NEWS FROM THE READERS

PETE BERESFORD wrote from Scotland and forwarded a 1946 photo showing 883 RN Air Squadron around a Seafire XV at RNAS Machrihanish on the Mull of Kintyre. The picture was small, and the faces were not easily distinguishable, but I’ve forwarded it to the Shearwater Museum for their archives. Peter said,

‘883 Squadron consisted of RCAF pilots who had just re-mustered to the RCN and were being polished up to become the first-ever Canadian naval air squadron. They were destined to embark in either the Warrior or Magnificent , I don’t recall which, and I lost track of them as I was being de-mobbed immediately afterwards. The squadron formed on Seafires at Arbroath in Scotland in September 1945 shortly after VJ-Day, moved to Nutts Corner in Ireland, then back to Machrihanish in March ‘46, by which time it was up to operational standards and was given a Canadian number.

‘The CO. was Lt Cdr Tobias Joshua Aloysius [Spike] King-Joyce [Irish] and the Flight Commanders Lt Rip Petrie [a New Zealander] and myself, the only Brit. Otherwise it was an all-Canadian show. ... I don’t recall all the names of the pilots, but some come to mind with great affection and, if they read this, bless ‘em all.

Wally Walton was a Corsair ace, Horace Swiggum, the squadron comedian - every flight an adventure! Carl Hinch, who cartwheeled a Seafire down the runway whilst I was batting him on ADDLs, Ed Myers, Bob Laidler, Murky Clapp, Ken Nicholson, Abby Byrne, Berge, Danley, Bell, and Blinkhorn. What a great crowd! They enlivened the Wardroom, and the popsies and pubs of Dundee [the Mercat’s Cross was their spiritual home] and brought with them a repertoire of colourful [mainly blue] songs and stories which were a refreshing change to the ones we were used to. They also introduced a number of new and ingenious variants of poker which kept them solvent and the locals in penury. It was my swan-song before reverting to civilian life, and I must say I’ve never had more fun before or since. Where did the last half-century go?’

Thanks for the fine letter, Pete. Anyone who would like to get in touch with Peter can contact him by e-mail at - theoacks@maconline.co.uk

theoaks@maconline.co.uk. His mailing address is The Oaks, Church Lane, Westbere, Canterbury, CT2 0HA, UK.

Bob Bissell may be giving up the sailor’s life soon, according to Marsh Dempster.

Bob has his boat up for sale in what is a buyers’ market these days. Marsh has already sold his boat, and has returned to PEI for good. Both Bob and Marsh still hope to sail together for a few more years.

Dave Bright has been involved in some interesting legal cases over the last few years. In one recent case he defended the Cape Breton regional police force in a case in which they were accused of neglect when a drug user died in their custody.

Ken Brown has moved back to Dartmouth from Cornwallis, after finding that he was

‘... spending half my life on the notorious 101 highway transiting to HRM [Halifax Regional Municipality -ed] for meetings, and that’s not healthy in the winter. Besides, I have two adult children and four grandchildren here, whom I can now get to know before they head off for college, etc.’

Ken also mentioned that planning had started for a Fifty-Year Reunion of #6 Junior Air Officers’ Basic Training Courses [JAOBTC], probably on the West Coast, sometime in 2003. He, Bob Bissell, and Jim Stegen had been doing some preliminary planning for it. Fred Hawrysh, Bob Baird, and Hank Bannister may be involved. The fortieth-anniversary reunion had been well attended. Ken offers himself as an initial contact. He can be reached at,

104 - 30 Brookdale Cr.,

Dartmouth, NS, B3A 4T7

Phone 902.463.2832 - fax 902.463.1175

E-mail nsfsna@attcanada.ca

Ken gets together with Denny Shaw and Eric Edgar occasionally for bridge, and for an informal gathering at Zellers in the MicMac Mall for Wednesday-morning breakfasts. He is staying on as the Federal Superannuates National Association’s [FSNA] Regional Director for Nova Scotia. Rex Guy is also staying on as president. Ken and Rex will be attending the FSNA Convention in Ottawa, 12-18 August, then Ken will go to London, Ont, for the Canada Games. Readers will remember that he was very involved in sports organizations in earlier years. FYI, FSNA could be taking part in a study of driving abilities and accident rates of senior citizens, since there seems to be many misunderstandings about them. From my experience teaching in a seniors’ defensive driving programme, senior drivers have fewer accidents per capita than other drivers, but more accidents if measured by distance driven, when compared to other drivers over 25 years old..

