The Newsletter of Canadian Naval Aviators and Associates



                                                                                    Toronto, Ontario, Canada

                                                                                    June 2009


This winter was less stressful than last, when Deb was on a cane for several weeks. Getting around in snow when fully mobile is bad enough, but neither a cast nor a cane is much fun in snow. After both she and I reached full mobility, at least as mobile as I get, we were able to do some travelling outside Canada. We spent two weeks in the Baltic, and another ten days in Wales and northern England where we I have relatives. Britain’s summer last year was very wet, to the extent that some rail trips were slowed because of water on the tracks. Despite the unfavourable comparisons with the former British Railways, British rail systems that we used were still much superior to those in North America.


In the past several months,  I have been involved with the Fleet Air Arm’s Fly Navy 100 [FN 100] programme, and I encourage anyone who has FAA experience to look into the events scheduled in 2009. You will find on page 16 or thereabouts  the list of the events scheduled, and the various addresses for contacts. As this newsletter goes to print, there are no specifically FN 100 events scheduled in Canada, though there may be some local ones in Nova Scotia. The Canadian Naval Air Group’s National Chapter in Ottawa has contacted FN 100 with best wishes for the programme; and the Wartime Heritage group in Nova Scotia makes reference to FN 100 on their website. If you  know of other events or connexions, please let me know at our usual addresses.  


                                                E. Cruddas                                         

                                                10 Kenneth Ave, Apt 1804

                                                Toronto ON M2N 6K6, Canada

                                                Tel. 416.224.5477

                                                E-mail –


The deadline for the next newsletter is 31 May 2010.


My apologies go out to those of you who noted the error I made in last year’s letter. Shirley Bays is alive and well, and has accepted my apologies for saying otherwise.







John ‘Stretch” Arnold and Glenn Cook went to the UK in March, and used the occasion to visit the air museum at RNAS Yeovilton. It was easy to reach via train to Yeolvilton South Station and taxi the rest of the way. A seniors’ rate of GBP 8.50  They were very impressed by the museum finding the simulated sections to be very authentic. Some of the children took cover on the simulated flight deck when an aircraft was arrested. It took about three hours to tour the museum.  Stretch’s  review: ‘A worthwhile visit for older naval aviators, and younger wannabees.’  


Mel Babcooke is recovering quickly from heart surgery, since the initial surgery was done in April. The operations were laparoscopic and relatively non-invasive, so he expected to be back on the links by now. Mel travels back to Canada frequently to visit family and to golf in Nova Scotia and southern Ontario, especially near Deseronto.


Bob Bissell and his long-time partner Joyce were married in South Africa in

April this year. They may be splitting their year between homes in the UK and South Africa. You can send them best wishes at – 


Ken Brown corrected me for calling Joyce Bissell by the wrong name, Joan. Mea culpa. Ken recently retired from the Federal Superannuates National Association’s Nova Scotia Provincial Advocate’s Office ‘in preparation for assuming the presidency of the Kiwanis Club of Woodlawn last year.’ He continues, ‘I am also involved as an advisor to the Nova Scotia +55  Games Society thanks to my ex-Cornwallis neighbour and good friend Pete Nordland, [ex 406 Air Nav] who presides over the Society.’ The games will be held in Yarmouth in September 2009. Ken enjoys visiting three of his offspring and their families, all  living within a 40-minute drive of Halifax.


With respect to my enquiry on memorial highways, Ken noted that highway 102 from Halifax to Truro has been designated Veterans Memorial Highway by the province of Nova Scotia since 2004. See also Jackie Gibbs’s finding.


Stan Brygadyr reports that ‘golf is great – visiting my grandson in Sherwood Park, Edmonton, this [2008] summer, then golfing with the other daughter in the [near] midnight sun in Peace River, Alberta,  in July.’ Thanks go to Stan for sending me Jackie Gibbs’s current address.


Charlie Chafe and I were in the same New Entry draft in Cornwallis. I met a woman from Florida who knew Charlie when they both lived in the state. Talking about his death several years back, she said that he had been administering first aid to the victim of an auto accident, when he was killed by another motorist. I take this information at face value, having heard no other  account of Charlie’s death.


John and Jackie Cody are still ‘toiling for the Queen’s shilling’, Jackie nursing in Shearwater [and occasionally Stadacona], and John as General Manager of General Dynamics Canada’s Software Support Centre in Dartmouth, now up and running. The building itself is owned by Millbrook First Nation, so the grand opening ‘was ‘replete with an Aboriginal Smudging ceremony on the front steps, drummers and dancers and the Air Force’s Snow Birds, who were practising for the next day’s air show overhead during the Premier’s remarks.’ Jack is very busy with the Aerospace and Defence Industry Association [ADIANS] as Executive VP, and Chair of the ADIANS's HR partnership; and he works with the Dalhousie University Faculty of Computer Science on an Industrial Advisory Board and with the Universities Co-op programme. He is also busy with the 78th Highlanders Pipe Bands and School of Music in an administrative role, as well as playing bass drum for two of the competition bands. This last summer he took the junior bands to the North American championships in Maxville, Ontario, where they did well. ‘After forty years  with the program stronger than ever, one cannot complain.’


John says that he will continue working with General Dynamics ‘until the first aircraft is delivered to 12 Wing Shearwater sometime in 2010.’ Then he ‘turns into a ski bum, golf semi-pro, and pipe band junkie.’


On the move last year was David Cramton, now living in Stratford, the home town of his wife, Lois. He said, ‘… Lois and I just spent a week in Bermuda, her first trip, and mine since the early 60’s. I must say I  didn’t remember many of the places, but I do believe Hamilton is not as chic as it used to be. The Swizzle Inn, however, still sits just off the causeway to St George’s and the brew is as good as ever. We rented bikes and toured to Ireland Island. The dock yard is now used by cruise liners and has had all the shops converted to tourist dens. Still worth a visit… Our travels this year took us to Hawaii’s big island where I tried to visit Cook’s monument. Our ship, HMCS Ste Therese, anchored near there in the early 1959 on our Venture Senior Cruise… [Lois] is retiring after many years in the federal justice department.’


Speaking about Captain Cook, last summer Deb and I spent a few days in his birthplace, Middlesbrough, England, while visiting relatives in the UK.


Last year Don  Crowe wrote, ‘The weekend of 14th of June [2008] we went down to Corvallis, Oregon State U, for my younger son Ryan’s graduation and also his commissioning in the USN. He was on a scholarship with the ROTC and will be leaving in September to go to Charleston SC for nuclear-sub training. He chose that  over aviation since he would have to sign up for ten years whereas in submarines it’s only five years and he figures the nuclear business has growth potential… I intend to attend the naval air dinner in Esquimalt this year. Haven’t been for at least a couple. The last time there Dave Oliphant and Lyle Bannister attended among others.’


Don also mentioned an incident in Shearwater Gunroom involving Lyle [aka Hank], Dick Davis, Larry Viszko, Mike Barber, and a brawl over differences of training methods in the RCAF and USN. [I’m waiting for details Don.]


