The Chief

Call it premonition if you want…

This is the article I wrote a way back.

Click here to read it.

This is the first paragraph…

One day someone will write a comment on this blog and say that he or she is related either to Captain Foster, Mo Morrison, Van Sainsbury, Ron Forsyth, Stew Tosh, Gil Gillis, Johnnie Johnson, Mac Reeves or Keith Lindsay…

Up to now four  people had written to me: the son of Van Sainsbury,   a man to whom the name Gil Gillis rang a bell, someone who was Tommy Todd’s best friend and Tommy Todd’s grandson.

Now I can add Dean Black to that list. Dean wrote me about Captain Foster with a  question…

Who was really The Chief with 403 Squadron?

Well according to Dean I am not sure anymore. Cap Foster would be the Chief.

I was just waiting for his go-ahead to post what he sent me since the story behind The Chief is quite revealing about two former 403 pilots.

Very interesting indeed.

This is what Dean wrote.

I would like to share something with you right now, as a prelude to what I might be able to cobble together for you over the next several weeks.

I noticed in some of the blog entries many references to “The Chief”.

I realize that this alias was written into the scrapbook/photo-album by Greg’s grandfather, possibly; however, I want you to know that I befriended another Spitfire pilot from the same era, named Aurel “Amigo” Roy.

Aurel showed up at our 2001 anniversary, and then he returned the following year. From 2002 to 2005 we had a reunion each summer, but he passed away in 2006.

Nevertheless, Aurel told me one day that Cap Foster was “the Chief”, not Hank Zary.

You have a squadron photo on your blog, with all of the squadron personnel in front of a Spitfire.

Foster (Cap Foster) is sitting front-and centre with his legs crossed, looking like an (aboriginal) Indian.

Aurel told me this is because he was part aboriginal.

More importantly, he told me how Cap made it overseas – he looped his Harvard under the bridge at Niagara Falls.

That is correct – he looped his Harvard and went under the bridge at Niagara Falls.

In one of your photographs of a man swinging the bat at home plate, to which there is affixed a caption “The Chief at Bat” – that is Cap Foster, to be sure.

The other photo of Hank Zary climbing into his Spitfire, to which is affixed a caption referring to “the Chief” – that is Hank Zary, but Hank is not “the Chief”, only Cap Foster is “the Chief”.

Aurel and Cap were inseparable – most probably because they both got overseas.

Aurel decided one day to “buzz” all the skiers at Camp Fortune, north of Ottawa.

He flew so low, as he climbed up the slope with his Harvard, that skiiers scattered and fell getting out of his way.

When he reached the top of the hill he flipped over inverted and pulled down to conceal his escape on the other side of the mountain. Sadly for Aurel the entire head of the air force was at a retreat at Camp Fortune – the highest ranking Air Marshals were all there to see it.

He was disciplined and got shipped overseas.

When he met up with Cap Foster – “the Chief” – they were brothers-in-arms to be sure.


I am sure Captain Foster was The Chief for Amigo.

I am quite sure Walter Dove gave the same nickname to Hank Zary and his captions have to be right about Hank Zary climbing into a Spitfire and being at bat. This pilot does not look like Captain Foster to me in the pictures I have seen.

But does it really matter?

I won’t start an argument with a Lieutenant-Colonel.

You’ll be the J.A.G in this case.


3 thoughts on “The Chief

  1. Great pictures of Hank Zary and TB752.
    Is there a way to get hi res scans? A colleague and I are making decals of this aircraft. At this point we are not particularly impressed with the Manston repaint, especially when compared with the pictures on this blog. Any other 403 RCAF Sqn Spits will, of course, pique our interest.
    (Someone please contact me.)

    • This is someone…

      I will contact you later today.

      There are no high-resolution scans of that particular picture. I just took it from the website.
      As for the pictures on this blog, most belong to Greg who grandfather was a Spitfire pilot with 403 Squadron.

      This blog is an on-going research and the more we search the more the find.
      Stay tunes for more.


  2. By the way there are now 100 articles written since September. So take the time to read from the start. All this to pay homage to these airmen pilots or erks (ground crew).

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