RCAF 100th Anniversary Project + The Great George Fuller Passes + Nostalgia Time & Commentary + A Few Old Milberry Pix + Rants + Leslie Corness Classic + Old Malton Airport Scene + De Havilland Open House: End of an Era + Cemetery Studies + Blogs of Years Gone By + “Ghost Canso” Update + Aviation Adverts from the Early 1950s + Order your Autographed Copy of Air Transport in Canada + Obituary … Last Survivor of Japanese Prison Camps in Taiwan
Just so you have your copy and haven’t missed anything, here’s our current main booklist:
Greetings from CANAV Books World HQ, where we’ve been publishing since 1981. Who knows how long we’ll be keeping this up, but certainly long enough to publish the grandest ever single volume history of the RCAF. We did this in 1984 with the RCAF’s 60th anniversary title, Sixty Years. This beauty remains the best such book to date. Amazingly, after five printings and 20,000+ copies Sixty Years is still in print for anyone needing a copy.
2024 will bring you CANAV’s RCAF 100th book, an even more fantastic history. Naturally, there will be a host of such books, but none will come close to CANAV’s in depth and breadth of written history, combined with superb photo coverage, design, paper quality and all else that goes into a top book. CANAV fans know what we’re talking about here and can’t wait to place their orders.
The Great George Fuller Passes
Today (July 4, 2022), George A. Fuller, one of Canada’s top aviation historians, died peacefully at home in Montreal. George was CAHS Member No.56. I first met him in the early 1960s, while on a trip to the Quebec Winter Carnival with fellow aviation fans Nick Wolochatiuk and Paul Regan. We visited George at his cozy apartment at 50 Hudson Ave and were warmly welcomed. Later, when he was in the Anaconda Brass office in New Toronto, we’d get together, and also would see each other at local CAHS meetings and aviation events. Ever since those ancient days, we kept on touch. If for no other reason, George would call to make sure the Milberry kids were behaving. He had met them at CANAV book launches when they were little and had been impressed.
George especially was interested in the earliest days of flight in Canada — balloons and dirigibles from the 19th Century, then the great Montreal Air Meets of 1910-11. Everything else about early Quebec aviation especially fascinated him. Veteran CAHS member, Sheldon Benner, adds a few memories: “The last time I talked to George was 9 months ago when he called to say that Paddy Gardiner (#125) had passed away. George was 94 and would have celebrated his 95th birthday in September. As you know he was a regular contributor to their Chapter’s newsletter and submitted 19 articles for the CAHS Journal in the period of 1963 to 2008. He was a co-author of 125 Years of Canadian Aeronautics – A Chronology 1840-1965 published in 1983 with John Griffin (#160) and Ken Molson (#361) by the CAHS National. He also contributed to the Special Edition of the CAHS Journal in 2009 to honour the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Canada.”
Calgary Mosquito Aircraft Society … As usual, things are hopping at this go-getting museum. Check in here to see what’s happening, including restoration of one of the famed Spartan Air Services Mosquitos: https://calgarymosquitosociety.com/feature83/feature83.htm And … check out the museum home page for membership info.
Have you seen this hilarious VW advert? Reklama kone-Wolksvagen.mp4
Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of CAE Inc.of Montreal. This in mind, if you’ve seen our fantastic book Aviation in Canada: The CAE Story, you’ll be interested in this fastidiously-detailed aerospace history. Google CAEvideogallery for an update about the company, and see CAE’s new logo.
Here’s a special deal for your signed copy of the CAE book (392 pages, large format, 100s of photos). Usually $65.00 + shipping + tax, mention this offer and get a copy all-in for: (Canada) $55.00, (USA) $60.00, International $95.00. Pay straight to firstname.lastname@example.org and your book will be in the mail within hours. Certainly, for Canadian aviation bibliophiles, this is one of the most thoroughly written and beautifully produced books about our aviation industry.
