• Thanks for stopping by. Logging in to a registered account will remove all generic ads. Please reach out with any questions or concerns.

Canada's First "Warplane" Was A Monumental Military Misfit, We Bought A Lemon!

Chispa

Member
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Hi, while google searches have stumbled a score of times and never opened the page until today, however found the header and sub-title quite amusing.


The first direct attempt to interest Canada's military men in aircraft had been a dismal failure. In August 1909 Baldwin and J.A.D. McCurdy had attempted to
demonstrate the capabilities of their two biplanes, Silver Dart and Baddeck No. 1, to a picked group of officers at Petawawa. A few successful flights had indeed
been made, but both aircraft were quickly wrecked. The trouble lay largely with the unsuitable terrain the Army had supplied as a flying-field: it was rough, uneven,
and dotted with bushes.

The new "Provisional Commander" strapped an impressive revolver around his. waist and sashayed off to the US of A in search of a flying machine he might buy!

Of course, in those days, very few people outside the little circles of flying enthusiasts had any conception of the operating requirements and limitations of aircraft.
In view of the general apathy of military men toward aviation at that time, it was a bit surprising to find that Canada's Minister of Militia and Defence, Col. Sam Hughes,
authorized the formation of an air arm only a few weeks after the out-break of the First World War. The first reference to this peculiar body in official files is an order
initialed by "S.H." dated 16 September 1914, appointing one E.L. Janney as Provisional Commander of the "Canadian Aviation Corps", with the rank of Captain, and
authorizing him to buy for the Corps "one biplane" for a price not to exceed $5000. As far as any records indicate, Janney had never flown, even as a passenger,
and knew next to nothing about aircraft.

The new "Provisional Commander" strapped an impressive revolver around his. waist and sashayed off to the US of A in search of a flying machine he might buy, such
equipment being then, in Canada, about as rare as a great auk. He later claimed to have visited several manufacturers of aircraft in the eastern US before striking a
deal with the Burgess company of Marblehead, Massachusetts. This was a ship building concern which branched out into production of "Burgess Aeroplanes" in partnership
with one Greely S. Curtis of Salem, Mass.

According to Frank H. Ellis, the aircraft in question was the first produced by this company. Even for that date, when nearly all flying machines were designed
"by guess and by God", the Burgess machine was outstandingly different. A tailless craft with swept-back wings, it was designed in 1907 by Lieut. J.W. Dunne, a brilliant British
engineer and metaphysicist. He had apparently developed his basic plan for the type from study of the flight characteristics of the seed of the Zanonia macroparpa plant.
The Burgess company had bought from Dunne the rights to build his aircraft under license. Like the earlier gliders Dunne had built on the same plan, the Burgess derivative
was inherently stable. My library includes a letter from Clifford L. Webster, the pilot who flew the craft to Canada, in which he comments, "The plane was so stable that
anyone could fly it at a reasonable altitude." It was so stable, in fact, that it would have been of little use for pilot training, giving students a false and dangerous impression
of the handling characteristics of aircraft in general.

For further reading fallow link: http://www.canadianwings.com/Archives/archivesDetail.php?We-Bought-A-Lemon-19


Although Halliday 2004 is the benchmark on the infamous “Chin Wagging, High Flyer” E.L. Janney saga, others have attempted in filling the blanks, questioning what is factual or folklore.

DHH OH CEF FWW 1914-19, 1964: (There was no air force; in 1909, the year of the first aeroplane flight in Canada, the Militia Council had witnessed demonstration flights at
Petawawa, but a very limited Canadian military flying service was not organised until after war broke out). Owing too contradictions and clarity in accounts, the questions too ask:—

Note the below is just a first draft.

