Miller Brittain’s “Night Target, Germany” showed the artist’s interpretation of bombing raids he had experienced during war.

Bomber Aimer Brittain wrote to his parents in 1944: “The night attacks although they are deadly are very beautiful from our point of view. The target is like an enormous lighted Christmas tree twenty miles away but straight beneath one looks like pictures I have seen of the mouth of hell.” In a 1946 letter to his parents he assessed this painting critically: “My target picture looks like the real thing they say, but I don’t like it yet as a picture. In fact at the moment, I feel like putting my foot through it.”

Miller Brittain
Canadian War Museum (Beaverbrook Collection of War Art)
c. 1946
UNITED KINGDOM
GERMANY
Saint John, New Brunswick, CANADA
19710261-1436
© 2008, Canadian War Museum. All Rights Reserved.


A World War II propaganda poster encouraging participation in Canadian war industries.

In 1938 K.C. Irving purchased Canada Veneers, a Saint John company in the wood products field. Among other government contracts, it manufactured fuselages for Mosquito fighter aircraft during World War II. Canada Veneers thrived on wartime sales to become the world’s largest supplier of aircraft veneers. K.C. Irving went on to become one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in Canadian history.

New Brunswick Provincial Archives
1939 - 1945
Saint John, New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2008, New Brunswick Provincial Archives. All Rights Reserved.


Mannequin - RCAF helicopter pilot from the 403 Sqn located at CFB Gagetown.

The 403 Squadron Air Force Room at the CFB Gagetown Military Museum contains a mannequin dressed in the uniform of a Canadian Forces helicopter pilot.

403 Squadron Air Force Room, CFB Gagetown Military Museum
CFB Gagetown Military Museum
c. 2008
CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2008, CFB Gagetown Military Museum. All Rights Reserved.


Equipped with CH-146 Griffons, 403 squadron provides operational aircrew training to the crews that fly the helicopter.

403 Squadron (Helicopter) Operational Training Squadron (Hel OTS) is located at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Gagetown. Equipped with CH-146 Griffons, it provides operational aircrew training to the crews who will fly the helicopter. The Squadron also conducts operational test and evaluation, develops aviation tactics and carries out operations in support of the 1 Wing mission. It also supports the local Army requirements of the Combat Training Centre. A pilot will spend three months at Gagetown learning to fly the Griffon before being posted to one of 1 Wing's five operational squadrons. While at Gagetown, pilots will learn advanced Aircraft handling, including slinging and hoisting, tactical formation, flying and low-level tactical flying

National Defence
c. 2000
CFB Gagetown Oromocto, New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2008, National Defence. All Rights Reserved.


The Golden Hawks Acrobatic Team flying in formation over Miramichi Bay.

The Golden Hawks were formed in the spring of 1959 as part of the RCAF’s contribution to the commemoration of Canada’s Golden Jubilee of Flight. Their original home base was CFB Chatham. During Canada’s Centennial year, September 17, 1967, was designated as “Golden Hawk Day” in Chatham. In honour of the team, the base unveiled a pedestal mounted F-86 Sabre aircraft in Golden Hawk colours and paid tribute to the team which had made the base well known throughout the country. After the closing of CFB Chatham, in 2000 the Sabre airplane was relocated to the Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum at the Halifax International Airport.

CFB Chatham
1959 - 1964
Miramichi City (Chatham), New Brunswick, CANADA
© 1989, Col. A.M. Lee. All Rights Reserved.


Albert Desbrisay Carter, World War I Flying Ace, responsible for shooting down over two dozen German planes.

Albert Desbrisay Carter from Point de Bute, New Brunswick was a leading Canadian air ace in the First World War with between 27 and 31 “kills” to his credit between 1917 and 1918. He had begun his military career as a machine gun officer, but wounds received in battle persuaded him to enlist in the Royal Flying Corps. By February 1918 he received his first of many citations for “bravery, conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty”.

Don McClure Aviation Historical Gallery, Moncton International Airport
1914 - 1919
Pointe de Bute, New Brunswick, CANADA
BELGIUM
UNITED KINGDOM
© 2008, Don McClure Aviation Historical Gallery, Moncton International Airport. All Rights Reserved.


Renowned New Brunswick entrepreneur K.C. Irving was a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I.

Although K. C. Irving is best known for being an industrial entrepreneur, along with his cousin Leigh Stevenson from Buctouche, he enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps during World War I. It was Stevenson, later to become head of the RCAF, that taught Irving to fly in a modified Sopwith Camel. Although the war ended before he saw action, throughout his life K.C. Irving proudly wore the Royal Flying Corps blue blazer. In fact, when he died in 1992 he was buried in the blue blazer with the Royal Flying Corps crest.

