The Grumman (Eastern) TBM-3W2 "Guppy" Avenger in the Royal Canadian Navy

  by Leo Pettipas
Associate Air Force Historian
Air Force Heritage and History
1 Canadian Air Division
Winnipeg, Manitoba
June 2008

An earlier version of this paper was published in the Shearwater Aviation Museum Foundation Newsletter, Summer, 2005.

Between 1950 and 1956, the single most ubiquitous aircraft type on the Royal Canadian Navy's inventory was the Grumman (Eastern) TBM Avenger.  In all, 125 of these machines were acquired from the US government, and eight of them were of the "Guppy" airborne early warning (AEW) configuration.  The Guppies were taken on strength in two batches: three on 22 September 1952, and five on 10 October of that same year.  As such, they were among the last of the Avengers to be placed on the RCN inventory.  They were ferried from Norfolk, Virginia to Royal Canadian Naval Air Station Shearwater, Nova Scotia by pilots of the fleet requirements unit FRU 743.  They were then placed in storage for several months before entering squadron service.

Generally speaking, there were two marks of the Guppy Avenger -- the TBM-3W and TBM-3W2.  The former was developed late in the Second World War to protect Allied shipping from surface and low-flying aerial attacks. The idea was to place airborne lookouts or pickets around a convoy or task force to detect, on a line-of-sight function, incoming air aggressors or surface raiders well in advance of their arrival.  By combining powerful search radar with height, the disadvantages of comparatively short-range ship-borne radar were overcome.

With the formation of NATO in 1949, the government confirmed the RCN's role as that of specialised seagoing trade and shipping protection, and once again airborne early warning became a significant consideration.  But air and ocean-surface threats were not the only ones that loomed on the tactical horizon; the recent war had demonstrated unequivocally the need to counter the submarine.  In the summer of 1950, the USN began taking delivery of a new variant of the AEW Avenger -- one whose radar was optimised to detect submarine schnorkels.  This was the TBM-3W2, and the RCN's heavy anti-submarine warfare (ASW) commitment made this variant the logical choice for its purposes.

During the war, a clear distinction was drawn between AEW, conceived primarily to counter enemy aircraft and surface ships, and ASW, which focused on the enemy submarine.  With the post-war advent of the TBM-3W2, with its combined submarine- as well as aircraft- and surface vessel-detection capabilities, this distinction became blurred.  In this paper, AEW encompasses all threats -- aerial, ship and submarine -- the timely detection of which was the purview of the TBM-3W2.

The Guppies were truly unique among the RCN Avengers in a number of ways.  The great majority of the 125 TBMs acquired by the Canadian government were delivered to Canada still in their US Navy paint schemes and markings, which were replaced with standard Canadian camouflage and insignia during conversion at Fairey Aviation of Canada Ltd.  This does not appear to have been the case with the Guppies, which arrived as fully-rigged TBM-3W2s and hence did not undergo conversion at Faireys. Also, one of the pilots who ferried the Guppies to Canada noted that they were “new” aircraft in that they had been stripped and completely rebuilt in the US prior to their delivery to Shearwater.  This overhaul may well have involved refinishing in the United States, because the markings, while definitely Canadian, were not applied according to regulation.  The fuselage roundels were oversized, being of the dimensions typical of those applied to the wings.  In addition, the markings (the word “Navy” and the radio call number) adjacent to the fuselage roundels were undersized, while those on the mainplanes were not only undersized but on the wrong wings. It is difficult to believe that these departures from the Navy’s specifications would have transpired at Fairey Aviation Canada Ltd.  Nor is there any indication in the individual aircraft records that any of the Guppies went to Faireys early in their Canadian careers for refinishing (or anything else). Hence, it is reasonable to conclude that these spurious markings were applied elsewhere.

The outer appearance of the Guppies was unusual in another sense. In those days, all operational aircraft were assigned radio call numbers that corresponded to the number of aircrew carried.  Since the early AS 3 Avenger was manned by a crew of three, each machine was, in theory, scheduled to receive a 300-block number.  The system broke down when there were more aircraft than there were 300-block numbers to go around.  Since there were more Avengers than there were 300-block numbers, some of the aircraft had to be assigned numbers from another block until 300-series numbers were freed up due to write-offs of aircraft that initially carried them. At the outset, the eight Guppies were allotted the numbers 411 to 418 inclusive even though the number of crewmen normally carried was less than four. In due course, the 400-block numbers were replaced with 300-series numerals.

