The Museum is dedicated to telling the stories of the men and women who created New Brunswick aviation history. As our mandate includes Canada's No. 1 Air Division, we will also post biographies of those who served in Europe between 1951 and 1968. To have a biography added to our page, click on the link below.
Captain Tarling was born and educated in Toronto, Ontario. In 1949, he joined the 218 “Danforth Lions” Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Cadets, at age 11. In 1954, WO2 Tarling was selected as the outstanding cadet in the Greater Toronto area and named the “De Havilland Test Pilot” for a Day. Later that year he completed his flying training and received his Private Pilot’s License on his 17th birthday. In 1955, WO1 Tarling was selected as the leader for a USA Exchange visit.
In September 1955, he joined the RCAF and was selected for pilot training. Flight Cadet Tarling trained on the venerable Harvard at RCAF Station Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer (P/O) a few weeks before his 19th birthday. After further training on the T-33 Silver Star at RCAF Station Gimli, Manitoba he was promoted to Flying Officer (F/O) and was presented his RCAF Pilot’s Wings in January 1957 by his father, Flight Lieutenant (F/L) William Tarling. The senior Tarling was the Adjutant of 218 Air Cadet Squadron and had flown out to Gimli from Toronto for the occasion.
Following his training on the CF-100 Canuck at 3 All Weather (Fighter) Operational Training Unit at RCAF Station Cold Lake, Alberta, F/O Tarling received a posting to 428 AW (F) “Ghost” Squadron at RCAF Station Uplands (Ottawa), Ontario for the next 3 years. In 1960 he was posted back to RCAF Station Cold Lake as an instructor at 3 AW (F) OTU.
In 1962 he was promoted to F/L. He converted to the CF-101 Voodoo All-Weather fighter and spent the next three years with 425 AW (F) ”Alouette” Squadron at RCAF Station Bagotville, Quebec. After a one year posting to a Distant Early Warning (DEW) line radar station in the far arctic in 1965, he received a posting to RCAF Station Winnipeg, Manitoba where he began flying the T-33 Silver Star as an instructor at the Instrument Check Pilot School (ICPS).
His next posting was to the Wing Instrument Flight (WIF) at CFB Lahr, Germany in 1969, flying the T-33 once again, where he spent the next year flying all over Western Europe. When the Canadian Forces reduced its air force contingent in Europe in 1970, Captain Tarling returned to Canada and spent the next three years flying the T-33 with VU-32, a Navy squadron at CFB Shearwater, Nova Scotia. It was during his tour at VU-32 that Captain Tarling passed 4,000 hours on the T-33.
In 1973, Captain Tarling was posted to CFS Val d’Or, Quebec as Officer Commanding, Combat Alert Centre. His tour was cut short when the Canadian Forces experienced shortages of CF-101 Voodoo pilots. Captain Tarling received an immediate posting to 416 AW (F) “Lynx” Squadron at CFB Chatham, New Brunswick, where he flew the CF-101 Voodoo for the next three years. During his CF-101 Voodoo refresher flying at CFB Bagotville in 1974, he passed the 5,000 hour mark on the T-33.
In 1977 he returned to CFB Cold Lake - now known as 4 Wing Cold Lake - as the T-33 Flight Commander at Base Flight and as the Base Instrument Check Pilot. When he passed the 6,000-hour mark on the T-33 in 1977, Captain Tarling was invited to visit Lockheed Aircraft Corp at Burbank, California, USA and was presented a Special Plaque by the Legendary Test Pilot Tony LeVier, who was the first pilot to fly the T-33 aircraft. In January 1980 he passed the 7,000 hour mark on the T-33 and was invited to visit the Canadair Plant in Montreal, PQ where he again received a Special Award for this unique achievement.
Captain Tarling retired from the Canadian Armed Forces in 1982 when he reached Compulsory Retirement Age. In his air force career he amassed 11,645 flying hours in 50 different aircraft, including 28 different jets. With more than 10,400 hours jet time, Captain “Turbo” Tarling may be the most experienced jet pilot to ever serve in the RCAF/CAF.