You’ll read about CAE’s early struggles, its intimate connection with the CF-100, Argus and CF-104, then its battle to rise to the top in commercial flight simulation (that’s where it sits today). Besides all the expected technology history (which is fascinating for any serious aviation reader), you’ll marvel at CAE’s involvement in the DEW Line, aircraft overhaul (T-33, CF-104, F-84F, C-119, Viscount, etc.), trying its hand building bush planes, its automotive and forestry years, its key role with the Space Shuttle, the amazing systems it developed for warships and commercial vessels, etc. Take it from the author, if you’re a fan of CANAV Books, once you get your hands on this one, you’ll agree with me that it’s probably the best and most beautiful all ’round Canadian aviation book ever published. CAE’s longest serving CEO, the late Doug Reekie, once summed up this incredible book, writing to me: “You deserve a great deal of credit for undertaking this task and for doing it so well. There should be a medal for you for perseverance.” If it’s solid Canadian aviation history that you enjoy, get in on this deal. You’ll be a happy camper with your signed copy of The CAE Story! If you already have your copy, think about the CAE Story as a very special gift for any aviation pal, customer, supplier, etc. Cheers … Larry
Nostalgia Time & Commentary
In Toronto back around 1960 we teenage spotters watched eagerly for any chance for a special new photo. My boyhood mentor back then was Merlin J. “Mo” Reddy. Mo had been a radar tech with 410 Squadron in the UK during the war, and when we met he was a technical writer working on DND manuals for a company in Willowdale, Ontario called Technical Economists. Mo and I spent many a day sleuthing around Toronto’s Malton and Downsview airports hoping to catch something new. Here are three typical Mo Reddy RCAF pix, all taken “back in the day” on Ektachrome 120 and shot with Mo’s “2¼” Yashica twin lens.
First, here’s Mo’s nice, slightly-rear view of RCAF Dakota KG587, which we spotted at Malton on September 11, 1959. These were the days when RCAF units sometimes had showy colour schemes, something that always really got us going. In the background is the club house of the Toronto Flying Club, and you can tell that this is a late evening shot. KG587 had begun in May 1944 with the RAF. It served RAF 48 squadron and RCAF 435 and 436 squadrons before war’s end, so likely served in India/Burma. Postwar it had several assignments until joining 102 (Composite) Unit at Trenton in 1959. Somewhere along the line this spiffy paint job was approved. By 1968 KG587 was in Winnipeg with 440 Squadron, then in 1970 became CAF 12931. Its air force days seem to have ended with a tour at the CAF Airborne Sensing Unit at Uplands, then it began a long civil career, including with Buffalo Airways in Yellowknife as C-GRTM. In 1985 it became N115SA in North Carolina and presently (nearly 80 years since built) is in the collection of the Classic Aircraft Aviation Museum in Portland, Oregon.
Sometimes we’d be waiting and pacing around beside Wilson Avenue at the south end of Downsview’s main runway. This was a favourite spot to catch RCAF and de Havilland planes landing. One of our favourite types, of course, was the RCAF’s C-119 Flying Boxcar. These often were in the circuit, for Boxcar operator 436 Squadron was based here. On May 2, 1959 Mo and I were hanging out when 22123 rumbled in to land. I love the looks of Mo’s shot. Really a great angle in the late evening light. Of course, no such early photos ever were perfect. Focusing manually while panning was a fine art at which we often fell short. Then, there’s Ektachrome’s graininess and other issues that we faced doing “real” photography. But … for the day, this qualified as quite a decent airplane photo. This evening from Wilson Ave. we also spotted C-119 22129, RCN Avengers 53697, 53804 and 86180, and DHC-4 Caribou No.1 CF-KTK-X.
