Colleen O’Marra adds to information related to the 1917 “Y” Squadron Long Branch photo

Colleen M. O’Marra has shared the following comments, regarding the “Y” Squadron photo sent by Bob Lansdale, which I read with interest.

PANORAMA AIR CREW 1917. Photo by Bob Lansdale of the original photo

She’s given me permission to post her comments:

Absolutely wonderful photo of the Long Branch 1917 flying squad. Perhaps Lester Pearson (P.M. and Nobel Prize winner) is in this picture. He certainly may have trained here. Amelia Earhart nursed wounded soldiers at various Toronto hospitals at that time (her sister taught school in Toronto) and was said to have visited the city’s and Long Branch’s flying schools. Obviously inspired to start a new career.

Years ago whilst visiting Casa Loma, I came upon several photos of Long Branch flyers and soldiers collected by Sir Henry himself. He  personally outfitted squads as part of his war effort. ( C. O.)

When I asked Colleen O’Marra for permission to post her comments, she added:

Part Two: According to Verna Mae Weeks, author of ‘Lakeview…More than just Land’, a Toronto waterfront Rifle Range(on the Exhibition grounds) was considered unsafe. Plans were made to move rifle practice and competitions to lands “near Port Credit”. Thus by accident the area was referred to as the Long Branch Rifle Range more than a century ago. I still know plenty of city ‘folks’ who have never heard of Long Branch or Lakeview. The Aerodrome outfitted in 1915 kept our village name. Some day I plan to submit the amazing story of the 1935 Murder in the Sky over the Long Branch Racetrack. Mr. Pill, you have my permission to run my two letters in your fab blog. (C.O’Marra)

Thank you for your letters, Ms. O’Marra.

I’m pleased to have the opportunity to share your comments with other visitors to this website. We also owe thanks to Bob Lansdale for sending us his recent photo of the 1917 air squadron photo.


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