Prairie Fledgling (Anson)

Medium: acrylic on canvas 24 x 36. (1999)
Display: Canadian Aviation Artists Assoc. (CAAA) display Abbotsford Airshow 1999. CAAA travelling art display (Alberta) 2002:Nanton Lancaster, Calgary Aerospace, Reynolds Museums and Westjet HQ.
Private Collection of Mr and Mrs Robert James of Calgary, Alberta.


Created in tribute to the 75th Anniversary of the Canadian Air Force; this painting symbolizes one of the truly outstanding contributions made by Canada to the allied victory in WW II. The British Commonwealth Air Training Program (BCATP) was of such importance to the war effort that US President Roosevelt was moved to call Canada the “Aerodrome of democracy”. In a very short time BCATP airfields sprang up at over 100 locations across Canada with the skies reverberating with the sound of aero-engines propelling yellow trainers. The aircraft depicted in the painting is an AVRO Anson returning to its airfield in the Canadian hinterland from one of the thousands of flights conducted in the training of over 100,000 airmen from the many countries in the allied cause. The farming machinery in the foreground is a symbolic counterbalance to the airplane and represents Canada’s rapid transition in these years from an agricultural society to an aviation powerhouse of first order.

Historical Note

The pilots of the air formations that played such a critical part in the allied victory in WW II, developed their aerial prowess by first earning their wings as fledgling pilot trainees in the Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) with its many airfields across Canada’s great land mass. The open skies and wide spaces of the prairies offered the ideal training ground for the allied aircrew from many nations trained in Canada during the war. BCATP trained aircrew went on to fly in the fighter, fighter-bomber, bomber, patrol and transport squadrons that made up the airpower of the Allied nations.

For more information go to:
Canada Aviation Museum – aircraft collection (Avro Anson) Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum