Certainly, the most spectacular things about Vintage Wings of Canada are the exquisitely restored and meticulously maintained vintage aircraft of the collection. Pilots love and live to fly them, veterans and younger generations flock to see them in the air and men and women are trained and dedicated to maintain them. But they are, in the end, just machines. Cold steel, aluminum and fabric artifacts that, though they are operated in flying condition, need a soul to fire their hearts, to ignite passions, to tell stories and to continue in important and valued work.
A soul is not something they are equipped with at the factory. We cannot order the part, find it on eBay, mill spirit from a block of steel or pump it in liquid form into the fuel tanks. Their souls come from the men who fly them now, and more so from the men who flew them into history decades ago. It is the hearts and stories of these citizen warriors from the Second World War and professional aviators from the golden era of Canada's aerospace industry that ignite the fire in the bellies of these aircraft, that are their souls, that live within their metal skins, that power the imagination in a way that a 2,200 horsepower radial cannot even begin to do.
In recognition of this idea, Vintage Wings of Canada has inaugurated a program to dedicate each aircraft to a particular Canadian aviator who, because of his or her connection to the aircraft type, will represent all those who have flown the type and all those who have passed on into history, either through sacrifice in war or through contributions over a life time. The program, called "In His Name – the Vintage Wings of Canada Warbird Dedication Program” is simple. All of our aircraft will bear a dedication panel on each side of its fuselage that will include the name of the honoured aviator and additional descriptive information such as squadron, nickname, home town, place of death in combat etc. These simple and elegant panels will allow pilots and tour guides to tell the specific stories of these aviators to visitors and spectators, and the panels themselves have already proved to generate many queries from onlookers and initiate conversations which help us educate.
In this way, the artifacts we call warbirds begin to breathe the history they are known for, and begin to be associated with the great aviators of the past. We have chosen one name, one aviator, one soul to stand for all those who have fallen or who have contributed.
For some of our aircraft, such as the Corsair or Kittyhawk, the naming of an honouree was quite simple, as the aircraft are painted to represent a specific pilot's aircraft. Our aircraft will now carry dedication panels for these individuals, but this does not mean that they will be dedicated in perpetuity to these men. They will be greatly honoured in this manner as they so very much deserve, until perhaps someone else wishes a specific aircraft to carry the name of one of their loved ones. It is our hope that, in the years to come, each aircraft will carry the names of other Canadian aviators on their sides so that we can continue to tell even more stories and to that end we would invite families and friends to sponsor a dedication. Starting at $1,000.00 per year for perhaps the Tiger Moth, members, visitors, enthusiasts, and families can have one of our historic aircraft dedicated in their honour with an elegant panel on its fuselage for an entire flying and air show season. Our aircraft will be able to reach across a nation, appear in dozens of air shows and be part of daily tours in our facility. This will enable other Canadians to share the podium of honour with the first sixteen luminaries of Canada's aviation history who we have chosen. These and future honourees will have their stories told to a welcoming Canada, and their names and deeds mentioned to many thousands of spectators at air shows, events and memorials across the country.
Here, now, are the inaugural dedications for the In His Name Program
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate its Supermarine Spitfire XVI to Flight Lieutenant William Harper of Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Flight Lieutenant Harper was a 421 “Red Indian” Squadron pilot who fought from England, through France, Belgium and into Germany during the Second World War.
The Vintage Wings Spitfire is painted in the markings of one particular 421 Squadron Spitfire that William Harper flew many times, one which he considered his "own" – AU-J. In fact, while flying his first Spitfire, with code AU-J, on a dive bombing mission to the railway marshalling yards near Oldenburg, Germany on April 12, 1945, his aircraft took a flak round through his right wing root, up through the cockpit and out the left side of the fuselage near the canopy. Despite a shot up radio and two large holes in his aircraft, he was able to return the 175 miles to his base and land successfully. However the first AU-J was written off. His next aircraft, also coded AU-J, is the one our Spitfire is modelled after. Here in Harper's words is how he described his new Spitfire: “Eight days later, I received a new AU+J (TB886), the first blister-hood or rearview fuselage Mark XVI in 127 Wing. Many pilots coveted this aircraft, so before some C.O. appropriated it, I had
Dorothy II painted on the side of the nose (the original
Dorothy being Mrs. Harper). I believe
Dorothy II was probably the most photographed Spitfire on our wing.
