Comox Air Force Museum


  • Christmas Closure
    Date: December 6, 2015 Category: News & Events
    Holiday time at the Comox Air Force Museum means our annual closure. This year we will be closed from December 20 to January 2, 2016. Until then our regular hours apply.  
  • Heritage Stone Dedication Ceremony
    Date: September 9, 2015 Category: Member Info, News & Events
    The Comox Valley Air Force Museum Association  Cordially invites you to the Heritage Stone Dedication Ceremony When:                          Sunday, 20 September 2015 Time:                           2 P.M.   Please be seated by 1:45 Where:                        Protestant Chapel across the road from Heritage Air Park Suggested Dress:      Business Casual Guest of Honour:        Colonel Tom Dunne, Commander 19 Wing Comox, or his delegate The 2015 ceremony will follow the Battle of Britain Parade. The Master of Ceremonies will read out the name on each stone. Reception to follow in the Comox Air Force Museum. RSVP:                         by 14 September 2015 Museum:               (250) 339-8162 E-mail:                Canada Post:                CVAFMA Building 11, 19 Wing Comox PO Box 1000, Station Main Lazo, BC, V0R 2K0 Please let us know how many people will be with you. Participants are requested to bring an umbrella in case of inclement weather. If you are unable to attend, we will be pleased to send you a photograph of your Heritage Stone.
    You might recall a previous post in which I shared the unveiling of the K.O. Moore exhibit in our Main Gallery. [caption id="attachment_8698" align="alignleft" width="300"] K.O. MOORE[/caption]   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 Museum!
    Date: May 21, 2017 Category: Collections, News & Events, Posts
    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 Read more...
    Date: May 18, 2017 Category: Aircraft, Books, Library Display, News & Events, Posts
    As mentioned in my previous post, Canadians played a major role in the Dams Raid.  "Of the 133 airmen involved in the raid, 30 were Canadian.  Fourteen were killed during the raid; one became a prisoner of war.  Exactly 50% of the Canadians who took off didn't return. Four who survived were later killed in action during the war." (Bomber Command Museum).  I'm sharing just two of the many stories in this post. [caption id="attachment_8621" align="aligncenter" width="665"] RCAF AIRCREW WHO RETURNED FROM THE DAMS RAID (Bomber Command Museum)[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_8630" align="alignleft" width="250"] F/L MCCARTHY (PL-16889 09/06/43)[/caption]   One of the most well known of the Canadian group was not Canadian by birth.  This was Joe McCarthy.  Born in New York, he tried unsuccessfully tried to join the Army Air Corps. In May 1941, Joe's friend Don Curtin, suggested they head to Canada to join the Royal Canadian Air Force.  They were sent to the Manning Depot in Toronto.  Joe trained in Goderich and Brantford, then received his commission in December 1941. After Christmas, he sailed from Halifax; eleven days later, he and his fellow aircrew arrived in Liverpool.  Further training took place with the No. 12 Advanced Flying Unit and the No. 14 Operational Training Unit.  In September of 1942, he was assigned to No. 97 Squadron RAF; it was here that he met W/C Gibson.  Just as McCarthy was completing his tour, he received a call from Gibson telling him that a new squadron was being formed and Read more...
    Date: May 16, 2017 Category: Aircraft, Books, Library Display, News & Events, Posts
      Operation Chastise was an attack on German dams carried out May 16 and 17, 1943 by the RAF Squadron No. 617; the squadron was later referred to as the "Dam Busters".           Before WWII, the British Air Ministry had identified Germany's industrialized the Ruhr Valley and specifically its dams as important strategic targets.  As well as providing hydro-electric power and pure water needed for steel making, the dams supplied drinking water and water for the canal transport system.  The methods chosen to attack the dams had been carefully selected.  Calculations indicated that repeated air strikes with large bombs could be effective, but this required a degree of accuracy Bomber Command had yet been unable to attain. A specially developed "bouncing bomb" that had been invented by Barnes Wallis was used for the attacks.  His idea was to use a drum-shaped bomb (a specially designed heavy depth charge).  It would spin backwards and would be dropped at a low altitude for the correct speed and release point, skipping for a distance over the surface of the water in a series of bounces before reaching the dam wall.  The residual spin would run the bomb down the side of the dam toward its underwater base.  Using a hydrostatic fuse, an accurate drop would bypass the dam's defences, then enable the bomb to explode against the dam some distance below the surface of the water: [caption id="attachment_8594" align="aligncenter" width="767"] "UPKEEP" BOUNCING BOMB (from "The Dam Busters" by Falconer)[/caption]   Read more...