Of all the 3W2's assets, the most conspicuous was the powerful AN/APS-20 radar, the transmitter and 8' x 3' quasi-elliptical antenna of which were housed in a large fibreglass radome fitted to the underside of the forward fuselage.  During development, the size of the radome was found to create flight control problems, and even though it was positioned as close as possible to the centre of gravity, its large bulbous surface area disrupted airflow across the empennage located aft.  Consequently, more vertical fin surface was required; and rather than increase the size of the existing fin, the latter was augmented by two smaller ones on either horizontal stabiliser.

Maintenance of the radar and related special avionics introduced unique demands requiring larger and specialised facilities both at Shearwater and aboard the Navy’s sole carrier, HMCS Magnificent (CVL 21).  In addition, the costs of providing formal training for a handful of personnel would be excessive.  It was therefore decided to contract a civilian representative to train avionics personnel, and to initiate maintenance procedures within existing facilities.

At the time the Guppy Avengers were taken on strength, the RCN's operational air squadrons were organised into two separate air groups, each comprising a fighter (Sea Fury) and an ASW (Avenger) squadron.  One, the 30th Carrier Air Group (30 CAG), was the premiere first-line force whose base of operations was the Magnificent.  The component squadrons, 871 (later VF 871) and 881 (later VS 881), were front and centre in the NATO wargames staged in the North Atlantic throughout the 1950s.  By April of 1953, VS 881 observers (navigators) who otherwise flew in the AS 3 strike aircraft were undergoing familiarisation on the Guppy.

The other front-line formation, the 31st Support Air Group (31 SAG), was essentially an OTU that provided aircrews with the final phases of operational training before being drafted to the CAG.  The SAG squadrons, which included the Avenger-equipped VS 880, were permanently based at Shearwater, although they periodically put to sea aboard the carrier for training purposes.  Both VS squadrons operated Guppies, and although 880 was the first front-line unit to routinely fly the type, 881 made the most use of them in the long run.  All eight TBM-3W2s served with VS 881 at one time or another, a distinction that could not be claimed by any of the other squadrons.

In addition to these operational elements, there were two shore-based second-line squadrons with which the Guppy Avengers served.  To VX 10, an experimental squadron, fell the tasks of testing and evaluating equipments being planned or considered for use in naval aviation, and of test-flying (CAT flights) and accepting (a) aircraft after repair and overhaul by civilian contractors and (b) new aircraft from manufacturers.  VX 10 came into existence in November of 1952, the month immediately following receipt of the Navy's second and final batch of Guppy Avengers.  A TBM-3W2 was on strength with VX 10 from November of 1953 to May 1957 for equipment test and development duties.  Among the equipments that underwent testing in the Guppy at the hands of VX 10 were radio compasses. This included the commercial version Lear ADF-14 and its military version, the AN/ARD-7. Also evaluated were the AN/ART-28 radio relay transmitter (comparison trials with ART-26), AN/ARC-5 communications radio (subsequently installed in the CS2F-1 and –2 Trackers), and the noise-cancelling microphone.  Most of the Guppies went to Fairey Aviation at one time or another for overhaul and/or repair, and VX 10 pilots performed the mandatory CAT flights in them.  Similarly, aircraft that had recently undergone maintenance were subject to maintenance check test flights (MCTFs), and again VX 10 test pilots did the honours.  The squadron Guppy was even pressed into service from time to time as a transport to ferry personnel.

Utility Squadron (VU) 32, the “Chorehorse Squadron”, made discontinuous use of a TBM-3W2 between October 1953 and April 1955. Among this unit's tasks was the training of Avenger aircrew -- observers and observer's mates -- on course with the Shearwater-based Observer School.

The acquisition of the Guppy long-range surveillance aircraft would play a major role in fighter-control operations from the carrier.  The pulsed search AN/APS-20 radar it carried could provide radar intelligence on all surface units within a hundred miles of the carrier, and was capable of detecting a medium-sized aircraft at a distance of just over 50 nautical miles. Images were transferred to the carrier's operations room by a data-link AN/ART-26 UHF radio, represented externally on the aircraft by a vertical antenna fixed atop the rudder, and known by the code-name "bell-hop".  In an aircraft whose function it is to detect and take action on incoming aircraft, the ability to determine if the interlopers are friendly or not was paramount.  To that end, the AEWs were fitted with IFF equipment.