His total flying time is now 12,956 hours on 65 types of aircraft with 7,690 on the T-33 Silver Star. That may be the World Record for hours flown in a T-33!
Leading Aircraft Woman (LAW) G3, Audrey Phyllis Sweetapple joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in July 1950 in St John’s, Newfoundland. She completed Basic Manning Depot training at St. Jean, Quebec in October 1951 as part of Course No. 20.
Aircraft Woman (ACW) Sweetapple was selected as the first female Aircraft Electrician to work on jet aircraft. Basic technical trades training was carried out at RCAF Station Borden, Ontario in 1951 on Course No. 1 for the new Canadair F-86 Sabre. Upon graduation from Basic (Fighter) Trades Training, ACW Sweetapple received a posting to No. 1 (Fighter) Operational Training Unit (OTU) at RCAF Station Chatham, New Brunswick.
Following her posting to No. 1 (F) OTU, ACW Sweetapple received her initial Servicing & Snags training at Base Flight as part of the Test Pilot Flight & Training School on deHavilland Vampires, Beechcraft 18 and North American P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft.
During this time, she served as a member of the Base Crash crew and the Snags & Servicing crew. Due to her experience and specialized technical trades training on the newly introduced Canadair F-86 Sabre & T-33 Silver Star aircraft, she quickly achieved the status as Snags/Test Flight Crew Chief.
ACW Sweetapple was constantly kept busy performing maintenance test flights with such notable fighter pilots as Wing Commander (W/C) McCarthy of “Dambuster” fame, Second World War Spitfire Ace, W/C Duke Warren, Flying Officers (F/O) Claude La France and Omer Levesque, both veteran Korean F-86 Sabre pilots, to name but a few. Due to the heavy flight training schedule at No. 1 (F) OTU, she had more than one opportunity, sadly, to take part in crash responses for lost or overdue aircraft. While these sometimes occurred on the base, many were off the base at remote locations throughout the province of New Brunswick.
In October 1952, ACW Sweetapple received the new Advanced Technical Trades Training on the latest version of Sabre aircraft at the F-86 Sabre Advanced Training School at RCAF Station St. Hubert, Quebec. It was during this time that ACW Sweetapple was promoted to the level of Leading Aircraft Woman (LAW) in her trade.
On May 15, 1953, LAW Audrey P. Sweetapple married Corporal William G. Ford at RCAF Station Chatham. Normally, if a woman became married they had to leave the Air Force, however a number of senior Staff Officers stepped forward to have this overturned. Unfortunately, when she became pregnant with her first child, she was forced to leave the RCAF. It was with a sad, broken heart she had to leave the Air Force she loved.
Audrey Phyllis (Sweetapple) Ford proudly served throughout Canada and overseas as a supportive housewife and loving partner of Captain William George Ford. During that time she raised three children, son William and daughters Heather and Ann.
Of note, up until her dying day she could still recite a draw the various aircraft electrical systems of the Canadair F-86 Sabre that she loved!
LAW Sweetapple in her dress uniform and overcoat. Photo credit: W. Ford.
Colonel (Col) Sid Connor, CD, originally from Millville, New Brunswick, joined the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in 1991 and earned his wings as an Air Combat Systems Officer (ACSO) in 1993. His operational flying was with 423 Maritime Helicopter (MH) Squadron where he deployed several times in HMCS FRASER, PRESERVER, IROQUOIS and VILLE DE QUEBEC. At 406 Maritime Operational Training Squadron, his duties included instructing on MH Crew Commander, MH Tactical Coordinator (TACCO), Helicopter Towed Array Support (HELTAS) TACCO and Sensor Operator (SENSO) courses. Colonel Connor’s staff appointments include 12 Wing Staff Officer for the MH Program, Executive Assistant to the 1 Canadian Air Division A3, Operational Requirements and Training Manager for the Maritime Helicopter Project, Chief of Staff (COS) Coordinator at Canadian Joint Operations Command, Coordinator for the Director of Structure Integration and as staff in the Directorate of Strategic Coordination within the Chief of Force Development team.
