Newsletter #6

Written by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail on 09 April 2011.

CAHS Newsletter #6: Conference Registation Now Open!

e Newsletter

 Dear CAHS Member,

April is upon us already, and the longer, sunnier days are giving all of us here at CAHS HQ more energy to celebrate and preserve Canadian aviation heritage. As you'll see in this newsletter, we've been very busy, and things will only amp up as the 2011 Convention approaches.

Registration for the convention is now open (read on for more details), and it is shaping up very well. There will be plenty of exciting events, speakers, and opportunities to chat with fellow aviation history enthusiasts. Hope to see you there!

The convention has given us the opportunity to reconnect with other organizations across Canada, and we are committed to continuing these partnerships for many years to come. A big thank you to all of our new partners and to those organizations and companies sponsoring this event: your support is much appreciated.


Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail

CAHS National President

National News


Registration is now open! Please go to the convention page on for details and to download and print your form. CAHS members will also be receiving a full registration package in the mail this month with the next Journal issue.

If you would like information on volunteer and sponsorship opportunities, or would like to sell books or other aviation history wares during the convention, please email me at

There is an Eskimos-Stampeders football game on Friday, June 24th @ 7pm in Edmonton. Your other choice for that evening's entertainment is a Swing Dance ($25 ticket not incl. in convention package) as part of AirFest. But if you’re interested in going to the game instead, please email Richard Goette at

CAHS Journal

Fall 2010 issue should be arriving in mailboxes soon (have you been tracking it on Facebook, Twitter, and the website?). To get a sneak peek at the cover, table of contents, and editorial, go to the Journal page on the website.

CAHS Online

We are now a member of the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN) and listed in their online directory!

Rachel Lea Heide has been adding links when she has a spare moment from her treasurer duties. She reports we are now up to over 600 links. Some categories are still incomplete, but by the convention we hope to have close to 1000 links up to help you find the information you need in cyberspace.

We are in the final, final stages of the member log-in process…please stay tuned.

Doug MacRitchie Memorial Scholarship

The Toronto Chapter and National have been working together the past few months to ensure this scholarship continues to be awarded to a Centennial College student in the field of Aviation Technician – Aviation Maintenance. Thanks to the MacRitchie Family, it looks like this award will have future additional funding. The following write-up and photo appeared in Toronto's newsletter, FlyPast:

Chapter News

April 9: Toronto Chapter is hosting their special 3rd annual dinner meeting at 6:30 p.m. The guest speaker is author and historian Ted Barris.


April 12: Jerry Vernon will be giving a talk on RCAF participation in Bomber Command to the Vancouver Chapter at 7pm. (Please note that Keith Wade is still looking for fresh people to give Chapter presentations. If you are interested, please contact Keith at (604) 985-6202.)

April 14: Gordon Schofield will give a presentation on his stint in the U.S. Air Force in the 1960s to the Regina Chapter at 7:30 p.m.

April 21: Join the Montreal Chapter at 11 a.m. to hear Paul Gagnon speak about Wheeler Airlines, 1952-57. Mr. Gagnon worked for 45 years as a pilot and is the recent author of a book, Mémoires du pilote du Jet à Lesage.

For more information on these and other Chapter events, please go to the Chapters section of!

Member News

George Fuller received a plaque from Montreal Chapter President Dick Pickering at the occasion of his 100th “Downwind” presentation (over eight years’ worth!). These historical gems are published in L’Avion, Montreal’s newsletter as well. Congrats, George, and here’s to another 100!

Robert Stitt, author of several aviation history books, has teamed up with his illustrator, Juanita Franzi, on a run of prints of this image of a Boeing Fortress IIA. For more info, please contact Robert at or go to Juanita's website:


Readers Write Back

Jacques Chenail sent in a link to this video of a Cessna 172 in flight after a fly-in he went to in late February over the Ottawa River. Some great air-to-air shots!

David Dunsmore brought a British RCAF monument initiative to my attention: As David notes, it seems "a fitting way to pay tribute to the Canadians who served 'over there'."