In the event that enemy reconnaissance or anti-shipping aircraft were detected by a patrolling 3W2, the latter could relay the intruders' image and bearing (but not their altitude) to the carrier.  Sea Fury interceptors could then be dispatched and vectored toward them, either by the carrier or by the 3W2 itself.  Alternatively, a combat air patrol of fighters already aloft could be directed toward the threat.  If the intruders were surface vessels, Sea Furies and/or AS 3 or AS 3M Avengers, all of which carried guns, rockets or bombs, could be directed to the scene by the Guppy, which carried no armament; it was in essence an airborne radar station.  The normal complement of the Magnificent was 12 Avenger AS 3s/3Ms and four 3W2s, together with 10 Sea Furies.

In ASW exercises, the powerful APS-20 radar could detect a schnorkel at 20 miles in low sea states.  Barrier patrols were laid across the approach path of the most likely line of submarine attack, i.e., parallel to and to either side of the convoy or task force.  The flight line of the patrols was usually positioned between 100 and 150 miles out and within appropriate "limiting lines of submerged approach".  These were two lines drawn out approximately 45 to 90 degrees from either side of the convoy/task force; it was within these lines that a submarine would have had to position itself for an attack.  When one leg was completed, the aircraft executed a 180-degree turn and repeated the sweep in the opposite direction.  With a maximum endurance of 4½-5 hours, the aircraft could spend three hours on station within a three-hour launch cycle (although one former observer has acknowledged having remained on task for well over six hours in emergencies and subsequently landing with minimum fuel).  Normal operating altitude was 500 feet, but varied according to sea state.

Because the Guppy was entirely unarmed, it was incapable of pressing home an attack.  Accordingly, it operated in concert with a "scrapper" AS 3 or 3M aircraft to form an air search and attack team (ASAT).  With downward sweeps of its radar scanner, the 3W2 searched a broad area while the scrapper accompanied it in loose formation.  When a contact was made, the scrapper was directed to investigate, under the 3W2's control.  The scrapper, with its comparatively short-range AN/APS-4 radar (4 to 8 miles, depending on the sea state) was the localising and killer aircraft within the hunter-killer team. It ”went silent” (did not use its radar) while the AEW directed it over a possible target.  It then went active and prosecuted the attack.

On operational sorties, the basic crew structure comprised a pilot, an observer (controller) and an observer’s mate (stand-by controller).  Personnel selected for controller duty were trained in-house, although initially some were sent on course to the USN.  There was room on the forward-facing bench for two crewmen who, while on station operationally, shared duties at the radar scope to alleviate eyestrain and fatigue. Otherwise, the second crewman in the back seat could be a trainee or a passenger.  The operational two-in-the-back configuration – one the controller, the other a stand-by controller - was not typical and in this connection it should be mentioned that the pilot's cockpit was equipped with a repeater scope.

The rear station of the Guppy contained the radar equipment along with an impressive assemblage of black boxes devoted principally to communications functions. The controller sat on the inner seat in front of the radar scope and the stand-by controller, if present, sat beside him nearest the door, which was located on the starboard side of the aircraft. The rear compartment, supplied with a small porthole window (normally covered up), can best be described as a cupboard and was not well suited for those who even faintly suffered from claustrophobia. Navigation was done by the controller on the radar scope, and was greatly facilitated with the ~300-mile-range radar set (given sufficient altitude). It was possible to fit a camera over the scope and photograph what was on the screen; by this means one could monitor and report weather systems. Generally speaking, the Canadian crews were well pleased with their Guppies. One seasoned pilot noted with satisfaction that the radar could detect "a periscope at 25 miles in a flat calm -- and every seagull, porpoise, log, piece of seaweed and bergy bit to boot."

And indeed some of the Canadian crews' experiences with these electronic marvels were impressive, albeit extraordinary. In one particular (and rare) instance of super refraction, a Guppy flying at an altitude of less than 1,000 feet picked up the portion of the eastern seaboard of the United States stretching from Norfolk, Virginia to Quonset Point, Rhode Island, a distance of 350 miles.  Ordinarily, the earth’s curvature required the aircraft to be much higher to achieve that range.  At other times, similar long-range sightings were experienced, but it was concluded that they were echoes from clouds above the shore or, in rare cases, mirages or bending of the radar beam, again, through refraction.  The latter situation usually lasted for only a few moments before the contact disappeared.  Even so, individual aircraft taking off from one of the USN carriers over 200 miles away were also detected during one exercise!  On another occasion, a Guppy’s radar picked up the coast of Spain at a range of 250 miles.  It was so clearly identified that the pilot was able to plot the position of the Magnificent to within 14 miles of that calculated by his observer.

