(June ~ July ~ August)

Fairey Battle. Saw action in France 1939/40, also used in Gunnery Training
Hatch to Gunner’s cockpit in belly immediately behind wing.

An 'Ole in the Battle's Belly
(With apologies to "There’s a hole in the bucket dear Liza, dear Liza.")

There’s a cold draft coming up me turret dear Harry, dear Harry,
A draft.

‘Cause there’s an ‘ole in the Battle’s belly dear Willy, dear Willy,
An ‘ole.

Since your down there below, please stuff it dear Harry, dear Harry,
Stuff it.

And just how do you suggest I stuff the ‘ole dear Willy, dear Willy,
Just how?

Just reach down and close the bloody hatch dear Harry, dear Harry,
Close it.

But there’s just no bloody hatch to close my dear Willy, dear Willy,
No hatch.

Why do I feel I’m going to barf on your head dear Harry, dear Harry,

‘Cause there’s an ‘ole in the Battle’s Belly dear Willy, dear Willy,
An ‘ole.

~ J. Selyom. 

Air Gunner’s Training Trilogy
Waltz of Death 
The ‘Ole in the Belly of the Battle’
by Don Daikins

Short Burst March 1993 Issue #41

The ‘ole in the belly of the Fairey Battle was where we gunners entered and exited that old bucket of bolts.

By the time I arrived at #3 B&G MacDonald, Manitoba, the Battles were fitted with Boulton Paul turrets the same as what the Hally’s had on Ops. They had four Browning .303’s just like the big boys.

The “hole” was fitted amidships between the wings and we clambered up through that hole and into a more or less “rest position” where one gunner sat while the other gunner  was in the turret firing at the drogue. That “hole” was originally fitted with a hatch cover that opened down and towards the front of the aircraft. Most Battles had, upon my arrival in 1943, lost the cover and all that was left was the “hole”. 

The “rest” position was a cramped area just ahead of a main spar that we sat on while waiting our turn to enter the turret. The whole area was polished smooth from many thousands of asses reclining on it and one slid in all directions in turbulent weather. As you sat on the spar you could look down through the hole and see what was coming towards you from down below. 

I flew with a young fellow by the name of DAG, alphabetically ahead of DAIKENS and he was airsick from the time we took off until we landed. These aircraft had a goodly supply of waxed cartons to “BARF” into and good old DAG used all of his and all of mine.

As I sat on the spar he would kick my shoulder and I would reach up behind me, grab a  nice warm carton of puke and, having no place to dispose of it, I casually bombed any and all cattle, humans, houses, cars, or whatever, as they came into view down below.

The position was very dangerous as the hole was large enough to fall out of. Just before my arrival a Gunner had fallen out of the hole as the Battle was preparing to land.

The fun started when we had to change positions. The upper gunner kicked the guy down below who more or less stood up and started to shuffle around the hole while the other gunner slid down and stepped onto the spar. We hung on to each other’s shoulders as we circuited the hole, as there was nothing else to hang onto. This manoeuvre continued while we both made a circuit of the hole and the opposite gunner got into position to climb up into the turret.

We called it “The Waltz of Death”.

Fairey Battle 1941 #2 B&G Mossbank, Sask. 
Note open cockpit. The Gunner is wearing a winter service hat which was fondly referred to as a “piss pot”. 
At that time helmets were in short supply and one wore what was available.

John Moyles

These aircraft had seen service in France before Dunkirk. Some of the Staff Pilots had flown them in combat. I didn't realize this until I asked a Pilot why there were square riveted patches on the fuselage. He replied, "bullet holes."  This brought the war a little closer.   (See article below, Canada's First D.F.M. WWII)

Unlike the Battles at MacDonald #3 B&G, enjoyed by Daiken, we had no turret, just an open cockpit with a single free .303 Vickers gas operated machine gun on a scarf ring. One Gunner stood up behind the gun while the second Gunner hunkered down on the floor with his feet braced on either side of the "hole" in the belly, landscape flew by underneath, fumes and exhaust swept back and up through the hole, many a meal was spread over the prairies.

