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History of the CAHS Vancouver Chapter
The Vancouver Chapter was founded in 1968 when Ernie Harrison (CAHS Member #12) moved from Toronto to Vancouver. Another co-founder was Andy Anderson, who is now the President of the PEI Chapter. At that time, Andy was the Manager of the Richmond Arts Centre, which is where the Chapter has met for 44 of the past 45 years!! One year, they tore the old Arts Centre down to build a new one, and we were gypsies for a year.
Other founding members included Dr. Ted Hill (wartime RCAF doctor in Iceland), Eric Drinkwater (Production Engineer at Canadian Vickers on the Stranraer), Dale Molstad (veteran CPAir Captain) and Dean MacLagan (PWA Herc Captain, killed in their Herc crash in Africa). The founding meeting was attended by 25 local CAHS members (surely the most we have ever had at a meeting for a long time since then!!)
9 September 1978 was one of our most interesting evenings over the years; co-hosted with the Quarter Century in Aviation Club, our speaker was Punch Dickins, who spoke on the 50th Anniversary of the completion of his famous Barrenlands Flight. In 1983, Bill Wheeler allowed the Chapter to put together an entire issue of the CAHS Journal (Vol. 21 No. 2), which included an article specially written by CAHS Patron Punch Dickins on his 1928 flight. Another year, one of our members organized a two-day trip to the Boeing factories at Paine Field (Everett) and Renton, where they treated us royally, as if we were a group interested in buying some airliners!!
The current Chapter membership includes several former RCAF Sabre pilots, several retired airline Captains and retired Transport Canada people, as well as pilots, AMEs, aviation artists, writers, photographers, historians, and just plain enthusiasts. We meet 10 times a year, and our current meeting agenda offers a variety of interesting speakers, digital and slide shows on air museums and air shows, and the occasional video.
One of the more interesting speakers in the past year (twice) has been new Chapter member Colonel (Ret'd) Bud White, a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. In 1967, Bud set a Canadian altitude record, which still stands, in the RCAF F-104A that is on display at Rockcliffe. He also had an interesting exchange posting with the U.S. Mercury and Gemini manned space programs. His posting to the Empire Test Pilots' School trained him for duties as an Avro Arrow test pilot, before it was cancelled. We look forward to more interesting evenings with Bud.
Chapter Presidents over the years have included Andy Anderson, Dale Molstad, Norm Penny and Jerry Vernon (since 1993).
Our program for the coming season will include a couple more visits through UK aviation museums with the Chapter President, more air show pictures and hopefully more adventures of our resident test pilot and perhaps another episode on the wartime experiences of Typhoon pilot and Chapter member Harry Hardy.
CAHS Toronto Chapter Flying High
A lively website. An annual dinner meeting. A special, fully illustrated anniversary issue of the Flypast newsletter in 2009. These are only a few of the recent accomplishments of the Toronto Chapter of the CAHS that have ensured a prominent place for our Society in the aviation scene of Canada's largest city.
The private website, operated in support of the Chapter and CAHS National, was established by Bob Winson. More than anyone, Bob has long been a cornerstone of the Toronto Chapter, serving as the "go to" person in much the same way that the late M.L. "Mac" McIntyre did in the first 25 years of the Toronto Chapter's history.
The multi-faceted website starts with a bang: the sound of a classic de Havilland Canada Beaver floatplane taking off. It is an excellent resource for research into the rich aviation history of Toronto and Ontario, with archives of the Toronto Chapter's long-running Flypast newsletter, links to various aviation galleries, and much more.
The website is devoted to the memory of Alan Greenwood, its originator and inspiration. He, unfortunately, passed away before it could be completed. Peter Doherty, an old CAHS associate, stepped in to bring it to life.
The annual dinner meeting has become a highly successful and much-anticipated event since the inaugural event in September 2009. Two speakers --- Gerald Haddon, grandson of J.A.D. McCurdy, together with Canadian astronaut Bjarni Tryggvason --- made presentations at the event, held at the Armour Heights' Officers Mess at the Canadian Forces College.
