Category Archives: Typhoon

1) A Few Typhoon Books Left 2) Bob Hoover “Ole Yeller” Update 3) Norseman Readers React

Typhoon dust jacketYou can see the interesting history of Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story by scrolling back through this blog (for example here and here). After waiting pretty well a quarter of a century, I thought the day would never come.However,  our original stock of about 3000 copies is now down to the final 10 as of February 4, 2017. These are available to the hardcore aviation history bibliophile at (for Canada) the collector’s price of  $90.00 + $12.00 Canada Post + $5.10 tax = $107.10. For USA and overseas each book CDN$90.00 + CDN$21.00 postage = CDN$111.00. Otherwise, you sometimes can find a lower price on a used copy at such sites as http://www.abebooks.com or www.bookfinder.com, so all is not lost!

When ordering, please use PayPal (pay to larry@canavbooks.com) or mail a cheque/MO to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto ON M4E 3B6 Canada. Tel: (416) 698-7559.

AND… Our Readers write (or email)

Here’s an update re. Bob Hoover’s Mustang from Ottawa CAHS member and Oshkosh devotee, Tim Dubé:

“Hi, Larry … here is one of my photos of N51RH taken at AirVenture Oshkosh 2015, ‘Ole Yeller’, now owned by John Bagley of Idaho.”

Bob Hoover mustang

“Also, in 2016 the Ford Motor Company donated this Ford Mustang (below) painted like Bob’s ‘Ole Yeller’ to the EAA ‘Young Eagles’ program. At auction it sold for US$295,000.

Regards … Tim”

Ford

Norseman Update

Meanwhile, readers of Aviation in Canada: The Noorduyn Norseman history keep reporting back with their bons mots about this major 2-volume set. Since the publisher needs to crow a bit once in a while, here I go. First, comments from a UK* aviation bibliophile, then a few words from France**:

*How do you manage to produce such super books at such short intervals? This clearly is a fascinating subject, and Bob Noorduyn’s background was entirely new to me. I didn’t know that he had come to UK to work with Sopwith and Armstrong Whitworth. It’s good that you have done him and his achievements justice in your meticulous CANAV treatment. Also, what a lovely selection of well-reproduced old photos. These recreate the atmosphere of the Norseman era. As an aside, I’d never even heard of the Fairchild Husky.

**I hope all goes well, with lots of great projects to keep you busy in 2017. I just wanted to say that I was going through part of the Norseman book (second volume) yet again in a quiet moment yesterday evening…. it truly is an outstanding piece of work. I don’t think there is anyone out there who comes close to matching your unique blend of great research, depth of content, variety and accessible style. Congratulations again, a spectacular achievement!

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Summer/Fall Newsletter 2015 and … Introducing Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story

CAE cover

Dear Reader,

I hope that all goes well with you so far through mid-2015. At CANAV things are hopping, the excitement being all about being our new CAE history. Any fan of Canada’s great aviation heritage will revel in this exclusive production, the largest so far in our 7-vol. “Aviation in Canada” series.

CAE Mailing Piece

If you have the other titles, you’ll know what to expect (in case you haven’t yet treated yourself to the series, there’s still stock). FYI, The CAE Story is not an official company history. However, neither were our world-class bestsellers Canadair: The First 50 Years, De Havilland in Canada and Power: The Pratt & Whitney Canada Story.

Order your autographed copy of The CAE Story online today!

If you’re looking for some great summer reading, be sure to peruse the new CANAV general booklist. Check out such hot additions as Fangs of Death (439 Sqn), Lost: Unsolved Mysteries of Canadian Aviation, A Life in Canadian Aerospace and My Life and Times at Canadian Airlines. Other great selections? Air Transport in Canada remains in print and still at a $60 discount. This mighty publication (1040 pages) is the world’s single heftiest aviation history title. Only a handful of Hugh Halliday’s Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story remain, so if you want some truly exciting RCAF WWII reading, don’t miss out on this wonderful production — a real icon in the category of books honouring our wartime air and ground crew. Also down to the last few original copies is CANAV’s highly-touted Power: The Pratt & Whitney Canada Story.