Mo’s nice side view of RCAF Expeditor 1534 was made at Dorval on Christmas Day 1959. He always could get on the ramp at Dorval, where his brother, Frank, was a senior Department of Transport man. Expeditor 1534 had joined the RCAF in March 1952, then served steadily into 1968, when it was sold into the USA and converted by Hamilton Aircraft of Tucson, mods including a cargo door. As N6686, then N38CB, it toiled in the freight business for many years. Since leaving the RCAF it spent most of its time hard at work in the air freight business, but in the last 25 or so years has been in private hands and has been converted back to Beech 18 executive standards. First to fly N38CB privately was Doug Sellix in the late 1990s. Today it’s based in Athens, Georgia, where it’s being refurbished yet again, this time by airline pilot John Cartwright. Airframe hours to date for 1534/N38CB total a very impressive 16,280. You can see an impressive gallery of Mo Reddy’s wide-ranging photos in Vol.2 of Air Transport in Canada.
Next … here’s one of the most glorious views of any TCA DC-3. It’s from an original 4×5 Kodachrome transparency made by Canadair c.1946. CF-TEC had been RAF KG485. It joined the TCA fleet in May 1946, served into 1958, then became CF-DTB with Canada’s Department of Transport. After more than 35 years with the DOT, it moved on in 1998 to Buffalo Airways in Yellowknife. About 2016 “DTB” left Buffalo to become N856KB with Basler Turbo Conversions of Oshkosh. As recently as August 2020 it’s been photographed there out in the weather and still in its (fading) red-and-white DOT colours.
A Few Old Milberry Pix + Museum Rant
Here are some ancient Kodachrome 35s that I came across lately. These are always nice to look back upon. First is a shot I took of the sole Canadair C-5, the RCAF’s premier VIP transport in the 1950s. Many a head-of-state flew aboard the C-5. What a beautiful propliner! See the C-5 story in our book, The Canadair North Star.
What a shame that such a beautiful plane had to go into storage and not to a museum. Here it is as I saw it collecting dust at Mountain View (near Trenton) on June 11, 1966, after its retirement. From here it was sold for peanuts, then went for scrap in California. Letting such treasures end so badly should be considered an assault on Canadian heritage, yet our history and heritage bureaucrats in Ottawa have committed many such nefarious acts. Look how our prototype CF-100 went for scrap after being turned down by our aviation museum in Ottawa? Meanwhile, do you think the Americans scrapped their presidential DC-4, etc? Not a chance, for they know the cultural importance of “Air Force One”.
You likely heard lately that the same place (Canada Aviation and Space Museum) recently (as reported widely) had turned down an RCAF De Havilland Canada DHC-5 Buffalo. About this, the “Ottawa Citizen” of June 6 reported: “The lack of interest from Ottawa’s national aviation museum in acquiring the Royal Canadian Air Force’s last available Buffalo aircraft has prompted a U.S. organization to make a bid for the plane.” However, the CASM via its overseeing body, “Ingenium”, reports (July 4) that, contrary to “The Citizen” (which has apologized for some incorrect reporting) it has “voted to acquire the Buffalo and we are working closely with DND to prepare for its arrival next summer.” What a relief to all who support Canada’s aviation heritage.
The CASM is a world class museum as far as the average visitor is concerned. Behind the scenes, however, it falls down in the details. A certain revered Canadian astronaut wisely notes from time to time how we all need to “sweat the details”. That’s how CANAV has produced incomparable Canadian aviation books. But here’s a real gem for you (and I’m not making this up). The CASM possesses the world’s one and only North Star. In 1982 we produced our spectacular book The Canadair North Star, which ever since has been available to such book retailers as the CASM. Few aviation books have been so beautifully reviewed. However, for most of those 40+ ensuing years, visitors to the CASM have not been able to buy a North Star book there (nor any other CANAV book, with rare exception, i.e., used copies). Over the decades, box upon box of North Star books would have sold at the CASM, bringing much-needed cash into the supposedly money-short museum. Instead? Barely a penny. In another case, ages ago I offered to sell (cheaply) the CASM my huge personal North Star archive, everything used to produce the book and everything collected since 1982. The offer included such wonderful bits as all the original paintings commissioned for the book. This is by far the best privately held North Star archive in the world. Umpteen years later and I’m still waiting for my letter to so much as be acknowledged. That said, one day I asked a museum mandarin about this. All he could say was that he thought my letter might be around the museum somewhere. The potentates of Ottawa, eh. They are something else! If my archive eventually goes to the USA there won’t be a tear shed at the CASM.
