Comox Air Force Museum


  • Christmas Closure
    Date: December 6, 2015 Category: News & Events
    Holiday time at the Comox Air Force Museum means our annual closure. This year we will be closed from December 20 to January 2, 2016. Until then our regular hours apply.  
  • Heritage Stone Dedication Ceremony
    Date: September 9, 2015 Category: Member Info, News & Events
    The Comox Valley Air Force Museum Association  Cordially invites you to the Heritage Stone Dedication Ceremony When:                          Sunday, 20 September 2015 Time:                           2 P.M.   Please be seated by 1:45 Where:                        Protestant Chapel across the road from Heritage Air Park Suggested Dress:      Business Casual Guest of Honour:        Colonel Tom Dunne, Commander 19 Wing Comox, or his delegate The 2015 ceremony will follow the Battle of Britain Parade. The Master of Ceremonies will read out the name on each stone. Reception to follow in the Comox Air Force Museum. RSVP:                         by 14 September 2015 Museum:               (250) 339-8162 E-mail:                Canada Post:                CVAFMA Building 11, 19 Wing Comox PO Box 1000, Station Main Lazo, BC, V0R 2K0 Please let us know how many people will be with you. Participants are requested to bring an umbrella in case of inclement weather. If you are unable to attend, we will be pleased to send you a photograph of your Heritage Stone.
    Date: September 22, 2017 Category: Aircraft, News & Events, Posts
    Tyko is back with more information about the RCAF Aerobatic Teams:   Sky Lancers The Sky Lancers were another European-based team. They were based at the 2 (F) Wing, RCAF Station Grostenquin, France and flew the Canadair F-86 Sabre. The team was started in 1955 and performed 20 shows in the 1955 season. Unfortunately, a tragic accident occurred on 2 March 1956 in which 4 of the five pilots were killed in a flight manoeuvre. Consequently the RCAF banned aerial demonstration teams for several years.     Fireballs The Fireballs were a Europe-based RCAF team from 1954 to 1956. The team operated all-red Canadair F-86 Sabres and participated in various shows across Europe. There all-red paint scheme did not last long, as a superior officer decided to take away the scheme due to the fact that people might mistake the team for communists.    
    Date: September 20, 2017 Category: CAFM Heritage Stones, Heritage Air Park, News & Events, Posts
    The final Heritage Stones Dedication Ceremony took place on Sunday, September 17th, Battle of Britain Sunday. After eleven years, the last heritagel stones were installed and then dedicated.  Well over 75 guests attend the ceremony and then came to the Museum Library for coffee and cake.   [caption id="attachment_9444" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Our Museum Librarian, Allison Hetman, wearing her Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal[/caption]     [caption id="attachment_9442" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Jon Ambler and Mel Birnie cut the cake.[/caption]   All of our heritage stones can be seen when visiting the Heritage Air Park.  
    Date: September 19, 2017 Category: Aircraft, Links, News & Events, Posts
    Though Battle of Britain Sunday is behind us, we thought you might enjoy the following article, "At the Going Down of the Sun" in Vintage Wings of Canada.  In it, you'll find photos of the Spitfire that began its return to life here at our Museum.
    Date: September 17, 2017 Category: Aircraft, News & Events, Posts
      [caption id="attachment_9356" align="alignleft" width="204"] F/O OTTO "JOHN" PETERSON[/caption] F/O Peterson was born on March 14, 1914 in Eckville, Alberta.  He attended Lloydminster High School, University of Saskatchewan, and the University of Manitoba, prior to joining the RCAF in 1938.  Before going overseas last June he served at an east coast Canadian air station. Peterson was attached to Canada's No. 1 fighter squadron of the RCAF when it arrived in the United Kingdom on June 20, 1940.     Our Museum has a copy of the combat report written on September 9, 1940.  At the time, he was flying  S.E. of Guilford.  The enemy was flying an ME.109 at a height of 18,000 feet.  Peterson recorded, "I was Green 2 and was the second section in line astern and climbing.  Suddenly the Squadron Leader did a sharp break away to the left, green section followed.  I saw two ME.109s apparently diving on the Squadron Leader.  Green 1 attacked one of them and I immediately swung on the other's tail and opened fire at about 250 yards closing to about 75 yards.  Suddenly I saw bits flying off the e/a and then it began to smoke flames pouring out the belly, the aircraft just disintegrated.  I immediately began my break away but ran into some loose part of the e/a, breaking my wind screen the pieces of glass and perspex cutting my face and obscuring my vision.  My propeller was also hit by pieces of e/a and broke 8 inches of Read more...
