “The German Sabre Story”. As a young postwar aviator, Gerhard flew the F-84F in the newly re-formed Luftwaffe, but his unfulfilled dream had been to fly the Canadair Sabre. Later, he flew with Condor Airlines and to this day is keen about all things aviation. Yes, those were the days when a fellow would drop everything and fly an ocean to attend a book launch. For our North Star launch at the same hotel people flew in from the UK, Bermuda and California, while Canadair showed up from Montreal with a Learjet full of old timers. By comparison, these days people barely will cross the street to attend a book event. Times and priorities change, eh.

The late Spitfire history aficionado, Robert Bracken, and John Biehler look over a spread in the Sabre book. Robert was one of the solid types at researching RCAF and CAN/RAF Spitfire personalities. His wonderful 2-volume work Spitfire: The Canadians (illustrated by the incomparable Ron Lowry) belongs in every collector’s library.

The late Spitfire history aficionado, Robert Bracken, and John Biehler look over a spread in the Sabre book. Robert was one of the solid types at researching RCAF and CAN/RAF Spitfire personalities. His wonderful 2-volume work Spitfire: The Canadians (illustrated by the incomparable Ron Lowry) belongs in every collector’s library.

The late Spitfire history aficionado, Robert Bracken, and John Biehler look over a spread in the Sabre book. Robert was one of the solid types at researching RCAF and CAN/RAF Spitfire personalities. His wonderful 2-volume work Spitfire: The Canadians (illustrated by the incomparable Ron Lowry) belongs in every collector’s library.

The late Spitfire history aficionado, Robert Bracken, and John Biehler look over a spread in the Sabre book. Robert was one of the solid types at researching RCAF and CAN/RAF Spitfire personalities. His wonderful 2-volume work Spitfire: The Canadians (illustrated by the incomparable Ron Lowry) belongs in every collector’s library.

The author looks over some Sabre photos with Max Nerriere, one of the pioneers of the Orenda 14 that powered the Sabre VI. Max later was helped maintain the large fleet of ex-Luftwaffe Sabres that Pakistan clandestinely acquired.

The author looks over some Sabre photos with Max Nerriere, one of the pioneers of the Orenda 14 that powered the Sabre VI. Max later was helped maintain the large fleet of ex-Luftwaffe Sabres that Pakistan clandestinely acquired.

Ray Munro of Oakville with his hero, G/C Z.L. “Lewie” Leigh of Grimsby, Lewie’s lawyer pal, and Canada’s premier aviation historian, Ken Molson of Toronto. Lewie and Ken were always supportive of my efforts, but could be no-nonsense critics. Sabre history was not really Ken’s territory – he was more of a Silver Dart, JN-4 and Fairchild FC type. Four years earlier at the North Star book launch, he gave me his opinion about that book’s art gallery. When I saw him flipping through those pages, I (foolishly) asked what he thought. In his true style, Ken told me unapologetically, “I wouldn’t give you a nickel for the lot of it.”

Ray Munro of Oakville with his hero, G/C Z.L. “Lewie” Leigh of Grimsby, Lewie’s lawyer pal, and Canada’s premier aviation historian, Ken Molson of Toronto. Lewie and Ken were always supportive of my efforts, but could be no-nonsense critics. Sabre history was not really Ken’s territory – he was more of a Silver Dart, JN-4 and Fairchild FC type. Four years earlier at the North Star book launch, he gave me his opinion about that book’s art gallery. When I saw him flipping through those pages, I (foolishly) asked what he thought. In his true style, Ken told me unapologetically, “I wouldn’t give you a nickel for the lot of it.”

Some of the autographs I collected in my Sabre book at our Toronto 1986 book launch.

Some of the autographs I collected in my Sabre book at our Toronto 1986 book launch.

Sabre autograph2

 CANAV was the first book publisher to support Canada’s almost invisible (at the time) aviation art community. Our Sabre cover art by Geoff Bennett was his first published book art. We put up a small show at the Sabre launch – likely the first such in Canada. Other artists on show were Tom Bjarnason, Ross Buckland, Keith Ferris (USA), Ron Lowry and Pete Mossman.

