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NEW BRUNSWICK

Canadian Forces Base Chatham – St Margaret’s Detachment:

Opened in 1952 as RCAF Station St Margaret’s, the home of No. 2 Aircraft Control & Warning Unit (AC&W), which replaced the disbanded 2 ADCC from RCAF Station Chatham.

In 1953, RCAF Station St Margaret’s became part of the newly formed Pinetree Line, a network of radar stations established as an early warning detection system against a Soviet air attack.

In August 1957, the James Park School opened at the station, named in honour of Air Vice-Marshal Arthur James.   Similarly, the station post office was also named the James Park Post Office in 1966, two years after the death of A/V/M James.

As a result of the Unification, St. Margaret’s became a Detachment of CFB Chatham.

In 1974, Detachment St. Margarets became a Satellite Identification Tracking Unit (SITU), a part of Air Defence Command, which became Air Command later that year.  The SITU collected and analyzed satellite tracing and optical date and transmitted the information to the NORAD Space Tracking Wing in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

St. Margarets functioned as the controller site for the 22nd NORAD Region until August 1984 with St. Margarets incorporated into Canada East as a part of the consolidated Regional Operational Control Centre (ROCC) for the realigned Canadian NORAD Region based at CFB North Bay. St. Margarets then reverted to being just a long range radar site.

In 1985, DND announced that the Pinetree Line would be shut down as a part of the North American Air Defence Modernization Plan. Radar equipment at many Canadian Forces Stations was replaced with a new automated system. As a result, CF Detachment St. Margaret’s closed on 31 August 1988.

21 AC&W Squadron re-located to 22 Wing North Bay on 6 October 1988 and was re-designated as 21 Aerospace Control & Warning Squadron.

Today the facility has been renamed to James Park in honour of Air Vice-Marshal Arthur Lorne James. James Park is operated by a local development authority which has sold or rented many of the residential units. Most of the military buildings have been demolished.

The station’s former receiver site located on Route 11 between Chatham and St. Margaret’s still exists, but the small brick building that housed the radio equipment is to be demolished. The Transmitter site was demolished many years ago.

Additional Source Material: DND press release from May 1989 & information supplied by Sherman Fisher, local resident involved in the construction of RCAF Station Chatham and RCAF Station St. Margaret’s (2001).

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/abandoned-canadian-military-bases/pinetree-line/new-brunswick/

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