    Date: September 15, 2017 Category: Aircraft, News & Events, Posts
    [caption id="attachment_9346" align="alignleft" width="199"] Portrait of McGregor (Battle of Britain London Monument)[/caption]   Gordon McGregor was born in Montreal on September 26, 1901.  Educated at St. Andrews College and McGill University, McGregor was the winner of the 1935, 1936, and 1938 Webster Trophy award, presented to non-professional airmen and awarded for airmanship and navigation. He was commissioned in October 1938, at the time serving with RCAF 115 Squadron.  At the outbreak of war, pilots of his squadron, along with those from No. 1 Squadron, formed No. 1 (RCAF) Squadron.  McGregor was a Flight Commander with this squadron when it arrived in Britain June 20, 1940.   Following a number of successes, he was awarded the DFC (gazetted on October 25, 1940).  He commanded the squadron during November and December of that year, and in January 1941, he was given command of 2 (RCAF) Squadron at Digby (renumbered 402 Squadron March 1st).  In April, McGregor was promoted to lead the Canadian Wing at Digby.  He returned briefly to Canada but was back in London by fall.  He was appointed Director of Air Staff at HQ RCAF London on December 5th and was there until mid-April, 1942, when he once again returned to Canada. McGregor formed and commanded a Wing to give air support to Americans in Alaska.  In January 1943, he was made an OBE (Order of the British Empire).  He took command of Patricia Bay at the beginning of April, where its squadrons served on defence of the west coast Read more...
    Date: September 13, 2017 Category: Aircraft, News & Events, Posts
    HENRY BIRKLAND RCAF SPITFIRE PILOT WW2   [caption id="attachment_9296" align="alignleft" width="184"] HENRY BIRKLAND (source unknown)[/caption]   Henry Birkland was born 16 August 1917 in Caldwell, Manitoba. Birkland was educated in Calgary, Alberta and worked for the Burns Co. Birkland enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in July 1940 as an aircrew candidate. Following his basic training, he was promoted to leading aircraftman and was then posted to elementary flying school RCAF. He graduated in January 1941 and was transferred to No.9 Service Flight Training School. Now as a qualified pilot, he was promoted on April 1941 and was commissioned as a Pilot Officer. Shortly after, he sailed for England to fly operationally with the Royal Air Force Fighter Command. After six weeks of operational training, Birkland joined No.122 RAF Fighter Command and assigned to Spitfire aircraft. He was later transferred to No. 72 Squadron RAF where he continued to fly Spitfires.   On the afternoon of 7 November 1941, he was on a mission over occupied Europe when he was shot down. After bailing out, he was captured becoming a prisoner of war. Following German interrogation he was sent to Stalag Luft 1, and later to Stalag Luft 3 which was near Sagan, now in Poland. The Great Escape For the Great Escape operation, Birkland, who was at one time a gold miner, became one of the leading and most energetic of the many many prisoners who were involved in the tunnelling of the three tunnels: Tom, Dick and Harry. The Plan The escape plan, Read more...
    Date: September 11, 2017 Category: Community Outreach, Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    A reminder that our Museum will be closed to the public tomorrow, September 12th as we celebrate our 30th Anniversary.
