JOIN US AT THE CUMBERLAND HERITAGE FAIRE FOR AN EJECTION SEAT EXPERIENCE!

The 13th annual Cumberland Heritage Faire takes place this coming weekend, Saturday, February 18th.  The Comox Air Force Museum will offer visitors the “Ejection Seat Experience”.  Along with our ejection seat, we will have helmets, life jacket, and a parachute harness for a great photo opportunity.  Along with a placard that explains the experience, we will have videos of actual ejections. Special thanks to Len, Mike, Jed, Gary, and Rodney for their participation!  We hope you’ll come out and meet...
SNOWED IN?  CHECK OUT THESE POPULAR POSTS ON OUR WEBSITE!

SNOWED IN? CHECK OUT THESE POPULAR POSTS ON OUR WEBSITE!

Are you snowed in like we are at the Museum?  Why not have a closer look at some of our most popular posts?  Click on the blue print to link up with the posts themselves.  When you discover one that is especially meaningful to you, comment on it, telling us why you like it!  And while you’re here? Like and share this!  And then ? Sign up to have our posts delivered right to your inbox on the day they’re posted! First up, the first in a new series for us, Introducing Al Wilson, Cartoonist.  He worked at the Totem Times for part of his career, and his cartoons are enjoyed by many of our readers!  We publish two of his cartoons each month.       Next, From Our Main Gallery - Japanese Paper Balloon Bombs.  This was written by one of our volunteers, Gary, who works in the Gift Shop on Tuesday mornings.  Gary loves to be at the Museum and is writing a series of “From Our Main Gallery” pieces for us.  Another popular one he wrote is about medals.  We received some good responses to this one as it helped folks identify some medals they had!  Thanks for all your work, Gary!     Our readers love to learn about what’s going on in the Heritage Air Park and the work our volunteers are doing in Hangar 268, located there.  The progress made on the Dakota Maintenance was a hit!  And Keith did an amazing job organizing the aircraft technical maintenance manuals, work appreciated by base personnel as well.           The...
DAKOTA MAINTENANCE ~ AND THE WORK GOES ON…

DAKOTA MAINTENANCE ~ AND THE WORK GOES ON…

Trying to look after museum aircraft that are decades old presents many problems.  Lack of money, time and volunteers must balance with the needs of aircraft on display that in some cases were built in the 1930s and the 1950s and parts are almost impossible to source.  Being kept outdoors in the Comox valley means being hit with high winter winds and rains, occasional snow, and in summer high UV (ultra violet rays) attacking the finish. Safety of visitors viewing the aircraft is always first and foremost.  If it isn’t safe then it must be made safe or removed from public access.  After safety we has set a goal of what we call a “20 foot” view.  That is to say from 20 or more feet it must look acceptable and represent the aircraft as close as we can to how it looked when it was still flying in the RCAF.  That keeps the ability of the volunteers to look after them realistic.  To try and make them more accurate would be beyond our ability in most cases. An example of what we do is the controls on our Dakota (Dak).  Originally covered in fabric, which doesn’t last long out of doors in Comox.  We decided that as some Dak aircraft had metal coverings instead of fabric on the rudder, elevator and ailerons we would replace the failing fabric of our Dak with metal.  This would last the life of the aircraft needing only paint every few years instead of fabric and dope (a type of paint for fabric) every 3 or 4 years.  Here is the process in...
PARAGON  PATRIOTIC CHINA “A BIT OF HISTORY IN A TEACUP”

PARAGON PATRIOTIC CHINA “A BIT OF HISTORY IN A TEACUP”

Something From Our Archives Paragon Patriotic Series China “ A Bit of History in a Tea Cup ” In the early stages of WW2 Britain began to feel the grip of greater austerity as they attempted to save resources for the War Effort. Even the manufacture of chinaware was affected with only a small amount of plain white pieces produced for domestic use. The Paragon China Company had been manufacturing commemorative china “by appointment to Queen Mary” since 1933 and “Queen Elizabeth” since 1938. Paragon asked, and was granted, permission to manufacture colourful china pieces for export to the North American and Commonwealth markets. One would not normally associate chinaware within the realm of military collecting or patriotism but some of the patterns and themes of these pieces are worth a look as they depict the resolve of the British and their Allies during the struggle that was World War Two. The donation of a cup and saucer for our War On The Home Front exhibit, emblazoned with the pilot wings and Ensign of the R.C.A.F  led us to look a bit further into the Series and the Paragon China Company. The greatest number of these pieces of the Paragon Patriotic China that are offered today for sale and auction are to be found in Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand. It likely that most of these pieces were sent there by servicemen in England to loved ones at home. No production numbers exist and there is no record of the pattern and types of pieces produced. Occasionally a new piece will appear in an online auction identified...
NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ PEARL HARBOR ~ 75th ANNIVERSARY

NOW IN OUR LIBRARY ~ PEARL HARBOR ~ 75th ANNIVERSARY

December 7th marks the 75th Anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.   One of our volunteers, Geoff, is keenly interested in the history surrounding this and has written this post.         Why Pearl Harbor?  At the dawn of the 20th century, Japan had emerged as the dominant industrial and military power in the western Pacific, and had already been victorious against the Chinese (First Sino-Japanese War, 1894-95) and the Russians at Tsushima in 1905. Japan had very few natural resources and the raw materials, that are necessary for an industrial power, had to be imported.  Displacing China as the dominant force in Korea in the 1890s assured her of a supply of coal and iron.  But oil and gas were imported from the U.S. Japan aspired to be a colonial power similar to some of the European countries, and began to see S.E. Asia as the resource-rich area that would satisfy the needs of an ambitious, but resource-poor country.  Oil and gas and other raw materials were plentiful but were controlled by European powers.  That the acquisition, or colonization, of these Asian countries would eventually lead to war was a risk that Japan was willing to take. Japan wanted to institute “The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere”.  This would be a co-operative of most of the eastern Asian countries under the supervision and control of Japan.  Military action had to be part of the Master Plan. The army assumed the leadership of the country during The Great Depression.  The armed forces grew and in 1931, the army overran Manchuria.  The Japanese military had invested in...
ALONG WITH THE LETTERS HOME ~ SWEETHEART JEWELRY

ALONG WITH THE LETTERS HOME ~ SWEETHEART JEWELRY

For the military during WWI and WWII, exchanging letters and mementos kept them connected with home; this strengthened relationships while time and distance separated families.  Many of the sentimental items sent home by servicemen have been referred to as sweetheart jewelry. Starting in WWI, young men began the tradition of sending the jewelry home; this custom grew even more popular during WWII.  Some of it was handcrafted in the trenches but much of it was machine-made and sold to soldiers, who then sent it back home.  During World War II, most precious metals were rationed and used to build weapons, tanks, ships, airplanes, and other machinery needed for the Allies’ campaign.  As a result, most of the sweetheart items from this time were made from non-precious or semi-precious materials such as Bakelite, celluloid, wood, mother-of-pearl, shell, ivory, rhinestones, enamel, and cheap, readily available wire.  Though “sweetheart” is the word used to describe the jewelry, not all of it was given to actual sweethearts; indeed it was also given to mothers, sisters, and wives.  (Pieces meant for moms often have the word “mother” incorporated into the designs). Sweetheart Pins are meant to be worn on a coat lapel or “discreetly” on a dress.  Some are brooches ~           Some are enamelled, like these maple leaf pins ~       Others have the maple leaf as an integral part of the design ~           Of course, wings indicating the Air Force were the centrepiece ~           Lockets were made ~   Sometimes the sweetheart jewelry came in sets ~  ...

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