Spectacular Typhoon MN235 dressed in 440 Squadron markings for the CASM’s 2014 D-Day remembrance event. (Larry Milberry)
Published in 1989, Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story is the only book dedicated to the heroic young Canadians who fought in these rugged World War II fighters. With some justification, through the postwar years these fellows felt sidelined by historians specializing in the 1939-45 air war. Their gripe was about how history eagerly embraced the Hurricane, Mustang, Spitfire, Thunderbolt, etc., but where were the books about the Typhoon and Tempest? Well, the books (all by UK publishers) were there, but only a handful by comparison. Their authors, the renowned Francis K. Mason, Christopher Shores and Christopher Thomas included, did outstanding work.
In the early 1980s, Hugh A. Halliday, a historian at the Canadian War Museum, became interested in the Typhoon and Tempest and the Canadians who fought and (often) died in them. Hugh developed a manuscript, but could find no publisher with the interest. At some point we talked over his project. It did not take rocket science to decide: “Let’s publish, Hugh”, I impulsively concluded.
And publish we did in 1992. Robin Brass did our graphics and editing, Tri-Graphic in Ottawa did the printing and binding. Our book launch at Canadian Forces Staff School in Toronto was a gala event. The Officers Mess was packed with fellows who had survived tours on Typhoons and Tempests to go on to postwar careers in aviation and many other professions. A bit later we held another book launch on a blustery winter’s night in the 410 Wing (Air Force Association of Canada) mess at Rockcliffe. I was certain that few would brave the slippery highways that night, but they showed up. Even Honourary Colonel André Lord of 438 Squadron attended, buzzing in through the storm in a 438 Kiowa chopper from St. Hubert. His pilots looked ashen, but the old Typhoon warrior was ready to get right into it!
Hugh’s book now was off on its 20+ year career. We earned several glowing reviews from critics who actually knew an important book when they got their hands on one. Where such reviewers have disappeared to, I have no idea. Unless an author is a rock star (preferably not Canadian), there’s no way today to beg, borrow or buy a review for any such a world-class Canadian book as Typhoon and Tempest.
Much great fun was had in post-book launch times. Thanks chiefly to Ed McKay (438 Sqn), a Typhoon and Tempest pilots association came into being and various events were organized. The fellows made Hugh and I their only honourary members. We gathered periodically for lunch in and around Toronto, and in Niagara-on-the-Lake; and each year several also would team up for a Normandy tour. Gradually, however, the fellows began to drop away. Our lunches that often numbered 25 or 30 pilots in the 1990s, by 2013 had dwindled to 5 or 6.
Pilots from the Typhoon and Tempest association at one of our annual lunch gatherings. This one was held on October 14, 1992 at the Mississauga Golf and Country Club. Standing are Jack Cook (439 Sqn), Ed Flanagan (440), Jim Ruse (439), Jim Beatty (439), Ed McKay (438), Staff Marlatt (247, 439), George Lane (198), Jack Brown (193), John Flintoff (440), Harry Hare (175), Al McMane (182, 274), Murray Hallford (439), John Friedlander (181), Norm Howe (175), Clayton Leigh (182) and Bill Baggs (164). In front are Bill Clifford (439), Frank Johnson (174), Norm Dawber (438) and Rod Davidge (193). (Larry Milberry)
How a couple of these fellows appeared in combat times – typical gung-ho RCAF fighter pilots Norm Dawber (above) of Toronto and John Flintoff (below) of Montreal. (RCAF)
One of the best post-book launch Typhoon and Tempest events was an evening hosted by Mississauga mayor Hazel McCallion at her municipal art gallery. I forget just how this got going, but the late George Broomfield’s war art was on show. His widow, Bambi, was guest of honour, along with a contingent of wartime pilots and “erks” (mechanics and other groundcrew).
F/L George Broomfield’s chalk rendering entitled “Inoculation Parade at Dispersal, 143 Airfield England ‘44”. This piece (the front endpaper of Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story), features 439 Typhoon “5V-D”. (Canadian War Museum)
George Broomfield (1906-1992) painted widely as RCAF 143 Wing (where he was a transportation officer) moved across Europe after D-Day. The only RCAF Typhoon wing, 143 comprised 438, 439 and 440 Squadrons. The wing would play a prominent role in the brutal chore of sweeping the Germans from France and the Low Countries, then back across the Rhine to final defeat. As a curator of war art at the Canadian War Museum, Hugh Halliday knew of Broomfield and recommended that we use some of his 143 Wing pieces. This was done, with Bambi’s approval. On the night the exhibition opened, a solid contingent of Typhoon people turned out. Here are a few of the snapshots that I came away with that evening.
