- The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 13 Feb 1936, p. 235-252
- Bishop, Honourable Air Vice-Marshal W.A., Speaker
- Media Type
- Item Type
- The future of aviation in Canada; the present position of the industry. A brief history of aviation, beginning with Canadian John McCurdy's flight at Baddeck, Nova Scotia on February 23, 1909 and the significance of that event. How flying developed during the Great War. The subject of aviation divided into two distinct classes: military and commercial; the speaker's intention to show that such a definite line of division does not and cannot exist; discussion follows. Canada's national defence problem. Conditions under which our neutrality would be threatened. Canada's aviation policy today, bearing in mind the possibilities of war. Clarifying the position of so-called military aviation today, starting with a necessary review of the short but intensive history of military aviation in the various countries, particularly of Europe. A brief look at the aviation situation in the United States, France, Russia, Germany, Italy, and Great Britain. Training of pilots in Canada, and other ways we could support Great Britain in the event of war. Increases in the efficiency of military aircraft, with example. The development of these machines now requiring a development of the type of men who are going to fly them. The standard of physical fitness and training required more exacting than that of a highly trained athlete, and why that is so. Costs of training. Realistic possibilities of war. An explanation and appreciation of what aircraft can do now in the way of attacking. Canada's contribution, in the event of European trouble in the form of providing highly trained air personnel. How this contribution would take place. The commercial picture of aviation. How Canada stands in this industry compared to other countries. Canada amply repaid for any money spent on developing this industry. The level of awareness and familiarity with this industry by the average Canadian. Trans-Atlantic service. Consequences if Canada ignores this industry in terms of trade and profit. Canada as a natural route between Europe and the Orient. New designs and changes in aircraft. The question of municipal aerodromes today a vital one in Canada. An unawareness by Canadians of modern flying and the absolute necessity of adequate air services and proper landing grounds throughout Canada. The speaker's intention to do his utmost to further aviation in Canada.
- Date of Original
- 13 Feb 1936
- Language of Item
- Copyright Statement
- The speeches are free of charge but please note that the Empire Club of Canada retains copyright. Neither the speeches themselves nor any part of their content may be used for any purpose other than personal interest or research without the explicit permission of the Empire Club of Canada.
- Empire Club of CanadaEmail:email@example.com
Agency street/mail address:
Fairmont Royal York Hotel
100 Front Street West, Floor H
Toronto, ON, M5J 1E3
- Full Text
- WHAT AVIATION MEANS TO CANADA
AN ADDRESS By HONOURABLE AIR VICE-MARSHAL W. A. BISHOP, V.C., D.S.O., M.C., D.F.C.
Thursday, February 13th, 1936
PRESIDENT BRACE: This is a particularly unique occasion, 'the first visit of the guest speaker to this Club, and I think on such an occasion we shall differ from our usual practice, and because he is a Past President of the Club, because he has written a biography of our guest speaker and because he has had very close relationship with our guest speaker during the last few years on matters of air, and others, I am going too ask Colonel Drew to take the Chair and conduct the meeting from this time on. (Applause.)
COLONEL GEORGE A. DREW: Today we welcome here a great Canadian whose outstanding service to Canada and to the British Empire has been so fittingly recognized by his recent promotions to the rank of Air Vice-Marshal (Applause) May I, on your behalf, take this opportunity of extending to our guest our heartiest congratulations on so properly becoming once more the senior ranking Canadian Air Officer.
On the walls of the beautiful Memorial Chamber in the Victory Tower at Ottawa, these words of Kipling's are inscribed: "They are too near to be great, but our children shall understand when and how our fate was changed and by whose hand."
Air-Marshal Bishop was one of those men who changed our fate during those years that meant so much to this Empire. He was the first British officer to receive the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Service Order and the Military Cross, and they were pinned on his breast by our late King. Today, he has more decorations for valour than any living British officer. (Applause.) I have no intention of attempting to recite events of that great career but there are two citations to which I would like to refer which do describe something of what he did in those years. The citation accompanying the award of the Bar to the Distinguished Service Order reads as follows
"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty while engaging hostile aircraft. His consistent dash and great fearlessness has set a magnificent example to the pilots of his squadron. He has destroyed no fewer than 45 hostile machines within the past five months, frequently attacking enemy formations single handed and on all occasions displaying a fighting spirit and determination to get to close quarters with his opponents which have earned the admiration of all in contact with him."
