“TWO BY MOONLIGHT”

You might recall a previous post in which I shared the unveiling of the K.O. Moore exhibit in our Main Gallery.   Wing Commander K.O. Moore DSO was certainly a hero of World War Two, earning an immediate Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and the US Silver Star by destroying two U-Boats in a 22 minute span.  The combat took place at night as he and his No 224 Squadron RAF crew, in a Very Long Range Liberator, were tasked with keeping NAZI U-Boats away from the D Day invasion fleet.  The U-Boats put up a hail of machine gun and cannon fire that he had to fly right through to complete his attack; he did so without flinching or failing.  His crew sent the enemy contact message: ‘ saw two subs, sunk same’!  He survived the war and went on to become an important RCAF leader in the post-War period. Recently, Dave O’Malley wrote the amazing story for Vintage Wings of Canada.  I thought you might like to read it on the Vintage Wings of Canada website.  Special thanks to Dave for his permission to share!  We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we did here at the...

THE DAM BUSTERS ~ THE CANADIAN CONNECTION

As mentioned in my previous post, Canadians played a major role in the Dams Raid.  “Of the 133 airmen involved in the raid, 30 were Canadian.  Fourteen were killed during the raid; one became a prisoner of war.  Exactly 50% of the Canadians who took off didn’t return. Four who survived were later killed in action during the war.” (Bomber Command Museum).  I’m sharing just two of the many stories in this post.     One of the most well known of the Canadian group was not Canadian by birth.  This was Joe McCarthy.  Born in New York, he tried unsuccessfully tried to join the Army Air Corps. In May 1941, Joe’s friend Don Curtin, suggested they head to Canada to join the Royal Canadian Air Force.  They were sent to the Manning Depot in Toronto.  Joe trained in Goderich and Brantford, then received his commission in December 1941. After Christmas, he sailed from Halifax; eleven days later, he and his fellow aircrew arrived in Liverpool.  Further training took place with the No. 12 Advanced Flying Unit and the No. 14 Operational Training Unit.  In September of 1942, he was assigned to No. 97 Squadron RAF; it was here that he met W/C Gibson.  Just as McCarthy was completing his tour, he received a call from Gibson telling him that a new squadron was being formed and that he was inviting Joe and his crew to join.  They made their first flight with the new squadron in March of 1943.  After weeks of intensive and low level training, he and his crew almost failed to get airborne in the...

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ THE DAM BUSTERS

  Operation Chastise was an attack on German dams carried out May 16 and 17, 1943 by the RAF Squadron No. 617; the squadron was later referred to as the “Dam Busters”.           Before WWII, the British Air Ministry had identified Germany’s industrialized the Ruhr Valley and specifically its dams as important strategic targets.  As well as providing hydro-electric power and pure water needed for steel making, the dams supplied drinking water and water for the canal transport system.  The methods chosen to attack the dams had been carefully selected.  Calculations indicated that repeated air strikes with large bombs could be effective, but this required a degree of accuracy Bomber Command had yet been unable to attain. A specially developed “bouncing bomb” that had been invented by Barnes Wallis was used for the attacks.  His idea was to use a drum-shaped bomb (a specially designed heavy depth charge).  It would spin backwards and would be dropped at a low altitude for the correct speed and release point, skipping for a distance over the surface of the water in a series of bounces before reaching the dam wall.  The residual spin would run the bomb down the side of the dam toward its underwater base.  Using a hydrostatic fuse, an accurate drop would bypass the dam’s defences, then enable the bomb to explode against the dam some distance below the surface of the water:         The Squadron was divided into 3 formations to attack. Formation No. 1’s mission was to attack the Mohne and then the Eder.  Following a successful attack on the Mohne,...

SPITFIRE PILOT ~ FLYING OFFICER PATRICK LANGFORD

Patrick Langford was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the son of  Mr & Mrs Richard Langford. His father was a Forest Ranger at the Jasper National Park and its first Chief Warden from 1911. He returned to England to serve in WW1 and settled back in Jasper in 1919.       Patrick was born 4th November 1919. He was educated at Jasper Public and High School from September 1926 to June 1936 and Banff High School from September 1936 until June 1937 and worked summer jobs for Brewster Transport as a driver and later in the National Park. On 29 January 1940 in Edmonton, Alberta he joined the RCAF as a Regular Service officer and was commissioned; he was assigned to the Calgary Aero Club flying Gypsy Moth aircraft. He received further training in Toronto and at RCAF Camp Borden. On September 1941, he flew to England and was sent for operational training flying Wellington Bombers.   On the night of 28 July 1942, he took off to bomb the German Shipbuilding and Port of Hamburg. His bomber was singled out by searchlights and the aircraft was shot down over Lubeck in Northern Germany. Three of the crew were killed on landing, one was unhurt but taken prisoner, but Langford and the rear gunner were seriously injured and spent two months in hospital. On recovering he was sent to Stalag Luft 3 in Sagan, now in Poland. As prisoner #710 Langford was involved in the planning and excavation of the tunnel code-named “Harry” which was located under the barracks stove in Room 23 Block 104.  With the constant checks...

DH-100 VAMPIRE “BAT FACE”

DH-100 Vampire ‘Bat Face’ 442 Squadron “City of Vancouver” will be holding their 75th anniversary this June.  To add a bit of flair and colour to their celebrations the Comox Air Force Museum decided to take our Vampire 031 and paint it in the colours used when 442 Sqn flew Vampires.  The motif used was a ‘Bat Face’ that was applied by the units technicians on 4 aircraft.  The artwork was not identical and in fact differed greatly from each other.  Very few high quality photographs of the aircraft exist so we were faced with a problem of finding what actually was painted on the aircraft.  The Heritage Team who is tasked with such things reached out to a recognized Canadian expert on military aircraft markings, David Winter of Canuck Model Products (http://www.canuckmodels.com or https://www.facebook.com/CanuckModels/).  If you are a model aircraft enthusiast then you likely know Canuck for the high quality and highly accurate decal kits they produce.  It was hoped that David could help us as his Vampire decals are of the aircraft we need.  In short order he provided us a copy of his Vampire software ,which he supplied in 1:1 scale no less, making our task possible.  Using his software we had decals cut on vinyl by Cpl William Trinnear at 19 Air Maintenance Squadron on the Gerber Graphics machine.  Not all the decals were able to conform to the curves of the aircraft, but where they didn’t they did make an excellent template for us to use making masks of our own to paint the mouth and fangs.  We would like to thank both David...
SNOWBIRDS AND CF-18 DEMO TEAM AT OUR MUSEUM

SNOWBIRDS AND CF-18 DEMO TEAM AT OUR MUSEUM

On Easter Sunday, our volunteers were busy supporting the Snowbirds and CF-18 Demo Team Autograph Session.  They arrived early to prepare the Museum for the always popular event, they helped our special guests park, they set up the tables and chairs in the Library, they helped greet and guide the public through the lineup, they helped in the Gift Shop, and they cleaned up after the event.  Without the support of our volunteers, this event wouldn’t be what it is.  So first - a very special thank you to all of you! As always, you worked together to make it happen! We want to also thank the Snowbirds and Demo Team for their welcoming interaction with the public!  We love having you in the skies each spring! Here are some memories of the Autograph Session ~      ...

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