REST IN PEACE, AL WILSON…

REST IN PEACE, AL WILSON…

  A wonderful supporter of our website has passed away.  Al Wilson, the cartoonist who, along with his wife, Carol, generously gave us permission to share the collection with all of you has passed away.  We know that they regularly checked out each month’s edition…         “Al served 35 years in the RCAF as Armament Systems Technician and Technician Armament.  He was a cartoonist for the military newspapers and Shelburne Coast Guard for many years.  He was awarded the Order of Military Merit and recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and his 50 year pin from the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 148 Clark’s Harbour.  Al dedicated much time and expertise to the Remembrance Day Services and to visiting schools during Remembrance Day week.  Al volunteered in many organizations in his community including being Justice of the Peace for 5 years.” Online condolences may be sent to huskilson@ns.aliantzinc.ca or you may sign the guest book at www.huskilson.net. We will continue to honour Al’s work each...
COMOX AIR FORCE MUSEUM A HIGHLIGHT AT THE CUMBERLAND HERITAGE FAIRE

COMOX AIR FORCE MUSEUM A HIGHLIGHT AT THE CUMBERLAND HERITAGE FAIRE

This past Saturday, our Museum participated in the annual Cumberland Heritage Faire.  This has been a tradition for us, and this year our booth highlighted the Snowbirds.     Jon, our Volunteer Coordinator and Programme Manager appreciated all the volunteer who contributed to the presence of our booth, ” This year`s event was a success, great thanks go to Mel Birnie who selected and put aside all the display pieces for our Snowbirds Display. Thanks again to Gary Wiffen, Len Phillips and Mike Owen, who created and manned the fort! We would have had nothing without your help! ”...
BLACK CANADIANS IN OUR MILITARY HISTORY ~ PRE-CONFEDERATION

BLACK CANADIANS IN OUR MILITARY HISTORY ~ PRE-CONFEDERATION

The tradition of military service by Black Canadians has a history that goes back to times before Confederation. Many Black Canadian have roots to Loyalists who came north in the 1780s following the American Revolution; American slaves were offered freedom and land should they agree to fight in the British cause and thousands took the opportunity to build their new lives in British North America. Some soldiers saw action in the War of 1812, helping to defend Upper Canada against American attacks.  A number of volunteers were organized into the “Company of Coloured Men”; this played an important role in the Battle of Queenston Heights.  Black militia members also fought in many other significant battles during the war, helping to drive back the American forces. During the Upper Canada Rebellion, ( 1837 – 1839 ) approximately 1000 Black militia men fought to help put down the uprising, taking part in some of the most important incidents.   Black volunteers served with British forces far from home, including the Royal Navy.  In fact, William Hall earned the Victoria Cross for his bravery in India in 1857.  Hall, who served on the British Royal Navy Ship HMS (Her Majesty’s Ship) Shannon, was the first black person - and the first Nova Scotian - to receive the Victoria Cross, the British Empire’s highest award for military valour. In 1857, Hall, was sent with a brigade of soldiers to Lucknow, India, to relieve the besieged British garrison that was fighting a rebellion there.  As a member of one of four gun crews, Hall was attempting to help break through the walls of an important...
MARY ELLIS ~ WWII PILOT

MARY ELLIS ~ WWII PILOT

  “Tearing through the skies above the south coast of England, two WWII Spitfires evoke powerful memories of Britain’s wartime resilience.  But this stirring image holds a further poignancy, for in the cockpit of the lead aircraft sits Mary Ellis, celebrating her 100th birthday by recreating her time as one of the A.T.A. Girls, the select gang of female pilots who flew Britain’s fighter aircraft to wherever they were needed to support the Royal Air Force.  Over her shoulder is one of the actual Spitfires she flew during her amazing 1000 aircraft deliveries as a First Officer in the Air Transport Auxiliary.”   For four years, Mary ferried warplanes from factory to frontline squadrons.  The 166 women of the A.T.A. have been dubbed “The Female Few”, echoing Winston Churchill’s description of the RAF airmen who fought and died during the Battle of Britain. Mary was usually at the controls of a Spitfire or Hurricane but eventually flew over 50 different types of aircraft, much to the astonishment of her many colleagues.  The largest aircraft that she flew was the Wellington bomber and the mighty Lancaster.  It also became quite dangerous work as the A.T.A. girls were often required to move combat damaged planes that were not officially fit to fly, but had to be repaired for further active service.  Mary remembers on her very first Spitfire pickup and delivery, a factory mechanic asked her how many of these had she flown.  She replied, “I haven’t, this is my first.”   Mary, originally from Oxford, had her first flying lesson in 1938 and flew for pleasure until 1941 when she...
CULTURAL ICON HAS PASSED AWAY

CULTURAL ICON HAS PASSED AWAY

  Identified as the inspiration for Rosie the Riveter, iconic female WWII factory worker, Naomi Parker Fraley, died in January of this year.  Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, she went to work at the Naval Air Station in Alameda, California, after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  She was one of the first women to do war work there.         “Rosie the Riveter” represented all women who worked in the factories and shipyards during the Second World War; many produced munitions and war supplies.  At times these women took entirely new jobs, replacing male workers who joined the military.  “Rosie the Riveter” became a symbol of American feminism and women’s economic power (“World Politics in the Twenty-first Century Brief”). Images of female workers soon appeared on government posters; commercial advertising was used by the government to encourage women to volunteer for wartime service in factories.  “Rosie the Riveter” even became the subject and title of a song and a Hollywood movie during WWII.  Clearly the working woman dominated the public image! Our Gift Shop has carried the “Rosie the Riveter” bags for some time now, and has recently ordered in a new...