250 RCAF Wing (Saint John), Air Force Association of Canada
c. 1918
UNITED KINGDOM
© 2003, 250 RCAF Wing (Saint John) Air Force Association of Canada. All Rights Reserved.


Don McClure, well known for his training of pilots, is a member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame.

Donald McClure from Moncton was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame” in 2002 for “His outstanding dedication to the advancement of flight training, coupled with his tireless efforts to teach and inspire the youth of Canada through the Air Cadet League….” A native of Shediac, McClure received the Yorath Trophy, presented by the Royal Canadian Flying Clubs, an unprecedented sixteen times over his aviation career of more than sixty years. During World War II he served as a training pilot under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. His long association with the Air Cadet movement, excellence in the area of flight instruction and dedication to the preservation of Canada’s aviation history through his involvement with the Canadian Aviation History Society number only a few of his long list of accomplishments and contributions. The McClure Aviation Museum situated at the Moncton International Airport was named in his honour.

Don McClure Aviation Historical Gallery, Moncton International Airport
250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada
1930 - 1990
Moncton, New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2008, Don McClure Aviation Historical Gallery, Moncton International Airport. All Rights Reserved.


In the early days of World War II, things were not going well for the Allies. Aircrews were desperately required for the Air War over Europe. Like Staff Pilots at other British Commonwealth Air Training Plan bases, the pilots at No. 10 AOS, in Chatham, N.B., were asked to forgo normal scheduled days off and to fly what we commonly called “Double Night Flights”. This involved the pilots being available seven nights a week for our first night briefing at 08:00 hrs and airborne at 08:30 hrs and a night exercise of approximately 3 to 3.5 hrs. in the air. We would, then, land, have a short snack that usually consisted of bacon and eggs (nobody knew or at least never mentioned the word cholesterol). We would then be back in the Briefing Room at 01:30 hrs., airborne at 02:00 hrs., followed by another night plan from 3-3.5 hrs.

In the late spring, summer, and early fall days, these flights, when things went well (they sometimes didn’t) could be most pleasurable. Because most of us were young and full of the exuberance of youth and anxious to build up our flying hours, we looked forward to these flights. We knew that we were contributing to Read More

In the early days of World War II, things were not going well for the Allies. Aircrews were desperately required for the Air War over Europe. Like Staff Pilots at other British Commonwealth Air Training Plan bases, the pilots at No. 10 AOS, in Chatham, N.B., were asked to forgo normal scheduled days off and to fly what we commonly called “Double Night Flights”. This involved the pilots being available seven nights a week for our first night briefing at 08:00 hrs and airborne at 08:30 hrs and a night exercise of approximately 3 to 3.5 hrs. in the air. We would, then, land, have a short snack that usually consisted of bacon and eggs (nobody knew or at least never mentioned the word cholesterol). We would then be back in the Briefing Room at 01:30 hrs., airborne at 02:00 hrs., followed by another night plan from 3-3.5 hrs.

In the late spring, summer, and early fall days, these flights, when things went well (they sometimes didn’t) could be most pleasurable. Because most of us were young and full of the exuberance of youth and anxious to build up our flying hours, we looked forward to these flights. We knew that we were contributing to the War effort and possibly our future in aviation. One of the most pleasurable aspects on a starlight night was being alone with our thoughts and being aware of how lucky we were to be doing something we loved. On the second night flight, we would watch the dawn come up on our return leg and welcome the start of a new day. I will always remember the night that I encountered “St. Elmo’s Fire”, when an electrical discharge danced off all the extremities of my control surfaces and, although first startling, it became an experience to remember.

However, what about those cold winter nights that I haven’t mentioned? I remember one winter - the winter of l942-1943. This winter was unbearably cold and the arctic spell began early in December when our outside air temperature gauge would indicate minus 40 degrees centigrade. This was the bottom limit of the gauge and, with the needle resting “on the stop”; we knew it was even colder. The old Mk. 1 Anson did not have an adequate heating system and what heat was dispensed, was quickly nullified by the drafts created by the many openings in the Anson fuselage.

On those cold, cold nights, the twenty-six aircraft scheduled for the flight would be kept in the hangar and only released one at a time. Once an aircraft was taken out of the hangar, the starting crews would take over - one man would install the inertia starter crank in the engine nacelle and crank furiously while the other ground crewman would be holding the chock ropes and fire extinguisher. This would, of course, be repeated for the second engine. All the while, the poor flight crews would be at their stations within the aircraft and already starting their “freezing process”.

