BC HISTORICAL FEDERATION AWARD WINNER!

The Comox Air Force Museum Association is proud to announce that our Volunteer Coordinator and Programme Manager, Jon Ambler, recently received an award from the British Columbia Historical Federation.  Jon was selected for his exemplary work as Program manager and Volunteer Coordinator for the Comox Air Force Museum and his involvement in researching and promoting BC’s aviation history.   Under the leadership of our former Board of Directors’ president, Bill Cuell, the board placed Jon’s name in nomination for a Service Award.  In addition to his work as programme Manager and Volunteer Coordinator, Jon is involved in all things related to aviation history here in the Comox Valley and BC as a whole.  Our nomination letter included a number of of his contributions.  “In addition to performing his normal duties, Jon worked tirelessly over the past years to ensure that the Museum is front and center at many local cultural and historical events including the Cumberland Heritage Faire, the “Snowbirds” annual autograph signing session, the School District 71 Heritage Fair, numerous Meet and Greet events for the school district History and Social Studies teachers, the Battle of Britain ceremony and the associated heritage stone dedication ceremony, Empire Days activities in Cumberland, Comox Maritime Days in Comox, and the annual Canada Day parade in Courtenay.  Had it not been for his vision, diligence, commitment and extensive work with numerous staff, volunteers and the various local government representatives, the successful display of West Coast aviation history at these events would not be a reality. He expends an incredible amount of personal time on program development, creating and promoting programs and displays within the museum that...
NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BUSH PILOTS

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ BUSH PILOTS

Bush flying refers to aircraft operations carried out in the bush. Bush flying involves operations in rough terrain where there are often no prepared landing strips or runways, frequently necessitating that bush planes be equipped with abnormally large tires, floats or skis. Our Museum Library has a number of books related to bush pilots.  If you live locally, come in and have a look at the table display; if you have an interest in the topic, but don’t live near our Museum, you might want to see if these titles are available in your community library:   Pilots of the Purple Twilight is written by Philip Godsell.  The author begins his story “with the Junker that crash landed at Fort Simpson in 1921 and follows the lives of Canada’s first bush flyers, taking readers on a ride through the first three decades of bush flying…”  Included are stories of “lost planes and lost men, mercy flights, hermits and fur traders, prospectors and mounties, as well as the myth of the tropical medicine valley of the Nahannis.”         Peter Boer wrote Bush Pilots ~ Canada’s Wilderness Daredevils.  He recounts stories of adventurers who put their lives in danger to “bring supplies and civilization to isolated Canadian communities.  Some of these include: Wop May, a WWI ace who traded fire with the infamous Red Baron delivers emergency serum to an isolated village. Jack Caldwell was unable to pull out of a spin on a test flight and jumped out of his plane, becoming the first Canadian pilot to parachute to safety.   Chuck McAvoy mysteriously disappeared in a remote corner...

WHO WAS THE MAN BEHIND THE DAM BUSTERS’ BOUNCING BOMB?

  Sir Barnes Neville Wallis CBE, FRS, RDI, FRAeS was an English scientist, engineer, and inventor.  Perhaps he was best known for inventing the bouncing bomb that was used by the Royal Air Force in Operation Chastise.  However, among other achievements, Wallis was known for his invention of the geodetic airframe and the earthquake bomb. Educated in London, Wallis left school at the age of 17 to start work at Thames Engineering Works; he then changed his apprenticeship to J. Samuel White’s, shipbuilders based on the Isle of Wight.  He first trained as a marine engineer and took a degree in engineering through the University of London External Programme (1922).  When an opportunity came for him to work on airship design and then aircraft design, he left J. Samuel White’s.  He worked for Vickers, later part of Vickers-Armstrongs, and then part of the British Aircraft Corporation.   Among his many achievements was the first use of geodetic design in engineering and the gasbag wiring of Vickers’ R100; at this time (1930), it was the largest airship ever designed.  Along with John Edwin Temple, he pioneered the use of light alloy and production engineering in the structural design of the R100.   At the Vickers aircraft factory at the Brooklands motor circuit and aerodrome in Surrey, he worked on pre-war aircraft designs with Rex Pierson; the Wellesley, the Wellington, and the later Warwick and Windsor employed Wallis’ geodetic design in the fuselage and wing structures.  It was considered one of the most robust airframes developed; pictures of the Wellington skeleton mostly shot away, was still sound enough to bring the crew...

“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 WICKENBY REGISTER NEWSLETTER ~ A NEW SERIES

Mel, Chair of our Collections Management Committee, recently shared a set of newsletters that had been donated to our Museum. 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 of us was the inclusion of a poem on the back of each issue; we’re looking forward to sharing them with you!   In this first post, I’ll introduce 12 Squadron as described in one of the newsletters, along with one of the poems. “Formed at Netheravon, Wiltshire on February 4th 1915 the squadron was first equipped with B.E.2c aircraft and went to France in September of that year to perform various roles.  The B.E.s were replaced with R.E.8s in August 1917. After the Armistice the squadron formed part of the Army of Occupation in Germany until July 1922 when it was disbanded at Bickendorf.  In April 1923 it was reformed at Northolt as a bomber squadron equipped with DH.9As.  In 1924 the aircraft were Fairey Fawns and in 1926, Fairey Fox high speed bombers.  On many exercises No. 12’s Foxes outran the defending fighters and this led to the adoption of the motto ‘Leads the field’.  The highly polished  metal nose cowlings of the aircraft also gave the squadron its nickname ‘Shiny Twelve’.  The Fox’s mask badge was given Royal Assent in February 1937 by King George VI.  In 1931 No. 12 became one of the first squadrons to have Hawker Harts and four years later it moved to Aden to reinforce the Middle East...

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