Jean-Claude Marcoux writes: "The Musée des Pionniers de l'Aviation in Ste-Marie-de-Beauce, QC will be officially inaugurated this spring. The two 75%-size airplanes you see in the photo at left (a Camel and a Spitfire) belong to Aerovision. The Camel appeared in the movie The Aviator (about Howard Hughes) in scenes they made in Montréal."

Grant Wilson makes the following offer: "If anyone has a flight simulator running FSX or FS2004, go to my website and download all the BCATP scenery for free along with free WW2 navigation charts and photos of most of the stations that were built."

Layne Larsen responds to past newsletter items: 

"Although I have never done so myself, I have friends who have constructed their own aircraft. Even with kits, the assembly time is measured in years, not months. Those guys in the UK who plan to have those replica Spits flying in 2012 are really ambitious....if I was less charitable, I might say that they sound as if they have been smoking some pretty weird tobacco!

The 402 Spit with the white (or possibly bright yellow) spinner and rudder may just be the result of repairs. I have photos of aircraft sporting all sorts of funny bits and pieces while they are awaiting someone to slap a bit of paint on. For example, a great photo of a 404 Sqn Beaufighter TF.MkXC with a huge dent in the nose, the cowl flaps on one engine nice, shiny new polished aluminum, another bright metal patch on the side of the fuselage, and two different sizes of ID letters."



CAHS member Peter Cromer (Calgary) is a professional photographer and photo restoration enthusiast. He has generously offered to digitally fix a photo or two for members facing creased or damaged originals. Please contact him at (but limit any attached files to 25 mb in size).

Rachel Lea Heide: I am researching the history and impact of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) bases on Alberta communities during and after the Second World War.  I am interested in communicating with people who trained and worked at any BCATP base in Alberta.  I would also like to hear from people who lived in the communities near a BCATP base about the social and economic impact of the presence of the base, airmen, and airwomen.  Personal accounts and photographs, from both the civilian and military point of view, are most welcome. Please contact me at


CAHF 2011 Induction Dinner Reminder

See our very own Bill Wheeler get inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame!

When: Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where: Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Mount Hope, ON

Ticket prices: $225 each or $2,500 for a table of eight

Accommodation: you can request CAHF rate at Courtyard by Marriott 905-383-7772 or Motel 6 905-679-3355

For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit the (newly redesigned) or contact David Crone or 780-361-1351 (MT)

Announcements and Events


A reprint of Billy Bishop: The Courage of the Early Morning just arrived in the mail today displaying a very attractive new cover. It was originally published in 1965, and the promotional literature says: “This remarkable biography, written by Bishop’s son, is a warm-hearted, entertaining, and often surprising account of the escapades and heroics of a man of great courage.” (Bishop Jr. flew himself as a Spitfire pilot with the First Canadian Squadron 401, by the by).

The Calgary Mosquito Society has a new website with interesting "featurettes" about Mossies and Hurricanes. 

A new film, Pearl: The Story of Pearl Carter Scott, the youngest licensed pilot in America, has been released. Go to their website for more info.

Another website you'll want to check out is: - trust me!

New NATO Veterans Group Set Up

(Excerpted from a media release)

The NATO Veterans Organization of Canada (NVOC) consists of all current and former members of the Canadian Forces who were with or in support of NATO- from the post-Korean War era to the present day.

NVOC are the "new kids on the veterans block" as NVOC was granted Letters Patent under the Canada Corporations Act on October 1, 2010. The Letters Patent give NVOC a national charter to represent those who served with NATO.

NVOC is “the voice of today’s veterans" and intends to render support to the spectrum of veterans' needs from recognition, privacy, restitution, compensation, claims for long term medical care. It will also seek to recognize the achievements and many contributions Veterans have made to Canada.

Further information about the NATO Veterans Organization of Canada can be obtained from the NVOC website at

Mark Your Calendars!