Stan Brygadyr and Millie visited Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in September and October 2001, attending the SAM AGM and the Shearwater Air Show. In February Stan wrote:

‘Attending the AGM was like a mini reunion, truly enjoyable; then Larry Ashley kindly invited me to Cormorant’s VIP enclosure to watch the air show. Regrettably, we didn’t see much of the Halifax area as we left immediately for NB where daughter Sheila manages admissions and recruiting for Mount A. After that, we went to the NS South Shore for peace and tranquillity, needed therapy for Millie as she had recently recovered from a partial mastectomy. Unfortunately this January [2002 -ed] she was under the knife again and is still recovering from the 40-stitch incision in her neck and shoulder.

Bud Maclean made last year’s Plawski [Naval aviators’] dinner as usual! He was my seat mate and I was fascinated to hear of his most-interesting post-service career. STU SOWARD’S regular ‘up spirits’ in December was well attended though Stu himself was in hospital for the event [well recovered now!] News up-island has Cdr [R] WES POSTMA, with wings on his naval uniform, commanding the Quadra Sea Cadet Camp at Comox. Maybe he’s trying to catch up the years of service of LCol [R] Tom Byrne, who still commands the Air Cadet gliding organization, also at Comox.

Stan also passed on a review of Peter Chance’s book ‘B4 it’s 2L8'. See the annex.

Frank Buckley’s TV advertisements changed a little this year, and now feature other members of the WK Buckley company as well as Frank; however, they still contain the tongue-in-cheek wit that is their trademark. The company introduced a new line of cold tablets this year. When I wrote the first draft of this, I said that I was lucky not to have had a cold this year. Since then my luck changed, just in time for my annual trip to New York City to see an ailing sister. Notwithstanding, I was able to find Buckley’s Mixture available there, and my cold was soon tamed.

If you who have read Naomi Klein’s book ‘No Logo’, you will know why it’s important to support companies such as WK Buckley Ltd. If you haven’t read the book, see the annex for more details. It’s a ‘keeper’; so is Buckley’s Mixture.

While in NYC, I went into Barnes and Noble and found a VHS tape of the ‘Victory at Sea’ series of TV shows from about 1950. The cover photo showed three ships at sea with flags flying - Canadian flags. They were ‘Bonaventure’ and two 205 class DDHs.

Dick Bunyard first came to Shearwater in 1943, when he was senior pilot in an RN detachment that was assembling Swordfish for use at the air training station in Yarmouth NS. At the May 2002 FAA meeting, held at HMCS YORK in Toronto, Dick spoke about his early years in the RN, where he started as a ‘six-month volunteer’ early in 1939. Along came the war, and six months quickly turned into six years. The destroyer Dick served in as an Ordinary Seaman in1939 was at sea when war was declared, and later took part in the Dunkirk evacuation. They had taken their first load of 600 British soldiers to England, and had returned to embark another 600 from Dunkirk. On the way back to the UK, they were sunk by e-boats in the Channel, with the loss of almost 700 men, most of them British soldiers. Only 25 of the 725 soldiers and crew survived. Later Dick was trained in Special Operations, but before he saw any action with this group, he went to flying training, first in Birmingham, England, then in Kingston, Ontario. He flew several aircraft, including the Walrus and Swordfish, and his Swordfish experience led him to the job in Shearwater, where he test-flew 75 newly-made Swordfish, assembled by the detachment from parts shipped to Canada. In 1945 he was sent to command the unit in Kingston, arriving on VE Day, just in time to wind it down. He was demobilized after the war, but returned to Canada, where he served for 12 years in the RCN[R], mainly in VC 920, the first Reserve Naval Air Squadron, after they were formed in 1953, flying Avengers. He took the squadron to HMCS MAGNIFICENT for deck-landing experience during that time, and he noted that the regular force pilots were surprised that the reservists could deck qualify. Dick pointed out that many of them, himself included, had already been deck quailed during WW2 in other aircraft, some as ‘hot’ as the Corsair.

Dick also mentioned that he visited Montevideo, Uruguay not long ago. He said that the mast of the Graf Spe was still visible above the waters of the River Plate.

