Author Topic: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"  (Read 2383 times)

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"War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« on: July 14, 2017, 08:19:38 »
As much as I'm not a "new buttons & bows" fan, this seemed like an interesting link to the past ...
Quote
War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges
News Article / July 12, 2017
By Joanna Calder


More than 63 years ago, eight airmen from 426 Squadron – seven from the Royal Canadian Air Force and one from the Royal Air Force – set off on a bombing raid against the railyards in Louvain, Belgium.

They, and the Halifax bomber in which they were flying, never returned.

Halifax bomber LW682 was shot down on May 13, 1944, near the village of Geraardsbergen, Belgium, and crashed in a bog. The Germans recovered and buried five of the dead, but three airmen remained entombed in their aircraft. That is, until September 1997, when a small group of dedicated Canadian volunteers, led by Karl Kjarsgaard of the Halifax Aircraft Association, and the pilot’s nephew, Jay Hammond, began the work of recovering LW682, which was buried in up to seven metres of mud. When the shattered aircraft was recovered, the three remaining aircrew – Pilot Officer Bentz, Pilot Officer Summerhayes and Pilot Officer Roach (see sidebar) – were still at their stations. They were buried with full military honours in Belgium in November 1997, alongside their five comrades.

On June 28, 2017, the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Lieutenant-General Mike Hood, accepted eight ingots of aluminum that had been cast from the melted down wreckage of LW682. Their destiny? At least two of them will become a tangible reminder of RCAF history and heritage, worn by members of RCAF aircrew.

Several years ago, the RCAF moved from gold-coloured accoutrements (rank insignia, buttons and so on) to their traditional colour of pearl grey or silver. The RCAF’s flying and occupation badges (wings) are now being recreated in a silver colour. As part of this process, each set metal “full wing” flying badges worn by pilots, air combat systems operators, loadmasters, search and rescue technicians, airborne electronic sensor operators and flight engineers will incorporate a portion of aluminum from LW682. The aluminum from LW682 will also be incorporated in the new metal “upswept wing” flying badges worn by personnel with the following specialist flying qualifications: flight crew, flight test engineer, flight surgeon, aeromedical evacuation, tactical helicopter observer and airborne warning control.

“It’s my intent . . . to use some of this metal from the 426 Halifax and put it in the new wings we’re creating for the Royal Canadian Air Force,” explained Lieutenant-General Hood. “You can see that our previous wings were gold in nature and we’re going back to our roots and recreating them in silver. So our wings will be silver and all of them will contain a certain amount of this great donation.”

James Blondeau presented the ingots to the commander from Halifax 57 Rescue (Canada) and the Bomber Command Museum (in Nanton, Alberta) on behalf of Mr. Kjarsgaard. As well as being incorporated into the wings, some of the aluminum will be used for other memorial and commemorative purposes

“These ingots represent a large part of our history in our Air Force,” continued Lieutenant-General Hood. “They represent an aircraft that most of the Canadians in Bomber Command would have flown and . . . I see in these ingots the lives and the sacrifice and the commitment of all those airmen and airwomen who came before me.”

The method of incorporating the aluminum in the new silver coloured wings is being finalized, with production and distribution timelines to be determined.

The crew of LW682

    Pilot Officer Wilbur Boyd Bentz (pilot)
    Flying Officer Thomas Wessel Taylor (navigator)
    Flying Officer Clifford Stanley Phillips (bomb aimer)
    Pilot Officer Jack Edwin McIntyre (wireless air gunner)
    Sergeant Roy Ellerslie (flight engineer) (RAF)
    Pilot Officer Joseph Eduard Jean-Guy Arbour (mid-under gunner)
    Pilot Officer Fred Roach (tail gunner)
    Pilot Officer John Wilson Summerhayes (mid-upper gunner)

This is not the first time aluminum from LW682 has been put to good use. The roof of the Bomber Command Memorial in London, England, unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II on June 28, 2012, is constructed from LW682 aluminum. In September 2012, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, unveiled a memorial to the crew of LW682 at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario. Polished ingots, each engraved with the name of a crew member, are embedded in a memorial wall at the Air Mobility Training Centre.

In October 2013, a memorial commemorating sixteen citizens of Virginia, U.S.A., who served in the RCAF during the Second World War was unveiled in Richmond, Virginia. The war-era RCAF badge and the Virginia state insignia, incorporated into the memorial, are cast from LW682 aluminum.

“We have about 800 pounds [of aluminum from LW682] left,” noted Mr. Blondeau during the presentation. The remaining ingots are stored securely at the Bomber Command Museum in Nanton.
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Offline mariomike

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2017, 08:46:59 »
See also,

LW682
https://www.google.ca/search?q=LW682&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-CA:IE-Address&ie=&oe=&rlz=1I7GGHP_en-GBCA592&gfe_rd=cr&ei=8LdoWfSKB--fXsmwocgC&gws_rd=ssl

Pilot Officer Joseph Eduard Jean-Guy Arbour (mid-under gunner)

"It has been a matter of debate ever since whether the Canadian 6 Group, which alone fitted several ventral turrets to many of their Lancasters ( and Halifaxes - mm ) to cover the blind spot, were justified in sacrificing speed and adding weight to do so."
Bomber Command by Sir Max Hastings

Also, because LW682 had a mid-under gunner, it required the eighth crew member.
An eight man crew ( mid-under gunner) was extremely rare in Bomber Command. It was not until the end of the war that Bomber Command learned of the existence of Schrage Muzik. The attacks were almost invariably lethal.

