WELCOME TO OUR MUSEUM LIBRARY!

WELCOME TO OUR MUSEUM LIBRARY!

Have you had the good fortune to spend time in our Museum Library?  It has quite the history: “The Air Force Indoctrination School (AFIS) opened at CFB Comox in 1982 to give CanadianForces (CF) officers and non-commissioned members serving their first tour on an air base a sound introduction to air force operations, history and heritage. Being a school, particularly in the time before the Internet, a library was a ne- cessity to provide students with appropriate reference material. When AFIS moved to Building 11 in 1986, the Library, still small, was located upstairs in the student lounge. The Comox Air Force Museum (CAFM), founded in 1982 as a small collection of artefacts in Building 22, also moved to Building 11 in 1986, developed greatly and was accredited as a CF Museum in September 1987. In October 1994, CAFM acquired a large collection of over 2500 books, thousands of photographs, hundreds of periodicals, dozens of aircraft models and many military artefacts from the estate of the late Geoffrey Rowe of Victoria. This magnificent gift became known as the Geoffrey Rowe Collection – the donation was recognized by the official naming of the room as the Geoffrey Rowe Memorial Library in June 1995. When AFIS closed in 1996, the library material not transferred to Winnipeg, and all of the Geoffrey Rowe Collection, became part of CAFM. The Library moved to its current location on the north side of the ground floor of Building 11 in October 2003 after the Totem Times, the 19 Wing newspaper, moved elsewhere. The Library is the “information arm” of the Museum. The book collection now...
HERITAGE AIR PARK CLOSES FOR THE WINTER SEASON

HERITAGE AIR PARK CLOSES FOR THE WINTER SEASON

Our Heritage Air Park will close for the winter season, effective Wednesday, November 15th.  The Heritage Stones will be covered in their “winter blankets” at this time as well; if you have any questions about the stones, please visit the Museum for help. Also available in the Museum’s Library are two photo albums showing the aircraft and vehicles that belong to our Museum; please come in for a look to learn more about them!...
“NURSE VIOLET”

“NURSE VIOLET”

  In 1995, a woman donated a Queen Alexandra Nursing Sister’s uniform, medical equipment, medals, badges, autograph book, photographs, and a 1930s era obstetrical nursing book.  The donor didn’t have much information, explaining that they were given to her family when she was a child, by a woman guest in their Black Creek home.  the uniform and artifact had been used by the family’s children as costumes.  The donations are now incorporated into our WWI Nursing Sister display.       One of our former volunteers, Corrine, explains the process of updating the display and the discoveries made during that time ~ “The process of updating the display with a new state of the art “personnequin” with realistic features and posable hands, tweaked our curiosity about the items used to dress our nurse.  With the help of Allison Hetman, Mel Birnie, Brian O’Cain, and Robert Lesage, we did some detective work and came up with some basic facts that raise yet more questions.   Informally known as Nurse Violet, the original owner of the uniform and artifact was a woman named Jean McPherson, born in Orangeville, Ontario on July 5th, 1886.  Jean’s records contained no information on her parents, so it proved difficult to find any relatives.  Military documents indicated that she had her medical for the Canadian Medical Service on September 8th, 1916, and her unit at that time was listed as the Queen Alexandra Imperial Nursing Service (QAIMS).  She sailed from Montreal on the SS Scandinavian on October 12, 1916 but no destination was listed.  Entries in her diary suggest that she was in France in 1916,...
“WAR BIRDS” ~ PIGEONS AT WAR

“WAR BIRDS” ~ PIGEONS AT WAR

Seventy years ago a carrier pigeon performed the act of “heroism” that saw it awarded the animal’s equivalent of the the highest award, the Victoria Cross – the Dickin Medal. It was the first of dozens of animals honoured by the veterinary charity P.D.S.A during WW2. On 23 February  1942, a badly damaged RAF bomber ditched into the cold North Sea. The crew were returning from a mission over Norway, but their Beaufort Bomber had been hit several times and crashed into the sea more than 100 miles from home. Struggling in freezing waters – unable to radio an accurate position back to base – the men faced a cold and lonely death. But as the aircraft sank, the crew had managed to salvage their secret weapon – a carrier pigeon.  The blue chequered hen named Winkie, was set free in the hope it could fly home to its base near Dundee in Scotland, and so alert the airbase colleagues to their predicament. During World War 2, carrier pigeons were routinely carried by RAF bombers for this very real danger, though in an era prior to GPS and Satellite Beacons, rescue was far from certain. But Winkie did make it home, after flying 120 miles, and was discovered, exhausted and covered in oil from taking rests at sea. The pigeon did not carry any message, but the RAF were able to determine the probable location of the downed aircraft. A rescue mission was launched and in a short time the crew were located and they were recovered by the Air Sea Rescue Service.     Winkie became the toast of the base. A year later the Dickin Medal...
THE EVOLUTION OF OUR NEW DISPLAY AREA

THE EVOLUTION OF OUR NEW DISPLAY AREA

On September 12th, our Museum celebrated its 30th Anniversary, and on that day, unveiled our new hallway display area.   This major addition to our Museum took considerable time to bring to fruition.  It began with a vision of what might be… it began with the Museum’s Director and Programme Manager conferring with volunteers to share ideas… it began with… a hallway filled with storage cabinets… and then with the help of a team of volunteers, bit by bit, it came together…                                  ...
FROM THE GALLERY- DID YOU KNOW THE AIR FORCE HAD A NAVY?

FROM THE GALLERY- DID YOU KNOW THE AIR FORCE HAD A NAVY?

This surprising and interesting story begins in 1929, when the then very young RCAF approached the Dept. of Oceans and Fisheries for advice on the type and size of boats the air force required at the time. The air force requirement was for a vessel capable of carrying people, stores and towing in all weather. They needed the towing capability because at the time the air force operated seaplanes. Not much was done at this time other than a committee was set up to study the problem! It took another  two years before any boats or crews were brought into the force. This happened in Trenton, Ont., where two powered dinghies and two 37′ seaplane tenders were introduced. These were followed by the first armored target towing tugs used by the RCAF. Meanwhile, #4 (flying boat) Squadron, stationed in Vancouver, BC, acquired a collection of craft which by 1937, consisted of three a/c tenders, one scow and three outboards. By the end of 1939, just at the start of the Second World War, the RCAF was the proud owner of 75 vessels, although 25 of these were row boats! The RCAF only had four high speed rescue craft, two of which were docked in Vancouver and Prince Rupert; the other two were in Nova Scotia.     Four years earlier, the RCMP had agreed that in an emergency it would transfer its marine assets to the RCN. In 1938, this policy was modified to say that both aircraft and boats be transferred to the RCAF. Although considered inferior to the boats on order, the air force did accept nine...

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