Monday, February 29, 2016

Norval Baptie Revisited

Click HERE to see this recent video about Norval Baptie...

I have written about Norval Baptie before, but at the time it was short and sweet due to limited research resources.

But since then, much more has been written about Baptie, a Bathgate native.  This write-up for instance - I couldn't do any better than that!

1920s postard promoting Norval Baptie ice folly, or 'tank show'...

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ferry Command Article

Pembina’s brief moment of world attention, then, was part of the demise of American innocence. - "Earth Angels Rising", by Ted Beaudoin
It has been reported that the opening scenes of the 1941 Tyrone Power-Betty Grable movie, “A Yank in the RAF,” shows airplanes on the Pembina border being hauled into Canada. The narrator says, the way to get around neutrality restrictions is “Yankee ingenuity and a stout rope.” - Horse-drawn planes part of N.D. history (Bismarck Tribune, Jan. 16, 2011)

Emerson International Airport
by Bill Zuk (Nov 3, 2012)
Copyright © 2015 CAHS

Prince & Fred help make history! 
January 15, 1940

It was miserably cold that morning when Joe Wilson hitched his team of horses to a wagon. He looked up in the sky to see two aircraft circling overhead. Joining a procession of cars and a truck laden down with fuel barrels, he lumbered his way to the front, coaxing his workhorses, Prince and Fred, forward along the wind-swept field. The assembled crowd began to gesture at the swooping twin-engine planes now clearly in view. Piling out of one of the lead cars was a film crew that hastily set up a tripod and movie camera.

Approaching the 'landing strip'
on Pembina side of the border.
Jimmy Mattern, the famous test pilot, peered out the side cockpit, astonished at the sight below. It was a wind sock planted in the middle of the prairies. After the long cross-country excursion from Burbank with numerous stops along the way, he was nearly at the end of his ferry flight. Lining up for an approach, he maneuvered the Lockheed Hudson bomber downwind for a landing short of the international border that straddled his landing site. Following closely behind was an identical Hudson bomber, also painted in a dark drab, with only civilian markings on the underside of the wings to identify it. The subsequent touchdown was hard, the second bomber swerving off the improvised runway and nearly tipping on its nose, before righting itself.