" From Spitfire: The Canadians
, by Robert Bracken. With thanks to Stephen Fochuk.
For more information on the history of our Spitfire XVI SL721 click here
Photos: Top, Richard Mallory Allnutt; Bottom, Peter Handley; Inset, Flight Lieutenant William Harper leaning against his AU-J “Dorothy II” in 1945
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate its P-40N Kittyhawk to Wing Commander James Francis “Stocky” Edwards, CM, DFC and Bar, DFM, CD of Nokomis, Saskatchewan.
Stocky was one of the RCAF's highest scoring aces of the Second World War, its highest scoring ace of the Western Desert Campaign and is presently Canada's highest scoring living ace. Edwards began his phenomenal career flying the P-40 Kittyhawk in North Africa with 94 and 260 Squadrons of the Royal Air Force, quickly earning a reputation for good hunting and shooting skills. It was here, early in his career that he was given the sobriquet “The Hawk of Martuba” for his prowess and accomplishments near that Libyan city. Stocky would go on to fame in the Italian campaign with the RCAF's 417 Squadron as well as other RAF squadrons through Europe. He had a stellar post-war career in the RCAF retiring as a Wing Commander in 1972.
The former Royal Australian Air Force Kittyhawk was rescued from the jungles of Papua New Guinea and restored by Pioneer Aero of Ardmore, New Zealand to the specifications of Vintage wings of Canada. This included a back seat and dual controls so that others may experience what Edwards did, as well as the exact paint scheme of Stocky's Kittyhawk, HS-B
of 260 Squadron. In 2009, Stocky was able to visit Vintage Wings of Canada, where he, once again, flew “his” Kittyhawk. For more information on Stocky's return to the air in HS-B
, click here.
For a detailed story of how our former RAAF Kittyhawk was written off in Papua New Guinea in 1945 click here
Photos: Top and bottom, Peter Handley; Inset, Flight Sergeant Stocky Edwards in 260 Squadron Kittyhawk in North Africa
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate its Fleet Finch in the name of Squadron Leader Hartland Ross “Hart” Finley, DFC of Montreal, Québec.
Hart did his elementary flying training on the Fleet Finch at Number 4 Elementary Flying Training School at Windsor Mills, near the city of Sherbrooke in the Eastern Townships of Québec. It was there that Finley actually flew the very same Finch that we now own - RCAF Serial 4462. It appears in his log book several times. Finley became a BCATP instructor at Summerside, PEI as well as at No. 2 SFTS here in Ottawa. He went on to fly Typhoons at his Operational Training Unit in England, but transferred to Spitfires and 403 Squadron RCAF. He eventually commanded 443 Squadron. He was shot down once and managed to evade capture. After the war, Finley continued to fly with the Department of Transport in Ottawa as the Chief VIP pilot for the federal government, flying Prime Ministers, Presidents and Royals on state visits.
Hart retired from Canadian Government service in 1977, and continued his contribution to society by participating in a wide range of community services including the Boy Scouts of Canada. In 2005, Hart moved to Vancouver for health reasons and his last project involved working with the group responsible for the Roseland Y-2K Spitfire project. Hart passed into history on January 22, 2009 ending a long and most distinguished life.
For more information on the life of Hart Finley click here
Photos: Top, Yellow Wings Blog; Bottom, Peter Handley; Inset, Finley with 403 Wolf Squadron Spitfire
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate its very rare Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber to Commander Terry Goddard, DSC, CD, of Toronto Ontario, a long-serving Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm airman of the Second World War and an officer in the Royal Canadian Navy after the war.
Among his stunning list of achievements in combat and command, Goddard participated in the Swordfish attack on Bismarck
in 1941 and is one of only a handful of living RN eyewitnesses to this high seas drama.
Goddard’s career reads like a history book. After joining the Royal Navy in January of 1939, he was trained and was posted to 818 Squadron aboard HMS Furious. He first saw action at Narvik, Norway, flying several reconnaissance and strike missions. His other battle honors, which span years and oceans, include operations at Dunkirk, Oran, Genoa, Malta, Sardinia, Gibraltar, North Africa, Western Desert, Indian Ocean and Tanganyika. In addition, Goddard was forced down at sea twice, and went on to fly operations in Fairey Albacores and Fulmars.
