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Military Lecture: Deadly Skies & Cavalry of the Air

September 19, 2019 @ 7:00 pm

Admission by donation.
Black and white photo of an old military airplane flying above the clouds.

To open the Fall 2019 Military Lecture series, there will be two presentations about aviation during the First and Second World War.

Offered in partnership with the Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies.

Admission by donation.

*Please note the date printed in the fall brochure is incorrect. The correct date for the lecture is September 19.

Portrait photo of Ross Morton smiling towards the camera. He is wearing a green polo shirt.Ross C. Morton, presents Deadly Skies

During the Second World War, the Royal Air Force’s Bomber Command kept detailed accounts of their achievements and failures in a central registry and used this information when planning future military action whereas the accidents experienced at the training units remained a local airfield record. In a demanding research project author W.R. Chorley lists the training losses at the Operational Training Units, (OTU) and the Heavy Conversion Units (HCU) in two volumes and these stories provide the statistics for this presentation.

Ross C. Morton, now 94 years of age, had completed his training as a Wireless Air Gunner and was posted to the Far East when the war ended and he was discharged. He believes he had been well trained for his duties as were the other members of his crew. He discusses his training, flying conditions and with the use of visual aids, some of the reasons for the plane crash that resulted in airmen being injured or killed at the training units.

Portrait black and white photo of Norman Leach smiling towards the camera. He has thin glasses and is wearing a white collared shirt.Norman S. Leach presents, Cavalry of the Air: The Evolution of the First World War

Speaker, Norman Leach will draw on his book “Cavalry of the Air: An Illustrated Introduction to the Aircraft and Aces of the First World War”.

“Many of the airmen of the First World War who challenged both the enemy and death did not survive.

In the clinging mud and trench warfare of WWI, it was soon clear that the cavalry — the elite of the elite — would be of little use.

The dashing men and officers of the cavalry searched for a way to be front and center in the conflict, and found it in the new air forces being established on both sides of the Western Front. Soon lances and sabres were replaced by silk scarves and machine guns. Combat on horseback was replaced by dogfights in the air — one-on-one and in great flying formations — always between warriors. No technology changed more in the five years of the war, and none would have a bigger impact.

From Great Britain to Canada to Australia and New Zealand, new heroes took the honour and dash of the cavalry to the air in flying machines — which would change the face of war forever.”

Norman S. Leach is a historian, award-winning freelance writer, professional speaker and adventurer and author of eight books on Canadian military history, including Cavalry of the Air, Passchendaele and Hitler’s Stealth Fighter.


September 19, 2019
7:00 pm
Admission by donation.
Event Category:


Guelph Museums


Civic Museum
52 Norfolk Street
Guelph, Ontario N1H 4H8 Canada
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