Another beauty that you’ll be sure to enjoy (and a bargain at $50) is Canada’s Air Forces on Exchange. Content-wise, this is one of the more far-out of Canadian aviation titles, e.g., in the “who knew” category. Here you’ll read about Canadians on exchange (or contract) from the USA and UK to such other nations as France, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway on such types as the B-29, B-52, B-57, C-17, C-97, C-141, Britannia, F-4, F-5, F-102, F-106, Gladiator, Lightning, Mirage and Nimrod. With hundreds of photos this book will open your eyes to an important (if little-known) aspect of RCAF history. Some of the excitement includes Canadian pilots ejecting from the F-100 and F-105, chasing a UFO in an F-94, bombing Mau Mau in Kenya, ditching in the Mediterranean in a Hastings, ferrying a Javelin from the UK to Singapore (one Javelin is lost in the Bengali jungles), ferrying a B-57 from the USA to Pakistan and an RF-4J from the factory in St. Louis to Japan, test flying the EuroFighter in its early days, flying Tornados in Saudi Arabia and crewing on secret missions in the WB-50, WB-57 and SR-71. This may sound like “Believe It or Not” stuff, but it’s all solid history!

Besides building up your personal library, you also might consider donating a CANAV volume to your local public/school library. Needless to say, a set of “Aviation in Canada” wouldn’t likely be turned down! A positive way of spreading the word and making a difference, eh. Final reminder … be sure to check out CANAV’s free book offer on p.4 of the main booklist.

Need to get in touch?

CANAV Business Card

As always, feel free to call or email any time for further info: (416) 698-7559 or larry@canavbooks.com.

And, as usual … good reading to one and all!

~ Larry Milberry, publisher

Typhoon and Tempest – Reminiscences

Spectacular Typhoon MN235 dressed in 440 Squadron markings for the CASM’s 2014 D-Day remembrance event. (Larry Milberry)

Spectacular Typhoon MN235 dressed in 440 Squadron markings for the CASM’s 2014 D-Day remembrance event. (Larry Milberry)

Typhoon dust jacketPublished 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 their annual get 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)

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)

Typhoon Dawber

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)

4 Typhoon Flintoff

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)

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

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.

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.

Mayor McCallion, Ed McKay, Bambi Broomfield and Norm Dawber.

The mayor with Norm Dawber and John McCullough.

The mayor with Norm Dawber and John McCullough.

The RCAF Central Band ready to lead the festivities at Rockcliffe. (all, Larry Milberry unless noted)

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.

CASM Typhoon Ceremony CWH DC-3 6-6-2014 colour

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.

12 Typhoon - IMG_5922 colour OK?Typhoon 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.

Wally Ward steps down from the CWH Dakota.

15 Typhoon - CASM Peter Roper & John Thompson 6-6-2014Peter 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. Ken wears the following medals: Distinguished Flying Cross, 1939-1945 Star, Aircrew Europe Star with Clasp denoting post-D-Day service, Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, War Medal 1939-45 and l’Ordre national du Quebec. Otherwise, he displays an Operation Wing, 181 Sqn crest, a Typhoon pin and (on the right) the Normandy Campaign Medal -- an honour created by a private veteran’s association (people had to purchase it with proof of qualifying service). John’s medals are: 1939-1945 Star, France and Germany Star (post-D-Day service), Defence Medal, Canadian Volunteer Service Medal, and War Medal 1939-45. Both the fellows sport “Typhoon” ties.

Ken Hanna (181 Sqn) with Frank Johnson (174) and publisher Larry Milberry. Both the fellows sport their “Typhoon” ties. Sadly, not many of the fellows still are with us. Frank passed away on September 24, 2017. He was the last surviving Typhoon pilot from 174 Sqn.

HarryHardy_JohnFriedlander_StephenQuick

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

Harry Hardy in an RCAF wartime PR photo.

 Harry Hardy autographs an admirer’s copy of Hugh Halliday’s renowned book.

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.

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.”

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 CASM Typhoon in the markings of his beloved 440 Squadron. Ted arrived this day from his residence at Sunnybrook veterans hospital in Toronto.

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.

Typhoon - winter scene

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).

Typhoon - taxying through the puddles

A Canadian Typhoon heads out on operations from Eindhoven lugging a typical load – a pair of 1000-lb general purpose bombs.

Typhoon - gerry cans I8-P

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. As of October, 2017, the final few copies of our 3000 print run are on sale at (for Canada)  $90.00* + $12.00 Canada Post + $5.10 tax = $107.10. USA and overseas each book CDN$90.00 + CDN$21.00 postage = CDN$111.00. Use PayPal (to larry@canavbooks.com) or mail/MO a cheque to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto ON M4E 3B6 Canada. Call Larry if any queries: (416) 698-7559.*You can shop around on the internet to find more affordable used copies.