One cold November day in 1941, we took off for an exercise. I was on the floor watching the runway rush by under my feet. 500 feet off the end of the runway a glycol coolant line ruptured, spraying glycol over the pilot’s windscreen. Unable to see, he put on his goggles, pushed back the canopy and stuck his head out as he started his turn back to the airport. His goggles immediately covered with glycol. He pulled off his goggles and got the full force of the hot fluid on his eyes rendering him blind.

By this time we were letting down, wheels up, approaching the runway at a ninety-degree angle. Huge drifts of snow paralleled each runway.  The Battle hit the first drift belly first ploughing snow up through the hole and forcing me up beside the other Gunner. The aircraft jumped the runway, hit the opposite snow bank forcing in more snow and almost pushing us both out of the cockpit. The aircraft slid to a stop in a nose down, tail up attitude. When the emergency crews arrived we must have been a humorous sight. Two Gunners perched on top of a snow filled cockpit, and the pilot, completely blind, staggering around in the snow, 

The Pilot spent a week in hospital but returned to the flight line. He was known as the man with the well-oiled eyeballs. It was the cushion of snow in the gunner’s cockpit that saved us from injury.

O'Henry Chocolate Bars have a lot of Peanuts
Bird Hits Fairey Battle
By Stanley P. Orien

Mont Joli, July, 1943. As we waited in the hangar for our turn to take off on a gunnery exercise, I consumed two O’Henry bars and drank a Coke. That trip I was second gunner and I was down over the hole while my partner was up in the turret.

Until we got into the air, the fuselage compartment was very hot. There was a strong smell of fuel and glycol and a previous Gunner’s vomit. By the time we got up to height, I was very very close to bringing up. I knew that I didn’t stand a chance of holding it down.

Without hesitation, off came my parachute harness, and the shirt I was wearing over a tee shirt. Not too soon, everything started to come up, the O’Henry bars, the Coke, my lunch, and almost my insides, ended up in the shirt. Everything happened very quickly. I threw shirt and contents out the hole in the belly of the aircraft. I was safe. I would not have to spend an hour scrubbing the inside of the aircraft, all had been blown away in the slipstream.

At that particular moment our drogue plane, another Fairey Battle, was passing behind our aircraft to get into position for the exercise. My partner in the turret came on the intercom,  “hey, our drogue plane has just hit a bird. It’s splattered all over the front of his windshield. It looks like he is heading back to the airport.”

The radio came to life and the pilot from the drogue aircraft said, “I think I just hit a bird or something. There doesn’t seem to be any damage but I better get the aircraft checked and cleaned. I’ve got all this muck splattered over my windshield. I’m returning to base.”

There was great excitement when we got back to base about a drogue plane hitting a bird, how badly it had been splattered, stank, and that the bird must have been eating peanuts, or something that looked like peanuts.

No one ever knew what really happened, and I never said a word to anyone. My instructor gave me hell for wearing just a tee shirt.

No. 2 Bombing and Gunnery School Mossbank Sk. 
The Birth of a Training base

#2 B&G Mossbank, Sk. 1940. Mossbank grain elevators upper right.

Forty-six buildings at a cost of $800,000 and airfield construction of $330,890 made this airdrome and school in excess of a million dollars. Six 224 by 180 foot hangars, some 40 other buildings, three triangular runways of 2500 feet in length and 150 feet wide, and storage facilities for 21,000 gallons of aviation fuel describe the size of the unit. Foundation work was underway by mid May 1940.

No one source for the 50,000 gallons of water estimated for the station’s daily needs had been found. Test wells were being drilled. In November 1941 the water supply was transported from wells through above-ground insulated pipes. These pipes were continually freezing in the severe prairie winter temperatures. For days personnel had to melt snow on the barracks coal stove for drinking, shaving and washing. Septic tanks were required for the station sewer systems. Due to frozen pipes the out door earth pit toilets were constantly called into service.

On October 23, 1940 the Adjutant, F/O Ransom, published a warning in DRO’s to be aware of the deep sewer and water trenches about the camp. There were no streetlights at night and considerable distances to travel from barracks to mess hall. Ironically F/O Ransom fell into a trench and broke his leg. With the aid of flashlights personnel removed him from the trench and his leg was set and placed in splints on an ordinary barracks bed. There he rested until he could be moved to hospital in Regina.