CANAV was the first book publisher to support Canada’s almost invisible (at the time) aviation art community. Our Sabre cover art by Geoff Bennett was his first published book art. We put up a small show at the Sabre launch – likely the first such in Canada. Other artists on show were Tom Bjarnason, Ross Buckland, Keith Ferris (USA), Ron Lowry and Pete Mossman.

Roy Brown Out of the Shadows

Roy Brown
Roy Brown as a sharp young airman of the First World War. In 2015 Roy was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.

One of several prominent First World War aviators from Carleton Place, Ontario was Roy Brown. Trained to fly in 1915 at the Wright Brothers school in Dayton, Ohio, Brown went on to a stellar career as a Royal Naval Air Service fighter pilot and flying instructor. On April 21, 1918 he was on patrol over the front in his Sopwith Camel, when he and W.R. “Wop” May of Edmonton became entangled in a dogfight with Germany’s leading fighter ace, Baron Manfred von Richthofen – the “Red Baron”. Brown was credited that day with fatally shooting down von Richthofen. This later was challenged, some eventually concluding that Brown may have downed the great ace, but that it was just as likely that an Australian gunner in the trenches had fired the fatal round.

Roy Brown Mural 1 by John Chalmers

A John Chalmers photo of the mural on Bridge Street in Carleton Place depicting the iconic dogfight involving Roy Brown, Wop May and Manfred von Richthofen. The scene is based on a painting by Stephen Quick of the Canadian War Museum. (To see a photo full size, just click on it.)

Many who fought in the air war were worn down physically and mentally by their brutal duties, Roy Brown included. Nonetheless, once home, he remained in aviation. He formed General Airways, which became one of Canada’s prominent early air services. Brown died at his farm in Stouffville, Ontario in 1944 at age 50. Sadly, for decades he remained almost forgotten, other than by those engaged in the “did he or didn’t he” controversy over who shot down the Red Baron. In his seminal 1954 book, Canada’s Flying Heritage, the great chronicler, Frank Ellis, didn’t even mention Brown.

Photo 3 Necropolis Brown's Grave Number P1130015

The simple marker over the great Roy Brown’s “unknown” grave in the Necropolis.

Photo 4 Roy Brown P1130030

People gathering there on June 29 for the unveiling of Roy’s new stone, provided through the Last Post Fund.

For decades no one even knew where Roy Brown was buried, but this recently and happily has turned around. Roy today is a prominent “local hero” in Carleton Place, where the Roy Brown Society is dedicated to furthering his story. Also noteworthy is how in 2014 Nadine Carter of Stouffville took her own interest in Roy Brown. Then age 10, she did some diligent research that revealed how Brown’s resting place is in the Necropolis, a heritage cemetery in old Toronto. Through her good work, on June 30, 2016 members of the Brown family, Nadine and others from Stouffville, the Roy Brown Society, the Royal Canadian Legion, the Royal Canadian Military Institute and local history buffs gathered at the Necropolis for the unveiling of a headstone honouring Roy Brown, whose grave previously was marked only by a humble little stone reading “60A”.

Photo 5 Roy Brown Necropolis P1130013

The newly dedicated Roy Brown grave marker in the Necropolis.

Photo 6 P1130066

Scenes from the Roy Brown RCMI reception: RCMI president, LCDR Michael Hoare, chats with Rob Probert of the Roy Brown Society.

Photo 7 P1130069

The famous seat from the Red Baron’s Fokker Triplane, which Roy Brown donated in 1920 to the RCMI.

Photo 8 P1130045

A replica set of Roy Brown’s medals and the two volumes of Alan Bennett’s biography. On the left in the medal group is Roy’s Distinguished Service Cross and Bar.

Things snowball — another important event took place during Stouffville’s Strawberry Festival on this Canada Day weekend. The Roy Brown story was told through large banners and other displays, a historic plaque was unveiled and the Great War Flying Museum appeared overhead with several WWI replica fighters, including a “Red Baron” Fokker Triplane.

Photo 9 Roy Brown Stouffville Canada Day 2016 Crowd P1130093

The crowd gathers for the Roy Brown festivities in Stouffville on Canada Day.

Photo 10 Roy Brown Stouffville Canada Day 2016 Crowd P1130089

On the right, Nadine Carter chats with John Chalmers of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.

Today much can be found online about Roy Brown. Be sure to check out John Chalmers’ coverage of the Necropolis event in Remembering Captain Arthur Roy Brown, published in the Stouffille Sun-Tribune. Also see this great article about Nadine, the Stouffville school girl, working to preserve Roy Brown’s memory.