The Wartime Era Fades

When I was a boy in Toronto soon after WWII, my pals and I were always amazed at something a bit macabre (to we dopey little street kids). Wherever we were in the city there were old men on crutches or with empty shirtsleeves or eye patches. There were also a lot of younger men the same. It didn’t mean that much to 5, 6 or 7 year olds, but we did tend to stare. We eventually learned the story behind this: the older fellows had lost limbs and eyes in WWI (maybe even in the Boer War), the younger guys in WWII.

As time went by we found ourselves eagerly soaking up all this history. We’d scour the shelves at our Gerrard & Eastwood library branch, especially for all those great stories of aerial warfare where Canadians were so involved. Next door at the Eastwood theatre we never missed a movie covering all this stuff — The Malta Story, Reach for the Sky, The Enemy Below, The Desert Rats, etc.

After getting into the aviation history game, I met hundreds of wonderful Canadian airmen. At first there were lots of WWI types around. Many were our speakers at the Toronto chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society or at CAHS conventions — Punch Dickins, Walter Gilbert, Doc Oaks, Stan McMillan, Alex Milne, etc. When I started writing I met so many others and counted lots of them as real pals. In time, however, the last WWI airman passed on. Now, the last of the WWII fellows are slipping away, most around 90 years of age. A friend in Alberta called lately to report George Aitken, DFC, of 403 Sqn having passed. George was a fine gentleman and true supporter. It was an honour to feature him in Royal Canadian Air Force at War 1939-1945 more than 20 years ago. Check out his story.

It sure is getting a bit lonely in the 2000s, most of the WWII airmen’s associations by now having packed it in. We used to have 30-35 Typhoon pilots  faithfully to our Typhoon Pilots Association lunches in Toronto. Now five or six fellows make it out. The day is near when few will know much about these wonderful generations of Canadians. When people talk about aerial combat years from now, more and more the topic will be Cold War, where not an RCAF shot was fired in anger, or aerial combat in the wide open, pretty well friendly skies of Iraq and Libya.

Heroism and daring-do are definitely relative, especially when you study the details of something like the raid on Nuremburg on the night of March 30/31, 1944 — 795 Bomber Command planes dispatched, more than 100 (many full of Canadians) were lost. That was just one night of the air war. The survivors of such missions used to cringe a bit when the fighter pilots were whooping it up, as if they had won the war single-handedly. The Bomber Command fellows occasionally needed to remind the fighter types, “Yoohoo, that was really great of you fellows. But don’t forget that we lost more men killed in one night than you did in the entire Battle of Britain.” Well, things are getting pretty quiet these days about all that sort of thing.

In this week’s local paper there was the obit of one of our great RCAF air warfare heroes — William Ward Osborn, DFC, February 15, 1921 – January 13, 2012. His obit mentions how he flew Lancasters with 419 Sqn from Middleton St. George. Postwar he graduated in civil engineering from the University of Toronto, added a Masters degree, then re-joined the Canadian military, where he fought in Korea and served on UN postings. Back on Civvie Street he served the country again — in government. His family notes, “He is our unvanquished hero and our perpetual guiding light.” What a life lived, what a legacy, what a fine Canadian.

Every reader needs to be familiar with the magnificent website that is largely the work of one of Canada’s pre-eminent RCAF historians — Hugh Halliday. Go there (google AFAC Halliday Website RCAF Gongs 1939-45) and get the real story of Canadians in the air war. Today I looked up William Ward Osborn. Here is Hugh’s outline of this great citizen in the RCAF:

OSBORN, F/L William Ward (J26673) – Distinguished Flying Cross – No.419 Squadron – Award effective 8 September 1945 as per London Gazette dated 21 September 1945 and AFRO 1704/45 dated 9 November 1945. Born 1921 in Preston, Ontario; home in Hespeler (labourer); enlisted in Hamilton, 14 July 1942. Trained at No.6 ITS (graduated 21 November 1942), No.20 EFTS (graduated 6 February 1943) and No.6 SFTS (graduated 11 June 1943). Commissioned May 1943. Medal presented 22 June 1949. No citation other than “completed…numerous operations against the enemy in the course of which [he has] invariably displayed the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty.” DHist file 181.009 D.1941 (RG.24 Vol.20612) has recommendation dated 5 April 1945 when he had flown 36 sorties (237 hours 15 minutes), 10 September 1944 to 15 March 1945. Flight Lieutenant Osborn commenced his tour on September 10th, 1944 by doing a trip to Calais. On this first effort he brought his aircraft back to base on two and one-half engines. As gaggle leader on a daylight trip to Cologne on March 2nd, 1945, he again lost an engine in the target area and returned to base on three engines.

