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MANITOBA

Canadian Forces Station Beausejour:

Opened in 1953 as Beausejour Air Force Station of the United States Air Force, with the radar functions being run by No. 916 Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron.  As a Ground-Control Intercept base, the 915th’s role was to guide interceptor aircraft toward unidentified intruders picked up on the unit’s radar scopes. These interceptors were based at Duluth, Minnesota under the 31st Air Division.

Control of the station was transferred to the RCAF 1 October 1961.   The station was re-named RCAF Station Beausejour, with the radar functions being run by No. 48 Radar Squadron.  This was part of an arrangement with the United States that came as a result of the cancellation of the Avro Arrow. Canada would lease 66 F-101 Voodoo fighters and take over operation of 12 Pinetree radar bases.

Radar operations at 48 Squadron were automated on 1 May 1963 by the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, and the station became a long-range radar site. It would no longer guide interceptors but only look for enemy aircraft, feeding data to the Grand Forks Air Defense Sector SAGE DC-11 Direction Center of the 31st NORAD Region. It was later switched to the Duluth Air Defense Sector SAGE DC-10 Direction Center of the 29th NORAD Region.

As a result of the Unification of the Forces, the station was re-named Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Beausejour in 1966.

In August 1984, the station became part of Canada West ROCC. In January 1985 the word came out that CFS Beausejour’s days were numbered. The station closed on 31 July 1986.

The former station then became the Manitoba Regional Correctional Centre, later renamed the Milner Ridge Correctional Centre. Most of the buildings and radar towers remained, with the former gatehouse converted into a staff lounge when a new gatehouse was built.


 

Canadian Forces Station Gypsumville:

Opened in 1962 as RCAF Station Gypsumville, the last of the Pinetree radar stations to become operational, with the radar functions being run by No. 47 Radar Squadron.

As with all Pinetree stations, Gypsumville was a virtual self-contained town with a fire hall, power plant, messes, a school, Canex, Gym, barracks and Permanent Married Quarters.

As a result of the Unification of the Forces, the station was re-named CFS Gypsumville in 1968.

In 1985, DND announced that the Pinetree Line would be shut down as a part of the North American Air Defence Modernization Plan. As a result, the station closed in 1987.

Very little remains of the former station, of either the domestic site on the east side of Highway 6, or the operations site on the west side. Most the roads have degraded to essentially wagon trails. The former station is now Benson’s Big Rock Camp. About a dozen new houses have been built in the PMQ area for the Lake St Martin First Nation.

A FPS 507 HF Radar remains at the entrance to the former station as a memorial to the men and women who served at RCAF/CFS Gypsumville.

Additional information supplied by MCpl Ken Anderson, Radar Tech, Gypsumville (2015).

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

46 comments

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  1. Laura

    Thank you for the information on CFS Gypsumville! I was doing some research for my Mom who was curious about the base, as she grew up in Gypsumville and spent her summers swimming at the pool at the base.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Laura,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. It’s always nice to hear from those who have a connection to the bases (in this case, through your Mom). Does your Mom have any photos of the base that she would be willing to share?

      Thanks,
      Bruce

      1. Laura

        I asked her and unfortunately she doesn’t have any photos. I’m not sure her family had a camera when she was growing up. One story she told me was that one of the officers at the base taught all the local children swimming lessons at the pool there – she was one of them. Unfortunately the officer didn’t seem to have any experience teaching children and only knew one way how to “train”. If you paused during your laps in the pool, you had to get out and do push-ups and then get back in and try again – she vividly remembers that part!

        1. Bruce Forsyth

          Hi Laura,

          That’s a pretty funny story. I too had instructor who only knew one way to “teach”. Too bad about the photos. If only cell phone cameras existed back then (ha, ha). Thank anyway.

          Bruce

  2. Heather

    Hi Bruce,

    Thank you for posting this website! I was looking for a good picture of Beausejour’s CFB to show my kids that I REALLY DID spend half of my childhood growing up in the middle of the forest with giant golf ball towers and random bears wander-ing around every so often chewing up soccer balls left on the playground. Life here was amazing. My dad built that giant wooden crest at the gate, ran the snack bar/restaraunt; I could go on forever.

    By the way, my best friends were John and Connie Forsyth; they lived next door when we were all, between 4 and 8 yrs. old. Any relation?

