Calgary Wings magazine



Calgary Wings magazine


A monthly magazine produced by personnel of No 37 Service Flying Training School, Royal Air Force Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Contains message officer commanding and articles on retreat from Greece, religion and local area, a fighter pilot in combat, armistice day, sport, American democracy, model aircraft, photographic competition, the work of the YMCA, being bombed in Larissa and the meaning of Calgary in Gaelic.



Temporal Coverage




32 page magazine with cover.

Conforms To


This content is available under a CC BY-NC 4.0 International license (Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0). It has been published ‘as is’ and may contain inaccuracies or culturally inappropriate references that do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the University of Lincoln or the International Bomber Command Centre. For more information, visit and






[Underlined] HR Madgett. [/underlined]


November, 1941 25 Cents

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V … -

City of Calgary

A real Calgary welcome is extended to the Officer Commanding, the Officers and Other Ranks of No. 37 Service Flying Training School, Royal Air Force.

We are honoured in having this splendid unit training in our city and are sincerely desirous of making their stay a happy and pleasant one.


City Clerk

“There’ll Always Be An England”

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A monthly magazine produced and published by personnel of No. 37 Service Flying Training School, Royal Air Force, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Managing Editor:

Business Managers:

Officer I-c:




IN entering the magazine market so soon after our arrival from Britain, we feel that some explanation is needed. The object of producing a monthly “Calgary Wings” is primarily to record in literary and art forms our lives in Calgary. That means that we must produce a magazine not only for our airmen, but also for our friends in Calgary. It is difficult to see how so many guests, permanent and temporary, can live, sleep, and have their being in so charming a city as this, without joining to the full in Calgary’s life – business, professional, educational, literary, musical, art, social, religious and night.

CALGARY has no weekly newspaper as we understand a weekly paper to be. At the moment we have not considered supplying that need. Both news and opinions are reflected accurately enough in the city’s two newspapers. We do not in any sense regard these two worthy contemporaries as our rivals (Heaven help them if we did!) but would rather regard ourselves as complimentary to them in holding the mirror up to Calgary’s culture.

This adventure of ours is and must remain solvent, or else die. We do not believe in the subsidizing of any vehicle of expression of so-called public opinion. If all goes well, this should be our worst effort.

WE shall say what we think and honest-minded citizens will not be offended. We shall always welcome suggestions, criticism, and contributions, although we shall not pay for the latter. We are serving the cause and not ourselves. The whole of our organization is voluntary and the work is done secondarily to our efforts in the Empire Air Training plan. Any profits we may make will be firstly set aside to improve the quality and size of the magazine, and secondly to assist service charities.

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Officer Commanding No. 37 S.F.T.S.

“WELCOME stranger” is the password given us by Calgarians. We are neither the last nor the first English, Scot, Irish, or Welshmen to invade the “brave new world” of Canada. This is an invasion. I make no bones about it. Influence infiltrates unconsciously and we are learning much from you and hope to contribute in return.

Thanks to your hospitality, public and private, we who have come so far from our families and familiar haunts are realizing the meaning of commonwealth, of a cousinship throughout the British Empire, strengthened by common danger and the personal acquaintance which has resulted.

We are indeed grateful to our hosts.

“Calgary Wings” will be a chronicle of our interests and activities here, intimate details of our present life staged in your beautiful city in the heart of Canada.

We do not forget that we came here (so unexpectedly for the majority) to carry out a job of work and our endeavour to do it well shall prove our appreciation for your welcome.

Here, taking advantage of your famous dry climate, undisturbed by the alarms of air raids and the retarding influence of black-out, we plough steadily forward playing a small but important part in furthering and hastening the far-seeing Empire Air Training plan.

In this we must not and shall not slacken. To work and train to the highest pitch of efficiency is our only justification for being here in security, comfort and plenty.

Many of you must have pondered over the seeming awkwardness of authorities in sending your sons to the east and abroad and in bringing our sons so far west as this. In thoughtful moments we dimly see a great conception in this movement of large numbers of men, a vision of restless power of combined action – a sweeping flood of trained and trusted comrades – who knows?

[Advert for Penley’s Dancing Academy]

[Advert for Central Photo Studio]


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THE following letter may be of interest to readers of “Calgary Wings”. It was written to my brother from Crete, following the safe evacuation of his unit from Greece. He was an officer in a London Territorial Unit equipped with Bren Gun Carriers, forming part of a mechanized division. Subsequently he was taken prisoner in Crete, being the only officer in his Company to survive the ordeal.

F-Lt. M. T. Maw.

May 8th.

My Dearest Mother:

Now that I have some time to spare I’ll try to write in more detail about the events of the last month. My writing may not be so hot, as we are still living in the “rough” and this is written on my knee. I’ll try to tell you of the lighter side of things, as I’m quite sure you won’t want to hear much that happened.

Although we escaped from Greece on April 28th, we are still in operational role “somewhere” waiting for the Boche to attack us. This time we will be on equal terms with him if he comes, and we are confident that on anything like equal terms we can thrash him. I last wrote during the first few days of April.

At 9.30 a.m. During a service on Sunday, April 6th, we heard that the “balloon had gone up.” I immediately moved my carriers forward three miles of the rest of the Company and occupied the village of Petros in Macedonia. For the first time the local inhabitants who had always been extremely friendly and kind, threatened trouble.

At 10 p.m. on the first night they came out of their houses (although we had imposed a curfew) and the Greek police told me to get out of the village! The situation was soon in hand and they calmed down. At dusk on April 8th, I had an order by wireless to withdraw to Armgatin (about 40 miles).

The Boche had penetrated through Yugoslavia, and had completely outflanked us. It was a race against time, it was raining like hell, and a very difficult journey over the mountains.

Many more such journeys were to come, with bad narrow roads winding up the mountain side by hair-pin bends when a skid or a slip on the wrong side meant a fall of 2,000 feet or more.

We arrived at Vere in the southern mouth of the Phlorina Gap at 5 a.m. before the Boche and occupied a hasty defensive position at dawn. All day on the 9th we spent digging in on the mountain side behind Vere.

At 4 p.m. my wireless carrier came up again with ammunition, and inconveniently “threw” a track in a bad ditch in the village. I spent all night in recovering it, and (although unknown to me), there was a German patrol in the village. It was bitter cold, and as I walked through to find a despatch rider, a Greek soldier offered me some Cognac which I gladly accepted.

Had I but known I was in the middle of 12 Germans dressed in Greek uniforms. Those same swine one hour later shot one of our sentries with a Tommy Gun. I sent back for another carrier which arrived about 2 a.m. and promptly “threw” a track too, in the process of towing out. I risked a third which arrived at 9 a.m. next morning, and we cleared all the carriers by 11 a.m. I tried to get my wireless up the mountain side, but she “threw” the other track! My luck was out. We eventually got her out by 6 p.m., and all this happened in full sight of the enemy reconnaissance unit.

Meanwhile Boche tanks in large numbers had shown themselves 8 miles down the valley, and our field guns were quick to find their mark. Our bombers, escorted by fighters, flew over again and again to drop tons of bombs on the German lines of communication, and we cheered each time when we saw just as many planes come


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[Advert for The Hudson’s Bay Company]


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back: Our artillery fired all day spasmodically from about noon. I had banked on getting my carrier away over the mountain but had found it impossible.