This year's dinner meeting in May 2013, featuring Captain Robert Pearson (Ret'd), discussing the Air Canada "Gimli Glider," continued the tradition in fine style. Chapter members invariably enjoy an excellent dinner while touching base with fellow aviation enthusiasts. In fact, the dinner has helped to broaden the horizons of the Chapter and develop an informal link to the Aero Club of Buffalo.
In 2012, the Aero Club of Buffalo provided two speakers --- Hugh Neeson of the Niagara Aerospace Museum, and Dr Ilya Greenberg, an authority on Russian aerospace history --- to discuss the return of a Bell P-39Q Airacobra to its home in Buffalo. For their part, Toronto Chapter members attended the 100th anniversary dinner of the Buffalo club in 2010.
The Toronto Chapter currently has more than 130 members, primarily from southern Ontario. Some members who reside outside of Canada enjoy keeping in touch through the Flypast newsletter, which provides a complete report on the previous meeting and informative updates. Under Bob Winson's stewardship, the Flypast has broadened its appeal in recent years with colour photographs on the front and rear covers.
The Flypast, like the CAHS Journal, has a remarkable history in its own right. A permanent record of the first 25 years of Flypast, meticulously bound into one volume by Mac McIntyre, shows that Vol. 1, No. 1, appeared in December 1965. That issue, among other things, promoted the upcoming Chapter meeting --- a presentation on forest fire fighting by Stan Simons of the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests.
It is fascinating to read the comments by Boris Zissoff, CAHS #53, then provisional editor. To quote the colourful, and fondly remembered, Boris: "I would like to congratulate the Ottawa Chapter on the leading job they have done with their newsletter, 'The Ottawa Observair.' Chaps, you have been 'shooting us down in flames,' but look out, we are climbing for 'our position in the sun.' We also hope that this will encourage the Montreal Chapter to 'come down from the mountain' and do something in the same line."
The many speakers who have made presentations to the Toronto Chapter through the years represent a "who's who" of Canadian civil and military aviation. Meetings featured priceless documentation, such as rare 8 mm colour footage of the first flight of the Avro CF-100 in 1950 from Bob Johnson's collection. Joe Holliday, author and journalist, showed black and white, as well as colour, footage of wartime Mosquito production at Downsview. Superlative photographers, Larry Milberry, CAHS #11, and Nick Wolochatiuk, CAHS #9, have presented their air show photo collections.
At times, attendance at meetings would reach 180 or more people, as top-notch speakers made presentations. Here were just a few: renowned Avro Canada test pilot Jan Zurakowski; George Stewart, DFC, recounting his adventures flying the Mosquito during and after the Second World War; Ken Nicholson discussing his career as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Navy from the Seafire to the Banshee; Carl Millard on the growth of Millardair; and many more.
The tradition of excellent speakers has continued to the present. Bob Winson, who arranges our speakers, especially recalls a presentation by James Moffatt, who evaded capture by the Germans for six months after his bailout from a Halifax bomber over Belgium. He kept the Chapter enthralled for almost two hours with his account. Mr Moffatt's story is available at www.amazon.ca in the book Behind Enemy Lines
The Chapter is proud that twelve of its members were inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. They include Russ Bannock, Paul B. Dilworth, Jim Floyd, Bob Fowler, Fred Hotson, Leavens Aviation Inc., Larry Milberry, Vi Milstead Warren, George Neal, Don Rogers, Bill Wheeler, and Jan Zurakowski.
Another highlight in the Chapter's history was the Flypast Special Canadian Centennial of Flight Edition, published in the spring of 2009 to celebrate Canada's 100 years of powered flight. Bill Wheeler prepared this Journal-style edition, supported by Matt Clark, who served as Flypast editor-in-chief for several years.
Meetings have flourished even though the Chapter has been forced, for one reason or another, to relocate on many occasions. More recently, it was felt the former Toronto Aerospace Museum (TAM) at Downsview would be an ideal venue to the benefit of the museum and the Chapter. TAM became the Canadian Air and Space Museum (CASM), but has since closed after being evicted in September 2011. The current Chapter meeting site, at the Canadian Forces College, is proving to be an outstanding venue with its high-calibre facilities and central location.