    I’m sure Dad has pictures around somewhere he’d be willing to share, but it would take a while to find them!
    Thank you again.
    Heather

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Heather,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. I’m glad you like it. As far as I know, I’m not related to John and Connie, but you never know.

      Bruce

  3. Ian

    Hi Bruce I lived at CFS Ghpsumville for 4 years from78-82 I really enjoyed my time there my mom was a nurse there and she met my step father who was the base admin office there . I have great memories of hanging out at the pool and hunting and fishing there , it was a great place as a kid to grow up, thanks for the website

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Ian,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. I’m glad that you enjoyed it. I’m hoping to one day make it even better. If you have any photos to share, I would love to see them.

      Bruce

    2. sarah

      we lived there as well – probably around that time too! I think we left in 1981 or 1982 to live in Trenton, ON. I was very little but my brother would’ve been around 8yo when we left. I wonder if you knew him….our last name was Dingee…somewhat an unforgettable name haha.

    3. Maurice (Moe) Beauchamp

      Hi Ian
      I am Maurice Beauchamp a Medical Assistant that was in CFS Gypsumville in 1982 to 1984.
      I am tabulating a list of CFS Gypsumville MIR Staff and would be interested if you could assist me in identifying who was working in MIR at your time
      Thanks
      Moe Beauchamp
      email: rsm9c@rogers.com

      1. Bruce Forsyth

        Hi Maurice,

        Your best bet might be to contact the National Archives in Ottawa to see if they have any nominal rolls. Otherwise, maybe someone will see this post and pass some information along.

        Bruce

  4. Ron

    We were stationed at CFS Gypsumville from 1965 to 1968.

    It was a great place to be a kid if you loved the outdoors and hunting and fishing and camping. . .

    It was also minus -40 in the winter. At the that time in history there was a lot of interest in the
    Boy Scout movement on the base.

    A good number of the airmen volunteered their time as scout leaders. We were lucky to have such a
    great group of guys running our Cubs and Scout troops. We had more than one troop !
    I would thank them all if I could ever see them again.
    We had terrific summer scout camps going camping for a week at a time at the lake.

    Once we had a big storm with near hurricane force winds pick up our big tent and blow it nearly
    a mile away from our campsite.

    Another time we went to the huge 1967 ” Centennial Rally Winnipeg ” as part of the
    Canada 100th birthday of confederation

    I have often thought how lucky we scouts were to have the Cdn Air Force backing us up.
    They bussed us out to our campsites and supported us all year long and rescued us if we ever
    got into trouble. What kid would not feel safe with that kind of support ?

    There was of course lots of organized activities for everyone both summer and winter.

    They tried one summer to show movies for the kids in the gym but whoever was picking them
    did not know anything about kids movies ! One was this depressing 1948 film about a war orphan
    called ” Boy With Green Hair ” Another was a 1963 Jackie Gleason film called ” Papa’s
    Delicate Condition ” where he plays an alcoholic father. Just awful. Where they got them from
    I never found out. Whoever chose them must have judged them by how the titles sounded
    because they sure as heck were not films for kids !

    I would like to see what is left of that base now. Not much I hear.

    Growing up on these military bases is a lot different than growing up in the city.

    You do not keep good friends very long and when you get to high school it is usually
    in the local town . It was always difficult to make friends because your classmates all grew
    up together and you are not part of the group.

    Still it is sad to see places like CFS Gypsumville disappear because they were part of
    our lives and now they are gone.

    You can’t go home again.

    I have lived on other Pinetree Line bases and they are all gone now too.

    I hope you found my words entertaining.

    Thanks for listening . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Ron,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site and for sharing your story. It is nice to hear what life was like at the Pinetree stations.

      Bruce

  5. Richard Illingworth

    Hello Bruce,

    Just found your website when I was doing some research on CFS Gypsumville. I was an LAC Communications Technician posted from Foymount, Ontario in March 1963 on the advance party, prior to the station becoming operational. I stayed there until September 1964, when I was posted to Falconbridge, Ontario. When I arrived late at night and was dropped off by the road to the main base, there wasn’t much to see, as both the Guard House and the Headquarters Building were dark and unoccupied. The only lights to be seen were in the Combined Mess and the Barracks across the road. There was a fellow sitting in the Mess Hall in civilian clothes who turned out the be the Orderly Corporal, who told me to go across to the Barracks, find an empty room and move in. He also said that I would have to make my bed. I told him that wouldn’t be a problem, as I always did that. He said I didn’t understand what he meant and that I would have to construct a bed. The various parts for the beds were in different rooms and I would have to gather them all up, put them together before I could get to sleep for the night. I was sort of a brutal way to be introduced to a new posting. I just thought you might enjoy this little story of my arrival at Gypsumville.

