Ted Beaudoin has been researching the Royal Air Force Ferry Command for his book "Earth Angels Rising".

This decade-long project, for which research began in Jan. 2005 and ended in January 2015, has morphed into a trilogy.

The months of December 1939 and January 1940 saw the start of recruiting of air and support ground crews, and administration personnel, along with the delivery of aircraft from the USA into Canada. The actual flying of bombers across the North Atlantic Ocean only began on Sunday, Nov. 10th, 1940 with a Canadian National Railroad company… the Canadian Pacific Air Service which came into being earlier, in September, 1940. It came to be known unofficially as the CPASD - or Canadian Pacific Air Services Department, a branch of the Canadian Pacific Railway - CPR .

This same operation was also known by two other identifiers… ATFERO for Atlantic Ferry Organization and its Return Ferry organization/service, the RFO/RFS, for which no known logos have yet been “found” on the net, nor in corporate archives of the CPR. By April 1943 the fourth and final name change was made revealing the final “official” name of the operation, the one by which is was formally known and recognized throughout the world - the R.A.F. Transport Command. Little wonder it’s been difficult to find useful and accurate results on this incredible airborne armada by using only the words "Royal Air Force Ferry Command" or "Ferry Command".

I`m trying to find out how many men and women from Canada`s commercial carriers between 1939 and 1945 may have been `seconded` to the RAF FC... your NetLetter is about the only way I can find out about this. Canada`s civilian aviation - busy lines, larger regional carriers and Canada`s CP Air in its early days and TCA among others contributed greatly to the effort and I do not think they should be overlooked.

Perhaps some of you readers may have had relatives within Canada`s civil aviation community who did join, either as full-paid employees of the British Air Ministry - who funded the RAF FC, or were seconded to it by their own carrier.

Ted Beaudoin, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Ken Pickford sets the record straight with these comments regarding NetLetter nr 1324 -

The AC DC-8 fire at YYZ was June 21, 1973, not June 22. Here's a related news item from the Montreal Gazette dated June 22, the day after the event: Click here for a photo of the same DC-8 at Vienna in August 1972, 10 months before its demise. The flight preparing for departure when the fire occurred was en route to Zurich and Vienna. CF-TIJ, FIN #822, was one of 3 DC-8-53s (Pratt & Whitney engines) acquired by AC in 1968.


We refer to the photo of the model sent in by Per Christensen in NetLetter nr 1324, and received several observations -

Richard Coulter had this comment -
I believe the model of the DC4 at the beginning of your letter is really a North Star as it has Merlin engines and square windows. the DC4 has oval windows and radial engines.

Ken Pickford also had some comments and some historical information -

Re the photo of the Canadian Pacific model aircraft submitted by Per Christensen which he refers to as a "Douglas DC-4", while based on the DC-4 design it was actually a Canadair C-4 (also referred to as DC-4M) with Rolls-Royce Merlin engines, and pressurized unlike the Douglas-built DC-4. The version built under license by Canadair in Montreal was of course known by the manufacturer's "North Star" name by TCA (and the RCAF which operated an unpressurized transport version). CP didn't use the "North Star" name, referring to their four aircraft only as "Canadair C-4". BOAC, the other original customer, called theirs "Argonaut".

The aircraft represented by the model, CF-CPR, "Empress of Vancouver", was unfortunately written off in a landing accident at Tokyo on February 9, 1950. Overran the runway into the water. No fatalities or serious injuries (a NetLetter some years ago had a couple of photos of the aircraft in the water at Tokyo.)

The other 3 CP aircraft were sold to TCA in 1952 to join the rest of their North Star fleet. That was about the time CP's more capable and economic Douglas DC-6Bs began arriving. CP also acquired several used Douglas DC-4s from Pan American around that time.

One of the ex-CP aircraft sold to TCA was the North Star lost in the mid-air collision with an RCAF Harvard trainer over Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan on April 8, 1954, killing all 35 on the North Star plus the Harvard pilot and one person in a house in Moose Jaw struck by falling wreckage.

Regards, Ken

and this from Bob Barwick -

NetLetter Feedback - The photo of the model of the CPA DC-4 is of course the Canadian built North Star. TCA , CPA, BOAC and the RCAF operated these aircraft. My time on the North Star was on 426 Squadron, RCAF. TCA actually operated some of the RCAF North Stars until their own were delivered. BOAC called the aircraft the Argonaut. RCAF North Star 17515 is being restored at the Canadian Aviation Museum in Ottawa by “Project North Star” volunteers and member contributors. This aircraft is described on my license as a DC-4 M2. You can see the Merlin engines in the photo.

RW (Bob) Barwick


Jack Mills refers to NetLetter nr 1323 and 1324

Just to add to Ken Pickford's very informative e-mail on the history of the ex Wardair and Canadian Airlines A310s, I thought it might be of interest to add a few additional comments.

A company that I started quite a few years ago, and that I recently retired from, had and continue to have a contract with the RCAF that provide some technical operational support for their CC 150 Aircraft (ex A 310s) that are now operated by 437 Squadron. These aircraft have been reconfigured to RCAF Specs and operate in various configurations.

Some operate as tankers in the aerial refuelling configuration. The others in passenger, Cargo and VIP. They support CF 18s and other aircraft in the tanker role. They are all very active. I thought that this might be of interest to know the activities that these aircraft perform in different roles during their lifespan.

Thanks Ken for your update. Sincerely, Jack M. Miles


Ron Carradine sends us this memory

Reading the Netletter often brings back memories, but the strangest one so far was the photos in Netletter#1324 of the DC-8 CF-TIJ (822) which caught fire during re-fuelling. Although I am not in the picture I have a weird connection to it.

At that time I was on " Lav" servicing on the day shift, and sure enough the "Lav" truck trapped under the tail section was the vehicle I was assigned to. (The fire occurred on the evening shift.)

Ron Carradine, (Retired)


tmb viscount fleet

Norman Hogwood, a reader from New Zealand was checking out “Alan’s Corner” and the information in Peter Piggott's latest book and came across this photo and made the comment -

One thing I, and thousands of others know, is that TCA had more than 22 Viscounts!

Cheers. Norm
(A total of 51 Viscounts were operated by TCA/Air Canada - eds)

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