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 30, 2017 Category: News & Events, Posts
    WING COMMANDER MARK (HILLY) BROWN was born in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba.  Wing Commander Mark Henry Brown DFC, nicknamed Hilly, was the first Canadian pilot to become a fighter ace during World War 2 whilst serving with the Royal Air Force during the Battle of France and also the Battle of Britain; he was killed in action in November 1941 over Sicily. [caption id="attachment_8258" align="alignleft" width="245"] "HILLY' BROWN (Aces of WW2)[/caption]   He was the son of Mr & Mrs S Brown of Glenboro, Manitoba. Whilst working for the Bank of Montreal, he learned to fly at the Brandon Flying Club and after passing the required medical test, left Canada to join the RAF in May 1936.         [caption id="attachment_8257" align="alignleft" width="300"] Flight-Lieutenant M H Brown (left) and Pilot Officer Chetham of No. 1 Squadron RAF standing by the nose of a Hawker Hurricane Mark I at RAF Wittering, Huntingdonshire, England[/caption]   After completing his RAF training, Pilot Officer Brown joined No 1 Squadron in February 1937. He was promoted to Flying Officer in December 1938. At the beginning of September 1939, Brown's squadron was deployed to France as part of the RAF Advance Air Strike Force. On November 23, 1939 he was credited with half a kill of a Dornier 17 whilst flying a Hawker Hurricane.     During the Battle of France in early 1940, Brown was involved in heavy fighting and on 20 April 1940 he claimed his first kill, a Messerschmidt 109. He became the first Canadian pilot to reach “ace” status with five confirmed kills by May 1940. Brown also was the Read more...
    Date: March 29, 2017 Category: Community Outreach, News & Events, Posts
    The CoVal Choristers have asked us to share with you information about their special upcoming performance.  They're also seeking help with related history.  Please read this and share! "Below is a poster about the event and news article about the CoVal Choristers' Vimy Ridge commemorative performance at 2 pm on the afternoon of SundayApril 9th. As you may be aware that is the exact 100th anniversary of the start of the Canadian assault.  Using a combination of narrative and song from the era, the performance is evocative of those times. We would like to spread the word among the members of the forces.   Also we are looking for people living in the Comox Valley who are descended from those who served at Vimy.  Anything you can do would be appreciated."   Please check ARTICLE VIMY for a request for help with related history.  
    Date: March 28, 2017 Category: Aircraft, Links, News & Events, Posts
    The Comox Air Force Museum would like to introduce you to a special interest group that can be found on Facebook: CANADIAN MILITARY AIRCRAFT WRECKS, RELICS, SURVIVORS, WARBIRDS, AND CRASHES The administrator, Mike Kaehler, explains that the "group is dedicated to discussing and exchanging information and photos of Canadian Military Aircraft Wrecks, Relics, Survivors, Warbirds and Crashes. There are often very interesting, historically enlightening facts that come out in posts as subject matter experts and group members, that were present during the various events, contribute their information to this group... Please note that the objective of this group is not to discuss aircraft that were or are in active service unless they have been grounded due to an accident or administrative action. This group is also not designed to judge or humiliate anyone involved in an aircraft incident..." You can have a closer look at this group and the guidelines for participation by checking it out on Facebook.  Thank you, Mike, for being available to share information with our Museum as we do our research!  
    Date: March 27, 2017 Category: Aircraft, News & Events, Posts
    This is the second in a new series ~ Spitfire Pilots.  This one highlights Hartland (Hart) Finley. SQUADRON LEADER HARTLAND (HART) FINLEY R.C.A.F SEPT. 14 1940 - MAY 25 1946   Hartland Ross Finley DFC was born in Montreal, Quebec.  He was the son of Major Eric B. Finley and Eugene Marjorie Finley. He graduated from McGill University, Montreal and on September 14,1940, he enlisted in the R.C.A.F.   Finley received air crew instruction at Toronto Ontario, Windsor Mills QC, Summerside PEI and graduated as a pilot from No2 Service Flying Training School in Ottawa on December 28, 1942. In February 1943, Finley arrived overseas and by September 1943 had carried out many missions with Fighter Command Squadrons No 1, No 416, and No 403 flying Spitfire aircraft.  On his very first operational sortie, August 12, 1943, his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire puncturing one of his fuel tanks. Returning from his mission, he ran out of fuel; he bailed out, parachuting into the English Channel and was rescued by the Royal Navy rescue launch and returned to his Squadron. [caption id="attachment_8251" align="alignleft" width="251"] HART FINLEY (photo Vintage Wings)[/caption]   By December 1944, he had flown 153 combat missions destroying a number of enemy aircraft.  Earning some leave, he was able to come home for Christmas in 1944, returning to England in 1945; he was promoted to Squadron Leader and posted to 403 Squadron and later to 443 Squadron.  He was a wonderful leader and his men had a high respect for him. During his May 1945 mission, Read more...