At all times during his tour of 36 trips this pilot has shown a high degree of courage, initiative and keenness. He has led his crew in bombing such difficult targets as Dresden, Munich and Nuremburg. This pilot’s standard of crew captaincy has been exceptional. For fine record on operation, his coolness, skill and leadership this officer merits the award on a non-immediate Distinguished Flying Cross. Thanks, and keep on reading books! Larry Milberry, January 2012

Addendum, January 4, 2013

Through 2013 there were fewer and fewer obits in the press for the wartime “demographic”. By then probably 95% of the whole generation had passed on. However, in the Toronto Star of January 4, 2014 I spotted two obits, one for A. Robert “Bob” McQuade, DFC,  an alumnus of 419 Sqn, the RCAF 6 Group squadron with the highest combat casualty rate. Bob passed on January 2, 2014 in a seniors’ residence in Newcastle, Ontario.

Also listed was Donald Halberston McSporran, whose family posted one of those really fantastic obits upon Don’s death on December 27, 2013. Here was another ace of a Canadian — a King’s Scout, WWII bomber pilot, POW for 3+ years, postwar a husband, father, school teacher, construction and design man, nature conservationist, etc.

Having trained as an RCAF  pilot in the BCATP at 1 EFTS (Malton) and 5 SFTS (Brantford), McSporran was posted overseas, where he eventually ended on 61 Squadron flying the unremarkable Manchester bomber. On his first operation as crew skipper (LeHavre, April 10, 1942), his Manchester 5785 lost an engine due to flak, forcing McSporran to ditch in the Channel 20 miles off Cherbourg.

The crew got into their dingy, where they held on for 5 – 6 days. That must have been a living hell, since they had no fresh water. At one point they were in sight of England, then were blown away and cast upon the French coast. In getting ashore, one crewman, Sgt D.J. Meikle, drowned. The  six survivors then were destined to wretched lives as German POWs.

In summarizing their great hero, Don McSporran’s family observe:

Don McSporran was one of those great Canadians who, having lived through the adversity of the Depression and the War, came home and made his country the peaceful and just society that it has become. He was a model citizen providing an example for all of an honest, ethical, hard-working member of society. He was frugal, yet generous, optimistic and steadfast, the kind of Canadian we all hope to become.

Don McSorran also is honoured on the “Billy Bishop Home & Museum” website (info@billybishop.org), and you may hear him recounting some  POW recollections on “The Memory Project” website (http://www.thememoryproject.com/stories/1120:donald-mcsporran/‎). If you have a copy of Sixty Years: The RCAF and CF Air Command 1924-1984, you can read a summary of McSporran’s ordeal on pp.161-162.

440 Squadron Reunion Update, CF-100 Nostalgia and CANAV’s 30th Anniversary

Last summer I attended a wonderful 440 “Bat’ Squadron reunion in Ottawa. A few weeks later I received a scroll naming me an honourary member of 440’s alumni. Very nice … not your everyday surprise!

You can find the reunion write-up “Typhoons and CF-100s: 440 Squadron Gets Together in Ottawa, September 2010,” here.  So have a look if you haven’t yet.

Since then, 440’s old timers organized a hugely important event across the pond and here is that story compiled by Cliff Cassidy from CF-100 days. It’s really encouraging to see that there’s still some genuine interest in Air Force heritage, at least at the grassroots (“old boys”) level. Take a peek at Cliff’s excellent presentation here.

All of today’s CanForces squadrons should check out what the 440 alumni have done — inspiration (let’s hope) for all of you in uniform. Every squadron has much to be proud of — so why not take that idea off the back burner and get a history project going!

Since we were just speaking of the CF-100… In 1981 I established CANAV Books. My first title was The Avro CF-100. Here I am, 30 years later on August 12, 2011, still hard at it, this very day sending CANAV’s latest book to the printer. I think I might just go out on the front porch, sit me down and celebrate with a brewski.

Yesterday one of Quebec’s best-known aviation historians dropped by to do that very thing — it was Robert St-Pierre Day on the porch! While I was putting the CF-100 book together, Robert was establishing a new aviation history society — “Canadian Roundel Wings”. People joined and the good word about Canada’s aviation heritage had another outlet.

