THE HISTORY BEHIND OUR BOMBER
Here's the story.
IN THE PIC:
This Easter Egg For Hitler was a 4,000 pound bomb that was dropped on the Oil Refinery at Hemmingstedt on March 21, 1945, by a Lancaster from the 424 Squadron.
Returning to Canada, the Squadron was reactivated on 15 April 1946 at Mount Hope, as 424 Light Bomber Squadron (Auxiliary) and headquartered at 275 James Street North here in downtown Hamilton, literally just around the block from our shop.
In 1964, the squadron was once again deactivated. However, four years later, on 8 July 1968, with unification of the Canadian Forces, the squadron was reactivated as 424 Communications and Transport Squadron, operating from Hangar 9 at CFB Trenton.
IN THE PIC:
Flying Officer M. K. Holstein, of Hamilton's 424 Squadron, boarding his Mustang in September of 1955
So we walked over to the Hamilton City Archives and spent seven hours digging through piles of historic correspondence, photos, newspaper clippings, books and other various materials that the archives had been collecting, over the years, on the 424.
Instead, we wanted to get a better idea of our city's world war story. We wanted to read about the actual men and women who served both overseas as well here on home soil. We wanted to know what the 424 were eating, drinking and thinking. We wanted to know what the civilians back home were doing to support their hometown troops. We wanted to better understand their achievements and their struggles. And from this knowledge, from this appreciation, we would conjure an entirely new piece of outerwear built for the modern world, but inspired by our heritage.
THE COLD WEATHER BOMBER
And the WWII-style chest patch, while not an official badge of the 424 (out of respect for those men and women who wore the badge and those who still do today) is an homage to the bravery, the courage and the steadfastness that the squadron exemplified in all its various incarnations throughout it's illustrious history.
FLIGHT JACKETS THROUGH THE AGES
Enter the MA-1 flight jacket, with a sleek knitted collar that wouldn’t get in the way of a parachute harness, a signature orange lining that could be exposed in the case of a crash and a cost-saving heavyweight nylon that was superior to leather in its ability to keep the pilot dry inside and out
MA-1 jackets later became popular in the 70s with punks, mods and skinheads. During the 80s, they had extensive exposure in style magazines and on runways. Today, many police forces use them in cold temperature climates due to their sturdy construction and hearty insulation.
IN THE PIC
The crew from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron after saving a crane operator who was trapped above a massive building fire in downtown Kingston in 2013.
IN THE PIC:
A CH-146 Griffon search and rescue helicopter crew from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron rescued a young girl who had been lost overnight in the woods of northern Ontario on July 16, 2013.
Capt Erin Pratt, a 424 Squadron Search and Rescue Griffon pilot. Pratt is one of the few women pilots in the Canadian Armed Forces. When asked what advice she would give to young women she said "Never, ever, ever give up, not once."
Photo by Daniel Geleyn
But we can pay attention to the past. We can appreciate the men and women who have acted bravely and selflessly in the name of freedom. And it wearing a flight jacket with a little 424 patch on the chest helps us remember, and gives us all a chance to tell just a slice of their story to someone who will listen, then our jacket has served its purpose.