Peter Berry was sporting a brand-new knee for the meeting, though it wasn’t evident. He mentioned that he had his pocket picked recently south of the border, without great monetary loss, or physical injury. A somewhat similar incident was described to me by the wife of a serving officer, another pilot. The younger couple were in Paris when attacked by a mugger. She stood and watched as her husband knocked the mugger down and chased him away, empty handed. When she asked if he had learned those self-defence techniques in the armed forces, he told her that he’d actually acquired them playing Junior A hockey.

MILLION-DOLLAR SUV. A report in a local newspaper last April stated that Rolls Royce had introduced their new all-terrain vehicle called the Bentley Swamp Ghost. The Rolls Royce spokesman explained,

‘We are losing customers at an alarming rate. Our buyers’ average age is 92. Eventually we’ll go belly up as more and more old codgers die off each year. With the new SUV, we hope to capture some adventure-minded seniors, and quite possibly a few lottery-winning rednecks, and possibly bring the average age down to the mid seventies.

‘Monster truck enthusiast and editor of "Big Tire Digest", Jake Intake offered his thoughts about the new Rolls. "It may be a might speedy, but it sure hauls butt. It offers up some doodads I ain’t never seen on no other vehicle before". Among the many options are a solid mahogany gun rack, a built in 24k-gold-plated spittoon, and an available matching bass boat trailer. Roll Royce states that the Swamp Ghost will be available next year.’

The paper was dated 1 April.

Last year I mentioned the names of several readers who were still flying actively, giving a new meaning to ‘senior pilot’. One I missed was Don Cash, who continues to fly on a recreational basis. In addition, Don was responsible for the architectural work on SAM’s new building extensions. For both reasons, well done Don.

Bruce Cormack is very involved in naval and naval aviation matters with the Canadian Naval Air Group in Ottawa. He also keeps in touch with Admiral Bill Landymore, who now lives in Halifax in retirement. Bruce says that Bill is in good health, though beginning to suffer from the gunner’s curse, deafness. See the annex for Bruce’s e-mail address and telephone number.

Don and Pat Cooper and Fred Foulds now organize the FAA meetings as Ken West has reduced his activities because of Parkinson’s Disease. Among those who attended recent meetings were Don Sheppard, Ken West, Terry Goddard, Hugh Washington, Peter Berry, Bill and Joan Lobban, and Joan Schroeder.

The two Joans were both children in the 1940s, and both were in Asia when the Japanese occupied China, where Joan Lobban then lived, and later Java, where Joan Schroeder lived. Both girls were interned by the Japanese during WW2. Joan Schroeder’s autobiography of the times, which she finished about two years ago, may be changed into a novel. She attends many of the Toronto FAA meeting when she is in Canada. After Wally’s death, Joan decided to look after herself more diligently with respect to nutrition and exercise. She looked great.

Don Cooper has a great collections of jokes. I try to include some every edition. Here’s a few in the category of Ponderable Oxymorons:

‘act naturally’, ‘resident Alien’, and for the computer fans, ‘Microsoft Works’.

Don Crowe wrote from Delta BC where he, too, is still flying at age 67. His son also flies, and is with Canadian Helicopters in Montreal. Recently Don was in touch with John Clarkson in San Diego, where John runs a travel agency. John and Don flew together commercially. Don also sees George Plawski, Gene Weber, and Bob Mcnish at the annual West Coast mess dinner, now held in Esquimalt. George flew with Don in his YAK 18, so now Don has to take up Gene and Bob, too.

Vern Cunningham has a new street address courtesy of billionaire Garfield Weston’s company, which claimed the old address for a ‘big box’ store next to Vern. He hasn’t moved, but his address has changed. See the Annex. Vern mentions that he was in the RCN for only a few years, having spent the war years in the RCAF and later the RN’s FAA. He went back to university after the war, keeping his hand in by flying during the summer, and spent a few years in uniform during the Korean War. While back in uniform he flew both the Seafire and Seafury, which he describes as ‘a real gentleman’s air plane’, quoting Nick Nicholson. He still remembers ‘the ones I knew on 870 squadron, and later for the last few months, in the Instrument School.’

Hal Davis, competing in his eleventh Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Yacht Race, won his first-ever class title [PHRF Racing, Class H] in 2001. Well done, Hal.

Bill Davey still lives in Halifax, but at a different address; see the annex. He can now avoid the snow shovelling and house maintenance that goes with a big house. During February and March 2001 he was in the UK for a visit, and stayed at the Victory Services Club on Seymour Street, just off Edgeware Rd, ‘within spitting distance of Marble Arch’. Membership is open to Commonwealth forces, and gets you a good rate that will cover your membership fees quite nicely. Bill stays involved with the navy through the Naval Officers Association, and works with HMCS SACKVILLE, the naval memorial.

