Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) Banshees conduct a low-level pass over H.M.C.S
BONAVENTURE, Canada’s last aircraft carrier, during a precision
flying display at sea. The RCN aerial display team, named the “Grey
Ghosts”, earned an enviable reputation for their flying skills
during the 1960’s. The Banshee was Canada’s only operational
naval jet fighter and served in that capacity in the RCN Fleet Air Arm.
In the painting, the carrier has just turned into the wind and aircraft
are being prepared for flying operations on deck. A Banshee is being
keyed up for launch while a Tracker, anti-submarine patrol aircraft,
is unfolding its wings in preparation for its turn. Other Trackers are
ranged on the after flight deck with the ever-present rescue helicopter,
“Pedro”, having just launched and taking up position in
the carrier’s wake – ready for any mishap requiring a quick
rescue of a ditched aviator.
Medium: Acrylic on 24x36 canvas (1997)
Display: Canada Aviation Museum Artflight show, Ottawa,
1997. CAAA TAAE (Alberta) shows (2003). Selected for inclusion "Tradition
of Excellence" by Dan Dempsey a book on Canada’s Air
Demonstration teams. Artist's collection.
CANADIAN CARRIER FLEET
In the immediate post-war era the Canadian Navy acquired carriers from
the Royal Navy. These ships were carriers carried over from wartime
production. The first, HMCS WARRIOR entered service with the RCN in
the late forties. In the fifties, HMCS MAGNIFICENT served in the fleet
and she was replaced by Canada's last fleet carrier the BONAVENTURE.
By the 1960s, a changing defence policy, fiscal environment and the
cost of maintaining a modern carrier led to the government decision
to decommission the "Bonnie". Hence, an naval era was consigned
to the past.
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