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: March 23, 2018 Category: Community Outreach, Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    Each year, our Past President, Bill Cuell, collects the guest book pages and sorts through the information to report on our visitors.  This takes quite some time as we like to see where our guests are from and what they have to say about our Museum; their feedback is always appreciated, as we strive to be the best we can be!     [caption id="attachment_8341" align="alignleft" width="201"] BILL CUELL[/caption]   Here is Bill's report: Once again, we welcomed visitors from around the world. Last years total was 10,858.               They came from Canada - from Coast to Coast to Coast.   We welcomed visitors from 19 US States: Alaska, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.   As well, we had visitors from 31 countries around the globe: Austria, Argentina, Australia, Abu Dhabi U.A.E., Belgium, Brazil, China, Chile, Cayman Islands, Denmark, England, Finland, French Guiana, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Phillipines, Poland, South Africa, Switzerland, Scotland, Thailand, Vietnam, and Wales.   What our visitors said about us: Informative Well organized Very well put together Beautiful displays Very warm reception One of the very best museums we have toured Great review of RCAF and Western Canada role Amazing Great tour guide  Beautiful artifacts Loved the flight simulator Good overview for someone who knows nothing!! My two-year old loved the planes and displays The Japanese Balloons interesting to learn about Tried the flight simulator. Crashed and Burned! Artifacts bring great reality to the history Friendly staff, clean, welcoming, family friendly Wonderful, even for 3 wiggly boys Amazing how much neat stuff Read more...
    Spring Break is just a few days away and we'd love to see you and your families come for a visit!   Our Heritage Air Park is open!  We've done our spring cleaning!  Wander around the relics... if the Hangar is open, check out the vehicles and chat with the Heritage Maintenance Team!           Check out some of our special Museum exhibits!   The kids can sit in the ejection seat ~ always a good spot for a photo op!     A new exhibit ~ the focus is on the culture of the RCAF:     Have a closer look at the work our Search and Rescue Squadron does:     The Aleutian Campaign Display: Be prepared to spend quite some time investigating this new display!     Investigate the McPhee Diorama ~ this is also a popular spot with children!     We're all looking forward to meeting you!  
    Date: March 19, 2018 Category: Aircraft, Books, Collections, Exhibits, Links, News & Events, Posts
      It can be said that collections are the foundation of our Museum.  Visitors judge our Museum based on the quality of our collections, so in order to maintain the integrity of our Museum’s ‘holdings’, our collections have to reflect the purposes of our Museum.     Did you know that primary funding for the care and preservation of our artefacts comes from donations and grants to the Comox Valley Air Force Museum Association?  Did you know that the majority of the artefacts on display in our Museum were donated by the public?   What kinds of donations are we looking for?  We appreciate Logbooks, Air Force artefacts, Squadron artefacts (409, 414, VU 33, Snowbird, 407 and 442 Squadrons), uniforms, medals, artefacts from prominent west coast airmen, photos (with as much information as possible about the photos), as well as Squadron history books.  In addition, personal/historical letters are very important to us.       I have an item I’d like to donate.  How do I do this?  If you live in the Comox Valley or are planning a visit to the Comox Air Force Museum, you can bring your item to the Museum.  All our volunteers are trained to accept your gifts.  You’ll help fill out a form that will give us some information about the item as well as the original donor. If you live a distance from us, you can contact us at: or 1 – 250 – 339 – 8162 We often get emails asking Read more...
    Date: March 17, 2018 Category: Community Outreach, Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    On March 13th, our Museum Association held its AGM in the Theatre.  Our Association President, Kevin Kinsella, as well as our Volunteer Coordinator and Programme Manager, Jon Ambler, celebrated the work done for our Museum over the past year and set course for the coming year. We elected our Board of Directors for the 2018 - 2019 year:  Kevin Kinsella (President), Steve McNamee (Vice President), Deb McKenzie (Treasurer), Val Wilson (Secretary), Allison Hetman (Membership); in addition, Jed Jednorog, Norm Danton, and Carol Popkin were elected as Directors at Large. Long term service pins were presented to the following volunteers:   [caption id="attachment_10465" align="alignleft" width="201"] DAN BRENNAN ~ 5 YEARS[/caption]                       [caption id="attachment_10466" align="alignleft" width="201"] DEB MCKENZIE ~ 5 YEARS[/caption]                       [caption id="attachment_10467" align="alignleft" width="300"] DAVID AND VAL WILSON ~ 5 YEARS[/caption]                   [caption id="attachment_10469" align="alignleft" width="201"] MIKE FORBES ~ 25 YEARS[/caption]                       In addition to his pin, Mike also received special recognition from the BC Legislature, honouring his service over the past 25 years. Also, Tom Lowe (15 years) and Norm Danton (5 years) were presented their pins at the Museum later in the week, as did Gary Brammer (5 years).   [caption id="attachment_10495" align="alignleft" width="300"] GARY BRAMMER - 5 YEARS[/caption]                     Congratulations to Read more...