And at that time he had more victories to his credit than any other British officer and they decided he should be brought back on staff duty so his example might help in the development of the spirit of the Air Force, but in the early summer of 1918, at his own earnest solicitation, Colonel Bishop was allowed again to go back to the front. His trip there was very short and the citation which accompanied the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross, describes very briefly what took place in that amazing period at the front:
"A most successful and fearless fighter in the air whose acts of outstanding bravery have already been recognized by the awards of the Victoria Cross, the Distinguished Service Order, Bar to Distinguished Service Order and Military Cross.
"For the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross, now conferred upon him, he has rendered signally valuable service in personally destroying twenty-five enemy machines in twelve days, five of which he destroyed on the last day of his service at the front.
"The total number of machines destroyed by this distinguished officer is seventy-two, and his value as a moral factor to the Royal Air Force cannot be over estimated." That citation tells an amazing story. There were only a handful of men who had more than 25 victories to their credit and this distinguished officer here with us today brought down twenty-five hostile aircraft in his last twelve days at the front. But more amazing than that is the information disclosed by his log book which was only recently examined for the first time since the war. It shows in bringing those twenty-five machines down in twelve days that he was only actually in the air thirty six and a half hours. A German machine fell under his guns every hour and a half he was in the air during that period and so outstanding was his record that they then determined he should be brought back and his life preserved, for which of course we are very happy today. What would have happened if, he had been allowed to stay there one can only guess but quite clear it is, he was the greatest fighting pilot the world has ever known.
That is recognized outside of Canada and I found this written by a German, Von Gessler, in discussing Richthofen and then Colonel Bishop: "Bigger than the national fame that these heroes, friend and foe alike, won as patriots to conflicting causes, is the growing international recognition of their achievements, not as partisans but as men who gave to the world new and unprecedented examples of the highest form of physical and moral courage. Respect for human qualities of this high order knows no frontiers."
His achievements should be read by the youth of Canada today. Respect for human qualities of this high order knows no frontier. They should be taught that it was the spirit of sacrifice of men like Air-Marshal Bishop that made this nation what it was during those trying years. It is the encouraging of the same unselfish spirit of service to Canada and the Empire in days of peace that we must depend for the greatest hope of national regeneration in Canada.
Gentlemen, I have the greatest pleasure in introducing to you, Air Vice-Marshal Bishop.
(Hearty applause, the audience rising and giving three cheers and a tiger for Air Marshal Bishop.)
AIR MARSHAL BISHOP: Mr. Chairman, Gentlemen: I am completely overcome by the warmth of your reception, particularly referring to those days that are really so far gone that most of us have forgotten practically all about them.
I am proud to say that I am not a stranger to this Club. This is the third time that I have had the honour of addressing your members and today I have the particular pleasure of having my friend, George Drew intro duce me. With reference to Colonel Drew, I would like to say that all Canadian flyers today are extremely grateful to him for the continuous energetic work that he carries on in support of our aviation problems in this country.
In speaking on a subject so broad as the future of aviation in Canada and the present position of the industry here, my difficulty is really in condensing as much as possible a vast amount of facts and material into as few words as I can. I feel that you will forgive me if I miss, is my review of this situation, many important angles bearing directly upon its destiny. But I will try to put before you the position in which we stand in Canada today as regards flying. This is a comparatively new industry which is obviously all-important to the development of our country, and one which, I am sure you will agree, has been sadly neglected. It has been neglected in spite of the most encouraging start and reception by the public of this country while it was still 'in its infancy.