For further important info visit the Roy Brown Society website. Wikipedia also has good material. The leading book in print is Alan Bennett’s 2-volume Captain Roy Brown (available through the Roy Brown Society). Other key books include The Red Baron’s Last Flight: A Mystery Investigated by Norman Franks and Alan Bennett. Additionally, material has appeared over the decades in such publications as Cross and Cockade and The Journal of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society.

Finally, check out these photos by CAHF historian, John Chalmers, taken at last week’s Roy Brown events in Toronto and Stouffville.

Photo 11 Roy Brown Stouffville Canada Day 2016 Nadine, Sheldo, Larry, John Chalmers P1130086

Nadine Carter, Sheldon Benner (CAHS), Larry Milberry (CAHF) and John Chalmers (CAHF) on Canada Day.

Photo 12 Roy Brown Stouffville Canada Day 2016 Fred + Nadine P1130104

Stouffville historian, Fred Robbins, congratulating Nadine during the Roy Brown plaque unveiling. (John Chalmers)

Canada Council Shenanigans: CAE Story Rejected, Small Canadian Publishers Need Not Apply + New Book Review + More on Canada Post at the End

 

Canada Council logoEach year the Canada Council presides over the Governor General’s Literary Awards. This year’s finalists came from among hundreds of submissions in the non-fiction category. Finalists mainly were books published by one American company and American branch plants in Canada:

Mark L. Winston’s Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive, from the giant American publisher, Harvard University Press.

Ted Bishop’s The Social Life of Ink: Culture, Wonder, and Our Relationship with the Written Word, from the Canadian branch plant operation of giant American publishing conglomerate Viking/Penguin/Random House — Viking/Penguin Random House Canada.

Michael Harris’ Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s Radical Makeover, from the Canadian branch plant operation of giant American publishing conglomerate Viking/Penguin/Random House — Viking/Penguin Random House Canada.

David Halton’s Dispatches from the Front: Matthew Halton, Canada’s Voice at War, from McClelland & Stewart, a subsidiary of American branch plant operation Penguin — Penguin Random House Canada

Armand Garnet Ruffo’s Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing into Thunderbird, Douglas & McIntyre, a subsidiary of Howard White’s BC-based Harbour Publishing

Good on the winning authors. However, Armand Garnet Ruffo’s Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing into Thunderbird appears to be the only actual all-Canadian title this year. His publisher, Howard White, of BC’s Harbour Publishing/Douglas & McIntyre is a true Canadian success story all the way. Having begun as a kitchen table publisher, Howard has built up his company, which is a major operation doing important books. The company has some 600 titles to its credit.

As far as US publishers and their Canadian branch plants taking home all but one of the Governor General book awards, good on them as well. They met the Canada Council’s specs. However, it seems a bit goofy of the council that, at the bottom end of the book publishing “food chain”, small all-Canadian, internationally acclaimed publishers such as CANAV Books get the bum’s rush out of Rideau Hall regarding the Right Honourable David Johnston’s Governor General’s book awards. Here’s the story.

Since 1981 CANAV Books has published 36 important Canadian titles honouring Canada’s aviation heritage. CANAV has established the standard for publishing in its niche. Several of its titles are official best-sellers and all have been reviewed glowingly in the Canadian and international press. Besides my own CANAV titles, I’ve published seven other Canadian authors.

For the first time since 1981, in 2015 I decided to enter a book in the Governor General’s awards competition, non-fiction category. I submitted Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story which, by the initial feedback, meets the mark as an authoritative, finely-produced piece of work covering a major Canadian success story. CAE itself is Canadian to the core. By now it’s “way up there” in the big leagues, having started humbly in a grubby little war surplus hangar in 1947. So … The CAE Story certainly warranted a good look as a real book entered in the the Governor General’s awards.

Months went by with no word from the Canada Council. Finally, in late October 2015 the finalists were announced, Bee Time from Harvard University Press in Massachusetts taking top prize. CANAV had no word about the awards celebration, etc., dead silence until, that is, I received a letter from the council dated May 4, 2016, explaining how The CAE Story did not even qualify as a Canadian book worthy of the Governor General’s consideration.