There was only one alternative as we had blown up the road after the other two had gone through, this was through a mine field. I’ve never gone more gingerly, and to make matters worse our artillery started ranging on the village road as I came down it.

We made it all right and I left the carrier for the night with an anti-aircraft battery behind us.


Climbing up the mountain again with one of my sergeants, I found that the village was full of Boche (it was dark by now) and we could hear them shouting orders in gutteral [sic] tones. John wanted the village shelled instantly, so off I went again to a phone line at the foot of the mountain. It was now about 10 p.m. and I had had no food since breakfast. I was nearly on my knees.

I got through to our heavy guns who were shooting at a range of about 8 miles, and in 10 minutes they opened up and blew the village to hell. I struggled back to the top of the mountain again and spoke to John Lascelles on the phone.

I found that a large German patrol in Greek uniform had penetrated the Aussies on my right flank taking 12 prisoners and capturing an Aussie machine gun post 50 yards from my right flank position.

A whole section of mine had gone to its assistance, been overwhelmed and taken prisoners or killed. I made my way hurriedly over to my platoon with an Aussie officer, but we too ran into the patrol, were surrounded, but escaped.

From the outset it was we were fighting very superior numbers, and it turned out later that we had in front of us the best part of the two crack S.S. divisions including the Adolf Hitler regiment itself. Furthermore my company took the whole brunt of the attack, our other Companies together with the Aussies were barely touched.

By about 2 a.m. on the morning of Good Friday, April 11th, we managed to reform our line in our alternative position.

The whole day was fairly quiet, with intermittent artillery exchanges and machine gun fire on both sides.

About 9 a.m. it started snowing very hard, and it continued for two days. Never in my life have I felt more miserable, we were wet through lying in the snow for hours on end and dog-tired already. We had no food or water and we fell to eating the snow.

We were all out of tobacco and cigarettes, having shared around what few any of us had left. In the evening we were brought some food, some tea and a primus with empty petrol tins to boil the tea in. The tea tasted strongly of petrol, but it was the most enjoyable drink I think I ever had!

We faced another dreaded night in the snow when we knew that every man must continue to keep awake; the penalty we knew could easily mean a bayonet in the stomach from the German patrol.

This night we arranged for every man to stay in our section position from 9.30 p.m. till dawn the next morning, shooting on sight any man moving about whether he was Greek or German.

Soon after dark a German field gun opened up on our position and this was all the more disturbing as we had no tools to dig in with. It continued for 1 1/2 hours, and the miracle was that no one was killed.

John Lascelles was slightly hit in the leg and John Husky had his bottom badly bruised. One shell fell against a three foot stone wall behind which I was kneeling with my batman. We were covered with stones and earth but unharmed. All night we fired intermittently at dark shapes, many of them figments of our vivid imagination. But after dawn on the 12th we crawled out and found a goodly harvest of dead Boches lying in the snow.

These were the first definite indications of the presence of the Adolf Hitler regiment. At 9.45 a.m. on the 12th the battle started in earnest. The whole force of the attack came in on my company’s position starting with a terrific barrage of shelling and helped by heavy machine guns.

This was followed by an infantry attack which was initiated on my platoon position. I was holding the key position on the top of a ravine, and I still had eight Bren guns in action. The Boche came over the ridge literally in mass formation and we mowed them down; they must have suffered terrific casualties.


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[Cartoon of an aircraft and a bear in the mountains] RODBER. 41


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My platoon continued doing that until about one o’clock, when I was told by my batman, much to my consternation, that the rest of the Company had been ordered to withdraw, and the order had not reached me! I was left surrounded on three sides and I was being fired on at close range by more than one machine gun. We actually withdrew without losing a single man killed, although four were wounded.

I lost the whole of my belongings and I had to carry a wounded Corporal down the mountain.

Later that afternoon the Colonel furnished us with seven Bren guns to cover the withdrawal of the whole of the rest of the British force on a railway station.

The Boche got round our flank on both sides and machine-gunned us from the rear, but we hung on for three-quarters of an hour and then withdrew, not only through this fire but also through a barrage of shelling, and when I tell you that shells burst in the station we were occupying on the line down which we withdrew, only 20 yards ahead, and all around, truly the hand of God was protecting us.

I only lost one man, killed. All that night we withdrew arriving at Procestin near Phosemais at 2.30 a.m. on Easter Sunday, April 13th, to fight our next delaying action. We were in position before dawn and the Boche arrived about 11 a.m. They started with a huge tank attack, employing between 100 and 150 in all.

We beat them off and when they put in their infantry we took as heavy a toll as we had the day before.

That day we had our first taste of dive bombing and machine gunning by M.E. 109s, which was far from pleasant, but as we got it from dawn to dusk every single day till we left Greece, we soon got accustomed to it.

Every place we stopped, we hastily dug split trenches which afford good protection and when attacked on the move we used to stop and lie in ditches.

By the evening of the 13th a position was very grave. A number of enemy tanks had outflanked us and got in our rear, more were moving up the last 200 yards in front of our position. I may say that we knocked out a considerable number of them all day with our anti-tank guns.

Just as dusk was falling at about 8.30 p.m. the Brigadier ordered our withdrawal in the nick of time as it turned out. We sped down the road covered by our own heavy tanks, and it was comforting to see the German armour-piercing tracer bullets going a little too high over our bonnets.

We passed a blazing tank, a reminder of what might happen to us. My only remaining despatch rider rode with his head down under the cover of my own armour, and so we again escaped through a thin line of enemy tanks.

Another long journey of 40 miles ahead of us to the main bridge over the river Alechnon, where I arrived at 4 a.m. The Brigadier stopped me with four of my carriers and ordered me to defend a bridge 30 miles down river where I arrived about 10 a.m. on the 14th.

The rest of the Battalion went back to Pcoma to rest, but I was unlucky. I had not slept at all since Petros on April 7th. My task was well nigh impossible.

I asked the sapper sergeant how much he wanted to blow the bridge on my orders and he replied in broad Scotch, “I canna blow it, Sir, there is not enough dynamite under it”! I only had four carriers and to make matters worse, a German troop-carrying aeroplane landed two miles away.

At 2 p.m. I wirelessed back with this information and demanded reinforcements; the Colonel glibly said this was impossible, and I made it clear that I would not hold myself responsible for the bridge. I was told that the Boche had got round them at Grevena, 35 miles in my rear!

My withdrawal route took me over two ravines, both bridged, and a very dangerous mountain pass.

The Boche bombed those bridges all day, but mercifully never hit them. At 8.45 p.m. I was ordered to withdraw and arrived safely at Grevena at about 2 a.m. on the 15th, negotiating innumerable bomb craters on the way.

We moved to take up our next position at Elenthovion, hoping to negotiate the worst pass of all before the dive bombers were about.

Hoards of Greek refugees completely blocked the pass, and when daylight came there were vehicles stretching for eight miles head to tail, a perfect target if there ever was one.

(Continued on page 28)


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IN spite of difficulties inevitably involved in getting a new station fully under way there is already evidence here of such amenities as will go a long way to providing first rate recreation in the long winter months ahead of us. For one thing we are beginning to realise that we are near a city of kindly and hospitable people. The welcome to R.A.F. personnel by private invitation, by the I.O.D.E. and the Red Triangle Association is typical of Canadian hospitality.