There was no light, synthetic clothing in those early wartime days but we were able to keep our bodies reasonably warm by wearing winter long johns and donning the RCAF issue “teddy bear” fur flying suits covered by an outer shell with a heavy wool sweater underneath. However, keeping our body extremities, such as hands and feet, warm was another matter. We couldn’t wear mitts on our hands due to the necessity of keeping our fingers separated in order to manually operate the engine controls. At times, we would resort to removing our inadequate RCAF issue leather gauntlets and blowing on our hands or placing them in our mouths. I remember one night in Dec. 1942, I had to land on Runway # 3 (our shortest runway) over the top of another Anson already on the runway with a blown tire, and my fingers were so cold and useless I had to effect the landing with my arms and elbows.

While our hands were cold, our feet were colder and it was there that our suffering was the most intense. We usually didn’t have the luxury of a co-pilot and this was before the days of an autopilot so we had to sit at the controls for a flight of at least three hours. When it was that cold, we really suffered. We wore heavy, awkward RCAF issue fleece-lined winter flying boots; however, these were completely inadequate. We wore heavy wool socks but that was not enough.

Therefore, we tried such far-out methods as covering our feet with felt but that didn’t work. Then someone came up with the brilliant thought of putting wet charcoal in our boots but that didn’t cut it either. We were just doomed to suffer. One night, upon completion of our flight, I had a navigator jump from the Anson door to the pavement in our parking area and break a bone in his foot - there was just no give to it due to the cold.

A few of the less conscientious pilots, quickly discovered that if you “accidentally” hit your wind screen in extremely cold conditions it would “blow out” and a return to base would be necessary. This, of course, was affected shortly after being airborne and, as there would rarely be a spare aircraft, the pilot could return to the warmth of the Pilot’s Mess or to the arms of his loved one. Management
soon put an end to this nonsense.

As Staff Pilots in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, we knew we would never be shot at nor would we shoot at an enemy aircraft. Hence, we knew we would never receive an air medal or be “mentioned in dispatches” but I have often thought there should have been a special medal “struck” for intensive suffering and torture in the cold winter skies of New Brunswick. 

Adapted from The Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum Newsletter
May/June 2003

Don McClure is a member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame. His CAHF bio is as follows:

Donald Stuart McClure of Shediac, NB. Mr. McClure was awarded the Yorath
Trophy by the Royal Canadian Flying Clubs an unprecedented sixteen times
over his aviation career of more than sixty years. His long association with the Air
Cadet movement, excellence in the area of flight instruction and dedication to the
preservation of Canada’s aviation history through his involvement with the CAHS
number only a few in his long list of accomplishments and contributions.
Don was a member of Turnbull Chapter of the CAHS in New Brunswick.
Don McClure died in the spring of 2008.


© 2003, Atlantic Canada Aviation Association Newsletter. All Rights Reserved.

Lord Beaverbrook served as Minister of Air and Minister of War Production in the British government of Sir Winston Churchill.

One of New Brunswick’s best known figures on the world scene was Sir Max Aitken, better known as Lord Beaverbrook, who exhibited his ability to get things done when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill appointed him as Minister of Aircraft Production in May, 1940. By virtue of his skill in supplying aircraft for the Battle of Britain, Churchill congratulated his colleague: “This was Beaverbrook’s hour. He did not fail.” After World War II Beaverbrook returned frequently to New Brunswick where he served as Chancellor of the University of New Brunswick. Many buildings, like the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, were erected with money provided by Lord Beaverbrook.

250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada
c. 1940
UNITED KINGDOM
© 2008, 250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada. All Rights Reserved.


AVM Leigh Stevenson sharing tea with King George VI on the eve of the Battle of Britain.

Born in Richibucto in 1895, Leigh Stevenson served as a pilot in the Royal Flying Club during World War I, after having spent time in the trenches of France. In 1921 he joined the new RCAF helping with the establishment of airfields like Gander in Newfoundland. In World War II, he helped to train new pilots, going overseas in time to participate in the Battle of Britain. After retiring from the military in 1945, Stevenson became involved with Ducks Unlimited Canada, an organization which made him an honorary director.

250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada.
c. 1940
UNITED KINGDOM
Richibucto, New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2003, 250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada. All Rights Reserved.


Air Marshall Hugh Campbell was honoured at his retirement by a flypast of planes in formation spelling his initials– H and C.