  • May 13-15: Rockcliffe Flying Club's 50th Anniversary Weekend. Ever been a member? They’re planning a reunion for May 13-15 in Ottawa and would love to hear from you. To register, go to their Facebook page or contact them through their website:

  • May 26-29: “Finding Heroes in The Skies: Aviation History on The Silver Screen” film festival at Cinematheque Winnipeg. Besides the films screening, there will be a special lecture on the legacy of pilots from World War One and Two. Aviation historian Wayne Ralph is coming from Vancouver to lead the discussion, and members of the Manitoba CAHS Chapter will also be involved. For more information, please contact Dave Barber of the Winnipeg Film Group

  • June 4: Bomber Command Museum (Nanton, AB) Planes, Trains and Elevators Event

  • June 15-16: 17th Air Force Historical Workshop taking place at 8 Wing, Trenton, ON. This year’s theme is “On the Wings of Peace: Aerospace Power in United Nations Operations.” For more information, please contact Dr. Walter Dorn at

  • Until July 3: exhibit at the Richmond Museum

    called "The Cutting Edge: A History of Technology and Richmond."

History in the Making

Daily updates on Canadian Forces Operations in Libya will be provided at the following link

110 (400) Squadron Flag Found and Returned to Canada

CAHS member Carl Mills discovered the 110 (400) Squadron pennant in 2010. After “many telephone calls and some luck,” he found the 71-year-old original in Albany, NY just in time for the squadron’s 80th anniversary next year. To read about his experience and the history behind it, check out the newsreel on the home page of



I just learned from the April COPA Flight that Jack "Thumper" Thorpe passed away February 21, 2011 in Ottawa at the age of 85. For the full write-up, please click here.


 I met Jack at an Ottawa Chapter meeting in 2007 when I was researching my book on Laurentian Air Services. He twigged to my last name - he had known my grandfather from his DOT days - and shared his passion for the Fleet Canuck by getting me in the cockpit of the 'floor model' at CASM to learn the controls. He also gave me copies of newspaper clippings about a little hangar mishap in 1949 involving some of Laurentian's aircraft.


I'll miss his friendly emails, his beaming smile, and his vast knowledge of the Canuck. At least I know my grandfather has one more buddy to do some hangar flying with...

Paul Oberman, a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Air & Space Museum in Toronto and a leading heritage preservationist, died in a light aircraft accident March 7, 2011. A lovely website has been created with information on his life and death. To reach it, please click here.




Clifton "Cliff" Wenzel died March 4, 2011 in Brampton, ON at the age of 89. Carl Mills writes the following about his long and distinguished aviation career:

Cliff was with 400 Sqn. from 1961 to 1969 and as I recall, he was a member of the Mess for some years after this. He was awarded an OBV in 2005.

I don't know specific details about his duty during the Second World War (awarded DFC) or during the Berlin Airlift (1948 -awarded AFC), however, he flew with 426 "Thunderbird' Sqn. during the Canadian portion of the Korean War airlift  (July 1950 to mid-1954).

The post-war history of 426 Squadron has been published in Thunderbirds for Peace by Larry Motiuk (Larry was a nav. with 426 during Korea) and Cliff is mentioned several times.

After the Korean War, Cliff was involved in other significant types of missions with 426 such as the annual resupply flights to the far north including Alert, Eureka, etc., "Leapfrog" missions for the RCAF F-86 Atlantic crossings, and North Star flight training.

426 was disbanded in Oct 1962 (reactivated in Trenton in 1971), and the North Stars were also withdrawn from service at that time. It appears that Cliff also left the RCAF in this era.  According to Larry Milberry's book, The Canadair North Star, Cliff was hired by a company named International Air Freighters. The company bought three surplus North Stars for the purpose of flying freight between Toronto and Cuba. The flights lasted about seven hours and were regularily intercepted by the USAF. The company ran into financial difficulty in 1962. It was just prior to this that Cliff had joined the Air Force Reserves (400 Sqn.) in Toronto."

Please click here for the Toronto Sun obituary.


{tag:email}, I hope you enjoyed this newsletter. If it was forwarded to you by a friend or colleague, please be sure to go to and sign up to keep receiving it. If you have any questions or comments, you can send them to me at Thanks for reading!


April 9, 2011 - Issue 6









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Corporate members:




Clearwater Fine Foods


VAC Developments






AC Family Network

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Bomber Command Museum




Canadian Owners and Pilots Association


Experimental Aircraft Association

Fondation Aérovision Québec


Leavens Aviation

Linguistek Inc.


Rockcliffe Flying Club


Vintage Wings of Canada


Canadian Aviation Historical Society
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