[WWI] Fwd: [Prop_Planes] In praise of the squadron dog

Douglas Anderson djandersonza at gmail.com
Fri Apr 29 18:12:00 EDT 2016


>
> ​Somewhat OT and somewhat ot but with a couple of OT pics and still a good
> read​
>
>
>
>
>
>
> *In praise of the squadron dog*
>
> April 13, 2016
>
> By Dave O’Malley
>
> When I was a child, when dogs were free-range, when days were forever and
> being inside was prison, I knew a German Shepherd named Sheba.
>
> Sheba was massive, collarless, dirty with oil from sleeping under a dump
> truck at night, and frightening to strangers, but she was profoundly and
> warmly gentle with our group of neighbourhood children. At night, she
> guarded wrecked truck carcasses and parts heaps in the back lot of
> Corkery’s Cartage and by day she was free to wander...like we were. She was
> protective, omnipresent, playful, and she gave us confidence to roam onto
> neighbouring turf where rival gangs of kids were always looking for a fight.
>
> Sheba was our talisman, our juju, our good luck charm. We couldn’t start a
> game without involving her or walk home without calling her to our side.
> She would crawl into our underground forts and we even constructed an
> “elevator” to give her access to our treehouse. Dogs and young boys have a
> bond of understanding that is never spoken about, never analyzed, never
> strained – only enjoyed. To this day, I think of Sheba and how proud I was
> to be shadowed by her as I rode my bike down the dirt roads of a timeless
> Elmvale Acres. I have no memory of what happened to her, just images of her
> somewhere in the sunlight on those long, loose, and happy days spent in her
> company. How she met her end is thankfully not in my head, but I know now
> that her assignment was to protect us, the Smyth Road Boys.
>
> Every dog has its own cosmic assignment. Some snarling and unhappy German
> shepherds are to be chained to an engine block in a Pennsylvania junk yard,
> some bloated spaniels comfort lonely octogenarian spinsters while dining on
> marshmallows and cashews, some Pekingese change for the better the lives of
> shut-ins with requited affection, while some pit bulls are slated to bring
> menace and a degree of unearned security to mullet-headed reprobate dope
> dealers.
>
> Every dog has an assignment, every dog has his day.
>
> While canines have roamed the planet for eons and shared the company and
> shelter of man over millennia, one powerful latter-day assignment is but a
> century old – the squadron or hangar dog. It is perhaps the highest calling
> any dog can have, for he or she will provide anchorage and embrace for
> those in peril in the air.
>
> We now know that the appearance of the first squadron or aviation dog
> dates to the crack of dawn of flight, to Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina,
> where the Wright brothers were still experimenting and preparing their
> machine for their now-seminal flight. The dog was there, but his name is
> not recorded; just a nameless black dog accompanying a man and a boy in a
> photograph of the 1903 Wright Flyer on the launching track.
>
> The Wright brothers’ flight was only 11 years before the half-decade-long
> misery and meatgrinder that was the First World War. By that time, the
> squadron dog was already part of the culture of aviation and, in
> particular, military aviation. Many a group photo or image of pilots
> relaxing included a four-legged aviator standing mutely with his or her
> pilots and ground crews.
>
> Over years of storyline research on the web and in books for our Vintage
> Wings of Canada website, I constantly ran across these images of smiling
> pilots and their dogs. In almost every image, the pilots appeared to be
> relaxed, confident, positive, and even laughing. It got me to thinking
> about the role of these hangar hounds, these unit pooches, these squadron
> dogs. What is their universal appeal for the aviator? You never see dogs
> hanging around race car drivers or lawyers or locomotive engineers, so why
> the abundance of pooch ’n’ pilot imagery throughout the history of aviation?
>
> The connection, I believe, is found in three of the most important factors
> impacting a combat pilot’s life – youth, fear, and loneliness – a potent
> mix that finds a semblance of balance and normalcy in a four-legged animal
> with no animosity.
>
> To begin with, fighter pilots and bomber crews are, if anything, young.
> Boys, really, just a couple of years past high school, first dates, harvest
> time, and field sports. And boys love dogs and dogs, as they do, return
> that love in a neverending do-loop of unconditional affection. Growing up,
> they see dogs as companions in adventure, non- judgmental listeners, and
> surrogates for youthful love. It's just natural.