One can only guess the planning and work involved in entertaining nearly two hundred airmen at dinner and special Remembrance services at Wesley United and Crescent Heights United Churches on November 9th.

On the same day a party of about a hundred men set off under a sky of cloudless blue to, to visit Banff as guests of the Calgary Rotary Club and the Board of Trade.

Of course many a kindness goes unmentioned. The gracious lady who recently took two sick airmen to Banff in her car would be the last to wish her name recorded in our annals.

On the Station itself the Y.M.C.A. canteens and postal service are a veritable boon. The popularity of their bi-weekly cinema shows is attested by the crowded audiences.

Thanks to the generosity of local ladies of the Jewish faith the reading room is more comfortable than we could have hoped. The Station Dance Band id admittedly superb and the last two Wednesday concerts have merited the thunderous applause which greeted a widely varied entertainment.


There are further offers of outside talent sufficient to provide us with many an evening’s enjoyment. We are fortunate, too, in securing the services of one of Canada’s finest choirmasters in the training of a Station Male Voice Choir. There is still room for many more to swell the chorus.

Good music is available on Sunday evenings in the large canteen. Whilst seats are not altogether obtainable at the voluntary Sunday service, a worth start has been made by the Religious Discussion Group which meets on Monday nights.

Whatever the privations of our enforced exile we do not intend to rely entirely on Canadian generosity for our entertainment.

One excellent way of repaying their hospitality may be to go to town with a really first rate concert party.

Meanwhile let us keep our folk at home well bombarded with cheery letters. There is a good side to this life and it would be a pity to wait until we get home to tell them about it.

The United Empire Loyalists who were organizing the hostess dances at the Y.M. last week were originally the descendants of those sturdy Empire loyalists who trekked northwards into the Maritime Provinces during the American Civil War. Calgary president is Mr. L. F. Clarry.


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[Two scenic photographs of rivers and mountains]



Top – Photograph by PO. V. R. Borman, 1-50th F-22. Noon – Super XX.

Right – By F-Lt. R. G. Maddox. 1-50th F-8 Super XX.


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[Two cartoons of the Allied Leaders and Hitler]

Mr. Schicklegruber


Left: Mugs, and the breaker of mugs.

Below: The Runaway.


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[Advert for Calgary Ginger Ale]


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[Two photographs of mountains and rivers]



Above – Bow Falls from above by PO. V. R. Borman, 1-100th at F-16. 3 p.m. Super XX.

Left- The Falls from below by F-Lt. R. G. Maddox. 1-50th at F-8. 3 p.m. Super XX.


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A Fighter Pilot in Combat

IT was 4:30 a.m. All was quiet in the crew room, but for the snores of weary and worn pilots, and rustling of mice nibbling at discarded chocolate papers on the floor.

Br-r-r-r-r! The silence was broken by the harsh ringing of the telephone. The operator reached from his bed, still half asleep, and mumbled a very feeble “Hello” into the mouthpiece. He listened, was galvanised into action, and rushed out shouting “Scramble”.

In five seconds the whole crew room was awake with tousle-haired pilots leaping from bunks, pulling sweaters over gaudy pyjamas, and grabbing Mae Wests from hooks on the walls.

The ground crews were already sprinting for the shadowy outlines of the Spitfires lined up on the tarmac, and one by one, the powerful Merlin engines roared into life and coloured flames stabbed the half light of early dawn.

A metallic voice grated from the loudspeaker: “Patrol Dungeness Angels 25”, and we made a dive for our machines where our crews waited to help us on with our parachutes. One tubby and very bald Sergeant Piot shouted as he ran, “It’s going to be d--- cold up there without my woolies on.” – It was!

One by one our machines taxied out, following the C.O. and within five minutes of the telephone call, we were all in the air, winging our way towards the coast, climbing steadily to gain as much height as possible before reaching our rendezvous.

The C.O. contacted the controller back at base. “Hello, Poppy. Topper Leader calling. Are you receiving me. Over.” Quickly came back the reply. “Hello, Topper Leader, Poppy answering. Receiving you load and clear, are you receiving me. Over”.

When the C.O. had told the controller that all was O.K. he ordered Topper Blue 2 to take zero and pip squeak, and we settled down for our patrol, while the weavers, white section, fell back to their monotonous task behind the squadron.


The early morning sun glistened on frost covered wings as it rose above the low banks of mist which enveloped the Channel. The radio crackled most of them in our ears, then an important message came over the air, “Vector – one, form – zero. 15 plus approaching you from the East. You should see them almost at once.”

I sat up and began to search the sky even more closely than before for the Hun. Suddenly, from white 2 came an excited cry of “There they are, just below us to port. Don’t think they’ve seen us yet,” and the C.O. cleverly manoeuvred us into the sun, positioning us for attack, while the weavers closed in.

As we looked down we saw 24 ME 109s and below them a squadron of JU.88s.

We were now ready for a crack at the Huns, being stepped up into the sun in sections echelon port. Leading Red section the C.O. dived straight at the bombers closely followed by Yellow and Black sections.

He made a beam attack, going down through the escorting MEs, and as these, suddenly realizing what had happened, dived on our boys, “B” Flight, Blue Green and White sections, went down and mixed it up a bit more.

Under our withering fire, the bombers broke and fled, while two of them spun down in flames. The MEs fought a rear-guard action to cover the retreat.

I was leading Green section, and as one of the enemy planes flashed across my sights, I gave him a squirt, but had no time to observe results, as there were two others on my tail. I could hear their machine guns stuttering, and it took immediate evasive action by closing my throttle and lowering my flaps, causing one of my assailants to overshoot. (This is an old Polish custom).

I jumped on his tail and let him have it. He turned over and went straight down, flames belching from the cockpit. At that short range it was almost impossible to miss.

Continued on Page 17


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Chaplain Speaks at Memorial Service

OFFICERS and men of No. 37 S.F.T.S. formed part of a large parade of airmen who marched smartly through the sun-lit avenues of Calgary on Remembrance Day morning. It was our first participation on a large scale in a civic function and it was certainly a noteworthy one. Leaving the School in buses and lorries, three flights formed up with the parade on 4th Avenue between 2nd St. E. and 1st St. W. Led by the band from No. 2 Wireless School and preceded by flights from No. 3 S.F.T.S., No. 10 Repair Depot, H.Q. No. 4 Training Command, No. 2 Wireless School , and another band from No. 7 S.F.T.S. Macleod, they marched south on 2nd St. E. to 7th Ave., west to 5th St. W. south to 8th Ave., then east on 8th Ave. to 4th St. West and south past the Cenotaph at the Memorial Park.

Here hundreds lined the pavements and surrounded the Cenotaph, watching the rhythmic stepping of the long, regular files of airmen, and noting the changing uniforms – R.C.A.F., Australian, New Zealanders, and R.A.F.

As each flight passed the Cenotaph, and other officials, the salute was given.

When all the airmen had marched past, there came, after a short interval ex-service men and women, and women’s service groups, headed by the Elks’ blue-uniformed band, and officers of the R.A.F., R.C.A.F., and Army, representatives of all of whom laid wreaths at the base of the cenotaph.