Born in Salisbury, Hugh Campbell graduated from the University of New Brunswick as an electrical engineer. In 1932 he became a commissioned officer in the RCAF. With the outbreak of war in 1939 Air Marshall Campbell was appointed Director of Training Plans in Canada and proceeded to develop the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, a network of flying schools to train pilots in the clear and safe skies of Canada. Air Marshall Campbell received recognition for this accomplishment when he was named a Commander in the Order of the British Empire (CBE). He was later appointed Chief of the Air Staff, a position he held when the decision was made to cancel the CF-105 Arrow program in 1958.

250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada.
1932 - 1962
Salisbury, New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2003, 250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada. All Rights Reserved.


Miller Brittain from Saint John served in the RCAF before finishing World War II as an official Canadian War Artist.

Saint John native Miller Brittain was educated as an artist at the Saint John Vocational School before studying at New York’s Art Students’ League. In 1942 he interrupted his art career to join the RCAF and flew thirty-seven missions as an air bomber with the 78th Squadron of the RAF Bomber Command before accepting an appointment as an official war artist three years later. In July 1945 Brittain was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for displaying “the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty”. Several of his wartime paintings can be seen at the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada.
c. 1945
Saint John, New Brunswick, CANADA
UNITED KINGDOM
© 2003, 250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada. All Rights Reserved.


Oromocto’s Don Kimball received the Distinguished Flying Cross while becoming an “ace” pilot during World War II.

Oromocto native Don Kimball was considered an “ace” pilot, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1944 for his accomplishments flying an RCAF Spitfire. The citation accompanying his award read: “During his tour of operations this officer has displayed exceptional keenness and determination. As a section leader he has taken part in numerous patrols, armed reconnaissances and fighter sorties. He has destroyed four enemy aircraft in the air and one on the ground in addition to much enemy road and rail transport. Flying Officer Kimball has shown himself to be an outstanding fighter whose achievements against the enemy have been brilliant.” After returning to Canada, Don Kimball was involved in the construction business, primarily in the Charlotte County areas of the province.

250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada.
c. 1945
UNITED KINGDOM
Oromocto, New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2003, 250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada. All Rights Reserved.


Patricia (Wellman) Pyne served in the British WAAF before marrying and immigrating to Canada as a war bride.

Patricia Wellman joined the WAAF in Liverpool, England in 1941, serving as a radar operator in various locations throughout the United Kingdom. It was on one of these postings that she met her future husband, a Canadian radar mechanic by the name of Ralph Pyne. They were married shortly after the end of World War II. However, nearly a year passed before Patricia and Ralph were reunited in Canada. With other war brides, Patricia had crossed the Atlantic in a converted hospital ship to Halifax, and then traveled by train to her eventual destination – Richibucto by way of Moncton.

250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada.
c. 1945
Richibucto, New Brunswick, CANADA
UNITED KINGDOM
© 2003, 250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada. All Rights Reserved.


Jessie Nason was stationed for most of World War II at RCAF Station Pennfield.

Jessie Nason from Rusagonis joined the RCAF, Women’s Division, in April 1943. In October, 1944 she was posted to #5 Hangar Pennfield Ridge where she served as a fabric worker until the end of the war. Women were allowed to enter the armed forces during World War II, but they were prevented from involvement in combat roles. Many, like Jessie Nason, served in support roles as office workers, drivers and fabric workers.

250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada.
c. 1945
Rusagonis, Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2003, 250 RCAF (Saint John) Wing, Air Force Association of Canada. All Rights Reserved.


The vast majority of wartime aircraft were built in Canada and the United States. Lord Beaverbrook decided it would save time and resources if the newly completed planes were flown across the Atlantic rather than being transported by ship. This was at a time when Trans-Atlantic flights were in their infancy and very dangerous. Nevertheless, what became known as Ferry Command helped to deliver thousands of aircraft for the war effort in Europe.

Walter Warren Fowler from Sackville, New Brunswick, in addition to being an exceptional pilot for Trans Canada Airlines, spent much of the war instructing others on how to fly. He flew aircraft from various American manufacturers into Canada so they could be used by the RCAF. His skills in instrument flight were used to train pilots from the United States to fly across the North Atlantic Ocean to the United Kingdom as part of Ferry Command. He retired in 1971 after logging 10,000 command hours in 41 aircraft types, from WWI trainers to four-engine airlines, without injury to passenger or crew.

When Fowler was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974 his citation read:
“The total dedication Read More
The vast majority of wartime aircraft were built in Canada and the United States. Lord Beaverbrook decided it would save time and resources if the newly completed planes were flown across the Atlantic rather than being transported by ship. This was at a time when Trans-Atlantic flights were in their infancy and very dangerous. Nevertheless, what became known as Ferry Command helped to deliver thousands of aircraft for the war effort in Europe.

