Canadian Army Aviation Forum





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The Work of the Devil

Gagetown, July 1956

As the designated officer of 1AirOP Flight, I was summoned to Div Headquarters to report to General Rockingham. Upon arrival, I was introduced to a boffin down from Army Headquarters about a new camera that would revolutionize aerial photography. It was called a Polaroid or Land camera and it was arranged that we would fly over a demonstration area, take a photo, and when it appeared, we would put it in a sandbag and drop it at General Rockinghams's feet! At the OP with the General were selected officers representing various units. In the demonstration area there was a squadron of tanks and infantry coming up towards the OP. As they approached the OP, we photographed this combat group. Three minutes later, we had a black and white photograph and made the drop. One of the observers, a major from the Black Watch looked at the photo in disbelief and said in his strong Scottish broghe, "Och, it must be the work of the Devil!"

Fast forward now to a cocktail party with Dean Wellsman and Claude Parenteau in Florida: When I mentioned this story, a woman piped up "do you mean a Land Camera?" She then told us that she had been the executive secretary to Doctor Land, and that he would have really enjoyed hearing this story!


Added: March 6, 2016
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The January 22, 2016 edition of the RCAF Association News lists two very interesting 75th anniverary announcements for two Tac Hel Sqns.

403 Sqn May 28-29 2016.
408 Sqn 24-26 Jun 2016.

A number of our readership served in one or both Sqns.

See the "New" section of this website for details.


Added: March 3, 2016
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Here is an anecdote from Pierre Marceau that is an account of one of the procedures for engaging targets from altitude.

It was St-Valentine's day, 14 Feb 1968, a cold and very windy day. The type of day our Air Observation Post Troop Officer Commanding, Joe Thibedeau had been waiting for to execute one of his plans. We had been firing and observing the fire of our regiment, 2 RCHA, quite a lot in the last two months with our new SP 155mm guns, the M109s, and on this day, he insisted we all take our binoculars with us in the cockpit because we were going to need them! We prepared for the flight in our rented hangar at the Fredericton airport and Joe explained, using the map, what he wanted us to do. After the appropriate checks, we took off and headed East. Joe on board 16735 with Bdr Leyte as observer, Loyd MacMorran and Gord Shellard (who was not yet checked out on type) were in 732 whilst I was in 733 with Sgt Irwin as my observer. After take off, we climbed in a loose formation over the St. John River and headed towards the extreme Eastern boundary of the Gagetown Training Area.

We RV'd at the MacLeod Cross Road with Jerusalem Road, an intersection we had marked on our maps. It is just North of Murray Lake and as planned, when we arrived on station, I was already at 6000 ft ASL, Loyd took his place above me at 7000 and Joe was at 8000. The winds were very strong and maintaining the nose of the aircraft into the wind, with lowered flaps and reduced power, we could maintain height and position over this one spot. After we were properly stacked-up and stationnary, so to speak, Joe indicated a target in the impact area that I was to engage. It was at least 14 km away. My observer, Sgt Irwin and I determined it's location and I radioed the Regt CP ordering a Battery Target. I ranged onto it successfully using my binoculars whilst still flying or hovering the aircraft, looking down to stay over the intersection, and looking up, to make sure I was not creeping onto Lloyd. On completion of my shoot, Loyd and Gord also engaged a Battery Target, and then, finally, Joe engaged a Regimental Target. It was the only time I ever used my binoculars whilst flying my L19 and it was an experience that I shall never forget.


Added: December 17, 2015
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Further to my Blog of 29 Nov 15, for a picture of LtCol REM Cross go to the grad picture for LAPC 41. LtCol Cross was Reviewing Officer for that Course Graduation. Note that he was also a Parachutist.

Added: December 13, 2015
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Can anyone tell me, for historical purposes, how LtCol REM (Bob) Cross PPCLI qualified as a Canadian Army pilot? I suspect he did his ab initio at the Brandon Flying Club, then to wings standard at the Light Aircraft School at CJATC Rivers in the early to mid-50s. I have been singularly unsuccessful in finding anyone or anything that can shed any light on the subject and would be eternally grateful if someone could answer this perplexing question. He was OC Ground Training Wing at CJATC in the early 60s. I know, as I worked for him. I should have asked him then!Too late now as he has gone to the big hangar in the sky.

Added: November 29, 2015
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I HAVE A 1000HR MUG BUT DON'T HAVE A CERTIFICATE, I DON'T THINK I WAS EVER GIVEN ONE. I WILL ENTER SOME MORE DATA AT A LATER TIME

Added: November 20, 2015
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The website needs a historical lead-in to each Corps or organizations category. Brief statements of the formation, mission, employment and related information would fill the bill. The comments can be adjusted if necessary as new facts or information are received.

Don't be the last to record a historical overview of your Corps, unit or organization's part in army aviation. Your help is needed to provide substance and information within each category.


Added: November 19, 2015
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The following comment has been placed on the 2,3 RCHA and the artillery facebook pages.

Anyone who served with the Regiment's Air OP Troops will be interested in visiting this new website canadianarmyaviation.ca . (Type in the address on your browser). The site requests input from all who served in all of our Troops before unification and the disbandment of the Air OP troops.


Added: November 17, 2015
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In December, 1958, I was attending the Long location Course in Shilo, Manitoba. I did my continuation flying at 2AirOP flight, Shilo. On Saturday, December 30th, 1958, I went flying with Doug McMillan and took the opportunity to fly over the Shilo ranges to do a bit of crater analysis. On our return to the hangar, and to enter the flight in my logbook, I realized I had just flown my one thousandth hour. That is when Doug McMillan said I should be eligible for the Order of the Griffin and the 1000 Hour Mug. I understand that the Order of the Griffin was originated by LtCol Buzz Borland, who was commanding CJATC. The certificate that I received has been lost, but I still have the mug.

Is there anyone out there who still has a 1000 Hour Mug and/or the certificate that accompanied it?

Bob


Added: November 16, 2015
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Comments:
Wonderful site Vic and John H. Long time in coming but will serve history well. Congratulations!

Added: November 16, 2015
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