With today’s short section, our on-going CANAV Books history reaches the end of our era of randomly publishing titles. The last of these was Canada’s Air Forces on Exchange. Then began our “Aviation in Canada” era, which numbers eight titles into 2021. For today we’re covering Y2K to 2007 starting with our 3-volume history of the RCAF. This had begun a few years earlier as a project to produce a single book honouring the RCAF in its 75th year. However, as usually happens, the project took on a life of its own, ending in 2000-01 as our 3-volume Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace with more than 1000 pages.
All things considered (text, illustrations and presentation) “CAFWP” is a grand Royal Canadian Air Force history that readily complements the 3-volume RCAF Overseas official history (1944-45), and the DND’s subsequent 3-volume official RCAF history published in 1980, ’86 and ’94. I regularly nag CANAV readers about building a foundational library of all such RCAF books. Some have done so, of course, but far too many (pitifully) have capitulated to the internet as the source of all they need to know about the RCAF. I hope you don’t know any of these intellectual sellouts.
In some 20 years, not a negative word has been published about “CAFWP”, other than that Vol.4 remains conspicuous by its absence. Circumstances in 2001-03 kept delaying Vol.4, mainly a lack of funds. Time inevitably passed the project by. Happily, much of the material gathered for Vol.4 (CF-5, CF-104, etc.) will appear in our forthcoming RCAF 100 th anniversary blockbuster.
Here are a few “CAFWP” comments from our always well- informed and critical reviewers. To begin, Scale Aviation Modeller International selected “CAFWP” Vol.1 as its “Book of the Month”: “Well, what can we say! This is a book that truly deserves the ‘must have’ title… one that all RCAF and Canadian aviation fans will want…” Writes Airforce: “…the most comprehensive history of Canada’s air force ever produced.” Canadian Flight called Vol.1, “The grand-daddy of all Christmas presents for air force vets … a superb work to delight all RCAF or CF veterans.” Many such reviews ensued. Re. Vol.3, for example, Air Pictorial observed: “Milberry has excelled in this volume by combining riveting personal experiences from air and ground crews with an unrivalled selection of llustrations… rarely does a book so handsomely exceed the most sanguine expectations as does this outstanding publication.”
There’s a special price now for a 3-volume set of CAFWP: Canada $75 all-in, USA CDN$90 all-in, oversea CDN$180 all-in. Payment can be send directly by PayPal or Interac to CANAV’s email address email@example.com … or post a cheque or money order to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E3B6
Fighter Squadron 2003
For Fighter Squadron: 441Squadron from Hurricanes to Hornets (2003) we still are awaiting the first negative review. In one case the journal “Combat Aircraft” could only say in its review (regarding the difficulty of getting any book about a squadron right): “They are intrinsically difficult to write … the overriding need is to get the right balance… [Fighter Squadron] has achieved the elusive balance … Everything about this volume has the feeling of authority and authenticity.” Due to the steep cost in finishing this project, it had to be priced accordingly. As a result, Fighter Squadron joined the ranks of those books we have published that were born of red ink and are wallowing in it to this day. C’est la guerre. If one is in history and in book publishing for the long haul, be ready to take your lumps. For now you can order a copy of Fighter Squadron at a real bargain. Anywhere in Canada $30 all-in, USA CDN$45 all-in, Overseas CDN$60 all-in Payment can be send directly by PayPal or Interac to CANAV’s email address firstname.lastname@example.org … or post a cheque or money order to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E3B6
The Leslie Corness and Wilf White “Propliner” Collections 2005 and 2006
Years ago CANAV Books honoured two dedicated aviation photographers: Leslie Corness of Edmonton, and Wilf White, residing in Glasgow in the very house where he lived since a lad. I had known these stellar fellows since the 1970s, when we would exchange photos and airplane “gen” of all kinds. Sadly, both fellows long since have passed on.
The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection was published in 2005, The Wilf White Propliner Collection in 2006. Each was splendidly received. The respected journal, Airways: The Global Review of Commercial Flight, was quick to react, describing “LCPC” as, “A photo album with style and intelligence … to be savoured.” Airways next wrote about “WWPC”: “Milberry’s treatment of his subject is personal and meticulous, the photo selection is … evocative, the captions knowledgeable and informative … thoroughly enjoyable.” Who put these bons mots together? None other than the beloved John Wegg, author of such world class books as Caravelle, Finnair:The Art of Flying since 1923, and General Dynamics and Their Predecessors. What an honour to be reviewed by such a “King of Aviation History”.
