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Hurricane Lullaby
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June 21, 2014 - 3:08 pm
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Hurricane Lullaby - Line Drawing 24" X36"

Hurricane Lullaby - Light Source Drawing


Hurricane Lullaby


It has been a while since I have posted here in the forum. I am the process of starting a new egg tempera painting titled “Hurricane Lullaby.” The work represents one of many patrols / local reconnaissance missions over the Canadian – Halifax Harbour and Bedford Basin and surrounding area by No.1 Home Fighter Squadron stationed at Dartmouth Nova Scotia.

Halifax Harbour was the starting location for many convoys departing for England during the Battle of the Atlantic. Aircraft patrols usually covered a fifty mile radius – the last one taking place before heading to England and saying good-bye to Canada was by two No.1 Squadrons Hawker Hurricanes on April 24,1940.

The Hurricane Mk.I (Serial no 315) in the foreground was the personal mount of S/L Ernest Archibald “Ernie” McNab while he was serving in Canada. He would be one of first pilots in designated Canadian squadron to shoot down an enemy aircraft in combat. The Hurricanes are flying over Georges Island the location of Fort Charlotte and stands just across the harbour from RCAF Dartmouth in 1940. Fort Charlotte has been guarding the harbours mouth since 1750.

No. 1 / 401 Squadron History

(By Ernie Cable Historian Shearwater Aviation Museum)

No. 1 Home Squadron RCAF

The origin of No. 1 Squadron dates back to 1 April 1930 when Fighter Flight was formed at Camp Borden with Siskin aircraft. Fighter Flight moved to Trenton in September 1931 where eventually it became the Fighter Flight of No. 3 (Bomber) Squadron on 1 September 1935. On 17 May 1937, No. 3 (Bomber) Squadron’s Fighter Flight became the nucleus of No. 1 Squadron, which was officially formed as a Fighter unit at Trenton ON, on 21 September 1937. The squadron retained the Siskin aircraft originally assigned to Fighter Flight. No.1 Squadron moved to Calgary AB in August 1938 and was re-equipped with Hurricane aircraft in February 1939. The Hurricanes had been shipped from England to Vancouver where they were uncrated, reassembled, test flown, and then ferried to the squadron in Calgary.

On 10 September 1939, the day Canada declared was against Germany, No.1 Squadron was mobilized at St. Hubert QC, and on 5 November it moved to its war station at Dartmouth NS with seven of its Hurricanes (Serial nos. 311, 315, 316, 324, 327, 328 and 329). These aircraft arrived at RCAF Dartmouth on 6 November 1939 and were the very first aircraft to land on the station’s newly constructed runways. (Prior to 6 Nov., RCAF Dartmouth was a seaplane station only.) The squadron’s prime duty was to protect the Halifax’s strategic harbour from air attack. The squadron’s first mission was flown on 20 November 1939 with F/O Reyno in Hurricane 324 flying a naval cooperation sortie (diving practice on naval vessels) in Bedford Basin. The last mission flown in Canada was on 24 April 1940 when two Hurricanes conducted a reconnaissance mission within a 50-mile radius from Dartmouth in search of enemy shipping outside of Halifax harbour.

In early 1940, continental Europe had been overrun by Nazi Germany and with Britain’s survival being severely threatened; No. 1 Squadron was brought up to its established strength by absorbing No.115 (Fighter) Squadron from the Auxiliary in Montreal before being sent overseas. The squadron’s piecemeal move to England took over four months to complete, from 19 June to 9 November 1940.

No. 1 Squadron was immediately thrown into one of history’s most decisive air battles, the Battle of Britain. No. 1 Squadron was the first RCAF squadron to engage the enemy, to score victories, to suffer casualties, and to win gallantry awards. On 26 August 1940, the squadron had its first encounter with German aircraft. Ten Hurricanes from Northolt, operating from North Weald for the day, scrambled and intercepted an enemy bomber force of 25-30 Dornier 215’s. F/L G.R. McGregor and F/O T.B. Little each shot down one aircraft. The squadron was credited with two Do. 215’s destroyed and two damaged. One Hurricane was destroyed and two were damaged; one pilot was killed in action (F/O R.L. Edwards) and two were wounded (not seriously).

During the first nine months in England, between Jun 1940 and February 1941, No. 1 Squadron flew 1,694 sorties accumulating 1,569 operational hours and 1,201 non-operational hours. The squadron was credited with 30 enemy aircraft destroyed, 8 probably destroyed and 34 damaged. Operationally, the squadron lost 10 Hurricanes, 13 pilots of whom three were killed and ten wounded or injured; two personnel were killed in non-operational (training) accidents.

