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,
‘Cause there’s an ‘ole in the Battle’s
belly dear Willy, dear Willy,
Since your down there below, please
stuff it dear Harry, dear Harry,
And just how do you suggest I stuff
the ‘ole dear Willy, dear Willy,
Just reach down and close the bloody
hatch dear Harry, dear Harry,
But there’s just no bloody hatch
to close my dear Willy, dear Willy,
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,
~ J. Selyom.
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
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
Note open cockpit. The Gunner
is wearing a winter service hat which was fondly referred to as a “piss
At that time helmets were in
short supply and one wore what was available.
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
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
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
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
2 Bombing and Gunnery School Mossbank Sk.
The Birth of a Training base
#2 B&G Mossbank, Sk. 1940. Mossbank grain elevators
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.
First D.F.M. WWII
Gordon Nelson Patterson
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
“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
Awards from WWII
Individuals receiving awards September 1946, Saskatoon,
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.
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.
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.
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
by Jim Fearn, one of the volunteers who helped build
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
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 email@example.com,
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
(L) Lindsey Deeprose, in charge of restoration. (R)
Bob Busse, in charge of the archives.
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 &
60 – 15th Ave.,
Regina, Sk. Canada.
(306) 543-5822, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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
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
“…. 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
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
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