But, for its historical drama, the sinking of the German battleship Bismarck and Goddard’s participation in it, would make him the perfect choice to represent the Canadian fliers who flew in this very special aircraft. On a day in early June of 2011, a very sharp and healthy Commander Goddard and his wife were invited to the Vintage Wings hangar to view the dedication panel applied to the rudder and to participate in a special tribute to the Swordfish and its crews, held at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa.
For more information on the remarkable history of the Legendary Swordfish, click here
Photos, Top: Richard Mallory Allnutt, Bottom: Goddard and wife Cora, Peter Handley, Inset: Goddard aboard HMS Arc Royal.
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate its Goodyear FG-!D Corsair to one of Canada's greatest heroes - Lt. Robert Hampton “Hammie” Gray, VC, DSC, Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve.
Lt. Gray, of Trail, British Columbia, was a Corsair pilot with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm aboard HMS Formidable
, in operations in both the North Atlantic and the South Pacific theatres. Gray distinguished himself as a highly capable pilot and leader in attacks on the Kriegsmarine battleship Tirpitz
in Norway as well as lengthy operations in the South Pacific.
On the very day that an atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, Gray lead a formation of Corsairs to attack an airfield on the island of Honshu. Learning that the airfield had already been hit, he lead them to the alternate target for the mission – ships anchored in Onagawa Wan (bay). Whilst pressing his attack on the flak destroyer Amakusa
, Gray came under concentrated anti-aircraft fire from flak ships and shore batteries. He was hit and one of his bombs was shot free, but even though he was on fire, he pressed home the attack and hit Amakusa
with his remaining bomb, sinking her within minutes. Unfortunately, Gray was either wounded or had lost control after dropping the bomb. His Corsair flew directly over the sinking ship and rolled inverted crashing into the bay, killing him.
At the end of the war, Gray was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for his actions that day. He is the last Canadian to be awarded the VC and the only Allied serviceman of any country or service with a memorial on Japanese soil.
Gray Ghost One
, the Vintage Wing of Canada Corsair, is painted in the markings of HMS Formidable
-based Corsair 115, which many consider to be the one he flew that day. Gray's effigy in the form of a bronze bust stands at the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa as part of the Valiants Memorial.
For more on Gray's career and death click here
For more on the markings for Gray's Corsair click here.
Photos: Top, Parr Yonemoto; Bottom, Peter Handley; Inset, Robert Hampton Gray's RCNVR official photo
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate its new Boeing Stearman to Warrant Officer Harry Hannah of Oakville, Ontario, a Spitfire pilot of the Second World War.
Harry joined the Royal Auxiliary Air Force's 612 “City of Glasgow” Squadron at the outset of the war. For the first year, Harry, who had plenty of experience as a mechanic in the motor trade, was employed as an engine fitter and Leading Aircraftman. Soon he applied for pilot training and was accepted.
While most RAF pilots being trained in North America learned to fly in Canada as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, Harry took a different route. He came to Canada and crossed the border into the United States as a “civilian” with a gray suit and a cardboard suitcase. He travelled by train to Falcon Field near Mesa, Arizona where he immediately began training to be a pilot under the “Arnold Scheme” named after General Hap Arnold.
Falcon Field was one a number of large training fields set aside in the southern USA to train RAF pilots. The instructors were civilian and the students were RAF. Falcon Field was opened as No. 4 British Flying Training School (BFTS). There were six BFTS airfields in the U.S. – in Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, California and Arizona. At Falcon, Harry would do both his elementary flying training on the Boeing Stearman and more advanced service flying on the North American Texan/Harvard. Hannah loved the Stearman and soloed in just five hours.
Harry returned to 602 Squadron and flew the Supermarine Spitfire on operations in England and France. He was shot down over France in the summer of 1943. After bailing out, he landed on a beach in Normandy where he shattered his leg. After a stint in hospital, he was shipped east to a series of POW camps. He was court marshalled in Dresden for sneaking under the wire and stealing a camera to take escape photos. His punishment was a year in solitary confinement. Freed, by liberating Russian troops, from a former Polish prison facility operated by the Nazis, where he was serving his sentence, Harry journeyed by box car with other freed Allied servicemen to the port of Odessa on the Black Sea where he boarded a British troopship for the return to England.
