Friday, June 3, 2011

Archie Pennie Cornell, A Yellow Wings Dedication.

Archie Pennie and the Vintage Wings' Fairchild Cornell. Photo by: Peter Handley

GATINEAU, QC. – Archie Pennie, Second World War veteran, received a memorable dedication Thursday night at Vintage Wings of Canada when one of their classic yellow trainers was dedicated in his name.

During a quiet and private ceremony exclusive to the Pennie family and close colleagues, members of Vintage Wings unveiled Archie’s namesake on the side of their newly restored Fairchild Cornell.

Archie Pennie, 95, came to Canada in 1942 to learn to fly as a pilot for the war and later served as an instructor with the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP).

Today, Archie Pennie is an accomplished writer who has authored three aviation memoires and is a regular contributor to ‘the Observair,’ the newsletter of the Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society.

"I am deeply humbled by this dedication. At the time, I felt I was just doing my part.  Looking back makes me realize what an important time it was in all of our lives,” said Archie Pennie. “Long may you preserve such an important part of Canadian history.”

Archie Pennie piloted five training aircraft used during the BCATP - the Boeing Stearman PT-17 and de Havilland Tiger Moth at No. 32 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS), Bowden, AB; the North American Harvard at No. 37 Service Flying Training School (SFTS), Calgary where he received his wings; the Fleet Finch, at No. 3 Flying Instructor's School, Arnprior, ON; and the Fleet Cornell as a pilot instructor at No. 34 EFTS, Assiniboia, SK.

“Archie is deserving of a dedication on any of our five yellow trainers that will tour across Canada this summer to commemorate the BCATP,” said Rob Fleck, President of Vintage Wings of Canada. “The Cornell is the most appropriate aircraft for this dedication as it is the most recent in our collection to be refurbished. It needed a name and we are delighted to have found a veteran whose namesake will live on the side of the Cornell and who is alive and able to witness their own tribute.”

Vintage Wing’s mission is to commemorate military veterans and to pay homage to the contribution these men and women made during the Second World War, many of whom paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom Canadians enjoy today. Keeping alive Canada’s aviation heritage through the aircraft dedication program is how Vintage Wings is able to educate youth and to inspire younger generations aspiring to pursue their dreams.

The Vintage Wings commemorative program for 2011 is the BCATP Yellow Wings Tour involving five trainers – Harvard, Tiger Moth, Finch, Cornell, and Stearman – that will tour throughout Canada making stops at various aerodromes that once served as BCATP training schools or stations.

“The plan was a massive wartime undertaking in which approximately 210,000 aircrew were trained from 1940 - 1944 on Canadian soil,” said Rob Fleck. “The ‘Archie Pennie’ Cornell will be proudly showcased across the country helping us tell the story about the BCATP and the pivotal role the instructors, like Archie, played in preparing the commonwealth nations for war.”

Dave O'Malley present Archie with the Yellow Wings' T-shirt during the dedication ceremony.
To Archie's right sits his grandson, Alex Charette.

1 comment:

  1. On behalf of Graeme Mears,

    I was very moved by Dave's recent report on the Cornell and the Archie Pennie story.I have followed all Dave's reports since, always being 'moved' by the stories.

    I just wanted to commend all the folks at Vintage Wings for the outstanding job you are all doing in restoring all these fantastic items of Canadian Aviation History, and specially connecting them to the men and women who served this Country. As was pointed out...this is unique in the entire Aviation Museum Community.

    I just wish I was closer to Ottawa and could be involed in some way with this organization.

    Graeme Mears