The Unit officially opened without fanfare or ceremony on October 28, 1940. The first three Fairey Battles had arrived October 24 followed by others until the complement was up to 50 by January, 1941.

A class of Air Gunners and Bomb Aimers were to begin their training on October 28th., 1940, but there was no equipment or training manuals for either course, not even a duplicating machine for making manual copies. Lectures were further complicated by the lack of electric lights in the Ground Instructional School. On November 7, electric lights became available. Training flights could not be commenced due to lack of equipment. On November 4 a gas operated machine gun was borrowed from a Regina Unit. There was no flying kit or helmets fitted with inter-communication apparatus. Several camera guns and Browning machine guns arrived – less breach blocks, and no ammunition. There was only one bombsight and when practice bombs arrived they had no detonators.  Armourers had to work in unheated hangars in below zero temperatures.

Station Daily Diary, November 27. “No breaches for Browning guns, no ammunition, no gun mounting blocks, no magazines for gas operated machine guns. No. 1 Course on their third week of training and still have had no air firing.” Station Diary November 29. “The Courses are up to schedule not withstanding shortages of equipment, due largely to the ingenuity of the officers in charge of the courses.”

 Another Air Gunner course arrived without advance notice and without documents. It is remarkable that none of these problems postponed the graduation of the first course of Air Gunners on November 14th , 1940, and the first course of Air Bombers on December 9th. Both Courses on schedule, just 8 months after breaking the Prairie sod.

Group Captain A.J. Ashton arrived to command the new school October 16, 1940. 
In 1915 Ashton went overseas with Winnipeg’s 8th. Battalion, the “Little Black Devils”. 
In 1917 he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. 
He was among the first officers accepted in the RCAF on its formation in 1921.

Canada’s First D.F.M. WWII
Gordon Nelson Patterson

Gordon Nelson Patterson“The Germans are advancing, the bridges have to be destroyed at all cost!”

What was left of Fairey Battle Squadron No. 12 was lined up to hear the C.O. give the bad news. It was May 12, 1940 at Aminfontaine, near Rheimas in Northern France that five bomber crews volunteered to make the suicidal attack against the Maastricht Bridges on the River Meuse and Albert Canal in Holland.

“Enemy flak is going to be heavy,” said the C.O., “and there are masses of German fighters near the target. Take off is at 8:20.”

A.C.2 Gordon Patterson from Woodrow, Saskatchewan, was the Wireless Air Gunner in one of the Fairey Battles. The Battle was a reliable, easy to handle, aircraft, but it was slow, vulnerable, and under-armed in combat. In fact it was obsolete even when the war began, but because they had so many, and not enough better bombers, they were allowed to go into battle. 

As Gordon Patterson explained it, “my rear gun was a Vickers gas operated pan-fed MG on a manually operated rocker mount, using ring and bead sight. Our spring loaded pans held 100 rounds. If we wound the springs up to 4 and ½ turns we got approximately 750 rounds per minute. Six turns brought them close to 1000 RPM.

Patterson had joined the RAF in May 1938 after running away from home at age 16 and working on steamers around the world. His training included Morse code, 26 wpm, Semaphore 12 wpm, Aldis lamp 8 wpm, plus gunnery training. He joined 12 Squadron as an Aircraftsman Second Class, and the Squadron went to France September 2nd. 1939.

The five Battles took off and proceeded to target in one flight of three and another flight of two. Patterson was in the second flight. Other Canadians were in the attack. F/O Billy Brown from Macgregor, Manitoba, P/O Roland Dibrah, Winnipeg, Manitoba, P/O Raymond Lewis, Vancouver, British Columbia.  The first three aircraft went in and were all shot down after dropping their bombs. Two of that flight received the first V.C.’s of the war.

Patterson states, “our flight went in at 9000 feet to dive bomb the bridge. Our Flight Commander, F/O Thomas, hit the bridge but was immediately shot down and all his crew captured. Before we could dive we were attacked by three ME 109’s, which I eventually shot down, but we were so badly damaged that our pilot , P/O Davey, ordered us to bail out. I had been hit on my earpiece, in the right forearm, and left leg. When I bailed out, I hit the tail and smashed up my right forearm. I landed in the courtyard of the Hospital des Anglais in Liege, Belgium, and was immediately taken into the hospital. The Germans entered the city that evening and I became a Prisoner of War.”

