Leading Aircraftsman Butch had an air force rank, his own parachute, and flew dozens of hours with his Edmonton-based, Cold War-era squadron. But LAC Butch was a mutt, adopted by the city’s 418 Squadron based at Blatchford Field in the mid-1950’s. He was the only RCAF mascot with his own flight gear.
“He flew everywhere with us,” remembers former 418 Squadron engine technician Al Colby, now 81. He found Butch on the airport property with broken ribs. “We nursed him back to health and he became our dog.”
Butch’s parachute was discovered in a Calgary attic and returned to the squadron 2014. It is one of the unique aviation artifacts that will be on display as the squadron re-opens its history gallery at the Alberta Aviation Museum, next Tuesday, after a major renovation.
Second Chance Animal Rescue (SCARS) helped the museum find a stand-in for Butch to take part in the ceremony. Linus, like Butch, is also a rescue dog.
During World War II, 418 (City of Edmonton) Squadron was the top scoring Mosquito unit in Europe. It later re-formed in Edmonton, flying B-25s during the Cold War and search and rescue missions from the 1960s to the 1990s. The gallery at the Alberta Aviation Museum traces the squadron’s storied history.
The official re-opening is taking place on a significant date for the squadron. It is the 60th anniversary of a spectacular crash in which a B-25 bomber taxied into the hangar that is now the aviation museum.The aircraft involved in the accident, Daisie Mae, serves as the basis for the museum’s own B-25 restoration.
Terry Champion, the pilot of the aircraft, went on to a long and successful career with airlines and will be on hand for the re-opening ceremony along with other former members of the squadron.
Tuesday May 16, 2017
Alberta Aviation Museum,
11410 Kingsway NW
For more information:
Alberta Aviation Museum