I do not want to delve too far into the history of flying, because you all know it so well, but I would like to remind you that the first heavier-than-air machine ever flown within the vast boundaries of the British Empire was flown in Canada by a Canadian, John McCurdy, at Baddeck, N.S., on February 23rd, 1909. This, in itself, was possibly more significant than anyone realized at the time. It was only a few years later that the Great War occurred, and one of the most astonishing results under the impetus of war was the number of Canadians who joined the naval and military branches of the air services, which later were merged into the Royal Air Force. From such figures as are available I understand that nearly 20% of the pilots in the Royal Air Force at the end of the War, qualified and in training, were Canadians. This was out of all proportion to the number of Canadians in other branches of the armed services.
My reasons for bringing up this point are purely to submit it to you as evidence that we are not a country, mentally, physically or morally opposed to aeroplanes. Twenty years ago we were a country whose people, and whose youth in particular, were keenly interested in flying, and if that was the case then, we can take it as an accepted fact that today with a greater understanding of aviation, with its development from the point of view of safety and reliability, with its possibilities for the adventurous spirit, we are still a nation keenly interested in flying.
The question of aviation is, to the lay mind, divided into two distinct classes, military and commercial. I hope to be able to show you that such a definite line of division does not, and cannot exist. In point of fact, it does not exist between the navy and commercial marine business. A lot of us like to close our eyes to certain facts, but we well know that the policy of all great naval powers has always been, to have their merchant marine service organized in such a way that it is a potential auxiliary naval force. Now, gentlemen, the same must, and does apply in the air, and it is also, as far as the European situation is concerned today, one of the most controversial points with which the diplomats there are trying, at this moment, to contend. However, in speaking to you today, I feel I can marshal my facts more clearly if I break up my thoughts into those two categories, military aviation and commercial aviation. But I hope you will bear in mind that all I say in favour of the development of military aviation has a bearing upon the development of civil aviation, and all that I say in favour of national support for the development of the commercial side has a strong bearing on and connection with the question of national defence.
Now, first of all, let me speak of our national defence problem. This is a matter which, most fortunately, has not had to be seriously considered for over 100 years. We have, of course, sent expeditions across the seas but we have never, in that period, had to consider seriously the defence of our own country, and sometimes when we look at the map and see our railway lines, two of them, stretched from coast to coast we think, "well, what is the use of national defence anyway," because, if we were attacked, it would only be by either our cousins to the south, which is most unlikely, or by our nephews and nieces, the Eskimos to the north, and they appear to be very happy where they are. So we say to ourselves, why should we bother, for if we were attacked from the south, it would be physically impossible for us, regardless of what our national defence programme was, to defend ourselves. That has hitherto been the case, but, with the rapid development of communication, including flying, times have considerably changed. We are not an aggressor nation and never will be, but we have two possibilities of getting into warlike trouble.
Either we might be involved in an Empire war or, if a great war occurred in which the British Empire was not involved, and no one can deny that such possibilities do exist today, it is quite conceivable that our neutrality would be threatened. On each of our coasts we are very vulnerable. If we do not have protective and offensive forces, which cannot be built up in the matter of a few months or even a few years, our neutrality could be endangered to the point that it might bring us into a diplomatic or more serious incident, the results of which no one can foresee.
What is Canada's aviation policy today, bearing in mind what I have said about the possibilities of war? Unfortunately there is only one answer. We must admit the truth, we have been drifting, and from an aviation point of view we are not in the picture at all. Today Canada prides herself on national status. We have a country 3,000 miles wide, covering a vast expense of territory with unprotected shores on the east and on the west. What have we done within the last eighteen years to build up .a force, either on land or sea, which could protect our own country in case of war? Because we well know that the Mother Country would have her own hands full, and would be fully occupied looking after her own interests if any war started, involving her or not. She has her trade routes to protect, over the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. That being the case, it is Canada's problem to look after her own position.
We have our own trade routes. We have our own ports, and again I say, that serious thought must be given to protecting them, both in the unhappy case of war, and also in the very possible case of Canada and the Empire trying to maintain a neutral status. Neutrality requires protection almost as much as a nation at war requires defence.
In order to clarify the position of so-called military aviation today, it is necessary to review the short but intensive history of military aviation in the various countries, particularly of Europe.
