Cam Harrod posted this on the Facebook page of British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada.



With this comment…

It seems that Vintage Wings of Canada is trying to rewrite history here with this new logo.
The 75th anniversary of the BCATP was in 2014 NOT 2016.
Contacted both the CEO and the F/Book page and it seems even though they acknowledge that the BCATP was formed in 1939, that they are not interested in correcting the mistake.
I always thought that their mandate was to educate and inspire our future generations. If so , they would be obligated to do this with accuracy
It’s very disappointing when an organization like theirs would care so little about getting things correct.

To this I added this comment…

Admitting you made an error says a lot about you… No admitting tells even more. This reminds me of the 1812 celebration done in 2012 about the War of 1812. Pure politics! Thanks for getting this viral.




Also shot down on December 4, 1942

In memory of
Pilot Officer
Hugh Edward McGraw

December 4, 1942
Military Service:
Service Number:
Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
402 Sqdn.
Additional Information:
Son of George Wilson McGraw, and of Florence Ethel McGraw, of Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada.



The pilot who shot down Godfrey Alan McKoy on 26 January 1943



He never stood  a chance…




Wilhelm-Ferdinand “Wutz” Galland


Wilhelm-Ferdinand “Wutz” Galland was born on 23 October 1914 at Bochum. He enlisted in the Luftwaffe in 1935 serving with a flak regiment. Galland participated in the invasion of the Low Countries and France with a flak regiment before volunteering for flight training at the end of 1940. He competed operational training with Ergänzungsgruppe/JG 26 and reported to II./JG 26 on 27 June 1941. JG 26 was under command of his brother Adolf Galland (104 victories, RK-Br). His younger brother Paul Galland (17 victories, killed in action 31 October 1942) was also serving with the unit. Assigned to 6./JG 26, “Wutz” scored his first victory on 23 July 1941, shooting down a RAF Spitfire fighter near Hesdin. By the end of 1941 his victory total had climbed to three. On 5 May 1942, Galland was appointed Staffelkapitän of 5./JG 26. He had eight victories to his credit. On 2 June, he claimed two Spitfires shot down over the Somme Estuary to record his ninth and 10th victories. Galland recorded his 20th victory on 4 December when he shot down another Spitfire near Boulogne. His score had risen to 21 by the end of 1942. Hauptmann Galland was appointed Gruppenkommandeur of II./JG 26 on 3 January 1943. On 13 January he claimed a Spitfire shot down, but, it was, in fact, a 6th Staffel Bf 109G-4 piloted by Unteroffizier Johann Irlinger. The mistaken identification of the Messerschmitt for a Spitfire cost Irlinger his life. The incident was cleaned up for the official records… On 28 January, Galland received the Deutsches Kreuz in Gold for 24 victories. He recorded his 30th victory on 15 February, when he shot down a Spitfire near Ramsgate. Galland was awarded the Ritterkreuz on 18 May 1943 for 35 victories.

Godfrey Alan McKoy was his 24th victory.

Who remembers R J Hetherington?

He was in the same class as Mervyn Jack Mills at No. 6 SFTS  Dunnville.


Lest We Forget

Flight Lieutenant  (Raymond Joseph) R J Hetherington, from Morrinsville, New Zealand, was with  33 Squadron, service number 414290.

For  now he is just  a name on a list… on this  blog.


Course 44: December 6, 1941 – March 27. 1942
Wing Commander Patriarche addressed the graduates.

“This coming year is going to be an extremely tough one and there will be a tendency all through the Empire of the people to criticize those in authority. It is being done already but I hope that you here, both airmen and visitors, will have no part in it.

“Make sure before you criticize that you always have a suggestion better than what you are criticizing. None of the men in political or military authority is of a lower standard than the rest of us. They have to be better men or they would not have got the job.

“You can take…

View original post 307 more words

How Clarence’s research all started

Clarence Simonsen wrote me a message.

This is very personal but he wishes to convey this message and and he allowed me to publish it.

Hello Pierre,

I found in cleaning up my 50 years of research many [new] unpublished stories remained.

Thanks to you, I can now pass on and share with the Internet, the most powerful tool, when used properly.

