What does Fifty-mission Cap mean?

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The Tragically Hip: Fifty-mission Cap Meaning


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Fifty-mission Cap Lyrics

Bill Barilko disappeared that summer
He was on a fishing trip
The last goal he ever scored won the Leafs the cup
They didn't win another until 1962 the year he was discovered
I stole this from a hockey card I keep tucked up under
My fifty mission...

  1. anonymous
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    Aug 19th 2016 report

    I was driving on Vancouver Island with nothing else to listen to but an interview with Gord Downie talking about this song. He is referring to his grandfather and his 50 mission cap, he made it to look like that cause he didn't fly 50 missions but wanted a cap like it, like others too. The Barilko hockey card was underneath the rim. A tribute to his grandfather and Barilko. Fascinated, it made me a fan there on.

  2. anonymous
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    Feb 18th 2012 report

    Most hockey fans already know the Berilko story and many realize the significance of the dates mentioned in the lyrics as a significant part of the "Leafs" history however, it is the reference to the "fifty mission cap" that is puzzeling. As with any feeble atempt at interpreting poetic licence, I will probably be wrong but, here goes. It is my belief that the reference to the cap is to one worn by an R.C.A.F. pilot assigned to the massive search for Berilko, conducted in the spring of 1951. Many of these flights were flown by the Lancaster crews stationed at RCAF Station Trenton,Ontario,not far from where Gord Downie grew up. It is quite possible that he has seen photos of these bomber crews, as this was the major news story of the day. It is also possible that his parents knew RCAF personel involved in the search. As to the hockey card, it would not be uncommon for a pilot flying on the search to take along a photo or something about Berilko to remind him of why he was up there. I am aware of this because my father was a wartime pilot who flew several Lancaster missions during the search for Berilko. These search missions were flown out of Trenton the year before I was born and are listed in his logbook. I lost my Dad last year but, still have his logbook along with his "fifty mission cap". My guess for what it's worth.
    Cheers. ...... Brock

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