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SASKATCHEWAN

Royal Canadian Air Force Station Saskatoon:

In 1940, the Federal Government took over the Saskatoon Municipal Airport for use as an RCAF training facility. On 16 September 1940, No. 4 Service Flying Training School officially opened as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, with Relief Landing Fields at Osler and Vanscoy. The airport facilities were completely overhauled with new hangars, barracks and administrative buildings being constructed. The airfield was expanded and the runways were paved.

No. 4 SFTS closed on 30 March 1945, having graduated over 2000 airmen, but a small RCAF contingent remained at the Saskatoon Airport. 406 (Lynx) Squadron, a fighter squadron that had been adopted by the City of Saskatoon during WWII, was re-activated in 1947 as a light bomber squadron in the RCAF Auxiliary (Reserve). Officially re-named 406 (Lynx) City of Saskatoon Squadron, the squadron took up residence in several of the former No. 4 SFTS buildings.

During the 1950s, Saskatoon became one of the major military centres in Western Canada. As a result of the RCAF’s post-war expansion, RCAF Station Saskatoon re-opened as an air training facility in October 1950. That same year, No. 23 Wing was formed to oversee 406 (Linx) Squadron and several other Auxiliary (Reserve) Squadrons in Western Canada. Permanent Married Quarters were built at the end of 1952, and the following year, the Air Marshall Curtis School opened for the children of station personnel.

No. 1 Advance Flying School opened at the station in 1952, one of the many Flying Training Schools opened across Canada to train RAF, RCAF and NATO aircrews. Students at the school trained on Mitchell Bombers and Expeditor aircraft trainers. Other lodger units at the station included, No. 3043 Technical Training Unit (Auxiliary) and No. 4002 Medical Unit (Auxiliary).

RCAF Station Saskatoon honoured former Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor A.P. (Archie) McNab in 1955 when the PMQ community at the station was named McNab Park.

In 1956, the Instrument Flying School moved to Saskatoon from RCAF Station Centralia.

In 1962, control of RCAF Station Saskatoon was transferred from Training Command to Air Transport Command, but this change would be short-lived.

In the early to mid 1960s, a reorganization and consolidation occurred within the Canadian Military. Several Army, Navy and RCAF bases were either downsized, merged or closed. As a result, RCAF Station Saskatoon closed in 1964 and both 406 Squadron and 23 Wing were disbanded. Squadron Leader J. Shaw was the last CO of the station.

RCAF Detachment No. 1005 Technical Support Depot was established at the site, occupying four of the station’s hangars. The Detachment served as a disposal and storage facility for disused aircraft, including the C119 Flying Boxcar, Expeditor, Neptune and Harvard trainers and the Yukon Transport aircraft. In fact, it was at No. 1005 TSD that the last five Harvard aircraft in the RCAF inventory were brought for disposal.

The Air Marshall Curtis School was transferred to the Saskatoon Public School Board in 1965 and re-named McNab School. The McNab Park PMQ homes were sold off as private residences.

The remainder of the property was turned over to the Federal Department of Transport and reverted to its original role as a civilian airport, now known as the Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport.

No. 1005 Technical Support Depot, re-named 407 Technical Services Detachment after the Unification, remained at the Saskatoon Airport until 1978, when the Air Force finally departed Saskatoon.

Parts of the former RCAF Station Saskatoon remain today, including are the ground school, supply building, airmens mess and officers mess, the airmen and Officers barracks, the post-war “Arch” hangar (all built in the 1950s), 4 ammunition storage buildings and the WWII-era drill hall. The five WWII era hangars were torn down several years ago, leaving just the cement pads.

Some of the PMQs also remain occupied, but many are either vacant or have already been torn down.  The land is being re-developed by the airport authority.

Among the tenants of the airport are the National Aviation Centre, providing servicing and facilities for aircraft.

406 Squadron’s traditions live on in Saskatoon through 602 Lynx Wing, Royal Canadian Air Force Association. 406 Squadron was re-activated and is currently located at 12 Wing Shearwater.

The abandoned airfield is all that remains at the former RCAF Detachment Vanscoy.  A faint outline of the runways can still be seen at the former RCAF Detachment Olser.