So far as the United States are concerned, they are strongly in the picture. Ever since the War, France has followed the policy of maintaining a large air force and, regardless of cost, of producing machines in large numbers continuously and scrapping them as they rapidly become obsolete. Russia has followed the same general policy, if anything on an even larger' scale. In Germany, of course, the position is entirely different. Under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, any military aviation programme which Germany would like to have followed was virtually dammed at the source. Her answer to this was to develop a very fine commercial fleet, which can, of course, be altered to suit military purposes at a moment's notice. This gave her one way of training personnel, but she also developed the art of gliding and soaring, which had a great appeal to the youth of Germany and, as a means of getting them interested in aeronautics, it cannot be excelled. In this way also, she developed large numbers of potential airmen. In the last few years, you all know that she has taken advantage of her trained men and has openly armed in the air.
Italy, on the other hand, while for a long period maintaining a large air force, spent a great deal of her money upon research, more or less copying the English policy. She, however, has also lately, like all the other powers, armed in the air to the fullest extent.
England, after the War, cut her air force to the minimum and every cent that could be spared was turned into funds for the purpose of research. The result has been that England has broken world record after world record for speed and reliability in the air. Although until recently lamentably short in numbers, her equipment was definitely superior to that of any of her neighbours. She was ready for the time which has now come, when she would have to put those designs into mass production. Although far from being the largest air force, there is no doubt in my mind that the Royal Air Force is the most efficient in the world, both from the point of view of machines and men; and the training of these men is one of the most difficult problems that has to be faced.
In referring to this particular point, that is, the attention Great Britain has paid to highly trained personnel, I am going to speak of what I think is the most important issue affecting Canada, in so far as assisting the Mother Country in case of another war. To understand this, I must picture to you again, the difficulties which we had at the end of the last War in transporting troops and materials. I have no figures to give you, as to the number of ships which were torpedoed carrying materials from this side to the other, but, as we all know, it became nearly a question of starvation for the British Isles. My only personal knowledge in connection with such things as torpedoes was when I was taking my bride back to the other side in February, 1918, when, the evening before we landed in Liverpool, our gallant enemies celebrated my honeymoon by sinking three of the sixteen ships in our convoy, off the coast of Ireland.
If transportation of troops by ships was becoming as difficult as that eighteen years ago, it would be obviously impossible of accomplishment in the event of another general flare-up in Europe. What then could be our part in a European conflict in support and in defence of our Mother Country? It could only be specialized equipment and a quota of highly and efficiently trained air personnel. This, I am sure, in such an event, would be the only contribution we could make. Now, gentlemen, that is not an easy contribution. It might bring a breath of relief to a lot of people who have in view the same vast armies being shipped over the seas, but it is a very difficult thing to do without proper preparation.
The reason is that the increase in efficiency of military aircraft has reached a point where sheer racing machines of seven years ago are having their records challenged by military machines, fully armed, now being turned out in mass production. It will, I know, interest you to hear of one machine, a fighting machine, that is in mass production in England. It is a single-seater fighter that cruises at over 300 miles an hour, fully armed with machine-guns and capable, in power dives and other maneuvers, of very much higher speed. This is a result of the British policy of intensive research during and after the War, and the fact that details of the machine and of its performance have been made public property will be, I think, a strong deterrent to any aggressive thoughts in the near future of any European nation.
Here then, we have the perfect aircraft, and how perfect I can tell you from my own experience. In my war-flying days, the fastest machine that I ever flew did 130 odd miles an hour. The first one I was in when I was on an observer, had a top speed of 60 miles an hour, on good days. My point is that the development of these machines now requires a development of the type of men who are going to fly them.
The standard of physical fitness and training required is more exacting than that of a highly trained athlete. Medical authorities at the Air Ministry in London have proved that the vast changes of pressure in changing height or in turning, at 300 miles an hour, throws the blood away from the brain and induces temporary faintness or unconsciousness. Even the tests carried out nowadays for army machines are a great physical strain upon the pilots. As an example, I can quote the case of an American test pilot in a power dive at Wright Field some time ago. The effect of the steep dive and getting out of it, broke blood vessels in his brain and ruptured his intestines. He was confined to the hospital for a year and may never be well enough to fly again. In other words, to fly these super-fighting machines, pilots have to be most carefully picked and most carefully trained, not over a period of a few months but over a much longer period.