Colonel Connor has command experience as Commanding Officer of the Helicopter Operational Test and Evaluation Facility (HOTEF), Commanding Officer of 12 Wing Operations, and as the Air Component Commander for Op NANOOK 2011. In 2015 he was the Deputy Director Combat Operations Division as an embedded officer within the 609th Combined Air Operations Center (CAOC) in the US Air Force Central Command (AFCENT). From July 2017 to July 2019, Colonel Connor was the Commander of 12 Wing in Shearwater Nova Scotia.
In July 2019, he became the Deputy Commander of the 601st Air Operations Center at Tyndall AFB, Florida. Colonel Connor completed the Joint Command Staff Programme at the Canadian Forces College and the United States Air Force Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base. He holds a Bachelor of Military Arts and Science and Master in Defence Studies both from Royal Military College of Canada (RMCC), in Kingston, as well as a Master of Strategic Studies from the United States Air Force Air University.
Colonel Connor flew operationally on Sea Kings for much of his career. Photo credit: Col S. Connor.
Captain Terence Thomas Matheson, CD was born on August 25, 1931. His parents were the late Cleveland and Jean Matheson (Henderson) of Saint John, N.B., Terry joined the RCAF Reserve as an Armourer with 401 Sqn in Montreal. He transferred to the Regular Force as an Air Traffic Controller about a year later.
During his career, Terry was posted to several locations including 4 (Fighter) Wing Baden-Soellingen and RCAF Stations Aylmer, Gimli, Winnipeg, Rivers, Centralia, North Bay, Goose Bay, Trenton and he even managed to get close to home, serving for a time in Chatham.
He was commissioned from Sergeant in 1967 and then posted to Comox, BC. He moved into the Nuclear Defence role in 1969 and spent time at the 25th NORAD Region Headquarters at McChord Air Force Base, Tacoma Washington, USA; Ottawa (CFB & NDHQ) and Trenton again, where he retired in 1980.Captain Matheson passed away on July 25, 2018.
Career Highlights: 22,000+ GCA runs as an Air Traffic Controller;
Team Lead Operation Morninglight (recovery of Russian satellite Cosmos 954 in Arctic);
CD, SSM and Queen’s 25th Jubilee Medal
Captain Matheson in his green, post-unification dress uniform. Photo credit: Matheson family.
Colonel (Col) Ralph Hamilton Annis, CD, was born in McAdam, New Brunswick on January 11, 1931. His parents, Harry and Esther, separated when he was very young so he was raised by his maternal grandparents, Azilda Tracey and Hamilton Moore, whom he described as a righteous woman and a wonderful man. He joined the Air Force when he was 17 years old, and served as a radar technician until 1950, when he decided to remuster to aircrew. He received his pilot wings in 1951, and never looked back. Col Annis flew the F-86 Sabre with 441 Squadron in North Luffenham, England, until mid-1953, when he moved to Zweibrücken, West Germany, and served as an instrument instructor on T-33 Silver Star aircraft until late 1954.
On his return to Canada, he joined the Overseas Ferry Unit, flying F-86 Sabre and T-33 Silver Star jet aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. While with the unit, he set a cross-Canada speed record, flying a Sabre from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Halifax, Nova Scotia, in five hours and 30 seconds, annihilating the previous record by an hour and 20 minutes. Over the course of his career in the RCAF, he also flew Vampires and Harvards.
In 1959 and 1960, Col Annis again flew the F-86. This time he was the lead solo pilot with Canada’s aerobatic team, the RCAF Golden Hawks, thrilling and chilling thousands of spectators at airshows across Canada and the US. He transferred to the CF-104 Starfighter, flying with squadrons at Cold Lake, Alberta, and in Zweibrücken, until 1965.
Col Annis had some pretty close calls. He spoke of one time when he was at high altitude, going past the speed of sound, when suddenly the cabin depressurized, from some error he’d made – “finger trouble”, he called it. He laughed about it when he told the story, but it must have seemed like an eternity, while he dove and leveled out and made a safe landing. There’s a saying that there are old pilots and bold pilots but there are no old bold pilots. Colonel Annis might have been the exception to that rule.