Earlier, a special service had been held in the Canadian Legion Memorial Hall at which Calgary’s Mayor, Mr. Andrew Davison presided.

It was here that as 11 a.m. approached, Major C.H. Westmore led the ceremony of Light of Toc H; the “Last Post” was sounded, and after two minutes’ silence, came the “Reveille”.

[Photograph of a military parade] The first of our three flights led by S-Ldr. E.W. Heath, F-Lt. C.J. Gilmour-Wood, F-Lt. M.T. Maw and W. O. H. Aulton.


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[Photograph of the Remembrance salute at the Cenotaph] SQUADRON LEADER E. TURNBULL, giving the salute at the Cenotaph after laying a wreath from officers and men of No. 37 S.F.T.S.

The Rev. (S-Ldr) R. J. Hooper, our chaplain then delivered the address.

“This is a day in which every man of us must take his stand”, he said. Amongst the evils which we fight are those which can never be defeated by physical force alone.

“In this spiritual struggle every man is responsible before God for his spiritual condition, for the state of his soul, for the spiritual power he radiates through his personality. And today I, with you, have solemnly to ask why am I allowed to live since these have passed on?

“It is not enough to make subscriptions, it is not enough to send comforts. There must beat through our life and constant prayers the full-blooded will for a harmonious community, or the narrowness, the ignorance, the comfort, the sloth of ordinary men and women will balk the way to the world for which our comrades gave their lives.

“It is right that the centre of this service should be a silence – more eloquent than if one could speak with the tongues of men and of angels. For who shall speak of them, of all that we so proudly recall, of their glad word and ready smile, of every swift and daring deed, of their greatest gift of life itself? ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’.

“The men we remember in grateful humility would have us know they count it worth their shortened lives that there are still lands where freedom is held dearer than life, that there are still homes wherein children are taugh [sic] the fear of God and the sanctity of Truth.


”What is this day of Remembrance if it is not a day of dedication to live in the spirit of their sacrifice? We have lived in an age in which the teaching of the Master has been mildly tolerated and too rarely practised. We have lived through to be faced with a force that is brutally intolerant and frankly pagan.

“The power that has changed that symbol of shame into the most glorious sign of our history is still with us. That power will never be defeated. It is the nation that is ruled by God that has no fear of the ultimate issue.”


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[Advert for Heintzman & Co]


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Holiday Atmosphere Surprised British Airmen

THIS was the first large scale parade in which our personnel had taken part; yet to many it not fit our preconceived notions as to what an Armistice Day parade should be.

Most noticeable was Calgary’s holiday atmosphere. The big stores and shops had closed for the day; schools were empty; only the city’s entertainment life, transport and press continued as usual.

I stood by the Cenotaph from 10.45 until mid-day and wondered at the somewhat festive gathering.

I heard no guns, no sirens, no whistles. I stood expecting some audible sign that a two minutes’ silence was about to be observed. Old men talked, women gossiped, and young boys and girls played about awaiting the march past of Empire airmen.

The inclusion of young girls dressed in a sort of white uniform in a civilian parade of ex-service veterans seemed incongruous.

I was thinking of lives given to establish peace 27 years ago; I thought of besieged Britain and white snows of Russia stained with the blood of millions; and it came hard to approve of sex appeal sandwiched in an Armistice parade.

Admittedly November 11th in Britain in recent years had lost something; but the outbreak of the second world war gave it a new significance; a new restraint, and fresh hope.

[Boxed] Should Those Awake

SHOULD those awake, who died in days gone by,
Who died to keep their fairest country free,
No world-wide peace, no freedom greets their eye,
But tyrant’s rule, and despot’s tyranny,
‘We died for peace and not for war’, they say –
‘For sake of peace were we laid in the grave;
Why, therefore, are more mortals, day by day
Compelled to join the valiant Dead, the Brave?’
They gaze, they are disgusted; each recalls
That unleashed cataract of Stygian gloom
He knew as Death; each staggers then and falls,
And, disillusioned, crawls back to his tomb!

AIDOS. [/boxed]

From Page 13

Seeing the 88s fleeing fast, the 109s broke off the engagement and we were ordered to “pancake”.

“Good show” crackled the radio.


The Intelligence Officer met us on the tarmac, and spent some time obtaining “gen” from us, while the machines were being re-fuelled, and re-armed, and the bullet holes were patched up.

We were back at 1400 hours, expecting a busy time, but, during the afternoon, although the weather was perfect for Jerry we had no more alarms.

The C.O. by fair means or foul, had obtained some bows and arrows and some of us had a little target practice of a different nature.

At about 18:30, the C.O. assembled us in the crew room where he informed us that “B” Flight were to take off at 19:00 hours and proceed to Dover to escort a large convoy through the Straits.

We all started to “bind” knowing only too well that it meant at least an hour and a half of ceaseless vigil – and vigil despite its purpose is sheer boredom.

At the appointed time we were over the convoy which we had approached very cautiously, having on previous occasions received a warm recaption when the matelots mistook us for Huns.

The convoy steamed calmly along without interruptions whilst up above we stooged back and forth, searching and searching, seeing nothing.”

Apparently Jerry had had enough for one day and as another squadron came to relieve us we thankfully turned our machines in the direction of our base.

We were released soon after we landed, so we all piled into “Mrs. Frequently”, (an ancient and dilapidated Alvis) and tore down to the local where we spent the rest of the evening, very pleasantly drinking lemonade (?), playing darts and shooting horrible lines”. Then home to bed giving thanks for a day of ease and pleasant living.

S. T. R.


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I HAVE often heard Canada described as “The Sportsman’s Paradise”, but I never knew the full meaning of this until after a week’s sojourn here. I think it a very apt description now for almost any game you can think of is played in Canada. Our British football and rugger may not be flourishing in Calgary but these games have a very strong following in some parts especially on the West Coast. And, of course, at ice-hockey, curling, and basket ball, Canadians are “King-Pins”, but what I do like most of all is the tremendous energy and enthusiasm they show in their games.

Indeed the enthusiasm has proved infectious for personnel of No. 37 are “going to it” in great style. Up to date the school sports activities have been confined to football, rugby, badminton, basketball, volley-ball, boxing, roller and ice skating, but as soon as the school’s ice rink is completed we hope to tackle ice hockey.

On the entertainment side we have had four station concerts and three dances, and hope to have our airmen’s dance and once concert per week. We have “unearthed” considerable talent at our concerts, but there must be a lot more “dark horses” in our midst, so please come along to our concerts and help to make them a great success.

Full use in being made day and night of the Recreation Hall. Physical training classes are held each morning, and personnel off duty in the daytime are coming along for their “daily dozen”, or to participate in a game of badminton.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights are Badminton nights, Tuesday and Thursday nights are cinema nights, Wednesday is a concert night, and on Friday nights the airmen “trip the light fantastic.”


Since being here the school have played soccer and rugger matches against other R.A.F. and R.C.A.F. teams, and intersectional matches within the school.

Our soccer team hold the grand record so far of having played and won four matches, with a goal average of 21 against 3.