1. What year was Canada’s first authorised Air Corps, Sept. 1914, or Sept. 1918?
2. Was the CAC, an officially authorised unit, and where’s the Documents’ supporting the facts?
3. In the Sessional Paper 40, etc., CAC are not recorded, all provisional contributions and “special units” are?
4. Janney & Sharpe, “understood to be accomplished and experienced aviators,” by hum?
5. The hydroplane was $5000, or $7500usf., + expenses, a portion pocketed by Janney?
6. Landing at Sorel for fuel, Janney and C. Webster are arrested by Canada Customs?
7. The BD-1B biplane delayed by the arrest, and engine problems for 7 days?
8. Accounts claim delayed 3 days for repairs, Québec City is 1hr by air?
9. Date the biplane arrived and landed on St. Lawrence River at Québec City docks, or Valcartier?
10. The status quo account on the biplane being disassembled, crated, loaded on the ship?
11. Time, date SS Athenia left dock drifted and anchored, Master received sealed orders?
12. While at Gaspe Bay, when was the Athenia authorised to set steam for Plymouth?
13. Mainstream misleading recycled account, CAC boarded and set sail on SS Athenia?
14. “Uncle Sam” Hughes’ advises Alderson: “Janney and Sharpe, were sent to join the Royal Flying Corps,” with no military rank or pay?
15. DMD cables, “Janney and Sharpe not intended to organise a flight unit”?
16. Halliday: Did Hughes forget, given up on it, or Kitchener approves aviators for RFC?
17. The folklore surrounding CAC, originates from Janney while in England and Canada?
18. The name CAC derives from The Globe Tue., Dec., 1, 1914, pg. 9, col. 1?
19. The Globe:–‘A Canadian aviation corps,’ is being organized at Salisbury Plain, and will be attached to the Canadian army when it leaves for the front?
20. Goes MIA on two separate occasions while at Salisbury Plain, totalling ca 6 weeks?
21. Janney’s sous-fonds, etc., cost $116,679.25 the commander states $120,000?
22. Lt.-Gen. E.A.H. Alderson, foiled Janney’s self appointed rank and deceptive, scheme?
23. Uniformed as a British major, aviator, while in England, America and Canada?
24. DHH CEF OH 1938-64; “and one of them was appointed provisional Commander of the Canadian Aviation Corps.” (Why is Janney not mentioned, Lieut. W. F. Sharpe is)?
25. The year Janney’s Canadian Aviation Corps (CAC), historian/author narrative surfaces?
26. Underhanded Janney, foresaw financial gains during the roots of Canadian aviation?
27.  Lt.-Col. Cull arranged Janney’s sub-lieut., commission in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve?
28. The flying corps seeds are rooted with the Royal Flying Corps, Canada, Dec., 1916, though officially an Imperial unit?


THK U FR YR Time.

Joseph


 
J

jollyjacktar

Guest
Funny you should post this today.  I was visiting the RCAF Museum at Trenton yesterday and was looking at the replica of this very same aircraft on display.  Shame it was a turkey as it was kind of pretty when set against the Silver Dart, a replica of which is directly across.
 

rmc_wannabe

Sr. Member
Subscriber
Reaction score
177
Points
680
And thus begins a long and storied history of procurement flops within the RCAF.  ;D
 

Chispa

Member
Reaction score
0
Points
0
jollyjacktar said:
Funny you should post this today.  I was visiting the RCAF Museum at Trenton yesterday and was looking at the replica of this very same aircraft on display.  Shame it was a turkey as it was kind of pretty when set against the Silver Dart, a replica of which is directly across.

Hi, I’m aware BD-1B biplane, didn’t know Pro. Bell’s Drome No. 4 Silver Dart was also on display at the RCAF Museum.

Prof. A.G. Bell To Trustee:—The tools and apparatus at Beinn Bhreagh, including the aerodrome “Silver-Dart”, the aerodrome “Cygnet II” and the hydroplane boat “Query” will belong to me; and the “Silver-Dart” will be placed at the disposal of Messrs. McCurdy and Baldwin for practice purposes. After the payment of the debts of the Association nothing will remain in the hands of the Trustee excepting:—
• The inventions made by the members of the Association between Oct. 1, 1907, and March 31, 1909.
• These may, or may not, turn out to be of value. In order to test the matter two applications.

The Turkey was E.L. Janney, bought an outdated flying machine, used for demos, instruction and in great needed of a serous overhaul, with the new engine etc., it was loaded as deck cargo and damaged during transport, beyond repair.

Owing too the patent wars etc., by 1914 America was stagnant compare to Europe in aviation development, the BD-1B was a relic at that time.
 

Chispa

Member
Reaction score
0
Points
0
rmc_wannabe said:
And thus begins a long and storied history of procurement flops within the RCAF.  ;D

Hi, be nice [:D , you can first start stick poking infantry, and work through every branch of CF,
per say what's up with those British subs we bought many moons ago?
 

cupper

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Chispa said:
Hi, be nice [:D , you can first start stick poking infantry, and work through every branch of CF,
per say what's up with those British subs we bought many moons ago?

The government making poor naval procurement decisions in fact predates the RCN.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Charybdis_(1859)
 

Chispa

Member
Reaction score
0
Points
0
cupper said:
The government making poor naval procurement decisions in fact predates the RCN.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Charybdis_(1859)

Hi: Never knew, first I heard, tried the above link?? Ok figured it out see the page now.

THKs for the heads-up


Only states: In October 1880, she was lent to the Canadian government as a training ship, until returned by Canada in 1882. She was sold at Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1884 for breaking up.

What's the story??

Joseph
 

cupper

Army.ca Veteran
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Chispa said:
What's the story??