Sadly, the CASM is still without a new facility. Its problems have probably been the most disappointing and frustrating setback experienced by the members of the Toronto Chapter in its history. Many members sent letters and e-mails urging the federal government to find a new home for the museum's collection of historic aircraft and artifacts, but a solution remains elusive.
Another Chapter accomplishment was the establishment of a memorial scholarship in Don Rogers' name at Georgian College (Barrie campus) for the Aviation Management Program. The scholarship was set up in July 2006, and the Chapter has awarded $3,000 to date to six grad students. Don Rogers, a leading test pilot with Avro Canada, flew the Avro Jetliner on its first flight. He was a longtime member of the Toronto Chapter.
The current Toronto Chapter executive includes Dr George Topple (President), Sheldon Benner (1st Vice-President and Membership Secretary), Neil McGavock (2nd Vice-President, Secretary, Archivist, and Historian), as well as Directors Scott Maclagan and Gord McNulty (who is also the Flypast Reporter). Bob Winson continues to participate as a volunteer providing Program Support.
Bill Wheeler provided some of the historical overview in notes for this summary. He traced the origin of meetings in Toronto that would eventually produce what became known as the Canadian Aviation Historical Society to the late summer or early fall of 1962. "Our first meeting was in the living room of my then home on Belsize Drive in north Toronto," Bill recalled. At the beginning of 1963, the enthusiasts, who had initially called themselves the Early Bird Club of Canada, produced their first Enthusiast newsletter.
"What had sparked it all was a book, 'Knights of the Air,' by the late John Norman (Jack) Harris that I illustrated," Bill stated. "Jack had flown Stirlings with the RAF and spent four years in a prison camp, the same stalag as Douglas Bader.
"At that time I had been freelancing as an illustrator, receiving assignments from from several Toronto book publishers as well as the Star Weekly. I was one of the few illustrators in Toronto specializing in aviation and marine subjects, and had done previous work for MacMillan's. They offered me the assignment.
"I was very fortunate in meeting H.J. (Hank) Burden, an RFC ace, who loaned me his album. It was his S.E.5a, 'Maybe,' that I painted for the jacket illustration. He also loaned me a large book of photographs that had been published in the early twenties, shortly after the First World War, which provided me with invaluable reference."
Bill recalled that the two original founders of the CAHS, George Morley and Jeff Burch, came across a copy of 'Knights of the Air' and contacted Bill through the publishers. Their original concept was of an organization devoted to researching and publishing untold First World War flying stories and early issues of the CAHS Journal reflected that.
"We became the CAHS when I approached Frank Ellis, author of Canada's Flying Heritage, and invited him to become our Patron," Bill stated. "Frank pointed out that the Early Bird name had long belonged to a very distinguished group of men and women, all of whom had flown prior to the First World War."
The organization grew rapidly. Recognized First World War authorities such as Harry Creagan came aboard, as well as Charlie Catalano, a well-known Toronto light aircraft pilot and owner. He figured largely in the Toronto Chapter and was Chapter President from 1970 to 1983.
Al Martin, who was with Trans Canada Air Lines public relations, joined, as well as people such as Sheldon Benner, Larry Milberry, Paul Regan, John Beilby, John Ellis, Doug MacRitchie, John Griffin, Jack McNulty, Boris Zissoff, Terry Waddington, Roger Juniper and others.
Bill noted that the first logo of the CAHS, conceived in the art department of the Toronto Star Weekly, used large open-face block letters separated by periods.
"We used it for about five years until it was replaced by the very distinctive 'Swash' CAHS we still use, although we've reverted to using JOURNAL -- as do so many other publications."
During the early years, members of the CAHS set up promotional displays at air shows and fly-ins. Mac McIntyre, along with Doug MacRitchie, arranged for the transport of the display. "At each appearance we would sign up thirty or forty new members," Bill recalled.
