Currie Barracks underwent rapid expansion during the Korean War as the facility transformed into a major military centre. The Headquarters Calgary Garrison was formed on 26 October 26 1950 to coordinate the administration of army units stationed at Currie Barracks.
With the closure of RCAF Station Lincoln Park, the buildings, the hangars to the north and south of the airfield and the Lincoln Park PMQs all became part of Currie Barracks.
As a result of the Unification in 1968, Sarcee Barracks and Currie Barracks were merged into one base to become Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Calgary, although the names Sarcee and Currie continued to be used. Also in 1968, 1 Service Battalion was formed. In later years, CFB Calgary would become home to No. 10 Personnel Depot and 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (1 CMBG), consisting of 1 Service Battalion, 1 Field Ambulance, 1 Military Police Platoon, Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadian Armoured Corps), the Regional Equipment Depot and 1 Canadian Brigade Group Headquarters and Signals Unit.
1 PPCLI returned to Currie Barracks in 1970.
In the mid 1990s, a reorganization and consolidation occurred within the Canadian Military. Several bases were either downsized, merged or closed and as a result, CFB Calgary closed on 21 June 1997. 1 CMBG relocated to CFB Edmonton's Grieshbach Barracks.
Area Support Unit Calgary was established on a small section of the former Currie Barracks , with a complement of of 26 Regular Force personnel, to provide the local Reserve, Cadet and remaining Regular Force units with administrative and logistical support. A new armoury was built to house the remaining Regular Force sections that made Area Support Unit Calgary.
Also remaining at Currie were 41 Canadian Brigade Group Headquarters (41 CBG HQ), who occupied the former PPCLI building, the LGen The Honorable Stanley Waters Building, and The Museum of the Regiments, who maintain the Army's link to Currie Barracks.
Due to DND budget reductions, ASU Calgary disbanded in March 2013, ending almost 16 years of service. Taking over ASU Calgary's functions were 1 Area Support Group in Edmonton and locally by 41 Service Battalion in Calgary.
Canadian Forces Base Edmonton - Penhold Detachment:
Originally established 11 miles southeast of Red Deer, Alberta in 1940 as a RCAF Manning Depot.
The Royal Air Force took over the property and formed No. 36 Service Flying Training School on 28 September 1941 as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Relief Landing Fields were constructed near Inisifail & Blackfalds. The station consisted of 7 hangars and 31 other buildings including barracks, service buildings, administrative buildings and six hard surfaced runways.
The station was returned to the RCAF closed on 3 November 1944. Only a small RCAF Signals Unit remained.
The station was taken over by the Department of Transport and many of the buildings were demolished or moved off site. Surplus Lancaster bombers were storein the hangars to await disposal.
The post-war growth of the RCAF resulted in many WWII stations being re-activated, along with RCAF Detachment Innisfail. The station re-opened in late 1951 as RCAF Station Penhold and became home to No. 4 Flying Training School, a NATO Flying Training School. Several new buildings were constructed, including 243 private married quarters, collectively called Mynarski Park, in memory of Andrew Mynarski, VC, the Second World War air gunner who had lost his life trying to rescue his crewmate in a burning Lancaster. In the early 1960s, additional married quarters were built in Red Deer in a complex known as Vista Village.
The first NATO trainees arrived from Calgary in May 1953, consisting of 22 RCAF trainees, 10 Royal Air Force, 6 French Air Force, 7 Italians and 5 Royal Netherlands Air Force.
The base school was dedicated as Andersons of Craigmyle School in memory of three Red Deer brothers who died in active service with the RCAF, also during the Second World War. A curling rink was built in 1958, a new and larger control tower in 1961 and a new outdoor swimming pool in 1964.
The NATO flying training program ended in the spring of 1959, but air training with the Harvards continued until 1965 primarily for the RCAF but also for the Royal Canadian Navy and pilots from around the world.
