Harvard Fly By
“Harvard Fly-by” © J. Phillips
Fingal Wildlife Management Area
I painted this Harvard fly-by, in the cross formation, to honour the men and women who served in the RCAF during WW II. My father-in-law joined the RAF and when Canada entered the war he transferred to the RCAF. Our good friend Lorne Spicer was also a fly-man. Today this area that was once the No. 4 Fingal Bomb and Gunnery School is now managed by the Lower Thames Conservation Authority. My painting shows the service road entrance looking south off Fingal Line.
The Fingal Wildlife Management Area was once a military base used by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). In 1965, the area was acquired by the Ministry of Natural Resources, and has since been restored to wildlife habitat and opened to the public. At 293 hectares, and scattered with 27 km of trails, the site is popular with naturalists and outdoor enthusiasts who can come to see the remnants of the RCAF base, wildflowers, birds and other wildlife.
The restoration of the site has been a long process that has included the removal of military infrastructure and the restoration of the natural area. Ponds were constructed, trees and shrubs were planted, and hedgerows, food and cover plots and brush piles we created. Along with deciduous and coniferous forests and plantations, tallgrass prairies and ponds, the site contains approximately 160 hectares of active agricultural land that is used for demonstration purposes. From Elgin Tourism website
“No. 4 Fingal Bombing & Gunnery School was built as a unit of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan established for the royal Canadian Air Force at a site west of Fingal in Southwold Township. The School operated from November 25, 1940 to February 17, 1945, during that time over 6,000 non-pilot aircrew members graduated from the school. The Fingal Bombing & Gunnery School, with its main station in Fingal, also included bombing ranges in Dutton, Melbourne, Frome and Tempo. There was also a Marine Section at Port Stanley and bombing and gunnery ranges on Lake Erie.”
Quote from The Fingal Observer, April 15, 1941, Fingal Bombing School fonds, R6 S6 Sh4 B1 F3 – Elgin County Archives
Jenny Phillips is best known throughout Ontario as an artist who delights in recording the vanishing rural landscape of southwestern Ontario. For many years she was seen painting and exhibiting at plowing matches, steam shows and historical events. Later Jenny’s lighthearted cartoons of life on the farm were a feature of ‘Farming Today,’ a sister publication of the St. Thomas Times-Journal until it ceased. Her column “Her’ story n. – history” © was a popular, regular feature in the local Dutton-Dunwich Horizon for three years. Today she still paints everyday but she no longer travels around with her paintings but rather allows the public to view her works in the comfort of her gallery/frame shop, Village Crier, 194 Currie Rd., Dutton, ON N0L 1J0. Check out www.jennyphillipsdutton.ca