F/O Philip Black
Philip Black was a Navigator flying Halifax Bombers during the Second World War.
Vera the Virgin
Dr. Philip Thomas Black was a Navigator flying in Halifax Bombers during the Second World War. Philip flew a total of 29 missions over Europe during the war. The Halifax bomber shown in the painting was built in March 1944, and received serial number MZ516.
The aircraft was assigned to No. 76 Squadron of the Royal Air Force and received the code letters MP-V, where "MP" referred to the Squadron and "V" referred to the aircraft.
Her radio call sign was "Vera" which inspired the nose art painting of "Vera the Virgin". After each successful operation into Germany, a whisky bottle was painted beside Vera.
Phil Black and his crew flew one operation in this Halifax on a raid to Stuttgart, Germany in late January 1945. Phil was the navigator on this mission. After the mission Phil and his crew went on leave and after they returned, they learned that "Vera the Virgin" had crashed returning from her 77th operation.
In August 2005, Philip and a friend, Dr. Peter Fransblow, flew their Cessna 180, call sign C-FYIX, to Nanton, Alberta for the annual Bomber Command commemoration.
While there, Philip donated a remote-controlled scale model he built of the same Halifax bomber he had flown in during the war, the Halifax MP-V known as "Vera the Virgin".
A few days after the ceremony, Philip and Peter left for home in their Cessna 180 on a trip that would take them back over the Rocky Mountains. They filed their flight plan from Springbank, Alberta to Boundary Bay, B.C. Late on the afternoon of 22 August 2005, the plane was reported as overdue and officially declared missing.
After a week long search, their plane was found below a cliff on the flank of Mount Burns, Alberta. Their plane had crashed in bad weather, and both Philip and Peter were killed.