Vintage images of the Fighting Bulldogs (gallery)

The Flying Heritage Collection’s Hurricane carries an image of a bulldog, wearing pilot’s helmet and boxing gloves, duking it out with the viewer as the opponent-the symbol of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s No. 135 Squadron. Perhaps it was a natural that the unit would pick the bulldog. The beast was “tenacious, dogged, and sturdy, like a Hurricane fighter plane.” Some of the veteran members had just come back from overseas, fighting with the RAF in the Battle of Britain. There, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill was often characterized as a bulldog by the press. The flyers “borrowed” the artistic layout of the cartoon dog from a Disney-produced emblem made for the United States’ 62nd Fighter Squadron.

Soon enough, it seemed only right for the squadron to have a real English Bulldog as a mascot. “King” was purchased in Saskatchewan in August of 1942. King made the trip with his new squadron mates to Patricia Bay, British Columbia soon after. Unfortunately, he didn’t last long. Kidney troubles claimed King just two months after he’d joined the squadron. The saddened flyers had no choice but to get another bulldog mascot for their “Bulldog Squadron,” this one they named, “Queen.”

Click here to see more image of the bulldogs.

(Check out Dave O’Malley’s “Bulldogs on the Coast” essay at the Vintage Wings of Canada site for more information on No. 135 Squadron. Special thanks to the Atlantic Aviation Museum for some of the photos in this album.)

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