With Bill as editor, the scope of the Journal widened to include bush flying, airline operations, military aviation, and biographical accounts of individuals who contributed significantly to Canadian aviation. Capable writers and gifted photographers -- Bill mentioned Jack McNulty as "foremost" --- enhanced the Journal.
Early Journals included a useful and popular item containing Civil Aircraft Registers, compiled by John Ellis from Department of Transport files in the National Archives. John Griffin added listings from the Canadian military. These later became a part of John's 1969 publication, Canadian Military Aircraft: Serials and Photographs.
Bill was also able to obtain drawings from many leading artists: Tom Bjananson, Jim Bruce, Will Davies, Peter Mossman, and several others. "On a trip to the U.K., I met Frank Wootton, widely acknowledged as the Dean of Aviation Artists, and he generously allowed us to use any of his paintings that had a Canadian connection," Bill stated.
"With the help of Air Canada, we were able to bring Frank to Toronto to speak at a convention, and, with the support of Senator Hartland Molson, to purchase the painting, Breaking the Circle, and donate it to the National Air Museum in Ottawa. CAHS members Peter Allen, Captain Ray Lank of TCA/Air Canada, and stewardess Wendy Travis figured prominently in the process."
Bill also mentioned Paddy Gardiner, who founded the Ottawa Chapter. A group of original Toronto members, including Al Martin, Charlie Catalano, and George Morley accompanied Bill to Ottawa, where they met Paddy and Ken Molson, the first curator of the National Aviation Museum.
"Paddy and Geoff Rowe got the Ottawa Chapter on its feet. A Montreal group consisting of Doug Anderson, George Fuller, Ross Richardson, Roy Dishlevoy, and several others already existed. They too came aboard."
From its origins in Toronto, the CAHS readily established itself as a bold idea whose time had come. Fifty years later, it has a proven legacy that has endured to the lasting benefit of aviation in Canada.
By Gord McNulty, with files by Bob Winson, Neil McGavock, and Bill Wheeler
History of the CAHS Regina Chapter
Had you been hanging about the Saskatoon Municipal Airport in the city's north edge in the 1930s, you would have noticed a thin lad named Ray Crone peddling his bicycle to watch the aircraft of the day come and go. It made an impression on him -- and ultimately, one can say, led to the creation of a chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society in Regina Saskatchewan.
After the Second World War broke out, young Ray joined the RCAF, trained as a radar mechanic, and served in Canada and in Iceland. Returning to Canada after the war, Ray joined Saskatchewan Government Telephones, which took him to a number of communities in the province, where he pursued his keen interest in aviation history. Other people talk about aviation history: Ray wrote about it, initially for the historical journal of the Saskatchewan Archives Board, and later for the Canadian Aviation Historical Society Journal. He was frequently interviewed about the province's aviation history, and he sat as the Western representative on an advisory body for the National Aviation Museum. But he always dreamed of setting up a CAHS chapter in Regina, an idea that came to fruition in 1988. Mindful that other CAHS chapters bear the names for distinguished aviators, he even found one for our group, that of Roland J. Groome.
Groome was born in Britain, raised in Regina, and logged First World War service as a mechanic and instructor pilot with the Royal Flying Corps (Canada) in 1917 and 1918. As a partner in a small flying company after the war, Groome held (from 1920) Canadian commercial pilot's licence No. 1, operated Canada's first licensed commercial aircraft -- Curtis JN-4 (Can) Canuck G-CAAA -- and flew from the country's first licensed "air harbour" in what is now a residential suburb of south Regina. His partner, Robert McCombie, was Canada's first licensed air maintenance engineer. Ray received permission to use the name Roland Groome for the Regina Chapter from Roland's brother Paul.
The Regina Chapter grew steadily; its first project was a monthly newsletter called "The Windsock." A regular event is the Chapter's display at the annual open house held by the Regina Flying Club, which traces its own history back to 1927. The Chapter meets 10 times a year. In 1993, the Roland Groome Chapter hosted the first CAHS National convention held outside of central Canada. Before Ray died in 2005, he was able to see the chapter grow and take root, holding its second National convention in 2005. Ray deservedly has a place in the Saskatchewan Aviation Hall of Fame. Sadly, he was not able to live to see the airfield at the Regina International Airport named in 2006 for Groome.
