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Abandoned Bases - MANITOBA
Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg (South) - Kapyong Barracks
Opened prior to World War II as Fort Osborne Barracks, this was the home of The Lord Strathcona's Horse, the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (2 PPCLI) and C Battery of the Royal Canadian Horse Artillery. The barracks was originally situyated on a 90-hectare parcel of land, consisting of over 50 buildings and warehouses.
After the war, the newly formed Prairie Command Headquarters took up residence on site and by 1957, Fort Osborne's role was to provide support services for Army units under control of Prairie Command. Around 350 "permanent married quarters" were constucted for families posted to the base.
As a result of the Unification in 1968, Fort Osborne Barracks merged with RCAF Station Winnipeg to form CFB Winnipeg. The barracks were officially designated as CFB Winnipeg (South), although the name Fort Osborne Barracks remained in use. On 17 May 1973, Fort Osborne Barracks was re-named Kapyong Barracks, after the battle of Kapyong, fought by 2 PPCLI in Korea in 1951.
The 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regimemt was posted to Kapyong from 1984 - 1988.
As a result of massive cutbacks to the Department of National Defence, CFB Winnipeg's Kapyong Barracks began downsizing in the mid 1990s, leaving the base with only 65 hectares. Some of the PMQs were sold to civilians at that time.
The downsizing was only the beginning of the end for Kapyong Barracks, however. The withdrawl of the German Army and the closure of the German Army Training Establishment at nearby CFB Shilo in 2000 lead to the need to consolidate Defence assets in Manitoba. The Department of National Defence decided that it no longer needed to maintain two Army bases in such close proximity. As Kapyong Barracks had aging infastructure, was small in size and was now completely surrounded by development compared to CFB Shilo's newer facilites, remote location and larger size, it became obvious which base should close.
Kapyong Barracks closed in June 2004 and 2 PPCLI re-located to new facilities at CFB Shilo. A formal march-out ceremony and parde was held at the end of June 2004 to commemorate the men and women who served at Kapyong Barracks.
Recently, the abandoned Kapyong Barracks has been used as an urban "close quarter combat" training area for Winnipeg area milita troops.
Of the 350-plus PMQs, about two-thirds are still rented to soldiers and their families. Local politicians have been trying to convince Ottawa to rent out some of the vacant homes at Kapyong to low-income families or recent immigrants. However, the process of disposal at Kapyong has been paralyzed by red tape and a First Nations land claim.
The former base was to have been turned over to the Canada Lands Corporation for
disposal, but in 2007, the Treaty 1 bands asked federal court to block the transfer of
Kapyong to the Canada Lands Company, which was to organize its sale.
By 2012, the fate of Kapyong was still in legal limbo, with the courts having ruled in favour of the First Nations complainants. There are obvious signs of deterioration on the 90-hectare site, including mould and peeling lead paint inside some the vacant buildings, water in the basement of at least one building and hundreds of squirrel holes outside.
Source material: "The Maple Leaf" Vol 4, Nov 15 2001, DND press release from May 1989, "Sentinel" Magazine from June 1973, pg. 27, Legion Magazine January - February 2005, "The Maple Leaf" Vol 4, April 26, 2006, the Winnipeg Sun: http://www.winnipegsun.com/news/manitoba/2010/06/21/14470161.html, Te Winnipeg Free Press from 2 April 2009, CBC web site - http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2012/09/17/mb-kapyong-barracks-tour.html, & the personal recollections of the author (2003).
Canadian Forces Base Rivers:
Originally opened as RCAF Station Rivers in May 1942 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan when No. 1 Air Navigation School (No. 1 ANS) re-located to Rivers from RCAF Station Trenton, becoming No. 1 Central Navigation School (No. 1 CNS). As the war progressed, Rivers also became a training centre for Army pilots and flying instructors from the Army, RCN and RCAF. Additionally, the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals and the Air Dispatch School made Rivers their home.
By the time No. 1 CNS disbanded in August 1945, No. 1 ANS and No. 1 CNS had trained a combined total of 11, 406 Commonwealth navigators.
