Jon Ambler, our Museum’s Program Manager & Volunteer Coordinator, chose F/Lt Ray Brewster MiD. ” F/Lt Ray Brewster MiD was a young Canadian from Victoria who joined the RAF and served as an Air Gunner. Keeping a diary while serving in the Western Desert he wrote: ‘10 January 1943. In the PM Fred and I went out and salvaged a few insignia from a pranged CR-42.’ The CR-42 was an excellent fabric-covered italian biplane, and its insignia was a roundel containing three fasces, the symbol of Fascist Italy. Ray Brewster’s diary and the insignia that he salvaged are both on display in our World War Two Aviators Gallery; the vignette is complete. ”
Tom volunteers on Thursdays; his Favourite Things are connected with two special visitors to our Museum. The first was a visit by Queen Elizabeth II. She was very interested in the Japanese Balloon Bombs because of the terror they involved. So Tom thought it would be interesting for him as well. He’s intrigued by the secrecy involved; no reports were made on our coast… Tom thinks it’s likely these were the first weapons of terror launched from one country onto another.
The second visitor was John Colwell. We have Colwell’s Diary in our Museum Gallery. Tom finds it interesting that Colwell carried the diary with him when he left. He recalls that Colwell said lots of cigarettes and chocolates were traded with the Germans for sausages. Colwell also mentioned that when they found a sled, they took time to ‘play’. Tom told me, “They were just like kids going sliding for the day.”
Randy told me, “It’s hard to pick one item or area… but I think without question it’s the volunteers and their commitment. The overall facility has more than enough interesting items and areas to keep most interested, all age groups, not only to visit but to keep coming back. The Library, the simulator, the Air Park and the Gallery, along with reasonably priced items in our gift department makes it all an enjoyable experience. For me as a volunteer without question is my fellow volunteers and the visitors which makes me want to come back and come back. I guess you could say I’m a fan of the place!”
Gary has two favourite exhibits in our Main Gallery, both associated with his Air Force career. The first is the 409 Squadron display; Gary was with this squadron for 5 years. The CF-101B was considered “one of the world’s most formidable aircraft of its type, a supersonic all-weather interceptor. Gary was part of the Witch Doctor and Medicine Man teams.
Gary finished his career with the VU33 ( Utility Air Squadron ). This squadron was formed on November 1, 1954 at Patricia Bay near Victoria, BC. The designation ‘VU’ comes from the US Navy system where ‘V’ indicates fixed wing aircraft and ‘U’ indicates utility duties. Gary told me that it was an autonomous unit, one that felt like a small family.
Gary really enjoys greeting people as they come into our Museum and spending time talking with them. He often finds that he is connected to them in some way! Come in and meet Gary on a Tuesday or a Friday!
Augustina also loves the ‘comfy chair’ in our Museum Library. She told me that the “style is unique; even though ours is an ‘old’ Museum, this chair gives us a contemporary look.”
Corrine has trouble choosing! “When Val asked me to write about my favourite thing in the museum, my first thought was which one? I can’t pick just one! There are so many things in the museum that capture my interest from mechanical pieces of the planes, to uniforms, medals, letters, and photographs. They are all different but special to me because of the stories attached to them!
Right now my favourite is a stuffed teddy bear with an amazing story. It isn’t yet on display, but will be soon. I don’t want to spoil the story but in the coming months, if you visit you will be able to see it on display in the museum.
However, my favourite thing above all are the volunteers we have here. Most of us feel like we are a second family. It doesn’t matter which day of the week we volunteer, our people are the best!”
Deb, our Gift Shop Manager, has chosen some favourite travel items this week; they make for good gifts or stocking stuffers!
The traveller on your list might need new bags. The smaller of the two makes for a good shaving kit!
Our travel mugs are very popular; we have a good variety to choose from.
We have some great travel alarm clocks and key chains as well!