Now such training is necessarily an expensive thing. On the other hand, one well-armed machine flying 300 miles an hour would have been worth 100 of our best machines in the last war. Therefore, my point is that our contribution, if ever we are called to make one, should be one of quality rather than quantity. It should 'be a small highly trained force to meet the new conditions, and, as I said before, our country is obviously well stocked with such potential pilots.
While being very far from having any alarmist ideas, I feel that we cannot close our eyes to the possibilities of war in the near future. We have all seen how little it takes to start one and how quickly, once started, it develops. The situation in the Mediterranean is one fraught with 'danger. I am told on good authority that last Autumn, in connection with some military and naval manoeuvres taking place around Malta, some old obsolete munitions were destroyed, including a number of depth bombs which were taken outside the harbour of Malta and exploded, by destroyers. After these depth bombs had been destroyed a number of Italian submarines rose to the surface. Well, picture the situation if one of them had been close enough to be damaged or destroyed. That would have been what they call an incident. Mind you, I cannot vouch for the veracity of that
I do not think it is fully appreciated what aircraft can do now in the way of attacking. I am not referring to dropping bombs or spraying gas, which we can all visualize, but I am referring to a greater menace from the naval viewpoint. As an example, an attack upon a small fleet of, say, four or six vessels would be carried out with, say, fifty aeroplanes, each carrying a torpedo. Diving from a considerable height, they come within 14 to 20 feet of the water at a distance of anything up to half a mile from their targets and drop their torpedoes. It is necessary for them to come close to the water to launch them; otherwise, if they are dropped from too great a height there is the danger of these exploding on impact or taking a downward course through the water and going straight to the bottom. On the other hand, if the aeroplane comes too close to the water and then drops its torpedo, the splash from the latter striking the surface is so considerable that it has been known to throw up a column of water just in time to strike the tail plane of the machine and turn it over. After it has been launched, the torpedo then follows the line that it was dropped on. It is impossible to believe, if fifty are launched at half a dozen ships, that none of them will reach their targets. Of course, a number of the attacking machines would be shot down in the effort, but that happened in any operation in war. You cannot make omelettes without breaking eggs, and no battalion ever went over the top without losing a part of its number; and the same applies to air tactics.
Summing up, therefore, our position so far as a future expeditionary force is concerned, I believe that in the event of European trouble our most valuable form of co-operation would be highly trained air personnel.
Then let us look at the position we are in today with regard to making this contribution. The equipment which our air force has I prefer not to discuss at all. It is old and inadequate. Now, how do we stand for personnel? No Canadian can complain that we maintain too strong or large an armed force, both permanent and militia. We all know that in proportion to our size and our population it is the smallest in the world. But small as it is, the air proportion is ludicrous, both from the point of view of actual numbers and as a percentage of the whole. The figures of this all-important branch of our forces are staggering. Let me give you the actual figures as they stood roughly three months ago. We have, including our naval, permanent force, militia and Royal Canadian Air Force, a total of 56,608 officers and men, of whom l,227 are officers and men of the Royal Canadian Air Force, permanent and non-permanent. From the air point of view this is all out of line, and I do sincerely plead that our Government devote, in fairness to Canada and to our position in the Empire, more adequate funds for the development of the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Let us turn now to the commercial picture. Aviation is most certainly one industry that owes nothing to Canada. Every cent that our government has spent on it has come back many times over. It has developed our country 'in the last few years in a way that would have been impossible otherwise. It has fully established itself in the minds of those people who live in, or are associated with, our northern areas. It was not so long ago when people believed that the only way to develop a country, or discover what was in it, was to build a railway or a road through it. All this colossal expense has now been spared. Every part of our country is now open and accessible. Yet, to be frank, we, a country that with the possible exception of Russia needs more from aviation than any other country in the world, are in a position vastly inferior to any other country of our size or population. We read in the papers from time to time about some individual pilot carrying serum into the icy wastes of the Arctic or some other spectacular thing of that sort, but the very fact that we are amazed shows the singularity of such an event. We have a few companies operating in the north under great difficulties, with no subsidies of any sort, and doing fairly well. But our development is so slow compared with that of any other country that it is a disgrace.
