Totem Times

Over 60 years of 19 Wing history

From Totem Times Newspaper article September 2023:

Over 60 years of 19 Wing history now available
to the public

The Totem Times has been published since 1960, capturing the stories of personnel, operations, aircraft, and the social aspect of our military community, and now that history is available to anyone with a connection to the world wide web!

The Comox Air Force Museum (CAFM) has launched a digitization project, thanks to the diligent efforts of volunteers Lloyd Smith and Ted Usher.

“The museum often receives research requests from the public concerning the items of interest that would not be in reference books, technical manuals, or official reports,” explains Llyod. “The Totem Times is an outstanding resource for this type of information, but the paper archives are not easily accessible.”

Ted and Lloyd put their heads together to develop a solution.

“CAFM purchased an overhead scanner to facilitate the huge effort of digitizing all available editions,” explains Ted. “The outcome is a file that has a search feature, and the public can access the files from the museum website.”

The pair of history buffs are uniquely qualified to undertake such an expensive project – they have spent their lives in the military community. 

“Working on back issues of the Totem Times has been a trip down a historical memory lane for me,” says Ted. “Looking at past articles of the many changes in the CAF over several decades has been fascinating, thought provoking, and in some cases, sad.”

Lloyd echoes that sentiment.

“For me, the project has been very satisfying. It is helping people connect with their past. I personally enjoyed watching how RCAF Station Comox changed over the years. How the community in the valley changed, and how social values changed. It documents 60 years of progress.”

Each note that the local advertisements for goods and services and the cost of things back in the 1970s and 80s, along with the introduction of technology in society, are most fascinating.

“It is fun to see things come and go. Aircraft. Clothing styles, appliances, businesses, it’s all so interesting,” Lloyd adds.

The project has already yielded positive results, aiding museum researchers and generating a lot of interest for the museum team.

“Now that the Totem Times are more widely available online this will be a great resource to family genealogy buffs and other historical researchers,” Ted notes.

“This project contributes substantially to our mission,” concludes Lloyd. “Whether online or in person, visit, learn, and remember.”

Totem Times editions available for download.

The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Comox Air Force Museum. Any content of the authors are of their view and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. Some years are missing editions. If you have hard copies of these missing editions please get in touch!

Please note these are searchable PDFs once you open the file. 

Thank you to our volunteers for making this project possible.