By the late 1950s, the threat of a nuclear war had become so great that the Canadian government decided to construct a secret underground bunker to house the major elements of the government in the event of an emergency. Most Provincial Governments followed suit by building their own bunkers. The Alberta Government chose RCAF Station Penhold for the site of their bunker, staffed by 743 Communication Squadron and also housing the Provincial Warning Centre. A 77,000 square foot bunker was secretly constructed at the station and opened in 1964.
All Government bunkers had a remote communications bunker, located some distance away. This second bunker, usually a single story structure, was staffed exclusively by communications personnel. Penhold's remote communications bunker (17,000 square feet) was constructed several miles south of the station.
43 Radar Squadron opened a Pinetree radar long-range station in February 1964 at a site 14 miles east of RCAF Station Penhold, who provided support to the facility. The squadron had actually opened 2 years earlier and operated out of a hangar at Penhod until the new site opened. Most radar personnel lived at the newly constructed Vista Village PMQ area in Red Deer until the mid 1970s.
In May 1965, flying operations ceased at RCAF Station Penhold and Air Defence Command assumed control of the Station. Penhold's airfield was taken over by the city of Red Deer in 1965 and operated as the Red Deer Reginal Airport, remaining so today.
In the summer of 1966, Regional Air Cadet Glider Training School opened at Penhold. Flying training was conducted at both Penhold and the former RCAF Detachment Innisfail.
As a result of the Unification, the Station was re-named CFB Penhold in 1966.
By 1973, the CF Junior Leadership School and the FPS-27 Radar School had opened at the base. The schools remained at the base until disbanded on 23 June 1986.
In the early 1980s, the Air Cadet School began making use again of the former RCAF Detachment Netook as an alternate airfield to the Gliding School at Innisfail. By 1986, the Gliding School moved permanently to Netook.
In 1985, DND announced that the Pinetree Line would be shut down as a part of the North American Air Defence Modernization Plan. Radar equipment at many Canadian Forces Stations was replaced with a new automated system. As a result of this and overall reductions in Canada's Air Force, 43 Radar Squadron disbanded on 1 August 1986 and the radar site was closed.
CFB Penhold was downsized to a Detachment of CFB Edmonton in 1990.
In June 1994, the Air Force Junior Leadership School re-located to CFB Borden and was re-named the Air Command Professional Development Training Centre.
In the mid 1990s, a reorganization and consolidation occurred within the Canadian Military. Several bases were either downsized, merged or closed and as a result, Detachment Penhold closed in 1995. The former base is now the community of Harvard Park.
The communications facility was automated and the personnel responsible for running it were transferred to CFB Edmonton. The bunker was closed in 1993 and sold to a private developer in 1995, only to be bought back by the Federal Government and demolished in June 2001 after it was rumoured that a chapter of the Hells Angels was an expressing interest in aquiring it.
The airfield is now the Red Deer Regional Airport. Most of the original buildings remain in use, including all six hangars, the combined mess, several barracks the firehall, the transportations building and the PMQ homes. The former Penhold School however, now sits vacant.
Although no longer military establishment, the military have not completely abandoned Penhold. A portion of the former base was sectioned off and functions as the Penhold Cadet Summer Training Centre. With a permanent staff of 114 members, the centre carries on the tradition of training airmen and women at Penhold. The former base headquarters building is used by the cadet school.
It is noteworthy that last RCAF Harvard to be flown in an operational mission flew at the Penhold base. It was later given to the Red Deer Flying Club for restoration and maintenance and is currently mounted at the entrance to the Red Deer Regional Airport.
Nothing remains at either the radar site nor the remote communications bunker site.
All that remains of RCAF Detachment Blackfalds is one hangar.
Source Material: DND press releases from May 1989 &
February 1994, the Air Cadets Glider Training web site -
http://www.mts.net/~rgspra/hist.html, "Bunkers, Bunkers Everywhere" by
Paul Ozorak, information supplied by Janet Mawson, local resident of
Penhold, Alberta (2001), Sea, Army & Air Cadets web page -
http://www.cadets.dnd.ca/intro_e.asp, information provided by the
Innisfail Flying Club (2004), information provided by, Judy Carleton,
President of the Blackfalds Historical Society (2005), the personal
recollections of the author (2004), the Pinetree Line web site -
www.pinetreeline.org & "Sentinel" Magazine from April 1968.
