Two news books…
Bagotville: 75 Years of Air Defence by Marc-Andre Valiquette
Here’s the info about Canada’s aviation blockbuster book for 2017. It’s a major effort – 512 pages, hardcover, some 1600 photos, 30 paintings and colour profiles – on and on, so no one will be disappointed in this outstanding production.
Marc-André has done his usual solid, in-depth coverage, assembling the exciting history of one of the great RCAF air stations. Also as usual, he has blended in both languages in his attractive and seamless layout. The book begins with WWII, with Bagotville training newbie fighter pilots on the Harvard and Hurricane. Many famous aces pass through on instructing tours, many students go on to stellar careers overseas. Next, comes the postwar era with Vampires, Sabres and CF-100s – all the historic squadrons, especially the all-weather CF-100 units – 440 and 432 form with CF-100 Mk.3s in 1953-54. Following, come steady developments – 440 goes overseas, 413 forms up, the CF-100 Mk.4 and 5 arrive, there’s a steady stream of air defence exercises, etc.
The CF-100 gives way to the CF-101 Voodoo era (410 and 425 squadrons), then the tactical world arrives with the CF-5 and the renowned 433 Squadron. Finally, the CF-18 Hornet years arrive for 425 Squadron. The evolution of Base Flight/439 Sqn is also included – from T-33 to Griffon helio. Many other aspects of life at “YBG” are included in this huge colour production, from DEW Line helicopter times to Air Cadets and airshows. So don’t think that my brief overview here begins to cover all the exciting content.
All things considered, Marc-André’s book is a bargain at the sticker price of $60.00 + $12.00 postage (Canada only, so USA and overseas please contact me for a shipping price) + tax $3.60 … Total in Canada $75.60 How to order? PayPal to email@example.com, or post a cheque to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto ON M4E3B6.
Exile Air: World War II’s Little Norway in Toronto and Muskoka
Andrea Baston has spent years working on the history of this epic WWII story. Her wonderful history finally is in print.
To begin, Andrea provides an in-depth description of the 1940 Nazis invasion of Norway, and how Norway and the UK struggled valiantly to stave off disaster. Detailed coverage of the air war including RNoAF 1920s Fokkers and RAF biplane Gladiators putting up a strenuous defence.
Norway is overwhelmed, but the government, treasury, many citizens, etc. make it to the UK. By June 1940 arrangements are made to establish a Norwegian air training plan in Canada. “Little Norway” is established at Toronto Island Airport. Almost a hundred aircraft initially are assigned, Curtiss P-36 fighters included. Training officially begins in November. All the details are given, including the expected growing pains and how Little Norway dovetailed with the BCATP. Besides all the training, housing, contracts, administration, accidents, sports, social life in Toronto all are part of this outstanding new book – this is really an all-encompassing treatment. Then, Little Norway opens a new base in the Muskoka area to the north. Here, new pilots train on the Fairchild Cornell. Eventually, the Norwegian graduates end up manning RAF squadrons flying Spitfires, Catalinas, etc. All this also is carefully covered.
Many personal profiles (based on in-depth research and interviews) are part of the content and everything is described in detail to war’s end. The aftermath also is covered, including such important events as unveiling commemorative monuments and plaques in Toronto and Muskoka. This beautifully-produced, large format, 240-page softcover is one of the most important Canadian aviation stories in recent years. It includes many first-class photos, essential maps, notes, bibliography and index. An all-around beauty of an aviation book. $30.00 + $12.00 Canada Post + $2.10 tax = $ 44.10 (Canada). USA and overseas CDN$52.00. PayPal directly to firstname.lastname@example.org, or post a cheque by snailmail to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario M4E 3B6 Canada.
This is what got me interested…
You should start reading them before you have too much to read…
This is the introduction to the story.
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This is what’s it’s all about…
My Uncle Charlie (Charles David Knight) was my mother’s brother. He served in World War II from 22 Dec 1942 – 14 Oct 1945. Born 14 Aug 1915 in Westbrook, Cumberland, Maine, USA; he was the oldest of five children in the Frank and Nina Knight household. He enlisted in the Army at the age of 27 hoping his younger brother, Eugene, would not be drafted. He did boot camp at Camp McCoy in Wisconsin and was deployed overseas beginning in Northern Ireland for 10 months training as part of Operation Overload, for the Normandy invasion. On June 7, 1944 (D Day +1) the division stormed Omaha Beach. His division liberated vital port city Brest on September 18, 1944 and seized Roer River Dam on December 11, 1944. His division held key roads leading to Liege and Antwerp during Battle of the Bulge. The last days of war his division spent moving across Czechoslovakia, and met Soviet allies in Pilsen.
While serving his country, he wrote over 200 letters to his parents and they were saved. I have the great opportunity to read these letters and share with my readers my uncle’s feeling, fears, hopes, and concerns of a soldier while serving his country overseas in World War II in the European Theater of the war. I will use information obtained from several sources to determine where my uncle’s battalion was likely located on the day he wrote the letter I will be sharing on the specific post in my blog. The blog is entitled “World War II in the Words of My Uncle.” He will become a Sergeant during the war.
Act of heroism
How could I have been remembering Richard Emerson Harmer before Flight Lieutenant John Kelly’s son sent me this picture in 2015, and got me writing this blog remembering unsung heroes?
Collection John Kelly (courtesy Gunnar Kelly)
Or Robert Brunson for that matter…
Richard Emerson Harmer was just smiling as well as other night fighter pilots from VF(N)-101 aboard the Enterprise…
This is what I found this morning on the Internet about Richard Emerson Harmer, and got me thinking and writing this post.
Dec 41 to Aug 42 – LTJG (Lieutenant (junior grade), VF-5 USS Wasp
Aug 42 to Oct 42 – LT, (Lieutenant)VF-5 (XO) USS Saratoga
Oct 42 to Mar 43 – LT, Project AFFIRM NAS Quonset Point
Mar 43 to Dec 43 – LT, VF(N)-75 (XO) NAS Quonset Point
Dec 43 to Feb 44 – LCDR (Lieutenant commander), VF(N)-101 (CO) NAS Barbers Point
Feb 44 to…
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About an unsung hero who flew with RAF 203 Squadron.
Pilot Officer Donald Hickson was assigned to RAF 203 Squadron he completed 23 reconnaissance sorties as observer / navigator / second pilot flying in Martin Maryland IIs and Baltimores over the Mediterranean Sea.
His story will be told by his son on a new blog.
This site is dedicated to the memory of all those aircrew that served in the Commonwealth Air Forces during World War Two. The numbers are astounding. Some 185,600 aircrew served and approximately 70,200 made the ultimate sacrifice. The number of sorties flown and the number of aircraft lost is also difficult to comprehend.
- Bomber Command – 392,100 sorties and 9,100 aircraft lost
- Fighter Command – 700,200 sorties and 3,500 aircraft lost
- Coastal Command – 235,700 sorties and 1,600 aircraft lost
To the best of my knowledge, there were about 126 Squadrons in the RAF, RCAF, RAAF, RNZAF and other Commonwealth Air Forces.
Obviously, the subject is much too broad to cover in any meaningful way in a single blog.
In particular, this blog is dedicated to those who served with RAF 203 Squadron during World War Two and all relevant submissions are welcomed.
I will make periodic posts about…
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