>
> Secondly, combat airmen were facing repeated peaks of ungodly stress,
> horrific personal losses, endless deprivation, and, in what has to be an
> understatement, an uncertain future. These strains and bombardments on
> their psyches caused extreme degradation to their confidence and overall
> mental state. The squadron dog provided momentary release from these
> responsibilities and, in the same way that, today, dogs are used to help
> comfort, ground ,and bring relief to patients with Alzheimer’s, dementia,
> and depression, aircrew found solace in a dog and a link to a real world
> without the stresses they faced.
>
> Thirdly, and most importantly, most combat groundcrew and aircrew, despite
> the bravado and squadron camaraderie, were profoundly lonely. They longed
> for mail from home, their mothers and girlfriends, a home-cooked meal, high
> school buddies, and some semblance of the way it was before they found
> themselves in their predicament. While stories abound of pub-fuelled
> exploits with Navy, Army, and Air Force Institute girls and London “birds”,
> the great majority of these young men spent their months and years of
> hardship without the simple blessing of affection. Mothers were not there
> to stroke their hair. Fathers were not there to lay a hand upon their
> shoulders. Sweethearts were not there to fold them in their arms. It is a
> known phenomenon that one sure way to feel the warmth of affection is to
> give affection. Enter the scrawny, floppy, slobbering, squadron puppy whose
> affection meter (sometimes called a tail) is always pinned at “Happy to See
> You”.
>
> The squadron dog had an important role in squadron life and some dogs were
> given official status as “Squadron Mascot” such as the spaniel Straddle of
> the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 422 Squadron or the Vietnam “Thud” [F-105
> Thunderchief] drivers’ legendary Roscoe, of the United States Air Force’s
> 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron. But the vast majority of these welcome
> creatures were simply the stray puppy or the starving cur that haunted the
> chow line or the flightline. I have always wondered what happened to these
> dogs as the unit got transferred or the war wound down or their masters
> failed to return from a mission. I know that in many cases of the death or
> capture of the pilot or crewman who owned the dog, the little guy would
> have been adopted by a fellow airman. In rare cases, the dog immigrated to
> Canada upon the return of the squadron. The vast majority, unfortunately,
> were victims of the war.
>
> I have this maudlin image in my head of the fate of most of these lovely
> dogs, especially those adopted in-theatre. I see the desert of North
> Africa. The last aircraft is fading into the haze, trucks filled with
> equipment and ground crew are raising a cloud of dust in the low light of a
> late afternoon as they too fade into the distance. I feel a growing
> silence. I see the detritus of war blowing and flapping in the desultory
> breeze, flies buzzing over middens of cans and boxes. I see heat rising
> from the desert floor and a single whimpering dog, standing,
> looking...waiting. War is hell, even for dogs. The Squadron Dog...long may
> the little guy live!
>
> *This article originally appeared on the Vintage Wings of Canada website
> and was reposted on the RCAF website.*
>
> ================================
>
>
>
>
> Straddle, the RCAF’s 422 Squadron mascot, takes the co-pilot’s seat in a
> Short Sunderland flying boat. 422 flew the massive Sunderlands on coastal
> and submarine patrols, and Straddle was known to actually go on those
> patrols. The pilot is Flight Lieutenant Lloyd Detwiller. *(PHOTO: Vintage
> Wings of Canada)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> The earliest photographs of the squadron dog date to before the First
> World War, but it was conflict itself that created the need for young men
> to have requited love of the canine variety. These two Royal Flying Corps
> lads are delighted to show off their almost cartoon-like Jack Russell
> before setting out on a mission over German lines. *(PHOTO: Vintage Wings
> of Canada)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Two pilots and the squadron dog of the Royal Air Force’s 103 Squadron pose
> with their massive single-engined de Havilland DH.9 bomber at Ronchin,
> France, after the war. The dog was no doubt considerably more reliable than
> the notorious Liberty engines that powered the aircraft. Squadron hounds
> have roamed the ramps of military airfields as long as there have been
> pilots to feed them. *(PHOTO: Vintage Wings of Canada)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Famed First World War American ace Eddie Rickenbacker stands with Spad,
> the 94th Aero Squadron’s mascot. Spad was named after a type of biplane
