Intermission – Leonard Joseph Birchall…and his crew

Updated 28 July 2021

Granville Charles Onyette was the navigator.

He pointed out that if they flew an extra leg, he could confirm their actual position by using the moon, which was then rising.

In 2001 Leonard Joseph Birchall was inducted in Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.

Leonard Joseph Birchall

About the Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame (taken from their website)

Founded in 1973, Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame is a not-for-profit organization that recognizes and honours individuals and organizations for making outstanding contributions to Canadian aviation. The Hall got its start after a March 1973 gathering of aviation notables C.H ‘Punch’ Dickins, S.A. ‘Sammy’ Tomlinson, S.R. ‘Stan’ McMillan, Walter E. Gilbert, and Maxwell W. Ward. The Calgary Herald had dubbed them “Hall of Fame Aviators,” but no such Hall then existed. Efforts were soon in motion to correct this, and support for the idea quickly gathered steam.

 The first Board of Directors of the newly incorporated Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame comprised Chairman C.H. ‘Punch’ Dickins, Vice-Chairman Donald N. Watson, and Secretary H.W. ‘Harry’ Hayter. Others included Z.L. ‘Lewie’ Leigh, P.S. ‘Stan’ Turner, and L. ‘Lindy’ Rood. Raymond A. Munro, who served as the initial Managing Director, took on the bulk of the work.  

Today, Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame is governed by a National Board of Directors, an Alberta Division and an Operations Committee. The organization is supported by numerous enthusiastic volunteers who seek to uphold and share the rich history of Canadian aviation preserved through the stories of its inducted members.  

The member profiles, artefacts, and exhibits contained herein represent just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the history of Canadian aviation. These extraordinary people all made contributions to the advancement of aviation in Canada, whether as pilots, aeronautical engineers, doctors, scientists, or administrators. 


I stumbled upon this Website while I was searching for this photo…


The caption says…

Back Row (L – R): Sgt. T.C. Kelly, W/O G.C. Onyette, F/Sgt R.G. Shaw, P/O G.H. Bayly, P/O G. Vivian, P/O E.T. Loomer, S/Ldr L.J. Birchall, P/O T.A. Steckland, P/O E.H. Walsh, P/O A. Vineberg, Sgt B.A. Robertson.

Front Row (L – R): LAC G Setterfield, AC1 R.I. Haugen, Sgt B.C. Callaway, W/O W.F. Johnson, F/Sgt H. Burt-Gerrano, W/O G. Chelsey, F/Sgt G. Low, Sgt C. Kensit, Sgt P. Garroway, F/Sgt W. Robertson, Sgt F.W. Ferris, LAC L.T. Sawyer

Group photo taken at Pembroke Dock. Aircraft belongs to Birchall.
“The aircraft is my aircraft “G” for George, with the crest on the side, just below the cockpit window”

What led me to this photo was my search to learn more about W/O G.C. Onyette who was the navigator on April 4, 1942.


He also became a POW with Wing Commander Birchall.


I had to learn more about him and I have used my amateur genealogist’s skills to do so.

To be continued…maybe.





Martin B-26 Marauder Color Photographs Part I – 320th Bomb Group

This should be my next build.

Inch High Guy

B26_01_320BG441BSA formation photograph of Marauders from the 320th Bomb Group’s 441st Squadron. Modelers note the variety of camouflage and markings, remaining paint where the cheek gun packs have been removed, and the extensive oil staining under the nacelles.

B26_02_42-96322_B-26F_320BG441BSA beautiful study of B-26F 42-96322 of the 441st Squadron.

B26_03_42-96322_B-26F_320BG441BSAlthough not the highest quality photo, it is comparatively rare to have photographs of both sides of an aircraft – let alone in color.

B26_04_42-96322_B-26F_320BG441BSA 441st Squadron formation banks away while their target burns in the background.

B26_05_41-34891_B-26C_320BG441BS_MissouriMuleAnother 441st Squadron ship, this is 41-34891 “Missouri Mule”, a B-26C. The red cowling faces and propeller hubs are a Group marking.