Kay Collacutt, the Editor of the newly named ‘Warrior’, [formerly the SAM Foundation  newsletter], as well as the Secretary of the Foundation, mentioned that the SAMF’s  membership is starting to slide. Part of the problem is the age of the members, but probably the more important issue is the indifference of many naval aviators. Personally, I’ve contacted old acquaintances direct only to be told that their naval air days are something that they’ve ‘put behind’ them. It is disheartening that there are so many: Kay estimates that there are hundreds of former naval airmen who are sitting back and watching the few others that do all the work. This fits the so-called Pareto principle which states that 20% of the  people do 80% of the work. She suggests that few of the 80% who are disinterested realize that, of those men and women serving in Shearwater, maybe two percent support the museum and foundation with memberships. The same is true for volunteers. Kay cites Ron Beard, Gerry Brushett, Eric Edgar, Bill Gillespie, Bob Trentholm, and Rollie West as among the naval airmen who work on the museum floor and its offices to keep it running. And it’s not as if the Foundation weren’t trying to increase membership and raise funds for their many projects. For example, it brought in thousands of dollars from the dinner/auction and golf tournament. She hopes that more naval air readers might support the small cadres keeping the museum up and running.   


Bob Darlington, a member of the Aviation Stores clan, and survivor of Tom Pullen’s command of Shearwater, admits that three of his best years in the service were on the Sea King Procurement Team He is attempting to educate ‘the local [Vancouver Island – editor] press who love to find the Sea kings “falling out of the sky” among other sobriquets of doom.’ He  was able to,  


            ‘get  the basic results of the investigation of the twelve lost birds between #402 in  December  1987 and #438 in February 2006. The planned attrition rate was never neared. One thought arises: at least eight of the losses were controlled landings on   the water. How many of those aircraft would have been saved and returned to   flying status if they had malfunctioned over land? The Times Colonist gave a half  page rebuttal and the CO of the squadron at Pat Bay phoned me with his appreciation.’


Although Bob notes that he has aced three of the four par-threes at the Royal Colwood G.C., he declares that his golf is ‘no longer in the category of Dan Munro or George LaForme.’ Along with fellow historian Fraser McKee, Bob has published two books, the latest being ‘pre war, wartime, and post war histories of Prince David, Prince Henry, and Prince Roberts.’ Copies are available through Bob’s e-mail address, <>, or by phone at 250 477 6390, for $20 plus S & H.  [I’ve not seen a review.]


This year Ted Davis travelled to the well-attended ‘Shearwater Bash’ in Victoria, as well as flying to England to visit friends in Yorkshire, Kent and the Birmingham area. On Remembrance Day he ‘once again squeezed into my old uniform to attend the service at the local cenotaph, and [in May] it’ll be blazer and miniatures at church for Battle of Atlantic Sunday. As they say on the  Quebec license plates: “je me souviens.”’ He also attends the ‘first of the month’ FAA meetings in Toronto, though the meetings are dwindling in number because of low attendance. Ted is one of only a few of us still willing to drive in Toronto’s heavy traffic; and he has recently cut back on his volunteer driving for seniors in Oakville. Ted was happy and healthy when we visited him in his home in Oakville this May. He has lived there for more than fifty years, and loves the garden-like environment and small-town friendliness of ‘old Oakville’. Readers of the Jalna books that were set there would still recognize parts of the town. Ted hoped that the FAA meetings would pick up with the good summer weather. John and Mary Bailey are diligent in hosting the meetings, but bad weather and chronic health problems for some members, e.g. Phil Foulds, and Hugh Washington, have made it difficult to get even the smallest quorum. On Battle of the Atlantic Sunday, Ted did attend, but was the only member of his congregation to wear ribbons, and the clergyman wasn’t aware of the Battle of the Atlantic connexion.


Reader Bill Davey wrote from Halifax that they had been doing some travelling recently. Bill is an ‘islander’ so every summer he visits his family so he can ‘wander around Charlottetown, visiting my own haunts – somehow or other I feel I don’t belong any more – the house I was born and lived in for ten years is a vacant lot, my [grade] school  a parking lot … and my university has been absorbed into UPEI.’  [A familiar story, Bill.] Last February he and family members decided to have a get together in the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, with dinner in the famed Beaver Club dining room. He and Heather travelled by train, drawing-room class, so the trip was quite enjoyable. Later in the year, they flew to Amsterdam via the UK for a Baltic Cruise on the  Holland American Line. [Ed – the Baltic seems to have been a favourite place this year.]


Les East sent his current address, plus an interesting poem that is in the Annex. He lives in Victoria, so he sees several naval airmen, including Herb Harzan, who attended the December Naval Air mess dinner in  Esquimalt. He said, ‘Betty and I are well, retired from government service in Ottawa in ’95 to a life based in Victoria of motor homing and house exchanging. Always interested in seeing old RCN and CF friends.’


John Eden and Bob Findlay are deeply involved with preparations for the September CNAG Reunion in Trenton. Details are shown later in this letter. They hope that everyone who plans to attend will send in their registrations early. John continues to add names to the Naval Air Personnel Databank, which will be moved to the Shearwater Air Museum in about 2015, and will be archived there for future historical use. For John, this is the seventh CNAG reunion that he has organized. Health wise, he reports that he has developed, ‘a form of neuropathy in my legs. Very uncomfortable at times but not too bad if I keep concentrating on things like reunions and as Kiwanis Secretary.’ Bob underwent bypass surgery in May 2009, but is expected to make a full recovery. He now has a pacemaker.


Since his wife Dorothy passed away three years ago, Davis Edwards spends much of his time visiting family and friends relatives from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, and even into the USA. His travel trailer has crossed the continent 10 times since 2001, and has made other jaunts locally. Davis had planned to be in Arizona last winter, then go to northern BC and southern Yukon this summer helping his geologist son doing research. 


Jackie Gibbs wrote that there was a Veteran’s Memorial Highway in Langford BC. The list is growing. She is a member of,


             ‘a group of Naval Air widows that meet once a month for lunch. We have lots of  laughs and exchange navy news and gossip. Jean [Pumple] Howe, Claire Welsh,  Mary Laurie, Hazel Bowman, Sue Coell and me are the regulars. Joy Storrs  used to join us until her family moved her to Ottawa, and Shirley Ross until she fell and broke her shoulder. We are hoping that she will be back with us in the   future…A few times Peggy Buchanan and Corinne Burns came over from the mainland. Pat Muncaster too.’


Last year Casey Hale wrote that he jokingly called the HMCS TECUMSEH  fighter display ‘VF 924’. John Grant e-mailed to say that there had been a USN Reserve VF924 in St Louis Missouri. John wrote, ‘My wife and I have migrated back to California to enjoy retirement here with family and friends. I am still active in emergency … although it is pretty well volunteer nowadays.’ John works in Amateur Radio, KF6OCX, as Certified  Emergency Manager, Concord V.I.P.s, and Concord CERT Operations Chief.


Judy Harper, ex-HS 50, is well retired, spending some time in the Caribbean and some in the Carolinas on golf junkets. She also enjoys volunteering in Ottawa schools, as well as ‘making quilts for cancer patients.’