After the war, Harry came to Canada and found an executive sales job with Ford Motor Company, spending years in Africa and the Far East and is now retired in Oakville on the shores of Lake Ontario.
For more on Harry's visit to Vintage Wings and his return to the air, click here
Photos: Yellow Wings Program; Inset, Peter Handley
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate its Golden Hawk Canadair Sabre 5, known as Hawk One, to the remarkable life and achievements of Alexander John “Al” Lilly of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.
Alexander Lilly had an unblemished flying career of 35 years as an instructor, test pilot, transport pilot, and aviation executive. In 1932 he joined the RCMP and while on detachment at Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan he advocated the use of ski or float equipped aircraft to replace dog-teams and canoes. The RCMP later transferred Lilly to headquarters in Ottawa but since this would remove him from flying opportunities, he resigned and went to England to join Imperial Airways, the predecessor of British Overseas Airways Corporation. When WWII broke out, he returned to Canada and became Chief Flying Instructor with the BCATP and eventually joined Ferry Command in Montreal. In this position he flew several types aircraft including the Hudson, Ventura, Boston, B-25, C-47 Dakota, B-24 Liberator, Catalina, Boeing B-17, Lancaster, and Mosquito. On August 8, 1950, Lilly flew the first Canadian manufactured F-86 Sabre jet, and gained the distinction of being the first in Canada to break the sound barrier.
Al Lilly is also considered to be the first strong advocate for police canine services and was the first Mountie to be partnered with a dog - a large Alsatian named Black Luxe.
Lilly died in 2008 at the age of 98. For more on the life and times of Al Lilly and the dedication ceremony for our Sabre for click here
Photos: Top and Bottom, Peter Handley; Inset, Al Lilly with Black Luxe
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate its Canadian Car and Foundry-built North American Harvard 4 to the memory of Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, the pilot/poet who wrote High Flight, the finest-ever poem about flight.
Born in China to Christian missionary parents (Father American, mother British), Magee went to high school at Rugby in England, where he distinguished himself as an emerging poet. At the outset of the war, Magee was in the United States and had just been awarded a scholarship to Yale University. Instead of going to university, the romantic poet joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and soon began pilot training.
Magee completed elementary flying training at St. Catharines, Ontario and then came to Ottawa and No.2 Service Flying Training School to learn to fly the Harvard. After earning his wings and a commission in June of 1941, he went to England to No. 53 Operational Training Unit to learn to fly the magnificent Spitfire. He was then assigned to 412 Squadron RCAF.
It was while training with 412 that he had the flying experience that inspired the poem High Flight
. Sadly, on December 11, 1941, he was killed in an air-to-air collision with an Airspeed Oxford in Lincolnshire, England.
The Vintage Wings of Canada Harvard 4 is painted in the exact markings of a Harvard 2 known to have been flown by Magee in training here in the Ottawa area. It is affectionately known as the High Flight Harvard
. For more on the short, tragic life of Magee and how we researched the markings for this aircraft click here
. For images of Magee, click here
To learn more about how Magee continues to inspire creativity and imagination, click here
Photos: Top, Benoit Foisy; Bottom, Peter Handley; Inset, 19 year-old Magee after receiving his wings.
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate its Hawker Hurricane IV to Flight Lieutenant Donald William “Bunny” McLarty of Ottawa.
Born in Newcastle, England, McLarty moved to Buenos Aires as a boy. In response to Hitler's invasions, Don volunteered as an Argentine national for the Royal Canadian Air Force on November 28, 1940 in Ottawa. Bunny did his elementary flying training at St. Catharines, Ontario. Flight Lieutenant McLarty went on to fly Hurricanes with No. 33 Squadron in North Africa. He had completed 199 missions when he was shot down over El Daba Airport and captured. After a year in two different Italian POW camps, Don and his POW camp roommate, Ray Sherk, escaped and found their way home to the Allied lines, when the Italians capitulated.
McLarty and Sherk were active members of the Royal Canadian Air Force's Escaping Society, an organization dedicated to the recognition of the extreme efforts and risks taken by the European families who assisted airmen in their escape or evasion of capture by the Germans in the Second World War.
Don enjoyed a successful career in the Canadian Air Survey Industry, first as a pilot, followed by increasingly responsible roles in sales, marketing and managing Canadian air survey companies. As President of the Canadian Association of Aerial Surveyors, Don significantly enhanced the role of private industry, both domestically and internationally. Bunny died in 2011 shortly after we dedicated the aircraft in his honour.