The squadron was renumbered to 401 (Fighter) Squadron at Digby, Lincolnshire, England on 1 March 1941.

Top Scorers (destroyed/probably destroyed/damaged)

S/L E.A. McNab, DFC: 4 ½ /1/3

F/L G.R. McGregor, DFC: 4/3/5/

F/O B.D. Russell, DFC: 3/2/3

F/O J.W. Kirwin: 3/0/0


3 DFC’s

Battle Honours (Assumed by 401 Squadron when squadron renumbered.)

Battle of Britain 1940

Defence of Britain 1940-1944

401 Squadron

No. 401 Squadron’s transition from No.1 Squadron was seamless as there was no change in personnel and aircraft. The last Officer Commanding No. 1 Squadron, S/L P.B. Pitcher, continued his command as the first Officer Commanding No. 401 Squadron. The squadron number was changed to conform to the new Commonwealth squadron numbering scheme where RCAF overseas squadrons were assigned to the 400–450 block of numbers.

Initially flying Hurricanes the squadron eventually changed to Spitfires on defensive and offensive air patrols. After the D-Day landings 401 Squadron provided support to Allied ground forces in North-West Europe. The first mission as 401 Squadron was a defensive sorties flown 1 March 1941 by two Hurricanes on a dusk patrol. The first offensive mission, on 18 June 1941, was flown by 12 Hurricanes from Digby with an escort of Spitfires from the West Malling Wing (No. 257 (RAF) and No. 310 (Polish) Squadron) on a wing patrol over the Channel. The squadron’s first victory was scored on 8 August 1941 when F/O E.L. Neal damaged a Junkers 88 near Skegness. Hit by return fire, Neal safely crash landed in wheat field near Horncastle.

The squadron’s final score of 195 enemy aircraft destroyed made it the top scorer among RCAF fighter squadrons. It was also the leading fighter unit in the Second Tactical Air Force with 112 air and 15 ground victories. It also held the record for the number of sorties flown. On 5 October 1944, the squadron scored the first RAF/RCAF victory over a Me 262 jet fighter.

The squadron flew 12,087 sorties, accumulating 17,211 operational hours and 13,747 non-operational hours. The squadron is credited with 195 aircraft destroyed, 35 probably destroyed and 106 damaged. The squadron dropped 278 tons of bombs. Operationally, the squadron lost 61 pilots, of whom 6 were killed, 28 presumed dead, 18 POW’s and 9 evaded capture. Ten pilots were killed in non-operational sorties. The squadron was disbanded at Fassberg, Germany on 10 July 1945.

Squadron Aces (destroyed/probably destroyed/damaged)

S/L W.T. Klersy, DFC and Bar: 16 ½ /0/3

F/L J. McKay, DFC and Bar: 11 1/5 /0/5

F/L D.R. Morrison, DFC, DFM: 5 5/6 / 4/5

F/O G.D. Cameron, DFC: 5 1/5 /0/2

F/O J.W.P. Francis, DFC: 5/1/0

F/O R.R. Bouskill: 5/0/3

F/L G.W. Johnson, DFC and Bar: 5/0/2

S/L L.M. Cameron, DFC: 5/0/1

F/O B.D. Dack: 5/0/0


4 Bars to DFC

15 DFC’s


Battle Honours

Battle of Britain 1940 (initially awarded to No.1 Sqn.)

Defence of Britain 1940-1944 (initially awarded to No.1 Sqn.)

English Channel and North Sea 1942

Fortress Europe 1941-1944: Dieppe

France and Germany 1944-1945: Normandy 1944, Arnhem, Rhine


If you would like to read more about S/L Ernest Archibald “Ernie” McNab

If you would like to read more about 401 Squadron (Canadian Wings)

The field mouse is fast, but the owl can see in the dark.

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June 21, 2014 - 10:20 pm
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Another really nice scene setup Dale.

Look forward to seeing it come to life with some colour.

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June 23, 2014 - 6:37 am
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Nice to see you back and posting again, Dale :)

Very interesting WIP and I love the included background of the squadron history, which I enjoyed reading.

Subscribing and looking forward to seeing this develop.

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June 24, 2014 - 2:22 pm
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Thanks. It is nice to be back posting :-)

The field mouse is fast, but the owl can see in the dark.

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August 3, 2015 - 8:16 pm
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Hurricane Lullaby Ink Under-painting

Hurricane Lullaby 1st Level

This will be my second post in regard to this painting. I rendered the under-painting some time ago in sepia colored ink. The second image, the painting has a base or preliminary layer of egg tempera on most surfaces. I have started the second phase or layer staring from the back of the island (you can see the edge of the grass) and I am slowly moving towards the foreground.

The field mouse is fast, but the owl can see in the dark.

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