TYKO’S TAKE ~ RCAF AEROBATIC TEAMS

TYKO’S TAKE ~ RCAF AEROBATIC TEAMS

Tyko is back with more information about the RCAF Aerobatic Teams:   Sky Lancers The Sky Lancers were another European-based team. They were based at the 2 (F) Wing, RCAF Station Grostenquin, France and flew the Canadair F-86 Sabre. The team was started in 1955 and performed 20 shows in the 1955 season. Unfortunately, a tragic accident occurred on 2 March 1956 in which 4 of the five pilots were killed in a flight manoeuvre. Consequently the RCAF banned aerial demonstration teams for several years.     Fireballs The Fireballs were a Europe-based RCAF team from 1954 to 1956. The team operated all-red Canadair F-86 Sabres and participated in various shows across Europe. There all-red paint scheme did not last long, as a superior officer decided to take away the scheme due to the fact that people might mistake the team for communists.  ...

HERITAGE STONES DEDICATION CEREMONY MARKS THE END OF AN 11 YEAR PROJECT

The final Heritage Stones Dedication Ceremony took place on Sunday, September 17th, Battle of Britain Sunday. After eleven years, the last heritagel stones were installed and then dedicated.  Well over 75 guests attend the ceremony and then came to the Museum Library for coffee and cake.         All of our heritage stones can be seen when visiting the Heritage Air Park....

AT THE GOING DOWN OF THE SUN….

Though Battle of Britain Sunday is behind us, we thought you might enjoy the following article, “At the Going Down of the Sun” in Vintage Wings of Canada.  In it, you’ll find photos of the Spitfire that began its return to life here at our...
BATTLE OF BRITAIN ACES ~ F/O OTTO JOHN “PETE” PETERSON

BATTLE OF BRITAIN ACES ~ F/O OTTO JOHN “PETE” PETERSON

  F/O Peterson was born on March 14, 1914 in Eckville, Alberta.  He attended Lloydminster High School, University of Saskatchewan, and the University of Manitoba, prior to joining the RCAF in 1938.  Before going overseas last June he served at an east coast Canadian air station. Peterson was attached to Canada’s No. 1 fighter squadron of the RCAF when it arrived in the United Kingdom on June 20, 1940.     Our Museum has a copy of the combat report written on September 9, 1940.  At the time, he was flying  S.E. of Guilford.  The enemy was flying an ME.109 at a height of 18,000 feet.  Peterson recorded, “I was Green 2 and was the second section in line astern and climbing.  Suddenly the Squadron Leader did a sharp break away to the left, green section followed.  I saw two ME.109s apparently diving on the Squadron Leader.  Green 1 attacked one of them and I immediately swung on the other’s tail and opened fire at about 250 yards closing to about 75 yards.  Suddenly I saw bits flying off the e/a and then it began to smoke flames pouring out the belly, the aircraft just disintegrated.  I immediately began my break away but ran into some loose part of the e/a, breaking my wind screen the pieces of glass and perspex cutting my face and obscuring my vision.  My propeller was also hit by pieces of e/a and broke 8 inches of the end.  I came down from about 15, 000 to 4,000 before even being able to see my instruments.  I still lost height due to my obscured...
BATTLE OF BRITAIN ACES ~ F/LT G.R. MCGREGOR

BATTLE OF BRITAIN ACES ~ F/LT G.R. MCGREGOR

  Gordon McGregor was born in Montreal on September 26, 1901.  Educated at St. Andrews College and McGill University, McGregor was the winner of the 1935, 1936, and 1938 Webster Trophy award, presented to non-professional airmen and awarded for airmanship and navigation. He was commissioned in October 1938, at the time serving with RCAF 115 Squadron.  At the outbreak of war, pilots of his squadron, along with those from No. 1 Squadron, formed No. 1 (RCAF) Squadron.  McGregor was a Flight Commander with this squadron when it arrived in Britain June 20, 1940.   Following a number of successes, he was awarded the DFC (gazetted on October 25, 1940).  He commanded the squadron during November and December of that year, and in January 1941, he was given command of 2 (RCAF) Squadron at Digby (renumbered 402 Squadron March 1st).  In April, McGregor was promoted to lead the Canadian Wing at Digby.  He returned briefly to Canada but was back in London by fall.  He was appointed Director of Air Staff at HQ RCAF London on December 5th and was there until mid-April, 1942, when he once again returned to Canada. McGregor formed and commanded a Wing to give air support to Americans in Alaska.  In January 1943, he was made an OBE (Order of the British Empire).  He took command of Patricia Bay at the beginning of April, where its squadrons served on defence of the west coast of Canada. McGregor returned to England on February 23, 1944, where he spent four months at HQ 83 Group and in summer was given command of 126 (RCAF) Wing.  He still...
BATTLE OF BRITAIN ACES ~ HENRY BIRKLAND

BATTLE OF BRITAIN ACES ~ HENRY BIRKLAND

HENRY BIRKLAND RCAF SPITFIRE PILOT WW2     Henry Birkland was born 16 August 1917 in Caldwell, Manitoba. Birkland was educated in Calgary, Alberta and worked for the Burns Co. Birkland enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in July 1940 as an aircrew candidate. Following his basic training, he was promoted to leading aircraftman and was then posted to elementary flying school RCAF. He graduated in January 1941 and was transferred to No.9 Service Flight Training School. Now as a qualified pilot, he was promoted on April 1941 and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer. Shortly after, he sailed for England to fly operationally with the Royal Air Force Fighter Command. After six weeks of operational training, Birkland joined No.122 RAF Fighter Command and assigned to Spitfire aircraft. He was later transferred to No. 72 Squadron RAF where he continued to fly Spitfires.   On the afternoon of 7 November 1941, he was on a mission over occupied Europe when he was shot down. After bailing out, he was captured becoming a prisoner of war. Following German interrogation he was sent to Stalag Luft 1, and later to Stalag Luft 3 which was near Sagan, now in Poland. The Great Escape For the Great Escape operation, Birkland, who was at one time a gold miner, became one of the leading and most energetic of the many many prisoners who were involved in the tunnelling of the three tunnels: Tom, Dick and Harry. The Plan The escape plan, conceived by RAF Roger Bushnell, a South African lawyer who also volunteered for the RAF, was for three tunnels and the escape of 200 prisoners in one night....

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