Our Library is the second largest military aviation library in our nation!  With over 8500 volumes, and still growing, many visitors find their way into the room to browse and to do some research.  With the variety of books we have, it’s no wonder!  These are four of the newly attained acquisitions for our Library shelves!



*  “No time to Wave Goodbye” ~ written by Ben Wicks:  In the early 1980s, “Ben Wicks was being interviewed on television… the interviewer was concerned with Wicks’ life as a newsman, but soon the discussion turned to his days as a wartime evacuee.  A time when as a young boy, wearing a large label and gripping the string of a small paper carrier, he would be led away from his loving parent and into a new life.  He was gone for two years.  Four sets of families took him into their homes – all complete strangers.  Some were kind, some were not.”

“As the interviewer began to dig deeper I began to cry,” Wicks recalled.  “It was an embarrassing moment.”

“Yet it was to be the reaction of many of the ex-evacuees that Wicks would contact in preparation for his book.  Like Wicks, they had buried their experiences in the past.  Almost all were telling their story for the first time.  Some had been married for more than thirty years and had never told their spouses… Many were so upset recalling their experiences that they found it difficult to talk, others laughed so hard that speaking became impossible…”  Wicks intended to “… lay out the groundwork for the book he intended to document the lives of those people who had suffered as a result of the war.  What he found was a key to a chapter in contemporary British history that has remained locked away in the hearts of those who took part – an army of children, clutching tiny bags, come out of the dark to prick a nation’s conscience.”

This is one of the resources we used as part of our Library series on the Battle of Britain and its impact on children – I found the book a deep look at the issues Wicks shares with us.



*  “Birdmen: the Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies” ~ written by Lawrence Goldstone:  “The feud between… great air pioneers, the Wright Brothers and Glenn Curtiss, was a collision of unyielding and profoundly American personalities.  On one side, a pair of tenacious siblings who together had solved the centuries-old riddle of powered,heavier-than-air flight.  On the other, an audacious motorcycle racer whose innovative aircraft became synonymous in the public mind with death-defying stunts.  For more than a decade, they battled each other in court, at air shows, and in the newspapers.  The outcome of this contest of wills would shape the course of aviation history – and take a fearsome toll on the men involved.”

This is “a dramatic story of unimaginable bravery in the air and brutal competition on the ground… a thrill ride through flight’s wild early years and a surprising look at the personal clash that fuelled America’s race to the skies.”




*  “408 Squadron – The Rockcliffe Years 1949 – 1964 ~ compiled by retired members of 408 Squadron RCAF, chaired by Colonel Morris Gates, OMM, CD :  “The story of 408 Squadron, RCAF during its time in Ottawa at RCAF Station Rockcliffe has never been told in its entirety.  Such an omission, perhaps understandable given the other events that took place at the same time, has denied the public a knowledge of the great achievements this Squadron accomplished for Canada, namely completion of the photography used for the first complete and accurate maps of the country; maps that in some of Canada’s remote regions replaced those originating in the Mid-1840s with the Franklin Expedition or the expeditions that searched for him.  Adding to this accomplishment was the Shoran radar survey that provided the control that ensured the land’s features were correctly placed on the world’s grid of latitude and longitude.

Then, beginning in 1950 during the ‘Cold War’, the Lancaster aircraft of 408 took up the task of Arctic Reconnaissance that by year-round patrols checked that enemy lodgements were not being intruded into Canada’s Arctic regions.  Concurrently, the squadron was also providing tactical air support to the Canadian Army formations of the Mobile Strike Force.

Other squadron tasks included ice reconnaissance for shipping, highly accurate mapping data for the Mid-Canada radar line, transport support for the same, special Meteorological Flights to detect Soviet nuclear weapons testing, wildlife surveys, forest fire reporting and air searches for downed aircraft or lost ships, transport of sick aboriginals from remote communities and providing aircrew to monitor overflights by Soviet aircraft…

Though conditions were often dangerous and always demanding, the young men who manned 408 Squadron were well motivated, knowing how important their contributions were to the security and development of the country.  This is the story of those 16 years that 408 Squadron functioned from Rockcliffe – it is late in the telling as many of those who served are now gone but hopefully this book will tell Canadians what was done and in doing so help remember those who did their best to help secure and build a country.”




*  “Canadian Starfighters – The CF-104 and CF-104D in Canadian Service” ~ written by Patrick Martin:  In his Preface, Martin writes, “There have been countless titles written on the Starfighter, many of them general in nature and some very good on specifics.  The Canadian Starfighter has had at least three specifically written books.  The aim of this text is to give the reader a Canadian perspective to the development, selection, production and use of the ‘One-O-Four’ as used by the Royal Canadian Air Force and after February 1, 1968, the Canadian Armed Forces.  The Starfighter program, for Canada, was its aerial contribution to European security through NATO.

My first memory of the Starfighter came on August 10, 1967, as a dependant arriving at 5 Air Movements Unit, RCAF Station Lahr (at least on paper, Lahr was still in French hands as Base Aerienne 139 until September 6, 1967), West Germany, after ten hours and 15 minutes aboard Yukon 15925.  While waiting for bus transport to Baden-Soellingen, all sorts of aircraft sounds filled the air.  The skies contained flights of RCAF Starfighter, the occasional flight of Armee de l’Air Mirage III and the tarmac had several Hercules, plus an RAF Britannia picking up air cadets.  But the sound; that sound of the howling of the Starfighters coming from the North in sections of four, peeling off ‘the circuit’ for landing, the howl of the J79 coupled with the strange whine coming from the intakes, was the lasting memory.”

As we have a Starfighter in our Heritage Air Park, this book might be of interest to a reader wanting more history of the aircraft.

** We hope you’ll find your way into our Library for a good browse.  If you have a research topic on the go, you might just find some sources that would be of help!