Truth to tell, the early and mid-'50s fell within the early years of AEW history, and the AN/APS-20 radar of the day did have its limitations.  For one thing, it possessed long-range capability only, and was ineffectual close-in.  Furthermore, wind, tides and general weather conditions textured the ocean surface that adversely affected its over-water detection performance.  More recent radars feature an airborne moving target indicator function that allows the detection and tracking of air targets immersed in sea clutter. This capability was not available in the Guppy Avenger, and so a high level of expertise and skill was required of its radar operator.

One pilot recalled his attempt to carrier-land his Guppy in dense fog using the high-definition radar.  Letting down on instruments but still not breaking clear, he asked one of the crew to report to him when the sea was visible.  He continued his descent using his radar altimeter.  The surface came into view at an altitude of about 60 feet, but there was no forward visibility from the cockpit.  He flew on, closing the carrier with his radar until the ship was lost in the sea-return radar clutter.  He was forced to climb away at the last minute, clearly audible but invisible to the men on the ship's deck.  There were some things even a Guppy couldn't do.

The big NATO wargames took place in the fall of the year, but the RCN's Guppies arrived too late to participate in the 1952 series.  The following year, however, was another story: 16 September 1953 witnessed the commencement of "Exercise Mariner", billed as history's greatest maritime manoeuvres to date.  Involved over a 19-day period were 300 ships, 1,000 aircraft and half a million men from nine NATO countries ranging over the North Atlantic, the North Sea and the English Channel.  The objective was to determine the efficiency of the participating navies, and to avail them experience in combined operations under realistic wartime conditions.

Among the Canadian assets in Mariner was VS 881, whose embarked complement included four AEW Avengers.  Pitted against them and the accompanying friendly forces were land-based bombers, surface raiders and submarines -- all prime grist for the Guppies' mill.  In this their baptism of fire, the Canadian crews operated around the clock, an aircraft being airborne throughout virtually the entire period.  Each crew slept for six hours, briefed, flew for 3½ hours, landed and debriefed.  It was by all accounts a commendable achievement, and the stage was set for operational deployment of the Guppies as standard operating procedure until their withdrawal from carrier service.  They were front-and-centre in the subsequent NATO New Broom II (1954) convoy support and New Broom IV (1955) convoy protection exercises, and in Exercise Sea Enterprise (1955), a maritime tactical drill.  By this time, VS 881’s 3W2s had been formally organised into a four-plane “Guppy Flight”, designed to provide both VS 880 and VS 881 with worked-up crews that would fly together as much as possible and be assigned to the carrier as exercises and operational requirements dictated.  The flexibility and assignments of the Flight with its multiple roles (long-range surface coverage for the fleet, fighter-control and interceptions for fleet defence) required a single operational unit trained for ops over and above the normal staffing, training and role of the aircrew borne in the ASW squadrons.  Also, the need to have more specialised maintenance personnel for the Guppy’s electronic systems required that they be assigned to this special Flight since the higher level of maintenance and training required was not normally available in the ASW squadrons.

The year 1955 also witnessed the conduct of New Broom V, in which Magnificent and her squadrons, including the Guppy Flight, provided close support for a convoy bound from Norfolk to Gibraltar.  The final NATO exercise in which Magnificent and the Guppy Flight participated, this time as members of a carrier support group, was New Broom VI (1956).

In addition to the multi-national exercises in the North Atlantic, the Canadian Navy also conducted winter and spring training of their own in the Caribbean where the fine weather assured optimum flying conditions.  In March of 1956, two Canadian task groups -- one from Pacific Command, the other from Atlantic -- were hard at work. And once again the Guppy proved its worth, when during “Exercise Big Hello” one of them detected and reported the "enemy" force at a distance of 140 miles -- ample time for the delivery of a successful strike by defending VS 881 Avengers.  Extended return cruises by Halifax-based Magnificent with the Guppies on board were carried out to Canada's West Coast in 1954 and to the western Mediterranean in 1955, and these voyages provided abundant opportunity for operational work-ups, training and practice.
The fall of 1956 proved to be the last time the 3W2s went to sea.  A three-week training period commenced on 25 September, when VS 880 joined ship from Shearwater.  Accompanying the squadron were the four aircraft of VS 881's Guppy Flight, now carrying 300-block radio call numbers. But the call numbers were not the only new markings to appear on the Guppies during this deployment.  As this was also the last operational cruise of Magnificent before her retirement, extraordinary observances were in order.  These included painting the forward radomes of the Guppies with a sharkmouth motif reminiscent of that applied to the wartime P-40 Tomahawks of the RAF's 112 Squadron in North Africa and the famous Flying Tigers of Claire Chennault's American Volunteer Group.