 

Wayne and Ingle-Lise Dannhauer have moved back to Canada from Singapore, and have settled in Whistler, BC. See the annex for their new address.

Harry Dubinsky wrote from Salmon Arm, where he lives with his wife, Bonnie Kubitza Although he has been retired from the Coast Guard since 1988, she still works as a Human Resources Staffing Officer for the local school board. They already have travelled extensively, including many naval reunions and tours organized by Dick Bartlett and John Eden, and they hope to do even more after Bonnie retires in 2003.

TRAVEL JOKE. An indignant traveller in the post-11 September era travelling to California asked, ‘Do airlines put your physical description on your bags so they can identify you? Mine has a tag marked FAT.’ The airline agent explained that FAT was the destination code for Fresno.[Thanks to Robbie Hughes.]

Davis and Dorothy Edwards had planned a visit to Utah to visit some of the National Parks there, but shortly after they arrived at their start point, they found that the temperatures in the Columbia Gorge [about 99 F/38C] were too much for them, so they moved north to BC to escape the heat. Despite the change, she had to be admitted to a hospital in Prince George for eleven days. He was impressed by how well the Canadian health care system worked in such circumstances, and how well the hospital in Prince George cared for Dorothy; however, the medical staff appeared to be over worked and under equipped. As a former teacher, Davis had similar feelings for Nova Scotia’s schools and their teachers.

Since retirement, he has stayed involved with volunteer projects, including the official opening of a predesignated day-and-night medivac landing pad. Although he didn’t specify its whereabouts, I think that it’s in or near Head of Chezzetcook. Bill Farrell donated the wind sock, actually a pair of borrowed bloomers. About ninety locals were present for the opening. Like many former aviators, Davis is concerned about the future of Shearwater, and he opines that the Shearwater Aviation Museum ‘may turn out to be the only trace of aviation, naval or otherwise, at the site. Sad.’ He also mourns the death of Dr David Blinkhorn in Gross Point Michigan. ‘He, was an old [HMCS] SWANSEA shipmate from 1948, when Bob Timbrell was C.O.’

An article entitled ‘Flights of Fancy’ in the August 2001 edition of ‘Fifty Plus’, the magazine of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, featured several flying seniors, including,

‘... Bill Farrell, a 75-year-old flight instructor with the Shearwater Flying Club in Nova Scotia.... Bill was just a toddler when he became interested in planes. "Once you’ve got the flying bug, you never lose it. It’s incurable."’

Fifty Plus noted that Bill, after leaving the navy, Bill has been a ‘charter pilot, bush pilot, instructor and a spray pilot in a forest protection plan. When not aloft, he’s windsurfing, canoeing, or playing tennis.’

Bill is also the editor of the SAM Foundation Newsletter. The spring 2002 edition is one of the best ever.

Roger And Mary Fink celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary last year, including renewing their vows at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, the one designed and built by the now-famous architect Douglas J. Cardinal. Hal Fearon toasted the Fink’s at their reception.

Dennis Foley wrote last June just before he passed away. At the time, he was in good spirits, and he sent some pictures of himself with his new electric scooter, complete with canvas top for the wet weather. He could no longer drive, so the cart gave him some long range mobility. Dennis had also bought a computer to help with his correspondence, since his penmanship had deteriorated. We visited him in New Zealand a few years ago, and had corresponded with him on a regular basis. We shall miss him.

Fred Follow’s article ‘When Will the Government Reconcile Rhetoric With Reality?’ was published in the NOAC’s newsletter, Starshell, Vol VII # 17 Winter 2001/2002, not long after the attack on the World Trade Center. In it he discusses ‘the need to transform our military forces to deal with 21st century security threats.’ Fred is the Director of Maritime Affairs for Calgary Branch of the NOAC. Fred also wrote ‘What Does "Ready-Aye-Ready" Mean in Today’s World’; in Vol VII #16, the issue published just prior to the attack on the WTC.

HUNTING JOKE. Two Irishmen* were out duck hunting what a hang glider came soaring overhead. One immediately raised his shotgun and shot at it. His companion said, ‘Gawd, what kind of bird was that?’ ‘Dunno’ said the shooter ‘ but did you see how quick it let go of that poor man?’