    Date: March 16, 2018 Category: Aircraft, Exhibits, News & Events, Posts
    To help celebrate the Aleutian Campaign display at the CAFM we recreated some nose art from one of the Hurricane aircraft of 135 Bulldog Squadron. First you get our newest apprentice Bobbi to take an old piece of an aircraft and prepare it for use.  She spent the better part of a morning getting the metal just right. Due to the aircraft part being old it needed to be cleaned up and prepared for safe display.  It took some time getting rid of debris, sharp edges, dents from storage and rough handling etc. and ensuring it is back in useable condition.   Apparently there is no such thing as too much supervision ! Note she is using hearing protection as much for the air tools as to block out all the ‘helpful’ advice from the team of supervisors hovering about ! The next step once the metal has been prepped is to the paint bay.  Primer is put down and the colour background is applied, here in brown and green.  A mask is used to provide a white silhouette for the actual art to be put onto.   The paint mask is used to prepare the actual nose art location.  The reference picture is to the left on the clip board.  This is to provide as much accuracy as possible while painting the final product.   Jon was the painter who spent a weekend getting the art just right.   And here is the final work placed proudly in the Read more...
    Date: March 11, 2018 Category: Aircraft, News & Events, Posts
    [caption id="attachment_10360" align="alignleft" width="224"] George Barker, VC.[/caption]     George Barker VC – Military Cross and bar, DSO and bar Born 1894 – Manitoba, Canada             Barker enlisted 1914 Canadian Mounted Rifles (private) almost as soon as he arrived in England he applied to join the RFC.  You had to complete a 9 month tour as an air observer before being accepted as a pilot.  This he did with great success being credited with 3 enemy shot down; for this he received the Military Cross (MC).   [caption id="attachment_10357" align="alignleft" width="150"] Observer showing how pics were taken, WW1[/caption] [caption id="attachment_10356" align="alignleft" width="150"] Observer and cameraWW1[/caption]               After this he trained as a pilot and joined 15 Squadron.  His outstanding skill earned him a bar to his Military Cross.  He was wounded around this time during a ground attack sortie.  Once recovered, he was posted to 28 Squadron, flying Sopwith Camels.  After two combats the squadron was posted to the Italian front.  His squadron took part in both aerial combat and in ground attack sorties.  By April 1918, he claimed 15 enemy aircraft.  For this he was awarded the DSO.  Within another few weeks he claimed a further 16 aircraft shot down/destroyed and received a second bar to his MC and a bar to his DSO; the citation for this credited him with a total of 33 victories.   [caption id="attachment_10354" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] DAYTON, Ohio -- Sopwith F-1 Camel at Read more...
        Effective Tuesday, March 13th, our Heritage Air Park will be open to our visitors.  We invite you to wander around the "relics", to see our heritage vehicles if the Hangar is open, and to chat with our Heritage Maintenance Team.  Don't forget to visit the Museum itself ~ we have a number of new displays for your viewing pleasure!