    Date: March 23, 2017 Category: Library Display, News & Events, Posts
    [caption id="attachment_8215" align="alignleft" width="300"] WWI ELEPHANT (photo: Illustrated War News)[/caption]   Elephants have long helped armies.  Bandoola pulled trees out of the ground, moved heavy logs to build bridges, and carried people and supplies across rivers, mountains, and along rough roads.  During WWII, Bandoola assisted Jim Williams, the officer in charge of the British Army's No. 1 Elephant Company in Burma.  Williams worked with up to 700 elephants, each one helping the army.  Sometimes the elephants pulled up trees that were sent to England where wood was needed.  They also tugged heavy army trucks out of deep mud in the rainy season. Elephants are very smart animals, and Bandoola was no exception.  Loyal to his trainer, he did his job even when the weather was bad, and even when they were under attack. In 1944, Williams heard that the enemy was coming to take his last 47 elephants and they had to escape very quickly.  Bandoola bravely led the others along dangerous paths through the mountains.  The journey was long and hard, but Williams and the elephants ended up safely on the other side of the mountains. [caption id="attachment_8214" align="alignleft" width="300"] VIMY THE FOAL (Library and Archives Canada)[/caption]   Meet Vimy, shown in this photo with its mother and a Canadian soldier. Life for Canadian soldiers during WWI was tough.  They often had to march for hours carrying a rifle, ammunition, a heavy sack, a gas mask, shovels and more.  They were strong young men but needed help to get supplies Read more...
    Date: March 21, 2017 Category: Library Display, News & Events, Posts
    [caption id="attachment_8170" align="alignleft" width="300"] SERGEANT BILL WITH HIS SOLDIER FRIEND(photo: Broadview Museum)[/caption]   A goat named Bill was pulling a cart in a small town in Saskatchewan, when a train carrying soldiers on their way to fight in WWI stopped.  The girl who owned Bill let the soldiers take him along as a good luck charm.  Mascots were not supposed to go to the front lines, but the soldiers had become very attached to Bill, so they hid him in a big crate and took him with them. Sergeant Bill, as the goat was called, was a big help.  He saw action beside his human friends in many battles, including one where he pushed three soldiers into a trench just seconds before a shell exploded where they'd been standing. Despite being wounded several times, Sergeant Bill survived the war.  Once the fighting was over, he was even part of a large parade in Germany; he proudly word a fancy blue coat with his sergeant stripes!  Bill eventually returned to his hometown where he was reunited with his owner. [caption id="attachment_8213" align="alignleft" width="300"] GANDER[/caption]   This is Gander, a mascot that was also seen as a fellow soldier with jobs to perform. Gander was a Newfoundland dog raised by the Hayden family on the airport base in Gander, Newfoundland.  A friendly dog, Gander loved playing with the children; he pulled them on their sleds and they watched him drool - a lot!  He enjoyed living on the base; however, he spent Read more...