Photos: Top and Bottom, Peter Handley; Inset, Bunny during the Second World War, McLarty family archive
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate its de Havilland Tiger Moth to one of our very own - William Duncan “Bill” McRae, born in Aberdeen, Scotland and raised in Port Arthur, Ontario (Thunder Bay).
Bill became a key member of the Vintage Wings of Canada family from the outset, sharing his experiences, inspiring youth, volunteers and visitors alike.
Bill McRae joined the RCAF in 1941, completing his elementary flying course on Tiger Moths at No 14 EFTS, Portage La Prairie, Manitoba and earned his wings at No.1 SFTS, Camp Borden, Ontario. Bill went immediately overseas and was in a slow moving convoy at the same time as the Bismarck
was attempting a breakout to the Atlantic. Nine ships in his convoy were sunk by u-boats en route, but Bill survived to reach England. He was assigned to 132 Squadron in his native Scotland flying spitfires. later he would join 401 Ram Squadron, RCAF, where he would remain until the end of his fighter flying days.
Bill would complete more than 240 combat sorties including several over Normandy on D-Day. From D-Day Bill flew operational sorties on 60 consecutive days as the Allies pressed from Normandy through France and Belgium.
Repatriated in late 1944, Bill would go on to a period of flying mapping and survey flights in Canada's North. Bill spent the rest of his life raising his family and enjoying his many hobbies, which included flying and writing. As a writer, McRae would contribute many beautifully crafted and humbly written vignettes of life in the RCAF for the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, several of which they would allow us to reprint.
In November of 2010, McRae was honoured at the Vintage Wings of Canada Victory Gala with a commemorative banner raised in his name. He was delighted and proud, as we all were. Bill died two months later. He will always be with us in spirit.
For more on Bill's "Banner Night" click here
. For more on Bill's career, click here
. For some of Bill's beautifully told stories that appear in our website,visit The Gauntlet
, The Grace of God
, One Crazy Spitfire
Photos: Top, Benoit Foisey; bottom, Peter Handley; Inset, Bill with 401 Squadron
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate our beautiful de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver to the two legendary men who first test flew the now famous and still ubiquitous bush plane - George Arthur Neal of Downsview, Ontario and Russell “Russ” Bannock of Edmonton, Alberta
These descriptions from the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame website say it all:
In 1948, George Arthur Neal was one of the first Canadians to be jet qualified on the RCAF's de Havilland Vampire. Neal's testing and demonstrations of aircraft such as the Beaver, the Otter, and the Caribou, allowed them to be successful around the world. He retired in 1983 as Director of Flight Operations of de Havilland Canada. In 1967, Neal also rebuilt, from its original plans, a Sopwith Pup. For this, he was awarded the Keith Hopkinson Award for the best home-built aircraft. Neal was Chief Pilot for the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa until 1991 where he flew the Avro 504K and a Nieuport 17 which are in the museum's collection.
Russ Bannock, DSO, DFC obtained his private pilot's license in 1938 and his commercial pilot's license the following year. In 1940 he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and was posted overseas in 1944 in Shropshire, England. Bannock was mostly involved in flying the de Havilland Mosquito on intruder missions over Europe. He scored many of his victories as a night fighter pilot and became known as the "Saviour of London" as a result of his success. He later went on to become a test pilot for de Havilland where he test flew the Beaver prototype - the first aircraft designed for short take-off and landing (STOL). In 1975, he was promoted to president and chief executive officer of de Havilland Aircraft Co. where he proved to be successful in selling the Beaver to the United States military, out-competing all U.S. domestic aircraft companies.
Photos: Top, Martin Periard; Bottom, Peter Handley; Insets: Top, Russell Bannock during Second World War, Bottom, George Neal during test pilot days.
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate its Fairchild Cornell, RCAF serial 10712, to Flight Lieutenant Archie Pennie of Ottawa.
Born in Scotland, Archie joined the Royal Air Force in Great Britain and sailed for Canada aboard RMS Letitia
, a sister ship of the ill-fated Athenia,
torpedoed on the second day of the war, for an eleven day voyage across the Atlantic. He arrived in Halifax, was dispatched to an RAF manning depot in Moncton and shortly thereafter boarded a train for the long journey across a vast unknown land to Calgary where he began elementary flying instruction at No. 32 EFTS Bowden, Alberta.