When the RAF Museum’s Typhoon was on loan to the CASM in recent years, I tried to interest the CASM in our world-renowned book, Typhoon and Tempest: The Canadian Story (now out of print). The CASM store manager had no idea what I was talking about, but I finally shamed him into taking a few copies. No doubt these sold within hours or days, but the CASM shop never re-ordered. Through the year that the Typhoon was in Canada, the CASM also would have sold loads of Typhoon books. Can you imagine Canada’s top aviation museum seemingly having a policy that books from Canada’s only dedicated aviation history book publisher year after year are not to be allowed in its giftshop? What a disgrace! Maybe this is another case for the heritage minister. Anyway, one might think that Canada’s aviation museums would be bending over backwards to show a bit of support for CANAV’s efforts. For a detailed look at the Typhoon’s visit to the CASM, use the blog search box search and enter “Typhoon and Tempest – Reminiscences”. You’ll get a lot from this item.
Here’s another historic Canadian transport plane, the first of two CanForces Dash 7s. I shot 132001 (Dash 7 No.8 of 113) at Lahr, West Germany on March 11, 1987, when it was serving 412 Squadron’s 1 Canadian Air Group Lahr detachment. Taken on strength in August 1979, 132001 served to April 1987, then became C-GJSZ back at DHC. “JSZ” then was sold to Arkia in Israel, where it flew as 4X-AHI. Reportedly, “AHI” has gone for scrap. The Dash 7 story is well outlined in Fred Hotson’s book, De Havilland in Canada.
An airplane hobbyist couldn’t photograph a lovelier subject than the T-33, one of the most aesthetically appealing airplane designs. Beautiful just sitting there, let alone in flight. We always revelled in photographing any T-bird. In my own progression as an aviation “buff”, I eventually enjoyed a few great backseat T-bird flights, including with 414 Squadron from North Bay on June 26, 1991. At this time 414 has painted T- bird 133174 in a special 414 “Black Knight” Squadron colour scheme. Somehow, I got permission to do an air-to-air photo shoot of “174”. Capt Lou Glussich took me up in 133543 for an hour to get the job done. Today “174” belongs to the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum at Halifax International Airport.
Leslie Corness Classic
If you’ve been following our booklist and blog, you’re familiar with the spectacular photography of the late Leslie Corness of Edmonton. No one could capture the feel of an aviation scene better than Les. Lately, I came across this gem, one that I used in The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection. Can you imagine being on the ramp this day in the early 1950s at Edmonton Industrial Airport when it was packed with airshow planes of the postwar era! Les being Les found himself a high vantage point to capture his C-124A Globemaster (51-5176) scene just the way he wanted. This grand propliner ended its days on April 2, 1957. On landing at Cambridge Bay, NWT that day, it touched down short, tearing off its undercarriage. Rumour has it that it’s still at the bottom of Cambridge Bay. See our booklist (above) to order the Corness book at a very nice price.
Old Malton Airport Scene
In going through some of my old Al Martin photos I found yet another fantastic image from long ago. Al passionately photographed at Malton (today’s “YYZ”) in the 1950s-60s, and collected anything else he could about the place. So … I wasn’t surprised when I found a large format b/w aerial view of Malton early in its “Aeroquay” years (Malton’s modern circular terminal opened 1964). However, Terminal 2, which opened in 1972, also is here. T.M. “Tom” McGrath’s invaluable book History of Canadian Airports tells the story of Malton/YYZ in detail, including about all such history. This is a priceless book, so see if you can track down a copy.