In its letter the Canada Council explains: “The publishing house does not meet the eligibility criteria established in the program guidelines”, since, “over 25% of titles published by CANAV Books were written by owners, family or employees of the publishing house.” Apparently, The CAE Story is not a real book. Can you imagine? Guidelines … what in the world, eh! Does the Governor General know about his organization’s arbitrary rule freezing out an important niche in Canadian book publishing?

The fix seems to be in at the Canada Council. Instead of encouraging legitimate, homegrown Canadian book publishers, it’s partying with its mainline/A-team US book publishing pals, while small Canadian players summarily get thrown under the bus by draconian fiat. It looks like a bit of a crock up at the Canada Council. The organization needs to get back to the basic business of encouraging (not squishing) legitimate, world-class, Canadian book publishing.

Let’s hope the Governor General might take the Canada Council to the wood shed for a good straightening out. Maybe then we can get the “Canada” back into “Canada Council”, eh.

Meanwhile, the worldwide press and our loyal readership continue to comment. Today, I heard from aerospace professor, writer, blogger (“Passion Aviation: Blogue aéronautique de Pierre Gillard”) and photographer, Pierre Gillard, who reviews The CAE Story:

Infatigable, Larry Milberry s’est lancé dans la rédaction de l’historique du célèbre fabricant de simulateurs de vol CAE. Après les deux ouvrages de référence consacrés au Noorduyn Norseman, voici donc un autre sujet diffusé dans la série « Aviation in Canada » relatif à une entreprise établie au Québec. L’histoire de la compagnie débute à l’aéroport de Saint-Hubert où CAE occupe un hangar situé le long du chemin de la Savane pour y effectuer de la maintenance et du reconditionnement d’appareils électroniques issus de surplus militaires. La compagnie prend ensuite de l’expansion, notamment, en étant associée au développement de tours de transmissions destinées au système de navigation LORAN dans le nord-canadien. Puis les activités commencent à se diversifier dans d’autres secteurs industriels comme la télévision, par exemple, et, simultanément, CAE s’établit dans de nouvelles installations situées à Ville-Saint-Laurent à Montréal. Avec l’acquisition de l’Avro CF100 par l’Aviation royale canadienne débute réellement le développement de l’expertise de CAE dans le milieu des simulateurs de vol. C’est assurément cette activité qui rendra la compagnie célèbre dans le monde entier. L’auteur détaille donc méticuleusement la chronologie des différents projets de simulation, qu’ils soient civils ou militaires. Mais il n’oublie pas en chemin le volet humain de l’aventure de CAE grâce à de nombreuses entrevues et récits de membres du personnel qui viennent rehausser le texte d’histoires vécues et d’anecdotes. Il détaille aussi les nombreuses autres activités, souvent un peu moins connues, de la compagnie que ce soit dans le secteur médical, les centrales nucléaires ou la maintenance d’aéronefs à Winnipeg, par exemple. Même s’il manque l’un ou l’autre contrat dans l’immense énumération détaillée de l’ensemble des projets de simulateurs de vol, ce livre va au-delà des attentes que l’on peut avoir pour ce genre d’ouvrage. Tout comme l’ensemble de l’œuvre de Larry Milberry, “The CAE Story” est un incontournable et deviendra, très certainement, une référence mondiale en ce qui concerne l’histoire des simulateurs de vol.Canav Books, Toronto, ON, 2015, 392 pages, environ 750 photos. ISBN 978-0-921022-44-2.

You can see CANAV’s years-long Canada Post lamentations by scrolling back to various blog items. Have you heard today (June 22) that Canada Post CUPW this summer is threatening another strike? Talk about depressing, eh. Yesterday yet another neighbour brought me my very important First Class mail, which he had received from the letter carrier. Should we really be giving these well-paid public employees another raise so they can regularly deliver our private mail to other people’s houses? To tell you the truth, we’re getting a little tired of Canada Post’s “Get to Know your Neighbours” mail delivery plan. Someone needs to whip this once-wonderful public service back into shape, but to where, to whom do we turn for help?

CAE News and Views

Photo 1 Kapadia Book Cover 5-2016

CAE retiree, Mehr Kapadia, has published an important memoir covering his lifelong career in engineering. Entitled An Old Engineer Remembers, Mehr describes the book understatedly as “a short history of what early real-time computer control systems and electronic systems engineering were like”. This is a serious “must read” book for anyone with a professional connection to these themes, who’s in the overall business world, getting into engineering as a young person, or simply interested in “what goes on” in an industry that touches our lives every instant of the day. Who wouldn’t be interested, right?