    Date: March 7, 2018 Category: Aircraft, Exhibits, Heritage Air Park, News & Events, Posts
    [et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.105" background_layout="light"] We have the propeller from a B-24 Liberator aircraft that crashed near Comox during the war.  Liberators were based at No. 5 OTU (Operational Training Unit) in Patrica Bay and hunted enemy submarines off the coast.  Additionally many Liberator air crews were trained there to fly in South East Asia during the war. The propeller had been painted black, covering much of the damage.  In the video René is carefully removing the paint to show the damage as it would have appeared post crash.  The green tape is used to ensure the paint wasn’t stripped anywhere it shouldn’t have been.  Then the propeller was mounted onto a freshly prepared base plate for display at the entrance to building 268 located at the CAFM Air Park. [/et_pb_text][et_pb_video _builder_version="3.0.105" src="" /][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.105" background_layout="light"] Here it is proudly on display at the entrance to 268. Note on the other side of the entrance sidewalk there is a buoy we have refurbished that used to moor our historic West Coast seaplanes: Stranraer, Catalina and Albatross. The impact damage from the crash is visible as the natural aluminum colour showing against the black propeller paint colour.   [/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]
    Date: March 5, 2018 Category: Aircraft, 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 popular series, and are happy to continue sharing his work with you!               [caption id="attachment_9990" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] "ORDERED WITH THE SPEED OF THE COMPUTER..."[/caption]         [caption id="attachment_9991" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] "ARGUS JUST KEEPS ON TRUCKIN'"[/caption]  
    Date: March 1, 2018 Category: Collections, News & Events, Posts
      This is another in our series: the Wickenby Register Newsletter.  The newsletters were printed twice yearly; they include information about 12 Squadron RAF, memories of service men and women, the occasional recipe, stories of times past… But perhaps the thing that spoke to both Mel and me when we saw them was the inclusion of a poem on the back of each issue.   [caption id="attachment_10009" align="aligncenter" width="757"] STALAG LUFT[/caption]         [caption id="attachment_10010" align="aligncenter" width="757"] IN SCAMPTON CHURCHYARD[/caption]
    Date: February 26, 2018 Category: Books, Collections, Exhibits, News & Events, Posts
    I Introduction Psychological warfare is as old as warfare itself, and reliable records show it was used by all the early empires of the world.1  In Europe, the advent of the printing press in the mid fifteenth century opened up the possibility of using propaganda to reach ever larger numbers of people. There are many intended functions of propaganda, and it can be directed at combatants, civilian populations of all sides of a conflict, and other “neutral” people or countries.2  This article will include material produced by government agencies, focusing on the British Warfare Executive during World War II. It is useful to keep in mind Carl von Clausewitz’ ideas on information in war: “A great part of the information obtained in war is contradictory, a still greater part is false, and by far the greatest part is of a doubtful character” ( from: On War, 1832). II Leaflets and Posters Propaganda as we understand it today was used well before World War I to sway public opinion during the French and American Revolutions. The scale of its use increased dramatically with the start of the Great War. Balloon and aircraft drops were used by both sides during World War I, and were often meant to be seen by soldiers in the trenches, to undermine morale by overestimating the numbers of fighters on the other side, or call into question the judgment of their own superiors. An example of a British leaflet directed to soldiers in the German trenches shows a Read more...
    Date: February 23, 2018 Category: Links, News & Events, Posts
    Along with others, Black Canadians were keen to serve in the First World War ( 1914 – 1918 ).  Unfortunately, prejudiced attitudes of those in charge of enlistment made it difficult for these men to join the army.  However, some Black Canadians did manage to join up during the opening years.  Because they wanted the opportunity to participate on a larger scale, these men pressured the government to allow them to do so.  And so, on July 5, 1916, the No. 2 Construction Battalion was formed in Pictou, Nova Scotia; it was the first large Black military unit in our country’s history.   [caption id="attachment_10118" align="aligncenter" width="300"] NO. 2 BATTALION MEMBERS[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_10116" align="alignleft" width="171"] REVEREND WILLIAM WHITE[/caption]   Recruitment took place across the country; more than 600 men were accepted, most from Nova Scotia but others came from Ontario, New Brunswick, the west, as well as some from the United States.  The chaplain was Reverend William White; he had played a leading role in getting this unit formed.  As an honour, he was given the rank of Honourary Captain, one of the few Black commissioned officers to serve in the Canadian Army during the war.       The battalion was tasked with non-combat support roles.  Following preliminary training in Canada, the battalion sailed on the SS Southland for Liverpool in March of 1917.  The members were sent to eastern France later that year where they served honourably with the Canadian Forestry Corps. They helped provide the lumber Read more...
    Date: February 21, 2018 Category: Collections, Links, Member Info, News & Events, Posts
      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 or you may sign the guest book at We will continue to honour Al's work each month...
    Date: February 19, 2018 Category: Aircraft, Community Outreach, Exhibits, Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    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! "  
    Date: February 15, 2018 Category: News & Events, Posts
    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.   [caption id="attachment_7957" align="alignleft" width="226"] WILLIAM HALL, VC[/caption] 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 Read more...
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