Friday, November 27, 2015

The latest excursion

Last week we headed out with the little boy to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario. The Professor's father flew this plane, a Hawker Hurricane, in World War II and then transferred to a squadron flying the rocket-firing Hawker Typhoon. Only one of the Typhoon's survives and is currently on loan to the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. Another good reason to visit the Nation's Capital sooner than later.

The museum is absolutely wonderful. So much restoration going on continuously. There is one plane where the children can "ride" in and see just what it was like to be in one of these aircraft during the war. There were many school classes in attendance the day we were there and it was nice to see that, among other things, the Bletchley story was being confirmed with the use of morse code manchines.

Almost unimaginable to think about young men going up in these "tin cans" of machines and doing what they did. A bit overwhelming really and certainly very emotional for our family. The following are pictures of Larry's Dad in the cockpit as well as a page from his log book on D-Day June 6, 1944. Note the entry "Der Tag" ~The Day~ on D-Day indicating that he was there, flying over France. Everyone who has been privileged to see this remarkable document has always commented on how beautiful his printing was. We really will have to take our grandchildren over to Europe some day and commemorate this.

The real tragedy, and one that The Professor will notably document at a later date, is that after having made it through the war and being shot down and escaping, "Vic's" entire squadron (21 men) were killed when the big Dakota plane carrying ferry pilots from Fargo, N.D.(USA) to Estavan, Saskatchewan (Canada) crashed killing all on board.

"The men in the machine were all members of No. 124 Communication Squadron, R.C.A.F., from Rockliffe, ON.

The men had been ferrying Cornell machines to the US from the Estavan airport. The machines had been used under the lend-lease basis for training during the war."

This is really The Professor's story to tell and once he has the time to sift through the amazing quantity of memorabilia and scrap-books that his recently departed mother kept, he will put things in order and what a story that will tell. Meanwhile, the people who man the museum in Hamilton are overjoyed to have the information and share accounts. So are we.

Photo credits:
Most of the photos were taken with my iPhone. Some are taken with The Professor's phone.
You have no idea how difficult the logistics are with a three year old in an aircraft hangar!

1 comment:

  1. What a special adventure for Luca and an emotional time for you and Larry. I am sure Larry will do a superb job of recounting his father's story which will be most informative and appreciated by many.