    Date: September 11, 2017 Category: Aircraft, News & Events, Posts
    GROUP CAPTAIN JOHN “JOHNNY” KENT, R.A.F DFC & BAR AFM VIRTUTI MILITAI   [caption id="attachment_9289" align="alignleft" width="190"] KENT POSING IN FRONT OF A HURRICANE, OCTOBER 1940 (source unknown)[/caption]   Group Captain Johnny Kent was a Canadian Air Ace flying with the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Considered to be one of the best squadron leaders of the war, he went on to a distinguished career in aviation. Born in Winnipeg Manitoba, where he obtained his flying license at age 17. He went on to being one of Canada's first commercial pilots at age 19. He left Canada in 1935 and enlisted in the RAF; he was posted to #5 Flying School, before joining #19 Squadron at RAF Duxford where he was moved on to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough and with his research work, deliberately made over 300 airborne collisions with barrage balloons to test them before production.     In May 1940, Kent was posted to Photographic Reconnaissance flying an unarmed Supermarine Spitfire in France. During the last of the Battle of France, while on a low level sortie with an armed Spitfire, he was attacked by an ME109 that crashed during this encounter. On 2 August 1940, now a Flight Commander, Kent joined the now famous #303 Polish Squadron at RAF Northolt where he remained throughout the Battle of Britain. During this period he was awarded his first DFC. In October 1940 he was again re-posted, this time to RAF Biggin Hill to take command of another highly successful group Read more...
    Date: September 10, 2017 Category: Aircraft, Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    This year marks the 77th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. What exactly was it? The name of the battle was actually coined by Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain at the time. After Germany had overrun France, Churchill said, “The Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin.” The Battle of Britain, an important battle in World War II, was a struggle between the German Luftwaffe (commanded by Hermann Goering ) and the British Air Force (headed by Hugh Dowding’s Fighter Command). After Germany and Hitler had conquered most of Europe, including France, the only major country left to fight them was Great Britain. Germany wanted to invade Great Britain, but first they needed to destroy Britain’s Royal Air Force. July 10, 1940, is the day fixed as the beginning of the Battle of Britain. Although there was fierce fighting leading up to that date, “the engagements on that day were of such scope and scale that this was the date chosen for historical purposes. The day was marked by an attack on a British shipping convoy as it entered the Channel near Dover. The attacking force, a large force of Dornier 17 bombers escorted by several fighter squadrons, was opposed by British fighters. As each side was reinforced, a huge dogfight of over 100 airplanes – the largest engagement between two nations up until that time – was joined.” ( Battle of Britain Illustrated )   [caption id="attachment_9376" align="aligncenter" width="220"] Heinkel Read more...
    Date: September 8, 2017 Category: Aircraft, News & Events, Posts
    The Battle of Britain conflict took place between July and October of 1940.  It was the first major military campaign in history to be fought entirely in the air.   [caption id="attachment_9384" align="alignleft" width="300"] AN OBSERVER CORPS SPOTTER SCANS THE SKIES OF LONDON[/caption]   On July 10th, 120 German bombers and fighters struck a British shipping convoy in the English Channel, while 70 more bombers attacked dockyards in South Wales.  Although Britain had fewer fighters than the Germans, it did have an effective radar system, which made the prospects of a sneak attack unlikely.       But in the opening days of the Battle, Britain needed determination and aluminum.  The government asked for all available aluminum. "We will turn your pots and pans into Spitfires and Hurricanes," the Ministry of Aircraft Production said. The Battle of Britain is often described as having four phases, the dates of which seem to vary: Phase One - July 10 - August 12, 1940 - Attacks on Channel Shipping:  On July 16, Hitler issued Directive No. 16, which called for preparations to be made for Operation Sealion - the invasion of Britain.  He demanded that "the British Air Force... be eliminated to such an extent that it will be incapable of putting up any sustained opposition to the invading troops."  So the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) attacked shipping convoys in the English Channel, Channel ports, and coastal radar stations on the south coast.  By sinking merchant ships, Germany would prevent the British people from receiving the Read more...