Many of us remember Malton in these times. Our favourite vantage point was the roof (parking lot) of the Aeroquay. Whoever took this magnificent photo (the great Les Baxter took most such photos for the DOT, City of Toronto, etc. using a small plane based at Toronto Island Airport, aerial photography was Les’ business) did so just as the aircraft at the Aeroquay included 2 Air Canada DC-8s, 2 Air Canada DC-9s, an Air Canada Viscount, an American Airlines 727, an Allegheny “580” and a United 737. In the distance is a 707 on an overseas charter. Looks a bit like Donaldson. Centre left you can see the airport admin building. The tall white building in the distance is the then new (now demolished) Constellation Hotel at Airport Road and Carlingview. Top center with the treeline in the foreground is the iconic Skyline Hotel. Notice how there’s lots of open space in this view that looks southward towards Toronto. You won’t find much open space there today. This is the sort of aviation history photo that people can stare at for an hour, it’s so packed with detail. Anyway, as far as this YYZ scene goes, there’s next to nothing remaining from it in 2022. Thank goodness that Al Martin filed this gorgeous photo away. His photos also are featured in Air Transport in Canada. Just now you still can get a set of this huge, 1030-page 2-volume title (usually $155++) for $65 all-in. Want a set? Drop me a line email@example.com . For that matter, also get yourself a copy of The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection at $40 all-in (offers for Canada only, USA and overseas drop me a line for a price). You’ll count these as two of the top books in your home library.
De Havilland Open House: End of an Era
To start, have a look at this short overview of the day as produced by DHC: Thank you Downsview – YouTube
On Saturday, June 11, 2022 thousands of retirees and friends gathered at De Havilland Aircraft of Canada at Downsview to close a famous page in Canadian aviation history. Founded in 1928, DHC spent most of its years at Downsview. Starting with the tiny Gipsy Moth, then the whole UK Moth family, DHC made a huge, deserved name for itself. First, it provided training planes to the flying clubs and RCAF, then bush planes to operators everywhere in Canada, anything from Gipsys to the big Dragon and Rapide twins. Come WWII and everything changed, for airplanes were needed quickly and in great numbers for the RCAF, especially for the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. First came the D.H.82C Tiger Moth trainer (1384 delivered), then the Anson II (375 assembled from UK stock) and the Mosquito bomber (1033). Post WWII DHC soon recovered from the doldrums created when the war ended and all contracts were cancelled. First, DHC built some new Fox Moths to help small commercial operators get a start (some of these became Canada’s first postwar airplanes for export). The Chipmunk, Beaver and Otter soon were being built at Downsview, then a long list of types that you know so well, everything from the Caribou, Buffalo, Twin Otter, Dash 7 and the whole Dash 8 family to the magnificent Q400. All this history is best enjoyed in Fred Hotson’s magnificent book De Havilland in Canada (copies usually can be found on the web). The company now is leaving Downsview for good. For now it still is building new Twin Otters and upgraded Canadair water bombers in BC and Alberta. Let’s hope that the Q400 soon enjoys a renaissance. For all the basic DHC gen see www.vikingair.com . All the very best to De Havilland of Canada. Here are a few photos (taken by me unless noted) covering DHC’s grand June 11 send-off. The company did a fantastic job of finding examples of most types to fly in for the event (after you’ve had a look, you’ll figure which ones were missing).
Bonus DHC video. Here’s a 15 minute add-on to this fascinating story. Ride a Dash 7 from Yellowknife to Downsview for the DHC final open house: FLYING ON A RARE DASH 7! De Havilland Canada Downsview Farewell – YouTube
Ever since the 1960s I’ve been fascinated by “cemetery studies”. Whatever the subject someone may be following, there’s a wealth of history to learn by pacing the rows of grave markers and reading the inscriptions. Of the many great sources of aviation history, cemeteries may not leap to mind, but they are part of the picture. For serious historians, for example, they are important in confirming dates and correct spellings. On June 5 I visited St. John’s Norway Cemetery in my Toronto neighbourhood. We used to play here as kids back in the 1950s. Here are a few photos from this interesting foray.