*As a person of Irish descent, I can pick on the Irish. I’ve just completed the first draft of the Halpin [my mother’s maiden name] family history. And a wonderful group we are.

Fred Foulds and Rob Roy did NOT die last year as I reported. My apologies to them and anyone else who may have been misled by my error.

‘Trixie’ Geary wrote a thoughtful letter to the Halifax papers about her WW2 experiences as a Wren in Halifax. It was in response to comments made by other Wrens who, in an interview in the paper, had criticized local business establishments for shunning Wrens. Trixie

said,

‘I, along with other ex-Wrens who were stationed in Halifax during the War were treated royally by Haligonians wherever we went. We were given free memberships to the Waegwoltic Club and often invited into people’s homes for dinners or parties. The sailors treated us like sisters and were always helpful while sharing our naval duties.’

Robbie Hughes was the guest speaker at the spring 2001 FAA meeting in Toronto. He talked about his WW2 experiences in the UK, and his post-war service in Canada. Earlier, during their 2000/2001 trip south, he and Diana had to shorten their winter stay in Texas because of some food poisoning that Robbie experienced after a visit to a restaurant. It meant that he had to return to Canada early for treatment. [I assume that it was a requirement of his outside-Canada insurance.] Diane drove back a little later. Later in 2001, after spending the summer and early autumn in Ontario, Diana suffered some frightening inner-ear problems that caused another delay. So they were late getting back to Texas. Neither suffered any long-term effects from the illnesses.

[When I had an inner-ear problems a couple of decades ago, I had a great sense of power: All I had to do was move my head, and the whole world would spin for me.]

 

Les Grimson could be seen in the TV-award-winning film ‘Nuremberg’, which returned to TV over the winter. Dressed as an RAF Group Captain, he sat next to the male lead, Alex Baldwin. I’m almost sure that I saw Les whispering in actress Jill Hennessy’s pretty ear. She is now starring in her own successful TV show, ‘Crossing Jordan’. It’s a good show, and she’s a dream. [Les is okay, too.]

Mike Langman wrote twice from Sussex, England. He was looking for Barb Swiggum, an old friend whose address he had misplaced. In fact, he had the right address but the wrong phone number. Mike said that he thought Barb’s daughter was an MD in Ottawa.

I was also able to answer a newspaper request from a woman in England who was looking for an old friend who had married a Canadian sailor named Dodd Unfortunately I had to tell her that Vera Dodd, the first wife of Jim Dobb, had died. Before you say ‘but...’, Jim’s second wife is ALSO named Vera.

Deke Logan was at the CNAG Reunion in Edmonton last fall, and called it ‘a great job’. He was especially happy to see Bob Jeffireis, an old friend from 803 ‘originals’ in 1945 at Arbroath and at Nutts Corners. Other ‘originals’ at the reunion were Hal Fearon and Hoss Anderson.

Don Loney sent along a nice letter that included news about his brother Ted.. Don uses both a white ensign stamp and a lobster stamp on his correspondence. He noted that George ‘Trigger’ Wadds was then in a nearby nursing home, doing well for a nonagenarian. [‘Trigger’ passed away at age 93 shortly after Don wrote that letter.] Bruce Walker and his wife Alice also live close by, and Don also sees Bob Hayes in Halifax. It was good to hear that Bob’s health has improved. See Don’s e-mail address in the annex.

Don’s brother Ted Loney is still living in Waterloo, Ontario. He keeps busy at home, while still having some time to travel. According to Don,

Ted and JAN finished the second half of a world cruise started a couple of years before. They boarded the cruise ship at Athens, Greece, and disembarked at Fort Lauderdale. In the spring, accompanied by Norm Etheridge his wife, they cruised the Caribbean. He also spent some time in Hawaii where they have a time-share condo.’

Thanks for the news, Don, and I’d love to hear the other anecdotes you mentioned.

Phyllis Lowe sent some pictures and cards as well as a nice letter. The card showed Ashcroft, BC, in about 1905. It’s in the ‘beloved interior drybelt of BC’, which Phyl recommends for vacationing. She marches in the annual rodeo parade in June each year. Writes Phyl,

‘Now that I’m retired from all local and lower-mainland parades [where she paraded as a clown - Ed.] and the May Day one that I used to do in Victoria, I plan to do only the out-of-towners such as this one in Ashcroft. In ‘98 I had the great pleasure of doing the Williams Lake Stampede parade up in Caribou Country. This Ashcroft parade goes at a good time -- soccer is finished until September. I’ll make it a great four-day holiday, driving there via the beautiful Fraser Canyon. Stay in a B & B in Ashcroft. Sightsee around the area. Ashcroft is still a village, and situated so beautifully beside the pale green Thompson River.’

