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Old 30-03-21, 02:26 PM
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zorgon zorgon is offline
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Default Moose Jaw Aeronauts

Here’s a patch labeled, “Moose Jaw Aeronauts”. While not stamped on the reverse, it has all the characteristics of the design of the manufacturer, Crest Craft of Saskatoon, circa early 1940’s. The image of a Harvard is highlighted which along with the Oxford, was a trainer found on that base during the war. It is interesting to see the rather archaic term, “Aeronauts”, which was a word more likely found in reference to the earliest pilots of WWI or even preceding that period WRT balloon personnel.

For example, Madame Madeleine Sophie Blanchard was appointed official Aeronaut of the Empire by Napoleon in 1805. Madame Blanchard became the first woman air casualty on 7 July 1819 when her hydrogen balloon caught fire at Paris during a fireworks party.

From Wiki:
The declaration of World War II saw the Moose Jaw Flying Club initially contracted to provide pilot training for the Royal Canadian Air Force; however this was soon replaced by the far larger British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) which saw the Government of Canada acquire the aerodrome and completely reconstruct it into RCAF Station Moose Jaw in 1940 with the new aerodrome opening in 1941.
Initially the Royal Air Force trained exclusively at the base under the RAF's No. 32 Service Flying Training School (SFTS) (ca. 1942) using Harvards, and later, Oxfords. No. 32 SFTS eventually broadened its intake to train 1,200 pilots for the air forces of Canada, the United Kingdom, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, France, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, the United States and the Netherlands.

RCAF Moose Jaw was de-commissioned in 1946 and returned to civilian use.

I can’t find any historical information about the Moose Jaw Aeronauts. Was it a casual aerobatic group on the base or was the outdated term just a reference to all pilots of the era? It is an uncommon patch in any event.
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File Type: jpg Moose Jaw Aeronauts, circa 1940.jpg (91.0 KB, 32 views)
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Old 30-03-21, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zorgon View Post
The image of a Harvard is highlighted which along with the Oxford, was a trainer found on that base during the war.
Beautiful patch. But that's not a Harvard depicted it's a Hurricane. Any information on Hurricanes based there?
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Old 30-03-21, 02:51 PM
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I stand corrected and unreservedly admit I jumped to conclusions. Yes Dan, the pointy beak would give it away. I haven't read anything about Hurricanes being there in the early 40's so the mystery deepens. Hopefully others will be able to fill in the blanks as I'm certainly not at all knowledgeable about such things.

Thank you for pointing out my error.

Wayne
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Old 30-03-21, 08:30 PM
RCAF_Mike RCAF_Mike is offline
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Wayne.
I have a hunch that this has to do with the fact that Moose Jaw became #2 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit in December of '44. They stored a lot of Hurricanes there that were used by 133 (Falcon) and 135(Bulldog) Squadrons. Hurricanes that were built here in Canada, by Canadian Car and Foundry of Fort William Ontario. Just a theory of course

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Old 31-03-21, 03:53 PM
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That’s a great tip and lead Mike but I’d like to take this a bit farther. There are hints that this crest is actually a few years earlier, somewhere between 1940 and 42. Gus Werle, the founder and owner of Crest Craft incorporated several methods and label designs over his career, primarily because a series of catastrophic fires kept destroying his buildings and all the stock. In fact, on Dec 30th 1942, one such fire did destroyed the DC block where his business was located. The paper labels used in the two preceding years were also lost and replaced by a new, ink stamp design which came into effect in 1943 after the business was rebuilt.

This patch is missing any Makers-mark back-stamp but what it does still show is the glue that was used to retain the paper label (or so goes my theory). The 40-42 labels would have looked like the one below. It has been observed that as the glue dried out over the years, the label could easily peel off. The important thing is there had been a glued label on this crest, which was generally rare to find on any war era Crest Craft label after 1942. The 2nd hint is someone has actually written in pen on the back, 1940.

In looking at the great archive of stories found in Vintage Wings (http://www.vintagewings.ca), there are two articles that touch on Hurricanes in Saskatchewan; 1) Ghosts of Saskatchewan by Dave O’Malley with help from Tim Johnston and Bruce Forsyth and, and 2) Bull Dogs on the Coast – 135 Squadron RCAF from Saskatchewan to British Columbia again by Dave O'Malley, with Jerry Vernon, Mark Peapell and Mark Duncan. If you're interested in this sort of history, they are worth a read.

Apparently, Hurricanes of 135 Squadron started out at Mossbank, Saskatchewan only a few dozen miles from the town of Moose Jaw and even closer to the 32 Service Flying Training School (SFTS) Moose Jaw. I believe there were also some security reasons for not identifying exactly from where the planes originated, so maybe “Moose Jaw” was close enough for the Hurricanes flying out of Mossbank in 1941/42 with 135 (F) Squadron.

It adds to the mystery even further that, along with the Aeronauts patch from Moose Jaw, two others were in the purchased group from 135 F Sqn (attached below). I had never seen the Flight Engineer variant patch of the “Fighting Bull Dogs” before and had always associated 135 F with Pat Bay but as we can see from Dave’s articles above, Sask. played a significant role in Hurricane training in 1942. It’s noteworthy that the Bull Dog logo and nose art was adopted at Mossbank before they moved to Pat Bay. As I delve deeper into this, I bet I’ll find a connection between all of these patches. Stay Tuned!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Crest Craft 1940-42 DC Block label on generic RCAF patch.jpg (38.5 KB, 9 views)
File Type: jpg 135 F Squadron, BBF.jpg (65.2 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg 135 Sqn, Flight engineer.jpg (67.9 KB, 11 views)
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