Mehr outlines his younger days leading to his first job as a junior software man at English Electric in the UK, then covers subsequent jobs, such as automating underground processes at a mine in Arctic Norway. As his story unfolds, he illustrates how computers and software evolved, but also includes interesting anecdotes about all the travels to do with his work — what people are like in different corners of the world, all the great learning experiences as one travels hither to thither, etc.

Eventually, Mehr moves to Canada to begin a lifelong career with CAE. He describes much about how software-oriented projects are conceived, bid upon, then won or lost in the market place. He adds graphic descriptions of all sorts of projects, especially where computer control systems are paramount, such as controlling flight simulators, shipboard machinery and weapons control, machinery and electric power transmission for the great James Bay hydro project of the 1970s, the same for vast hydro systems in as China, the USA, Venezuela, global air traffic control systems, etc.

Mehr enjoyed CAE from Day 1, including such aspects as its international mindset, observing: “The easygoing internationalism is one of the nicest things about working in Canada … a company like CAE is too large to exist by solely relying on the Canadian market. It had to become truly international right from its early days, so an internationally flavoured staff was a big plus. We could always find someone to speak and understand almost all the major world languages and cultures.”

CANAV’s own Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story is already recognized as the benchmark for the company’s general history. However, what Mehr’s book does is explain things in depth vs my book’s sweeping view. So … these two books are nicely complementary. Anyone who already has The CAE Story will delight in Mehr’s book, mainly for its detailed explanations and opinions about such leading edge projects as how, with CAE as prime contractor, Ontario Hydro computer-automated its great nuclear power plants of the 1970s, how the Canadian Forces did likewise with its fleet of new “City Class” patrol frigates, or how Transport Canada automated air traffic control from BC to Newfoundland. While The CAE Story has something to say about such topics as flight simulator visual systems, Mehr’s book drills down into that and such other special CAE topics as computers – how they have evolved, which types suit particular projects, etc.

An Old Engineer Remembers is necessary reading for anyone with an interest in what CAE has achieved over its seven decades. Any employee or retiree really needs a copy … point finale! Certainly, every present executive and CAE board members must read this book. Without doing so, their education “will be sadly lacking”, as one of my old-time high school teachers used to say. The book’s also highly recommended for students beginning any level of engineering studies, and for engineering department heads who should seriously consider it as obligatory course reading. Naturally, not all is “rosy” with Mehr’s coverage, for CAE does come in for its criticism, especially regarding management (e.g., decision’s badly made, or, CAE’s need “to continuously fight the bureaucratic tendency … to play safe”). Every company needs its retirees to write about their working careers, and Mehr Kapadia has done so royally.

Get your copy of An Old Engineer Remembers here . This book is a few dollars very well spent and I had my copy delivered within a few days. Meanwhile, if you still don’t have your copy of Aviation in Canada: The CAE Storyclick here to order online.

CAE Prestige Club Gala

: The Prestige Club’s Mike Cregan (left) works the registration table at CAE on May 26. Long a devotee of CAE heritage, Mike was an invaluable part of CANAV’s push to produce its landmark history of CAE.

The Prestige Club’s Mike Cregan (left) works the registration table at CAE on May 26. Long a devotee of CAE heritage, Mike was an invaluable part of CANAV’s push to produce its landmark history of CAE.

On Thursday, May 26, 2016 members of CAE’s Prestige Club held their grand annual dinner at the plant on Côte de Liesse in Montreal. Prestige Club members have put in 25 years with the company (I met one retiree with 42 years on the payroll).

Attending this year’s event, I was able to meet (for the first time in person, in several cases) many CAE people who had helped me complete a company history that was as authoritative as possible. Shaking hands with the likes of Byron Cavadias, Mike Cregan, Bob Duthie, George Morrow, Dave Tait, Bob Kemerer, Jack Shlien, Rolf Vissers and Les White was an amazing honour.

A small corner of the Prestige Club crowd during cocktail hour. As you can see, it was all about conviviality.

A small corner of the Prestige Club crowd during cocktail hour. As you can see, it was all about conviviality.