Al Hawthorne is probably either packing in Cambridge, Ontario, or unpacking in Calgary as you read this letter. He spent several weeks in Alberta and BC last year, and has decided to move to Calgary where his daughter lives. The new address in the Annex may be  a temporary one, as he is still looking for the best available accommodations. He is due to leave Cambridge for Calgary on or about 25 June.


Gil Hutton and Eileen Church were married at HMCS Star in Hamilton in June 2008. Gil was a member of the former CNAG Tracker in Toronto, and remains a member of the NOAC. Eileen was a member of the WREN Association. They also celebrated their ‘combined’ birthdays: Their ‘combined’ age totalled 170 years.


Peter Holmes is retired in the Ottawa area. He writes,


            ‘Since August 2007 I have been the organizer of the last reunion of the remaining  crew members, and their friends of Canadian World War II ships HMC Ships  Sarnia, Esquimalt, and the German Submarine U-190. These veterans are those associated  with Esquimalt, the last Canadian warship to be sunk in WW2. She  was sunk 1945-4-16 near the Halifax East Light Vessel by the U 190. Subsequently Sarnia rescued 27 survivors and recovered 13 casualties. Two of  Sarnia’s crew will attend the reunion, along with the Chief Engineering Officer of  the U-190. Several other Canadians cannot make it to the reunion.’


Peter is especially interested in ‘Exercise Scupper’, a combined multi-ship and aircraft  operation to sink the U-190 near the spot where Esquimalt was sunk, set for Trafalgar Day in 1947. The details of the exercise are shown in Stu Soward’s book ‘Hands to Flying Stations’, but Peter wondered if any of the pilots who were directly involved were still alive. I did not know any who were still alive, but thought that Kam Maxwell was the Observer in one of the Fireflies. Does any reader have further knowledge of the Firefly crews?


Peter’s reunion was held in Halifax in July last year.


Robbie and Diana Hughes wrote from Texas at Christmas, saying, ‘[2008] was rather uneventful for us. I think the biggest item in memory was the weather. A late spring with ice on the lake well into April and four feet of snow blanketing our driveway when we returned at the beginning of the month, all which led to a diminished golf, season!!... Sadly, we grew one year older, but left for the south on time via a stop with Pete and Joy Wright in Waterloo. The drive from Detroit to here was accomplished in 2 ½ days – 3000 km and only two overnight stops. At this point in time we plan to come again in 2009; we are keeping our fingers crossed!’


I had a brief e-mail from Sandy Kerr’s wife Terry. Sandy is keeping busy as usual, including working at the annual Harvest Fest for the Hospice Association in Montague, PEI. Volunteers make the world go ‘round.


Bill Kavanagh and Leo Pettipas had an e-mail exchange on whether the term ‘Observers Mate’ was used in the Royal Navy. Bill was in the Royal Navy but had trained as an Observer in Shearwater 1n 1955/56. He flew in Avengers here, and in Fireflys and Gannets in the FAA. His recollection was that the term OM was used in the RN, but wasn’t sure that  it was the official term. Leo was looking for information for an historical paper that he was writing.


Vince Lambie served in both HMC Ships Magnificent and Bonaventure, and HMCS Shearwater, where he was a senior Supply Officer. Many of us considered him to be very erudite, as he proved by learning to speak Vietnamese while a peace-keeper there, and after retiring earning a law degree from Dalhousie. A story from his time  in the air station was that at a Heads of Departments chaired by the XO, [possibly Boomer Cox] Vince expressed reservations over a decision by the Chair, saying ‘Chacun a son gout’, translated as ‘each to his own taste’; to which the XO retorted, ‘On this base, Lambie, it’s to my effing gout!’ Vince died in January this year.


Mike Langman is suffering from dementia, according to a mention in the FAAOA News Sheet.[I’m not sure that the Langman  mentioned in News Sheet was the same Mike who flew in Canada.]


 J J Lehmann has finished most of the renovations to his home in Greely, just south of Ottawa. He sees old Venture friends frequently. His wife, Isabel, does a fair amount of travel in her new job, but they would welcome visitors at any time.


En route to Liverpool NS last year, we stopped in for tea with Mike McCall in his home in Centreville near Hall’s Harbour on the North Mountain just north of Kentville. Mike was looking for another venue for his occasional luncheons since the former venue had become less suitable after some recent renovations. Mike had just returned from swimming in the pool at Acadia University: The Bay of Fundy would have been too cold on that October day – and most others. Mike’s spouse, Jo Currie, was away on business, so we did not meet her. This year they expect to be doing much of their travelling separately, but they are both healthy and happy, enjoying the pleasant Annapolis Valley, with their garden and woodlot. Mike mentioned that he saw Jim Stegen and Andy Anderson among others from time to time.


Last fall, we met with Bud and Millie MacLean in their home near Ottawa. Bud mentioned that all the military museums in Calgary were being amalgamated into one on the former CFB Calgary. The navy fighters that were in the reserve division, HMCS Tecumseh, were among the displays to be moved. George Pumple says that the move went well, and the reviews were very good. The museums complex is now called The Military Museums. They are seen to be the largest military museum in Western Canada.


Bud and Gord Moyer have been very helpful to me over the years, and were instrumental in sending greetings to the FAA from CNAG for their 100th anniversary. George Pumple has supplied many anecdotes to me and to Warrior Magazine, the new voice of SAM and SAMF, replacing the former newsletter.


Rolfe Monteith have booked to attend the formal dinner for Fly Navy 100, along with Geoff Johnson, Bob Stevens, and Bruce Vibert. Rolfe had called me to find out if there was any interest in the Fleet Air Arms Fly Navy 100 programme.


Farcical Flights and Pilot Pranks. [From a letter-to-the-editor by Dr J Mawer, sent along by Allison Neilly.]


            Seven other passengers and I were sitting in a light aircraft awaiting our departure to Bird Island. A belligerent man with a large handle bar moustache was reading  his Daily Telegraph in the front row, broadcasting his displeasure to the world about the tardiness of the pilot.


            ‘After a couple of salvos he began shouting that, if the wretched man didn’t turn up soon, he would fly the aircraft himself. We sat in stunned mute paralysis as he eventually stood up, slid into the pilot’s seat, started the engine and took off. It was explained later that he was the scheduled pilot and that we had experienced one of his party tricks. Apparently, another one was to come in to land, touch down, then open up the throttles and roar back into the sky with a “Sorry, wrong island.”’


In a reply to the letter from Dr Mawer, Lawrence Roth wrote about a British Airways captain.


            ‘At the end of each flight, he would emerge from the flight deck wearing dark glasses, and tap his way down the aisle with a white stick. Another favourite was to announce en route to somewhere like Oslo that they would shortly complete their flight to Prague. When passengers complained, he would do an exaggerated turn and say if they really wanted Oslo, he didn’t like Prague anyway and so           would change course.”’