    Date: March 19, 2017 Category: Exhibits, Library Display, News & Events, Posts
    Animals have long helped people in times of war, conflict, and peace.  A stone arch in the Peace Tower honours these special workers and supporters; The work by artist, John. A. Pearson, represents the animals that served during the war: reindeer, pack mules, carrier pigeons, horses, dogs, canaries and mice. The inscription reads: THE TUNNELLERS' FRIENDS, THE HUMBLE BEASTS THAT SERVED AND DIED.   Animals served in wars in a variety of roles such as transporting supplies, delivering messages, helping the wounded or just being a soldier's companion.  In fact, thousands of animals contributed in times of war. Pigeons were used during the First and Second World Wars to deliver messages when radio or telephone communication wasn't possible.  They flew for many kilometres and in all kinds of weather.  The sky was sometimes filled with gun fire.  Some of them didn't complete their journeys and others were wounded.  It was dangerous but the birds were loyal and faithful. One such 'feathered friend' was Beachcomber, who served with the Canadian army win WWII as a carrier pigeon.  This was an important job as the soldiers in the field, sailors on their ships, and pilots in airplanes needed the ability to communicate and send messages about their progress, to request supplies, or to call for help.  The messages were written on small pieces of paper, put inside a small container and attached to one of Beachcomber's legs.  (photo VAC) [caption id="attachment_8197" align="alignleft" width="300"] BEACHCOMBER BEING PRESENTED HIS MEDAL (PDSA)[/caption]       In August, 1942, Read more...
    Date: March 18, 2017 Category: Library Display, News & Events, Posts
    [caption id="attachment_8171" align="alignleft" width="325"] NOAH TREMBLAY (photo: Veterans Affairs Canada)[/caption]     This is Noah Tremblay, shown in the photo during the dedication of a new memorial.  Noah was the driving force behind the creation of a special monument dedicated to the animals that helped people in times of war, conflict and peace. The idea began with the project he did for a school heritage fair.  Soon it became his mission to raise enough money to build a monument.  He collected donations, sold beeswax lip balm, and sold raffle tickets. Noah also designed the memorial that was erected in 2012; it's made of granite and is dedicated "in memory of all animals and handlers who served in our military and police forces."  The names of the animals and their handlers are also inscribed on it.  The Memorial to Forgotten Heroes is located in Veterans Memorial Park, Bass River, Nova Scotia. Noah's work prompted me to share some of the stories of courageous animals who served during times of war.  I hope you'll enjoy reading the next series of posts. Credit for all information to Veterans Affairs Canada.
    Date: March 16, 2017 Category: Member Info, News & Events
    Because of a scheduling conflict, our Museum will be hosting its annual Garage Sale on Saturday, June 10th from 9:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m.  Please keep all items at home till closer to the sale as we don't have room to store it at the Museum.  Thanks to Bill for taking the lead on this once again!
    Date: March 15, 2017 Category: Aircraft, Exhibits
    In this, the second chapter on the subject of nose art in WW2, I am going to write about phrases or names used on the aircraft. The pilots and crews used their imaginations, intelligence and humour to convey their thoughts and emotions. Some crews sent a message to the enemy, others used the opportunity to remind themselves of loved ones. Probably the most famous of these names was on the plane that dropped the first atomic bomb, the "Enola Gay". This aircraft was named in honour of the mother of the pilot, Col. Paul Tibbets. A lot of the pilots used a phrase that they thought best described their aircraft and the work it did, or the results they wanted; the following picture highlights this. [caption id="attachment_7927" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Pulverized IV-Hawker Typhoon[/caption] This also lets us know how many planes this pilot had gone through. Flying the Typhoon became one of the deadliest jobs in the Air Force and our Canadian boys became some of the top Typhoon pilots in the war. Another example of the task assigned to an aircraft is exemplified by this Spitfire mkIX of 412 Sqn. Pistol Packin' Momma-Spitfire mkIX Many pilots remembered their wives or girlfriends by placing her name on their planes. The following two pictures are examples of this; the first of these is a Beaufighter of 252 Sqn. The second is a Boulton Paul Defiant of 410 Sqn. [caption id="attachment_7925" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Dona Drake-Bristol Beaufighter[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_7924" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Peggy-Bolton Paul Defiant[/caption]   Read more...
    Date: March 14, 2017 Category: Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    Mark your calendars and get your spring cleaning started!  Our Museum will be hosting its annual Garage Sale on Saturday, June 3rd from 9:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m.  Please keep all items at home till closer to the sale as we don't have room to store it at the Museum.  Thanks to Bill for taking the lead on this once again!
