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.
    During World War II, aircraft of the RCAF were brought down over Europe in large numbers. Whether destroyed by enemy fighters, anti-aircraft guns, mid-air collisions, fuel shortage, mechanical failure, icing, or other causes, the toll in aircrew was enormous. Some survived by managing to bail out of their doomed aircraft or successfully making a crash landing in occupied territory.  As a result, over 2500 RCAF members became prisoners of war (POWs); others were captured while serving with the RAF. Germans usually addressed the newly captured airmen with the words, “For you the war is over.” However, it was the sworn duty of all captured military personnel to continue to fight the enemy by surviving, communicating information and trying to escape.  Every POW recognized he was in a difficult and risky situation.   [caption id="attachment_13378" align="aligncenter" width="300"] A SECTION OF PANEL IN THE POW EXHIBIT[/caption]   Relatively unknown are the RCAF prisoners of war from British Columbia and the Yukon; a few of these men include: Bell, E.N., Flight Lieutenant, 428 SQN, Grand Forks Bumstead, G.A., Flight Lieutenant, 431 SQN, Vancouver Burns, K.O., Sergeant, 434 SQN, Vancouver Christian, E.J., WO2, Victoria Coles, Arthur, Flight Lieutenant, North Vancouver Colwell, J.H., Flight Lieutenant, Nanaimo Cooper, G.L., Flight Lieutenant, Powell River Corbishley, H., WO2, Penticton Ferguson, J., Flight Lieutenant, Patricia Bay MacKay, F.E., Flying Officer, New Westminster Maddin, Dl, Flight Lieutenant, 425 SQN, Vancouver Mill, J.B., Pilot Officer, 408 SQN, Watson Lake, Yukon Mouat, William Ivan, Flying Officer, Ganges Moul, Arthur “Jack”, Flying Officer, 416 SQN, Read more...
      Due to a scheduled power shutdown, the Comox Air Force Museum, along with the Heritage Air Park, will be closed all day Saturday, May 25th.  The Museum will be open again on Sunday 26th from 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m.
    Today’s focus is on the “Hidden Stories” in our museum.  Today, we’ll share a few of our favourite stories that are "hidden"  or rather tucked away in our Main Gallery:     [caption id="attachment_13349" align="alignleft" width="300"] PIGEON DESK[/caption] Tucked against a wall in the Museum is this Aircraft Pigeon Desk.  Did you know that the RCAF used homing pigeons for communications throughout the Second World War?  Two pigeons were carried in this desk, which is from a Hudson aircraft, during wartime missions over the sea.  In the event of an emergency, and with radios damaged, a pigeon carrying a message with key information was tossed from the aircraft.  If the radio was not damaged, the crew sent the distress message by voice (Mayday) or Morse Code (SOS).  In that case, both pigeons were taken into the life raft and then released to inform rescuers of the raft’s position and the number and condition of the survivors.     [caption id="attachment_13353" align="alignleft" width="225"] DINTY[/caption]     Meet Dinty!  This toy bear was purchased in Canada by a crew member and it became K.O. Moore’s crew mascot.  “Dinty” flew on all their missions and seems to have earned a DFC!  Dinty can be found standing proudly as part of the K.O. Moore exhibit.             An Act of Great Bravery ~On the afternoon of 24 November 1952, a Lancaster aircraft which was returning from an instrument practice flight crashed and burned near RCAF Station Comox.  Robert Waters, just fourteen Read more...
    Today’s BC Museums Week focus gives our Museum the opportunity to introduce you to “Our People”, the Museum staff as well as the volunteers who so readily give of their time and experiences to support the work of the Museum. Our staff includes the Museum Director, Captain Lynn Barley; the Deputy Director, Sgt Mike O’Rourke; and the Program Manager/Volunteer Coordinator, Carol Popkin.  It is their responsibility to create and oversee “the big picture”. [caption id="attachment_13314" align="alignleft" width="150"] CAPTAIN LYNN BARLEY[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13312" align="alignleft" width="150"] SGT MIKE O'ROURKE[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13313" align="alignleft" width="150"] CAROL POPKIN[/caption]           [caption id="attachment_13311" align="alignleft" width="150"] MIRIAM[/caption]   Our Gift Shop Manager is Miriam; she ensures that our guests can avail themselves of some interesting souvenirs as they leave after their visit. Miriam also gives of her time as a volunteer.       Our volunteer force consists of almost 30 dedicated people; some are from military backgrounds and some are from civilian life.  But it’s who we are when we come together that makes us feel more like a Museum Family. Our Museum thrives because of its volunteers.  We contribute in a variety of ways, and wear a number of hats as we give our time:   We welcome visitors to the Museum and work in the Gift Shop.  It’s a wonderful place to get to know the Museum and to meet people with interesting stories from all over the world.  We enjoy sharing our favourite sections of the Museum with our guests.   Read more...