    Richard Illingworth,
    Nelson, B. C.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. I certainly did enjoy hearing you story of having to “make your bed”. I would have thought the Orderly Corporal just meant putting sheets on the bed too. If you have any photos from your time at Foymount or Falconbridge, I would love to see them.

      Bruce

  6. Charlie Rogers

    Was in Gyp from 63-67 as refrigeration teck and we looked after the mechanical equipment and refrigeration, I also headed up the curling rink while there. It was one of the best postings I ever had, I did a lot of trouble shooting while there at other radar bases and the CO was going to get me transferred out and then bring me back on TD so I could be home with my wife and kids, hope this gets to you.
    Charlie

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Charlie,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. If you have any photos, I would appreciate anything you have to share.

      Bruce

  7. Glenda Cruikshank Kirk (Pegler)

    My ex, Mike Pegler, worked at CFS Gypsumville (Pineimuta/Pinymootang )for 7 years, we lived off base but our daughter was born at the base hospital in 1972, the last baby to be born there. A wonderful friend of ours, Peter Madsen worked there for many years as well. Loved it there and our home by the river across from Fairford. Good times, good people, they are missed. It was home!

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Glenda,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. I’m glad that I could bring back some good memories. Make sure you check out the Pinetree Line web site if you haven’t already. It’s an archived site as the webmaster died in 2005, but it can be viewed here: http://67.69.104.76:84/Pinetreeline/homepage.html

      Bruce

      1. Glenda

        You are welcome!! it is always good to hear news from the pinetreeline. thanks for your web site!!!

    2. Nicole Casavechia

      Just reading your post and you mention your daughter was the last baby to be born at the hospital in 1972…are you saying she was your last baby or the last baby born there….because that would be false to say she was the last born there….I was born June 1973 at that hospital, I was the first one born there in a long time probably since your daughter because all expecting moms were told to go to Winnipeg when labour started, but my mom told her doctor that she would not make it there as her labours were quick, so he agreed to deliver there. Thanks for reading

      1. Glenda

        Were you military/ My daughter was the last civilian baby born there or so I was told.

        1. Nicole

          Yes my father was….so I guess we share a claim to fame 🙂

          1. Glenda

            Merry Christmas!! keep in touch eh?

  8. Tim

    Dad ran the kitchen in Beausejour back in 60’s . We lived in the lower trailer court as we called it.I I have pictures I’ll remember to post next time I visit mom.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Tim,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. If you have any photos that you wish to share, you can send them to bruce@militarybruce.com.

      Bruce

  9. Mary May (Schofield) de Jong

    Hi. I wish there were more photos of CFS Gypsumville. I was born at the base hospital in May 1967, and spent my first three years there until my dad was posted to Comox in 1970. It is, therefore, a base very dear to my heart and history. Do you know of any pictures out there of the hospital or views of the pmq’s from the ground? Thanks for this treasured link to the start of my life.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Mary,

      The best site for photos of the former Pinetree Line stations is the Pinetree Line.org web site. It shut down about 10 years ago, but you can find an archived version of it at https://web.archive.org/web/20060205125230/http://www.pinetreeline.org/locations.html.

      Bruce

  10. Albert Hui

    Hi there,

    I went to school at St John’s Ravenscourt in Winnipeg back in the early 70′ , my roommate was from Gypumville, his father was stationed there. We have lost contact since we left school. I have spent two Christmas at the base and it was wonderful but super cold. I’m just wondering whether I can locate their where about. I have tried the school but with no success. Any information will be appreciated. His last name is Fletcher. His name is Garth, the son . The year was 1971 and 72.