On Saturday, November 1st they succeeded in beating No. 31 E.F.T.S. by 4-1, thus winning the Cavanaugh Trophy Cup and at the same time causing No. 31 to lose their first match.

The M.T. section are still unbeaten and are willing to take on all comers.


The school rugger team has not been so successful, but that is not because of lack of enthusiasm. The three games played so far have unfortunately all been lost, but the team is finding its feet and improving all round.

On Saturday, November 8th the opposition was provided by a New Zealand XV and the final score was 25 points to 9 in their favour. We are hoping that when the next football season comes round, officers and men of No. 37 will rally round and produce two good teams for these sports.


In the near future we are hoping to arrange badminton tournaments in the station, and badminton and basketball matches between teams on the station and against outside teams. We have a number of promising players in each sport and look forward to some good games, especially so since they are hard at practice every evening.


The Station No. 1 Dance Band has proved itself to be very efficient and popular on all its appearances.

To date they have provided music for three dances on the station and have played at outside dances and concerts. At present the band leader is busy forming a


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No. 2 Dance Band and with sufficient practice they will prove to be a good combination.


The boxing team has had many successes and they put up a good show at the inter-services boxing tournament held at the armouries.

Although we didn’t manage to carry of any of the titles our boys gave a good account of themselves, wining most of the bouts of the evening. They are looking forward to return matches with some of their opponents from the Army and Navy.

Those of us who form the staff of the Recreation Hall will welcome any newcomers in these and any other sports, and help them as much as possible.

In the language of the Blackfoot Indians Calgary was “Mokk-inistsis-in-aka-apervis”. The Cree Indians called it “O-toos-kwa-nik”.

As the train was leaving the Station a passenger leaned out of a window and seeing a cat on the platform, shouted to the porter “Manx?”
“No” shouted back the porter “10.55.”

[Boxed] Says Lon Cavanaugh

LON Cavanaugh, Calgary Sportsman who presented the Cavanaugh Soccer Cup for the champion Service Soccer team in and around Calgary was interviewed by a “Calgary Wings” representative the other evening.

Said Lon C. “I thoroughly enjoy the way you English lads play soccer. Its a great game and certainly yours. It must be pretty popular in the Old Country when over 80,000 can still turn up to an international soccer game”.

“Not bad for a country that’s been badly bombed.”

The Lon Cavanaugh Soccer Cup is of course held by No. 37 S.F.T.S. after administering a first defeat on the De-Winton boys of No. 31 E.F.T.S. [/boxed]

Eyes Wrong – “Marched to the Cenotaph, where they gave the “eyes right” – extract from a local newspaper. The cenotaph was on the left of the parade.

[Advert for the Grand Theatre]


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TWO pupil pilots of the Royal Air Force, newly arrived in Calgary, found themselves one Saturday morning in a stationer’s shop on Eighth Avenue, buying pennants for souvenirs. The assistant got them what they wanted, except for a certain Indian pennant which a search through two full drawers failed to bring to light.

The value of the pennant was twenty-five cents, or as the assistant would certainly have described it, two bits. The cadet finally said, with great sincerity, that it did not matter. “I know we have one some place,” said the assistant cheerfully. “I’ll go through those drawers again a little later, and maybe you could call back next time you’re in town.” Then, business being over, she asked us what part of England we came from.

“Fourscore and seven years ago”, said Abraham Lincoln on a certain memorable occasion, “our forefathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

The continent of North America, in spite of the passage of a further seventy-eight years since the consecration of the cemetery at Gettysburg, is still dedicated to that remarkable proposition.

I say remarkable, because at first sight it appears to run contrary to all human experience. We know, as a matter of biological fact, that human beings are not created equal. The aborigines of Patagonia, for example, are not equal in physique, intelligence, or indeed in any human quality, to the average Englishman or North American. But apart from such obvious differences, there exists even within the same race, the same society, inequalities almost as striking and of far more practical importance.

But this rather obvious kind of inequality, this unfairness on the part of Nature, is not the root of the matter. What Americans mean when they say that all men are equal, is that, since all men are endowed with immortal souls, the difference between them in birth, wealth or attainments are only of accidental importance, and that in everyday life it does us good to be reminded of this alarming fact.

As the parish priest in a Spencer Tracy film beautifully expressed it, when young Tracy declared that somebody’s father was a tramp and “a big tomater” – “We’re all big tomaters in the sight of God.” That, and not the so-called democratic system of government, is true democracy.

The ordinary Englishman is rather doubtful of American democracy; he is inclined to suspect that it is in the nature of an act put on for the benefit of the rest of the world.

To speak to a man with familiarity does not mean that you feel yourself his equal; still less if you greet him with insult and abuse. A London taxi-driver may talk to his fare as familiarly as you please, but he does not talk to him as he would another taxi-driver.

To people brought up in the old world of social graduations it is almost inconceivable that any other system of living can in practice exist. That it does exist, and flourishes, in North America today is a fact that can be vouched for by any Englishman who now finds himself, owing to circumstances beyond his control, a resident in the United States or the Dominion of Canada.

From the moment of stepping off the boat he is forcibly reminded that he has stepped into a new kind of society. It is this new and strange way of living, which we feebly call “democracy”, that is the real difference between England and America.

The immense spaces, the blue skies, the ice-capped mountains, the unending dark-pine woods – these are but factors, “ciphers to this great accompt”; the permanent, enduring, astonishing reality is the fact that here in North America, the boss, the customer, the rich man, is still a man; and he has the priceless privilege of being abused, persuaded, praised, ridiculed, or admired, not as if he were a fabulous creature in a fairy-tale, but as one man to another.


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PLEASE forgive the title which may be misleading and perhaps lead to disappointment. We are going to try and start a successful model aircraft club at this school and for the benefit of you who are new to aeromodelling here are a few facts which might awaken your interest.

Building and flying model aircraft is a scientific hobby, calling for ingenuity and skill. You’ll get lots of fun out of building your models on long winter evenings and lots of thrills flying them when the better weather comes along.

There are types of models to suit every taste (no wisecracks please) duration models both rubber driven and petrol powered, speed models, scale models, flying boats, aeroplanes and sailplanes.

Four to five minutes is an average duration for rubber driven models and only the quantity of gas limits duration of gas-powered models.

Good weather conditions and wide open spaces make this district ideal for model flying, the aeromedellists favourite pastime of tree climbing is practically unknown here.

This is a cheap hobby and requires very few tools, a razor blade and some sandpaper being the chief weapons.

Some of us here have had previous experience of model aeronautics and would be keen to give every assistance to budding aeromodellists.

You’ll be intrigued with the most fascinating of hobbies, the thrill of seeing the product of one’s own hands soar gracefully into the air for the first time is something that has to be experienced to be believed.

A meeting to discuss the forming of a club will be held in the near future. Will everyone interested please come along?


(From a very personal letter by an airman to his wife in London. No comments are surely needed.)

“NOW that I’ve satiated my black-out eyes on the multi-coloured lights of Calgary’s night life, drunk my fill of cafe coffee, eaten myself to repletion, and grown tired of pacing the streets and avenues, I find I spend many pleasant evenings in the house of Mrs. Z.

“She is, I suppose, a second mother to me. I rapidly overcame my shyness and now feel thoroughly at home.