Source material: Twinaire (newspaper of RCAF Station Saskatoon), Vol. 1, No. 7, March 1955, “Memories of Flying – Old Home Week for Airmen” by Dean Creswell, Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, 22 September 1971, information supplied by June Flegg, Historian, Saskatoon Public Library (2000), National Aviation Centre/National Aviation College web site – http://citylightsnews.com/nac.htm, information supplied by Jeff O’Brien, City Archivist, City of Saskatoon (2000), information supplied by Will Chaburn, Member Regina Chapter, Canadian Aviation Historical Society (2003), information supplied by Shelley Anklewich, Contract Administrator, Saskatoon Airport Authority (2003), information supplied by Harry Setchell (2004), Ozzy’s Place: Abandoned Aerodromes of Saskatchewan – http://ozzzy.dyndns.org, information provided by Vintage Wings – www.vintagewings.ca & information supplied by William A. Restall, Saskatoon Airport (2001).

 


No. 6 Elementary Flying Training School & No. 6 Air Observer School:

Opened near Prince Albert on 22 July 1940 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, with a Relief Landing Fields located near Hagan and Emma Lake The school closed on 15 November 1944.

The aerodrome is now the Prince Albert Airport. Among the tenants of the airport are the National Aviation Centre, providing servicing and facilities for aircraft and the National Aviation College, providing flying training.

From 17 March 1941 to 11 November 1942, the station doubled as No. 6 Air Observer School.

All that remains of the former No. 6 EFTS are 3 buildings.  Two of the WWII-era hangars remain; one with the control tower atop that is in use by Transwest Air and the other for fertilizer storage but is in poor condition, and the former parchute packing building, also remains.  It is currently used for storage.

The original Westinghouse wind-tee also remains.  Plans are being made by the airport management to restore the wind-tee, in partnership with the Prairie Heritage Air Show Society.

A monument was erected to pay tribute to the 17 airmen and one civilian who died in training accidents at the school.

Nothing remains of RCAF Detachments Hagan and Emma Lake.

Source material: National Aviation Centre/National Aviation College web site – http://citylightsnews.com/nac.htm, information provided by Vintage Wings – www.vintagewings.ca, “The Canada Flight Supplement” 1999, information provided by Bob Spracklin (2015) & “Wings For Victory” by Spencer Dunmore.

For the names and descriptions of the 17 airmen who lost their lives at the school can be viewed at:  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?id=104764032962506&story_fbid=298734336898807.   “Remembering Those Who Fell Here”


No. 3 Air Observer School (Regina) & No. 15 Elementary Flying Training School:

In 1940, the RCAF took over the Regina Municipal Airport for use as a part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The Royal Flying Corps had previously used the airport during WWI.

No. 3 Air Observer School opened 16 September 1940, followed by No. 15 Elementary Flying Training School on 11 November 1940. A Relief Landing Field was constructed near Brora.

On 12 September 1942, No. 3 AOS opened a Detachment at Pearce, Alberta, while also maintaining its site in Regina. The school continued operating until 6 June 1943 when both the Pearce and Regina schools closed.

By the time No. 15 SFTS also closed on 11 August 1944, the school had trained 2011 pilots.

The airport reverted to civilian use and is currently the Regina Airport. A new 6200 ft runway officially opened on 25 April 1953.  Three of the WWII-era hangars remain.

Source material: “Regina Airport – A History” produced by Transport Canada, the “Wings Over Alberta” web site – http://collections.ic.gc.ca/flyboys/homefront/bcatp_sites.htm & “Wings For Victory” by Spencer Dunmore.

 


No. 23 Elementary Flying Training School (Davidson):

Opened near Davidson on 9 November 1942 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The school re-located to Yorkton in January 1945.

From 1957-1968, the abandoned runways were used as a racetrack for sports car and motorcycle racing.

All that remains of the aerodrome are the abandoned runways and the hangar pads.

One of the hangars was moved to the Town of Vonda for use as a community ice rink.

Source material: Canadian Racer Web site – www.motorsportcentral.com, information provided by Vintage Wings – www.vintagewings.ca & “Wings For Victory” by Spencer Dunmore.


No. 33 Elementary Flying Training School:

Opened on 5 January 1942 near the Town of Caron by the Royal Air Force, under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. A Relief Landing Field was constructed near Boharm. The School closed on 14 January 1944.

