Moving pictures

By Emily Beliveau, Digital Projects Assistant

Working with a photographic collection from a studio photographer means we have access to many instances of two or more shots taken in short succession. In essence, there are hundreds of two-frame movies available to us if we want to make them (and of course we do!) Most of these moving pictures only tell the story of someone fidgeting in front of a camera, but some are better than others. For instance, we can make this air trainee wink at us (click image to animate):

static portrait of airman Barnie

Detail from No. 63 Sky Harbour Class, September 1942. image A993.0003.037l. J. Gordon Henderson, photographer. Rights: Public domain.

Now to be a buzzkill, this fellow was cropped from a Sky Harbour class picture taken in sunny conditions, so he and most of the rest of his classmates were squinting in the sun rather than flirting for the camera. To give you an idea how much movement there is between one take and another, here is the full view (click image to animate):

class picture

No. 63 Sky Harbour Class, September 1942, image A993.0003.037k+l. J. Gordon Henderson, photographer. Rights: Public domain.

There are dozens and dozens of potential animated GIFs within the Henderson air training photos, so stay tuned for future moving pictures.

Happy New Year (Beer)!

My favorite group of photos from the Henderson air training collection are the ones taken during the 1944 New Year’s Day meal at No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School, Sky Harbour, Goderich. Compared to all the individual head shots and formal class photos, these are refreshingly candid. For the most part, the airmen pictured in this series are members of the British Navy’s Fleet Air Arm (hence the sailor-looking uniforms). By 1943, the RAF had a surplus of trained pilots, so the British Navy started training their airmen at No. 12 EFTS to continue making use of the facilities.

Due to the indoor lighting and the general state of merriment it’s hard to make out a lot of detail in these photos. As soon as I saw all those bottles, however, I needed to know what kind of beer they were drinking. Luckily, there is just enough detail across the series to be able to make out a few kinds: O’Keefe’s Extra Old Stock Ale, Black Horse Ale, and something made by Montreal’s Dow Brewery.

a992-0003-339-detail

Detail from image no. A992.0003.339, showing a closeup of an O’Keefe’s Extra Old Stock Ale beer bottle, New Year’s Day at Sky Harbour, 1944. J. Gordon Henderson, photographer. Rights: Public domain.

The O’Keefe’s Extra Old Stock was confirmed by this photo:
Through some internet sleuthing, I also found out the the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library has a very nice collection of historical Canadian beer labels, including an era-appropriate O’Keefe’s label.

beer label

O’Keefe’s Extra Old Stock Ale label, c. 1933-1967.

The Black Horse Ale was confirmed by beer boxes visible in a couple of the photos (for instance, the first photo in the top gallery, bottom right). The Dow Brewery beer might be obvious to a Canadian beer historian, but I couldn’t pin it down. If you can identify the beer, contact us, we’d love to know.

Closeup of beer bottles

Detail from image no. A992.0003.328, New Year’s Day at Sky Harbour, 1944. J. Gordon Henderson, photographer. Rights: Public domain.

 

Men With Pipes

For this project, we have scanned 868 images. About 9%, or 77 photographs, are portraits of individual airmen. Of those, only two of the men chose to pose with a pipe.

While I don’t condone smoking, I do think posing with a pipe is an excellent choice when having your picture taken professionally.

See for yourself:

 

Close up of RAF Officer holding pipe.

Unknown Royal Air Force Officer, about 1940-1945. J. Gordon Henderson, photographer. A992.0003.481a. Rights: Public domain.

Close up of RAF Officer with pipe in his mouth.

Unknown Royal Air Force Officer, about 1940-1945. J. Gordon Henderson, photographer. A992.0003.520. Rights: Public domain.

 

Bonus pipe pic:

Group of men standing with three in centre wearing kilts & tartans holding bag pipes.

Opening of Elementary Training School at Sky Harbour, October 1940. J. Gordon Henderson, photographer. A992.0003.429. Rights: Public domain.