This was to protect from "Schrage Musik" attacks, which LW682 seems to have been a victim of.
https://www.google.ca/search?q=LW682&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-CA:IE-Address&ie=&oe=&rlz=1I7GGHP_en-GBCA592&gfe_rd=cr&ei=8LdoWfSKB--fXsmwocgC&gws_rd=ssl#q=schrage+musik&spf=1500036116543

During the second half of the war, RAF Bomber Command crews reported seeing many 'scarecrow shells' over Germany, AA shells where said to simulate the sight of an exploding four-engined bomber and designed to damage morale. Sadly, in many cases these were actual 'kills' by Luftwaffe nightfighters many using twin 20mm cannon installed at acute angle behind the pilot, and designed to fire upwards into the belly of the bomber. In was not for many months that evidence of these deadly attacks was accepted.

Initially, both the Halifax and Lancaster were designed with under-fuselage gun-mountings, but these were removed due to sighting problems. Some Lancasters were equipped in the field late in the war with a single, .5 calibre Browning operated in a simple mounting aft of the bombdoors, and manned by an extra crewman. It was almost criminal to allow so many casualties from Shrage Musik attacks.

A myth developed among RAF Bomber Command crews that "scarecrow shells" were encountered over Germany. The phenomenon was thought to be "AA shells simulating an exploding four-engined bomber and designed to damage morale. In many cases these were actual 'kills' by Luftwaffe night fighters... It was not for many months that evidence of these deadly attacks was accepted."
 https://h2g2.com/entry/A581753



« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 09:11:04 by mariomike »
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2017, 18:22:16 »
This is actually a nice addition to the new metal wings that are coming out later this year.

ACSO is air combat systems officer vice operator. 

Loadmaster is a specialty vice a trade (they are Traffic Techs by trade) so they are actually flight crew vice aircrew IAW the applic regulations.   Not very impressive for the RCAF to list stuff like this in the news and not even pick up on its own errors. 

If we are truly going to reach back in time only pilots would wear full wings as well; that is the way it was "back in the day. 



Also, is there even TacHel Obs anymore? And why wasn't mission specialist included ???
« Last Edit: July 14, 2017, 20:55:35 by Eye In The Sky »
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Offline Loachman

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #3 on: July 15, 2017, 01:30:39 »
Tac Hel Observers ceased when we lost the Kiowa, and were Army anyway, so would wear bright gold vice gloomy grey wings (there may be a couple still serving), and we've not had Mission Specialists for many years either.

Offline bigzoomie

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2017, 11:45:30 »
Tac Hel Observers ceased when we lost the Kiowa, and were Army anyway, so would wear bright gold vice gloomy grey wings (there may be a couple still serving), and we've not had Mission Specialists for many years either.

Once upon a time, the Army wore "gloomy grey" as well, so resurrected Observer wings in the 'new' colour wouldn't be a stretch. Who knows, maybe the Army para crowd will want to go back to the future as well!  ;)
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Offline Loachman

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2017, 12:21:06 »
As we've not run an Observer course in over two decades, are not likely to ever again, and the last of the few ex-Observers who may be still in won't be around for more than a couple of years, it's a waste anyway.

And, if we're going to go full pre-1968, Tac Hel would be back in the Army completely - which makes operational sense as well.

Offline Dimsum

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2017, 14:22:39 »
If we are truly going to reach back in time only pilots would wear full wings as well; that is the way it was "back in the day. 




I'd agree with that, if for nothing else than we won't get mistaken for the "bus drivers" when giving static tours at airshows  >:D

*I kid, I kid...99% of the public won't notice the 1-wing/2-wing difference anyway*
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2017, 17:26:33 »
As we've not run an Observer course in over two decades, are not likely to ever again, and the last of the few ex-Observers who may be still in won't be around for more than a couple of years, it's a waste anyway.

Thought so...wondering why they are still making the badges?

Quote
And, if we're going to go full pre-1968, Tac Hel would be back in the Army completely - which makes operational sense as well.

I've highlighted the biggest reason it won't happen in yellow text.   ;D
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2017, 17:27:37 »
I'd agree with that, if for nothing else than we won't get mistaken for the "bus drivers" when giving static tours at airshows  >:D

*I kid, I kid...99% of the public won't notice the 1-wing/2-wing difference anyway*

We could argue the new *non pilot* half wings would only cost half as much!! ( false, they'd probably be a specialty item that cost 3 times as much)
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2017, 17:28:25 »
we've not had Mission Specialists for many years either.