The Air Force wanted more out of him than just flying though. They wanted him to be what he called a “mucky muck”. He attended Staff College in 1966. After graduation, he was appointed commanding officer of two CF-104 squadrons, first 444 Squadron and then 421 Squadron, in Baden-Soellingen, West Germany. In 1969, he returned to Canada as a staff officer at National Defence Headquarters. He graduated from the National Defence College in 1972, and returned to Europe with Allied Forces Central Europe Brunssum, Netherlands, until his appointment as commander of Canadian Forces Base Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, on August 17, 1973.
He took over from Canadian Forces Snowbirds’ founder Col Owen Bartley “O.B.” Philp. Like his predecessor, Col Annis was an outspoken supporter of the relatively new Snowbirds team, having witnessed firsthand the importance of a national aerobatic team. During his tenure as base commander, he played a pivotal role in keeping the Snowbirds alive, culminating in 1974, when he personally lobbied Minister of National Defence James Richardson (and others) to overturn a recommendation by the Chief of the Defence Staff to disband the team. His backdoor diplomacy worked and, ultimately, the Snowbirds were awarded permanent squadron status on April 1, 1978, the 54th anniversary of the founding of the RCAF.
Col Annis’ RCAF career also took him to Colorado, as Deputy Commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) Cheyenne Mountain facility, and farther afield, to Egypt, where he served as Deputy Commander of United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) II, established to supervise the ceasefire between Egyptian and Israeli forces and, following the conclusion of the agreements of January 18, 1974, and September 4, 1975. He supervised the redeployment of Egyptian and Israeli forces, and oversaw and controlled the buffer zones established under those agreements. He was offered the Military Attaché position at the Canadian Embassy in Bonn, Germany, but by this point he had passed the 30 years of service mark, which had always loomed large in his mind, and he decided it was time to return to his roots.
Col Annis retired from the Air Force at age 48, in 1979, and settled back into his hometown, McAdam, where he was close to his beloved camp on Palfrey Lake. Many years of fishing, hunting, maple sugaring, swimming, four-wheeling and sledding followed. Seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren learned to love the outdoors in the woods around the lake. He continued to fly after he retired. He worked for Forest Protection Limited, flying the TBM Avenger to spray New Brunswick forests (“bombing budworms”, he called it). He served as mayor of McAdam, started a motel, and ran for the New Brunswick Legislature (as a Liberal, in the year every single seat was taken by the Tories). He also served as Dominion Vice President of the Royal Canadian Legion. He was appointed to the Veterans’ Pensions Appeal Board and moved to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, for a few years as he again travelled across Canada, this time to hold assessment hearings. Col Annis spent a few years as the Honorary Colonel of 403 (Helicopter) Operational Training Squadron at 5 Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown and they honoured him by conducting a flypast of Griffon helicopters at his funeral, after he passed away on May 14, 2018.
Colonel Annis became active in the Royal Canadian Legion after retiring. Photo credit: Col R. Annis.
General Paul D. Manson, OC, CMM, CD, of Trail, B.C. was born on 20 August 1934, the son of Mr. and Mrs. R.E. Manson. He received his secondary education in Pembroke, Ontario. In 1952, he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force Regular Officer Training Plan and attended Canadian Services College, Royal Roads at Victoria, B.C., and the Royal Military College (RMC), Kingston, Ontario. Upon graduation from RMC in 1956 he was awarded the Sword of Honour. He entered Queen's University in September 1956 and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering in May 1957. In that same year, he married Margaret Catherine Nickel, a registered nurse and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. O.H. Nickel of Kemptville. They have four children.
During the summers throughout this academic period he undertook pilot training at various RCAF flying schools in Canada and received his pilot's wings in 1957. Beginning in March 1958, after advanced flying training, he flew CF-100 jet interceptor aircraft for two years with 440 All-Weather Fighter Squadron based at Zweibrücken, Germany. From there he went to Metz, France where he served as a member of the air operations staff of 1 Air Division Headquarters. During this overseas tour of duty he returned to Canada to qualify as a fighter weapons instructor on the F-86 Sabre jet aircraft at No. 1 (Fighter) Operational Training Unit located at RCAF Station Chatham, New Brunswick. As a post war fighter pilot, Manson spent many years flying with Canadian squadrons in France and Germany as part of Canada's contribution to NATO.