No. 5 Elementary Flying Training School (Lethbridge) & No. 8
Bombing & Gunnery School:
Opened at the Kenyon Field Airport near Lethbridge in 1940 as No. 5
EFTS, a part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The school
operated from the aerodrome at Lethbridge until it re-located to High
River in 1941.
In its place, No. 8 B&GS opened on 13 October 1941 to train
air bombers and air gunners. By the time the school closed in 1944,
over 1600 students had graduated.
The aerodrome reverted back to a civilian airport and is now the
Lethbridge County Airport. A new terminal building opened on 19 October
1979, replacing the former RCAF mess which acted as the terminal.
All that remains of the former school are the four World War
era II hangars and the mess hall, now occupied by 702 Wing of the Royal
Canadian Air Force Association. SRI Homes occupies one of the WWII-era
hangars, while Triple M Housing occupies the other three hangers. Only
runways 05-23 and 12-30 remain active.
The 18th Air Defence Regiment occupies what appears to be the
former drill hall, now known as the Vimy Ridge Armoury.
Source Material: information supplied by The Sir Alexander
Gault Museum & Archives (2002), information supplied by Scott
Butchart, Lethbridbge County Airport (2004) & the "Wings Over
Alberta" web site -
information supplied by Norm Lund, local resident of High River (2001),
"Wings For Victory - The Story of the British Commonwealth Air Training
Plan in Canada", by Spencer Dunmore, information supplied by The Sir
Alexander Gault Museum & Archives (2002), the personal recollections
of the author (2004) & "Canada Flight Supplement 1999"
No. 130 Non-Permanent Active Militia Training Centre / No. A-20
Royal Canadian Army Service Corps Advanced Training Centre:
Opened in 1940 east of Red Deer as No. 130 Non-Permanent Active
Militia Training Centre.
On 15 February 1941, the camp became No. A-20 Royal Canadian
Army Service Corps Advanced Training Centre. The Camp closed in 1945.
The camp then became No. 8 Canadian Vocational Training Centre,
which was charged with the purpose of providing training opportunities
for returning veterans. The 78th Field Battery, a sub-unit of the 20th
Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (Militia), took over part of
the former camp. As well, both the Red Deer Public and Separate School
Boards have operated schools at the site. The old barrack blocks were
incorporated into the Lindsay Thurber High School.
Several of the camp's other buildings remain, including the old drill
hall, now occupied by the 78th Field Battery and 749 Communications
Squadron, and the transportation & maintenance hangars, now the
Central Alberta Theatre and the Red Deer Public School Maintenance
Source Material: Royal Canadian Legion "Fort York News" from
August 2000, the personal recollections of the author (2004) & the
Archives Alberta web site - http://asalive.archivesalberta.org:8080/.
Netook Gliding Centre:
(Author's note: although Netook does not have a permanent,
year round presence, I have placed it in this category as the property
is owned by the Air Cadet League.)
Opened as a Relief Landing Field for No. 32 EFTS at Bowden,
where student pilots used turf runways for flying training. RCAF
Detachment Netook closed in 1944 along with No. 32 EFTS.
In the early 1980s, the Air Force made a return of sorts to the
former RCAF Detachment Netook when the Royal Canadian Air Cadets began
using the site as an alternate airfield to the Gliding School at
By 1986, the Gliding School moved permanently to Netook where
the Netook Gliding Centre carries on the tradition of training airmen
and women of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. In 1990, the Air Cadet
League bought the Netook Airfield, cementing the return of the Air Force
Besides the grass airfield, all that remains of the WWII school today is
one shed/hangar, currently used as an office and storage building for
the air cadets. A new steel sided hanger also sits on the property.
Source Material: Netook Air Cadet Gliding Centre web site -
http://www.cadets.net/pra/netookgc, the "Wings Over Alberta" web site -
For Victory - The Story of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in
Canada", by Spencer Dunmore & the personal recollections of the