Typhoon pilot Bill Baggs (164 Sqn) and his wife Nan enjoy the Broomfield show at the Mississauga Living Arts
Bambi Broomfield and Mayor Hazel McCallion surrounded by Typhoon men Bill Baggs, John McCullough, Norm Howe, George Lane, Jack Brown, Norm Dawber, Dave Davies, John Friedlander and Ed McKay.
Mayor McCallion, Ed McKay, Bambi Broomfield and Norm Dawber.
The mayor with Norm Dawber and John McCullough.
The RCAF Central Band ready to lead the festivities at Rockcliffe. (all, Larry Milberry unless noted)
Over the summer of 2014 a few survivors of our Typhoon and Tempest community gathered at the Canada Air and Space Museum in Ottawa. This was a bit of a last fling to honour them and included the world’s one-and-only surviving Typhoon — arrangements had been made to transport it from the RAF Museum at Hendon on loan. The reunion was part of D-Day celebrations held in Ottawa. Attending pilots made their ways to Ottawa from as far away as Victoria, BC. On June 6 they all arrived at the CASM/Rockcliffe aboard the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum DC-3 in D-Day markings.
The CWH DC-3 arrives at the CASM from nearby Uplands carrying a contingent of WWII Typhoon pilots. Then, below, views of the excitement around the “Dak” as the fellows moved into the crowd.
For the next year or so you’ll be able to see the awesome Typhoon at the CASM and, later, at the RCAF Memorial Museum in Trenton. Don’t miss your chance, if in the Ottawa or Trenton area. Here are a few other photos of the Ottawa “Typhoon roll-out” on June 6, 2014:
Wally Ward steps down from the CWH Dakota.
Peter Roper (a Brit on 56 and 198 Sqns) with John Thompson (245). Peter came in from Montreal, John from Woodbridge.
Ken Hanna (181 Sqn) with Frank Johnson (174) and publisher Larry Milberry. Both the fellows sport their “Typhoon” ties.
Harry Hardy (left, 440 Sqn) from Vancouver greets John Friedlander (181, 247) of Mississauga as CASM director, Stephen Quick, enjoys the goings-on.
Harry Hardy in an RCAF wartime PR photo.
Harry Hardy autographs an admirer’s copy of Hugh Halliday’s renowned book.
John Thompson is interviewed by one of the media types covering this grand D-Day/Typhoon event.
Typhoon pilot Norm Howe from Niagara-on-the-Lake with a CWH Dakota pilot. The “canned” citation to Norm’s DFC notes: “By his keenness and enthusiasm, this officer has set a fine example to the rest of the squadron.” In comparison, Harry Hardy’s DFC citation is detailed, including such comments as “He has attacked many heavily defended targets including bridges, railway sidings, enemy strong points, barges, locomotives, canal locks and V-1 objectives.”
Ted Smith was excited to see the Typhoon in the markings of his beloved 440 Squadron. Ted arrived this day from his residence at Sunnybrook veterans hospital in Toronto.
Some general scenes with 143 Wing showing typical conditions. It was no piece of cake for anyone in “the Typhoon business”. First, a 440 “Tiffie” awaiting winter “ops” at Eindhoven (the erks had the dirtiest ground jobs of all on 143 Wing).
A Canadian Typhoon heads out on operations from Eindhoven lugging a typical load – a pair of 1000-lb general purpose bombs.
440 Squadron’s I8-P runs up in a sunnier setting with 5-gallon cans of aviation fuel supplying the foreground. Thanks to Andrew Yee for tweaking some of these photos. (RCAF)
Do you have your copy yet?
Be sure to have Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story on your aviation bookshelf. The final 50 of our 3000 print run are on sale (Canada) at $37.50 + $12.00 Canada Post + $2.47 tax = $51.97. Use PayPal (to firstname.lastname@example.org) or mail a cheque to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto ON M4E 3B6 Canada. US and overseas — CDN$61.00 all-in by PayPal or any cheque on any CDN or US bank (sorry, no plastic). Call Larry if any queries: (416) 698-7559.