    Date: March 12, 2017 Category: Aircraft, News & Events, Posts
    H. COLONEL CHARLEY FOX R.C.A.F. ~ " THE FLYING FOX " Born 16th February 1920 - Died 18th October 2008 [caption id="attachment_8159" align="alignleft" width="300"] IN ENGLAND, MARCH 1944, BEFORE TAKING OFF ON A COMBAT MISSION OVER FRANCE (Spitfire Emporium)[/caption] WHO WAS CHARLEY FOX? Charley Fox was one of the foremost Canadian air aces of the Second World War, who in particular is credited with taking Germany's most celebrated general, Erwin Rommel, out of the war.  It is highly likely that it was one of his attacks which badly injured the field marshal and ended his military career some weeks after D-Day.  But such was Fox's reticence that he did not publicly disclose his involvement in the attack until many years later. Rommel was badly injured when his staff car crashed after Fox's attack from his Spitfire.  Attacking vehicles on the ground was his specialty, and he and others did much damage to the Nazi war effort in a relatively short but intense combat career which earned him the DFC twice. Aircraft which he flew were themselves damaged 14 times from enemy ground fire during his 220 operational flights.  One of his citations gives us an idea of his effectiveness:  "This officer has led his section against a variety of targets, often in the face of intense anti aircraft fire.  He has personally destroyed a total of 153 vehicles including trains, troop carriers, oil and gasoline tankers, also many German aircraft on the ground.  From early on he showed a marked Read more...
    Date: March 8, 2017 Category: News & Events, Posts
    This year, International Women's Day is celebrated today, March 8th.  The theme this year?  Be Bold For Change! It's very appropriate then, to share this story today.  Deb, one of our volunteers, served with the RCAF, and in 2004, was with the Headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.  I was recently chatting with her about the upcoming International Women's Day, and she recalled a very special time, an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others, one that culminated in what she refers to as "the defining moment of my tour".  I am happy to share this with you, told in Deb's words.   The Calendar Idea ~ "Three of us female Majors serving in Afghanistan under General Hillier, came up with an idea to mark International Women's Day in Afghanistan.  It was only five days prior to the official event and we decided on producing a calendar featuring female personnel of NATO stationed in Kabul, with all proceeds from the sale of the calendar benefitting Afghan women in distress.  We received immediate approval from Gen. Hillier and pressed forward with our plans.  In Gen. Hillier's words, 'the role of women in Afghanistan, while extremely suppressed by the Taliban, is fundamental to the future prosperity of this country...this calendar project is one small way the military women of NATO HQ can assist Afghan women to move forward and take their rightful place in Afghanistan public and political life.' While it took a bit of convincing to Read more...
    Date: March 5, 2017 Category: Books, Collections, Library Display, News & Events, Posts
    Wednesday, March 8th is International Women's Day, a wonderful opportunity to honour women in aviation!  We have a collection of books in our Museum's Library that focus on women; I'd like to share some of them with you.   A History of Women in the Canadian Military ~ The author, Barbara Dundas, wrote this story of women in Canada's armed forces.  Then Governor General of Canada, Adrienne Clarkson, celebrated the book, "I am sure that anyone who is interested in the ever-evolving role of women will deeply appreciate this book that chronicles an important part of their full and equal inclusion in our society and our national institutions." The author begins the story in 1885 during the North-West Rebellion, a time when Canadian women first answered the country's call to military service.  Though the Minister of Militia and Defence was confident of success, he knew that there would be casualties.  And so he ordered a medical contingent to accompany the expedition.  From the beginning, the Medical Director-General for the operation recognized the need for women nurses.  In addition to their medical duties, the nurses who participated in the North-West campaign were expected to establish recreation areas, make bandages, and distribute blankets, clothing, and other supplies sent by various women's groups and charities across the country.  Military operations were successfully concluded within a month; the services of the nurses were no longer required.  Five nurses, along with the rest of the medical staff, accompanied the wounded to Winnipeg where their patients Read more...
    Date: March 4, 2017 Category: Collections, News & Events, Posts
    Most of Al Wilson's cartoons seem to be of 19 Wing Comox and relate to specific happenings from about 1958 - 1974.  We're happy to hear that you're enjoying this series, and would love to hear from you if you can identify any of the stories behind each cartoon! Enjoy your March Edition!   [caption id="attachment_7896" align="aligncenter" width="1053"] AT 88 MILLION CLAMS...[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_7895" align="aligncenter" width="777"] B. BUT YOU TOLD US THAT...[/caption]
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