FROM THE GALLERY- DID YOU KNOW THE AIR FORCE HAD A NAVY?

FROM THE GALLERY- DID YOU KNOW THE AIR FORCE HAD A NAVY?

This surprising and interesting story begins in 1929, when the then very young RCAF approached the Dept. of Oceans and Fisheries for advice on the type and size of boats the air force required at the time. The air force requirement was for a vessel capable of carrying people, stores and towing in all weather. They needed the towing capability because at the time the air force operated seaplanes. Not much was done at this time other than a committee was set up to study the problem! It took another  two years before any boats or crews were brought into the force. This happened in Trenton, Ont., where two powered dinghies and two 37′ seaplane tenders were introduced. These were followed by the first armored target towing tugs used by the RCAF. Meanwhile, #4 (flying boat) Squadron, stationed in Vancouver, BC, acquired a collection of craft which by 1937, consisted of three a/c tenders, one scow and three outboards. By the end of 1939, just at the start of the Second World War, the RCAF was the proud owner of 75 vessels, although 25 of these were row boats! The RCAF only had four high speed rescue craft, two of which were docked in Vancouver and Prince Rupert; the other two were in Nova Scotia.     Four years earlier, the RCMP had agreed that in an emergency it would transfer its marine assets to the RCN. In 1938, this policy was modified to say that both aircraft and boats be transferred to the RCAF. Although considered inferior to the boats on order, the air force did accept nine...
OUR FAST BIRDS GET A BATH

OUR FAST BIRDS GET A BATH

The annual washing of our fighter aircraft took place recently.  As you can imagine, keeping the planes clean and maintained when they are exposed to the elements is a constant battle.  Luckily for the Museum, a crew from 888 Wing takes on the responsibility of power washing and scrubbing the four fighter aircraft in the park (the CF-100 Canuck, the CF-101 Voodoo, the CF-104 Starfighter and the T-33 T-Bird).  I am happy to report, no major water fights broke out during the project and a light lunch was enjoyed by all back at 888 Wing.  A big thanks to Duke and his team for their continued support of the Museum and the Air Park.    ...
FROM OUR ARCHIVES ~ THE BREADNER HELMET

FROM OUR ARCHIVES ~ THE BREADNER HELMET

Our Museum has a dedicated group of volunteers who sit as members of our Collections Management Committee.  When an artifact is donated, it is evaluated on its relevance to the museum, its condition, and its rarity. This story began when Don Magor of Campbell River inquired if our museum would be interested in the donation of a WWI German pilot’s helmet.  The helmet was a battlefield souvenir from his grandfather, the former Chief of the Air Staff RCAF Overseas 1944-45, Lloyd S. Breadner. In this case, the artifact was part of the story of the birth of the Royal Canadian Air Force and coincided with the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.  Therefore, this artifact was extremely relevant to our museum. Don, one of the volunteers on the committee, noted that there was an inscription in the helmet that was barely legible. “Hun brought down near (Mnt…?) April 23 17. The fact that the owner of the helmet was an important personage in the RCAF and having this inscription was more information than the museum usually receives with a donation, but we wanted to see if we could find more of the story. Our research showed that L.S. Breadner was a pilot serving with Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) No. 3 Squadron at Marieux (Montplaisir), France and we were able to find first person accounts of his actions in aerial combat 17 April, 1917. (These are related in Jon Guttman’s “Naval Aces World War I” and “Canadian Airmen and the First World War” by S.F. Wise.)   In his own account of the battle, he...
CANADA DAY AT LEWIS PARK ~ THANK YOU!

CANADA DAY AT LEWIS PARK ~ THANK YOU!

The Comox Air Force Museum tent was definitely a place of interest on Canada Day.  We were so happy to have so many visitors and personal interactions with them!  Special thanks to Jon, Steve, Len, Mike O., and Gary W. for manning our booth; thanks too to Bobbi and Kevin for driving our jeep in the parade! Here are a few memories, courtesy our volunteers, from the day ~                      ...

“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...

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...

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