The Caron aerodrome was used briefly as a Relief Landing Field for No. 32 Moose Jaw, then abandoned.

In 1946, the site was taken over by the Briercrest Bible Institute and re-named Caronport.

Today, the Briercrest Family of Schools, consisting of Briercrest College and Seminary and Caronport High School, carry on the tradition of providing education at Caronport. The 160 acre campus is home to 1200 permanent residents and approximately 1000 students.

All that remains of the former station is the pump house, the reservoir, the guard house and a workshop.  The Airmens’ Mess remains, but has been moved to a different location at Caronport.  Several buildings remained up until the 2000s, including the NCSs Mess and Hangar #1, which was used as Sports Arena., but all these and other buildings have been demolished or moved to other locations

A significant portion the former station remains. One hangar, the Mess Hall, PMQs, the Recreation Centre (although extensively refurbished), one h-hut (originally a classroom, but now used as a dormitory) and various smaller buildings remain. The airfield also remains, but the runways now serve as streets for trailer homes. One of the hangars has

Source material: information supplied by Lois Penner Vice President, Advancement Briercrest Family of Schools (2004), Briercrest Bible College web site – www.briercrest.ca, information supplied by Gord Elmer (2004) , information provided by Vintage Wings – www.vintagewings.ca, information provided by Joel L. From, PhD, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Briercrest College (2014)  & “Wings For Victory” by Spencer Dunmore.

 


No. 34 Elementary Flying Training School / No. 25 Elementary Flying Training School:

Originally opened by the Royal Air Force near Assiniboia on 11 February 1942, under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, near the Town of Assiniboia (Section 13, Range 9, Township 30, West 2nd). A Relief Landing Field was constructed near Lethburn.

No. 34 EFTS closed on 30 January 1944. The aerodrome was taken over by the RCAF and No. 25 EFTS stood up in its place. No. 25 EFTS had a brief existence though, and by the time it closed on 28 July 1944, 2560 student pilots had graduated.

In August 1944, two new units stood up at the aerodrome: No. 41 Pre-Aircrew Training School, whose mandate was to provide academic training, and No. 403 Aircraft Holding Unit, whose function was the storage of surplus aircraft. Both units closed in 1945.

Very little remains of the old school today, with only the airfield, hangar pads and the gunnery backstop remaining. All the buildings were either torn down or moved off site. Two hangars were moved to Regina and the drill hall to Moose Jaw. The hospital, recreation hall, workshop, officers’ barracks and the dental building were moved to Assiniboia itself.

The airfield is now the Assiniboia Airport. a cairn was constructed on the property to pay tribute to the personnel who served at No 34 & No. 25 EFTS.

Source Material: “Wings For Victory” by Spencer Dunmore, information supplied by Sherri Spagrud, Clerk, Town of Assinioia (2004), information provided by Vintage Wings – www.vintagewings.ca, observations of James Forsyth (2009) & the Winnipeg Flying Club web site – www.wfc.mb.ca.


No. 11 Service Flying Training School & No. 23 Elementary Flying Training School (Yorkton):

 

No. 11 SFTS opened on 10 April 1941 north of Yorkton as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, along with Relief Landing Fields near Sturdee (asphalt runways) and the Rhein District (grass runways). A total of 40 buildings were constructed for the flying school, including a full surgical hospital, one of four for all of No. 2 Training Command, a mess hall and 5 hangars.
Unlike most Relief Landing Fields, no buildings were constructed at the Rhein aerodrome.No. 11 SFTS closed on 1 December 1944.
No. 23 EFTS re-located from Davidson, Manitoba to Yorkton on 29 January 1945, but it would have a brief existence in Yorkton as it too closed on 15 September 1945.
RCAF Station Yorkton seemed destined to become a part of the post-war RCAF. The aerodrome became a storage depot as well as the home of No. 2 Flying Training School and The 53rd Heavy Anti-aircraft Regiment. This would be short-lived as the station closed in early 1946.

The airport is now the Yorkton Regional Airport. Of all the former school’s buildings, only two of the original five hangars remain. All three original runways remain, but only two are still active. Runway 03-21 was extended to 4800 feet. Runway 12-30 was converted to a gravel surface, with the only the last 600 feet remaining asphalt.