> fighter aircraft, the SPAD S.VII, that the 94th flew during the war. *(PHOTO:
> Auburn University Libraries)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> An undated photograph of The Red Baron (Captain Baron Manfred von
> Richthofen, centre), other German pilots of the First World War, and
> Moritz, the dog about whom von Richthofen wrote in his diary: “The most
> beautiful being in all creation is the genuine Danish hound, my little
> lap-dog, my Moritz. I bought him in Ostend from a brave Belgian for five
> marks. His mother was a beautiful animal and one of his fathers also was
> pure-bred. I am convinced of that. I could select one of the litter and I
> chose the prettiest... He has a silly peculiarity. He likes to accompany
> the flying machines at the start. Frequently the normal death of a
> flying-man’s dog is death from the propeller. One day he rushed in front of
> a flying-machine which had been started. The aeroplane caught him up and a
> beautiful propeller was smashed to bits. Moritz howled terribly and a
> measure which I had hitherto omitted was taken. I had always refused to
> have his ears cut. One of his ears was cut off by the propeller. A long ear
> and a short ear do not go well together.” *(PHOTO: Imperial War Museum
> TEXT: Vintage Wings of Canada)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Flying Officer Hugh Constant Godefroy of the RCAF’s 401 Fighter Squadron
> sits on the wing of his Spitfire with his Alsatian pup, Smitty, on December
> 4, 1942. Flying Officer Godefroy is from Toronto. *(PHOTO: PL-15020, DND
> Archives)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> In this October 21, 1942 photograph, Nickey, a Russian wolfhound who was
> the mascot of the RCAF’s 410 Night Fighter Squadron overseas, is pictured
> with Squadron Leader G. H. Elms, of Whitby, Ontario. Squadron Leader Elms
> deployed with No. 110 City of Toronto Squadron early in 1940. *(PHOTO:
> PL-10974, DND Archives)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> It’s not clear who’s pinning who in this wrestling match between Skipper,
> an RCAF bomber squadron’s mascot, and Sergeant Ab Carter, from Orillia,
> Ontario, but it’s a good way to relax and tune out the war on September 21,
> 1942 in England. *(PHOTO: PL-10801, DND Archives)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Nightfighter Pilot Officer Stewart Richards from Toronto, Ontario, a
> member of an RCAF squadron overseas, takes a boot from squadron dog Tony on
> October 21, 1942. The boot belonged to a German pilot who was shot down by
> the squadron and taken prisoner. Tony has just about chewed through the
> top. *(PHOTO: PL-10969, DND Archives)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Just back in England from an August 24, 1944 bombing run over Kiel,
> Germany, Warrant Officers Jim MacLeod (left) from Galt, Ontario and George
> Ives from New Toronto, Ontario subdue Thunderbird Squadron’s mascots, who
> are displaying an elaborate disregard for each other. *(PHOTO: PL-31946,
> DND Archives)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Admiration Dog, the oddly-named mascot of their wing, sits between
> Lieutenant J.J. Schneider of St. Louis, Missouri and Captain J.B. Hannon of
> Omaha, Nebraska on the wing of their F-51 Mustang at an airfield in Korea
> on January 15, 1951. *(PHOTO: AP/Jim Pringle)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Members of Royal Australian Air Force No. 31 (Beaufighter) Squadron,
> Flight Lieutenant G. A. Greenwood (left) and Sergeant B. Agnew, hold the
> squadron mascots, a joey (young kangaroo) and an unnamed dog at Coomalie
> Creek in Northern Territory, Australia. Though the joey is cute as a button
> and the Aussie-est of pets, it would never behave itself in a squadron
> parade. The dog’s the one who will always stay close to home and always
> return the pilots’ affection. *(PHOTO: Vintage Wings of Canada)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Norwegian pilot Erik Haabjørn in April 1942 with his squadron mascot,
> Spit, at RAF Catterick in North Yorkshire, England. *(PHOTO: Ole Friele
> Backer)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> At Imphal, India in 1944, pilots of the Royal Indian Air Force’s No.1
> Squadron “Tigers” gather for a photograph with squadron dog, Bonzo. The
> commanding officer, Squadron Leader Arjan Singh, sits in the driver's seat. *(PHOTO:
> Vintage Wings of Canada)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> A small aircraft needs a small dog. Somewhere in France, little Soupée
> sits on the nose of a Stinson L-5 Sentinel army cooperation aircraft
> nicknamed “Mary”. *(PHOTO: Vintage Wings of Canada)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> Air Force or Fleet Air Arm, a squadron dog is a must in a group photo.
