B-25 Mitchell Bomber Rollout in Edmonton
On September 3, No. 418 (City of Edmonton) Squadron Association and the Alberta Aviation Museum rolled out a restored B-25 Mitchell Bomber in honour of that Sqaudron's 70th anniversary. 418 is not the only one celebrating this milestone, however: 2011 is the 70th anniversary 17 others, as well as the Royal Canadian Air Force - Women's Division.
By John Chalmers:
On September 3, RCAF 418 (City of Edmonton) Squadron Association rolled out a restored B-25 Mitchell Bomber, the latest addition to the Alberta Aviation Museum's aircraft collection.
(Photo: D. Metcalfe-Chenail)
The nose art on the port side recognizes the success of the Edmonton Eskimos in their Grey Cup wins of the 1950s. It replicates the art actually used on some 418 Squadron aircraft during the 1950s when the Squadron flew the Mitchells from the hangar that was to become home to the Alberta Aviation Museum.
(Photo: J. Chalmers)
During the war and afterwards, the Squadron's aircraft carried characters from Al Capp's L'il Abner comic strip as nose art on the starboard side. The restored Mitchell to be rolled out on September 3, is decorated with an image of Daisy Mae, as originally done.
Restoration of the aircraft was carried out by the 418 Squadron Association. It has taken eight years, 43,000 volunteer hours and over $200,000 to bring the aircraft to the condition it is in today.
It will be on static display at its home in the museum, housed in Canada's last double-wide double-long wartime hangar of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan."
John Chalmers has a personal connection to the 418 Squadron and the hangar. His father trained there as a navigator during the Second World War, and later instructed in navigation at No. 2 Air Observer School in Edmonton. During his high school years, he was a member of 418 Reserve Squadron, training as an aero engine mechanic before transferring to the University of Alberta RCAF squadron during his undergraduate university years. Memories of servicing Mitchells during his teens at that splendid wartime hangar are still special to him!
(Photo: J. Chalmers)
Two Harvards were also on display during the rollout, flanking the Mitchell (Photo: D. Pagnutti)
For more information on the No. 418 Squadron Association, please click here.
The following Squadrons are celebrating 70 years in 2011:
- No. 403 Helicopter Operational Training Squadron
- No. 404 Maritime Patrol and Training Squadron
- No. 405 Maritime Patrol Squadron
- No. 406 Maritime Patrol and Training Squadron
- No. 407 Maritime Patrol Squadron
- No. 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron
- No. 409 Combat Support Squadron
- No. 410 Tactical Fighter Operational Training Squadron
- No. 411 Tactical Helicopter Squadron
- No. 412 Transport Squadron
- No. 413 Transport and Rescue Squadron
- No. 414 Combat Support Squadron
- No. 415 Maritime Patrol Squadron
- No. 416 Tactical Fighter Squadron
- No. 417 Comber Support Squadron
- No. 418 Transport and Rescue Squadron
- No. 419 Tactical Fighter Training Squadron
- No. 420 Combat Support Squadron
For more Squadron histories and a great go-to resource when you are doing research, please check out the links section of this website by clicking here.
The Royal Canadian Air Force's Women's Division also turns 70 this year. On July 2, 1941, the "Women's Auxiliary Air Force" was created (it was renamed less than a year later). The Juno Beach Centre has a good overview of the RCAF-WD: to read it, please click here.