The terminal building is still in use today. Two of the WWII hangars remain, as does a maintenance building.

Among the present users is a Gliding Centre, operated for the Royal Canadian Air Cadets.

The abandoned and deteriorating runways at the former RCAF Detachment Sturdee also remains, along with the hangar pad, but nothing remains at RCAF Detachment Rhein.

Source Material: information provided by Canadian Aviation Historical Society (CAHS), information provided by Therese LeBevre-Prince, Heritage Researcher, City of Yorkton (2003), Ozzy’s Place: Abandoned Aerodromes of Saskatchewan – http://ozzzy.dyndns.org, “Yorkton This Week” newspaper 30 November 1988, Gord Shaw MCIP RPP, Director, Planning & Engineering, City of Yorkton (2014) & “The Canada Flight Supplement” 1999.


No. 35 Service Flying Training School & No. 13 Service Flying Training School (North Battleford):

Opened by the Royal Air Force on 4 September 1941 near North Battleford as No. 35 Service Flying Training School, a part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Relief Landing Fields were constructed near Hamlin and Brada. No. 35 SFTS closed 25 February 1944 and the aerodrome was taken over by No. 13 SFTS, originally from St. Hubert, Quebec.

No. 13 SFTS had a brief stay at North Battleford as it closed on 30 March 1945.

From 1962-1963, the abandoned runways were used as a racetrack for sports car and motorcycle racing.

The aerodrome is now the Cameron Macintosh Airport. All that remains of the wartime schools is one of the old hangars, the hangar pads from the other torn-down hangars, the gunnery backstop and the vehicle maintenance shop. Several of the aerodrome’s former buildings were moved to the nearby Sharon Schools.

Two of the original runways remain, one expanded to 5000 feet. North Battleford Ultra-lights also uses the airfield for flying training.

The former RCAF Detachment Hamlin is now used as an industrial site. Up to 2007, one of the three runways continued to be maintained for use in agricultural flight training by Battlefords Airspray private airport. The airfield is now closed to all aircraft and none of the RCAF buildings remain.

All that remains of RCAF Detachment Brada is the former barracks building, which is  currently used as a summer residence, along with two service buildings and the original hangar.  The land is now a private farm. The local municipality put up a commemorative sign on the property as a tribute to the men & women who served at RCAF Detachment Brada.

Source Material: information provided by Randy Strelioff, Cameron McIntosh Airport (2004), information provided by Battleford Airspray (2010), information provided by Bill Barry, brother of the current Brada property owner (2013), Canadian Racer Web site – www.motorsportcentral.com, information provided by Vintage Wings – www.vintagewings.ca & information provided by Sharon Schools (2004).


No. 38 Service Flying Training School:

Opened on 1 April 1942 near the City of Estevan by the Royal Air Force as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Relief Landing Fields were constructed near Shand, Outram and Chandler. The school closed 14 January 1944, due to the reduced need for pilots overseas.

Plans were made to convert the aerodrome into a RCAF Air Navigation School, but this never came to be. Instead No. 201 Holding Unit was established at the aerodrome, later changed to No. 204 Equipment Holding Unit. No. 204 EHU closed on 30 November 1944.

The final chapter in the military history of the airport came with the founding of No. 4 Surplus Equipment Holding Unit on 1 April 1945, for the purpose of disposing of surplus RCAF war equipment. The unit closed on 1 December 1945 and the aerodrome was turned over to the Department of Transportation, who then established the Estevan Municipal Airport.

In the immediate post-war years, the South Saskatchewan Regiment briefly occupied the drill hall and St. Joseph’s Hospital used some of the other buildings for convellesing soldiers.

The Estevan Flying Club was also formed at the airport.

In 1989, the former No. 38 SFTS aerodrome closed and the property was sold to the Saskatchewan Power Corporation for a coal mine. A new airport was built north of Estevan. Nothing remains of the aerodrome today.

As for the relief fields, the faint outline of the airfield at the former RCAF Detachment Outram is all that remains.

Source material: The City of Estevan web site – http://cap.estevan.sk.ca/community/history/index.html, information provided by Vintage Wings – www.vintagewings.ca & “Wings For Victory” by Spencer Dunmore.


No. 39 Service Flying Training School:

Opened on 15 December 1941 east of Swift Current as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, with Relief Landing Fields at St. Aldwyn and, Wymark. The school closed on 11 February 1944.

