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Paddlefoot

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Not related to Canadian SOF, but I was wondering if the Canadian Air Force has any archives that can be accessed for information concerning personnel who served in WWI, particularly as an Instructor Pilot in Canada.

This concerns a book I'm reading about John D. MacArthur, a deceased insurance magnate from Chicago best known for his foundation and the annual "genius" grants awarded through one of the foundation's fellowships.

Any information about how I might go about obtaining info from their records would be most appreciated.
 

RackMaster

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I'm not exactly sure, I did a quick search looking for info on him but couldn't find anything. I would say if you contact the Air Force Association or the War Museum, they can probably point you in the right direction. I also added a great link to for online Canadian military history research. Good luck with the search, he sounds like an interesting guy.


Air Force Association of Canada

http://www.airforce.ca/English/contact_en.php

Canadian War Museum - Military History Research Centre
http://www.warmuseum.ca/
Archives related inquiries : vimy.archives@warmuseum.ca

This is a great online resource.
Canadian Military History Gateway
http://www.cmhg.gc.ca/html/default-en.asp
 

Paddlefoot

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Thanks, gdamadg, those sources should be helpful.

In the bio I'm reading on MacArthur, the author states that he was an instructor in the Canadian AF during WWI, but it doesn't really jibe with his record in the US Navy, in which he only served 5 months.

He was discharged from the Navy due to incompatability, and a few other things. Kind of a stretch for him to have then joined the Canadians as a pilot, and more fuel is thrown on the fire by MacArthur's own statements over the years that he had stowed away aboard a troop ship enroute to Europe and actually saw aerial combat flying a Sopwith Camel.

If his military record that she is putting forth is inaccurate, it calls into question everything else she wrote about him. She even mentioned one of his nephews who was purported to have been on a UDT team at Okinawa and in an acting troupe with Special Services. None of it sounds right.
 

RackMaster

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That does sound odd. I couldn't find his name in a list of WW1 pilots, maybe he was a navigator or something.

I just found a couple more sites that may be useful.


Aviation Links: Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame
http://www.cahf.ca/Aviation Links/aviationlinks.htm
If he was an instructor, someone here should know his name.
Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
http://www.airmuseum.ca/
 

Paddlefoot

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Excellent, I've already used this one to send an inquiry, which seems pretty solid:

http://www.cmhg.gc.ca/html/default-en.asp

I'll shoot a couple more inquiries out, I'll just use the same one I already wrote. I sent an email to the author questioning her sources, but she hasn't gotten back to me and I doubt she will.

Authors hate when people question their work and scholarship.

That does sound odd. I couldn't find his name in a list of WW1 pilots, maybe he was a navigator or something.

The book was pretty clear, claiming that he was an instructor pilot in the RCAF.
 

pardus

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You could also try The Imperial War Musem they may have Canadian records as well and are a great research resource.

http://www.iwm.org.uk/server/show/nav.702

For the First World War there is an almost complete set of nominal rolls for the original Canadian Expeditionary Force, and a microfiche giving some details of all those who served in the Australian Imperial Force, including either their date of death or date of demobilization.

There are a large number of regimental histories for the Australian, Canadian, Indian and New Zealand Forces as well as material relating to the various volunteer forces in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaya, Shanghai, etc.
 

RackMaster

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The rusty memory just clicked in. :D Here's an email address that should provide you with your answer. The link is to the CAF site and the email link is to their historian.

History of the Air Force


If you have not been able to find the information you are looking for, please “click here (airforcehistorian@mts.net)” to send your inquiry to the Air Force Historian.


Excellent, I've already used this one to send an inquiry, which seems pretty solid:

http://www.cmhg.gc.ca/html/default-en.asp

I'll shoot a couple more inquiries out, I'll just use the same one I already wrote. I sent an email to the author questioning her sources, but she hasn't gotten back to me and I doubt she will.

Authors hate when people question their work and scholarship.

The book was pretty clear, claiming that he was an instructor pilot in the RCAF.

That is a solid resource, connected with multiple Federal Gov't departments. I'm sure someone would be more than willing to help knock this guy down a few pegs if he's a poser.
 