RCAF Station Rivers would remain open after the war, becoming part of the post-war RCAF. Several new units began operations at Rivers in 1947, including the Parachute School. The Canadian Parachute Training Centre, originally established at Camp Shilo in 1942, merged with the Airborne School of the Canadian Joint Air Training Centre and re-located to RCAF Station Rivers, making the station Canada's main para-training centre.
Also in 1947, the Army Aviation Tactical Training School was established at Rivers to provide pilot training to Army aviators, as well as helicopter instructor training for the Army, RCN and RCAF. No. 6 Signal Regiment, Royal Canadian Corps of Signals and the Air Support Signals Unit provided communications duties at Rivers. 444 Air Observation Post Squadron was formed on 1 October 1947, but had a brief stay at the station as it disbanded 1 April 1949.
In 1948, the Joint Air Photo Interpretation School opened at RCAF Station Rivers. The school closed in 1960 and its personnel merged with the Air Photo Interpretation Centre at RCAF Station Rockcliffe, who became fully responsible for training photo-interpreters.
The Basic Helicopter Training Unit (BHTU) was established at RCAF Station Rivers in August 1953, initially to train RCAF pilots, but by 1956, Army helicopter pilots were also training at Rivers at the Army Air Tactical Training School (AATTS). After the closure of the helicopter school at RCN Air Station HMCS Shearwater, the Royal Canadian Navy began sending trainees to Rivers as well, making the BHTU the first tri-service flying training unit in Canada.
In 1956, with the Royal Canadian Navy having recently aquired its first fighter jet, the F2H3 Banshee, pilots from VF 870 and VF 871 Squadrons were also sent to Rivers for training. The RCN training program at Rivers continued until the disbandment of VF 871 Squadron in 1962.
The first helicopter employed by military forces in Canada was the RCAF's Sikorsky H-5 (S-51) in 1947. RCAF Station Rivers used the H-5 as a rotary wing trainer, but it was also used by the Royal Canadian Air Force in search and rescue roles.
In December 1963, No. 1 Transport Helicopter Platoon (No. 1 THP), a unit of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps, was established at RCAF Station Rivers, along with their fleet of CH-113A Voyageur transport helicopters and one CH-112 Nomad. The platoon's function was to support the Army on field exercises. No. 1 THP moved to RCAF Station St. Hubert in 1966, but also established a detachment at RCAF Station Namao. In 1968, No. 1 THP was re-designated 450 (Heavy Transport) Helicopter Squadron.
408 Tactical Fighter Squadron, whose primary functions were reconnaissance and weapons delivery, moved to Rivers in 1964 from RCAF Station Rockcliffe, and remained until disbanded on 1 April 1970.
As a result of the Unification, RCAF Station Rivers was re-named CFB Rivers.
The Canadian Airborne Regiment was formed at Rivers in I968. With the coming of the Canadair CF-5 Freedom Fighter into service, the runways at Rivers proved to be too short to handle the new jet. No. 4 Fighter Training School (formerly the BHTU and the AATTS) re-located to CFB Portage La Prairie in July 1970 and the Canadian Parachute Training Centre moved to CFB Edmonton, precipitating the eventual demise of the base itself.
CFB Rivers was declared surplus to defence needs and as a result, the station closed in September 1971.
In September 1972, the land was turned over to the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development for use as an industrial training centre for Manitoba Indians, the Oo-Za-We-Kwun Centre. The Rivers Gliding School, a summer Air Cadet glider camp opened at the former base in 1974, remaining until 1984, when it re-located to CFB Gimli.
The Oo-Za-We-Kwun Centre closed in 1980 and the land was sold by the Federal Government. Larry and Bonnie Friesen opened Hangar Farms Ltd. at this site in 1988, later changed to Aero Farms.
In 2010, Aero Farms owner Larry Friesen died when he about 21 feet to his death while working on a roof of a hangar
building. The hog operation ceased in 2011 and the site now sits vacant, with the remaining buildings rapidly crumbling.