The aerodrome is now the Swift Current Airport. Two runways remain in use by the South West Flying Club.

All that remains of the wartime school are one complete hangar, one partial hangar, the tower for the original control room (but not the control room itself), the gunnery backstop, the maintenance garage and the water pumping station.

All that remains of RCAF Detachment St. Aldwyn is the abandoned airfield and the hangar pad.

Source material: “Wings For Victory” by Spencer Dunmore & Kevin Haglund, local resident of Swift Current (2005).


No. 41 Service Flying Training School & No. 8 Service Flying Training School (Weyburn):

No. 41 EFTS opened on 5 January 1942 by the Royal Air Force near Weyburn as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, with a Relief Landing Field near Halbrite. The school closed on 22 January 1944.

No. 8 EFTS (RCAF) stood up in its place, but the school had a brief existence in Weyburn as it re-located to Moncton on 30 June 1944 and the station was abandoned. In two years of operation in Weyburn, the two schools graduated 1,055 pilots.

The aerodrome sat abandoned for until the early 1950s, when a medical facility for mentally handicapped children took over the former station’s buildings, remaining until 1957. Western Christian College then occupied the former aerodrome from 1957 until 1989.

The former station is now the Weyburn Airport. Two runways remain in operation, while runway 18/36 is abandoned.  Three of the original hangars remain, as do some other buildings.

A children’s physiological hospital in the 1950s and the home of the Western Christian College from 1957 until 1989.

All that remains of the former RCAF Detachment Halbrite is the faint outline of the runways.

Source material: City of Weyburn web site – http://city.weyburn.sk.ca/modules.php?name=Sections&op=viewarticle&artid=19, information provided by Vintage Wings – www.vintagewings.ca & information supplied by Cheryl Rommann, City Clerk, City of Weyburn (2004).


Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Boharm:

Opened in 1940 near Boharm, the detachment served as a Relief Landing Field for No.33 EFTS in Caron, but it possibly was originally intended for No. 32 at Moose Jaw. RCAF Detachment Boharm had a turf airfield laid out in the standard triangle pattern, with a hangar building and living quarters.

When No. 33 EFTS closed in January 1944, Moose Jaw did take over the aerodrome, using the field until operations ceased in Oct. 1944. RCAF Detachment Boharm was abandoned and the land returned to farming.

Source material:  information supplied by Kirk Wallace, Research Department Western Development Museum (2006).


Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Buttress:

Opened in 1941 near Butress as the No. 1 Relief Laning Field for No. 32 SFTS at Moose Jaw. The detachment had 3 asphalt runways 100 feet wide and 2,500 feet long, constructed in the standard triangular pattern. Water reservoirs, a barrack block and a garage were added, but no hangar or control tower or barracks. Airmen travelled to the site during the day and returned to the main aerodrome at night.

RCAF Detachment Butress was abandoned after WWII.

The post-war growth of the RCAF resulted in many WWII stations being re-activated. RCAF Detachment Buttress re-opened in May 1952 once again as the Relief Landing Field for the similarly re-opened RCAF Station Moose Jaw.

By the late 1960s, with the advent of the jet Tutor trainer, the Buttress airfield became obsolete, and once again it was abandoned, this time for good.

All that remains today are the abandoned and crumbling runways. Several farm building line the abandoned runways, which is now private land.

Source material:  15 Wing web site – www.moosejaw.dnd.ca, information supplied by Kirk Wallace, Research Department Western Development Museum (2006) & the Places to Fly web site – http://www.copanational.org/PlacesToFly.


Royal Canadian Air Force Station Ladder Lake :

Established 3 miles east of Big River the station opened in 1925.  The station had a brief life as it closed in 1934.  According to Bill Barry of the Saskatchewan Vitual War Memorial:

“In 1934, in exchange for 21 quarters around Dundurn Camp, the federal government transferred its facilities at Ladder Lake to the province. It was a Department of National Defence installation, including quarters and mess buildings, along with a seaplane harbour, which the province undertook to maintain. Forest fire suppression flights were a major activity at the base.  Virtually all the modern techniques of aerial forest fire control were developed here.”

The station was used for again used for a brief time in the late 1930s as a relief landing field.