    Thank you in advance
    Albert Hui

  11. Chad elledge

    Thank you..my father was an american citizen with a/an working visa..anyways after his stint in the air force he met and married a canadian citizen..long story short ..at the time i was up there. ..81-82 plus some months…i and my brother attended school on the base…k – 12 th one bldg. Graduating class was 12 ..my ol man was doing ” electronics” for the base.( never did really know what cookie jars his hands were in)… But it was beautiful. And cold. I remember it warming to -40 in. Jan and feb…now that im thinkin on it my father did a series of three paintings for my friends mom .she was canadian military..his name was steven kidd..anyways ..at times i miss seeing the black bears on way to school up i. The great white north. .chad elledge..san angelo tx. U.S.A…
    Think im like 36 hrs south of there now..

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Chad,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site and for sharing your story.

      Bruce

  12. Terry Kruk

    My dad Harry Kruk built that base and tore it down. It is nice to see pictures of the base again, brings back fond memories.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Terry,

      Thanks for telling me about your dad’s involvement with Gypsumville. If you have any photos that you want to share, please send them to bruce@militarybruce.com.

      Bruce

    2. Perry

      Hi bruce, thanks for your info. Do you or Terry Kruk know anything about underground bunkers or tunnels in the gypsumville area. there is a lot of talk about that in northern Manitoba.
      Perry

      1. Bruce Forsyth

        Hi Perry,

        I haven’t heard any such thing.

        Bruce

  13. cgoodale

    Reading the history is interesting. Am wondering if you would know about a former colleague in the RCAF by name of Ken Anderson who was radar stationed in Clinton, Ontario

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      I don’t know Ken but maybe someone reading this will know him.

  14. Brian Henry

    Hi Bruce, I stumbled on your site by chance, checking what there was on the web for RCAF Beausejour.

    I was part of the RCAF technical staff that took over from the USAF in the early 1960s, responsible for the remote Tx and Rx sites. I found it interesting that we manned the site with fewer technicians than the original US staff where a technician would specialise on a single piece of equipment while the RCAF personnel were trained on many within the same technical grouping.

    Except for occasional duty cycles that called for 24 hour attendance, I lived in Winnipeg and made the daily commute of over 100 mile round trip. The last section of dirt road from the highway and out to the camp was the worst, especially in the winter.

    Keep up the good work and best regards,

    Brian.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Brian,

      I’m glad that you like the web site. If you have any photos that you wish to share, you can send them to bruce@militarybruce.com.

      Bruce

  15. Les. Cable

    I am contacting you from Weymouth in England. I have found your website because , as a life long collector of military insignia and now 87, found a cloth badge yesterday in a local market.that was unknown to me.
    The word “Gypsumville” and the motto “Vigilant in Defence” below meant nothing to me. Having found your site via Google the badge makes sense. One wonders how it finished up at a flea market over here. Kind regards, Les.Cable.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Les,

      It certainly made a long journey. For an even better web site about the former Pinetree Line, go to https://web.archive.org/web/20060205125230/http://www.pinetreeline.org/locations.html.

      You wouldn’t happen to have a spare pair of Royal Canadian Navy aviator wings in your collection? I not a big collector myself, but I would like RCN wings. They’re quite rare.

      Bruce

      1. Les. Cable

        Greetings Bruce, Nice to hear from you and thank you for replying. I’m very sorry , I have over 500 Canadian Army badges dating from WW 2 but no Naval items. If I ever come across a pair of the Pilots Wings I will certainly remember you. I see by your photo you are an ex-serviceman. Good on you. My brother and I both joined the British Army, he in 1943 and me, as a boy soldier, in 1945. He went on to join the Canadian Army in 1953 and now lives in Kelowna B.C. and I did 20 years with the Rhodesian Army. Happy Days. May I take this opportunity to wish you a Very Merry Xmas. Best Wishes, Les.

        1. Bruce Forsyth

          Hi Les,

          Sorry for the late reply. Thanks for the comments and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too.

          Bruce

  16. JOE SULLIVAN

    I was stationed at the 916th AC@W Sq. from Oct 3 1958 to Sep 30 1959 U S A F boxfile
    considered a good remote assignment

    fresno california

  17. Lacey Gould

    Hi im looking for someone by the name of claude lebel ots my husbands father hasent seen him in 25 years any way you can help

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Lacy,

      If his regiment still exists, you could try contacting them or you might try the Royal Canadian Legion. Have you tried checking Facebook (some seniors do have Facebook accounts) or just Google his name. It might be a futile task, but it’s worth a try. Good luck with your search.

      Bruce

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