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: November 16, 2017 Category: Books, Community Outreach, Library Display, News & Events, Posts
    The Library's centrepiece is the table you see as you enter the room!  "The table is unique in that it was built for the Museum using beams salvaged from the deconstruction of Hangar #1. Larry Toovey kindly donated his time, tools and skill to construct this table to preserve a piece of 19 Wing’s Heritage. The story behind the beams makes the table even more unique. The beams were some of many hundreds used for the construction of hangars across Canada built in support of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The beams were cut in the early 1940s from old-growth Douglas Fir from British Columbia’s forests. The trees that provided the beams for Hangar #1 were at least 150 years old at the time. The Museum is proud to display such a beautiful and unique piece and is very grateful to Larry for building it for us." (credit David Stinson and Allison Hetman).   Along the way, it gets some special loving care to keep it in good repair:             The table is a gathering place for Museum meetings, volunteer committee meetings, volunteer special events, school presentations, and tour groups. It is the gathering spot for our air cadet groups.  It is the work table for those of us who volunteer in the Library.  It is the work table for those who come to do some research.  It is indeed a special spot!     In my next post, I'll introduce you to some Read more...
    Have you had the good fortune to spend time in our Museum Library?  It has quite the history: "The Air Force Indoctrination School (AFIS) opened at CFB Comox in 1982 to give CanadianForces (CF) officers and non-commissioned members serving their first tour on an air base a sound introduction to air force operations, history and heritage. Being a school, particularly in the time before the Internet, a library was a ne- cessity to provide students with appropriate reference material. When AFIS moved to Building 11 in 1986, the Library, still small, was located upstairs in the student lounge. The Comox Air Force Museum (CAFM), founded in 1982 as a small collection of artefacts in Building 22, also moved to Building 11 in 1986, developed greatly and was accredited as a CF Museum in September 1987. In October 1994, CAFM acquired a large collection of over 2500 books, thousands of photographs, hundreds of periodicals, dozens of aircraft models and many military artefacts from the estate of the late Geoffrey Rowe of Victoria. This magnificent gift became known as the Geoffrey Rowe Collection – the donation was recognized by the official naming of the room as the Geoffrey Rowe Memorial Library in June 1995. When AFIS closed in 1996, the library material not transferred to Winnipeg, and all of the Geoffrey Rowe Collection, became part of CAFM. The Library moved to its current location on the north side of the ground floor of Building 11 in October 2003 after the Totem Times, Read more...
    Date: November 12, 2017 Category: Community Outreach, Member Info, News & Events, Posts
    [caption id="attachment_6413" align="alignleft" width="100"] JON AMBLER[/caption] On Friday, our Volunteer Coordinator and Museum Programme Manager, Jon Ambler, travelled to CARIHI Secondary School in Campbell River at the invitation of the staff to speak to the students at their Remembrance Day Assembly.  A former Wing Commander and veteran, Jon reminded them of hard won freedoms, but also of their responsibilities.  He set these within the school's Remembrance Day theme: Our National Anthem.  I'm sharing a section of his presentation here with you in the hopes that when you next hear and sing our National anthem, you'll think a little more deeply about our country... that you will not only be reminded of times past, but also of times present... and that as adults, that you might share these thoughts with the young people in your lives...   "... it is my privilege to join you today as we gather, as Canadians, to remember, in this 150th year of our confederation. I appreciate the effort that has gone into creating this remembrance event: you are showing respect, which I, as a veteran, and on behalf of veterans, very much appreciate. I also like the idea of framing our comments with reference to our National Anthem, and for me, and it’s no surprise, the central words are: “Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee.” But what is Canada? What makes us Canadians? It is not simply a matter of living in the geographic area called Canada, or talking about hockey, or complaining about the weather, or Read more...
    Canada’s first Remembrance Day service was held on November 11th, 1919, at 11 o’clock.  It began as a way to honour those people who had given their lives in World War I, more than 65,000 of them.  A minute of silence across the country marked the end of the war exactly one year before, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.  Originally called Armistice Day, the name was officially changed to Remembrance Day in 1931. Although people believed that war on such a huge scale could never happen again, WWII broke out in Europe in 1939 and lasted until 1945.  Remembrance Days in Canada added to their honour roll more than one million Canadians who served in WWII.  Some came home safely, but many died at Dieppe and other battlegrounds far from home.  Others were lost in the skies and at sea. At this time, we also honour the nurses who comforted and healed the wounded… the farm, factory, and office workers who did their part in the war effort… the families who scrimped on food and skimped on fuel, and went without luxuries so that soldiers would be better clothed and fed… the wives and mothers who packed parcels for loved ones overseas ( hand-knitted socks, chocolate bars, letters… )… those who opened their doors to the awful news that a brother, a son, or a husband was missing in action, or had been killed… But the Second World War wasn’t the last.  From Read more...
    Our Heritage Air Park will close for the winter season, effective Wednesday, November 15th.  The Heritage Stones will be covered in their "winter blankets" at this time as well; if you have any questions about the stones, please visit the Museum for help. Also available in the Museum's Library are two photo albums showing the aircraft and vehicles that belong to our Museum; please come in for a look to learn more about them!  