Today the aerodrome is the Big River Airport, a general aviation field with a 3300-foot gravel/earth runway.

Source Material:  Information supplied by Bill Barry, Saskatchewan Vitual War Memorial – http://svwm.ca/sitemap/

 


 

No. 2 Bombing & Gunnery School:

Opened on 28 October 1940 near Mossbank as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Like most stations, No. 2 B&GS had all the amenities expected: a swimming pool, bowling alley, recreation hall, several canteens and a theatre.

The school closed on 15 December 1944, having trained 2,539 bombers and 3,702 air gunners.

The Mossbank Golf Club now occupies most of the property. A rock cairn was constructed at the golf course to pay tribute to the men & women who served at No. 2 B&GS.

All that remains of the old school are the gunnery backstop, the hangar pads and the abandoned and crumbling airfield, which still sees the occasional crop-duster plane. The Canadian Forces Snowbirds, who conduct training over Mossbank, have even been known to use the airfield on occasion.

One of the old aircraft hangars was re-located to Regina and is not known as the Turvey Centre.  The building has been extensively renovated ad in is now used for events such as wedding receptions, hobby shows, swap meets and other activities.

Bill Barry of the Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial (http://svwm.ca/) provides the following noteworthy fact:   “Nos. 2 & 5 B&GS were the only two that had swimming pools, and the reason is rather interesting. Both were relatively isolated and an adequate source of water for firefighting purposes was needed. The RCAF decided that, rather than just building big cisterns, they might just as well build swimming pools, to the delight I’m sure of the bombers and gunners.”

Source material: Source material: information supplied by Terri Griffin (2002), Mossbank Golf Club – http://www.saskgolfer.com/sasktrivia.php, information supplied by Roy Tellefson, local resident of Mossbank (2005) & information supplied by Will Chaburn, Member Regina Chapter, Canadian Aviation Historical Society (2001).


No. 5 Bombing & Gunnery School:

Opened on 7 January 1941 near the Town of Dafoe as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The school closed on 11 January 1945.

The former station property is now used for farming. The only building that remains is one of the hangars, now used for agricultural equipment storage. The only other remnants are the other hangar pads, the gunnery backstop and the crumbling roadways and airfield. The property owner still uses a portion of the old airfield as a private aerodrome.

Bill Barry of the Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial (http://svwm.ca/) provides the following noteworthy fact:   “Nos. 2 & 5 B&GS were the only two that had swimming pools, and the reason is rather interesting. Both were relatively isolated and an adequate source of water for firefighting purposes was needed. The RCAF decided that, rather than just building big cisterns, they might just as well build swimming pools, to the delight I’m sure of the bombers and gunners.”

Source Material: Town of Dafoe web site – http://www.quill-lakes.com/dafoe/history.html, information provided by Vintage Wings – www.vintagewings.ca, Bill Barry, Saskatchewan Virtual War Memorial  & information supplied by Jim McDougall, McDougall Agencies (2001).


No. 7 Initial Training School:

Opened during World War II, Bedford Road High School was leased by the federal government to provide facilities for the RCAF’s No. 7 Initial Training School.

No. 7 ITS closed sometime after March 1944.

Source material: information supplied by Jeff O’Brien, City Archivist, City of Saskatoon (2000).

 


 

No. 120 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre:

Opened in Regina on 9 October 1940.  The camp closed on 1 September 1943.

 


 

A27 Canadian Armoured Corps Training Centre / A27 Canadian Army Reconnaissance Training Centre:

See 17 Wing Detachment Dundurn: in “Downsized Bases or Bases That Have Changed Their Function”.

 

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://militarybruce.com/abandoned-canadian-military-bases/abandoned-bases/saskatchewan/

14 comments

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  1. np crowden

    My father WT Crowden attended 34 EFTS in Assinbola between June 1942 to dec same year.
    He then went on to 36 EFTS in Penhold Alberta.I would be grateful if any records or atifacts attached to
    his time in Assinbola remain in any archives you may possess.His RAF service No was 1431195.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Nick,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. Unfortunately, I don’t have any information on your father’s military service. You might want to try contacting the National Archives in Ottawa.

      Bruce

  2. Richard Cooke

    The Dafoe town history page URL has changed:

    http://www.quill-lakes.com/dafoe/history.html

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Thanks for the updated URL. I’ll make the change.

