NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ THE SPITFIRE

One of the most common questions asked of us is, “What happened with the Spitfire?”  We’re now happy to report that Vintage Wings sent an update: “Last week, Spitfire TE294, the Roseland Spitfire, made its first flight after nearly two decades of steady progress. Click on this link to enjoy the official photos and video of the event.” If you have a thirst for all things Spitfire, check out these books and others that can be found in our Museum’s Library:   Jeremy Flack wrote Spitfire.  The inside cover reads, “The Supermarine Spitfire is the most famous of all British fighters.  Designed by Reginald J. Mitchell at a time when all serving RAF fighter aircraft were canvas-covered biplanes, the prototype first flew on 5 March 1936.  Over 20,000 Spitfires were to be produced in over 40 variants and it was used as a fighter, in the ground-attack and photo-reconnaissance roles and even - as the Seafire - from aircraft carriers. By the early 1960s, just a handful of Spitfires remained in flying condition and it was the making of the film The Battle of Britain which was to turn the tide on the extinction of airworthy Spitfires.  Today nearly 50 can be seen flying including those of the RAF’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight…     Birth of a Legend - The Spitfire was written by Jeffrey Quill.  Quill’s book celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Spitfire’s first flight with this volume.  “The achievements of the fighter pilots ensured that the Spitfire became a legend in its own time.  No other aircraft has ever enjoyed quite the same charisma nor engendered the...

THE WICKENBY NEWSLETTER ~ JUNE

Last month, we introduced a new series: the Wickenby Register Newsletter.  The newsletters were printed twice yearly; they include information about 12 Squadron RAF, memories of service men and women, the occasional recipe, stories of times past… But perhaps the thing that spoke to both Mel and me was the inclusion of a poem on the back of each issue. Noel Coward‘s poem, written in 1943 ~     I’d also like to share a recipe for “Kidneys Garibaldi”.  It was introduced with the words, “This article will, hopefully, stimulate those among our number who lay claim to some degree of expertise in the grub-stakes department…”  Let us know what you think of the footnote!              ...

OUR DEPUTY DIRECTOR RETIRES!

Our Museum’s Deputy Director, W/O Mike Barnucz, has retired.  Mike has been with us for some time now, and on Thursday, worked his last day for us.  I asked him if he’d like to share a farewell message with us: “Well world, it’s been quite a ride. Throughout my military career, both with Regs and Reserve, I’ve had many enjoyable jobs. I can say with all certainty that one of the most enjoyable was this one as Deputy Director for CAFM. I’ve often told people it was the perfect semi-retirement job. To all of those who work and volunteer for the museum I’d like to pass on my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for making it so. During my tenure as Deputy Director, I was a part of a team that took great pride in Canada’s west coast military aviation history. That pride is proven by the amount of compliments we get from our 10,000 or so visitors a year. Whether it was giving tours, helping to create or adjust displays, or running around in circles dealing with the ever gorging bureaucracy monster, I’m glad that I had a small part in making our museum one of the finest military museums in Canada. Everyone has been asking me whether or not I’ll stay with the museum as a volunteer. My answer is, eventually. I have an old Mustang in the garage that needs preserving first. After that, most definitely yes. As long as it does not interfere with my lovely wife’s to-do list. To all my now former Comrades in Arms that I have served with, Bravo Zulu and Bon...
NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ THE LANCASTER

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ THE LANCASTER

Did you know that our Museum Library has over 8500 books?  Our collection is used by our visitors, by folks coming into the Museum to do research, by volunteers, and by those of you looking for titles related to topics of interest.  If you’re not able to come into the Museum personally, perhaps your community library would have these titles, or perhaps you might like to purchase them from your favourite bookstore in order to have them in your home library. The titles I’m sharing with you this time are focussed on the Lancaster:   Written by Leo McKinstry, who also wrote Spitfire: Portrait of a Legend, Lancaster: The Second World War’s Greatest Bomber has a close look at the place of the Lancaster in air history.  “The Lancaster and the Spitfire were the RAF’s two weapons of victory in the Second World War.  But without the bomber, Britain would never have been able to take the fight to the German homeland.  Lancaster highlights the scale of the plane’s achievements, including the famous Dambusters attacks, and how it transformed the effectiveness of Bomber Command. With the first-hand accounts from surviving pilots, engineers and ground crews, this is a compelling saga which cements the plane’s special place in our history.”   FM159, The Lucky Lancaster was authored by Dave Birrell.  This is “one of 7377 Avro Lancasters built to wage war against the Nazis…now one of only four taxiable Lancasters in the world.  It has flown widely over the Pacific, the Atlantic, and to the northern-most point in Canada; has been only weeks away from being scrapped; was towed by a truck...

THANK YOU!

A thank you to all the volunteers who supported our annual garage sale ~ whether you contributed items for sale, helped set up, helped to sell on the day of the event, counted money earned, or dismantled at the end of the day, it all makes a difference.  The Jedi-licious hot dogs were, as usual, out of this world! Special thanks must go to Bill Cuell, who took the lead on this annual event once again.  For the past ten years, Bill has organized us and made sure everyone was well fed.  And as usual, he took time to express his thanks to his fellow volunteers.  Thank you,...

WHO WAS THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE DAM BUSTERS’ RAID?

Wing Commander Guy Penrose Gibson, VC, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar, was the first commanding officer of the Royal Air Force’s No. 617 Squadron; he led the Dam Busters‘ raid (Operation Chastise) in 1943.  He was awarded the Victoria Cross, and in June 1943, became the most highly decorated serviceman in the country.  By the age of 26, he had completed over 170 operations. From an early age, Gibson wanted to fly; he kept a picture of his boyhood hero, Albert Ball, VC, the First World War flying ace, on his bedroom wall.  His ambition was to become a civilian test pilot so he wrote to Vickers asking for advice.  He received a reply from their chief test pilot, who told Gibson he should first learn to fly by joining the RAF on a short service commission.  Gibson applied to the RAF but was rejected after he failed the Medical Board (the probable reason is that his legs were too short).  However, he applied again and this time it was successful; his personal file included the remark ‘satisfactory leg length test carried out’.  And so he began a short service commission in November of 1936. Gibson began his flying training at the Bristol Flying School with No. 6 Flying Training Course.  After some leave, he moved to No. 24 (Training) Group at RAF Uxbridge for his RAF basic training.  He was commissioned with the rank of acting pilot officer effective January 31, 1937.  He underwent further training as a member of the junior section of No. 5 Flying Training course at 6 Flying Training School, RAF Netheravon, and...

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