    Date: September 6, 2017 Category: Collections, Links, News & Events, Posts
    Many of Al Wilson's cartoons relate to specific happenings from about 1958 - 1974, especially in the Comox area.  We know you're enjoying this series, and are happy to share this month's edition with you!               [caption id="attachment_9323" align="aligncenter" width="1629"] L. JUNIOR JET JOCKEY[/caption]       [caption id="attachment_9322" align="aligncenter" width="1578"] LOCAL "BROWN JOB" MAKES LIKE...[/caption]
    [caption id="attachment_3205" align="alignleft" width="150"] Heritage Stone Dedication Ceremony[/caption] The Comox Valley Air Force Museum Association invites the public to attend the annual Heritage Stones Dedication Ceremony on Sunday, September 17th.   Held in conjunction with 19 Wing Comox as part of the Battle of Britain anniversary, the service will be held at the Protestant Chapel across from the Heritage Air Park.  Please be seated by 1:45 p.m.
    Date: August 30, 2017 Category: Community Outreach, Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    Comox Air Force Museum Celebrates its 30th Anniversary On Tuesday 12 September 2017 the Comox Air Force Museum will celebrate the thirty years since our accreditation as a DND museum. An invitation-only ceremony will be held commencing at 2PM in the afternoon (we are very space limited for such events). During the ceremony the new Hallway Display will be officially opened. Furthermore, the newly published book: “Comox Air Force Museum: Our First Thirty Years”  will also be available for the first time. A short reception will be held for our guests.  
    Date: August 24, 2017 Category: Aircraft, News & Events, Posts
    [caption id="attachment_9224" align="alignleft" width="150"] TYKO[/caption]   Tyko is back, this time with his take on RCAF Aerobatic Teams.  If you'd like to meet Tyko, he volunteers on Thursdays.       Siskins This is the first article in a 10 piece project. This article is about the first RCAF aerobatic team, the Siskins.  They were formed in 1929 in connection with the celebrations of the 10th anniversary of the first successful non-stop trans-Atlantic flight accomplished by Alcock and Brown in a twin engine Vickers Vimy,  the team flew Armstrong-Whitworth Siskins IIIA's, with most performances containing three of the biplanes. The Siskins retired in 1932 due to the Great Depression.     Blue Devils The Blue Devils Aerial Demonstration Team flew the De Havilland Vampire from 1949 to 1951. The unit was the RCAF's first post war team, and belonged to the RCAF's first jet fighter squadron, 410 Fighter Squadron.  The Blue Devils team originally consisted of three Vampires but a fourth member was later added to perform a solo act. Thereafter a sixth aircraft was added and the Blue Devils performed all over North America and they became the RCAF's  official aerial demonstration team. The Blue Devils were disbanded in 1950 and its crew  were posted to different squadrons and the Vampire was retired in favour of the Canadair Sabre. The team did however, reform on 8th August 1951 for air show commitments, the last air show was completed on 19 August 1951. The Blue devils performed 45 shows across Read more...
    Date: August 20, 2017 Category: Aircraft, Books, Library Display, News & Events, Posts
      The Schneider Trophy, the common name for the Coupe d'Aviation Maritime Jacques Schneider, was awarded annually to the winner of a race for seaplanes and flying boats.  The trophy itself is now found in the Science Museum in London. [caption id="attachment_9242" align="alignleft" width="187"] JACQUES SCHNEIDER[/caption] In 1912, Jacques Schneider, a French financier, balloonist, and aircraft enthusiast, offered a prize of about 1000 pounds for the competition.  The race was meant to encourage technical advances in civil aviation, but ultimately became a contest for pure speed, with laps over a normally triangular course of between 280 and 350 kilometres.  These contests were actually time trials, with aircraft setting out individually and at pre-agreed times, most often 15 minutes apart.  The contests were very popular and drew huge crowds.  The race was held twelve times between 1913 and 1931. If an aero club won three races in five years, they would retain the trophy and the winning pilot would receive 75,000 francs for each of the first three wins.  Each race was hosted by the previous winning country and was supervised by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, as well as the aero club in the hosting country.  Each club could enter up to three competitors with an equal number of alternatives. The races were important in terms of advancing aeroplane design, especially in the fields of aerodynamics and engine design; these would then show results in the best fighters of WWII.  The streamlined shape and the low drag, liquid-cooled engine pioneered by Read more...
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