Every other major country in the world is spending large sums of money upon the development of air mails and communications. As a country we have done nothing, and we cannot much longer ignore the beckoning finger of progress. Even today the trans-continental railways are losing business on this account. Many people, leaving from the east to go to the west or vice versa, now go to the United States in order to be able to fly across on one of their most excellent services. From the press we have learned that Great Britain, through its major organization, Imperial Airways, is anxious to establish an air route to Canada to connect with a trans-Canada service and the Orient. I know that they and prominent members of the British government are determined they will have a faster communication to the North American continent and that if we, as Canadians, do not do something about a trans-Canada service, they will be forced to do it through the United States; and, of course, the United States are anxious to have it there. This must not be allowed to happen. We are such an important part and link 'in our Empire that we must maintain our position. Again I repeat, Canada has never spent any money on aviation that has not been amply repaid.
One of the greatest difficulties is that, although I. am sure from the past that we are an air-minded race, the average Canadian, leaving out the north country, sees an aeroplane so seldom that he still regards flying as a dangerous sport or experiment. In the north, where it is an integral part of the lives of everyone, they have become so used to it that they travel by air in preference to any other means of transport, although it is still expensive. These costs should, I feel, be reduced; but the only possible way to reduce them until flying is more firmly established here, is by some direct or indirect help from the government.
It was only a few years ago that the thought of a trans-Atlantic service was considered to be a remote possibility. Now the British government is spending literally millions of dollars upon three experimental machines for Imperial Airways to try out in 1936 and 1937. The United States are spending a matter of $6,000,000 on one seadrome which is only an experiment. The big cities and municipalities in the United States are spending millions of dollars on civic aerodromes and they find that it pays.
I am not advocating wild expenditure, but I am trying to point out that we, in Canada, are sound asleep in flying matters and that flying is part of the natural progress of our time and we cannot ignore it. While we continue to ignore it we are losing trade and profit.
In Northern Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba, in the north-west territories and British Columbia, private enterprise is developing our national resources and is using the aeroplane extensively, not only because it supplies the fastest means of transportation, but because it is safe and dependable. It can go where other forms of transportation cannot penetrate. It saves time. The people in those territories, right up into the Arctic Circle, rely almost entirely upon aviation for means of communication, obtaining supplies, and everyday business. It is quite true that large areas have been opened up, but private enterprise is responsible. In this work the aeroplane is the handmaiden of industry. Canada has built a series of landing and emergency fields across the Dominion, but is it not a fact that these were built as a relief measure rather than as a matter of national policy, Again, have these been built on the scale that the country deserves? Here we find a country, wider than the United States, in which we have not one transcontinental air service, while south of the line six or eight services a day are operating to the coast and have been doing so for years. We have spent paltry sums on building landing fields, but a recent route across the Pacific Ocean cost the United States government on ground equipment alone, $10,000,000.
True, we have seen the first steps toward a trans-Atlantic service in the agreements recently reached at Ottawa and Washington„ but this is merely the connecting link. The various political units of the Empire must maintain their own interior arteries of air transport if the British Empire is to maintain its place in this new phase of transportation, which has already become one of the most important means of carrying passengers, express, and valuable freight. In this development Canada has a peculiar interest which we cannot escape, because of our geographic location.
We are on the shortest route between Europe and the Orient and with the inauguration of the trans-Atlantic service, there is no practical difficulty in the way of direct flight from London and other European capitals to the Orient via Canada, in a much shorter time than can be accomplished across Europe and Asia. Canada is the natural route between Europe and the Orient, with all its possibility of auxiliary services along the line. If we are to avail ourselves of the opportunity nature has given us, we have no time to waste.