Oh...I thought all door gunners were Mission Specialists. 
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Offline Loachman

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2017, 20:16:25 »
No. They were trained as door gunners only. Mission Specialists were supposed to be, basically, back-seat Observers - running the second and larger FLIR monitor in the back because Canadian Pilots could not do that, for some reason, even though US, British, and other Pilots could - minus navigation, FAC/Air OP, and air-to-ground radio functions (we always had four nets on the go in the Kiowa: Flight/Section primary interplane or FAC net on UHF, Squadron VHF-AM Common or ATC, Supported Unit on VHF-FM, and Section Lead on the Arty net on the second VHF-FM Number 2 on the Squadron VHF-FM net; the Observers handled the two VHF-FM radios). Granted, the original instrument-panel FLIR screen was pretty crappy, and I am not absolutely sure if we are using the same one or if it was replaced when MX-15 replaced our original FLIR, but I would expect that the monitor was replaced along with the ball. The main need for "Mission Specialists", from what I saw, was to maintain an Army presence in our Squadrons, and to run ranges. There were attempts to establish courses, but I do not know if the same one was ever run twice. The FE is mainly focussed on his door-gunner role on the right side when the machine is armed.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2017, 20:27:39 »
I had no idea...thanks for the info!
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Offline Loachman

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2017, 20:55:27 »
Thought so...wondering why they are still making the badges?

I doubt that any have been made for decades - there's probably a metric buttload of the original ones in the supply system (probably the only thing in there that isn't out-of-stock or almost out-of-stock).

Nobody at the buttons-and-bows decision-making level likely has a clue about the Observer situation. I'll see our new Wing CWO about it.

I've highlighted the biggest reason it won't happen in yellow text.   ;D

That and we represent numbers and therefore political power and money that can be put to other use, even though the a** f**ce has almost no idea of what we do, how we do it, and why, and little interest in us.

Offline Loachman

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2017, 21:21:13 »
I had no idea...thanks for the info!

My pleasure.

It was a really dumb crew concept.

The driver was the crew commander, but the non-crew commander (Observer) had the maps, the binoculars, the primary radios and was therefore best equipped to make decisions yet could not, but only make suggestions. That doubled the cockpit communications, as he had to brief multiple options and paint a verbal picture to the driver, who was largely busy dodging wires, trees, and cows while trying to pick low ground and avoid stumbling into the enemy and figure out where the fork Number 2 buggered off to this time and listen to five conversations while banking left and right at thirty degrees a couple of feet above the ground at 120 km/hr plus, deciding which option to take, and briefing the Observer accordingly.

It's so much quicker and simpler to say "go right at the treeline and follow the obvious low ground to the next village" rather than "if you go left at the treeline you'll see this, and if you go right at the treeline you'll see this", and a bunch of other supporting information (direction and distance to lead car, last enemy contact, major landmarks or hazards, and anything else of interest/concern).

Thou hast not known true confusion and chaos until thou hast occupied a front seat in a Kiowa on Fallex.

Most Observers were truly outstanding NCOs, most ended up as CWOs in key appointments, and a few took Commissions, and deservedly so.

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2017, 20:19:21 »
Mind if I ask where this crew concept was brought into creation and given life??
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Offline Loachman

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #15 on: July 17, 2017, 21:03:29 »
When we got the Kiowa, which was after unification, and the a** f**ce mentality began to take hold.

All Pilots had to be Officers, and it was decided (by whom, exactly, I have no idea and that is probably lost to history) that Observers would be Artillery and Armoured Sergeants and Warrant Officers in an advisory role, probably because the Army did not want to waste Officers that way.

It would have made much more sense to follow the practice of other major Commonwealth countries, with the bulk of Pilots being NCOs with Officers only in traditional Officer roles such as Regimental, Squadron, Flight Commanders, and Ops Officers, etcetera.

I also like US Army practice, where Unit Maintenance Officers are Pilots rather than AERE-equivalents. That tends to prevent the operational dog being wagged by the maintenance union tail.

The British Army Air Corps derives from the Glider Pilot Regiment and Royal Artillery Air Observation Post Squadrons of the Second World War. The original pre-1968 Canadian Army Pilots (Second World War RCA Auster AOP, later RCA L19 AOP, Armoured Corps CH112 Nomad, and Service Corps CH113 Voyageur) wore AAC wings.

If we could dig up the remains of a Horsa, Hamilcar, Hadrian, or Auster somewhere and have wings hand-carved from the wooden structure...

There - almost back on topic.

Offline Dimsum

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Re: "War-era bomber to be part of new RCAF flying badges"
« Reply #16 on: July 17, 2017, 21:35:18 »
I also like US Army practice, where Unit Maintenance Officers are Pilots rather than AERE-equivalents. That tends to prevent the operational dog being wagged by the maintenance union tail.

Not being facetious, but how would a Pilot Unit Maintenance Officer not get "wagged by the union tail", especially since s/he would have little (or no) experience in the maintenance side of things and would lean even more on the WO/MWO?  I admit I don't know a lot of the maintenance side of the house, but wouldn't an AERE have more experience with maintenance?

Would the UMO also keep flying quals during the posting or would it be like a Wing Ops job?

The idea of NCO Pilots is a good one though.

...and back off-topic  >:D
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