  • VETERANS’ WEEK ~ NOVEMBER 5th – 11th, 2017
    Each year, in November, many special events take place to commemorate Veterans’ Week (November 5th to 11th) as well as Remembrance Day.  This is a time to honour the courage, sacrifice, and service given by so many Canadians over the years.  Our veterans could be our grandfathers, our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, our sisters, our neighbours… We can remember and honour our Veterans, past and present, by: wearing a poppy, attending local Remembrance Day ceremonies, thanking a veteran by sending a “postcard for peace”, teaching our children about Remembrance Day, reading a “remembrance newspaper” written especially for school children Kindergarten – Grade 7 and up, talking with a relative or friend who serves or served with the Canadian Armed Forces, viewing “Heroes Remember” videos, planting a “Garden of Remembrance”.   Specific information about these activities can be found on the Veterans Affairs website.  In addition, you can buy a poppy in our Gift Shop when you come for a visit, and also, you can go to our Heritage Air Park to see the Heritage Stones that honour loved ones’ service.  
    Date: November 3, 2017 Category: Community Outreach, Links, News & Events, Posts
      The Memorial (Silver) Cross was first authorized on December 1, 1919.  It was meant as a reminder of personal loss and sacrifice on the part of widows and mothers of Canadian servicemen who died while on active duty. The National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother is selected annually by the Legion, from the nominations submitted by Legion Provincial Commands as well as individuals.  The Silver Cross Mother chosen represents the mothers of Canada at the National Remembrance Day Ceremony in Ottawa.  At this ceremony, the Silver Cross Mother places a wreath at the base of the National War Memorial on behalf of all those mothers who have lost children in the military service of Canada.  Her tenure begins on November 1st and throughout the year, the Silver Cross Mother carries out other official duties as required.  This year, Mrs. Diana Abel has been named the National Silver Cross Mother.  
    Date: November 1, 2017 Category: News & Events
    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 share this month's edition with you! And this month, we'd like to give a special shout out to Al and Carol!  We know they check out this monthly series, and we so appreciate that they gave permission to share the collection with all of you!       [caption id="attachment_9612" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] OH, OH, PER TIME AGAIN...[/caption]     [caption id="attachment_9611" align="aligncenter" width="864"] O DECIDEDLY A 3 POINT LANDING[/caption]
    Date: October 29, 2017 Category: News & Events, Posts
    When Britain went to war in Europe, August 1914, Canada (a member of the British Empire) found itself at war too.  WWI  at that time was a stalemate of fighting in the trenches along the Western Front, a heavily defended 1000 kilometre long network of trenches stretching across Belgium and northern France; this stretched from the English Channel to the border of Switzerland.  On one side – France and Britain (along with their allies, including Canada).  On the other – Germany.  Separating them – “No Man’s Land”, containing the “refuse” of war: barbed wire, craters from artillery and mortar shells, sometimes the wounded caught in the space…   [caption id="attachment_9563" align="aligncenter" width="659"] NO MAN'S LAND FLANDERS FIELD[/caption]   In the fall of 1917, the Canadian Corps was sent to Belgium.  The purpose was to relieve the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) forces as well as to participate in the final push to capture Passchendaele.  The commander of the Corps, Lieutenant-General Arthur Currie, was shocked by the conditions of the terrain.  The mud, flat terrain, and lack of preparation time, along with the lack of artillery support, would make this battlefield far different than the one the Canadians had encountered previously at Vimy Ridge. Though he tried to avoid having the Corps fight there, Currie was overruled.  He prepared as carefully as he could and the offensive began on October 26th, 1917.  Advancing through the mud and enemy fire was extremely slow; there were heavy losses as the soldiers Read more...
    Date: October 25, 2017 Category: Links, News & Events, Posts
    THE VICTORIA CROSS   The Victoria Cross, founded by Queen Victoria was created in 1854.  The first recipient was in 1857 for bravery in the Crimea War against Russia. Since its inception, only 1358 Victoria Cross medals have been struck.  A single company of jewelers, Hancock of London, has been responsible for the production of every Victoria Cross.  Because of its rarity, the VC (Victoria Cross) is highly prized and the medal has fetched over 400,000 UK pounds at auction. Since 1987, the private collection of UK Lord Ashcroft amassed more than one-tenth of all VC medals issued.  He recently donated his entire collection to London's Imperial War Museum.  It is reported that Lord Ashcroft paid 1.5 million for the VC of Captain Noel Chavasse, Medical Corps, a medical doctor.  He is only one of three people who were awarded the VC medal twice for bravery on the battlefield. Of the 1358 VC medals issued, only one has been awarded to a woman.  This was Elizabeth Webber Harris.  Her bravery astounded the entire regiment.  She remains the only woman to receive the Victoria Cross.  It was given to her for her work in India.  In 1869 a cholera epidemic broke out.  Hundreds died.  Elizabeth, a nurse, was credited with saving many of the British and Indian soldiers that she was assigned to, risking her own life with this very infectious disease.   [caption id="attachment_9569" align="aligncenter" width="594"] ELIZABETH WEBBER HARRIS IS THE ONLY WOMAN TO RECEIVE THE VICTORIA CROSS[/caption]   A Read more...