“If you could see me some evenings, sitting comfortably in my shirt sleeves, smoking my pipe and wearing a borrowed pair of slippers (which are kept for me under the sofa) you might feel a mixture of jealousy and happiness that I am really being cared for so well – and so far from you all.

“Books, piano, radio, company, cards, good talk – they’re all here. I’m one of the family, except in name. Incidentally I’ve been to Church more times in six weeks in Calgary than I did in the last six years in England.

“If Z’s son who is in England now in khaki drops in some time – I’ve sent him your address – well, heaven help you if you don’t treat him as well as I’m being treated here.”

[Advert for The McDermid Drug Co., Ltd.0


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TO me upon an afternoon a vision was revealed,
As fifty training aeroplanes careered about the field
My pupils landed back to front, they landed upside down
But I was lying fast asleep and there was none to frown.

I DREAMED that on a certain course a certain pupil came
And in the Flight allotment he was drawn against my name.
A blackhaired rapscallion with a falling lock of hair
And a stupid little clipped moustache that shouldn’t have been there.

HE said he meant to fly and get it over soon
As his patience was exhausted with the old man in the moon.
He said I’d better hurry up and teach him all I knew
Or he’d label me forever as a plutocratic Jew.

HE said his name was Shicklegrub; he said it wasn’t fair.
He ripped the Order Book to shreds and tossed them in the air.
He bit his parachute in half and screamed in mortal pain
Till I strapped him up securely in our oldest areoplane.

I TOLD him all he had to do was wind the tailtrim back
And loosen well the throttle-nut to make it really slack;
I warned him that when taking off the flaps should be depressed,
And the stick pulled firmly backwards till it hit him in the chest.

I BEGGED him to make no mistake before he hit the trail
But make quite sure the wind was blowing strong behind his tail.
I told him the mixture knob should always be in “weak”
And the radiator shuttered off in case it sprang a leak.

I ORDERED him if things went wrong my good advice despite
To rudder strongly to the left and bank towards the right
To throttle back one engine and to climb at twenty-five
And then return to safety in a screaming power dive.

I SENT the ambulance away and set its driver free
I told the fire tenders crew that it was time for tea
Then all my preparations made and all the orders right
I authorized Herr Hitler for his first and final flight.


[Advert for Lewis Stationery Company]


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[Advert for The T. Eaton Western Co. Limited]


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SING a song of six cents, we’re a busy little school,
Working hard from morn to night; no time to play the fool.
When at last our day is done, with many weary sighs
We lie down on our pallets and we gladly close our eyes.

We rarely go to Calgary to spend our hard-earned pay
We never thumb a lift in cars to help us on our way.
We always walk on the left hand side: Of course we’re all in step
With shoulders proudly squared to show we’re full right up with pep.

And if at times we have a dime which we think we can spare
We spend it in the canteen where there is ample fare.
We all know that the pennies spent on things that we may buy
Help to swell the Station Funds, you know, the P.S.I.

We love parades and every day we’re up before the lark
Singing and whistling joyfully while outside it is dark.
Then we go to the airmen’s Mess where hungrily we eat
The lovely food they give us: It really is a treat.

And when the Orderly Dog comes round to ask us for complaints,
We stand up straight and shout “No Sir”. We’re perfect little saints
We like the camp, we like the air, we like the Calgary beer,
There’s nothing that we do not like. We’re so glad to be here.
And when it come that we must pack and leave this pleasant land,
We’ll do so with a heart-ache – but - By gum. Won’t it be grand!


[Advert for Birks]


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WE are lucky to have several expert photographers among us and they have offered their services to instruct the members of our Camera Club in the various branches of photography. We have a dark room and a club room at our disposal for the use of members, and in a very short time we hope to have the use of an enlarging lantern and other equipment.

So if you can hold a camera and take a picture, come in. We will teach you to develop and print the results. You will gain an additional interest in your camera.

Roll up, join. There is room for everyone.



Six cash prizes will be awarded for the best photographs submitted by personnel of No. 37 for our December issue.

They will be judged independently by three experts for their pictorial composition, technical excellence, and topicality.

Send your prints to “Photography Competition”, “Calgary Wings”, at the School Post Office, or S.H.Q. Orderly Room, and don’t forget to put your name and number and any technical data on the reverse of the prints, in pencil.

Entries should be in before December 10th.


LADIES gracious, ladies fair
Some with golden corn for hair.
Some as dainty as a bird,
Some whose laughter I have heard
In a rippling mountain stream;
Some as lovely as a dream;
Some who gaily passed me by,
These I have known, and many more
In the years of long before –

Yet you it is who speaks to me
Of all that I love in England.

Fortnightly gramophone recitals for music lovers are held in the Coste House, Amhurst St. Mount Royal, Calgary on alternate Sundays at 3:30 p.m. Airmen invited to go along and hear talks and records and meet other music lovers.

[Boxed] Notes To Contributors

COPY for “Calgary Wings” should be written on one side of the paper only. If typed, double spacing should be used, and a wide margin left on either side of the paper.

Feature articles should not exceed a thousand words in length and should be in some way related either to aviation, Calgary, or both. Short stories must be crisply written and not exceed 750 words.

Cartoons and sketches should whenever possible be line drawings. Photographs on glossy paper are preferred. The owner’s name should be written on reverse in pencil only.

All contributions should be addressed to The Editor, “Calgary Wings”, No. 37 S.F.T.S., Calgary, or handed to F-Lt. Maw or Cpl. Barnes. [/boxed]

Record – At the camp cinema show on Tuesday, the advertised film was not shown. The one that was, had only four breaks.

[Advert for Gas & Oil Products]


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IN this article the Y.M.C.A. Supervisor at No. 37 S.F.T.S. explains how the Y.M.C.A. is financed for its war work and outlines a few of the benefits that soldiers, sailors and airmen are receiving in Canada.

With the outbreak of the war the Auxiliary Services that had taken part in the previous struggle once more came into being but on a slightly different basis. It was decided to appeal for funds to carry on the work of the five most important ones by means of one drive; in order to save asking the Canadian people so often and to decrease the expense of conducting the drive.

The organizations are the Young Women’s Christian Association, the Salvation Army, the Knights of Columbus, The Canadian Legion, and the Y.M.C.A. The 1941 drive asked for six million dollars but some seven millions were raised.

By means of this money it is possible for the services to offer some assistance to the boys in the camps. The only notable war organization not included with the other groups was the Red Cross but the present intention is for this group to be considered along with the others next spring. Of course, this would require that the amount be increased sharply.

This brief explanation will convey to you some idea of where the Canadian Y.M.C.A. gets its money to provide picture shows, and so forth, to the lads in the R.A.F. camps.

Contrary to some opinion, chiefly Canadian, the profit realized from the dry canteens is not used by the “Y”, but is returned to the airmen through the P.S.I. of the particular camp in which the canteen is operating.

We are often asked about the connection of the Canadian “Y” with the mother organization in the Old Land. It is the same in origin as we all respect the name of George Williams, founder of the Y.M.C.A. but in practically all other respects we are independent.

Not being familiar with the policies of the parent body I will not attempt to point out similarities or differences. Sufficient to say, there is a big job to do during the present conflict and if the “Y” can help in that job then it justifies its existence as an auxiliary service.