She also sent a copy of a letter addressed to her as ‘Phyllis the Clown.’ Ashcroft sounds like a beautiful place, Phyll. Just right for a beautiful lady.

In Manhattan I saw a sign that some of us could appreciate; ‘Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.’

Rodger McEachern photocopied a few pages from Barrett Tillman’s 1979 book ‘Hellcat -- The F6F in World War II’, describing an action led by Bill Atkinson,

‘The Royal Navy put its F6Fs to a different use the night of 25 July. When a Japanese formation was detected heading for the /British task group, two of 1844's Hellcats were scrambled from the Formidable under a full moon. These were conventional Hellcat II’s [F6F-5s] without radar, but their pilots had been trained in night flying and were vectored by the ship’s FDO to an intercept position.

‘Lieutenant W.H. Atkinson, a Canadian, led the element and made contact. He identified the bandits as big, single engine Grace torpedo planes and took his New Zealand wingman, Sub-Lieutenant R.F. Mackie, into the attack. Atkinson latched on a pair of Graces and shot them both into the water while Mackie dumped the third. Then, in routing the other bandits, a fourth Grace was damaged and the attack was completely broken up.’

Thanks for the article, Rodger. Rodger’s new e-mail address is in the annex.

In ‘News Sheet’ from the Fleet Air Arm Officers’ Association, Bob Metcalfe wrote:

‘After the RN, went to the RCN for a short while and left in 1970, to join the business world. Spent several years as Sales Manager of CAN-AM Containers [Plastics.] Immigrated to the USA in 1982 and was Sales manager and Vice President [Sales] for two U.S. Agribusiness Companies. In 1990 formed my own Agribusiness Company, Niagara International Sales INC. Presently semi-retired [with son Tob running the business] and living in the Muskoka Lakes area of Ontario. Unfortunately, divorced, but three great kids – a daughter Kim, and two sons Rob and Chris.’

Bill Moran spent just five years in the RCN [1946-51] after WW2 service in the army as a ‘boy soldier.’ An Air Rigger in the navy, he spent time in Warrior, Magnificent, Stadacona, and Shearwater, plus a stint with the Royal Navy while undergoing trade training. After leaving the navy, he returned to Sir George Williams university for an accounting degree, then went into the automotive after-market business in Quebec, and eventually owned his own international company based in Mississauga, Ontario. Having sold the company and retired from business, he lives with his wife Rachel in Toronto, where he is near his sons and daughter. Bill remembers his few years in the navy fondly, and considers it to have been ‘quite an adventure’. He especially enjoyed the camaraderie of the newly-formed naval air branch. He spends his winters in Florida, where he occasionally golfs with TED Kieser. He is also a member of CNAG Tracker Chapter.

Paddy O’Connell has returned to Canada and has settled in Red Deer, not far from Roger and Mary Fink, who helped him settle there this winter. Paddy had originally settled in LaCombe, AB, but found it difficult to get around when he could no longer drive because of eye problems caused by diabetes. He is now on a good bus line in Red Deer. He hears from or sees some of the western readers, including George And Merle Pumple, Jim and Corky Burns, Hal and May Fearon , Jerry and Jackie Watson, Deke Logan , Ron Heath, Don and Margot Bethune, and Cal and Cathy Smith. Paddy found the Alberta winters long and cold, and may winter in the Republic of Ireland hereafter. My understanding from Irish relatives is that the cost of living in Ireland, especially in Dublin, is very high.

Dan Ogle was the Instructor Officer in the Staff School in Toronto when I was there along with Larry Zbitnew and Jack Moss. Dan Eventually Retired From the Cf, Taking Job As A ‘Civilian Member’ of the RCMP. He is now fully retired. Lori, his wife, is a talented painter whose works are in the Officers’ Mess in the CF College. Her paintings of tulips have been displayed in the Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa, and one painting was the official tulip poster for the Ottawa tulip festival in 2001. She was invited to take her paintings to a flower festival in the UK this year. Dan and Lori moved to British Columbia just before Christmas 2001.

