Lost and Found: The Return of a Cold War Painting
CF-104 pilot Andrew Henwood and his "lost" painting
During the 1960’s, Pilot Andrew Henwood served with the RCAF at the Canadian Airforce base in Baden-Sollingen, West Germany. Andrew was one of many RCAF CF-104 Starfighter pilots and Air Force personal who served in Western Europe during the Cold War. Their mission was to help maintain a fragile peace by providing a deterrent to potential aggression from the Soviet Union.
Fifty Years On: A Pilot and Painting Reunited
They kept a 24-hour, 7-day a week vigil, one they shared in shifts so the rest of the free world could sleep soundly. During his free time, Pilot Andrew Henwood was able to engage in one of his other favorite pastimes, painting. As an accomplished artist, one of Andrews favorite subjects was the very aircraft he flew.
Andrew painted and sold many of these works during his time in Germany, one of which was purchased by a fellow CF-104 pilot, Dale Anderson in 1967. Mr. Anderson brought the painting back to Canada where he kept it for more than 50 years. However, in the summer of 2018, during a period of domestic downsizing, he donated the painting to a thrift store in Calgary, Alberta.
Not long afterwards, the painting was found and purchased by collector Phil Johnston of Calgary, who out of curiosity, decided to see if he could track down the artist, whose name was clearly visible on the corner of the painting.
To Phil’s surprise, he managed to locate Mr. Henwood, now living in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. It was during their conversation that Mr. Johnston learned that although Andrew had made several paintings of the Starfighter while overseas, he had not kept any copies of the paintings himself.
The Painting Returns
It was then that Phil decided to return the painting to Mr. Henwood. Sensing that this would make an interesting news story, Phil contacted the CBC about the painting and Erin Collins, a news reporter with the CBC, followed up on the story and subsequently completed a video essay about how the painting was found and finally reunited with its creator, fifty years later.
Word of this video reached Doug Fenton, a retired CF-104 pilot, who forwarded the story to Bob Perry, another retired CF-104 pilot who also happened to be a guide at the Air Force Museum of Alberta's Cold War Exhibit in Calgary, Alberta.
Bob contacted the news reporter, and found out that by coincidence, Erin had just recently visited the Cold War Exhibit in Calgary with his young son.
...and as it turned out, Bob had been the resident guide during their visit, and had offered Erin’s 4-year old son a chance to sit in the cockpit of the CF-104 Starfighter, much to his son’s delight!
You can watch the full story and its moving conclusion here: A Cold War Painting.