It is hard for us to realize„ because we see from our windows so little flying going on, what is occurring in other countries, but as an example in England in 1935, last year, $25,000,000 was subscribed by the public for new commercial aviation companies. The youth of England, the youth of all the great countries, is keenly interested in flying. We have only to look at the news of the last few weeks to realize how safe air transportation is considered in Europe. His Majesty King Edward flew, as you all know, from Sandringham to London after the late King's death. It was one of his first acts and, therefore, I think, can be taken to have some significance. It doubtless was startling to many people, but I know that I, myself, feel safer in the air in good weather than motoring on the average main road. (Applause.)
To most of us who used to fly during the war, the present aeroplanes are something that we can hardly understand. In the words of the aviation press, the engines today are referred to as being 99.99% reliable, and here is the key to the progress that has been madereliability. In those early days when one flew, one's heart beat with the engine and a miss of one cylinder meant a miss in your heart. We never flew with any feeling of confidence in our engines because we had too many let-downs and forced landings. Now they are referred to as 99.99% reliable and that about sums it up. Other aspects of the new designs have improved, in much the same way that automobiles have improved. Motors are now easy to drive and easy to steer, and the same applies equally to aircraft. A little over a year ago, after not having touched the controls of an aeroplane for twelve years, I decided to try it again. I really, on that trial, was not seriously considering taking up active or energetic flying as a pilot. I was amazed at what I found. I went up with an instructor from the Montreal Light Aeroplane Club and he told me to take over the controls when we got up in the air. I proceeded to try some drastic evolutions and the machine laboriously obeyed. The pilot in the meantime was shouting down the telephone to me not to be so ham-handed. I was, in my imagination, again flying some of those war machines that required a lot of strength and determination to make them do anything. He then informed me that all I needed was a touch on the controls and that, in normal flying, the machine would practically fly itself better than I appeared to be able to. It was only a few minutes before I had the touch and feel of the machine. It enthused me to the point that I forthwith had little further instruction and applied for a flying license. What's more, I got it! (Laughter and applause.)
To those old pilots who still in their hearts have a secret love of flying, although in some cases they will not admit it, I would like to say that I sincerely hope that some day they will find themselves at the controls again and I promise them a delightful surprise. It is probably one of those few things that can be taken up later in life, that one can do as well now as in one's youth.
The question of municipal aerodromes is today a vital one in Canada. Here is Toronto, one of the finest cities in the world, without its aerodrome. Why can you not fly east, north or west out of Toronto by a scheduled, air line? There is no airport here for such a: line to use! Why is there no regular link between Toronto and the great air lines operating just south of you? There are no facilities at this end for such a link, Why do Torontonians not hear the drone of arriving and departing aircraft every day of their lives? Because there is no airport! It is hard to conceive of a city as prosperous and important as Toronto not having a municipal airport, fully equipped for night and day flying.
In conclusion„ let me emphasize that, in spite of the fact that eighteen years ago 20/0 of the flying personnel of the British Empire were Canadians, the people of Canada are singularly unaware of the safety of modern flying and the absolute necessity of adequate air services and proper landing grounds throughout this country. It will be my earnest endeavour, and I feel it incumbent upon me in view of my new rank, to do my utmost to further aviation in Canada. And I take the opportunity now, if I have in any way made you feel the importance of the situation, of bespeaking the support of all those who are listening to me today. (Hearty Applause.)
COLONEL DREW: I know that every one in this room will agree that the speech to which we have just listened is one of the most interesting and at the same time the most significant that the Empire Club has heard for a great many years. (Applause.)
Eighteen years ago, in His Majesty's citation for valour, it was stated that Marshal Bishop was of the greatest moral value to the Royal Air Force because of the services he had rendered. I predict that the announcement he has just made that he proposes to devote his time and his very considerable energy to furthering an interest in aviation in Canada will mean that he is going to give service to Canada which will be as great to the future of this country as the services that he gave to the country so splendidly during the War.
On behalf of The Empire Club, on behalf of all who are here today, I extend to you our heartiest thanks for the speech you have made and the hope that you may have every success in the efforts you propose to make to further a real and active interest in Canada in the cause you have so much at heart. (Applause.)