Roger McEachern and I are in frequent communications by e-mail or telephone. He lives in Sudbury, and was in one of the early OM classes before he joined JAOBTC 7 as a midshipman. Roger lost his daughter Catherine this winter due to undetermined causes, possibly a reaction to prescription medications. It is said that there is nothing more painful than the loss of a child, even a grown one. Many of us can testify to the truth of that statement. This January he e-mailed me about a fine CD by the Atlantic Forces band. He found it on their web site,


Marge Pickering wrote to me last December after Hal’s death She said,


            ‘[Naval Aviation] was dear to “Pick’s” heart. His happiest years were spent in the  Air Branch as a navigator or “looker” as he often mentioned. Hal was a kind and  gentle man. He loved music and played with the local orchestra as a trumpeter    and sometimes drummer for quite a few years. We had a happy marriage, 62 years together. He was good natured with a wry sense of humour. He was a great punster and drove me crazy with his silly puns. He died with a smile on his face after all his suffering.’


He was also a member of CNAG Toronto Chapter, and will be missed. One of his poems is reproduced in the Annex. Marge noted that, ‘He wrote that poem sitting at the kitchen table in Cochrane many years ago.’


Harry Porter has moved, but is still in Halifax. His new address is in the annex.


George Plawski reported that his 2007 Mess Dinner had 68 attendees, and Peter C Newman as guest speaker [WOW!] with Malcolm McCullough presiding over the event. His 2008 guest was RADM Ken Sommers, Deb’s boss in Washington in the early 1990s. George had data-base problems in 2008, having lost the previous address list for the annual dinners, which are held in the Wardroom of CFB Esquimalt early in December. George ‘[got] along with a little help from his friends.’ George wrote a  comical tale of his search for grouse in the Kelowna which he used as opening remarks at the 2008 dinner, and probably tore the house down.  While in the Kelowna, he visited Charlie Poirier and Larry Washbrook. The tale is too long to repeat here, but it would be worth hearing from George when you next see him.


Details of the annual mess dinner are available from George Plawski at:


            George Plawski

            401 – 2025 West 2nd Avenue, Vancouver BC V6J 1J6

            Tel. 604 738 7543, email –


George recommends a book published by Linc Alexander entitled UFOs, Alien Thought Machines, which you can order from the author at – [There’s an underscore after ‘linc’.] He gave no other information on the book.


Ross Riddell, a former RCN and RCAF[R] officer with naval air connexions, now lives in Alabama but has family and friends in Ontario: Windsor,  Niagara Falls, Toronto, and Ottawa. He served in the air force reserves in Toronto before moving to the USA, and comes back occasionally for visits to his former haunts.


While waiting for a haircut in a local barber shop, I saw a young man interrupt the cutting twice to answer his cell phone. The barber took it in his stride.


Bill Rikely was one of the first to inform me about my error in reporting that Shirley  Bays had died.  She had NOT. He noted that she sounded alive and vibrant when he called her last June. Bill said, ‘My association with naval aviation goes back to 1945 in the original 803 Seafire Fighter Squadron. I first flew into RCAF Station Dartmouth in a Seafire XV from the carrier “Warrior” in March 1946, on its initial voyage from the UK to Halifax.’


Dennis Shaw put his remembrances of the Shearwater Players in the winter edition of the SAM Foundation Newsletter, as it was then called. The Players put on many shows, and won many awards during their many years of performing; but they received scant recognition within the general Shearwater community. Dennis’ fine article will do much to bring them the prominence they deserve.  


Russ Spiller has had a spell of heart-related bad health recently, but still was able to host the tri-ennial naval air reunion in New Zealand. He is a charter member of the Aquarium Museum in Napier, North Island, noting  that there are few other charter members – after half a century.  He is looking for a documentary video of USN Admiral Nimitz with  Ronald Regan containing pictures of the USN Pacific Fleet in 1944/45, especially its logistic train.


Russ mentioned that he was going flying again in the Stearman N23, wearing his USN leather jacket. He extends an invitation for any naval air members to spend time with him in Napier, one of the many most scenic and friendly places in ‘the land of the long white cloud’. The wineries are great, too.


If you want to contact Russ on the video or to take up his offer of his lodgings, his addresses is:


            Russ and Corinne Spiller

            5 Kennedy Rd

            Napier North Island, NZ 4110

            Tel. 068355548


Tom Stauffer attended the funeral of Rosemary Joyce Winchester in the Comox area in February. Tom and I were crewed with Nick in Sea Kings in about 1968. Nick is now using a wheel chair. Tom has moved to Black Creek BC on an acreage that he is clearing of brush. At Christmas, his wife Pat was wishing that the clearing would soon end, and that Tom would be back in his shop doing other projects. Pat has a studio in the new home, and was showing some of her paintings in December. She also teaches painting in the community.  Two of their children, Craig and Leslie, are working in the entertainment industry, while Scott has a computer business, and Joan teaches in grade school.



QUINTE QUEST REUNION, CNAG 2009 will be held in Trenton Ontario from 18 -20 September hosted by Sea King Chapter. Registration forms were mailed to chapters in April, and placed on the CNAG web site, The registration fee is $95.00 per person. For further details, contact John Eden at 613 394 0316 or email at


 [This will probably be the last reunion in Ontario, so please consider attending. Editor.]


CNAG 2010 is expected to be held in Halifax, but information is not yet available. The reunion may NOT be held in the usual September-October time frame because of possible conflicts with other events around the centenary of the Royal Canadian Navy.


Cards, emails, notes, telephone calls and brief letters etc were received from Jill Arnsdorf, Gerry Bevan, Cliff Davis [ex-FAA], Pat Donaghy [ex 101 Communication Flight], Kevin Doyle [ex-FAA], Phil Foulds, Sid Gould, Guy LaRamee, Don Neilson [ex-FAA], George Otterman, and Leo Pettipas.





N.B. To avoid duplication, all book reviews/recommendations are now consolidated in the section noted as special interest to FAA members in Canada.


Sea King Replacement. [From an article by Murray Brewster, Canadian Press, published in the Mail Star 24 December 2008, edited for length. The article was titled ‘Sikorsky gets extra $117m in altered deal to replace Sea Kings.’


            ‘Canada’s air force will take delivery of its first new maritime helicopter in half a  century by November 2010 and with changes that will cost $117m. Defence ` sources tell the Canadian Press that a deal with the US defence contractor  was concluded recently. It resulted in a firm delivery date for the first of 28 CG-148 Cyclones, which was initially supposed to start flying from the Canadian  warships last month. “We hope to have the program on track relatively soon,” said a senior Defence official who spoke on background... The first helicopter – known by tail  number 001 – is expected to arrive at Shearwater …and will be used to train flight crews… The aircraft-maker isn’t expected to complete delivery of all aircraft until 2012, and the fleet won’t be fully operational until 2013. National Defence is confident enough with the timetable that it has begun drawing  up a schedule to retire its antique of CH-124 Sea Kings… The Cyclone’s design  was based on Sikorsky’s already proven H-92 civilian helicopter, which is widely used in the offshore oil industry.’   


Shearwater Aviation Museum and Foundation. This year the Museum is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary. Christine Hines, Curator, wrote in Warrior, Spring 2009,                        


            ‘We started celebrating [the Centennial of powered flight in Canada] in Nova Scotia on the weekend of 20th of February: the year of celebration was officially   launched at Baddeck by the Silver Dart Centennial Association. We’ll continue to celebrate all year long with an ambitious schedule of events, by ourselves and in partnership with our colleagues and friends at museums and Veteran’s organizations across Canada.


