Cockshutt and the Wooden Wonder

Late in 2012 I received an email message from a member of the volunteer staff of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Mount Hope, Ontario, seeking any information I could provide about the role Cockshutt played in the production of the Mosquito bomber

June 12 2013 013

from the Second World War. The annual Hamilton Air Show was to take place on the Father’s Day weekend and the star attraction was to be the world’s only flying example of a Mosquito bomber. This was its North American debut after undergoing several years of restoration in New Zealand.

At first, I had to admit that I knew very little about the history of both the aircraft and Cockshutt’s connection to it. I agreed to help out and look into the matter further, and so began a journey of discovery into an amazing part of our shared heritage. In honour of the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, here is some of what I have come to learn.

To gain a greater understanding and appreciation of the magnitude of the aircraft and other war-related production from someone who was there, CQ readers should refer to the article: “Doris Smith Ley’s Career at Cockshutt Farm Equipment”, published in the Winter 2012 edition of the Cockshutt Quarterly. There is no better resource than a first-hand accounting of events. Other valuable resources are: “About Cockshutt”, by William Cockshutt, and “Cockshutt: The Complete Story”.
Books and DVD's at CIHC

At first, I had to admit that I knew very little about the history of both the aircraft and Cockshutt’s connection to it. I agreed to help out and look into the matter further, and so began a journey of discovery into an amazing part of our shared heritage. In honour of the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, here is some of what I have come to learn.

 

The well-organized event consisted of presentations made by the aircraft’s current owner as well as former Mosquito pilots and ground support crew, also in attendance. Aside from the amazing statistics and history communicated to the public that day, I remain fascinated by the story told by a 93 year old former pilot about his memories flying the Mosquito.

He described in detail about how his knees shook as he climbed the ladder to the cockpit to begin his flight training at the age of 19. As I listened to him I had to ask myself if I could have done the same thing when I was 19. Could any of us? It was a tremendous testament to the bravery of so many veterans on our behalf. Mosquito flight
There were a small group of youth, in their teens, on hand who were dressed in period Air Force uniforms. This was   a striking reminder that many of those who served in fact not much older than these young people. One young woman was dressed in a vintage set of Cockshutt Aircraft coveralls, which belong to the museum. I had the opportunity to have my picture taken with her along with the Mosquito as a backdrop. I left with an increased pride for Cockshutt employees and my hometown of Brantford, where it all took place.

For those who were able to attend the Spring Meet in Simcoe, Ontario this past April, we were privileged to have Garry Balsdon as the guest speaker at the Saturday evening banquet. Garry was that individual who originally contacted me for the Cockshutt information for the air show. He shared his vast knowledge of Second World War aviation history and the research he has done about the Mosquito and Cockshutt. Like me, he soon discovered that the Cockshutt story is truly an amazing one.

If you are able, take a few minutes and view this incredible footage of KA117 in flight. While you are watching it know that a lot of Cockshutt skill and dedication is soaring above the clouds, embodied in this aircraft. Also, be proud Brantford of who you are, knowing your people made it all possible.

   

Bringing the story up to more up to date, I had the wonderful privilege to attend a special ceremony to introduce the restored Mosquito to the public. It took place the day before the Hamilton Air Show in June 2013 at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. Several hundred people were in attendance that day and were able to get up close to touch this rare piece of aviation history. I was able to photograph the Mosquito from all angles, including that famous Cockshutt undercarriage that supported it all.

The museum also has a restored Lancaster bomber in its collection.
This aircraft also has landing gear made by Cockshutt.

  AB6ZX1    

 

 

 Lancaster                            and        Mosquito at Mount Hope / Hamilton

   

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Xvp2AeM68iM

To visit the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum go to http://www.warplane.com/

Period footage inside the Cockshutt Moulded Aircraft plant is available on DVD from the Canadian Industrial Heritage Centre at www.canadianindustrialheritage.com

 
United Kingdom gambling site click here