My story [history] of the RAF in Alberta began in 1984, and continued until I retired in July 2010. This research was conducted by meeting the real people, plus sharing letters, and phone calls. In 1985, I purchased an Epson computer, and learned to use it from the manual, self-taught. [A huge step forward] The photos were copied with my 35 mm camera, and the images were developed [by me] in a darkroom, I rented, and it was pure fun and enjoyment, to learn and save this important past history of the Royal Air Force in Canada. Over the past years, I have walked the RAF graveyards many times and realized these young British lads had been forgotten, but they were in fact the first heroes of WWII.

When Mr. George Frost told me of the RAF burial pits across Canada, I was over come with the realization the very records of these lads was still in the ground in Canada. I was allowed four trips to the Correction site at Bowden, then when I found the WWII burial site, my Government [Conservative] said – “No.” I then took the time and trouble to contact, [phone, email and letter] with the two M.P.’s and give them a copy of this same research material, you have published. Nothing but silence. These are the very same MPs who wear a poppy on 11 November and pretend to care.

My research on the RAF school at Bowden contains five photos of the head-on crash of two PT-27 Stearman training aircraft. In 2010, I learned that one of these RAF aircraft serial FJ875 had been purchased by Mr. Mike Potter who formed “Vintage Wings of Canada”. I donated by complete RAF research collection to Vintage Wings of Canada in the spring of 2011, in hopes that they would assist me to save the burial site at Bowden.  My thinking was, the WWII burial site at Bowden contains all the records of the very aircraft they owned, thus they would care. “Wrong.” In letters to owner, Mr Mike Potter, and a May 2013 meeting with the Chairman of the Board of Vintage Wings, – “Total Silence!” Mr. Potter is a very wealthy person, was born in England, flies the very aircraft that flew at Bowden, yet, he has no interest in the records in the ground in Bowden. I don’t want and never ask for his money, just his political pull. This is out of control, caused by my government.

My last attempt was directed at the large oil companies situated in Northern Alberta tar sands, who make hundreds of millions each year, and pass huge donations on to a “political party” in Alberta. Again, “Silence.”

The fact is I am a “Gomer” person, I do really care. My last effort is the power of the Internet and telling truth.

The RAF bomb tower in my research, still remains forgotten on an Alberta farm. I have tried, but museums in Alberta have no interest, why?  Catherine, “Duchess of Cambridge” the wife of Prince William [RAF] has a connection, as her Grandfather was an RAF instructor at Calgary in WWII and his students trained at this very bomb range in Airdrie, Alberta. The pilot “Briggs” who flew the Mosquito F for Freddie and crashed at Calgary, in fact took all his pilot training in Alberta, and learned to drop bombs at the range in Airdrie. The ex-drill hall in Calgary is today the Aero Space Museum of Calgary but they can’t even paint their Mosquito to honor the RAF who received their wings in that same building [including Briggs], or honor the most famous aicraft in WWII – F for Freddie. This very organization is destroying the WWII RAF history and can care less about the bomb tower in Airdrie. The fact is the Calgary museum has no understanding of their own WWII history. They must first learn, before they can teach the true history. Their selection of displays and painting of vintage aircraft should reflect on the true history of Calgary and not on the wish of the CEO or Director.

My research is the true history and I hope they read it.



How many came back from the war?

At least one recruit from this group picture session did come back after the war.

Allan Todd History 008 mod

Allan Todd

Allan Todd History 005

Some of these recruits most probably did not make it past I.T.S. That we will never know. Training was hard. Only a few made it after Initial Training School.

I wonder if Richard Neilhand Hammond is on this picture.

Allan Todd History 008 mod

Hard to tell isn’t. I should have asked Allan Todd.

Allan Todd History 007

I have another picture to show you, but it’s not part of the Allan Todd’s collection. This one I am  sure only one recruit made it back safely to Canada. I have met him more than 25 times since 2010.


Picture taken at McDonald, Manitoba No. 3 B&G – only gunner to come back alive after the war

Air gunner Jean-Paul Corbeil, 425 Les Alouettes Squadron
Second row, on the left… (picture taken at No. 3 B&G Macdonald, Manitoba)

The man I never met

I never met that man.

Gagnon gets his wings - April 1942

Eugene Gagnon receiving his wings
Collection Jacques Gagnon

But I met his nephew.

I never met this man also.