    Date: October 22, 2017 Category: Collections, Links, News & Events, Posts
      This is another of 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.  We hope that you'll enjoy these two:   [caption id="attachment_9516" align="aligncenter" width="573"] WHEN A BEAU GOES IN[/caption]         [caption id="attachment_9515" align="aligncenter" width="652"] THE SQUADRON RE-UNION[/caption]
    Date: October 20, 2017 Category: Collections, Exhibits, Links, News & Events, Posts
      In 1995, a woman donated a Queen Alexandra Nursing Sister's uniform, medical equipment, medals, badges, autograph book, photographs, and a 1930s era obstetrical nursing book.  The donor didn't have much information, explaining that they were given to her family when she was a child, by a woman guest in their Black Creek home.  the uniform and artifact had been used by the family's children as costumes.  The donations are now incorporated into our WWI Nursing Sister display.       One of our former volunteers, Corrine, explains the process of updating the display and the discoveries made during that time ~ "The process of updating the display with a new state of the art "personnequin" with realistic features and posable hands, tweaked our curiosity about the items used to dress our nurse.  With the help of Allison Hetman, Mel Birnie, Brian O'Cain, and Robert Lesage, we did some detective work and came up with some basic facts that raise yet more questions.   Informally known as Nurse Violet, the original owner of the uniform and artifact was a woman named Jean McPherson, born in Orangeville, Ontario on July 5th, 1886.  Jean's records contained no information on her parents, so it proved difficult to find any relatives.  Military documents indicated that she had her medical for the Canadian Medical Service on September 8th, 1916, and her unit at that time was listed as the Queen Alexandra Imperial Nursing Service (QAIMS).  She sailed from Montreal on the SS Scandinavian on October Read more...
    Date: October 15, 2017 Category: Collections, News & Events, Posts
    The Royal Air Force Victory Bell was created for the R.A.F. Benevolent Fund.  Its purpose was to raise money to help serving and former members of the R.A.F. and families, as well as to assist in the upkeep of the R.A.F. Memorial.  The RAF Benevolent Fund was founded in 1919 after WWI; it continues to be a registered charity and receives no government assistance.   [caption id="attachment_9547" align="alignleft" width="232"] RAF WAR MEMORIAL[/caption]   Conrad Parlanti was the designer of the Bell.  Conrad Parlanti was born in London in 1903 to his father Ercole Parlanti, who was a prominent bronze artist. Ercole was commissioned to cast his most famous work, the casting of the RAF War Memorial, which is located on the embankment of the River Thames.         The Bells were cast in 1946 from aluminum taken from German aircraft shot down over London during the London “Blitz. The Bells have images of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin. Some of the first Bells were auctioned by Chesney Allen of the WWII famous entertainers “Flanagan & Allen”.  During the London “Blitz”, Flanagan & Allen, who were radio and vaudeville entertainers, would visit the air raid shelters and the underground railway stations that were used as air raid shelters to entertain the people. The auction took place at the first Battle of Britain dinner held at the Hungarian Restaurant in London, shortly after D-Day. As much as 1200 pounds was paid for the first few Bells that evening. Here at the Comox Read more...
    Date: October 5, 2017 Category: Aircraft, Collections, Links, News & Events, Photo Archives, 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 share this month's edition with you!             [caption id="attachment_9513" align="aligncenter" width="1629"] MEMORIES[/caption]       [caption id="attachment_9514" align="aligncenter" width="1345"] MR. RICHARDSON ANNOUNCES NEW AIR COMMAND[/caption]
    Date: October 2, 2017 Category: Exhibits, News & Events, Posts
    Seventy years ago a carrier pigeon performed the act of “heroism” that saw it awarded the animal's equivalent of the the highest award, the Victoria Cross – the Dickin Medal. It was the first of dozens of animals honoured by the veterinary charity P.D.S.A during WW2. On 23 February  1942, a badly damaged RAF bomber ditched into the cold North Sea. The crew were returning from a mission over Norway, but their Beaufort Bomber had been hit several times and crashed into the sea more than 100 miles from home. Struggling in freezing waters – unable to radio an accurate position back to base – the men faced a cold and lonely death. But as the aircraft sank, the crew had managed to salvage their secret weapon – a carrier pigeon.  The blue chequered hen named Winkie, was set free in the hope it could fly home to its base near Dundee in Scotland, and so alert the airbase colleagues to their predicament. During World War 2, carrier pigeons were routinely carried by RAF bombers for this very real danger, though in an era prior to GPS and Satellite Beacons, rescue was far from certain. But Winkie did make it home, after flying 120 miles, and was discovered, exhausted and covered in oil from taking rests at sea. The pigeon did not carry any message, but the RAF were able to determine the probable location of the downed aircraft. A rescue mission was launched and in a short time the crew were located and they were recovered by the Read more...
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