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The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection
Larry Milberry
Year of Publication

If you are a fan of aviation history, The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection belongs in your library. The story begins in the 1930s with young Leslie photographic aviation at Edmonton's historic Blatchord Field. The early pages show how his interests evolved as he branched further into photography. Besides aviation photos, therefore, you'll also enjoy Leslie's cityscapes, views of locomotives, trams, ships, etc., all Historic Canadiana by 2005.

In 1956 Leslie went to the Arctic as an Anglican missionary. With the DEW Line in full swing he was in "aviation heaven". You'll marvel at his Kodachromes of everything from CD-3 to C-46, York and C-124. Added to these are rare northern scenes from Yellowknife to Cambridge Bay and Frobisher Bay. Otherwise, be it a wrecked DEW Line cargo plan, a dog team beating its way across the tundra, or the annual summer sea lift, Leslie spared not a frame. An informative text, based largely on his extensive diaries, compliments the photos.

The aviation collection begins with views of the Boeing 247, moves to the Lockheed twins, then the DC-3 through DC-7C and such other important propliners as the Bristol Freighter, Lockheed Constellation series and Viscount. Other eye-popping views show classics like the B-17, B-18, B-23, B-29, Britannia, Lancaster, Mars, PBY, Privateer, Stranraer, Vanguard, even the XR60-1. The great Canadian airlines appear from TCA to CPA, Associated, PWA, QCA, Wardair, Wheeler and World-Wide. The RCAF is also represented. Every photo has a detailed caption giving the where and the when, local particulars and a brief history of each aircraft show (in captions alone there are 20,000 words).

This remarkable book sets a high standard in quality and depth, while connecting you intimately to the photographer himself. You'll see just how remarkable was Leslie's shooting style, how he photographed nearly every airplane he encountered, how form and content equally intrigued him, and how he shot in all conditions. Here was a true aviation "Shutter King"!

The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection portrays one photo hobbyist's travels in Canada, the US, UK, even Africa. Don't be surprised as you turn the pages to see lovely images of such other long-forgotten classics as the Ambassador, Belfast, Beverley, Deux Ponts, Carvair, Hastings and the Viking. So, do something radical – thumb your nose at the Internet and take this book home!

Reader Reactions

  • The first "official" commentary about our new book comes from John Wegg of Airways Magazine. Says John, "A pictorial with style and intelligence, this is a remarkable collection of rare photographs of commercial and military air transports from the Fifties and Sixties taken across Canada, the Arctic (DEW Line in color!), and the USA and UK, combined with solid text."
  • Airline veterans Norma and Alf Bicknell comment about our new book: "We've received this fantastic book, "The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection". Thanks for the memories! Alf was on the DEW Line with Canadian Pacific Airlines at the same time as Leslie Corness, but never ran across him. What fabulous photos!"
  • Martin Stacherl in Austria comments about Propliner: "It's a pleasure to look at these stunning photos of great Propliners ('Jets are for kids', as they like to say in 'Propliner' magazine). Thanks for your superb work on this magnificient book. I hope that CANAV will publish more titles about civil aviation in the future."
  • Peter Jongbloed, a retired KLM 747 pilot, writes from Holland about "The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection: " Larry, what a great tribute your book is to this extraordinarily gifted man. Apart from the numerous rare aircraft depicted, the book is so unique as to HOW these aircraft were photographed. Leslie Corness had a great feeling for composition, thus creating that special atmosphere. You have succeeded in publishing a collectors item in the aviation book world. Let us hope there will follow more Leslie Corness volumes."
  • From Iqaluit (formerly Frobisher Bay) John Graham comments: "I bought your new book (the Corness collection) at Arctic Ventures this weekend. Congratulations on what is a beautiful book. It sure fills a historical aviation gap as far as Frobisher Bay airport is concerned. It is pure magic to look at the great historical photography. A job well done. I will be advising all my cronies to purchase a copy for their libraries."
  • From Vernon, BC, Duke Dawe clears up some of the mystery of the Me.262 photos taken by Leslie. Duke saw the Me.262 at RCAF Station Aylmer in 1949 and is sure that the hangar shot is not there, but was taken at RCAF Station Downsview: "I think it is the Downsview hangar where de Havilland had the Mossie line... Tha hangar in Leslie's photos is the same one that appears in my photos of Downsview." This would be supported by the presence of Vampires in Leslie's Me.262 photo. Duke identifies the C-119 pilot on the left in the photo on p.97 as Mark Dodd, whom he knew in earlier years.
  • John Wegg corrects my caption on p.75. Coeur d'Alene is in northern (not western) Idaho. The Vanguard seen on p.146 is at Heathrow, not Gatwick. Ditto for the KLM Electra on p.147.
  • Re. p.15, Norman Corness corrects that year of Leslie's death as 1998.
  • Re. p.11, the parade scene is on 101 St. at 104 Ave.