Tuesday, October 29, 2013

LATEST EDITION OF IMMIGRANTS OF WAR IS NOW AVAILABLE FROM THE FOLLOWING LOCATIONS

Lone Star Flight Museum 2002 Terminal Dr. Galveston, TX 77554 409-740-7722 or 1-888-359-5736 Contact: Debbie Kolojaco - gift shop manager giftshop@lonestarflight.org
Pima Air and Space Museum 6000 E. Valencia Rd. Tucson, Arizona 85706 Telephone: 520-574-0462 Contact: Beth Barksdale - gift shop manager bbarksdale@pimaair.org
National Air Force Museum of Canada 220 RCAF Road P.O. Box 1000, 8 Wing/CFB Trenton Astra, Ontario KOK 3WO Gift Shop Manager Kendra Liu 613-965-7012 giftshop@airforcemuseum.ca
Aviation World 195 Carlingview Drive Toronto, Ontario M9W 5E8 Toll Free: 1-800-668-1987 Aviation World Unit 105-6080 Russ Baker Way Vancouver, BC V7B 1B4 Toll Free: 1-800-567-3221 E-Mail: info@aviationworld.net

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Group Captain Frank Scholes McGill

Group Captain Frank Scholes McGill was born in Montreal, June 20, 1894. He was a top athlete during his student days at McGill University. In 1915, he completed a commerce degree and was also awarded license No. 30 for float planes from the Aero Club of America. He went on to serve with the Royal Naval Air Service. In 1915 while flying with an instructor over the Thames estuary, McGill's plane crashed, resulting in a fractured arm and stay in the Royal Naval Hospital, Chatham. It was during this hospital stay that McGill wrote a letter to “Tommy” Church, then mayor of Toronto and a former swimming and football colleague. He suggested to Church that Canada should build up a strong airplane industry and air force and establish a training program for air crew from the British Empire. "I believe it's true that, in the near future, wars will be decided in the air. The country with the best air service will win." McGill knew Canada had an abundant supply of spruce, at the time a major component in aircraft construction, but discovered the wood was scarce in England. In 1917, he was second in command of the 1st Mobile Squadron, Scilly Islands. In 1918 he served with the British War Mission to the United States and various training stations as an instructor and advisor before being demobilised in 1919. He helped organize the Montreal Light Aeroplane Club and in 1934 organized and commanded No. 115 (Fighter) Squadron R.C.A.F. Auxiliary. In 1939, McGill resigned as commanding officer of the squadron to become a member of the Air Advisory Committee to the Minister of National Defense. In September 1939, with the outbreak of the Second World War, McGill was given the rank of wing commander and appointed commanding officer at Camp Borden. He replaced Group Captain Leigh Forbes Stevenson who was posted to Britain to study details of the Empire Training Plan. In June 1940, Wing Commander McGill left Camp Borden after his appointment as officer commanding No. 2 Service Flying Training School, Uplands, the first school to be opened under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. In 1945 he was awarded Companion, Order of the Bath, with the following citation: “Since the outbreak of war, Air Vice-Marshal McGill has rendered outstanding and devoted service to the Royal Canadian Air Force. He has commanded a Service Flying Training School, and served as Air Officer Commanding a Training Command and as an Air Member of the Air Council with great distinction. In all his assignments he has displayed rare qualities of skill, organizing ability and devotion to duty. He sets a very high standard which is an example and inspiration to all who are associated with him. By his leadership, efficiency and unflagging zeal, he has rendered highly meritorious service to the Royal Canadian Air Force.”

Sunday, January 20, 2013

(AUS.402732) William Ronald Cundy (DFC,DFM) - Course 23

Flight Lieutenant William Ronald CUNDY, D.F.M. (Aus-402732), Royal Australian Air Force, No. 260 Squadron. Distinguished Flying Cross Citation: In November, 1942, this officer made an exceptionally daring attack on an enemy fighter in the vicinity of Tobruk. Undeterred by damage sustained by his aircraft from heavy anti-aircraft fire, Flight Lieutenant Cundy, displaying great coolness and determination bombed the ship which was set on fire and destroyed. Many troops were on board the vessel at the time. This officer has exhibited outstanding tenacity and gallantry on numerous occasions. He has taken part in many operational flights on escort duties, and in bombing and machine gunning ground targets. Since September, 1942, Flight Lieutenant Cundy has destroyed two enemy aircraft bringing his total victories to 5. Distinguished Flying Medal Citation: In the course of numerous operational sorties over enemy, he possesses fine qualities of leadership, keeness and determination. One recent occasion he displayed great skill in destruction of an enemy aircraft which attacked a fellow pilot. Undeterred by difficulties and hardships this airman has participated in various operational duties with outstanding gallantry and devotion to duty. (AWM)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Captains of the Clouds filming at Uplands July 19-20, 1941

