Today’s chapter from the gallery is an attempt to recognize and honour the people who make our museum what it is.That of course means the men and women who sacrificed so much through conflict but also the great team that runs our museum.
Having celebrated our country’s 150th, I thought it a great time to take a quick look at some of these characters. When you come in to visit our museum, the gallery tour begins with a look at WWI and the very beginnings of our air force. We began with just one pilot and one plane in 1914 under the command of Col. Sam Hughes.
We continue through time and enter WWII; our displays begin to tell the stories of men such as Flt Ltn. Ray Brewster, MiD, born in Victoria, B.C. who flew light to medium bombers throughout the war. Another BC boy was Ltn. Robert (Hammy) Hampton.VC, DSC,MiD. ‘Hammy’ was born in Trail, BC.
One of our most loved and respected men on display is W/C James Francis (Stocky) Edwards CM,DFC&bar,MiD. He was born in Saskatchewan, but now lives in Comox. We are blessed to still have visits and he is always happy to talk to those who are eager to hear a first hand account of his story. I hope the man and this fantastic historical resource will be around for a good while longer for us to honour. I have not included their stories as I want you to come in and visit as there are many more stories to go along with these.
When you do come in for a visit, this is when you will meet the other half of this story. The men and women who make our Museum one of the best I know, are the staff and volunteers who are another great resource that should be recognized and honoured on such a weekend. Almost every one of our team has served our country at one time or another. This team is led by Capt. Barley with backup from Sgt. O’Rourke.
Our volunteers are watched over by Mr. Jon Ambler.
The rest of the team are all volunteers who put in hundreds of hours each year.
We have an excellent reference library looked after by Allison at its centre. Dan can find the most elusive photos from the past.
In our small but unique gift shop you will find Deb. Val is our secretary who also does double duty as our website administrator. Another but vital cog in the gears is Kevin who looks after our vehicle and aircraft park. Alongside these key figures you will meet an assortment of funny, intelligent men and women who keep things humming along. As mentioned before, they have their own stories for you to ask about. They encapsulate a great example of the people of our great country. They are the living history of Canada and I’m so happy to get this chance to highlight and honour these great people along with the heroes we honour in our gallery.
With the artifacts on display and the knowledge that comes from the lives of our volunteers we offer you a fulfilled adventure through exciting stories that would rival any summer blockbuster. so instead of a dark theatre this summer, come and visit us here. You will learn all about our great Canadian heroes while meeting the most down to earth, everyday heroes that here in Canada we are lucky enough to call mum, dad, or friend. I can guarantee that you will leave us having learned something, along with having made new friends.
I look forward to seeing you soon at the Comox Air Force Museum.