FROM THE GALLERY

FROM THE GALLERY

Today’s chapter from the gallery is an attempt to recognize and honour the people who make our museum what it is.That of course means the men and women who sacrificed so much through conflict but also the great team that runs our museum. Having celebrated our country’s 150th, I thought it a great time to take a quick look at some of these characters. When you come in to visit our museum, the gallery tour begins with a look at WWI and the very beginnings of our air force. We began with just one pilot and one plane in 1914 under the command of Col. Sam Hughes. We continue through time and enter WWII; our displays begin to tell the stories of men such as Flt Ltn. Ray Brewster, MiD, born in Victoria, B.C. who flew light to medium bombers throughout the war. Another BC boy was Ltn. Robert (Hammy) Hampton.VC, DSC,MiD. ‘Hammy’ was born in Trail, BC. One of our most loved and respected men on display is W/C James Francis (Stocky) Edwards CM,DFC&bar,MiD. He was born in Saskatchewan, but now lives in Comox. We are blessed to still have visits and he is always happy to talk to those who are eager to hear a first hand account of his story. I hope the man and this fantastic historical resource will be around for a good while longer for us to honour. I have not included their stories as I want you to come in and visit as there are many more stories to go along with these.   When you do come in for a visit, this...

FROM OUR MAIN GALLERY- NOSE ART – PART THREE

This is the third and final chapter covering the topic of aircraft nose art. It’s been a topic that is never ending with so many stories and tales to explain the reasons why it was used or the emotions and reasons for using it.   it wasn’t just Disney characters that were used, as you can see from the photo above, many aircraft painted looney tunes to send a message. This painting was on a Ventura, based on Argentia, NL. What’s  special about this painting was that it was done at the factory in Burbank, California by the studio artists themselves.               Another two popular characters are those seen above, Popeye and Olive Oyl. I used the olive Oyl picture because it shows the humour often seen in these paintings, as olive beats the behind of Hitler. This was painted on an RCAF lane piloted by P/O D.J. Sullivan.       Many of the planes were adorned with stylized pin up girls such as “Lonesome Lola” seen here. She was on a mk1 Lanc of no.9 Sqn. This a/c finished 97 ops!   Some of these girls were very much on the line of what could be accepted and what could not, even to today’s standards! The following two pictures highlight this well.   “I’m Easy” was lost on 31July 1944.  The unnamed nude was on a B24 belonging to 159sqn. Some of the paintings were very intricate, covering all of the nose or most of the aircraft. The following  picture shows an RACF B24 mkIV serial #3742. The inspiration came from a...
FROM OUR GALLERY~ NOSE ART ~ INSCRIPTIONS AND CAPTIONS

FROM OUR GALLERY~ NOSE ART ~ INSCRIPTIONS AND CAPTIONS

In this, the second chapter on the subject of nose art in WW2, I am going to write about phrases or names used on the aircraft. The pilots and crews used their imaginations, intelligence and humour to convey their thoughts and emotions. Some crews sent a message to the enemy, others used the opportunity to remind themselves of loved ones. Probably the most famous of these names was on the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb, the “Enola Gay”. This aircraft was named in honour of the mother of the pilot, Col. Paul Tibbets. A lot of the pilots used a phrase that they thought best described their aircraft and the work it did, or the results they wanted; the following picture highlights this. This also lets us know how many planes this pilot had gone through. Flying the Typhoon became one of the deadliest jobs in the Air Force and our Canadian boys became some of the top Typhoon pilots in the war. Another example of the task assigned to an aircraft is exemplified by this Spitfire mkIX of 412 Sqn. Pistol Packin’ Momma-Spitfire mkIX Many pilots remembered their wives or girlfriends by placing her name on their planes. The following two pictures are examples of this; the first of these is a Beaufighter of 252 Sqn. The second is a Boulton Paul Defiant of 410 Sqn.     One of my favourite pilots is Chuck Yeager, the first pilot to go through the sound barrier. From the moment he was assigned his first aircraft he named it and all subsequent aircraft after his wife “Glamorous Glennis”. Some pilots...
FROM OUR MAIN GALLERY ~ AIRCRAFT NOSE ART

FROM OUR MAIN GALLERY ~ AIRCRAFT NOSE ART

The topic today is aircraft nose art. Because the story is so large I have split the story into several parts, the first being the beginnings of the art and the contributions made by the Walt Disney company. When I started my research into aircraft nose art I thought its origins were in the Second World War, in fact to my surprise the first examples began in the first world. Even more surprising was that the first examples showed up on French trucks. Different  squadrons began to individualize their aircraft to  recognize men or companies that had either sponsored or bought an individual aircraft. Artwork began with overall paint schemes rather than single pieces on the nose of the plane. The most well know of these is the squadron led by Manfred Von Richthofen , otherwise know as the Red Baron. He permitted each pilot to paint his plane any colour or scheme that he desired, resulting in a guady array of paint shemes. Another well known paint scheme was on the planes belonging to the american Top Hatters commanded by Eddie Richenbacker. His squadron had their squadron motif on the fuselage. Very few planes had art on their nose but the were a few as seen below.   It is in post World War One France that Walt Disney was introduced to these cartoons and caricatures. He was like all young men at the time, trying to get into fight. Luckily for us, he was too young. He found a way by joining the American Red Cross. He was in France just after the armistice and stayed for...

FROM OUR MAIN GALLERY ~ MEDALS

This month I wanted to do something that would shine a light on our veterans. In the gallery we are very lucky to have several sets of medals that belonged to WW2 veterans. I have picked wing commander Kenneth Owen Moore as an example. When looking at a set of medals you can almost read the career of the person who is wearing them. I will name and describe each of the medals from left to right. This is also the the order of importance.   The first medal in this story is the Distinguished service order. This medal was established to reward individual instances of meritorious or distinguished service in war. This medal was given to officers only. Prior to 1943 the medal could only be given to officers mentioned in dispatches. The medal is generally given to officers in command, above the rank of Lt-Col. When given to a lower rank it is usually for actions involving a very high degree of gallantry in the face of the enemy.         The second medal is the 1939-45 star. The 1939-45 Star was a British Commonwealth campaign medal presented for service during World War II. The medal was instituted in 1945 and awarded for operational service between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945. Army personnel had to complete six months service in an operational command. Airborne troops qualified if they had participated in any airborne operations and had completed two months service in a fully operational unit. Air Force personnel had to participate in operations against the enemy providing that two months service had been completed...

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