Painting sharkmouths on Guppies demonstrates a rather clever sense of humour and provides a study in irony all at the same time.  Typically, such markings are reserved for sleek fighter and strike aircraft to illustrate their lethal character.  The Guppy Avenger was the very antithesis of ferocity: its total lack of offensive weaponry of any kind and its massive ventral radome -- creating a pregnant pollywog effect -- does not make for a particularly menacing image to begin with.  One might say that a sharkmouth Guppy is something of a self-contradiction.

These goings-on marked the winding down of the Guppy's operational career, but as was alluded to earlier, the type served non-operational purposes as well.  For example, in late December 1955 an HU 21 helicopter was called upon to perform a mercy mission out of its home station of Shearwater.  The assignment involved an arduous flight to Sable Island 160 miles away to pick up a government employee who required medical evacuation.  This distance was at the maximum range of the helicopter, so an additional 50 gallons of fuel had to be brought along and refuelling carried out on arrival. Because the helicopter required radio and navigation aid as a safety link, one of the 3W2s was provided, maintaining contact on the return trip.

Although the Magnificent was scheduled to be replaced forthwith by a new carrier, the TBM-3W2 was not destined to operate from her deck.  In 1956, the Navy undertook a review of its air arm that had important implications for the future of AEW in the RCN.  According to the doctrine of the day, the air threat against Allied shipping at sea was expected to arise either from direct attack on surface vessels, or from aerial reconnaissance or shadowing of ships as part of an enemy submarine campaign.  Soviet naval aircraft then in service were capable of covering large areas of the North Atlantic, and it was believed that the threat of both air reconnaissance and air attack, particularly in the eastern Atlantic (EASTLANT) area, was a prospect to be reckoned with.  Of particular concern was the missile that could be launched from a high-flying aircraft in stand-off mode, meaning that the aircraft itself did not have to be in close proximity to its target.

Carrier-borne radar being what it was in the mid-'50s, an attacking high-altitude aircraft could be intercepted before it launched its missile if it did so from less than 20 miles away.  Even at 20 miles, interception of a TU-4 bomber (Soviet version of the B-29) would have been possible only if there was a combat air patrol already aloft.  Under these circumstances, there would have then been two (2) minutes in which to effect the interception.  If the aggressor was a higher-performance aircraft like the jet-powered IL-28, interception by a mid-'50s-era jet fighter would have been all but impossible.

Thus, in order to increase the fighter's ability to provide a reasonable defence, a much greater range of air warning was necessary.  Unfortunately, the TBM-3W2 was designed to extend surface ships' low-level air attack detection capability only; it had no performance against high-flying aircraft although a machine capable of detecting high-altitude aircraft, the Grumman WF-2, was under development by the US Navy.  However, the WF-2 had no realistic place in the RCN's plans.  In order to extend the range of warning of attack to that needed to ensure interception of high-flying enemy jet aircraft, i.e., from 150 to 200 miles, at least two AEWs -- twin-engine WF-2s -- would have to be airborne.  The need to keep two such aircraft in the air around the clock, even for limited periods, meant that eight of them would have to be embarked.  Obviously, this would have been at the expense of anti-submarine aircraft, a dilemma made all the more acute with a vessel the (small) size of the RCN's new carrier, the CVL HMCS Bonaventure.

This was an undesirable situation indeed, because the RCN's mandate was, first and foremost, anti-submarine warfare.  But if a satisfactory air defence capability demanded a fighter/AEW combination, then it was just not possible to embark enough A/S aircraft aboard Bonaventure to achieve any kind of worthwhile anti-submarine capability.  On the other hand, if enough A/S aircraft were to be embarked, then the air defence strength would have to be reduced to the point where it became inadequate.  The reality was, the under-sized Bonaventure simply could not be all things to all people.  Obviously, something had to go, and the logical candidate was the AEW capability.