Once The Avro CF-100 was off the bindery, I headed down for a book signing in Montreal. Robert and some of his pals organized a quick little do right in the main terminal at l’aéroport Dorval. Lots of interested people flowed by and a few books even were sold. It was a real hoot when a federal cabinet minister, allegedly with an interest in aviation, came through the terminal. He and his flunkies stopped to look over the book display. Naturally, not ever having bought a book in his life, the minister went away quite cheesed when he couldn’t get himself a freebee … he was insulted when I wouldn’t give him one! Sad to say, but at CANAV we still don’t know a heck of a lot about entitlement — too busy working for a living. Well, the case of the cheesed-off minister was just  the funniest moment and guess what … it sure hasn’t gotten any better since. Just try selling a Canadian aviation book to any Ottawa mandarin, political or military.

At The Avro CF-100 launch, Dorval Airport, 1981: Robert Nault, Robert Sapienza of KLM, CANAV's Larry Milberry, Robert St-Pierre, Marc-Andre Valiquette, and Gerry and René Vallée.

Robert showed me this black and white snapshot taken at Dorval that day 30 years ago. Aren’t these old photos just the best for bringing back happy memories? Here we aviation guys stand: Robert Nault, Robert Sapienza of KLM, moi, Robert St-Pierre, Marc-André Valiquette, and Gerry and René Vallée. Just great, and thanks, Robert. We haven’t aged a bit, right! Marc-André actually has grown up to be an author and publisher, and recently produced three excellent volumes covering Avro Canada.

Hope your summer goes well … Larry Milberry

P.S. … big news coming next week!

CF-100 trivia for February 29, 2012:

Today one of CANAV’s fans reported that he had ordered a used copy of The Avro CF-100 from a web dealer. At $29.00 he got a great deal. Here’s his report via e-mail:

Hi Larry … I got it about an hour ago. So guess why it took me an hour to write! I looked at every page, photo, etc. Awesome!

Thanks very much for your help, and especially for writing this book in the first place. My copy is virtually in mint condition, with only minor damage to the dust jacket.

Best regards … John

Typhoons and CF-100s: 440 Squadron Gets Together in Ottawa, September 2010

 

Jay Hunt (orange shirt) of Vintage Wings has the attention of a crowd of 440 CF-100 era guests during the squadron reunion. A Finch, Beaver, Tiger Moth and Fox Moth form the backdrop. (Photos by Larry Milberry unless noted).

One of the RCAF‘s renowned combat squadrons of WWII and Cold War days was 440, which had its beginnings as 11 (Army Co-operation) Squadron in Vancouver in October 1932. Initially without airplanes, the squadron didn’t get airborne until delivery of its first D.H.60 Moths in October 1934. It carried on with training through the Thirties to the eve of war, when it received its first combat types — the Atlas and Lysander. On June 29, 1940 F/L W.J. McFarlane flew 11 AC’s first wartime operation — a patrol in Lysander 428 scouting for a reported Japanese submarine from RCAF Station Patricia Bay, near Victoria.

440 Sqn grew out of 11 (AC) Sqn, which formed in 1932. One of the squadron's first combat types (1939) was the Westland Lysander, still a frontline plane at the time. This fine "Lizzie" greeted the 440 old timers for their visit to Vintage Wings.

11 (AC) Sqn disbanded on February 1, 1941. Its successor, 111 (Fighter) Sqn, formed the following November 3 at Rockcliffe under S/L A.D. Nesbitt, DFC, a Battle of Britain veteran. Equipped with Kittyhawks, 111 went to the Pacific far northwest to bolster defences against the Japanese, who had occupied the Aleutian Islands. 111 flew its first “ops” on September 25, 1942, when four of its Kittyhawks escorted USAAC B-24s bombing Japanese positions at Kiska. On this mission S/L K.A. Boomer, 111’s CO, shot down a Japanese fighter — the first and only RCAF kill in this theatre.

Veteran Canadian aviation artist Graham Wragg created this lively scene depicting S/L Boomer's Aleutian kill. The painting appears in 440 Squadron History.

111 withdrew from Alaska in August 1943 to resume operations at Patricia Bay. It disbanded in January 1944, then proceeded overseas, where it formed anew, this time as 440 Squadron at Ayr, Scotland. It briefly flew Hurricanes, then converted to the mighty Typhoon. Along with 438 and 439, 440 was one of three RCAF Typhoon squadrons comprising 143 (RCAF) Wing, part of RAF 2nd Tactical Air Force. 440 soon moved south to Hurn to begin tactical operations against German targets in France in the lead-up to D-Day.