            ‘Our events include our annual Spring Hobby Show opening the museum’s 2009 season ...with the unveiling of our Piaseki helicopter, the completion of our  T-33 facelift, two “Flight” themed art shows, in conjunction with Visual Arts Nova Scotia and the Canadian Aviation Artists Association, as well as the run up of the Firefly’s Griffon engine in early summer. Whew! It’s my sincere hope     you’ll be able to help us celebrate at one of our celebratory events this year!


            ‘ … The SAMF campaign to help us raise funds for a purpose-built storage and maintenance facility is much needed, and the process of fundraising gives us time      to design ideal storage layout and specialty equipment for working on our artefacts [large and small] to better tell the Shearwater story. Without such a facility, our ability to preserve Shearwater’s heritage treasures will be compromised indeed. Thank you for allowing us the privilege of looking after your history!          


            ‘Look for a Centennial of Flight event near you!’


Gord Edwards  has taken over from Harry Porter  as the Chairman of the Foundation. On Christmas Eve 2008, a ‘Gordon Edwards’ from Halifax  wrote in the Halifax Mail Star commenting on the new additions to the Senate. ‘Upper Trough’ ‘last straw’, ‘would not get my vote for dogcatcher’ and ‘too stupid’ were among the comments. Could that be the gentleman that we know and love?


2010. The Centennial of the Navy. The National Capital Commission [Ottawa/Hull for practical purposes] is planning to build a two million dollar monument to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the navy. According to the press release of 22 January 2009, it will be just upstream from Parliament Hill next to the Canadian War Museum.’ The site is called Richmond Landing, ‘the place where, 200 years ago, all Ottawa River boat traffic came ashore.’ 


Other celebrations include the presentation of a centennial bell at a ceremony featuring ‘waters from Canada’s three oceans, the Great Lakes and an area of international maritime operations’ collected by Canadian ships, a Royal Visit this June to Vancouver where Prince Edward and Countess Sophie will unveil a ship’s mast in Stanley Park, and a ceremony recalling our colonial roots by marking the 250th anniversary of the Halifax Dockyard. Also planned for Labour Day is a Fleet Review, with an all-ranks dinner and ball, at a time and place yet to be decided.


[Thanks go to Lew Langstaff for forwarding this information from a Canwest News Service, and to Bob Willson of Bumph magazine from the Toronto NOAC. Bob is retiring from his editorship; he and Lew are two of my best sources of naval information.] For up-to-date details of events in the centennial celebration, call NDHQ, or  check the web site at -




The Fleet. In an article in Legion Magazine, November/December 2008,  David Bercuson, Professor of Military Studies in University of  Calgary, wrote an article entitled ‘Cancelled Ships Leave Navy lacking’, in which he noted that ‘plans to build three support ships and twelve mid-shore patrol vessels for the Coast Guard were precipitously cancelled.’ He also pointed out that the Chinese were building a blue-water navy, and the Russians were re-building theirs. Other navies were following similar programmes, causing inflation in the shipbuilding industry. A Zumwalt Class destroyer now costs one BILLION dollars.  Canada has no back-up plan for its fleet, ‘but there is no alternative. It’s time to get on with it. The longer the dithering, the greater the pain.’


Wear red on Friday. Many veterans’ organizations are promoting the wearing of red on Fridays to show support for our troops in Afghanistan and elsewhere.


The Memorial Cross/Sacrifice Medal. The policy governing the eligibility for the cross has been changed. Until now they were only given to mothers of servicemen who died in war overseas, as was true for my mother’s Memorial Cross: Father died in France in 1944. Three crosses may now be awarded to family members. According to Legion Magazine, November/December 2008, the Governor General has announced a new Sacrifice medal for, ‘those who died or were badly wounded as a direct result of hostile action.’ It appears to be somewhat similar to the US Purple Heart. Eligibility will be back dated, but dates were not available. For more details, contact NDHQ or the DND web site. A later issue of Legion magazine opined that a large number of soldiers are suffering from hearing losses due to the explosive devices that have been so common in Afghanistan.


The Governor General announced that eleven soldiers were to be awarded medals for valour, including two who would received the Star of  Valour, which is second only to the Victoria Cross.


Stolen Bell-Irving medals found. [From an article by James Keller, Canadian Press, in the Halifax mail Star, 6 June 2008.]


            ‘Vancouver. More than 40 years ago, a thief made off with a collection of ten medals earned by Aeneas Bell-Irving in the First and Second world wars. On   Thursday, the medals were returned to his family after a surprising discovery in a most unlikely place. Vancouver police happened upon the medals last month while executing an unrelated search warrant as part of a drug investigation…The collection  includes the Member of the Order of the British Empire.’ This is the late Brian Bell-Irving’s family.


Canadian question. How do you stop strips of bacon from curling in the pan?


Answer. You take away their brooms.


USN VS/VP  Squadrons. The last VS squadron in the USN was [or will be] deactivated  this year, and the VP fleet is down to less than 100 aircraft of the original 288. [From an e-mail from LCDR G A Bonnel.] The last Tracker, #133160, is in the RAN FAA Museum in Nowra, NSW.


RAN/FAA Helicopters. [Based on a press release from the Australian Minister of Defence, The Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon, dated 2 May 2009.] The new Australian government is to acquire,


            ‘24 advanced new naval combat helicopters … The new helicopter fleet will be equipped with active dipping sonars … and will therefore provide the navy with an increased ability to detect submarines at greater ranges and depths than is presently the case. They will also be equipped with modern torpedos able to quickly attack and destroy submarines while also capable of carrying short-to-medium range anti-ship missiles… In addition to the new combat helicopters, the Navy will also be modernizing its aviation fleet with the acquisition of six new MTH-90 helicopters to replace its Sea King helicopters. These large state-of-the-art helicopters, equipped with an infrared system for use in low-light conditions, will be employed as a utility and general purpose helicopter in large support and amphibious ships.’


[Comment.]  The RAAF is also looking to new VP aircraft with enhanced ASW capability. It is interesting to contrast the polices of the USN and RAN with respect to ASW. Some military analysts in Canada have recommended that the Canadian Navy should be concentrating more on the ASW role, especially in the Pacific and Arctic Oceans.


The RAN FAA celebrated its sixtieth anniversary last year.


Centenary of Aviation in Canada. 2009 is the centenary of aviation in Canada, in that the first powered flight was made from Lake Baddeck, Cape Breton, in February 1909. Gord Grey attended the repeat flight made last winter.


Toronto Aerospace Museum.  The former Toronto Aerospace Museum has been re-named as the Canadian Air & Space Museum.   The membership of the museum’s foundation felt that the new name more accurately describes the collection in the museum. They are still in the same location at the former RCAF/CFB Downsview, using at least one building where the Tracker aircraft were built. The foundation has started a new fund drive to help improve the museum’s collection as well as making extensive renovations to the museum’s old buildings.