After elementary flying instruction, Pennie did his Service Flying Training in Harvards at No. 37 SFTS, Calgary. At the end of this training period, standing in line to read the list of operational postings, he was momentarily disappointed to read that he was chosen to be a flying instructor. Nearly everyone wanted to get into the fight; nearly everyone wanted fighters and an overseas posting. After Instructor training at No. 3 Flying Instructors School, Arnprior, Archie was assigned to No 34 EFTS Assiniboia. Assiniboia, a small town in South Saskatchewan, which would play an important part in the training of Royal Air Force pilots during the war. Despite the initial feelings of disappointment, Pennie soon came to realize the importance of this role and he relished the unlimited flying opportunities and the honing of his piloting skills. Later in his operational career on Mosquitos, he would attribute his composure in the cockpit, and indeed his survival, to those hundreds of flying hours in the Cornell at Assiniboia. Pennie would accrue more than 650 hours in Cornell aircraft just like ours.
Like Bill McRae, Pennie is a prolific contributor to the Canadian Aviation Historical Society and in particular the Ottawa chapter's Observair
newsletter. The stories he has written for Observair
have been compiled into a three volume collection and is available for research at the Vintage Wings of Canada library.
For more information on Archie Pennie and the dedication of this aircraft, click here
Photos: Top, Peter Handley; Bottom, Yellow Wings Blog; Inset, Archie in winter flying gear beside a Boeing Stearman at Bowden, Alberta in 1941
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate our 442 Squadron North American Mustang IV (P-51D) to the memory of two brothers from Ottawa, both of whom flew for 442 – Flying Officer Joseph Guillaume Laurent “Larry” Robillard and Flying Officer Roger J. “Rocky” Robillard of Ottawa.
Born on Elm Street near Lebreton Flats, the Robillards both enlisted in the RCAF and both became fighter pilots with 442 Squadron.
Larry Robillard would become an ace with 7 1/2 kills, flying for many squadrons including 145, 72, 130, 402, 411, 442, and 443. With 145 Squadron while on a sweep over Lille, France he was shot down. Being French speaking, he was able to evade capture and return to flying in England via Spain and Gibraltar. After the war, Larry joined the Royal Canadian Navy and became a Lieutenant Commander and a navy pilot. After retiring from the Navy in 1955, he worked for Canadair. Larry did his elementary training at No. 12 EFTS Goderich, Ontario where our Mustang was painted in 2006 and his service flying at No. 2 SFTS Uplands, Ottawa. Larry did not fly the Mustang while at 442, but rather the Spitfire.
It was Larry's Little brother Roger or “Rocky” who had the longest attachment with 442 Squadron and who flew the Mustang on ops in Europe. In fact, Rocky flew Mustang RCAF Serial, KH661 many times while pushing the Germans further and further back towards Berlin at the end of the war. Rocky would share the destruction of one enemy aircraft with another 442 Squadron pilot. Like Arnold Roseland, another 442 Squadron pilot we are about to honour, Rocky flew Kittyhawks in the Aleutians and the west coast and was transferred to Britain in late 1943 at the age of just 19 to form the new 442 Squadron.
Photos: Top, John McQuarrie; Bottom, Unknown;Insets via the web
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate our Supermarine Spitfire IX to Flight Lieutenant Arnold Walter “Rosey” Roseland of 442 Squadron, RCAF a native of Youngstown, Alberta.
In 1999, members of the Comox Air Force Museum on Vancouver Island, began a decade long project to construct a Supermarine Spitfire IX from the ashes of a former South African Air Force wreck. When finished, this Spitfire will fly in the markings of one that served in the Second World War with the famous and still existing 442 Squadron - based today at Comox. The Y2-K markings it will carry are a tribute to the home squadron and to the Millennium fund that got the project started. During its combat career, Y2-K was flown by many individual pilots of 442, but none came close to the 65 sorties on which it was flown by a man known to his friends simply as “Rosey”. Arnold Roseland was a much loved and respected flight leader and fighter pilot flying Spitfires with 442 Squadron in France.