> Here, members of the Royal Navy’s 886 Naval Air Squadron and their mascot,
> Piglet, form up for a photo. *(PHOTO: Vintage Wings of Canada)*
>
>
>
>
>
>
> The author’s best friend in the world, William Wallace Braveheart
> Kirkpatrick O’Malley, relaxes with his tennis ball under the wing of the
> Spitfire in the Vintage Wings of Canada hangar. Wallace has been known to
> leave gifts for the maintenance staff if he is not walked outside every few
> hours. *(PHOTO: Peter “What’s-that-on-my-shoe?” Handley)*
>
>
>
> __._,_.___
> ------------------------------
> Posted by: Jeff Rankin-Lowe <siriusproductions at sympatico.ca>
> ------------------------------
> Reply via web post
> <https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Prop_Planes/conversations/messages/2806;_ylc=X3oDMTJxYmtmb2plBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzg2OTcyMzczBGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTA2MzUxMgRtc2dJZAMyODA2BHNlYwNmdHIEc2xrA3JwbHkEc3RpbWUDMTQ2MDU5MjExNg--?act=reply&messageNum=2806>
> • Reply to sender
> <siriusproductions at sympatico.ca?subject=Re%3A%20In%20praise%20of%20the%20squadron%20dog>
> • Reply to group
> <Prop_Planes at yahoogroups.com?subject=Re%3A%20In%20praise%20of%20the%20squadron%20dog>
> • Start a New Topic
> <https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Prop_Planes/conversations/newtopic;_ylc=X3oDMTJmYWw4NGlyBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzg2OTcyMzczBGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTA2MzUxMgRzZWMDZnRyBHNsawNudHBjBHN0aW1lAzE0NjA1OTIxMTY->
> • Messages in this topic
> <https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Prop_Planes/conversations/topics/2806;_ylc=X3oDMTM1anByZjZlBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzg2OTcyMzczBGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTA2MzUxMgRtc2dJZAMyODA2BHNlYwNmdHIEc2xrA3Z0cGMEc3RpbWUDMTQ2MDU5MjExNgR0cGNJZAMyODA2>
> (1)
> Visit Your Group
> <https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Prop_Planes/info;_ylc=X3oDMTJmdGxuc3BhBF9TAzk3MzU5NzE0BGdycElkAzg2OTcyMzczBGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTA2MzUxMgRzZWMDdnRsBHNsawN2Z2hwBHN0aW1lAzE0NjA1OTIxMTY->
>
>
> [image: Yahoo! Groups]
> <https://groups.yahoo.com/neo;_ylc=X3oDMTJlZ2l2cTllBF9TAzk3NDc2NTkwBGdycElkAzg2OTcyMzczBGdycHNwSWQDMTcwNTA2MzUxMgRzZWMDZnRyBHNsawNnZnAEc3RpbWUDMTQ2MDU5MjExNg-->
> • Privacy <https://info.yahoo.com/privacy/us/yahoo/groups/details.html> •
> Unsubscribe <Prop_Planes-unsubscribe at yahoogroups.com?subject=Unsubscribe>
> • Terms of Use <https://info.yahoo.com/legal/us/yahoo/utos/terms/>
>
> .
>
> __,_._,___
>
>
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pooch31.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 74415 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pooch10.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 117950 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0001.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-norsk-flyger.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 212936 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0002.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pooch20.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 81408 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0003.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pooch6.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 81717 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0004.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pooch14.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 56394 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0005.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pl-15020.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 171051 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0006.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pl-10801.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 285743 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0007.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pl-10969-cropped.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 254221 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0008.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pl-31946-cropped.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 241443 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0009.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pooch8.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 145817 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0010.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-ah-489.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 284086 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0011.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pooch18.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 78742 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0012.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pl-10974.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 206920 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0013.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pooch3.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 103007 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0014.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pooch17.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 86310 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0015.jpg>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: squadron-dog-apr-pooch40.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 91145 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://www.wwi-models.org/pipermail/wwi/attachments/20160430/7b3be2df/attachment-0016.jpg>


More information about the WWI mailing list