Dan’s interest in naval aviation stemmed from his interest in the naval aviators that he met at the Staff School. He felt that they had character. [Blush, blush.] While taking an MA in War Studies at RMC [where he was also an instructor] he interviewed Admiral HORATIO NELSON LAY, then living in Perth, Ontario, for a paper about the ‘Creation of Canadian Naval Aviation’. The interviews were the basis for Dan’s paper. Later the Maritime Warfare School in Halifax included the paper in a collection that they published. I now have a copy from Dan, for which I thank him, and I’ll include material from it in a later newsletter. For anyone who has access to the Maritime Warfare Bulletins, it is numbered 94/1, and titled ‘The Creation of Canadian Naval Aviation in World War II.’

Jack Moss’ son is overseas in HMCS ST JOHN’S in the Persian Gulf.

Weldon ‘Weldy’ Paton lives in Washington State not far from the Canadian border, and has several friends who he and his wife MARG visit from time to time. Weldy mentioned visiting Greg Macintosh, Dave and Joan Williams, and Fred and Ruth Sherwood . He also lives near Al Snowie, but hasn’t managed to get to see him -- yet. Weldy’s two homes, in Washington and Arizona, are both on golf courses, so he plays often. Bryan Hayter and Jake McLAUGHLIN have both visited the Paton’s in Arizona.

Two years ago, the Paton’s son gave them first-class tickets via British Air from Seattle to London, where they had the chance to do a nostalgia tour of old haunts in Scotland and Ireland, and to visit their sons in London and Prague. They also spent some time with Bruce and Anne Vibedrt in Kent. Weldy wrote about Lossiemouth,

‘Nothing much has changed there. The Steamboat Pub is still on the same corner, though slightly renovated and under new ownership. I asked the pretty little barmaid for a "Happy Days" [McEwans strong Scotch Ale and bitters.] She had never heard of it, so we had a pint of whatever. During our drive over, we stayed at a small hotel in Banff, and inside the front door is a huge picture of Banff Springs Hotel! Lossie is now an RAF Tornado base, and much enlarged. The golf course at Lossie, which used to be nine holes is now 27, but the same old clubhouse. I think membership is about 400 pounds. It used to be ten shillings for serving officers. ... The balance of our drive was uneventful until we got to London. Marg was navigating, which is a chore in itself with the street names changing every second block. The Hertz office was on a side street 300 yards up from Hyde Park with the sign about the size of a license plate!’

Weldy was impressed with the train ride through the Chunnel to Paris. The train could travel at 300 kph on the good road-beds in France, but was slower on the English side. It took only two hours and twenty minutes from London to Paris, with only twenty minutes in the Channel.

They also had plans to visit New Zealand and Australia to see old friends from Weldy’s OFS in the UK, though many of the Australians and new Zealanders had died in the Korean War. They also hoped to see Fred Goodfellow and Bob and Kit Geale.

[Several others have written about driving in the UK, and especially in London. It’s no longer fun. Neither is Toronto driving.]

Ross ‘Sody’ Riddell and I keep in touch frequently. He seems to have come through prostate cancer, and the subsequent radiation implants and radiation therapy, with his colours still flying. We try to see each at least once a year. Ross recently moved from suburban Schroon Lake to downtown Schroon lake, but has kept his former address and telephone number. His new e-mail address is in the annex. If any of you is a Mac user, Sody would welcome advice, especially with respect to the IMAC machines.

CARTOON. A recent cartoon showed a dog sniffing at the base of a tree. The owner was saying to a friend, ‘He’s just checking his p-mail.’

Don Saheppard, gave me some ‘funny errors from church bulletins.’ Here are a couple:

’This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Johnson to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.’

 

‘For those who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.’

Ed and Alma Smith live in Annapolis Royal, NS, a comfortable drive to see their children in the Halifax area. Since his retirement, Ed has been an active volunteer. At present he volunteers as a member of the executive of the Cornwallis Military Museum, located in the former Protestant Chapel at HMCS CORNWALLIS. At one time, the chapel boasted a series of twenty-four stained-glass windows, each containing the crest of a Canadian warship that was sunk during WW2. After Cornwallis closed as a Canadian Forces Base, the stained-glass windows were moved to the chapel on the site of the Shannon Park Married Quarters in Dartmouth; but they were never displayed there as windows per se. Now that the Shannon Park chapel is likely to be closed or torn down, [the old apartment buildings ceased being PMQs years ago, and the row houses may be sold by the new CF Housing Authority], there is concern that the windows may be lost or forgotten. The Museum would like to bring the windows back to Cornwallis, where they would be put on display, possibly back in the exact window frames where they were originally. In DND, wheels often grind slowly, and that is the situation in this case. Readers should be aware that the Museum is pursuing the issue continually, and they hope for a solution soon. In addition, the CFB Cornwallis Military Society hopes that the Cornwallis site will be declared an historic site by Parks Canada, and the society has sent a submission requesting that declaration..