GH Legion Poppies - LeVerne Haley

LeVerne Haley

Collection LeVerne Haley’s family
Use only with permission

Writing about Eugene Gagnon in 2010 led me in 2014 to LeVerne Haley’s grandson whom I never met except on the Internet. Trusting someone with personal pictures of your grandfather tells a lot about someone. Writing about a French-Canadian Mosquito pilot who died in a plane crash on October 21, 1947, tells a lot about someone also.

plane crash 21 October 1947 Windsor Mills, Quebec

Collection Jacques Gagnon

Using pictures without permission by an university student for a term paper in a history course tells a lot about someone also.

This is what happened to me two months ago. I won’t go into this story. This is why I am asking you to please contact me if you want to use pictures on this blog. I will gladly give permission if you ask and tell me why.

This blog is all about paying homage to the young men who gave so much.

If you think likewise then you are more than welcome to share these pictures unless you add a “Please donate button” on your Website.

please donate

Avro Anson

Avro Anson August 1941 modified

I have seen people on Facebook get all excited about pictures of planes used in the BCATP.

I can see why. This picture was taken from Walter Neil Dove’s photo albums. If you want to use it please give due credit to Walter Neil Dove.

Walter who?

Walter was also known as Wally Dove.

Google Walter Neil Dove and you will see who is Walter who.

Walter never flew the Avro Anson, but he took that picture in August 1941.

Avro Anson August 1941 modified

He flew Spitfires with RCAF 403 Squadron from December 1944 till the end of the war.

Mervyn Jack Mills also flew Spitfires but not for long. He went missing on November 19th, 1942. Easy to remember that date. One of my sons was born on November 19th.

Been born in a world with less tyranny is one of the reasons I write blogs about WWII and pay homage to those who left this world in the hope of a better world.

Strong message if you can read between the lines.

It always starts like this…

A comment…

I found this very specific information about Lester Charles Jones, the American buried in the Alliance (Nebraska) Cemetery (All text is copied directly from the listing for the sale of this medal…!)


An exclamation point!

Good grief!

Was this reader trying to tell me something…?

I guess so because he is the one who shared these.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

He added this heartfelt comment.

It feels that way, Pierre.

When I found the decoration and read his story, I cried. It seemed – and is! – so wrong that anyone can sell medals awarded by governments to individuals for exceptional sacrifice in war. It would be like buying someone’s grave marker for a Halloween event to scare the kiddies, in my mind. A disgrace. The only good that came of it is we now have a very full description of his life and death. I will never walk by that grave again without a moment of silence, a salute from one old soldier to another. It should be against the law to sell such things. This man is more than a $225 (or whatever it was) chunk of cash in someone’s pocket for shameful behavior.

The irony is that there is a place where that medal not only could have been on display with the story of Lester Charles Jones, it and Lester would have been given the full respect he earned through his sacrifice. As I’ve mentioned, I volunteer Thursday afternoons at […] Nebraska.

Most of the displays and resources there are donations from family who found military memorabilia in Dad or Mom’s closet after they died, realized there was no equitable way to share it with survivors or no survivors particularly wanted it because it would end up in their closets for lack of better ideas on what to do with it.

But, the family recognized its importance. The museum gave them a way to honor a loved one by sharing his or her memorabilia, and visitors to the museum gain knowledge of the impact of war on ordinary people in a small, isolated town in Western Nebraska. Heroes walk among us, silent in life many times because of the horrors they experienced in service to their country, but revealed and honored after they are gone because

we all need to recognize the fact John Wayne was just a fiction, but these people lived, fought, and sometimes died to save a world from tyranny. It’s a small museum, but it serves a large purpose.

If we can’t have the medal for the Museum, I can, at least, make sure his story isn’t lost. There is a project in the USA (I think Canada, too) to photograph each grave marker in every cemetery in the country, and to put together as much information as possible for the stories of the individuals buried there. The other history museum in town, is in charge of the local project. My friend, the director of the museum, has a small staff and volunteers who’ve been deeply involved in that project, but there over 8600 graves in the city cemetery, more than live in town! Little by little, though, they are working through the task, and it seems only fitting that I pass on what I found on Lester Charles Jones in case they don’t have some or all of it, other than a photo of the grave marker.