Mrs. Gweneth Simpson pins 'wings' on Cagney's tunic. "Come on in Jimmie, this isn't a wake", was Bill Cagney's introduction of his famous brother to Ottawa reporters. "I have never been so pleased with any place I have visited", stated Cagney. "Ottawa has such a clean look and I was especially struck with the absence of billboards." Upon completion of filming, Cagney stated, "The experience of having worked with the R.C.A.F. and having met the boys who are now flying planes overseas was one I wouldn't take a million dollars for."
Rita Cross chats with Dennis Morgan. The Ottawa resident was selected as a "double" for actress Brenda Marshall.
Jimmy Cagney, Earl of Athlone and Group Captain Wilf Curtis. Air Marshal Bishop felt a lot better after he saw Cagney and the other stars go into action Saturday and Sunday. Through several days of filming he had played his part well and accurately, but he 'blew' his lines several times. Then Bishop watched the seasoned actors make numerous mistakes. Warner Brothers spokeman Cam Shipp remarked, "Air Marshal Bishop was glad to see them 'blow' their lines. So far he has been better than our pro actors. Because he was a star in our film, they gave him a regular actor's chair with his name on the back."
Air Marshal Bishop shown receiving last minute advice before he steps in before the cameras to address the "wings" parade at Uplands in the first sequence of "Captains of the Clouds". On the left is Squadron Leader Cathcart-Jones, technical advisor for the film company, and director Michael Curtiz on the right in the tweed coat. In the backgound is Squadron Leader Paul Rodies, Group Captain Wilf Curtis, D.S.C., Flight Lieutenant H.B. Wood and Wing Commander William MacBrien.
LAC Noel Henry Knight-Brown receiving his hollywood "wings" from 'Billy' Bishop during filming of Captains of the Clouds. Knight-Brown's course arrived at Uplands July 3, 1941 and officially received their "wings" September 25, 1941. Knight-Brown went on to complete a tour of operations with 460 Squadron RAAF. According to RAAF records: "On October 26, 1943, Flying Officer Knight-Brown was a passenger in Marinet aircraft number HP 322 which took off from Binbrook Station to report on the weather conditions prevailing at the air-firing range at Mablethorpe which was situated 21 miles from the airfield. Although such a flight would not necessitate flying out to sea, a wing was picked up at sea by a trawler and identified as the wing of the missing aircraft." His name is commemorated on the Runnymede Memorial.
North American Yale 3447 leads the formation in Captains of the Clouds. (Warner Bros.)

Air Commodore the Duke of Kent Visits Uplands July 31, 1941

Operations went ahead as usual at Uplands when the Duke of Kent arrived to inspect the establishment. The royal visit brought no interruption in training and other operations. Harvard training planes took off and landed from the sun-scorched paved runways, mechanics tuned up motors, student pilots attended lectures and pored over their notebooks. Starting his tour of air establishments in Canada which had taken him across the country and back. His Royal Highness arrived at 11.15 a.m. from Government house in nearby Ottawa in an open car, wearing his air force summer service uniform and carrying sun glasses in his hand. The King's brother was met at the gate by Vice-Marshal L. S. Breadner, chief of the air staff, and other senior officers. According to newspaper reports, he spent the entire morning inspecting the residential section of the station, going through quarters and he hospital. His Royal Highness and the official party had lunch in the officers' mess and then proceeded across to the hangars. The Duke interviewed aircraftmen working on planes, went into shops and up into the control tower. The previous evening, in proposing a toast to Canada at a state dinner the Duke said the British people are "fully conscious of the great value of Canada's contributions to our joint cause in having thought out, and put into operation the air training plan. I hope that. I may be able to contribute something to the success of the scheme. I hope also that I shall have many opportunities of seeing other activities of Canada's war effort. I look forward to telling the King and Queen and the people of Britain how much more Canada is doing than can ever be published.”
H.R.H. the Duke of Kent inspects the guard of honor at No. 2 SFTS on the morning of July 31, 1941. As he passed through the lines the band played 'The Thin Red Line'. His sympathy went out to members of the guard of honor who were clad in the heavy blue regulation uniforms. He paused by AC J.E.R. Nadon and asked, "Are those uniforms hot?" Nadon is reported to have replied, "Not too bad sir."
Photo: Duke of Kent interrogates LAC's Earl Ruppel of Waterloo and Joseph Roger Owen of Windsor. At left is Group Captain W.A. Curtis. Ruppel admitted he was a "little shaky" on being questioned by the Royal visitor. Owen stated, "He asked our names, how long we had been in the service, how we liked it, and asked us a bit about night flying." Ruppel was killed in action in 1943. Owen was awarded the DFC for service with No. 680 Squadron.