Gordon was to experience time in 17 different PoW camps, including a work camp in Poland. His imprisonment included the one month march from Stalag 157, Poland, to Schwerin. He was released by the British Airborne May 2nd. 1945, and arrived back in England VE Day. Gordon transferred over to the RCAF with an effective transfer date back-dated to November 24, 1944, returned to Canada August 12, 1945, discharged October 20, 1945 as a WO 1

In 1945 a special investiture in Saskatoon, saw Governor General Viscount Alexander present Gordon with Canada’s first D.F.M. – just five years late.

Post war, Gordon went to University of Saskatchewan and obtained a degree in Engineering. He rejoined the RCAF in 1948 serving until 1966 as a Squadron Leader. Later, Gordon served on the faculty of the Physics Department at the U of S. Saskatoon.

Gordon worked with the RCAF on the Avro Arrow and flew in the B58 Hustler while it was under going flight testing to check out telemetry equipment that would have been used during RCAF flight testing at Cold Lake. Unfortunately, we all know what a big mistake the cancellation was.

Gordon Patterson passed away in 1994.  We will remember him.

Photo and bio information has been updated by his eldest son:
James P. Patterson
Cambridge Bay, NU

Belated Awards from WWII
Weldy Moffatt

Individuals receiving awards September 1946, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Back row - Austen Astenson, J C Deutscher, B A M Fox, D G Lightfoot, N C Currell, R W Moffatt
Front row: - C K Burliungame, F J Hutchings, J P Gracie, D McDougal, J A P Stapleton, J A Kerr. 

Deutscher stayed in Regina became a dentist and later became a RC priest. Now retired
Moffatt stayed in Regina and worked for several employers as an accountant
McDougal was son of  Chief of Police in Regina and worked with Imperial oil and transferred to Edmonton.
Stapleton worked with Kenridge on 11th Ave and later with a national clothing manufacturer and was transferred to Alberta. 

I did not want to write about the reason for my DFM because the citation differs from the recommendation quite significantly and the recommendation even differs from the circumstances. I learned that the circumstances leading to a decoration can also lead to a courts martial. So be it. 

The award of my DFM was gazetted in April 1945 but my first knowledge of it was when my parents received a letter from the Minister of National Defence dated 29 November, 1945. I did not pursue the matter at that time as I was expected to receive all my medals by mail following the application that had been submitted. No further thought was given to it until I received a letter inviting me to a medal presentation in Saskatoon 6 September 1947.

The recommendation: "Flight Sergeant Moffatt has completed twenty-seven operations and one hundred and seventy-one hours operation time on his first tour, completely on heavily defended German strategic and mining targets. His work has been outstanding as wireless operator, and his co-operation, coolness and devotion to duty has contributed in a large measure to the many sorties he has completed. His operational dash and cheerful confidence has instilled a high standard in his crew."

 It took many years to find its true value as a memento of my service. I now wear the medal with pride, after finding out how few of this type were awarded. The original was stolen and when a replacement was obtained I knew more about its monetary value.

First Air Mail in Western Canada - Calgary to Edmonton

In 1918 Katherine Stinson announced she would return to the Edmonton fair, 
and while in Calgary she was appointed an official mail carrier and handed a sack of first class mail. 
The mail had been stamped 'Aeroplane Mail Service, July 9, 1918'

MISS KATHERINE STINSON MAKES SUCCESSFUL TRIP, CALGARY TO EDMONTON.  That was the headline in the Edmonton Journal on Wednesday, July 10, 1918.  Katherine Stinson (1891-1977) was an American pilot and the fourth woman in the US to earn a pilots license. 

On July 09, 1918 Katherine Stinson flew the first airmail delivery in western Canada on a flight from Calgary to Edmonton, the flight lasting 125 minutes.  She departed the Calgary Exhibition grounds at 1305 hours but she had only travelled about nine miles when she suffered some engine problems.  She was forced to land at a small station called Beddington near the site of the present Calgary International Airport.  There was no telegraph office at the station so it was some time before she was able to contact her crew in Calgary.  She was finally able to make contact and her mechanics drove to the scene where they commenced to work on the engine.  The problems were finally corrected in the late afternoon and the aircraft was pronounced serviceable. 