Nor were the Guppy's submarine hunting capabilities its saving grace.  The A/S Avenger's replacement, the CS2F Tracker scheduled to enter service in early 1957, was an all-in-one hunter-killer machine that did not require the assistance of a Guppy.  Nor could the retention of facilities for a few Avengers be justified when many more Trackers were coming on strength.  Hence, the advent of the highly capable Tracker was the final nail in the Guppy's coffin.  In the event, the Navy dispensed with the AEW function altogether, although the 3W2’s demise was not an entirely abrupt one: VS 881 began re-equipping with the Tracker in January 1957, and the Guppy Flight was transferred to VS 880 in March.  This tenure proved to be short-lived, however, as VS 880's first Tracker arrived in October of that same year and shortly thereafter the Guppy Flight was disbanded for good.

Although the Guppies experienced a number of accidents, none were written off due to prangs.  As a group, they experienced their share of routine bumps and bruises:  the occasional barrier crash and wingtip into the island aboard Magnificent; a port wheel into the sponson; tailwheel strut failure; a bent propeller and forward radome damage during taxiing.  One belly-landed on a snow-covered lake after bouncing off an adjacent road and through some telephone lines -- which must surely have brought profound grief to the radome and its contents.  Perhaps the most serious incident saw the main generator voltage regulator in one of them catch fire in flight, resulting in complete electrical failure, smoke in the cockpit and rear compartment, and jettisoning of the fuselage door (presumably for a breath of fresh air). More vexing than serious was what happened to a couple of Guppies in February 1956 when they were parked on the carrier’s deck. The ship was lying alongside in her customary station at HMC Dockyard below the Angus L. McDonald bridge, and snow-clearing activity on the span directly above the ship was in progress. The plow pushed snow over the bridge and onto the Guppies below, damaging control surfaces of the aircraft.

The beginning of the end for the RCN’s Guppies well and truly came when two of them were reduced to spares and produce (cannibalised) after being struck off strength for that purpose in mid-1957.  All the rest were quietly retired in March of 1959.  On 9 May 1960 they were consigned to outside storage in the butts along the north side of Runway 11 at Shearwater pending final disposal by Crown Assets. The story goes that, in the end, their undercarriages were torched off and the aircraft were crushed by a bulldozer running over them from wingtip to wingtip.  Anecdotal testimony, still current in 2002, had it that the remains were either disposed of as scrap or buried as landfill on the Shearwater base.


Sincere thanks to John Cody, Bob Geale, Ted Kieser, Walt Morris, Bob Murray and Stu Soward for their kind assistance in the preparation of this article.  For errors of omission and commission the responsibility is solely mine.


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----- 1995, Hands To Flying Stations, Volume 2.  Neptune Developments (1984).  Victoria.

by  Peter “Red” Atkins
In the mid-50s I was on VX 10 Squadron.  In those days, Roy DeNevers was the CO, Gene Gosh was the AEO, Brian Clifford, the Squadron Chief and a lady who is still a good friend, Patty Bruce, the Squadron Secretary.  I believe we had two Guppies on the squadron.  They were so hush-hush that only certain riggers and fitters were allowed to work on them.  No matter how busy they were, the other riggers and fitters couldn’t help them or go anywhere near the Guppies.

One Sunday, I was walking on Portland Street, heading for the ferry on the way to Slackers and I stopped at a drug store a couple of streets up from Nieforth Radio for a cup of coffee (10 cents in those days).  After the coffee I went to the magazine rack to look at the latest Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines.  I particularly liked “Gus’s Workshop” hints on how to look after your car, etc, not that I had one.  As I was flipping through the pages, I came across an article on – you guessed it – the Guppy and all the latest equipment it had on board. It was a lot of double dutch to me as I was an Oily, not a member of the Green Empire.  I bought a copy – 25 cents in those days, I think.

On Monday morning, I approached Brian Clifford and, in as diplomatically a way as possible for a “lowly killick”, asked him why the Guppies were so hush-hush.  After his explanation, I told him that all of Dartmouth and Halifax knew all about the Guppies; indeed, so did all of North America, and showed him the article in the latest edition of Popular Mechanics.

Two days later we were told that anyone was now able to work on the Guppies.

Credits and References:

1) Leo Pettipas <lpettip(at)mts.net> Associate Air Force Historian. Air Force Heritage and History 1 Canadian Air Division.
Winnipeg, Manitoba.
2) Peter “Red” Atkins

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