A 440 Squadron Typhoon taxies on operations at Eindhoven, Holland over the spring of 1945. Minutes later it would have been delivering its two 1000-lb bombs. Typhoon I8-P/RD389 was Harry Hardy's last Tiffie of the war -- he christened it "Pulverizer IV". Harry attended this reunion. (RCAF)

440 Squadron flew to the Normandy Beachhead at B.9 Lantheuil on June 28, 1944. Moving frequently hereafter, it operated non-stop to war’s end, busy days seeing each of its dozen or so “Tiffies” flying 4, 5, 6 or more sorties daily. Many aircraft fell to German flak and far too many 440 pilots were lost. The squadron disbanded at B.166 Flensburg on August 26, 1945. Its record included 4213 operational sorties with 2215 tons of bombs dropped. These efforts resulted in 420 rail cuts and hundreds of enemy troops, vehicles, barges, etc. blasted. The brutal cost? 32 Typhoons lost, 28 pilots killed. Five 440 pilots received the DFC for their good efforts. The details of this amazing RCAF era are best read in Hugh A. Halliday’s 1992 book, Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story, which anyone with an interest in 440 will want.

440 Squadron CF-100 Mk.III fighters on the flightline in Bagotville circa 1954. Then, a 440 Mk.IV during NATO years. (RCAF)

With the Cold War, 440 re-formed in October 1953. Stationed initially at Bagotville with the machine-gun armed CF-100 Mk.III, in February 1955 it re-equipped with the Mk.4B, which added air-to-air rockets to the arsenal. In May 1957, 440 flew that Atlantic to take up residence at RCAF 3 Wing at Zweibrucken, West Germany. There it bolstered NATO’s all-weather fighter bastion against the Warsaw Pact forces. The squadron again disbanded in December 1962. 440s CF-100 era is covered in good detail in Larry Milberry’s 1981 book The Avro CF-100. This classic title is out-of-print, but copies can be found on such used book internet sites as abebooks.com or bookfinder.com. Another essential book is 440 Squadron History published in 1983 by The Hangar Bookshelf.

440 Typhoon pilots on the Vintage Wings tarmac on September 10, 2010: Alex "The Beast" Scott, Harry Hardy, John Flintoff, Ted Smith and Wally Ward with Michael Potter (in flying suit) and Pearl Hayes, whose late husband Bob, also flew Typhoons.

This illustrious squadron again re-surfaced in 1968, this time as a transport, and search and rescue unit operating the H-21, Dakota, Buffalo and Twin Otter over the decades. 440 still does good work with Twin Otters from its home in Yellowknife.

The 440 gang is briefed by Paul Manson at the start of their tour of the impressive new Canadian War Museum.

CF-100 era 440 aircrew Cliff Cassidy (All-weather interception navigator), Bob Hyndman (pilot) and Clive Loader (pilot). Clive had joined the RCAF in the 1950s following an RAF career flying such fighters as the Hunter. This weekend Cliff briefed the reunion about plans to permanently display the 440 Sqn crest in the Royal Air Force Club in London. On the spot this evening half the money needed to get this done was raised.

September 9 to 12, 2010 former squadron members gathered in Ottawa for what was one of the great RCAF squadron reunions. The 80 or so attendees included Typhoon pilots plus CF-100 pilots and navigators and their ladies. Excellent sessions were organized in some of Ottawa’s best military messes, the RCAF Gloucester Mess included. Half a day was spent at Vintage Wings in Gatineau, where we enjoyed informative guided tours in small groups. The icing on this cake was a wonderful air display put on by Michael Potter in his pristine P-51 Mustang.

CF-100 AI navs, Lonnie Maudsley and Ron Williams, meet at the bar of the Navy Mess in Ottawa. Their squadron mate Ron Leather (pilot) looks on. At the end of the bar Gord Smith (CF-100 pilot) chats with Ted Smith (Typhoons).

An afternoon was spent at the Canadian War Museum, where the new establishment’s first CEO, Gen Paul Manson, was our chief tour guide. Paul had flown CF-100s with 440, later flew CF-104s, then rose to be Canada’s Chief of the Defence Staff. The reunion finished on another high note — a send-off breakfast back at the Gloucester Mess, from where everyone dispersed until next time.

Duane Sharpe as he was checking out some other memorabilia. His photo as a young CF-100 AI navigator is on the cover of Canada's Air Force at War and Peace, Vol.3.

Ron Bell (AI nav), Jim Terry (AI nav) and Gord Smith (pilot) look over an old copy of the 440 history book as they reminisce about CF-100 days.