History of the CAHS PEI Chapter
The Carl F. Burke, MBE Chapter of the CAHS was initiated at a meeting on 4 November 2000 when a group of interested people of the P.E.I. Heritage Aviation Society got together in the Eric Corbett Lounge, located in Hangar #1 at Slemon Park. The guest speaker was Don MacLure, and those in attendance included Roy Ramsay, Fred Burke, and Richard Whiteman.
As a result of the noted meeting, a public meeting was called for 28 April 2001. Twenty-one people attended this meeting, resulting in the formation of the PEI Chapter. Roy Ramsay was elected President, Elliott Brazil to the position of Vice/President, Glen Marsh as Treasurer, and Eric Laughton as Secretary. The Board of Directors was made up of Fred Burke, Eric Campbell, Scotty Campbell, Jim MacEachern, and the Honourable Archie Johnston. Notice of this, and a future meeting, were published in the 30 April 2001 Guardian newspaper. Sixteen people attended a meeting on 26 May 2001 in the Corbett Lounge. Lowell Huestis was added as a Director upon turning over $487.12
from the P.E.I. Heritage Aviation Society. The Hon. A. Johnston corresponded with Charlotte Burke with the result that a letter from her, dated 24 June 2001, approved the use of Carl F. Burke, MBE as the name of the Chapter.
A meeting on September 22 2001 approved the Chapter's meetings to be held the first Saturday of March, June, September, and December, alternating between Summerside and Charlottetown. Summerside meetings were to be held in the Corbett Lounge, and the Charlottetown meetings in the Flying Club meeting room. Eric Laughton arranged for the Summerside meetings to be held in the Air Force Association lounge, and when the flying club building was put up for sale, the Charlottetown meetings moved to the Boardroom in the Charlottetown Airport Terminal.
Al Dunphy was elected President on 1 June 2002. A number of executive changes occurred on 5 March 2005 Vern Inman becoming Treasurer, W. Anderson becoming Secretary, and Chet MacNeil taking on the duties of Bulletin Editor. At the March 2007 meeting, Sterling MacRae became President, and Syd Clay took on the Treasurer role. As of 6 June 2009, W. Anderson was President, Syd Clay was Treasurer, and Greg Gallant was Secretary. In June 2011, Errol Laughlin temporarily became Treasurer when Clay passed away. Greg Gallant was appointed to Treasurer when Errol passed away in 2012.
There have been a number of speakers at Chapter meetings, covering a wide variety of subjects from early aviation history on Prince Edward Island, through to military involvement and air traffic control. The Chapter has been involved in a number of projects, including the history of Upton Airport, Charlottetown and Summerside airports, Mount Pleasant airport (military use), and the radar site at Tignish. The Chapter was involved in the flight of Miss Veedol (a recreation of Errol Boyd's flight as far as Newfoundland), the centennial of flight on Prince Edward Island, an historic display mounted in the Charlottetown airport terminal commemorating Carl F. Burke, MBE, and the history of Maritime Central Airways. As early as 2004, the Chapter got involved in the Summerside "Gate Guardians" (Argus, Tracker, Voodoo aircraft on display), and one of the Chapter's members is now head of the group in charge of the Air Force Heritage Park that maintains the aircraft and surrounding area of walkways and commemorative stones.
At the 3 November 2012 meeting, it was decided that, due to lower attendance, the Chapter would only have two meetings per annum, one in Summerside and one in Charlottetown. These meetings will be the third Saturday of April and October to take advantage of better weather conditions and to avoid the probability of holidays.