Miss Stinson was anxious to keep her record intact so she flew back to Calgary and once again set out on her journey.  About 1930 hours that evening the large crowd waiting at the Edmonton Exhibition grounds got the word that she was safely on her way.   Like many a young airman 25 years later, she followed the Canadian Pacific tracks, the "Iron Compass",, to her destination.  The Exhibition management was kept posted on her progress, as she passed Red Deer, Lacombe, Wetaskiwin and Leduc, by the excellent bulletin services of the CPR.  They also got a good idea of how fast she was flying.  The aircraft finally came in sight flying from the south and, after circling the grounds, Katherine landed in the centre of the infield at 2003 hours. 

Mr. George Armstrong, Postmaster, was on hand to receive the bag of mail, the first to be delivered by air and containing 259 letters.  Miss  Stinson also conveyed greetings from Mr. Freese  the Acting Mayor of the City of Calgary, to Mr. H.M.E. Evans, Chief Magistrate of the City of Edmonton.  The flight took two hours and five minutes of actual flying time.  Katherine had previously held long distance and endurance records for women , Chicago to Binghampton, NY, 783 miles in 10 hours and 23 minutes for example.

A team of skilled volunteers at the Edmonton Aviation Heritage Museum is nearing completion of an exact replica of the Curtiss Special aircraft. (See the March Shortbursts).  On July 09, 2006 Katherine Stinsons record flight will be commemorated when 259 letters will be flown from Calgary to Edmonton.  The flight is a joint effort by the Edmonton Aviation Museum Association and the western chapter of the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society.  The arrival in Edmonton of this special flight will coincide with the unveiling of the replica Curtiss Special.  This event will be covered and hopefully an account will appear, with photographs, in the September issue of Short Bursts.

This flight was of importance for another reason, it was the first cross country flight in western Canada.  Until that day no one had made a flight of that distance in the west.  Some historians feel that this flight was just as important as the first airmail flight if not more so. 

I am indebted to Mr. John J.Chalmers of Edmonton for his great assistance with this account. 

Stamp Cancellation: Aeroplane Mail July 9, 1918, Calgary Alberta.

Katherine Stinson delivers the first air mail in western Canada, 
flown from Calgary to Edmonton on July 9, 1918. 
Her one-of-a-kind aircraft is being re-created by volunteer craftsmen 
at the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton. 
At centre is W.J. Stark, manager of the Edmonton Exhibition. 
At right is postmaster G.J. Armstrong. 
When famed American aviator Katherine Stinson ordered a one-of-a-kind biplane from the Curtiss Aeroplane Company in 1917, neither she nor company founder Glenn Curtiss could have had any idea that the unique aircraft would be re-created in Edmonton nearly 90 years later.

 Katherine Stinson (1891-1977) was the fourth American woman to earn a pilot's license. She gained fame as a barnstormer and her unique “Curtiss Special” aircraft was built for better aerobatic performance than the famed Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” and Curtiss S-3 Speed Scout triplane on which her aircraft was modeled. 

 It had a single cockpit and Jenny wings, but with the upper wing shorter on each side, and a bigger tail assembly than the Jenny. The fuselage was based on the S-3 triplane, but extended in length. The modifications were made to provide greater aerobatic performance in her flying demonstrations.

Ready to leave Calgary on July 9, 1918

Building a Biplane Barnstormer and Re-enacting Western Canada's First Air Mail Delivery

By John J. Chalmers
442 Reeves Crest, Edmonton, Alberta  T6R 2A3. ph. 780-435-8194.

Today, a team of skilled volunteers at the Alberta Aviation Museum are nearing completion of an exact replica of Stinson’s Curtiss Special. The aircraft presented a special challenge to the volunteers in the shop at the wartime hangar on Kingsway Avenue in Edmonton where the museum is located. First, blueprints of the Curtiss Special could not be found, so the craftsmen building the replica created their own drawings. “Our biggest challenge was seeing how close we are to the original,” says Jim Fearn, one of a dozen men who have been working on the project for over two years. “All drawings and specifications were done here as a result of group decisions,” he says. Working from photographs of Katherine Stinson’s aircraft, they were able to design the wings and the larger tail assembly. Thousands of volunteer hours have now been spent on the project.