He returned to Canada in July 1962 to attend the one-year Aerospace Systems Course at Central Navigation School, Winnipeg. He was then assigned to Air Force Headquarters, Ottawa and served as a systems analysis officer in the Operational Research Directorate until September 1966. After completing his studies at the Canadian Forces Staff College in Toronto in 1967 he went to RCAF Station Chatham, NB for low level flight training at the Sabre Transition Unit. When he was finished, he undertook training on the CF-104 Starfighter aircraft at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta. He was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel in June 1968 and returned to Germany as Commanding Officer at 441 Reconnaissance Squadron based at Lahr. In June 1969 he was appointed Chief Operations Officer at 1 (Fighter) Wing, also at Lahr. In 1970, he assumed the position of Senior Staff Officer, Operations, Plans and Intelligence at the Headquarters of the newly formed Canadian Forces Europe in Lahr.
He was appointed Colonel in June 1972 and served as Executive Assistant to the Chief of the Defence Staff at National Defence Headquarters, Ottawa until July 1973. He was then selected to attend National Defence College, Kingston, and upon graduation was named Base Commander, Canadian Forces Base Chatham, N.B. Two years later, he and his family moved to Quebec City to attend the Federal Bilingual and Bicultural Development Program. On March 7, 1977 he returned to National Defence Headquarters as Program Manager of the New Fighter Aircraft Program in the rank of Brigadier-General. He remained in that assignment through to the selection of the CF-188 Hornet as Canada's new fighter aircraft for the Canadian Air Force three years later. In June 1980 he was appointed to the Order of Military Merit in the grade of Commander in recognition of conspicuous merit and exceptional military service. In April 1980 he was named Commander of 1 Canadian Air Group with headquarters at Lahr, Germany, a position he held until returning to Canada to take up his duties as Chief of Air Doctrine and Operations at NDHQ, Ottawa, in the summer of 1981 in the rank of Major-General. He was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant-General in the summer of 1983 and took up his duties as Commander, Air Command, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 19 August 1983.
General Manson was named Assistant Deputy Minister for Personnel at National Defence Headquarters, Ottawa in June 1985. On July 11, 1986, he was promoted to General and Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), a position that he held until his retirement in 1989, culminating a 38-year career in the RCAF and the Canadian Forces. During his tenure as CDS, he was a member of the NATO Military Committee and served as its president from 1988 to 1989. He was CDS during the formulation of the 1987 Defence White Paper and toured extensively, meeting with foreign and allied senior military and political leaders on a regular basis.
Following his retirement from the Canadian Forces, General Manson held executive positions at Unisys Defence Systems, Paramax, Loral Canada and Lockheed Martin Canada. He retired from the latter in 1997 as chairman of the board. During his tenure at Paramax, he oversaw the awarding of the government contract to produce the EH-101 helicopter as the successor to the Sea King helicopter fleets and Labrador fleets. The contract was cancelled by the Liberals under Jean Chretien in 1993. He served a term as Chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada and received the C.D. Howe Award from the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute in 1992 for leadership in the field of Canadian aeronautics.
During the 1991 Gulf War, General Manson attained national renown for his commentary as a military analyst with Peter Mansbridge on the CBC-TV national news. He was awarded honorary doctorates from Royal Roads Military College and from the Royal Military College of Canada. In 1998, he agreed to serve as volunteer chairman of 'Passing the Torch,' the Canadian War Museum's fundraising arm. He was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation, the War Museum's parent body and he chaired the building committee for the new Canadian War Museum. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002 and received the Vimy Award on November 21, 2003. In 2018, he was inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame.
General Manson is an accomplished musician and an amateur astronomer. He has studied museology and Egyptian hieroglyphics.
For more information, visit: http://data2.collectionscanada.ca/pdf/pdf001/p000000937.pdf .
General Manson poses in front of a CF-104 Starfighter. Photo credit: General P. Manson.