Rosey did his elementary flying training at No. 11 EFTS Cap de Madelaine, Québec and his service flying training right here in Ottawa at No. 2 SFTS. After earning his wings, Arnold was ordered to Central Flying School at RCAF Trenton on Lake Ontario. Here he would become a generalist pilot, taking instruction on many different types - enabling him to take a multitude of aircraft types into the air (Anson, Battle, Bolingbroke, Fawn, Cornell, Crane, Finch, Harvard, Hudson, Hurricane, Oxford, Ventura, Lockheed 10) - a skill needed for station staff pilots at Navigation and Bombing and Gunnery schools. After Trenton he was posted to the Bombing and Gunnery School in MacDonald, Manitoba.
Roseland was highly experienced, having flown P-40 Kittyhawks with the same squadron when it was called 14 Squadron and he was part of only a small group of Canadian fighter pilots who flew combat missions in the Aleutians. Eventually the squadron was transferred overseas to England and became a Spitfire unit.
Sadly, Roseland would be killed in action during a dogfight with German fighters over the village of St. Martin de Mailloc, France on July, 13 1944. A beautiful machine such as a Spitfire, imbued with the soul of a fighter, needs a powerful name, a name that evokes memory and great sacrifice. Now and forever more, the Y2-K Spitfire will become for Vintage Wings of Canada, the Roseland Spitfire
, named for the brave Canadian who gave his life for One God, One King and One Heart
(the 442 Squadron motto). Arnold Roseland and the men of 442 will be the story we will teach our children. For more on the life and the death of Arnold Roseland, click here
Photo: via Roseland Spitfire Team; Inset, Arnold and his Spitfire in Europe.
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate its Hawker Hurricane XII restoration project to the memory of one of the greatest Canadian fighter pilots of the Second World War, William Lidstone McKnight, DFC and Bar of Edmonton, Alberta.
"Willie" McKnight of 242 Squadron was the first Canadian ace and Canada's fifth-highest scoring ace of the Second World War. McKnight joined the RAF in early 1939 and served in No. 242 Squadron RAF during the final phase of the Battle of France, covering the Allied retreat from Brittany, and later the Battle of Britain. McKnight's aircraft wore a distinct cartoon of a jackboot kicking Hitler on the port side of the engine cowling. His Hurricane also carried a human skeleton image which held a sickle in its hand under the cockpit, on both sides of the aircraft. McKnight scored 17 victories, as well as two shared and three unconfirmed kills. McKnight was shot down and killed on January 12, 1941 during a fighter sweep over Calais.
The Hurricane XII project has been slowly taking shape over the past five years and soon the fuselage will be mated with its wings. We have decided to honour this great Canadian for his spectacular but short flying career and will paint our Hurricane in his honour and in the unique markings of the 242 “Canadian” Squadron Hurricane which he flew.
Photos: Top, RAF photo of 242 Squadron with Douglas Bader, middle with hands in pockets, McKnight behind his right shoulder; Inset, McKnight in England with DFC under pilot's brevet.
Vintage Wings of Canada is proud to dedicate its Westland Lysander to Sergeant Clifford Stewart of Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.
During the war, Stewart was trained at the famous and secretive Camp X, run by the “British Service Coordination” (BSC) on the shores of Lake Ontario. Trained in clandestine radio operations and systems, Stewart was landed in Occupied France on a number of occasions during the Second World War. His "Taxi" for each extremely dangerous trip was an all black Special Operations Lysander. Often sitting on a box of explosives, next to a long range tank of high octane gas and smoking cigarettes, Stewart's job was dangerous from the get go. He helped to improve the security, efficiency and reliability of radio communications to all Allied operations and occupied European countries. Stewart participated in a number of top-secret missions behind enemy lines to train resistance fighters in those countries to further the Allied war effort.
During the Second World War, working for the secretive BSC and known to his colleagues simply as Agent “W5”, Stewart swore a life-time oath of secrecy to never reveal the exact nature and specific details of the missions he participated in. Despite the war having been over for more than 65 years, Stewart has never spoken about his missions.
In 2010, our newly restored Lysander was flown to Summerside, PEI and Stewart enjoyed an emotional reunion with the aircraft that transported him safely into and out of danger. It was here that the Lysander was officially dedicated to this honest-to-goodness James Bond. Stewart died in 2011.
Photos: Top and Bottom, Peter Handley; Inset, via Cliff Stewart