Among the aircraft being renovated is a Lancaster bomber. Recently various groups from Toronto joined a project to fill the bomber with food  that was then donated to the local food bank. The project was in memory of Operation Manna in April 1945, when 300 Lancs dropped thousands of loads of food to the starving people of the Netherlands who were still in enemy hands. [From an article in SNAP, NORTH YORK vol.1 #8, May 2009.]


OMs/AESOPs Banyan in Shearwater 28-30 August.  The Banyan/reunion will be held in Shearwater 28-30 August 2009. This year’s reunion is called ‘The Banyan East 2009’, so its planners have organized  ‘a Meet and Greet, Up Spirits, Museum Visit, Dinner Cruise, Memorial Visit and lots of time for socializing.’ There will also be a visit to Point Pleasant Park, including a gathering at the Peacetime Sailors Memorial, [Bonaventure anchor.] For more information, contact  Fred Illingworth at 22 – 85 Westgrove Pl, Halifax NS B3M 3L9 or by e-mail at – Accommodation may be available in Shearwater or Stadacona.  The deadline for registration is 31 July, but reservations for Dinner Cruise close 30 June.


Naval Club of Toronto.  The building near Yonge and Bloor Streets in central Toronto was taken over for redevelopment, so the club moved farther east along Bloor street and Danforth Ave. Not long afterwards, the building fell down! A new building was designed, and it is expected that a new Naval Club will arise at 1793 Danforth Ave sometime in 2009.


 Nova Scotia  International Air Show. The air show will be held in Yarmouth this year on 12th and 13th September.


Auckland New Zealand War Memorial Museum.  The museum has since 2007 been run by a Canadian, Doctor Vanda Vitali, with a PhD from the University of Toronto.  She was most recently in the History Museum of Los Angeles.


Veterans’ Ombudsman. Canada’s Veterans Ombudsman is former colonel Patrick Stogran, a graduate of RMC, and a veteran of various peace-keeping missions, including service in Bosnia.  He served as a member of the Legion’s Defence and Veterans Service and Seniors committees, and was an observer on the New Veteran’s Charter Advisory Group before taking the new challenge in Veterans Affairs. He has a black belt in karate


CONGRATULATIONS AND BEST WISHES TO Bob and Joyce Bissell on their wedding in South Africa, and Gil and Eileen Hutton on theirs in Hamilton Ontario; to Nancy Garapick [Nick’s daughter] for being inducted in the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame; to Elizabeth and Barry Montgomery for their 50th wedding anniversary; and to Frances and Irwin Stutt for their sixtieth anniversary.  [Irwin taught many of the JAOBTC midshipmen]. 


News of special interest to FLEET AIR ARM readers in Canada


[Mainly from the FAA Officers’ Association ‘News Sheet’ edited by John Shears, various 2008 and 2009 editions, as well as FAA Centenary News, issues 2, and 3. NB. The list of events is NOT complete, and the listing of deaths does not contain all FAA personnel who died during the period, but only those who were shown to have some connexion to Canada.]


Fly Navy 100 [FN 100]. The Fleet Air Arm is planning for its upcoming Centennial celebrations, with some details already available. The Centennial acknowledges the arrival of the first aircraft to be taken on strength by the Royal Navy, and it can be seen as the beginning of naval aviation in Europe. Meetings were held throughout 2008, and a website is now available. The chairman of the committee was Rear Admiral Terry Loughran CB, Royal Navy.


Much work has been done to get the word to former and distant FAA members who might wish to travel to the UK in 2009. Following is a list of scheduled events, updated to 1 June  2009. [Events before 1 June 2009, are omitted.] More current details are available from the office at Yeovilton, shown below.




Fly Navy 100 Contact addresses


Main Contact.

RNAS  Yeovilton, Ilchester, Somerset, BA22 8HT, UK.

Tel. 01935 456 530 or 456 150.

E-mail –

Website –


Canadian contact 

Ted Cruddas, 10 Kenneth Ave, #1804, Toronto, ON, M2N 6K6 ,Canada.

Tel. 416 224 5477.

E-mail –


Programme of Events 2009


Friday 3 July 2009

Opening of ‘One Hundred Years of Naval Flying’ Exhibition, Fleet Air Arm Museum,   RNAS Yeovilton.


Saturday 4 July 2009

Jungly Cocktail party, Hazelgrove House, Sparkford, Somerset.


Thursday 9 July 2009

Centenary of Naval Aviation, Royal Garden Party, Buckingham Palace.


Saturday 11 July 2009

RNAS Yeovilton Air Day.


Saturday/Sunday 18/19 July 2009

Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire. Fly Navy 100 Centenary            fly past.


Friday 24 July 2009

Fly Navy Fly Past over Eastchurch, Isle of Sheppey. Centenary fly past over the birthplace of  Naval Aviation and home of the first Royal Naval Air Station, as part of Sky Sheppey 2009.


Wednesday 29 July 2009

RNAS Culdrose Air Day.


Saturday 29 August 2009

Channel Dash Association dedication of Swordfish Memorial,  Manston,  in memory of  the unsurpassed bravery of the Channel Dash heroes.


Saturday 5 September - Sunday 6 September 2009.

Navy Days 2009Meet Your Navy, Devonport Naval Base.


Friday 11 September 2009

Dedication of the Fleet Air Arm Memorial, National Arboretum, Staffordshire.


Friday 16 October 2009

The Britannia Centenary of Naval Aviation Dinner, Fly Navy Heritage Trust, onboard the former HMY Britannia in Leith.


Friday 23 October 2009

Fly Navy 100 Fly Past and Reception HMS Illustrious  in Liverpool.


Saturday 7 November 2009

Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance, Royal Albert Hall.


Thursday 10 December 2009

Centenary Gala Dinner, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich.


Along with the events, the organizers have already made orders for Old Stringbag Beer, celebratory postage stamps, and the Fly Navy Federation Limited Edition single malt whiskey, some batches having been aged 25 or 50 years. Canada Post has the Isle of Man – 100 years of Naval Aviation Presentation Pack available through their stamp collectors magazine ‘Collections of Canada’ for $10.99. The pack has pictures of a Barracuda, Harrier, Buccaneer, Fairey Flycatcher [a fighter from 1924 to1932], Westland Merlin helo, and a Submarine Scout Airship, with other aircraft or ships in the backgrounds.  You can order them by phone at 800 565 4362, quoting product number 346553; the website is They may also be available in Canada Post stores.


Canadian and Commonwealth Involvement. The organizers were sent a list of possibilities for Canadian media who might be interested in receiving press releases. The only known event is from a Nova Scotia theatre group called Wartime Heritage Association. Their 2008/2009 theatre production is called, ‘Echoes of the Forties – Songs and Stories of a Wartime Generation’, and it will be played in various places in the Atlantic Provinces and in England. Their website is – They can be contacted via Vice President Glen Gaudet, Wartime Heritage Association, 220 – 1991 Brunswick St, Halifax NS B3J 2G9.


The FAA has acknowledged the contributions of Commonwealth personnel to the heritage of the FAA, and Commonwealth organizations are kept in touch every step of the way. French and US organizations are also being informed.


Any reader wishing more details than are shown here can contact me at any of the addresses above and at the beginning this newsletter. I would appreciate hearing from any readers who know of any events in their area.