Blogs of Years Gone By
Our blog by now includes hundreds of stories and reports, and innumerable photos. You can take in some of these by scrolling back, but it’s a long way back to 2009. These are a few that I recommend … just enter some key word in the search box. Have a look, you’ll not be wasting a minute:
Visiting Lakehead Airport 1961
Great War Flying Museum
East Africa Adventure, Summer 1994
Boeing 727 Turns 50
Typhoon and Tempest – Reminiscences
Typhoons and CF-100s
Old Canadair CRJs Go for Scrap
440 Squadron Gets together
The Great Bob Halford
Canada’s Enduring DC-3s
Some Great Lakes Shipping Photos
Visiting the 10th Mountain Division
“Ghost Canso” Update
Aviation Adverts from the Early 1950s
Everyone has enjoyed our earlier blogs covering advertisements from aviation magazines of yesteryear. You can find these by using the blog search box entering such dates as: February 23, 2022; March 9, 2022; April 9, 2022. Today, here are a few more, these from the October 1952 edition of “Canadian Aviation” magazine. There’s a lot of general Canadian history to learn from these (about the industry and products to what was happening in the world) and the art and illustration can be superb. Who can even do such work (by hand) in the 2020?
Veteran POW Dies, Where Is Japan’s Apology?
Ottawa is world famous by now for its propensity to apologize for absolutely any real or perceived “past transgression”. It gets a little ridiculous some days. Japan on the other side has barely apologized for one of its countless horrible atrocities, which far exceeded those of the Nazis. By comparison, we here in Canada have almost nothing for which to apologize, especially in the context of what, for example, comprised actual human development, progress, etc., in centuries gone by. I hope there are realistic books about this subject in the works “as we speak”, for Canadians need a reality check about their past, about whom were/are the truly great Canadians (John A. Macdonald, Egerton Ryerson, Samuel de Champlain, etc). On July 11, the Hamilton Spectator covers this important topic with its feature about a great soldier and what Japan did to him … and millions of others. This is fact and reality. An apology from Japan would be welcomed, but we won’t hold our breath. Canada by comparison? Ottawa … please stop already with the endless vote-pandering apologies:
Obituary: Burlington veteran Adam Houston was last survivor of Japanese prison camps in TaiwanFormer British soldier worked 12-hour days in copper mine, brutally beaten
By Daniel NolanContributor
Adam Houston was a hardworking Canada Post worker and an active member of many Burlington clubs, but he could never forget his time in a Japanese prison camp during the Second World War. The former British soldier talked of having nightmares about his experience working in a copper mine in Taiwan, including the time he received a beating from a guard and was left for dead because he was too weak to work. He spent 12-hour days toiling in the cold, dark mines, scrubbing the wall for copper in 1943 and 1944. He and other prisoners dug the copper out with small shovels and put it into bamboo baskets. Many dropped half their weight.
After the beating, other PoWs carried Houston over a mountain and back to the camp. He spent months in a coma and was moved to two other camps before the war ended. “It’s very hard to talk about what happened in the mines,” he told The Burlington Post in 2005 after he visited Taiwan to take part in the dedication of a PoW memorial park. “I nearly broke down. Too many memories come back . . . the memories are difficult to forget. I think people need to know these sorts of things happened.” Still, he counted some good fortune out of it. “I think I got off lightly being out (of the mine) after a year,” he said. Houston — who died April 13 at age 100 — was part of the British force in Singapore that surrendered to the Japanese on Feb. 15, 1942. Canadian historian Michael Hurst, who has written extensively about the camps since 1997, said Houston was the last remaining Taiwan PoW.