Squadron Leader William Walter Blessing, D.S.O., D.F.C. - Course 23

(Photo: Squadron Leader Blessing at investiture at Buckingham Palace, July 28, 1943 IWM/AWM)Blessing was awarded the DFC for leadership in the low-level daylight attack on the railway workshops at Paderbornand, deep in Germany in March 1943, and the DSO for his part in the daylight attack on the optical glassworks at Jena on May 27,1943, when he led a flight of Mosquito aircraft through appalling weather and fierce anti-aircraft fire. On July 7, 1944, Sqn Ldr Blessing was leading lost on operations over Normandy in France on 07 July 1944, and is buried in the La Delivrande War Cemetery near Caen in France. Blessing's brother, Sergeant Pilot Wilson George Blessing was killed in action over the Mediterranean June 15, 1942. He was flying a No. 272 Squadron Beaufighter which was escorting Beaufort torpedo bombers when they were attacked by Me.109's.

Course 29

Paul Brickhill - Course 31

Born December 20, 1916 in Melbourne, Paul Brickhill was educated at North Sydney High School and Sydney University. At the time of his enlistment in the RAAF, he listed his previous qualifications: “Journalist Two years Aviation and Defence work for ‘The Sun’. At present sub-editor Sunday Sun.” On May 20, 1941, Brickhill and his fellow Australian airmen embarked at Sydney for advanced flying training in Canada. He had completed elementary flying training at No. 8 EFTS Narrandera. Upon completion of operational training at No. 53 OTU, RAF Llandow, Brickhill was posted to No. 74 Squadron, January 16, 1942. By August, he was in the Middle East serving briefly with No. 145 Squadron. After a stint in September with No. 127 Squadron, Brickhill spent October and November 1942 serving with No. 274 Squadron. On December 8th he was posted to No. 92 Squadron. At 1243 hours on March 17, 1943, 12 aircraft of No. 92 Squadron took off from Bu Grara. At approx. 1305 hours. P/O Bruckshaw was at about 9000' about 2 miles out to sea when he saw three aircraft in line astern coming towards him about a mile away from the South, and about 500' above him. The leading aircraft, when at the above position from P/O Bruckshaw turned about rate two to port and was closely followed by his No. 2 (50 yds behind) into the turn. As the third aircraft turned, P/O Bruckshaw identified it as a Macchi 202 and it was only about 50 yards behind the No. 2 (F/O Brickhill), he called up on the R/T to try to warn him. Simultaneously with his transmission, P/O Bruckshaw saw the enemy aircraft fire while in the turn and immediately F/O Brickhill's aircraft flicked into a turn the opposite way, and the ammunition was seen to explode in both mainplanes. The aircraft then fell down apparently out of control, and as P/O Bruckshaw was then himself being attacked, he lost sight of the aircraft. When next he saw the aircraft it was at about 2000' and a parachute was just opening. The aircraft crashed and burst into flames at Z.6109, and when the parachute was last seen it was drifting slightly to the S.W. of the burning aircraft. Flying Officer Brickhill landed near a minefield and was captured by Italian troops. Brickhill spent the next three and a half years as a prisoner at Stalag Luft III. LONDON - October 1954 Dapper Australian Journalist Paul Brickhill has hit the jackpot as the most successful author in Britain. By last weekend, seven months after its first publication, the 276,000 copy of his biography, "Reach for the Sky," the story of legless wartime flying ace Douglas Bader, had been sold. Brickhill's history, "The Dambusters," telling the story of the smashing of the great German dams by a special RAF squadron commanded by the late Wing Commander Guy Gibson, VC, sold 132,000 copies. It yielded Brickhill some £20,000, plus £15,000 for the film rights. Brickhill also made £25,000 from 'Escape or Die' and 'The Great Escape,' featuring a tunnelling feat in the German prison camp where Brickhill, then an Air Force officer, was among the prisoners.

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