 Locating original parts was another challenge. The museum obtained an original Curtiss “O-X” liquid cooled V-8 engine of the type used by Curtiss in early biplanes. To complete the 536 cubic engine that produced 100 horsepower, a search on the Internet was rewarded by finding push rods and rocker arms for the valve assembly. A replica radiator will be installed, but the wooden propeller is a Curtiss original, provided by the Aero Space Museum in Calgary. 

Gerry Blacklock adding protective tape prior to stiching
over the ribs on a wing now covered with fabric.

 On July 9, 2006, a re-enactment of Katherine Stinson’s airmail delivery, the first cross-country flight in Alberta, will be made by flying 259 letters from Calgary to Edmonton. The event is a joint effort of the western chapter of the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society (CAS) and the Alberta Aviation Museum Association. The arrival in Edmonton will coincide with the official unveiling of the Curtiss Special. The aircraft will then officially join the collection of historic aircraft at the Alberta Aviation Museum.

 Lindsay Deeprose, restoration manager at the Alberta Aviation Museum, has been a volunteer for 18 years and has worked on several reconstruction projects. He says, “Restoring and displaying historic aircraft retains the history of aviation in this part of our world for the people of today and for future generations. A side benefit is keeping us doing something constructive that we enjoy!”

 Even the museum’s hangar itself is a museum piece, built in 1941 for training purposes during the Second World War. At one time it housed aircraft of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan and was post-war home to RCAF City of Edmonton 418 Squadron. Today a total of 14 organizations share use of the hangar, all of which are related in some way to aviation.

 Nearly complete now, the aircraft will never fly, but an electric motor hidden inside the engine crankcase will spin the wooden propeller when this addition to aviation history makes its debut 

Re-enacting the Mail Delivery
 On July 9 for the re-enactment flight, the 259 specially-stamped letters will arrive in a Cessna 172 flown by Audrey Kahovec. At 29, she already has 900 hours of flying time and has been a licensed pilot since she was 16. 

 While serving with Air Cadets in her native province of Saskatchewan, she attained the rank of WO2 with No. 566 Squadron in Canora, and won a scholarship that saw her rewarded with a gliding license at 16. At 17, she was awarded another scholarship through cadets that enabled her to complete a pilot’s license and now has been flying nearly half her life.

 Audrey also holds a commercial license with a night, multi-engine and instrument rating and recently completed qualifications for an instructor’s license. “I’ve been hooked on flying since my first flight with an uncle who took me for a ride when I was a kid,” she says. 

Audrey Kahovec gets checked out on the Curtiss Special controls
by Jim Fearn, one of the volunteers who helped build the aircraft.

On July 9 she will take time out from working as an instructor with the Edmonton Flying Club to transport the mail in a route first done by Katherine Stinson in her Curtiss Special on July 9, 1918.

 Upon arrival in Edmonton, Audrey will then be seated in the cockpit of the biplane for the roll-out of the replica built at the Alberta Aviation Museum in Edmonton.

 Audrey makes her home in St. Albert with her husband Bud, and says she is honoured and privileged to participate in the re-enactment event. 

 A splendid painting by Canadian artist Jim Bruce has been created to commemorate the event. It shows the Curtiss Special airborne from Calgary to Edmonton and will be on display at the museum, with reproductions available for sale. Shown below are Lindsay Deeprose, left, and Bob Busse, vice-president of the Alberta Aviation Museum Association. High-quality prints of the painting are being made and will be available from the museum, 

or phone 780-451-1175. 
Special postal covers to commemorate the flight have been developed by the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society. They may be ordered from Gordon Mallett, who can be contacted at gdmall@telus.net, or by phoning 780-387-3688. Jim Bruce’s painting also appears as the cover illustration on the Spring 2006 issue of CAHS Journal, published by the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. The cover story was written by Edmonton historian and RCAF navigator Tony Cashman, who completed a tour of duty as a navigator aboard Halifax bombers with RAF 78 Squadron in the Second World War.

