ANIMALS IN WAR ~ STORIES OF COURAGE: STARBUCK, BEACHCOMBER, AND SIMON

ANIMALS IN WAR ~ STORIES OF COURAGE: STARBUCK, BEACHCOMBER, AND SIMON

Animals have long helped people in times of war, conflict, and peace.  A stone arch in the Peace Tower honours these special workers and supporters; The work by artist, John. A. Pearson, represents the animals that served during the war: reindeer, pack mules, carrier pigeons, horses, dogs, canaries and mice. The inscription reads: THE TUNNELLERS’ FRIENDS, THE HUMBLE BEASTS THAT SERVED AND DIED.   Animals served in wars in a variety of roles such as transporting supplies, delivering messages, helping the wounded or just being a soldier’s companion.  In fact, thousands of animals contributed in times of war. Pigeons were used during the First and Second World Wars to deliver messages when radio or telephone communication wasn’t possible.  They flew for many kilometres and in all kinds of weather.  The sky was sometimes filled with gun fire.  Some of them didn’t complete their journeys and others were wounded.  It was dangerous but the birds were loyal and faithful. One such ‘feathered friend’ was Beachcomber, who served with the Canadian army win WWII as a carrier pigeon.  This was an important job as the soldiers in the field, sailors on their ships, and pilots in airplanes needed the ability to communicate and send messages about their progress, to request supplies, or to call for help.  The messages were written on small pieces of paper, put inside a small container and attached to one of Beachcomber’s legs.  (photo VAC)       In August, 1942, Beachcomber brought the first news of the landing at Dieppe, under hazardous conditions;  for this he was awarded the Dickin Medal on March 6, 1944.       Horses...
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...

THE EJECTION SEAT EXPERIENCE!

Many people visited our booth at the Cumberland Heritage Faire this past weekend and had “The Ejection Seat Experience”!  Some were very excited, some were fearful, some were totally relaxed… And then there was a pilot and navigator who brought their mascot with them!  We hope you enjoy these photos!                        ...

JOIN US AT THE CUMBERLAND HERITAGE FAIRE FOR AN EJECTION SEAT EXPERIENCE!

The 13th annual Cumberland Heritage Faire takes place this coming weekend, Saturday, February 18th.  The Comox Air Force Museum will offer visitors the “Ejection Seat Experience”.  Along with our ejection seat, we will have helmets, life jacket, and a parachute harness for a great photo opportunity.  Along with a placard that explains the experience, we will have videos of actual ejections. Special thanks to Len, Mike, Jed, Gary, and Rodney for their participation!  We hope you’ll come out and meet...
SNOWED IN?  CHECK OUT THESE POPULAR POSTS ON OUR WEBSITE!

SNOWED IN? CHECK OUT THESE POPULAR POSTS ON OUR WEBSITE!

Are you snowed in like we are at the Museum?  Why not have a closer look at some of our most popular posts?  Click on the blue print to link up with the posts themselves.  When you discover one that is especially meaningful to you, comment on it, telling us why you like it!  And while you’re here? Like and share this!  And then ? Sign up to have our posts delivered right to your inbox on the day they’re posted! First up, the first in a new series for us, Introducing Al Wilson, Cartoonist.  He worked at the Totem Times for part of his career, and his cartoons are enjoyed by many of our readers!  We publish two of his cartoons each month.       Next, From Our Main Gallery - Japanese Paper Balloon Bombs.  This was written by one of our volunteers, Gary, who works in the Gift Shop on Tuesday mornings.  Gary loves to be at the Museum and is writing a series of “From Our Main Gallery” pieces for us.  Another popular one he wrote is about medals.  We received some good responses to this one as it helped folks identify some medals they had!  Thanks for all your work, Gary!     Our readers love to learn about what’s going on in the Heritage Air Park and the work our volunteers are doing in Hangar 268, located there.  The progress made on the Dakota Maintenance was a hit!  And Keith did an amazing job organizing the aircraft technical maintenance manuals, work appreciated by base personnel as well.           The...
DAKOTA MAINTENANCE ~ AND THE WORK GOES ON…

DAKOTA MAINTENANCE ~ AND THE WORK GOES ON…

Trying to look after museum aircraft that are decades old presents many problems.  Lack of money, time and volunteers must balance with the needs of aircraft on display that in some cases were built in the 1930s and the 1950s and parts are almost impossible to source.  Being kept outdoors in the Comox valley means being hit with high winter winds and rains, occasional snow, and in summer high UV (ultra violet rays) attacking the finish. Safety of visitors viewing the aircraft is always first and foremost.  If it isn’t safe then it must be made safe or removed from public access.  After safety we has set a goal of what we call a “20 foot” view.  That is to say from 20 or more feet it must look acceptable and represent the aircraft as close as we can to how it looked when it was still flying in the RCAF.  That keeps the ability of the volunteers to look after them realistic.  To try and make them more accurate would be beyond our ability in most cases. An example of what we do is the controls on our Dakota (Dak).  Originally covered in fabric, which doesn’t last long out of doors in Comox.  We decided that as some Dak aircraft had metal coverings instead of fabric on the rudder, elevator and ailerons we would replace the failing fabric of our Dak with metal.  This would last the life of the aircraft needing only paint every few years instead of fabric and dope (a type of paint for fabric) every 3 or 4 years.  Here is the process in...

Get our articles sent via
email