Article: Aerobatic Types–The Blue Devils

  • Vampires-640x250
    July, 1949, Aircraft and Airport

    Canada should see some hotshot formation aerobatics this year. For the past several months, Squadron Leader R. Kipp, commanding officer of 410 Squadron, has been training a team of four Vampire pilots.  The team will be used to add that extra something to airshows in eastern Canada and the U.S. The four men who make up the team are all wartime veterans with service overseas. They are Flight Lieutenant R. D. ‘Joe’ Schultz, Flight Lieutenant D. C. ‘Don’ Laubman, Flight Lieutenant J. A. O. ‘Omer’ Levesque, and Flying Officer M. F. ‘Mike’ Doyle. Already these four have put on several displays and reports from old air show hands indicate that their workmanship was something to behold.

    Twenty-seven-year-old F/L Laubman is the leader of the group and has been a member of the RCAF since 1940. He served first as an instructor and then went overseas where, as somebody once put it, “he covered himself with glory” by shooting down fifteen German aircraft. For this he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The shine was still on his medal when he was shot down and made a prisoner of war. Hailing from Provost, Alberta, Laubman is credited with two tours of operations. He has been with 410 Squadron since April.

    Also from Alberta (Bashaw) is F/L Schultz, who has been in the RCAF since April of 1941. He flew two tours with the wartime 410 Squadron (night fighters) and racked up a score of nine enemy aircraft. The higher-ups found his work to be worthy of the DFC. He has been with post-war 410 Squadron since January of this year.

    An erstwhile Army-type, F/L Levesque resigned his commission in the service in 1940 and took to the air.  He turned up overseas in 1941, and while passing the time of day with a fighter squadron, he destroyed the first Folke-Wulf 190 of the war. Evidently piqued by the show of impudence, the enemy retaliated and shot him down in February, 1942. From that time until the cessation of hostilities, F/L Levesque’s movements were somewhat hampered by the fact that he was a prisoner of war. A native of Mont Joli, Quebec, he has been with the Squadron since January.

    The fourth man on the team, F/O Doyle, is still just 25, even though he has been in the Air Force since 1942. He flew overseas with 411 Squadron and is credited with knocking down two enemy aircraft. He has been with 410 Squadron since January. He hails from Montreal.

    The Vampires used by the team are basically silver in colour, but their noses are painted entirely blue.  From the nose is a blue stripe, edged in red, which continues down the tail booms with ever-decreasing width. Conventional red, white and blue markings are on the tail plane and the RCAF roundel appears on the booms and on the wings. On each side of the nose of each Vampire, just under the forward portion of the cockpit, is painted a lunging red cougar, the symbol of 410 Squadron.

    This article originally appeared in the July, 1949 edition of Aircraft and Airport magazine.

Leave a Reply

* Name, Email, and Comment are Required