Sunday, January 28, 2007

BILLY BISHOP, James Cagney and THIS YALE!





ALL HAIL THIS YALE!!

THE YALE pictured here in the background (3416) of this photograph starred alongside JAMES CAGNEY in his first colour film, "Captains Of The Clouds". Presently on STATIC DISPLAY and somewhat forgotten at the Guelph Airpark…far…far away from those "glory" years~

In fact, there is no marker or signage anywhere near the plane revealing its former fame. This Yale has been hidden away for years (in-between hangars) at the small airpark.

In the film, Brian MacLean (James Cagney) is a bush pilot who becomes drawn into the War by Winston Churchill's "We shall fight on the beaches" speech that he hears on the radio. He immediately and enthusiastically enlists in the RCAF. Deemed too old for combat he agrees to become a flight instructor in the Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

The film was commissioned and filmed under the direction of the RCAF to promote enlistment by qualified pilots (Canadian, American or otherwise) in the Commonwealth Air Training Plan. "Captains Of The Clouds" just happens to be the official song of the R.C.A.F. (The Royal Canadian Air Force).

"Captains Of The Clouds" was filmed in Corbeil, Ontario in 1942.

Corbeil IS PRESENTLY home of Lynn Johnston, cartoonist for the world-famous comic strip, "For Better Or For Worse". Lynn and her staff recently had a "Captains Of The Clouds" dress-up party where they dressed up in vintage clothing of that era.

Also starring in the movie was…

Are you sitting down?

Are you ready for this?

NONE OTHER THAN Air Marshal W.A. Bishop!

As HIMSELF!

He is better known to everyone world-wide as the legendary BILLY BISHOP, WW I Canadian Ace with 72 confirmed kills, the HIGHEST of any Commonwealth Ace in WW I. Billy Bishop fought the RED BARON to a "draw" which became one of the few encounters in WW I when two superior aces actually met in the air, and duelled–

LATER, in 1924, and by Royal decree, Mr. Bishop was also charged with the task of setting up the RCAF –

INDEED THOSE WERE heady days…putting together a movie like this…right when Canada was in the middle of WW II!

The lowly Yale is the PRECURSOR to the famous HARVARD with her fixed landing gear and her slower maximum airspeed. The Yale in the foreground was rescued from the infamous Ernie Simmons collection! But that’s a story for another time!

The sound of Yales and Harvards flying solitary, or in formation, was the FIRST SOUND of World War II for the then pilots-in-training.

ALSO, a few squadrons of Yales were captured by the Nazi's in France and were put into service, also as trainers, by the Luftwaffe. Therefore THE YALE became the only aircraft in WW II to serve in squadron strength on both sides of the fray~