Sunday, March 2, 2014

Canada's First Military Airplane

John W D Taylor, Flight A Pictorial History from the Wright Brothers to Supersonic. Peebles Press 1974

The Canadian Aviation Historical Society Journal, Fall, 1966

When Great Britain declared war on Germany in August 1914, Canada followed suit and the decision was made to form a "Canadian Aviation Corps" of which the first order of business was to actually have an airplane. None existed in Canada but a used seaplane (as designed for the US Navy) was discovered at the Burgess-Dunne Aeroplane company in Marblehead, Massachusetts. In order to preserve the neutrality of the USA, the plane was loaded on a train and transported to the Vermont/Quebec border where it was reassembled for its flight to the Valcartier Military Camp north of Quebec City.  The flight was anything but smooth with a repeatedly leaking pontoon, a seized engine and various other problems. They finally made it to their destination and it was loaded on the ship SS Athenia for transport to England. All for nothing- Canada had no pilots and the plane was never flown again. Left in the open it deteriorated and eventually disappeared. Its fate is unknown.

The Burgess -Dunne being loaded on the SS Athenia.
Scale model at the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa. (1967)
 And below; a full size replica built from 1990 to 2000 by Barry MacKerarcher of Ottawa, now on display at the National Air Force Museum at Trenton On.

John Blake Early Airplanes Camden House 1974

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