  3. Richard Cooke

    I’m trying to determine when Dafoe was demolished, and by who.

    My Father (Joseph A. Cooke) grew up in Saskatoon. He told us about a summer job he got as a student Engineer – only offered to Eng. students as part of some Gov. project – to demolish an old military base.

    He said he worked there daily with a lot of other kids, sleeping at home in Saskatoon. No safety gear or training. Just basic hand tools and told to level “everything”.

    Dafoe was not too far from Saskatoon, and was a really large base – with a LOT of buildings. I wonder if this is the base he helped demolish?

    They sure did a good job “erasing” it. Just that one hangar left standing.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. That’s an interesting story and it very well could have been Dafoe. It truly is sad to think with all the work that was put into building these bases that most of them saw everything except the hangars leveled after the war. Sure, I know that the admin buildings and barracks were meant to be “temporary” buildings, but with some renovations and updating, even “temporary” buildings can last for years. Thankfully some were moved off-site and still exist, although most would never know their histories. Borden still has 3 H-huts and 5 World War I hangars still standing, although some of just barely.

  4. Carole Lazar

    In 1950 my family moved into rooms at the end of a hangar at the Saskatoon Airport. The hangar itself was being used to store artifacts for the newly created Western Development Museum. There was extensive building going on at the time and a swimming pool was opened that summer. There was an air base there but it was behind chain link and entered by way of a gate house a mile or so away from the airport itself. It seems to me though that the pool was not within the confines of the base. I was only 6 when we lived there and I’m trying to verify some memories. Can anyone help?

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Carole,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. I’m afraid the only information I have is what is posted on my web site.

      Maybe You could try contacting the National Archives in Ottawa.

      Bruce

  5. James K. Finley

    Thanks very much for this website.

    Re #5 & # 2 B&G schools, opened 7 Jan 41 & 28 Oct 40 respectively, at Dafoe and Mossbank.

    Would you know whether these two schools were established near large saline lakes that were used as aerial bombing grounds ?

    Were they more isolated from rural communities due to the nature of their training with aerial bombing ?

    I have heard that Big Quill Lake is pocked with bomb craters and that the bombing caused the nature of its waters to change. Does anyone locally recall whether the bombing exercises were disturbing ?

    Is there an error in the number of crew that were trained at the two bases ? #2 indicates 2539 bombers and 3702 air gunners, but the #5 account say that when it closers in Dec 1944 “having trained 131,553 aircrew”. This disparity does not seem possible.

    Where can a person find statistics on the number of trainees and the number of casualties during training. For example the No. 6 Prince Albert school lost 17 crew.

    Much obliged for any information.

    James K. Finley
    Sidney BC

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi James,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. I don’t have any information of why the B&GS were located where they were. Thanks for spotting the error for #5. The number 131,553 aircrew actually refers to the total number of aircrew trained by every school in the BCATP. I’ve deleted it as I don’t have the number trained at #5.

      You would probably be able to find information on #6 through the National Archives in Ottawa.

      Cheers,

      Bruce

  6. Mary Parkin

    Did anyone know Harry Reed Lewis? I am his daughter.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      HI Mary,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. We’ll see if anyone here knew your father.

      Bruce

  7. Lynda Chisholm

    Hi All,

    Does anyone recall my Mother, Grace Eileen Anderson (nee Armstrong) who was a radiologist during WWII nicknamed Red?

    Much appreciated
    Lynda

  8. Ken Marshall

    Hello Bruce, I heard your name mentioned in the video on the Saskatoon Aviation Museum site. I watched and listened to the very informative video, especially the Saskatoon section. What really caught my eye was the picture of the airmen in front of a Crane (l believe) or Anson. My father was stationed here and I am sure he is in that picture! I would really like a copy of the picture that may be a little sharper. If this is possible. My father (Robert James Marshall) was an aero engine mechanic, my mom and him lived on 32nd street not far off Ave A as it was called then. I have sent an email to the Museum regarding acquiring a life time membership and also information on Cessna Crane 7862 which was delivered to Saskatoon in 1941, therefore my father may have serviced that plane. It is restored and in the Museum in Hamilton.

    Thanks for your time,

    Ken Marshall

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