Then came Vol.39, No.11 of the UK’s beloved “Aircraft Illustrated” with another masterpiece of a review covering “WWPC”. Here is how UK book aficionado, Denis J. Calvert, lays the groundwork for his magazine’s review for November 2006: “A few weeks ago, a photo album arrived … which genuinely merits the title ‘Book of the Month’”. Denis concludes, “This volume, beautifully produced, offers the very highest quality … and comes confidently recommended.” Here is the full review. Also … you can orderboth of these outstanding books at: Anywhere in Canada $45 all-in, USA CDN$55 all-in, Overseas CDN$80 all-in. Payment can be send directly by PayPal or Interac to CANAV’s email address email@example.com … or post a cheque or money order to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E3B6
Canada’s Air Forces on Exchange 2007
When we published Canada’s Air Forces on Exchange in 2007, the usual string of top reviews appeared. In one case, reviewer Robert Merrick (RCAF ret’d), himself having had a USAF exchange on RF-4s, and at this time reviewing for the prominent “COPA Flight” journal, summed up his feelings: ““Truly an enlightening book … Those pondering the ideal Christmas gift for your local Fireside Aviator need look no farther.” “CAFEx” remains one of the best ever RCAF histories that focusses upon a specific (and rare) subject. No one who opens “CAFEx” is ever disappointed, other than at not finding himself listed in the index. Quite a few such fellows have contacted me over the years, the odd one being almost distressed. The best consolation I can offer is to suggest that he write the next book about exchange postings. What else is to be said? Although “CAFEx” lost CANAV a lot of money, I can’t imagine not having published such an important RCAF history. So ends today’s episode. Next time we’ll start into “Aviation in Canada”. For now you can order a copy of Fighter Squadron at a real bargain. Anywhere in Canada $40 all-in, USA CDN$55 all-in, Overseas CDN$70 all-in Payment can be send directly by PayPal or Interac to CANAV’s email address firstname.lastname@example.org … or post a cheque or money order to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E3B6
The USAF Museum in 1964
For 1964 we local Toronto spotters didn’t do as much travelling as usual. I’d have to dig into the old files for a full explanation, but I’m pretty sure it was because the likes of Fred Guthrie, John Kerr, Nick Wolochatiuk and I were busy teaching school or doing university courses. Certainly, summer courses kept us grounded well into August. That’s when Nick and I decided to squeeze in a quick road trip the week before we returned to the classroom.
On August 26 we drove the Goderich airport on a rumour that there was a Lancaster to be seen. Good move, for we found ex-RCAF Lancaster FM213 recently arrived there to become a historic display. Happily, it still was on its own wheels, so was perfect for photography (it later went atop a pylon and today is airworthy with the Canadian Warplane Heritage). We also were happy to spot such planes as Fleet Finch CF-GER, Tiger Moth CF-IFB, Pitts Special CF-REH and Aeronca C3 N13886, but all were in the Sky Harbour hangar. We then pushed off for southern Ohio. Our mission? Visit the USAF Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base not far from Dayton. In the afternoon of the 27th we pulled in to a camp ground not far from “Wright Pat”.
Next day we spent several happy hours at the museum. Due to a shortage of hangar space, many aircraft still had to be kept outside. Meanwhile, it was so dark inside, that photography was hopeless. By contrast, today’s museum at Wright Pat is magnificent. Even where galleries are dark, today’s digital camera technology allows for photography. It’s also well worth a visit to the museum website, where you can take wonderful virtual tours. You’ll be able to spot most of the airplanes shown here – you can make a bit of a game with that. Don’t miss this, simply google: https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Virtual-Tour/
For today on the CANAV blog, here are a few photos that I took on this trip. These are un-retouched, just basic scans from my old “2¼” b/w negatives. Unfortunately, over the decades many of these negs have suffered in their individual glassine envelopes. Most hadn’t even been looked at for more than half a century, so I was disappointed finding so many to be blotched. I’d always assumed that the “glassines” we used for negative storage were the best solution. It’s hard to say what happened. Perhaps it’s more a humidity issue than a glassine issue? Happily, however, my trusty Epson V700 pro scanner has come to the rescue – I’ve been able to get a good basic scan in most cases. Some PhotoShop pro easily could make any one of these photos really sizzle. Anyways, on the CANAV Blog it’s a case of “content over form” any day of the week. After all, this isn’t a contest, just a hobby.
Aircraft of the USAF Museum in 1964
A Few More TTC Scenes
Have you had a look our earlier blog articles covering Toronto Transit Commission streetcars over the decades? If not, you can scroll back and have a look. After all, any grown-up aviation fan revels in all forms of transportation and the joys of photographing them.
Today, I’m adding a few TTC scenes that I captured long ago – photos of some unusual work cars plus some busses of the Sixties. The work cars were used on a host of duties including rail grinding, clearing snow and delivering supplies and equipment to track construction sites, etc. Many of these units were built around retired TTC passenger cars. The snow plowing cars disappeared by 1980, when city works took over the job, while the rail grinders made their final runs in 1999.