Clarence Prest's bi-plane N-CACH
Prest at Whitehorse 1922 [Aviator Clarence Prest and RCMP officer Claude Tidd standing by Prest's bi-plane 'N-CACH' in a field near Whitehorse.]
This plane may be similar to the Polar Bear, which was destroyed in Prince Rupert, 1921
from Yukon Archives Images Database

via email from Chuck Davis, 4-23-07
Hi, Ralph:
     I'm a Vancouver writer on local history, and I recently started a website, a kind of preview of my next book, The History of Metropolitan Vancouver. Going through some newspaper articles I wrote back in 1980 for the Province, a morning daily here, I came across an interview with a lady named Elianne Schlageter (nee Roberge) who was living in Prince Rupert in September, 1921 (and in a Vancouver suburb when I interviewed her).
     She describes what I now realize must be an incident involving Morton Bach's aborted attempt to fly from Mexico to Siberia that year. I'm just now typing up that interview for my website. (She didn't mention Bach's name, likely didn't know it, but I Googled the circumstances and I'm sure it was Bach's plane she was referring to. We didn't have Google in 1980!)
Would you like me to send you my piece?
Chuck Davis

via email from Chuck Davis, 10-13-07
Hi, Ralph:
     The piece I wrote some 27 years ago did not cite Morton Bach's name, because neither I nor Mrs. Schlageter knew it at the time. I'm delighted to have learned of it through your efforts, and his name will make it into my book when it's finished (likely next spring.)
(Chuck has generously allowed me to reproduce the relevant portion below.)

Courtesy of Chuck Davis, 10-13-07
     "Back in 1980, the Province's Chuck Davis interviewed Elianne Roberge. She was Elianne Schlageter by then, and she and her husband Fred lived in South Vancouver.
     "I got interested in flying in Prince Rupert back in 1921," Elianne said. "We'd seen a plane flying over the town once, but one day a man who was going from Mexico to Siberia brought his plane through on a train. It was a biplane and everyone was just fascinated by it. Well, he had it tethered down that night, but a high wind came along and started knocking it around, and by the morning it was in bad shape. Kids were taking pieces of the fabric from the wings and I wanted some, too, but I was in school in the convent. So I put up my hand and said I needed to leave the room, and they let me go, but instead I ran outside and down to where the plane was and got a big chunk of the fabric."
     She laughs at the memory. "That night, I cut the fabric into one-inch squares and wrote my name and the date on each piece in ink. I sold them next day for a penny apiece. It was September 13, 1921."
     [We just Googled for that Mexico-to-Siberia trip and found this:

"Polar Bear 1921 = 2pOB. Built by Morton Bach in his backyard with design help from Clarence Prest. Used for an attempted flight from Mexico to Siberia, which ended short in northwest Canada." The 'Polar Bear' referred to is likely the name of the plane.]"


     If you search for "Mexico to Siberia" +aviation, as Chuck Davis did, using the Google search engine, (10-14-07), you will find the two relevant links.
The Seven
     This page on The History of Metropolitan Vancouver website, relates the entire, fascinating story of this unique group of fliers. Included is the excerpted portion which is reproduced above. In addition to the story, you will find a very nice photograph of the group in their flying costumes.
     If time permits, I am sure you will enjoy sampling many of the multitude of other features of the site including: the book, sponsors, glimpses, chronology, etc. You can access the website by clicking on the title above.

(L Morton) Bach Aircraft Co.
     You will find an extensive description of the planes of the (L Morton) Bach Aircraft Co. on K. O. Ecklund's AeroFiles website. One of the most interesting is the following:

"Polar Bear 1921 = 2pOB. Built by Morton Bach in his backyard with design help from Clarence Prest. Used for an attempted flight from Mexico to Siberia, which ended short in northwest Canada."

     To visit the site, just click on the title above.

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