    Date: May 14, 2017 Category: Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    This past Thursday, our volunteers gathered at Hangar 268 ( in our Heritage Air Park ) for a BBQ.  We love "working for food" here at the Museum, and the BBQ was well attended.   [caption id="attachment_8671" align="alignleft" width="123"] "Jedi's Hot Dogs ~ they're out of this world!"[/caption]   Jed, one of our Gift Shop volunteers, grilled the hot dogs for us. Thanks, Jed!             We hung around for some time, chatting:                                                         [caption id="attachment_8665" align="alignleft" width="300"] HONOURING NORT FOR 25 YEARS OF VOLUNTEER SERVICE WITH OUR MUSEUM[/caption]     We took time to celebrate Nort Kennedy's 25 year volunteer service with a lifetime membership.  Nort, you are appreciated!           [caption id="attachment_8664" align="aligncenter" width="320"] SOME OF OUR VOLUNTEERS ENJOYING TIME TOGETHER[/caption]
    Date: May 12, 2017 Category: Aircraft, News & Events, Posts
    [caption id="attachment_8530" align="alignleft" width="106"] FLYING OFFICER PATRICK LANGFORD[/caption] Patrick Langford was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the son of  Mr & Mrs Richard Langford. His father was a Forest Ranger at the Jasper National Park and its first Chief Warden from 1911. He returned to England to serve in WW1 and settled back in Jasper in 1919.       Patrick was born 4th November 1919. He was educated at Jasper Public and High School from September 1926 to June 1936 and Banff High School from September 1936 until June 1937 and worked summer jobs for Brewster Transport as a driver and later in the National Park. On 29 January 1940 in Edmonton, Alberta he joined the RCAF as a Regular Service officer and was commissioned; he was assigned to the Calgary Aero Club flying Gypsy Moth aircraft. He received further training in Toronto and at RCAF Camp Borden. On September 1941, he flew to England and was sent for operational training flying Wellington Bombers.   [caption id="attachment_8531" align="alignleft" width="300"] VICKERS WELLINGTON MK2[/caption] On the night of 28 July 1942, he took off to bomb the German Shipbuilding and Port of Hamburg. His bomber was singled out by searchlights and the aircraft was shot down over Lubeck in Northern Germany. Three of the crew were killed on landing, one was unhurt but taken prisoner, but Langford and the rear gunner were seriously injured and spent two months in hospital. On recovering he was sent to Stalag Luft 3 in Sagan, now Read more...
    Date: May 10, 2017 Category: Books, News & Events, Posts
    I recently wrote an article on escapees and selected a few individuals and their stories. Throughout history people have escaped from captivity and, from these, many lessons were learned. This came to a climax in World War Two, with the advances in air warfare. Training air crew is an expensive business and to lose those men for the duration when they were shot down was extremely serious. Therefore, it was decided everything must be done to get them back and this became a high priority. There were two types of escapees, the ones shot down and never captured and those who were captured and held in POW camps. It was necessary to not only train these men to fly but also train them to know what to do when shot down. Both from an escaping prospective but also what to do or say during an interrogation. Such training was started in WW2, continued after 1945 and is still on going in the 21st century. [caption id="attachment_8443" align="alignleft" width="220"] CHRISTOPHER CLUTTY HUTTON[/caption] In fact I, myself took part in one such exercise in 1952 when, as a member of an army unit, we had to patrol a large area looking for aircrew from an RAF station who were scattered around the area.  We did manage to capture quite a few during this exercise.  A new department was established to decide what tools they would need to assist them in their escape and the allies were fortunate to recruit an officer, named Christopher Clayton Hutton (known as Clutty) who became responsible for arranging for Read more...