Only small parts of the old air station remain today including old supply buildings, two Second World War era hangars, a 1950s era arch-style hangar, power plant, fire hall, some two-story H-huts, ruins of the messes and five permanent married quarters. The entire airfield remains although a reservoir sits across one of the runways. Although listed as an abandoned airfield, the runways continued to see ooccasional use by crop dusting airplanes and drift racing practice groups for many years.
In the early 1990s, the RCAF returned to Rivers with the help of some movie magic in the film "For The Moment", a film about an Australian pilot who comes to Manitoba to train under the BCATP, starring Russell Crowe. While most of the movie was filmed at the Brandon Airport, scenes of the actors standing outside their barracks were filmed at Rivers, requiring a fresh coat of green paint to be applied to the old buildings.
Source Material: Sentinel Magazine March 1966, pg 1, March 1967, pg 1, April 1967, pg 14, April 1968, January 1967, April 1970, pg **, 1972 & April 1973, pg 28, the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan site - http://www.ualberta.ca/EDMONTON/CONTRIB/airmuseum/aambcatp.html, Communications, the personal recollections of Colonel J.C. Forsyth, OBStJ, CD, Honorary Colonel, Royal Hamilton Light Infantry - 1993-2007 (1999) & Electronics Museum site - www.c-and-e-museum.org, the Air Cadets Glider Training web site - http://www.mts.net/~rgspra/hist.html, information supplied by Michael Turnbull, Chief Constable, Rivers Police (1999), 450 Squadron web page - www.totavia.com/terry/cyow/uplands/450sqn.htm, The Town of Rivers web sites - http://www.techplus.com/rivers, http://www.townofrivers.mb.ca/history.htm#history, History of the 400 Series Squadrons - http://www.airforce.dnd.ca/airforce/eng/history_400s/rcafsqns.htm & Canada's Air Force At War & Peace Vol 3- by Larry Mulberry, information supplied by Larry Friesen, Owner, Hanger Farms Inc. (2003), Canadian Forces Air Navigation School history - www.cfans.com, the CF Intelligence Branch web site - http://www.intbranch.org/inthist.htm, The Brandon Sun - http://www.brandonsun.com & the personal recollections of the author (2003).
Royal Canadian Air Force Station Portage La Prairie - MacDonald Detachment:
Opened on 10 March 1941 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan as No. 3 Bombing & Gunnery School. The station featured the usual ammenities of a RCAF base, including H-hut barracks, mess halls, a recreation centre and a base theatre
The school and the station closed on 17 February 1945.
The post-war expansion of the RCAF resulted in several WWII aerodromes being re-activated. Royal Canadian Air Force Station MacDonald re-opened in 1951 as the home of No. 4 Advanced Flying School and No. 1 Air Gunnery School, but was re-designated 2 years later as No. 1 Pilot Weapons School until 1954. The school utilized the North American Harvard Mk.II and North American P-51 Mustang aircraft for air-to-air gunnery and air-to-ground rocket training.
No. 2 Advanced Flying School (No. 2 AFS) was established to train RCAF and NATO pilots, first setting up operations at RCAF Station MacDonald on a temporary basis, then re-locating to Portage La Prairie in October 1952. However, RCAF Station MacDonald's re-birth would be short lived.
Married quarters were added for station personnel and their families. They were simple two unit metal affairs with no basements. As these were small in number, a system of points were used to access them.
RCAF Station MacDonald closed on 31 May 1959 and storage depot for Air Maintenance Command was established at the former station. RCAF Station Portage La Prairie assumed responsibility for the Detachment, which continued operating until 30 November 1963 when the Depot closed. The property was turned over to the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation who sold the property for farming.
From 1965-1970, the abandoned runways were used as a racetrack for sports car and motorcycle racing.
Since 1972, the former aerodrome has been "Airport Colony Farms", a grain and livestock farm run by a "Hutterite Colony", a German speaking Christian religious sect.