From the Canadian Coast Guard Site

http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/CCG/USQUE_Naval_Service

HMS Charybdis
Commissioned by Marine and Fisheries in 1881 in an ill-fated scheme to train naval reservists, the Charybdis had one distinction she was the only full rigged ship to be owned by the Department. Shown here in full naval rig, she sailed from Plymouth to Saint John, N.-S. with her upper yards on deck. Her boilers were re-tubed for the occasion.
(Department of National Defence)

This idea, inspired partly by the demonstrated ease with which fast merchant ships could be transformed into armed raiders, and partly by the availability for training in Eastern Canada of thousands of fishermen who were accustomed to the utmost rigours of seafaring, was discussed in the annual report of the general officer commanding the Canadian Militia in 1879.

"It would be a mutual benefit if the Imperial Government would bestow or lend to the Dominion an ironclad or wooden frigate, partly for coast defence in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as well as for training naval volunteers and a school for lads on the principle that many line-of-battle-ships and frigates are now employed in the Thames, Mersey, Clyde and other British ports."

There being no Canadian naval authority at the time, the government marine service was deemed to be the appropriate body to undertake this scheme.

Thus it was that the Department of Marine and Fisheries found itself in possession of the first major warship to be owned by the Dominion of Canada. HMS Charybdis had paid off in England after a seven year commission on the China station and when, in 1880, the Governor General stated in a dispatch to the Colonial Secretary that his government:

"would not be averse to instituting a ship for training purposes if the Imperial Government would provide the ship."

the Charybdis was allocated, by the Admiralty, for this purpose. A sailing corvette with steam machinery, the Charybdis was not unlike the Alert and both were representative of a fast disappearing type used only for showing the flag in remote places, for hydrography, and for special work such as exploration or the training of young seamen. Captain P. A. Scott, a retired officer of the Royal Navy who made a second career in the Department, was sent to England to bring the ship to Canada. Captain Scott had commanded the Druid and Lady Head shortly after Confederation and was now in command of the Dominion fishery cruiser fleet, an appointment which he held until his retirement in 1888. It had been the intention of the Admiralty to supply the Charybdis on loan to Canada, but, with dockyards full of old corvettes, Their Lordships made a present of her as an outright gift. She was a fine looking ship in the tradition of the Old Navy, with topsails of classic cut and a lengthy gun deck with broadside messes for the seamen. Captain Scott paid little attention to the engine room tucked away beneath the splendour of open decks, hammock nettings and brass stanchions. But his chief engineer, with the sceptical outlook of many years of struggle with ancient machinery, made a thorough inspection of the "chamber of horrors" and reported a melancholy tale; the boilers were done. In truth, ships of this type were heavy to sail and awkward to steam.

Repairs were carried out at the expense of the Canadian Government, and early in 1881 the Charybdis was ready for sea. She was not, of course, HMCS Charybdis, for it would be another thirty years before the Royal Canadian Navy evolved from these beginnings but, as a Dominion government ship under the commander of the fishery fleet, she wore the blue ensign of Canada and the long blue commission pendant. Despite these brave attempts, all was not well. Captain Scott brought the ship safety across the Atlantic, and she berthed in Saint John, N.B. to take up her new role. But the voyage had been a disappointment. The crew of 120 were short handed and it was seen that a realistic scheme of naval training would require something more than an old ship bereft of the benefits of Admiralty supply and administration. Ships of this type had been intended for use with enormous crews and the fact was that the projected naval reserve was beyond the resources which could reasonably be allocated for the purpose. To make matters worse, the Charybdis came adrift in a gale of wind and inflicted damage on other shipping; when two visitors fell into Saint John harbour and were drowned, because of the rotten state of the gangway, the government came in for criticism and it was decided to abandon the project. In August 1882 the Charybdis was towed to Halifax and returned to the Dockyard for disposal.

My understanding is that the highlighted portion is the reason that the name has never been used since (aside from the fact that we've tended to use more geographical or tribal names).
 

Colin Parkinson

Army.ca Legend
Reaction score
1,431
Points
940
rmc_wannabe said:
And thus begins a long and storied history of procurement flops within the RCAF.  ;D

to be fair the number of people that knew and understood aircraft were few and far between back then. A lot of wacky idea's were being floated about.
 

Chispa

Member
Reaction score
0
Points
0
cupper said:
From the Canadian Coast Guard Site

http://www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca/eng/CCG/USQUE_Naval_Service

My understanding is that the highlighted portion is the reason that the name has never been used since (aside from the fact that we've tended to use more geographical or tribal names).

Thank you for the info provided its appreciated.

THK U FR YR TME.

Joseph
 
Top