Black Velvet 2013


Held at the Canadian Forces College on Yonge Blvd. in Toronto, all who attended gave this years a big thumbs up, as can be witnessed in the slide show.
This year there were two recipients who received the OBV.

Know all by these presents that 
the Most Ancient and Alcoholic
Order of the Black Velvet 
has this day been awarded to:
Lieutenant Colonel Carl Mills
for distinguished service in the cause of hilarity 
related to the 400 Squadron Black Velvet spirit 
as detailed hereunder.

Lieutenant-Colonel Mills has:
- served with 400 and other units
- was heavily involved with the inscribing and fund raising for the 400 Memorial at the National Air Force Museum, Trenton
- has documented and created award winning dioramas of incidents involving squadron aircraft
- designed the historically accurate poster of all aircraft flown by our squadron
- contributed material, suggestions and enthusiasm to the History Hanger website which features 400 squadron history
- amassed a collection of photos and digitized artwork relating to 400,
- is searching for an example of a squadron aircraft to install at the Trenton museum
- worked hard on a special article for publication regarding the presentation of the Medal of Military Valour to squadron pilot Capt William Fielding for action in Afghanistan
- found and secured the original 400 Squadron pennant from 1940
- and done many other things.

However Carl has come to the attention of the Order of the Black Velvet for another 

In 2011 Carl discovered the original 1961 400 Squadron Standard had been sent to Sunnybrook Hospital's Warriors Hall for permanent exhibit. In June 2013 he contacted the DND Liaison for the Beechwood National Military Cemetery, Ottawa who was very enthusiastic about having the 400 Standard in the new Hall of Colours. Sunnybrook was equally enthusiastic. In 3 days and with just 2 e-mails, a lady at the Veteran's Wing, Sunnybrook handed Carl the Standard with a handshake and a wish for good luck. No paper work was involved. Carl placed the Standard in the back seat of his car and the next day courteously phoned the Directorate of History and Heritage in Ottawa to let them know.  A detonation followed.

The enraged officer at DHH3 repeated several times that Carl was in possession of Crown property, several rules of protocol had been infracted and made demands. Carl replied that he was in possession of the Standard and had his own plan. The two belligerents could only agree on delivery to the Hall of Colours for 28 August. 

Standard nor the Hall of Colours, but were not about to be ‘had’ by some old fart with a limp and a good story about taking group photos of retired Air Force people. They formed an offensive. Some challenged Carl about stealing city property with the legal implications thereof while others searched out the DHH3. Caught unawares, DHH3 listened to City of Toronto demands for the return of the 411 Standard. The adventure continued with LCol Mills informing everyone he was old and immune to officialdom, he was had both Standards and was clearly in the ‘driver’s seat.’ This was met with silence.

Carl carried out his plan and admits he intended to apologize to everyone but knows none of them really want to hear from him again.  He was pleased to complete this project with the friendly support of so many ex members from both Squadrons.  Carl planned several photo ops for ex members with the Standard and was asked by former 411 members if their Standard could not join in the photo ops and then also be taken to Ottawa. The 411 Standard had been installed at the North York City Hall in 1997 after 411 Squadron disbanded and became just another artefact in that hall, now downgraded to a civic centre of Toronto. [see Squadron Standards Lain Up]

Being a crafty curmudgeon colonel, Carl knew that telling Toronto their 411 Standard would not be returning would not work. Instead he suggested he wanted to borrow the Standard until the 28th, spinning his great story about photo ops. They “bought” it. Carl drove away with the 411 Standard in his back seat.

Another courtesy call next day to the DHH3 officer resulted in enough heat to ignite a rocket all the way to RCAF HQ Winnipeg. The term “Queen’s property” was bandied about as Winnipeg came to grips with the ease Carl displayed in grabbing both Standards and refusing to comply with their demands. LCol Mills insisted on his photo ops for the ex-members, prior to delivery.

A third explosion came when Carl informed the City of Toronto that the COs had determined the 411 Standard should go to the Hall of Colours and would not be returning to municipal care. These young supervisory city folks knew nothing about the squadrons and says, "After 400 and 411 serving side-by-side in the same hangar for 50 years, seeing the two Standards hanging side-by-side in the Hall of Colours is an amazing historical sight."

LCol Carl Mills has demonstrated unfailing zeal, tenacity and resourcefulness in service to the squadron. In showing that he understands the rules well enough to break them in order to get a job done well, Carl Mills has proven his worthiness to receive his Order of The Black Velvet.

6 Dec 2013                                                                            
Barry L Stewart
A duly authorized officer of the Order


Know all by these presents that 
The Most Ancient and Alcoholic 
Order of the Black Velvet 
has this day been awarded to:
Chief Warrant Officer John Quilty
for distinguished service in the cause of hilarity 
related to the 400 Squadron Black Velvet spirit 
as detailed hereunder.
CWO John Quilty has recently shown lapses in moral judgment indicating conduct unbefitting a Squadron Chief. At times when the going gets tough, John is known to embrace totally unorthodox methods, well outside accepted military norms. In flagrant displays of unconscionable misconduct, he has by all appearances gone rogue as evidenced by painting his filing cabinet pink, gift wrapping the CO's office furnishings, navigating the workshop floor on a tricycle and dressing entirely inappropriately. 

When approached on his misbehaviour Mister Quilty even went so far as to attempt to hide his identity with conspicuous cosmetic changes. MP's were notified of the situation. John’s hopes of escape were quickly dashed when the getaway vehicle he had commandeered suffered a blow-out. As a result of wearing oven mitts in an attempt to hide his true purpose, he was slowed in completing the speedy repair necessary for a hasty departure, thus he is brought here tonight to answer before this august body.

DCO 400 Major Glen Lovsin offers photographic and surveillance evidence to substantiate the decision of awarding CWO Quilty the OBV he richly deserves.

6 Dec 2013   B.L. Stewart  A duly authorized officer of the Order

There are many photos in our Photo Album "Black Velvet Dinners".  
Any of them may be downloaded free of charge by clicking HERE.