History of the CAHS Montreal Chapter
The origins of the Montréal Chapter run in close parallel to that of the National CAHS. In pre-CAHS Charter days leading up to 1963, Ross Richardson got together with like-minded aviation types from Canadair Ltd in Montréal to explore mutual interests in aviation books and Canadian aviation history. Through his personal friends in Toronto — many of whom worked with him at Avro Canada in Malton — Ross followed the embryonic development of the Toronto-based National CAHS group. The Montréal core at this time was made up of Ross Richardson, Roy Dishlevoy, Fred Shortt, Bill Harvey, and Hank Volker. George Fuller and Doug Anderson attended these sessions when work schedules permitted.
When the CAHS received its charter, the informal Montréal group decided to go for Chapter status within the CAHS framework. The group slowly grew. From living room meetings, through classrooms, to hotel conference rooms, the Montréal Chapter has grown and finally anchored itself at the Pointe Claire Legion.
The Chapter has had its ups and downs. A strong economic downturn in the aviation industry in the 1980s saw the Chapter fold and many key members move away to follow employment opportunities. There was a hiatus of some years before the flame of the group was rekindled in 1996.
Like all the others, the Montréal Chapters have had a diverse slate of speakers and events. They flew the full gamete: fascinating, interesting, mundane, history, his-story, humorous, and the odd one that came thundering in under the radar as plain bizarre. Over the years, a number of speakers have stood out leaving us contemplating their words: Vaughn Olmstead (commercial pilot) showed the changing face of the north in pictures as he saw it from the left hand seat, Fairchild 82 through to the Boeing 727; Louis Geoffrion, (fighter pilot) left us with the chill of fear that fighter pilots challenged daily; Sydney Shulemson (ship-buster Beaufighter pilot) spoke of the cold hard techniques and repetitive training that made the chance of survival just a little better; Eric Bentley (mechanic) impressed us with his competence and gentleness; Hugh Allen Martin (Army glider pilot) presented us with an unusual facet of war, revealing his broad knowledge and quiet courage; Doug Sample (tail gunner: Halifax) left us more respectful with his description of a gunner's lonely night vigil; Patrick Campbell (engineer) magically unravelled the complexities of aero engines into a form anyone could understand; Squadron Leader Boulet (RCAF) spoke eloquently of the Lancaster and it stalwart service it gave to the men in the RCAF; and, the synergy that came forth in the unplanned reunion of Bill Peterson and other Air Canada personnel involved in the Gimili Glider incident, and its follow-up, impressed all.
The Montréal Chapter has hosted two successful National Conventions (1992 and 2010) and a mini-conference (1998) in Grand-mère, Quebec, that celebrated 80 years of bush flying in Canada.
Although meeting places have changed over time, George Fuller's "Downwind," a five-minute vignette, has been a constant. Featuring local aviation historical events, Downwind is a credit to George's dedication. We were honoured recently with Downwind number 116.
Informal and rebellious by nature, the Montréal Chapter has never bothered too much about rules, be they Marquis of Queensberry or Robert's Rules of Order. Chapter Presidents often found themselves confused as to how they acquired the exalted position. Strong armed into the post was one pleasant way they described it, others left the meeting to use the toilet only to find out they had been appointed through a process of attrition. If names must be mentioned, the roll call of presidents includes, for the early days starting in 1965, Roy Dishlevoy, Ross Richardson, and Bert Joss. Restarting in 1996, the president's roles has been carried out by Alastair Reeves, Pauline Mang, Alastair Reeves (caretaker president), Christian Aubert, and Dick Pickering.
History of the CAHS Manitoba Chapter
The Manitoba Chapter was formed in Winnipeg in 1994, by Ian Whiston and Captain Bill March. Meetings were mostly held in Mynarski Hall, at the 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarters, 17 Wing, CFB Winnipeg. The chapter hosted the 1996 CAHS National Convention, which included a visit to the Portage la Prairie airshow. The Chapter went dormant for a while in the late 1990s. In October 2001, with the support of John Bonner, Brian Watson, and other volunteers of the Western Canada Aviation Museum Library and Archives, the Chapter was reformed. Since then, the Chapter has held meetings eight times a year, usually on the last Thursday of each month, except in December and the summer. The Chapter hosted the 2006 CAHS National convention, this time in conjunction with the Air Force Historical Conference.