The Cornwallis Military Museum would welcome the support of any reader. Since many, if not most of us served there, readers may want to support that facet of our heritage. The address is:

The Cornwallis Military Museum

PO Box 31

Clementsport NS, B0S 1E0

Jim Stegen keeps in regular contact with several other naval aviators who live in or near the Annapolis Valley: Andy Anderson, Bud Jardine, Mike Mccall, Jud McSweeney, and Ed Smith, as well as Fred Hawrysh in BC. John Harwood has an apple orchard near Jim’s house in the Annapolis Valley: In season, the orchard attracts many naval visitors. Jim and his classmates may donate a special plaque in the Shearwater Aviation Museum in honour of # 6 JAOBTC pilots who died in aviation accidents

My class, #7 JAOBTC, had a special plaque installed in the SAM last year. The plaque commemorates Con Bissett, Howie Cooper, Norm Ogden, and Barry Troy, all classmates who were lost in aviation accidents. Barry was not a #7 JAOBTC member, but joined Bissett, Cooper, and Ogden in Pensacola, Florida, for pilot training.

This story comes from Dave Tate, who sent me a number of anecdotes a few years ago. It’s called ‘The Beer Can Episode’.

‘This took place in Maggie at the end of a cruise. Just before entering harbour, many of us had been downing a few noggins in the gunroom. As a result, when the pipe went to clear lower decks for entering harbour, some one had the great idea to ignore the pipe, close the gunroom door, and continue with the party. Obviously, all concerned thought this was a splendid idea, and we carried on poking them back. For some reason, we got rid of the evidence by throwing all the beer cans out the port scuttle, not paying any attention to the ship’s progress of coming alongside, or the fact that we were coming alongside port side to. It wasn’t long, however, before we were made well aware not only of the fact that we were now alongside, but that all our cans were landing on the jetty under the watchful and very irate eye of the XO, Commander PAT NIXON, who brought it to our attention personally at the gunroom door.

‘Needless to say, the culprits [Crash Hayter, Les Hull, Jake Kennedy, Red Robinson, Pete Van Fleet, and myself] didn’t get away with the little escapade. Pat Nixon made sure that a few days stoppage of leave left an indelible print of what we should and shouldn’t do when "clear lower decks" was piped.’

We’ll have more stories from Dave in the next issue.

Robbie Watt is cited twice as having rescued a young sailor who had fallen overboard from Bonaventure. One citation is in Al Snowie’s book ‘Bonnie’, the other in Bob Murray’s records on the helicopter involved in the rescue; those records are now in the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa. The date of the rescue was listed as 26 March 1960, but Robbie himself has no record of it, nor does his co-pilot Walt Morris, though Robbie does remember a similar event in 1956. Does any reader remember the 1960 rescue? A similar question exists with respect to a written reference to a trial in which a rescue helicopter that Robbie flew was used to recover torpedos that were dropped alongside the ship. Again, does anyone remember that event? If so, you can write to Robbie at:

 

R. Watt

3700 Howden Dr

Nanaimo BC V9T 3v9

Tel. 250.758.4231 OR 758.4235, e-mail trainfire1@home.com

 

Robbie says that his Parkinson’s disease doesn’t prevent him being an active hunter and skeet shooter.

Dave Williams was on a cruise that circumnavigated South America. He sent some cards back from Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost point in America. Sounds like a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

Judy and Pierre Yans have both her mother and his mother living with them in Victoria. BC. Last year both mothers celebrated their ninetieth birthdays. Pierre, a Belgian naval officer who trained in Venture. He later left the Belgian navy, joined the RCN, and in retirement is active with the Navy League, his church choir [he’s a true bass], and the RUSI. Their son-in-law served with the navy in the Indian Ocean in OP APOLLO, the Afghanistan campaign.

Cards, notes, letters, or telephone calls were were also received from Jill Arnsdorf, Dick Bartlett, Sandy Brett, Dick Dickinson, Bill Farrell, John Grant, Kam Maxwell, Jack Moss and Madeleine Rygh.