First Flight. [From News Sheet September 2008.]


            ‘The successful first flight of a supersonic fighter took place on 11 June [2008] at  Lockheed Martin’s Texas plant. The F35B, a stealthy fighter-bomber, made a  conventional take off and landing, and climbed to 15,000 feet for a series of  handling, engine and other systems checks.’


The supersonic aircraft will form the next generation of Navy and RAF jump-jets and part of the Defence Joint Strike Fighter [JFS] project.  The JSF will fly off the two new Royal aircraft carriers. Contracts for the new carriers were made in July, 2008. They will be named HMS Queen Elizabeth, and HMS Prince of Wales.  They are expected to enter  service in 2014 and 2016.  According to the First Sea Lord, Sir Jonathon Band, they, ‘will be the largest and most potent warships ever designed and built in the UK’.


Precision bomb. The Naval Strike Wing of Joint Force Harrier operating in Afghanistan during the latter part of last year had the challenge of being the first unit world wide to deploy the new, next-generation smart weapon, the precision guided bomb, Paveway IV, on operations.


Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown MBE, OBE, CBE, DSC, AFC, RN, celebrated his 90th birthday this spring. He is the RN’s most decorated pilot, and was the first man to land a jet aircraft at sea.  


Sea Harrier Association. This newly-formed organization is open to all ranks, and invites current and former members of the Harrier community to join. The Harrier was in service with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines for twenty-seven years. Contact Fraz Fraser or Jimmy Henrick at 01935 455327 or email   


Fly Past Over Eastchurch. On Friday, 24 July 2009, a formation of current and historic aircraft of the FAA will fly over Eastchurch on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, the birthplace of naval Aviation and home of the first Royal Naval Air Station. The flypast will be the opening event of Sky Sheppey 2009, a weekend of flying displays, events, and exhibitions celebrating 100 years of British aviation.


Recently deceased FAA members or associates.


For other passings, please see the RCN/CF/Canadian list of ‘Gone but not forgotten’ near the end of this newsletter.


The Reverend Ivor James Brown,  John A L Carter, Henry George Clendinning,

Wm ‘Hank’ Coates. Reginald Arthur Elliott, James F Mason, John ‘Jack’ M Philp, Duke Muncaster RCN, John ‘Jack’ McLean Philp, and Michael Spillman.




BAVEVICH,  Andrew J. The Limits of Power, Henry Holt and Co. 180 pages. ISBN 13

978 0 8050 8815 1, ISBN 10 0 850 8815 6. price unknown. ‘A good and easy read about the risks to the US [and Canada] of US imperialism.’ An anonymous reader. 


ELSON, Bryan. Nelson’s Yankee  Captain: The Life of Boston Loyalist Sir Benjamin Hallowell, Formac Publishing Co Ltd, Halifax NS 2009. 320 pages. ISBN 9878 0 88780 751 0. C$29.95. ‘…a fascinating look at the career of a highly successful seagoing officer during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars’ Bob Willson, Starshell.

Bryan is a former RCN submariner, and would be known to many of us.


FAY, John. Golden Wings and Navy Blue, Hallmark Press International 2008. 248 pages. ISBN 978 1 906 459 024. Price GBP8.94. ‘… a fine book for those wanting to expand their knowledge of the war at sea waged against great odds of inferior equipment and inexperienced commanders.’ Nick Kerr, News Sheet.


KEY, Alan. The Fleet Air Arm: An Illustrated History. Scoval Publishing 2008. 235 pages. ISBN 978 1 902236 10 0. Price GBP 30. ‘Thoroughly recommended’. John Shears, News Sheet.


NAFTEL, William D. Halifax at War, Formac Publishing, 2008. 285 pages, ISBN 978-0-88870-739-8.Price C$24.95. ‘Recommended for those interested in the minutiae of life in wartime Halifax.’ Reviewed by Jan Drent, Starshell.


News for Former CNAG Tracker Members


John and Mary Bailey, and George West are still active in the air museum in Downsview. George joined Ed Janusas and Fred Rol for the Dutch Liberation ceremonies in Hamilton. George and Hattie are well, though George has back problems. Ed has made a new wreath for the memorial ceremonies that he presents for naval air  widows. Fred and George Hotham will be participating at the air show in Fort Erie. Fred’s travels are being curtailed somewhat since Lianne needs dialysis from hospitals now. They do still travel, but stay closer to home now. Fred is in touch with Harry Windsor on the Net. Harry expects to attend the OM/Aesops Banyan in Shearwater this summer. Fred probably won’t, but expects to be in Trenton for the Reunion.  


We dropped in on Bob Campbell in his home in Dundas en route to Niagara-on-the-Lake last fall. Bob and I talk frequently by telephone, and less often by e-mail. Bob is slowly losing mobility because of leg problems, but can still drive,so he carries a wheelchair in his car. His academic son is now in Ottawa, still fine-tuning his Ph D thesis.


John Eden is still as busy as ever with naval air matters and a Trenton service club. See also the note on  John and Bob Findlay earlier in this letter. June and Paul Fleming are both well, though travelling much less because of Paul’s joint problem, which has not yet needed surgery.  Bill Gourlie was operated on for cancer this year, and was expected to recover fully at  last report. Hoss Voss is enjoying good health, and sends his best wishes to his many friends.


George Moran turned 80 last year, and was required to take the written exam for drivers. In Ontario, the province currently waives the on-street exam because of the cost involved,  but George was told that he needed a driving test prove his ability to handle a motorcycle. George had never driven a motorcycle, so he was quite surprised. It seems that George’s first operator’s license, acquired in Nova Scotia in the 1940s, had for some reason been certified for motorcycles. George moved first to Quebec and later to Ontario, but no one questioned the certification. Rather than buy a bike and learn to drive it, George decided to have the certification removed.  


See page 9 for comments on the death of Hal Pickering , and one of his poems in the Annex. I sent a sympathy card on behalf of the former CNAG Tracker, in which he was a member. Another former member, Joe Vangalen passed away from cancer in late October, 2008. Roger McEachern’s daughter died suddenly in March 2009.


The Sea King Chapter meeting in May was attended by Len and Dorothy Cook, Faith Gurman, Ed Janusas, Joe Mazmanian, Stu Mingo, George and Hattie West, and myself.   Marion Marsden was away cruising, so she missed the meeting.

I was unable to contact Bill Cooper, Anna Johnston, Ray Kneebone, Joe McBrien, Peter Spiers, or Una Walton.  Bill and Joe may have moved again. Peter was having problems with his telephone service when we last spoke, and may have an unlisted  number.  


Terminology corner. Unless otherwise noted, aviation terms are from ‘Words on the Wing’ by Tom Langeste, and naval terms are from ‘Origins of Sea Terms’ by John G Rogers.


Mahogany Bomber.  A desk-bound airman.


Manhelper. A long pole to which a paintbrush or scraper can be attached, for working on a ship’s side or bottom when in dry-dock.


Matthew Walker. A type of stopper knot. Said to be the only knot named for his inventor, believed to have been a rigger in a British navy yard.