There is rather an interesting pamphlet, which we will be pleased to let anyone have, entitled “The 1st Year” dealing with the “Y’s” work during the first year of war.

Immediately on the outbreak the 72 buildings of the association from coast to coast were thrown open to the men of the forces.

Fifteen Red Triangle huts or centres were organized and soon provided concerts, games and off-duty programmes.

Most of you are familiar with the work of the Red Triangle Hostess Club in Calgary and you will agree that they are interested in doing what they can to make the spare hours more enjoyable.

Just a few of the services rendered can be gleaned from the knowledge that the “Y” has a standing order for 4,000 lbs. of magazines to be shipped overseas each month; 92,000 men were provided with sleeping accommodation in the Halifax Hostel during its first year of operation. Almost 700 mobile canteens are in operation in Britain. In Alberta of 29 military and Air Force centres the “Y” is operating in 14 of them. In the month of November, 1940, the tea cars in England made 403 trips and served 82,545 men. Free cinema shows are operated by the “Y” in all camps where it is represented. Millions of sheets of notepaper have been given away.

We hope you do not get the impression that the “Y” is anxious to boast of what it had done but rather that some picture may be obtained of the magnitude of the task.

It is my desire to do whatever possible in the way of rendering service in No. 37 in the capacity of supervisor. Our work is auxiliary, and that means helping. So let us help if we can.

Congratulations to “Calgary Wings” in the success of this, its first issue.


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POINTING north and sloping south
Thirty score of paces long,
Stretching from a Palace park
To a seething, restless throng,
Standing dauntless through the years,
Hearing laughter, seeing tears
Is the street that’s called St. James’.

(St. James’ St. connects St. James’ Palace with Picadilly [sic] – It has been bombed periodically).


YOU may think it’s a little thing
But still it must be done.
Though hard the race and fast the pace
It shall at last be won,
And Empire’s flag immaculate, defiantly shall fly,
Ruling the earth and freedom’s seas beneath a peaceful sky
So our children’s children fearlessly
Shall live their span – then die.


Knows ladies like him and his uniform. – Knows ladies like his uniform. – Knows ladies like him in spite of his uniform.

Knows he is smart. – Thinks he is smart. – Just smarts.

In peacetime was a Bank Manager. – In peacetime was a foreman. – In peacetime was Happy.

Orders N.C.O.s. – Orders Plonks. – Orders arms.

Thinks the Service makes a man. – Knows the Service makes a man. – Thinks the Service breaks a man.

Reads prayers. – Leads prayers. – Needs prayers.

Uses cream-laid notepaper. – Uses writing pads. – Says the Y.M.C.A. paper is a good size anyway.

Calls to the N.C.O. – Calls to the Plonk. – Calls to Heaven.

Hands the can to the N.C.O. – Hands the can to the Plonk. – Is canned.

Gets up early for health’s sake. – Gets up early for good example. – Gets up early because he has to.

Likes all Parades. – Likes some Parades. – Likes Pay Parades.


The moon is walking knee-deep among the clouds
And over my shoulder shines amid stars in the Bow.
In the crisp night air I feel my flushed cheeks glow
As you hold my hand and whisper “No”.

The moon dips madly and swoons from my sight
And the broad Bow rushes the bridge to caress.
How suddenly hot the night air, as you bless
My long-lonely heart and murmur “Yes”.

[Advert for Dominion Café]


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From Page 7


The first bomber, a big Dornier, flew at 500 feet over the column, but bombed wide and unfortunately for it flew nearly down the barrel of an A.A. gun which sent it spinning in flames into the ravine below.

So it went on all day, very gradual progress and masses of attack by M.E. 109s. My carrier again shed a track and it chose the hottest spot of all near the bridge, but we worked feverishly, taking refuge in a bomb crater every time we were directly attacked, and got going in time to reach our position on the opposite side of the pass at about 4 p.m.

Again we had miraculously escaped from the Boche. By this time I was so damned tired that I could hardly think, and John ordered me to sleep all night, which I thankfully did. I am glad that I had that opportunity because I had five days after that before I got another shut eye.

It amazed me afterwards that my endurance was so great. Early on the morning of the 16th we learned that the Boche had again got round behind us and might easily cut us off at Kalabaka, 30 miles in the rear.

The withdrawal started at 9 a.m., but being last away we started off at 5 p.m. with a terrible drive ahead of us of 250 miles to our next stop behind the line at Thermopylae. I will skip over this quickly, we went through Kalabaka again, escaping by a lane two towns Irinkale, Larissa , and by the coast road via Volos and Uma to Thermopolea and Atlantis.

Having had much difficulty with my carrier, I insisted on being sent back a new bogey wheel for which I waited four hours, very valuable hours. At Kalabaka I became the last vehicle on the road.

I collected several of my own carriers on the way back and moved independently, not catching up with the battalion until 2 p.m. on the 19th at Atlantis, where we arrived 24 hours after them and found that they had slept those 24 hours!

For our part we had driven all day and all night, scrounging petrol when our tanks were empty, and after Volos I found an abandoned airfield which saved our skin with some aero spirit. One of my carriers broke down in the middle of Larissa, well known to be hell on earth for its bombing.

Soon 37 Heinkels appeared at about 20,000 feet and got down to business. They dived incessantly for about 30 minutes which seemed like an eternity, and left it in flames with dust and debris all around. Again we were not so much as scratched.

When I reached Volos I learnt that the Boche were in Larissa, this was about 4 p.m. and we left at noon. As I was making a detour 15 miles to avoid the worst pass in Greece over which I doubted my carriers would go, I was faced with the ominous possibility of being cut off at Urania by the Boche, taking the direct route.

We wasted two more valuable hours near Volos refuelling and changing another bogey wheel and then set off at top speed while daylight lasted. The Greeks insisted on showering us with flowers as we passed through the village, which seemed a curious thing when their own army had capitulated and we ourselves were fighting a rear guard action.

It was not surprising that we frequently fell asleep at the wheel, but there was no time to waste. Once again we beat the Boche to Velonia and arrived at Thermopolea at about 10 a.m. on the 19th, (the first German tank attacked this line that afternoon).

Behind Thermopolea we stopped and washed in a hot spring and made some tea and ate a wonderful breakfast. We pushed on and I met a very anxious John Husky at the Battalion headquarters. I expressed the hope that we were not moving before morning, but was told that the Battalion was moving on to Thebes at 8 p.m.

We barely had time to refuel and maintain our carriers, get some food and shave. Shave! I hadn’t shaved since Petros 12 days before, so you can imagine I had a bit of a beard.

We set off just before dusk but we broke two track pins three miles out, and again got left behind. The Battalion arrived near Thebes at 3.30 a.m. on the 20th, and we caught them up at 10 a.m. We were caught soon after dawn by a number of bombers, so we drove away from the road and cooked breakfast.

I shot a nice fat pigeon with my rifle (I am afraid it was a sitting bird) and ate


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it later for lunch. We spent about three days resting here and slept nearly all the time. Then we moved back for two days for embarkation.

On the evening of the 24th we were to move down to the beach, but at midday came the unwholesome news that the Boche had landed by sea near Khalkis in front of us. The Battalion moved off to take up a defensive position covering the beaches at Maslena.