B26_06_42-107783_B-26C_320BG441BS_ThumperIIThumper II is another 441st Squadron ship. She is B-26C 42-10778.

B26_07_42-107783_B-26C_320BG441BS_ThumperII_noseartHere is a close-up of Thumper II’s nose art, note the mission markers extend to cover the landing gear door.

B26_08_42-107534_B-26C_320BG441BS_BelleRinger“Bell Ringer” was B-26C 42-107534. One of the cheek gun fairings remains…

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Post 303 – RCAF Overseas Catalinas: The ‘Saviour of Ceylon’ and Beyond – 48th scale Decals ‘n Docs

Of course I am not that cheap when it comes to start a new project especially this one. I bought some after-market decals on July 2 when I learned about the Saviour of Ceylon.

The link to the after-market decals is below…

Finally I will build my Monogram PBY-5 but not with the original decals.

Mine will be a tribute to the Saviour of Ceylon who is seen below second from the left.

PL-7404 UK-1122 17/03/42 413 SQN Left to Right: S/Ldr J.C. Scott, Toronto and Galt, Ontario; S/Ldr L.J. Birchall, St. Catharines; P/O A.M. Bell, St. John, New Brunswick; P/O W.R. Meadows, Montreal, Quebec.

As always this will be a way to remember someone who must never be forgotten for his life accomplishments.


Leonard Joseph (Birch) Birchall, CM, O Ont, air force pilot, war hero, educator (born 6 July 1915 in St. Catharines, ON; died 10 September 2004 in Kingston, ON).

During the Second World War, Birchall became known as the “Saviour of Ceylon” for alerting Allied forces of an approaching Japanese fleet. Captured after sending his message, he is also renowned for the courage and leadership he displayed while a prisoner of war.

To be continued…

A beautiful in-flight shot of a Royal Canadian Air Force Canso in flight in January 1942 in the Temperate Sea Scheme.

Source of the above…

Post 302 – The Saviour of Ceylon

I had to wait before posting this on July 6 for a reason. The Saviour of Ceylon was born on July 6, 1915.

More information later about the Saviour of Ceylon…

Of course you can always Google that and get a headstart.

Post 301 – Unfinished business


I still had to add the decals to finish up the Me 109. I knew I had to let it go before embarking on my next project which might take a year.


I was careful reading the instructions, but I managed to get something wrong.



I don’t have to tell you…

The canopy would need to be fixed, but it will stay that way and I won’t lose any sleep over it.


The Me 109 was part of a duo…



Both will be gifts… The Spitfire to Frank Sorensen’s daughter.


Frank Sorensen was shot down by a Me 109. The Me 109 will be a gift to my son who wanted one five years ago…


Cheap Pete

I just gave myself that nickname. No one has ever called me Pete or any other nickname. I am not cheap, but I like to use what I have on hands when I build my model kits. I won’t spend a fortune on paint masks. I will make my own and use my paint brushes when I can.

Speaking of paint, I still have lots of leftover paint from the 80s. I have been using very thinned Tamiya deep green as a primer on the He 111.

I will be using my airbrush later when the temperature outside has cooled down a bit. Speaking of being cheap, I am still using my old faithful Badger 350 airbrush I bought in the 70s which still gives me good results.

We will see what happens when I get there.

What would you do?

I was tackling the control panel yesterday.

I had left it on the sprue making sure it was easier to add the decal.

How to glue the control panel inside now that I had already glued most of the clear parts?

I had to figure a way out to get it inside.

I came up with this brilliant idea!

How to hold it in place for the glue to set up? Blue Tack on a stick.

Piece of cake…

Sometimes you get distracted along the way

Calling it a day last November was only intended to last one or two days at the most, but then I was distracted along the way.

I can’t exactly recall how I was distracted, but I decided to build two other model kits.

These two will be a gift to Guy Fournier whose war hero was Omer Levesque. Never heard of Omer Levesque before?

Omer Levesque is quite famous in the history of aviation. He was the first pilot to shoot down a FW 190. He was also the first pilot to shoot down a MiG 15.