    Date: May 7, 2017 Category: Aircraft, Collections, Exhibits, News & Events, Posts
    DH-100 Vampire ‘Bat Face’ 442 Squadron “City of Vancouver” will be holding their 75th anniversary this June.  To add a bit of flair and colour to their celebrations the Comox Air Force Museum decided to take our Vampire 031 and paint it in the colours used when 442 Sqn flew Vampires.  The motif used was a ‘Bat Face’ that was applied by the units technicians on 4 aircraft.  The artwork was not identical and in fact differed greatly from each other.  Very few high quality photographs of the aircraft exist so we were faced with a problem of finding what actually was painted on the aircraft.  The Heritage Team who is tasked with such things reached out to a recognized Canadian expert on military aircraft markings, David Winter of Canuck Model Products ( or  If you are a model aircraft enthusiast then you likely know Canuck for the high quality and highly accurate decal kits they produce.  It was hoped that David could help us as his Vampire decals are of the aircraft we need.  In short order he provided us a copy of his Vampire software ,which he supplied in 1:1 scale no less, making our task possible.  Using his software we had decals cut on vinyl by Cpl William Trinnear at 19 Air Maintenance Squadron on the Gerber Graphics machine.  Not all the decals were able to conform to the curves of the aircraft, but where they didn’t they did make an excellent template for us to Read more...
    Date: May 5, 2017 Category: Collections, News & Events, Posts
      Many of Al Wilson's cartoons seem to be of 19 Wing Comox and relate to specific happenings from about 1958 - 1974.  We know you're enjoying this series, and are happy to share this May Edition with you!           [caption id="attachment_8451" align="aligncenter" width="353"] COURTENAY IN BEAUTIFUL BC[/caption]       [caption id="attachment_8452" align="aligncenter" width="817"] WHAT, GROUNDED AGAIN?[/caption]
    Date: May 2, 2017 Category: Books, Exhibits, Library Display, News & Events, Posts
      Following WWI and prior to 1939, most of the RCAF aircraft were amphibious.  In order to service these aircraft, small boats of different sizes and shapes were used.  These were manned and maintained by personnel who became the RCAF Marine Section.         Between 1918 and 1935, some of the work done by the Air Force included air photography, reconnaissance, and forestry patrol.  Because this was accomplished mainly by sea planes, it was necessary to set up small marine sub-sections at various places across the country in order to service the aircraft.  Though there were small sections, the major marine establishments were located at Ottawa (Rockcliffe), Trenton, as well as Jericho Beach.   A school was formed in Trenton in 1935 to train marine crewmen.  In the same year, the RCAF acquired its first crash boats, 37 feet in length and built in England. They arrived at Halifax aboard a civilian freighter; one of the launches stayed at Halifax (assigned to No. 4 Flying Boat Squadron).  The other was transported by rail to Jericho Beach, Vancouver (assigned to No. 5 Flying Boat Squadron).   The design of the boats proved to be quite successful, and as a result, in 1937, a 38 foot boat of the same type was ordered, this time from a Canadian firm.  As well as the three crash boats, the Air Board also ordered three power dinghies from Canadian builders.  Eighteen feet long, powered with a 56 h.p. engine, and operating at a Read more...
    Date: April 26, 2017 Category: Collections, Exhibits, Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    [caption id="attachment_8341" align="alignleft" width="201"] BILL CUELL[/caption]   The world came to our door in 2016!  We'd like to share information about the many visits we had during 2016.  Bill, our Association's Past President, compiled an interesting report for us. Our Guest Book is a great source of information as to who visits us and where they come from.  Last year we had 10,956 recorded visitors to the museum.  As before, they were happy to give us their comments. Some of them follow:       "Belle and Bonne." "Excellent displays." "Absolutely wonderful and fascinating." "Very nice. I learnt a lot." "Brought back many memories." "Best Nuke Ever!!!" "Great for kids and adults." "A great museum. So glad you have school kids learning about history." "WOW! Very Cool." "So much information. Even I learned a lot." "Very commendable and Great Stuff." "Kids loved looking and learning." "Wonderful collection. Very informative. Nice counter fellows." "Wow. Such history. Loved the flight simulator." "Amazing museum. Well designed and executed." "Bravo, Bel Accueil. Merci." "Best part was seeing actual notes/diaries. Very moving." "One of the best Air Museum we have seen." "Great to see the spirit of the 407th alive and well. My grandfather would have been proud." "Very commendable and Great Staff." "Excellent. Thanks Canada." (from Dutch visitors).   Our visitors came from all around Canada and 33 countries around the globe. Canada - B.C. - ALB -  SASK - MAN - ONT - QUE - NFL - N.S. - N.B. - YUKON U.S.A. Read more...