Paddlefoot

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That is a solid resource, connected with multiple Federal Gov't departments. I'm sure someone would be more than willing to help knock this guy down a few pegs if he's a poser.

He died in 1978, but his legacy lives on through his foundation. The only reason he set that up was on advice from his accountant, who told him his estate would get eaten up by taxes upon his death.

Besides that, MacArthur had a reputation as a real son of a bitch. The author likes to throw around the term "mercurial", which is just a polite way of saying he was a prick. And as for the title Eccentric Billionaire, everybody knows if you can bank enough money, you cease being batshit crazy.

You become "eccentric". :rolleyes:

Either way, I'd like to find out one way or the other. The book shows a picture of MacArthur in uniform with wings on his chest, but as we know all too well about posers...
 

Paddlefoot

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Paddlefoot

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This is cool. My inquiry on ShadowSpear shows up as a 1st page hit on google. Anybody who might google MacArthur's name will be directed to this thread on the 4th entry down on the 1st page.

Who knows, maybe somebody out there in the ether will see it and have some relevant info. Still no response from the Canadian sources, but a couple of other sites have the same entry:

When the United States entered World War I, MacArthur wanted to see action. He joined the U.S. Navy but left when he was not sent overseas. The same thing happened when he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. Eventually he was caught trying to stow away on a troop ship headed for Europe.

In this entry, it says he tried to stow away aboard a troop ship, but in fact MacArthur was known to have given (rare) interviews over the years stating that he had in fact made it to Europe and flew in combat.

This guy was able to muddy the waters pretty good.
 

pardus

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This thread needs beer and a comfy chair!
I'm very interested to see how this develops.
 

Paddlefoot

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Still haven't received any reply from my inquiry.

I'm picturing some ancient archivist, outfitted like an accountant with the arm band and green visor, hunched over the brittle parchment on which the records were dutifully recorded nearly a century ago, painstakingly searching each entry, line by tedious line.

In reality, it's probably some gum snapping young tart, nonchalantly flipping through the archive pages with one eye while reading the latest edition of whatever magazine young tarts read on the job while they should be handling my request with the precision of a sharpshooting scribe.
 

Paddlefoot

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I'll bet they keep pretty meticulous records, in keeping with the British tradition of anal retentiveness. :eek: :D

I'm a bit of an archive hound myself. One of the coolest things I ever did was fly myself out to D.C. to teach myself how to conduct my own patent searches at the main PTO at Crystal City, VA. The alternative was to spend the same amount to have a lawyer do a limited search on my behalf. Not only was I able to do a pretty thorough search for all my ideas at the time, but also got to tour a little bit of D.C. during my free time.

Pretty strange going through original patents and coming to one that's almost 200 years old, and is practically flaking away in your hands the paper is so brittle.
 

pardus

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Pretty strange going through original patents and coming to one that's almost 200 years old, and is practically flaking away in your hands the paper is so brittle.

You should've crumpled it into dust then applied for that patent }:-)
 

Paddlefoot

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You should've crumpled it into dust then applied for that patent }:-)

I don't even think I would have to go that far. Lightly blowing on it would have probably been enough.

I will say this though, there's something to be said for Yankee ingenuity, at least there was at one time. I saw some pretty nifty ideas for solving some common problems.

Most patents never result in a product that comes to market. I still want one anyway, just to scratch that off my list of 100 things to do before I die.
 

pardus

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A mate was trying to get us both to get a patent years ago for a fancy idea of a camera in a phone :doh:

Anyway it was going to cost about probably about $4,000 to get a worldwide patent.

I don't even think I would have to go that far. Lightly blowing on it would have probably been enough.

I will say this though, there's something to be said for Yankee ingenuity, at least there was at one time. I saw some pretty nifty ideas for solving some common problems.

Most patents never result in a product that comes to market. I still want one anyway, just to scratch that off my list of 100 things to do before I die.
 

Paddlefoot

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That's on the low end of the spectrum, sort of cheap actually. It usually costs a lot more to push a patent application through the examination process and final validation.

A mate was trying to get us both to get a patent years ago for a fancy idea of a camera in a phone :doh:

Anyway it was going to cost about probably about $4,000 to get a worldwide patent.
 
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