CAE pioneers Dave Tait and Jack Schlien. A Arriving from New Zealand, Dave joined CAE in 1958, following a stint at NRC/CARDE analyzing interception scenarios for the Avro Arrow. Jack started in 1968. Both rose to senior positions.

CAE pioneers Dave Tait and Jack Schlien. A Arriving from New Zealand, Dave joined CAE in 1958, following a stint at NRC/CARDE analyzing interception scenarios for the Avro Arrow. Jack started in 1968. Both rose to senior positions.

Mike Cregan greets Bob Barnard, two key supporters when it came to various historical topics and fact checking as the CAE book. Bob joined CAE from the RCAF in 1960, his first of many projects being the Argus Tactical Crew Procedures Trainer. The TCPT now is on display in the museum as RCAF Station Greenwood.

Mike Cregan greets Bob Barnard, two key supporters when it came to various historical topics and fact checking as the CAE book. Bob joined CAE from the RCAF in 1960, his first of many projects being the Argus Tactical Crew Procedures Trainer. The TCPT now is on display in the museum as RCAF Station Greenwood.

George Morrow joined CAE after a short service stint in the RCAF. There, his first great adventures were navigating 408 Squadron Lancasters across the Arctic. While at CAE, he also had a long career with 401 Squadron at St. Hubert, where he rose to be LCol Morrow. George travelled to the Prestige Club dinner from his home on Vancouver Island.

George Morrow joined CAE after a short service stint in the RCAF. There, his first great adventures were navigating 408 Squadron Lancasters across the Arctic. While at CAE, he also had a long career with 401 Squadron at St. Hubert, where he rose to be LCol Morrow. George travelled to the Prestige Club dinner from his home on Vancouver Island.

Here I am with Byron Cavadias, who ran CAE Electronics Ltd. longer than anyone and, basically, laid the foundation for the company as the world knows it today.

Here I am with Byron Cavadias, who ran CAE Electronics Ltd. longer than anyone and, basically, laid the foundation for the company as the world knows it today.

Bob Duthie and I. Byron assigned Bob many crucial projects, the unusual Iranian CH-47 Chinook flight simulator included. Bob’s work took him to the far corners of the world over the decades – par for the course for CAE people.

Bob Duthie and I. Byron assigned Bob many crucial projects, the unusual Iranian CH-47 Chinook flight simulator included. Bob’s work took him to the far corners of the world over the decades – par for the course for CAE people.

One of the 40 or so tables at this year’s Prestige Club gathering included (seated) company pioneers Bob Kemerer, Jack Shlien, Byron Cavadias and Gilles Sevingy.

One of the 40 or so tables at this year’s Prestige Club gathering included (seated) company pioneers Bob Kemerer, Jack Shlien, Byron Cavadias and Gilles Sevingy.

This year’s many Prestige Club door prizes included several classic CANAV titles. These fellows were the lucky winners! Take at look at this great photo by CAE’s Noella Theriault and dwell on the fact that, even though CANAV Books has been labouring since 1981 at producing best selling Canadian books, the Canada Council in Ottawa does not consider it to be a real book publisher. Our world-class titles are not eligible for the Governor General’s Canada Council book awards.

This year’s many Prestige Club door prizes included several classic CANAV titles. These fellows were the lucky winners! Take at look at this great photo by CAE’s Noella Theriault and dwell on the fact that, even though CANAV Books has been labouring since 1981 at producing internationally acclaimed Canadian aviation heritage books, the Canada Council in Ottawa does not consider CANAV to be a real book publisher. Our world-class (often best selling)  titles are not eligible for the Governor General’s Canada Council book awards.

I’m still hearing from people in the know with their informed critiques of Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story. Lately, when Mehr Kapadia first got in touch, it was by way of his comments about the book. He comments:

Dear Larry … my congratulations. Your recent CAE history really is a great, well-researched book. I’ve found it most interesting going through the early history from long before I joined the company. You have to be complimented for the effort and care that you took. We Canadians have a bad habit of not blowing our horn when we achieve something great. As I might have mentioned, I am of the opinion that CAE probably was the world’s best systems engineering company for many years. I think I can say that, as over the years I dealt with most of the best large US and UK engineering companies and I never came across any as good as us.

Still don’t have your copy of Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story, order online here!