Saturday, May 5, 2012

Vintage Wings helps celebrate the 100th Grey Cup

by B.Reid

There is no shortage of Canadians who have or had relatives that contributed the war effort. Many of these stories have faded with time or became forgotten long ago. Whenever some of those memories can be revived or expanded upon, it is our way of commemorating what has been called the Greatest Generation. Sometimes it is helping their descendents better understand the experiences of that great generation, and in this case, to help educate and inspire the public even if the main theme of a story is about a totally different subject.

With the 100th Grey Cup being played in 2012, The Sports Network is creating a series of documentaries on this great Canadian game. One of the episodes will focus on the 1942 game played between the Toronto and Winnipeg with special attention paid to Jake Gaudaur, a man who, to put it mildly, was a very accomplished CFL veteran. In fact after having played on two Grey Cup winning teams and winning four Grey Cups as president and/or general manager for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats he became the fifth commissioner of the CFL in 1968. As well, he is a member of the CFL Hall of Fame.

So what does this have to do with Vintage Wings? Well, it goes back to Mr. Gaudaur’s first Grey Cup win in 1942. He played for the Toronto RCAF Hurricanes, which was formed by football players who had joined the RCAF. In fact, there were several other RCAF football teams including Ottawa RCAF Uplands and the Winnipeg RCAF Bombers who were the other 1942 Grey Cup contender.

While in the RCAF, Jake Gaudaur learned to fly on Tiger Moths and instructed on Harvards. This is where Vintage Wings of Canada enters the scene. The TSN episode covering this story has Jake’s daughter Jackie visiting the relatives and descendents of other players on the Toronto RCAF Hurricanes team.

As part of the television episode, Vintage Wings of Canada was tasked with a photo flight of Jackie in a Harvard in order for her to experience the aircraft that was the workplace for her father so many years ago.

Our fellow BCATP Fleet Cornell trainer was used as a photoship as we flew along the Gatineau Hills north of Ottawa and then landed at the former BCATP base at what is now the international airport in Ottawa. With sunny yet relatively smooth skies, it was a perfect day for such a flight. Warm temperatures allowed the cameraman in the back seat of the Cornell to keep the canopy open the entire flight yet maintain a steady hand while filming.

I can report that Jackie had an incredible day, seeing first hand the office where her father worked and devoted his time like so many others to the allied effort in World War II. We look forward to seeing her again on TV.

Jackie Gaudaur stands with the Vintage Wings of Canada de Havilland Tiger Moth, the type on which her father Jake learned to fly.

A loose formation of the Harvard and Cornell aircraft heading to Ottawa(Uplands) Airport. The Ottawa RCAF Uplands team lost out to the Toronto RCAF Hurricanes for the right to play in the 1942 Grey Cup game. One of the Uplands team members was Hartland Finlay whose name resides on the Vintage Wings Fleet Finch.

After arriving at the former location of No. 2 Service Flying Training School  Uplands, Vintage Wings of Canada president Rob Fleck discusses the flight with Jackie Gaudaur on the very ramp where Billy Bishop pinned wings on RCAF graduates in the movie Captains of the Clouds.

The Vintage Wings of Canada Fleet Cornell parked in front of the Canada Reception Centre, a now disused hangar from CFB Uplands that is used to receive foreign dignitaries and heads of state upon arrival in Ottawa. 

In this famous photo, future CFL commissioner Jake Gaudaur celebrates Grey Cup victory with his team mates in 1942. I have been told that the drinks in hand were Cola only. The TV episode covering the RCAF/CFL connection will be called “The Photograph”.

Wait a minute....if as you all know, the first Grey Cup game was in 1909, why is the 100th game being played this year. In fact, no Grey Cup games were played during WWI from 1916-1918. The 1919 game was not played due to a "rules dispute".

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