(L) Lindsey Deeprose, in charge of restoration. (R) Bob Busse, in charge of the archives.

The Rarely seen WOG Wing

The usual lettering combination of this RCAF wing creates more questions than answers. Is it intended to signify “Wireless Operator Gunner” or “Wireless Operator Ground”?

The book WINGS – Canada and Great Britain 1913 – 1945 by Warren Carroll, provides the following details:

An example was uncovered in late 1979. It appears to be of a Canadian manufacture, and may well have been produced in 1943.

The lettering is a mystery, as there is no official reference to “Wireless Operator Gunner”, though the term “Wireless Air Gunner” is common, and the “WAG” wing is common in RCAF collections.

To add to the confusion, there was a ”WOG” course lasting twenty weeks during the Second World War that was shared with some “WAG” members. And it seems that some Wireless Operators Ground personnel were occasionally used on training missions during that period – but they were not entitled to the wing!

Rumours have indicated that some forty-one recipients were presented with “WOG” wings at a Prince Edward Island training centre, but, to date, research has failed to confirm this. So the chance is that a small number of this insignia was produced unofficially.

It is hoped that readers can add some information to clarify the status of this wing. Has anyone seen it being worn officially, or have you been the original recipient of such a wing? Comments are welcome.

Submitted by Robert Henderson, Proprietor of HOMEFRONT ARCHIVES & MUSEUM
60 – 15th Ave.,
Regina, Sk. Canada.
S4T 6V4
(306) 543-5822,         homefront@sasktel.net 


Good afternoon John. 
I had a call this morning from the Westlawn Memorial Gardens in Edmonton to inform me that they will be unveiling the Veterans Memorial on June 14 at 1400 hours.   This memorial has the names of most of our AGs both living and deceased and I hope to have a good turn out from our group.  I have already mentioned that it would be nice if everyone wore their blazer c/w medals.  It is the least we can do I think.  Anyway, I plan on taking a few photographs of the event and maybe a group photo.  Would you be interested in a couple of photos and a short article??  We are also going to the BBQ at the Pioneer Cabin in Edmonton along with the POWs and the Wartime Aircrew that evening.  I could send you a photo of that event too.   Have a nice weekend.

Ted Hackett

Mayday!      Mayday!     Mayday!

Peterson – Vancouver Sun

It is hard to believe that once gain, as we did with the McKenna Brother's "Valour and the Horror," we face a challenge by revisionists who have denigrated the character of those who served in Bomber Command in World War II.

Below you will find an exact copy of the Plaque leading into Gallery 3 of the New Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

The Plaque purports to sum up the contribution of Allied Bomber Command Squadrons.

The wording leaves the impression that Allied Bomber Air Crews and their Commanders were little better than war criminals, intent on killing, and demolishing homes, leaving the population homeless.

Don Elliot is heading up the committee formed to challenge this situation. Don, who flew in Bomber Command, was the driving force involved in the Bomber Harris Trust which challenged the C.B.C and the McKenna Brothers in a Class action lawsuit. 

The following are extracts of a letter to Don Elliot, written by Claudette Roy, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the War Museum:

………….. “Dr. Rabinovitch has informed me that the story line presented in Bomber Command is historically accurate and factually comprehensive………..”

“………… The Board of Trustees has confidence in the information in the exhibitions and displays of the Canadian War Museum as developed by staff and management….”

“…. I am aware that my response will probably not satisfy you and your colleagues in all respects; our military history, as with all history, remains contested ground….”

So what can we do?

Write a letter to:  The Honourable Beverly J. Oda,
                             Minister of Heritage
                             15 Eddy St., 12th. Floor,
                             Gatineau, QC  K1A 0M5

Short Bursts thanks Ross Hamilton for alerting our Membership to this situation.

Editor's Report
We thank those contributors who have made this Page possible. Remember, without feed back from our Members our pages would be blank. Send in your articles, pictures, and humorous anecdotes for the September Page. Pictures will be scanned and returned immediately.

During July and August, Doreene and I will be cruising around the world in our private jet. (If you believe that I have a bridge in San Francisco I could sell you.)

Have a healthy and active summer. See you in September.