    Date: May 19, 2019 Category: Community Outreach, DVD's, Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    Gary, a Comox Air Force Museum volunteer, is also the author of many of our website posts. I invited him to share his point of view about the value of museums...   "I think museums of all subjects are a critical source of knowledge for our young. We all have different ways of learning: some can learn by reading a text book, others today, with the use of video, can watch what they need to learn. The great thing about a museum is that you can learn in all the ways possible. Add to that the fact you not only see a picture or a video but also you can actually sometimes see and touch artefacts. My best friend and I went to visit York Minster in Yorkshire. We went down into the basement where they had uncovered the original Roman walls of the city. I'll never forget the look on his face as he touched the rock and realized that the people who built that wall did so 2000 years earlier. This awe and excitement could not have been gained with a book. I began to wonder how those emotions could have possibly shaped the young mind of a school aged person. How do you assess the value of a museum?  I don't think you can assess the value of a museum by the amount cash taken in at the front door. I am lucky enough to be a volunteer at the Comox Air Force Museum and I get Read more...
    Today is International Museum Day.  Part of this year’s theme is “Museums as Cultural Hubs”.  I asked Carol, our Museum’s Program Manager, to reflect on how our Museum, a military museum, could be considered a cultural hub. “We are a neighbourhood of learning for both military and civilian groups. From preschool groups to serving members, veterans and local seniors clubs we can build bridges for interaction and sharing of cultures. By looking at our past, opportunities arise to discuss contemporary social issues and conflict that can capture all age groups. Talks revolving around Peacekeeping can lead to discussions of moral dilemma, the Cold War forces you to see both sides of the story and propaganda during the World Wars from both the Allies and Axis teaches us to question media today. We are a place to share memories and celebrate the human spirit in times of great turmoil and challenges.” Carol gave me a lot to think about…  And you?  Now it’s your turn!  How might you answer that question, “How could the Comox Air Force Museum be considered a cultural hub?”  Email us at; let us know if we can share your response with our readers.  
    May 18th - 24th marks the third official BC Museums Week.  BC Museums Week celebrates the contributions of museums, galleries, historic sites, and other heritage organizations to their communities.  The week begins with International Museum Day tomorrow, May 18th; this is celebrated worldwide. This is an opportunity for the Comox Air Force Museum to take time to reflect upon and celebrate the work we do, to consider the value and impact of our museum within our local community.  Over the next week, you'll learn about members of our Museum community and the work they do, you'll see some interesting parts of our Museum, you'll learn how our museum connects with the community around us, you'll be introduced to other museums and galleries in our community, and we'll finish up by giving you some hints about upcoming exhibits. Norm, one of our website authors, answers the question, "Why Go to a Museum?" Museums make you feel good. Museums make you smarter. Museums provide an effective way of learning. Museums are community centers. Museums inspire you. Museums help bring change to our understanding. Museums can surprise you. Museums are full of information. There is a museum close to you! Now it's your turn!  We'd like to hear from you, our Museum visitors and website readers.  What do museums mean to you?  How do museums influence your thinking, your knowledge?  What impact has the Comox Air Force Museum had on you?  Send your response to; if you give us permission, we'll publish some Read more...
    Date: May 14, 2019 Category: Heritage Air Park, Member Info, News & Events, Posts
        Please note that the Comox Air Force Museum’s Heritage Air Park will be closed from May 21st to May 27th for hydro-seeding.