I was ordered to go forward to take up an outpost position and my force consisted of four carriers, a cruiser tank and an armoured car. I spent a very anxious birthday waiting all day for the Boche to come, knowing I was the only post between him and the Battalion 25 miles behind.

We were bombed all day, and when I got orders to withdraw just after dusk I was not sorry. I reached my Company position at 3 a.m. on the 26th.

I spent most of the time asleep, and then prepared for the night move to the beach at Rafina. At 7.30 p.m. we set off on the last journey in Greece. With the Colonel and a sapper Major we brought up the rear, blowing up all remaining bridges on the road which had previously been prepared, as we went.

We reached the beach about 9.30 p.m., and I had the unpleasant task of blowing up my faithful carrier which had taken me all the way from northern Macedonia, but I preferred that than let the Boche use him.

With that, of course, I lost everything except what I could carry the 1 1/2 miles to the beach.

I took my flag from the wireless aerial, and I’ve still got it. Having arrived at the beach the slow process of embarkation began, and we sat waiting for our turn.

The men were wonderful and never attempted to break ranks. At 2.30 a.m. on Sunday, April 27th, came the most shattering blow of all.

The Brigadier told me the ship was full, and in order to have a chance of saving the lives of the men on board she must sail without delay. With very heavy hearts we told our men and set off for the woods a mile away where we were going to hide.

Again the men never murmured, although they fully knew how grave the situation was. The Boche were close on our heels and could easily get us if they knew where we were.

The Brigadier had decided to surrender, as he said “in order to save the lives of so many men who had fought so valiantly for him, rather than have them massacred in a hopeless light without weapons and ammunition.”

That Sunday was like an Eternity. We all hoped and prayed a boat might come in next night for if it didn’t there was no hope for us. I certainly had the utmost faith and I think my men never despaired.

At midday we discovered there would be a boat 17 miles to the south, so we decided to make a forced march rather than risk the non-arrival of a boat at Rafina.

Our feet were terribly sore and we still suffered from frost bite from Vere Ridge. My feet were so swollen that my boots pinched and there was bleeding on the soles, many others were in the same plight.

We set off on our march at 6.30 p.m. but had to turn back after a few miles as the Boche had cut us off. Again we waited and waited. Midnight came and still no boat, but I think it was then that I did despair.

John Husky and John Lascelles and I lay down together and wrapped ourselves up in our blankets, it was very cold. I tried to sleep but couldn’t. I was trying to plan an escape somehow as the enemy were now reported two miles down the road, and held up by our last demolitions.

I knew that if no help came the order would be “Every man for himself.”

Soon after 1 a.m. on the 28th I sat up and saw a dark shape in the bay and declared it was a boat. We became frantically excited, and soon afterwards it was confirmed.

Then a launch came and a blue-jacket shouted “Anybody there?” to which one of our boys shouted, “Like hell there is”! It was a famous destroyer that we’ve heard a lot about in practically every sea battle of the war except the River Plate.

It was not long before all 1,500 of us had climbed on board where they gave us wonderful hot cocoa laced with rum, and sandwiches. The navy had certainly saved


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us in the nick of time, and at 4 a.m. we sped off at 30 knots away from the Germans.

The officers and men of that destroyer gave us everything, even their cabins and mess. I had the most enjoyable pipe in the world, lying on the floor of that cabin, for, of course, we could not smoke in the dark for fear of giving ourselves away.

At 11 a.m. we landed at this “somewhere” where we now remain for only a short time.

I’ve told, if somewhat lengthy, something of our experiences in the Greek campaign, and I hope you’ve not been bored, it probably sounds like a terrific rout, but in fact it was an inevitable rear-guard action, after the failure of the Jugs, on whom our government relied implicitly. Actually our Battalion has made itself famous out here, and the press has made a story out of it.

You see, the Greeks never fought at all and the British forces were outnumbered by about 10 to one, consequently we had to fight without rest of any kind.

The Adolf Hitler regiment was so badly cut up by us at Vere Ridge and Proshin that it had to be withdrawn, a poor tribute to the Crack Storm-Troopers’ division of the German army. Throughout, the morale of our boys was magnificent.

Under the continuous air strafing to which we were subjected for days on end, they remained completely confident and never disguised their joy when a Boche was seen diving in flames and smoke.

On one occasion we shot down a M.E. 109 with small arms fire, it had been machine gunning us up and down the road.

The pilot bailed out, and every rifle for miles around together with machine guns barked in anger at him. He was not hit, but later complained to his captors that he had been shot at, and this after what he had done to us. I especially mention the morale of our boys, the only infantry from England in Greece, in comparison with other infantry. Although we have been only away for six months it seems like years.

I suppose I have seen many beautiful things, including the snow-capped Greek mountains with green valleys, covered with violets and other spring flowers, but I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s nothing more beautiful than the English spring, which by now has about gone.

I should like to be back in England to see you all, but maybe it will be much sooner than we realize. Somehow this period of waiting, after so much activity, becomes very tedious.

We can get nothing to read here, which makes matters worse. I found a copy of Hamlet on our withdrawal, so that is what I am reading at the moment. I must close now and will write again after I’ve got some news from John. I hope you will let my brothers have all the “low-down.”

I’ve often wondered since our reverse at Rafina how many men out of the hundreds who must have prayed ever gave thanks. It was a miracle. I hope I shall soon get some more letters from you all, but lots must have been lost.

Very much love to you all. Your very affectionate sone,


(The above letter has been passed by the official censor)

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CALGARY – a Gaelic word means “clear running water”. It was the name of the old home of Col. Macleod in the Isle of Mull, Scotland, and was first used by him when he was in charge of the North West Mounted Police fort which he established at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow rivers in 1876.

Calgary is 840 miles west of Winnipeg; 620 miles east of Vancouver; 138 miles north of the boundary with the States; and 87 miles from Banff.

Calgary’s coat of arms shows the upper third – the Rockies; the lower two-thirds – the red cross of St. George mounted by a Maple Leaf (Canadian Emblem) inset by a buffalo bull. The supporters are a horse and a steer, representing the basic wealth of the district.

Calgary chimney sweeps are licensed at a cost of $5 per year. After sweeping each flue they give a certificate showing the date it was swept, and this certificate has to be produced in case of fire.

CALGARY’S public library, built in 1912, cost $100,000, $80,000 of which was given by Andrew Carnegie, and $20,000 provided by the City Council. It was the first in Alberta. On 12th Ave. and 2nd St. West (Memorial Park), it is open from 9 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. weekdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesdays. Airmen pay nothing to join and can borrow five books at once.

Population of Calgary was 506 in 1884; 55,000 in 1911; 81,636 in 1931, and 85,726 in 1937. In 1942 it will be ….

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“Today she came to us carrying an attache case and wanted to kiss us good bye. N. said “Where are you going?” and she replied “To Canada to see my Dad”. We had to laugh it came out so pat. Anyhow she trotted to the gate with case and handbag. When she came back N. asked her what her daddy had said. She answered “Very well and just safe.” We do have some laughs over her.”

“Thanks for your long letter describing the scenery of Canada. I’m not at all interested in the scenery. I want to know what you’ve been doing, what you’ve been up to.”

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“Calgary Wings magazine,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed September 23, 2023,

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