John & Doreene Moyles



WATT, ALEXANDER ROBB, MBR. #0304, WINNIPEG, MB: Enlisted 1941, selected for WAG training at Toronto Manning Depot.  Attended #4 Wireless School at Guelph, ON and received WAG Brevet at #7 B&G, Paulson, MB.  Posted overseas to join #502 RAF Squadron in Coastal Command from October '43 - June '45, completing 51 Operations and received Badge in recognition of completing a tour.  Commissioned at J94552.  He was a member of #100 Branch, RCL and The Wartime Pilots and Observers Assn. in Winnipeg.
Regional Meetings

Southern Ontario Chapter
Royal Canadian Legion
Wilson Branch 527
948 Sheppard Avenue West
We meet the first Wednesday of each month at the Legion hall 1:00 pm. 
No meetings July, August, September.
Contact persons: 
Ken Hill  ~  President ~  905.789.1912
Bill Milne,  Secretary,
392 St. Clements Ave., 
Toronto, Ont. M5M 1M1 

Location - Royal Canadian Legion Br.#4 St. James Legion.
Date - Third Thursday of each month.
Time - Luncheon meeting (provide your own lunch).
Contact Member - Charlie Yule Ph. (204) 254-6264.

Northern Saskatchewan
Location - Lynx Wing Ave. C North, Saskatoon.
Date - Third Monday of the month.
Time - Luncheon meetings.
Contact Member - C.A. "Smokey" Robson  Ph. (306) 374-0547.

Northern Alberta Branch
Location - Norwood Branch 178, 11150 – 82 Street, Edmonton, AB
Date -  The first Thursday of each month.
Time - 12:00 hours.
Contact Members - E. H. "Ted" Hackett (780)962-2904
or Sven Jensen (780)465-7344.

Southern Alberta
Location - Royal Canadian Legion  #264 
Kensington, Calgary
Date: Second Monday of each month.
Time - 11:30 hours.
October meeting time moved to third Monday. 
Also there are no meetings in July and August, however, 
a Barbecue is usually held  at Larry Robinson's ranch in Okatoks during that time.

Contact Person and President
Larry Robinson 
Box 179
Okotoks, AB   T0L 1T0
(403) 938-4105

British Columbia Branch 
Meeting time and local: 2nd Tuesday of each month at 11:30 
Firefighters Social & Athletic Club, 
6515 Bonsor Avenue, 
Burnaby, B.C. V5H 3E8 
Super eating facilities 
Contact person - Dave Sutherland       Ph. 604-431-0085 
E-mail distilledwater4@shaw.ca

Members across the Country are encouraged to 
send current information regarding 
regular meeting places, dates, and Contact Members, to

John and Doreene Moyles, 
Ste. 233 - 1060 Dorothy St., 
Regina, Sask.     S4X 3C5  CANADA
Ph. (306) 949-6112

Email moyles@sasktel.net

Members are requested to send their experiences, articles, anecdotes, pictures, etc., to John Moyles and I will forward them to our Web Master in Brandon. Articles and Last Post items will be deleted from the page each month after the designated Member in each region has had an opportunity to copy the material for their Members. Notices of deceased Members are to be sent to Charlie Yule who is still our 'Keeper of the Rolls'. 

This is your SHORT BURSTS with no printing or mailing costs, and no deadlines! The Brandon Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum has agreed to host our AG page. However, as it costs the Museum $35.00 per month to maintain the Web Page, it is suggested that each Ex-AG group contribute periodic donations to the Museum to help off-set this expense, and to enhance the work they are doing. 

We thank our Web Master, Bill Hillman, for his volunteer time and expertise.

Donations can be made directly to: 

CATP Museum Inc.
Box 3, Grp. 520, RR5,
Brandon, MB   R7A 5Y5
 Phone: (204) 727-2444

Read Them All The Way Back To March 2001

Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum

Visit Our WWII Nostalgia Online e-Zine 
and Past Issues Archive at:
As You Were: Contents
Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum: RCAFHMCS Prince Robert: Hillman WWII Scrapbook - RCNXII Dragoons - 26 RCA Museum

Volunteer Webmaster: William G. Hillman
41 Kensington Crescent
Brandon, MB  R7A 6M4
 © 2008 Bill Hillman and Ex-Air Gunners Association