“Flying Tank” up high!

Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada, PA-003631

War trophies were not all captured artillery. Quite a few German aircraft came to Canada: Several Fokker DVII fighters, an AEG bomber and this unusual and pioneering plane: the Junkers J1 armoured aircraft. Nicknamed the “flying tank,” this was a slow, low flying observation and ground attack aircraft with an armoured section (like an enormous tub with 5mm thick armour around the crew and engine), the basic structure of the airframe was early aluminum tubing (“duraluminium”), with corrugated aluminum sheets covering the wings and tail surfaces. This would influence later aircraft, and was quite the departure from the fabric-over-wood bracing on other aircraft. The J1 was armed with machine guns and bombs. Only a little over 220 of these were produced. The best photos of this aircraft, models of it showing the paint schemes, and parts of other J1s can be found at Wingnuts model-making site. Today, Junkers 586, produced in 1918, is the World’s only reasonably complete example. This J1 was exhibited at some of the War Trophies displays (see War Trophies exhibits for a relevant photo from Hamilton), the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto in 1919, then in 1939 it was transferred from CFB Borden to the Aeronautical museum at the Rockcliffe Air Station, then on to storage at the Canadian War Museum. When air-related collections were consolidated in the 1960s, it moved to the Aviation Museum (Now Canada Aviation and Space Museum). Photos show it in various conditions. For an upcoming FWW-themed centenary exhibit at the CASM museum, it is rumoured that it will be out on display again in the main museum.The aircraft in the official photos from November 1918 could be this same aircraft. The guard near the aircraft would seem to indicate that military authorities had some purpose in mind for this.

Photo by author
Photo by author shows J1 in its current location in the Reserve hangar of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Ottawa

The two Canadian War Records Office official photographs show a J1 near an enormous zeppelin shed (probably one of the sheds at Cognelée, near Namur, Belgium). Note the original camouflage evident on the wings.

Nov. 1918. There is a lot of interest in this photo.  The soldier guarding the plane, the enorous Zeppelin shed, and the officer"s car in the foreground.
Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada, PA-003730

THE TANK-MAN RETURNITH!! (And I made him angry!)

William Rider-Rider / Library and Archives Canada / PA-002945
William Rider-Rider / Library and Archives Canada / PA-002945

My first self-referential posting!  The tank-man heard me make fun of him in the below posting “The tank-man bumbleth!” and now has returned! Stepping out of my house this morning this was the sight I was greeted with on my front lawn. Okay, well actually this is Canadian War Records Office Official photograph O-3041 (credited to photographer William Rider-Rider), whose caption indicates that I and Les Invalides, the French national Army museum in Paris both were wrong about this little guy being French. I guess his toothy Mauser 98 was the indicator.  One came back to Canada as a trophy and was in evidence in several of the travelling trophy exhibits, 1919-1920. There is another one still in the Australian War Memorial’s collection, which is identified as British. If he was indeed trying to pass himself off as a mobile sniper’s shield, my opinion of him remains: a ridiculous and conspicuous bumbler! I have no relevant info about which Canadian battalion captured him, but I would guess some table scraps and a large sack were involved.

Newfoundland and Labrador trophies have been worked into “War Trophies of Canada”!

Thanks to the generous assistance of Craig Tucker, at the Provincial Archives Division, The Rooms Corporation of Newfoundland & Labrador, I have been able to add a fairly detailed original listing of larger war trophies allocated to the Dominion of Newfoundland by British authorities circa 1920! This is now available on the War Trophies Allocation Database, linked to here. With this act of Grand Union, the crack team of research professionals that put this site together is rejoicing in the streets! With info Craig has provided, and Harold Skaarup’s listing for Newfoundland, we can see that the key questions are: what was the fate of the Whippet tank (the Canadian one is now on display at the Worthington museum, CFB Borden)? What is the story on the 15cm howitzer in a landfill in St. John’s? Cool or super-cool: U-boat periscope, and an engine and gondola cab from a zeppelin! Also, having two 10cm Kanone 17s is pretty impressive, due to their rarity. Any help with photos of these trophies or any tips on whether the others in the original listing are still in existence would be appreciated!