I TOOK BARB to the Hamilton 2014 Skyfest to see the Confederate Air Force B-24 (Diamond Lil), 419 Squadron Lancaster “Ropey” (temporary conversion of the Mynarski Lancaster), the T-28 Trojan Horsemen Aerobatic Team, and the, then, world’s only flying D.H.98 Mosquito (Military Aviation Museum) and I was very happy to see these rare, and dignified WW II aircraft. And that’s all I expected to see.
I was walking around talking, and taking shots when I thought I heard someone on the PA system say George Stewart.
I mean his appearance here, at Skyfest, made sense since George was consulted during AvSpec’s restoration of the originally Canadian-made Mosquito (Mossie) — so, of course— where else should George be? George flew down to Auckland during the Mossie’s restoration to give advice and flying tips. The Mossie is not easy to fly and will stall below 130mph! Scary? Yes!
And, of course, George was here to go up for a flight in the Mosquito, and of course, there was no one more worthy than THE MAN who flew 50 successful search and destroy missions over Nazi-occupied territory during World War II.
And true to form, George even did a wee bit of flying that there Mosquito (pictured in all 4 pics) when he was up in the wild blue today.
Who is George Stewart?
GEORGE E. STEWART, D.F.C. (Distinguished Flying Cross)
Canadian (born in Hamilton, Ontario)
50 Ops in WW II, in a Mosquito (night/daytime intruder operations)
No. 23 Squadron RAF
Instructor, Nationalist Chinese Air Force
Consultant, AvSpec’s restoration of their DH98 Mosquito
What is the D.H. 98 Mosquito (Mossie)?
The most lethal fighter/bomber/intruder aircraft of World War II!
Maximum Speed: 415 mph (668 kph)
Combat Capability: Fighter, bomber, reconnaissance — the Mosquito was capable of anything.
What the Distinguished Flying Cross Citation folk said about George Stewart:
“Flying Officer Stewart’s eagerness to operate against the enemy, his unflagging zeal and determination combined with his devotion to duty have won the admiration of all.”
What George Stewart said about the Mosquito:
“This is the diamond,”
“The most awesome airplane ever designed.”
“The Mosquito is, was and always will be magic.”
What Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring said about the Mosquito:
In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy. The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that? There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I’m going to buy a British radio set – then at least I’ll own something that has always worked.
What is George Stewart most famous for?:
The late 40s Canadian Government GAVE over 200 battle-ready Mosquitos to the Chinese Nationalists who were fighting a tough, bloody, battle for democracy in China.
…and, as we all know now, a battle they sorrowfully lost.
The Chinese have been fighting for democracy EVER since.
Back in the day, with the sudden acquisition of 200 Toronto-made Mosquitos, the Chinese also a needed flying instructor. They didn’t think so. However, the RCAF knew the Mosquito was tricky to fly under 150 mph and absolutely unforgiving to flight novices. And, truth-be-told, the Chinese had already pranged a number of these gifted beasties, so yes, the Chinese Nationalists desperately needed an willing instructor to come to their war-torn country, but who? Who?
George Stewart that’s who!
It should have been smooth sailing, er, flying … from there.
What isn’t well-known is the Chinese freedom fighters also had a tougher time than most, learning to fly these high-performance Mosquitos. The Mosquito was a flying thoroughbred, far beyond the tin cans the Chinese were used to flying.
Plus, and this was a big negative, actually … learning to fly these high-performance aircraft, the older Chinese pilots deeply resented learning how-to from a brash, noticeably younger (24 years old) Canadian pilot, George Stewart, and his also young assistant. I mean some of the Chinese pilots were almost double his age! In Chinese society one looks up to one’s elders, not, the other way around.
The George E. Stewart D.F.C., Chinese Nationalists, and the gift of two-hundred Canadian Mosquitos is far too big a tale to recount here. One final thing I will mention in lieu of the actual story, the Chinese invited George Stewart back to China (and he went), in the mid 90s, to reminisce about those “training days” with his former students!
What has George Stewart been up to lately?:
Enjoying retirement at 90 years young!
George has ALSO been providing consultation to AvSpec’s Mosquito restoration project, and as well, giving flying tips to that Mosquito’s future pilots. Remember, no one has flown, or seen a flying Mosquito in almost 20 years! and George has over a 1000 hours flying time on the Mossie. AvSpec’s Mosquito was later sold to
And this folks, this is the Canadian hero, George E. Stewart, D.F.C. you all saw at the 2014 Hamilton Skyfest this Father’s Day and probably knew nothing about. He fought the horror of the Nazis, and after a little break, took on a dangerous mission against Chinese Communism during the Cold War!
But, you know, that’s how real heroes are.
Humble, approachable, and often passing by in our midst, unnoticed —
AND SEE more about George and the Mosquito – thru a child’s eyes: www.canadashistory.ca/Kids/YoungCitizens/Profiles/2014/Ben-S
AND ALSO SEE: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu5B03SqrAE
AND FINALLY, about the DH98 Mosquito: www.mossie.org/Mosquito.html
(Hamilton’s George Stewart, D.F.C. with Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum photographer, “Kool Shots” Annette Koolsbergen)