    Date: May 13, 2019 Category: Aircraft, News & Events, Posts
    Surgeon Timothy Blair McLean, CD, CStJ, QHS (29 September 1910 – 28 June 1982)   [caption id="attachment_13206" align="alignleft" width="217"] Surgeon Timothy Blair McLean, CD, CStJ, QHS[/caption]   Timothy Blair McLean was born in Fairydell, Alberta and was educated at the University of Alberta, where he graduated with a Medical Degree. In September 1929, at age 19, he joined the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserves as an ordinary seaman.             In May or June 1930, McLean was training onboard HMCS Armentieres off the east coast of Vancouver Island when a RCAF Vickers Vedette, serial number 110, visited the ship and he took the following series of photos. In the photo of the plane being pulled by the rowboat, the pilot is visible seated at the stern.                     McLean served with the Naval Reserve until 1929 when he was called to active service as a Surgeon Lieutenant. At the beginning of the Second World War he served as medical officer on the destroyers Ottawa, Saguenay, Fraser and Margaree, surviving the sinking of the latter two. For the remainder of the war, McLean served in various medical appointments ashore and as Principal Medical Officer of HMCS Ugana (cruiser). He joined the Regular Force in 1945 and was subsequently appointed Principal Medical Officer of the Royal Canadian Navy Hospital at Esquimalt in March 1947. The following year, he was appointed Command Medical Officer, Esquimalt. McLean returned to school for a short period of time, from 1950 to 1952, to complete post-graduate surgical training at Read more...
    Date: May 11, 2019 Category: Community Outreach, Links, Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    Thank you to Mr. Jim Loring and Mr. Mike Gibbs of VP International for their donation of $3946.75 to the Comox Valley Air Force Museum Association (CVAFMA). Your generosity is greatly appreciated and will be used to support Museum projects. VP International is an organization that promotes understanding and recognition of Maritime and Long Range Patrol operations and their impact on military aviation.   Photo: L to R: Mike Hendren, CVAFMA President; Jim Loring, VP International; Mike Gibbs, VP International;  Sgt O'Rourke (CAFM Deputy Director) and Carol Popkin (CAFM Program Manager)
    Date: May 10, 2019 Category: Aircraft, News & Events, Posts
    On January 2nd, 2019, I watched an episode of the BBC program, THE ANTIQUE ROADSHOW; one segment was a story of another unsung Canadian hero of World War II, CHUCK-CHUCK the panda. Who was he and why should he be remembered? [caption id="attachment_12900" align="alignleft" width="229"] PL-1689228 May 1943Portrait, Sgt. W. Radcliffe, a flight engineer[/caption]   WILLIAM GORDON RADCLIFFE was born in New Westminster, BC, Canada, on 24 September 1919. His family were recent emigrants to Canada. In March 1939, at the age of19 years, and suspect that war was on its way, he traveled to England with his friend Howard Godfrey and volunteered to join the Royal Airforce as ground crew mechanics.             In 1942, the RAF decided to institute a new position of flight engineer in its heavy bomber squadrons. Many ground crews saw this as their chance to fly, and amongst these was the Canadian, Bill Radcliffe. He and others were sent to #4 Training School in St Athan in Wales, and he qualified as a flight engineer in July 1942.  He was posted to 97 Squadron and flew his first operation on 10 September 1942.   [caption id="attachment_12903" align="alignleft" width="253"] CHUCK-CHUCK[/caption]   Remarkably, Chuck- Chuck flew on every mission, tucked into Bill's right flying boot. The story of Chuck-Chuck started in Canada when Bill was packing to leave for England. Chuck- Chuck was given to him as a good luck mascot. He not only became his mascot, but he eventually became the mascot of the entire crew. Read more...
    Date: May 6, 2019 Category: Aircraft, Community Outreach, Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    The Comox Air Force Museum would like to thank the Snowbirds for a spectacular Spring Training Season!  We enjoyed your visit to the Museum over the weekend.       It was another successful Snowbird autograph session here at the Museum this past Saturday as many visitors of all ages took time to meet the 2019 Snowbirds Team. Special thanks to the following volunteers who helped with this event: Mel, Jessica, Mike H., Jon, Miriam, Lucie, and Steve.  Thanks also to Sgt. O'Rourke for the following photos:                          
    Date: May 5, 2019 Category: Aircraft, Collections, Links, News & Events, Posts
    [caption id="attachment_10890" align="alignleft" width="150"] AL WILSON[/caption] This is our May edition of Al's cartoons. As always we like to share Al Wilson's work for all of you to enjoy!           This month we include two 407 Tech Ramblings:   [caption id="attachment_10962" align="aligncenter" width="980"] 407 TECH RAMBLINGS[/caption]       [caption id="attachment_10961" align="alignleft" width="1601"] 407 TECH RAMBLINGS[/caption]        
      Please note that the Comox Air Force Museum's Heritage Air Park will be closed from May 6th to May 10th for hydro-seeding.
    Date: April 25, 2019 Category: Links, News & Events, Posts
    The Snowbirds' Autograph Session at the Comox Air Force Museum is now scheduled for May 4th at 3:00 p.m.  We hope to see you at this special event!
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