    Date: April 23, 2017 Category: Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    The coming week has been declared "National Volunteer Week" and it's rather fitting that we honoured our Museum Volunteers at the recent Comox Valley Air Force Museum Association AGM on April 4th.  During the meeting, we celebrated the many contributions of our volunteers.  It might interest you to know that our volunteers do a number of things to maintain the high quality of our Museum:  The Collections Management Committee meets monthly to work with the many donations brought in.  Many volunteers work in the Gift Shop, welcoming visitors and helping them with their purchases.  We are involved in display construction and development.  We work in the Library and assist with research.  We work in the archives and process photographs.  We administer our website and contribute posts to the site.  We maintain our presence on Facebook.  We staff events such as the Cumberland Heritage Fair..  We work on the Heritage Maintenance Team, working on our heritage vehicles and aircraft.  We participate on the Comox Valley Air Force Museum Association Board. In the past year, we contributed well over 11,000 hours!  And we get so involved with what we're doing we don't always record our hours! In addition to celebrating the volunteers, this year, some of our members received special recognition along with our admiration and thanks. [caption id="attachment_8345" align="alignleft" width="201"] Alex Boyko[/caption]   Alex received his five year pin.  Alex gives of his time in the Gift Shop.                 Three people received their ten year pins:   [caption id="attachment_8343" Read more...
    Date: April 22, 2017 Category: Aircraft, Community Outreach, Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    On Easter Sunday, our volunteers were busy supporting the Snowbirds and CF-18 Demo Team Autograph Session.  They arrived early to prepare the Museum for the always popular event, they helped our special guests park, they set up the tables and chairs in the Library, they helped greet and guide the public through the lineup, they helped in the Gift Shop, and they cleaned up after the event.  Without the support of our volunteers, this event wouldn't be what it is.  So first - a very special thank you to all of you! As always, you worked together to make it happen! We want to also thank the Snowbirds and Demo Team for their welcoming interaction with the public!  We love having you in the skies each spring! Here are some memories of the Autograph Session ~        
    Date: April 21, 2017 Category: Aircraft, Books, Collections, Exhibits, News & Events, Posts
    This is the third and final chapter covering the topic of aircraft nose art. It's been a topic that is never ending with so many stories and tales to explain the reasons why it was used or the emotions and reasons for using it. [caption id="attachment_8381" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Bugs bombs Tokyo[/caption]   it wasn't just Disney characters that were used, as you can see from the photo above, many aircraft painted looney tunes to send a message. This painting was on a Ventura, based on Argentia, NL. What's  special about this painting was that it was done at the factory in Burbank, California by the studio artists themselves. [caption id="attachment_8377" align="alignleft" width="300"] Popeye[/caption] [caption id="attachment_8398" align="alignleft" width="300"] Olive Oyl[/caption]               Another two popular characters are those seen above, Popeye and Olive Oyl. I used the olive Oyl picture because it shows the humour often seen in these paintings, as olive beats the behind of Hitler. This was painted on an RCAF lane piloted by P/O D.J. Sullivan.       Many of the planes were adorned with stylized pin up girls such as "Lonesome Lola" seen here. She was on a mk1 Lanc of no.9 Sqn. This a/c finished 97 ops! [caption id="attachment_8369" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Lonesome Lola[/caption]   Some of these girls were very much on the line of what could be accepted and what could not, even to today's standards! The following two pictures highlight this well. [caption id="attachment_8371" align="alignnone" width="159"] Unnamed nude[/caption] Read more...
    Date: April 19, 2017 Category: Books, News & Events, Posts
    [caption id="attachment_8275" align="alignleft" width="141"] BILLY BISHOP[/caption] William Avery "Billy" Bishop VC, CB, DSO & Bar, MC, DFC, ED was a Canadian flying ace and Victoria Cross recipient of the First World War. He received the Victoria Cross (VC) "For most conspicuous bravery, determination, and skill.  Captain Bishop, who had been sent out to work independently, flew first of all to an enemy aerodrome; finding no machines about, he flew on to another aerodrome about 3 miles southeast, which was at least 12 miles the other side of the line.  Seven machines, some with their engines running were on the ground.  He attacked these from about fifty feet, and a mechanic, who was starting one of the engines, was seen to fall.  One of the machines got off the ground, but at a height of 60 feet, Captain Bishop fired 15 rounds into it at a very close range, and it crashed to the ground.  A second machine got off the ground, into which he fired 30 rounds at 150 yards range, and it fell into a tree.  Two more machines then rose from the aerodrome.  One of these he engaged at a height of 1,000 feet, emptying the rest of his drum of ammunition.  This machine crashed 300 yards from the aerodrome, after which Captain Bishop emptied a whole drum into the fourth hostile machine, and then flew back to his station.  Four hostile scouts were about 1,000 feet above him for about a mile of his return journey, but Read more...
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