Mike-Mike. Slang for ‘millimetre’ from its abbreviation, ‘mm’, as pronounced in the NATO phonetic alphabet, e.g. ‘What’s this aircraft armed with?’  ‘A pair of 40 mike-mikes.’


Mitten Money. Mitten money is the extra charge demanded by registered ships’ pilots in cold weather. [From Waterfront Watch, in Power Boating Canada, Volume 16 Number 2.]


Question for 2009. Many surnames come from common words. Here are the clues to naval airmen whose surnames are also common words.  Can you guess the surnames from the clues - ‘rude noise’, ‘lose memory’, and ‘a large piece of diving equipment.’ 


This newsletter contains significantly more Fleet Air Arm than usual, and some readers  may find it excessive; however, 2009 is a Centenary celebration for the Fleet Air Arm, and the RCN’s Air Branch owes much of its success to those FAA officers and men who helped set up naval aviation in Canada. As well, hundreds or thousands of Canadian served in or with the FAA, many for years, and a few, like myself, for just short periods of training. In addition, some of us have kept up the friendships with those FAA members we served and trained with, both here and in the UK. This newsletter already goes out to several ex-FAA readers in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Unfortunately the FAA organization in Canada has lost much of its active membership, Don Cooper and Ken West  for example, and the remainder haven’t the wherewithal to write a newsletter. This newsletter tries, in a small way, to bridge the gap. In a much smaller way, the newsletter keeps ex-Tracker Chapter, CNAG, in touch.


Thanks to the those who helped with the newsletter, especially my proofreaders. Any errors that you find are mine. To all of you I send my best wishes, and my thanks for your support. Your aye.






By LCDR H L Pickering


I see a tree in springtime green

Fluffing its hair in airs serene

Midsummer comes, and leaves are girt

With dust and smoke and man-made dirt


When autumn comes the foliage tries

One last surge before it dies

And paints itself in many hues

To scorn the world and its abuse


When winter takes its toll at last

The tree is bent before the blast

 Of wind and ice and snow

But look, the buds are lying low


Defying nature’s vilest blow

Waiting for spring to start again

Their cycle of life in gentle rain

Let it grow!




By CDR/LCol Les East – RCN/CF Sea Kings 1966 -1977.

[With attribution to the USCG]


Oh, I have lifted vertically from the ground

And humbly joined the sky while wings swept round;

Forward I’ve flown while closely hugging earth

Beneath the clouds, and done a hundred things

You would not dare to do:

Auto’ed, hoisted and beeped while challenging fate

Hovering there, I’ve found the shifting winds around

And forced my Sea King through fearful turbulent air

Down amongst the low awaiting fog –

I’ve stayed above the sea

Through skill - where never Hornet nor even Aurora flew –

And while in the dip, I’ve listened to those

Who Fly on high; I’ve lifted my head and taken their abuse –

And somewhere God looked on me, and smiled.


S2F Tracker Reunion. The reunion in Las Vegas went well. Among those attending was Bob McNish. Gordon Bonnel mentioned that he still has some souvenirs from the reunion. You can contact him at his email is –


Federal Superannuates National Association. Although they still use the abbreviation FSNA, the association now uses the title National Association of Federal Retirees on their newsletter.


Answers to the 2009  questions. Ken Belch, Charles Forget, and J.H Bell - a qualified diver.  [There may be others who also fit the clues]


Generous financial assistance or assistance in kind was received from - anonymous,  

Stan Brygadyr, Jim Bond,, Kay Collacutt, David Cramton, Bill Davey, Ted Davis, Wes Donison, Harry Dubinsky, Davis Edwards, Jacqueline Gibb, Peter Holmes, George Plawski, Bill Rikely, and Jim Tateishi.


GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN. Jack Adam, [see the ‘Lives Lived’ column in the Globe and Mail 15 September 2008], Bob Allan, Ron Bezant, James E Brown, Ted Briggs [ the last survivor of the sinking of HMS Hood] Betty Cairney [wife of Jack],Brian Cartwright, George Douglas [RIN], Linley Forsyth, J R Hale, Roland Harrison, Anne Gibbon [wife of Ted], Thomas Graham, Jean Paul Jobin, Vince Lambie, RADM Wm Landymore, Alexander Lilly,[Chief test pilot RAF, and according to Legion Magazine, the first Canadian to break the sound barrier],Paul McCullough , Catherine McEachern [daughter of Roger McEachern], DA ‘Duke’ Muncaster, Patrick Nixon, Hal Pickering, Wayne Reaume, R H ‘Hank’ Reed [ex- East Camp], Charlie Regan, Audrey Rosenthall [wife of Les], Dorothy Searle [John’s wife], John Sosnkowski [Joe’s brother], Don Thexton [training officer for midshipman {air} in HMCS GASPE], Chas Porter, RJ  Winchester [Nick’s wife], and Sheila Zbitnew [Larry’s wife.]


[See also the FAA list earlier in this letter.]


There have been many tributes to Admiral Bill Landymore since his recent death. I was fortunate to have been one of his bridge officers in Bonaventure while ‘striking’ for my Watch keeper’s Certificate. Although I made many mistakes during those watches, he never chastised me. The closest he came was on a day when the ship had just left harbour after a three-day port visit. The Captain told me to alter course to, say, 180 degrees, but I ordered a change to 180 revolutions instead, catching the mistake immediately and correcting the order. After a moment, he turned to me from his bridge chair and said quietly, ‘We were only in port three days, Cruddas. Did you forget everything?’ But he said it with a smile, and eventually he awarded me that so-important certificate.


Address changes or corrections, including e-mails* and new readers**.


Jill Arnsdorf, Apt 307, 136 Darlington Private, Ottawa ON, K1V 0X6, TEL. 613 249      8804.


*Mel Babcook, e-mail –, tel. 256 760 7030.


Harry and Mary Carter, 790 Eastvale Dr, Ottawa ON,  K1J 7A1, email



David Cramton, 11 Denison St, Stratford ON,  N5A 5K6, tel. 519 305 1306, e-mail             <>.


L T C East, 4129 Burnley Close, Victoria BC,  V8N 5S6, tel. 250 477 5171, e-mail             <>.


*Ted Forman, e-mail


*Bob Featherstone, e-mail


*Bob Geale – new e-mail –


Jackie Gibbs, P1- 327 Maitland St, Victoria BC, V9A 7G7.


*John Grant, e-mail


Al Hawthorne, c/o Nicholas, 45 Deer Saxon Rd SE, Calgary AB, T2J 6P1 [effective      after 25 June 2009.]


owthorne, HH



Val MacIntosh, 162 Nawautin Dr S, Grafton ON, K0K 2G0, tel. 905 349 1143.


H A Porter, 5839 Cunard St, #204, Halifax NS, B3K 0B9., tel. 902 431 7455.


Tom and Pat Stauffer, 3727 Pinecrest  Rd, Black Creek BC, V9J 1E6,

            tel. 250 337 1474, e-mail < . [Underline between   first and last names.] 


Stuart Soward, #416 11 Cooperage Pl, Victoria BC V9A 7J9 , e-mail

            < [Underline between first and last names].


Thanks to those readers who sent in their address changes.