Walter Warren Fowler from Sackville, New Brunswick, in addition to being an exceptional pilot for Trans Canada Airlines, spent much of the war instructing others on how to fly. He flew aircraft from various American manufacturers into Canada so they could be used by the RCAF. His skills in instrument flight were used to train pilots from the United States to fly across the North Atlantic Ocean to the United Kingdom as part of Ferry Command. He retired in 1971 after logging 10,000 command hours in 41 aircraft types, from WWI trainers to four-engine airlines, without injury to passenger or crew.

When Fowler was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974 his citation read:
“The total dedication of his well-rounded aeronautical career to improving the nation’s air service, despite adversity, has been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation.”

© 2008, Don McClure Aviation Historical Gallery, Moncton International Airport. All Rights Reserved.

403 Squadron, located at the CFB Gagetown Heliport (Griffon Field), is a 1 Wing unit of 1 Canadian Air Division. It is responsible for training all CH-146 Griffon pilots and flight engineers in the Canadian Forces.

403 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at Baginton Warwickshire, England on 1 March 1941. It was the first Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force formed overseas under Article 15 of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The Squadron performed with distinction during World War II flying Tomahawks and Supermarine Spitfires logging 17,728 operational flying hours in addition to over 13,000 non-operational and training hours.
 
The City of Calgary became 403 Squadron’s postwar home from 1948 to 1964 when it disbanded for the second time. In 1968, the Squadron was reactivated at Petawawa as a training Squadron equipped with CUH-1H helicopters. In July 1972, it was given the exclusive role of training all aircrew and technical crews for the tactical helicopter and rescue Squadrons. To accomplish this new role, the flying portion of the Squadron was relocated to CFB Gagetown.

403 Squadron experienced four major establishment increa Read More
403 Squadron, located at the CFB Gagetown Heliport (Griffon Field), is a 1 Wing unit of 1 Canadian Air Division. It is responsible for training all CH-146 Griffon pilots and flight engineers in the Canadian Forces.

403 (Fighter) Squadron was formed at Baginton Warwickshire, England on 1 March 1941. It was the first Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force formed overseas under Article 15 of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The Squadron performed with distinction during World War II flying Tomahawks and Supermarine Spitfires logging 17,728 operational flying hours in addition to over 13,000 non-operational and training hours.
 
The City of Calgary became 403 Squadron’s postwar home from 1948 to 1964 when it disbanded for the second time. In 1968, the Squadron was reactivated at Petawawa as a training Squadron equipped with CUH-1H helicopters. In July 1972, it was given the exclusive role of training all aircrew and technical crews for the tactical helicopter and rescue Squadrons. To accomplish this new role, the flying portion of the Squadron was relocated to CFB Gagetown.

403 Squadron experienced four major establishment increases during the 1979-1983 period. The first of these was the assumption of responsibility for its own second-line maintenance previously carried out by 2 Aircraft Field Maintenance Squadron in Ottawa. The second was the addition of a tactical flight upon the deactivation of 422 Tactical Helicopter Squadron in August 1980. The third was the formation of an Air Ground Operations School (AGOS). This latter addition is tasked with the development, evaluation and teaching of tactical air and aviation doctrine. The fourth addition was the 10 TAG Detachment Gagetown Air Traffic Control Unit and the assumption of Air Traffic services at CFB Gagetown.

In July 1990, the Squadron developed a closer relationship with the Air Reserves when the CFB Gagetown Detachment of the CFB Chatham Air Reserve Augmentation Flight (ARAF) took up residence in the Squadron. They have since become an integral flight within the Squadron.

In August 1992, the Squadron once again underwent establishment changes. This time the tactical flight was disbanded to provide an increase in instructor pilots and to permit the formation of the Land Aviation Test and Evaluation Flight (LATEF). This new organization has been formed to conduct, on behalf of 1 Wing, operational and tactical testing of land aviation helicopter systems and support equipment and to propose operational and tactical doctrine where applicable.

403 Squadron retired the CH136 Kiowa and CH135 Twin Huey just before delivery of their replacement, the CH146 Griffon, which arrived in early 1995. A state of the art simulator for this new aircraft was recently constructed to aid in the training of the pilots. In addition AGOS, was renamed Aviation Tactics Flight (ATF), to better reflect its role within 1 Wing, and as part of 403 Squadron

© 2008, National Defence, CFB Gagetown. All Rights Reserved.

Learning Objectives

Students will learn about accomplishments achieved by New Brunswick native sons and daughters in the field of aviation and about organizations whose successes in aviation have promoted the prestige of the province.


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