from page 5,
"You shall cease all
work immediately, terminate subcontractors
or orders and instruct all your subcontractors
and suppliers to take similar action."
From this moment,
approximately 13, 000 workers were no longer employed.
The next day in Toronto's Royal York Hotel, representatives
of American companies were hiring our specialists
for work in United States industry, and thousands
of unemployed were looking for jobs.
of everything connected with the Arrow followed.
The five aircraft which had flown and others
on the production line were cut to pieces
for scrap. Blueprints, brochures, reports
and photographs were all reduced to ashes.
There was a common impression at the time
that politicians wanted all tangible evidence
rubbed out to prevent it returning to haunt
them in later years.
For many months
before the cancellation of the Arrow, a strong
anti-Arrow campaign was run by the press. Many
arguments were presented in a highly misleading
manner and to my surprise suddenly we had plenty
of experts on aviation. The press was full of articles
by high-ranking retired army officers about the
uselessness and obsolescence of the Arrow. The
Telegram on 24 September 1958 reported a statement
by Lt-Gen. Guy Simmonds: "The day of the airplane
is finished as a defence mechanism. It has been
replaced by the missile as the primary weapon." Gen.
Simmonds said that he had criticized from
the beginning any plan to spend large sums of money
on "the last of the fighters. The Arrow is
just that the last of its line and kind."
Canadian Air Force
officers were prohibited from discussing or even
asking questions about the Arrow.
The Globe and Mail,
dated 21 February 1959, reported the statement
by Air Marshal Roy Slemon, second in command in
North America Air Defence: "Regardless
of what the actual decision is, and it certainly
must be a proper one, I will be unable to comment
Reading 19 years later the text of the Prime Minister's
announcement of the decision to scrap the Arrow,
I have the impression that army and American experts
convinced Mr. Diefenbaker that the aircraft was
dead as a weapon and only missiles had any future.
I like best this statement: "Although the
range of the aircraft has been increased, it is
still limited." I suppose that the Voodoo
which the Prime Minister ordered shortly afterwards
had unlimited range?
The press was quick in catching the idea. In the
Toronto Telegram the next morning were the headlines: "Arrow
short range." - and later: "Operational
range of the Arrow (700 miles) was less than the
Government had hoped for." I do not know what
the Government had hoped for, but certainly the
Canadians were convinced of the short range of
The employees of Avro and Orenda were shocked
by the Prime Minister's statement: "And frankness
demands that I advise that at the present there
is no other work that the Government can assign
immediately to the companies that have been working
on the Arrow and its engine."
Going back for a
moment to the aircraft industry in England, I remember
that only a small percentage of new prototypes
flown ever reached the production stage, and probably
even a lower percentage reached operational use.
Cancellation of programmes in the initial stages
of development or during initial production was
quite common, but I had never heard of sudden cancellation
without preparations being made to use released
manpower and facilities. In England it was generally
accepted that the aircraft industry was a national
asset, one which helped so much in saving the country
in the most difficult times like the Battle of
Britain, and that destroying it would be against
the national interest.
It appears that the
Canadian government did not make any effort to save
the design teams or production facilities of Avro
and Orenda. As I mentioned before, everything about
the Arrow was destroyed, no attempt was made to save
the results of millions spent in research, results
which could have been used in other countries like
England and France, which were working on the design of a supersonic transport, or useful
to other industries in Canada where experience
of Avro and Orenda companies in electronics,
hydraulics and air conditioning manufacturing could
have been a tremendous asset.