Today, some of the PMQs remain, as do assorted buildings like the old recreation building, the maintenance building, transportation buildings, gunnery backstop and one of the hangars, although it is scheduled to be torn down sometime in the future. Most of the airfield was ploughed under for crops long ago, but a portion of the taxi-way and the outline of a small section of the lower runway remains visible.
Source Material: "Sentinel" Magazine June 1986. Pg 6-9, the personal recollections of Harry Palmer, Photographer (2001), "Portage La Prairie - Fifty Years of Flying Training: 1940-1990" by Major Gordon Greavette, CD, information supplied by Airport Colony Farms, Ltd (2003), Grandville Island Publishing web site - http://www.granvilleislandpublishing.com/profile/sportscarracing/contents.shtm, Canadian Racer Web site - www.motorsportcentral.com & the personal recollections of the author (2003).
Canadian Forces Station Fort Churchill:
Originally established in 1 August 1943 south of the town of Fort Churchill as Naval Radio Station Fort Churchill, a radio station in Canada's National Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) organization. A second auxiliary location for was established for the station, but it sat unused as it was very difficult to access the site in winter.
The station's name changed to His Majesty's Canadian Naval Radio Station Fort Churchill in 1950, and later changed to simply Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Fort Churchill in July 1956. In additon to its SIGNET duties, the station was also a multi-force, multi-national arctic testing and training base.
Due to its remote nature, the station had its own airfield, with planes constantly coming and going up north to deliver large equipment for the construction of the DEW Line stations.
As a part of the Unification, the name was changed to Canadian Forces Station Fort Churchill, but this would be short-lived. In the early to mid 1960s, a reorganization and consolidation occurred within the Canadian Military. Several Army, Navy and RCAF bases were either downsized, merged or closed. As a result, CFS Fort Churchill closed in 1968.
Today Wat'chee Lodge, a vacation lodge teaching aboriginal culture, currently occupies the former station's little used auxiliary site.
Source Material: "Badges of the Canadian Navy" by LT (N) Graeme Arbuckle, Wat'chee Lodge web site - http://www.watcheelodge.mb.ca, http://www.creighton.edu/~hutchens/cr/cr020.html, the personal recollections of Ian MacPherson, former student worker at NRS Churchill (2004), the RCSigs web site - http://www.rcsigs.ca/ViewPage/History/Canadian-CESM-History/Page/7/ & Canada's National Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) organization web site - http://www.tscm.com/cse.html.
No. 19 Elementary Flying Training School:
Opened under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan on 16 May 1941 north of the Town of Virden. A Relief Landing Field was constructed near Lenore Hargrave, followed by a second near Lenore in the fall of 1943.
No. 19 EFTS closed on 15 December 1944, as did RCAF Detachments Hargrave and Lenore.
The former aerodrome later became home to 2 different manufacturing companies. First Walden Industries, a farm machinery manufacturer, set up a plant on the property. After Walden Industries closed, WedgCor Inc, a manufacturer of steel buildings and aviation hangars, purchased the land and opened their own plant. With the passing of the North American Free Trade Agreement, WedgCor closed their Virden plant. The hangar now sits abandoned.
Very little remains of the former school today. In addition to the sole remaining hangar, a quonset hut, the gunnery backstop and a samll, broken portion of the taxi-way also remain. The original airfield was abandoned and a new runway and hangar were constructed at the north end of the property in 1999. A new industrial park is slated to be build on the south-east section on the property.
All that remains of RCAF Detachment Lenore is the concrete base for the maintenance building (there was no hangar) and the roadway into Detachment. The airfield was ploughed under long ago for crops.
Source Material: information supplied by Clare Cawston, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 8, Virden, Manitoba (2001), "Wings For Victory - The Story of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada", by Spencer Dunmore, information supplied by Bob Andrew, Andrew Agencies, Virden Manitoba (2003), Town of Virden web site - http://www.virden-wallace.mb.ca/ed6.htm & the personal recollections of the author (2003).
No. 33 Service Flying Training School:
Opened near the town of Carberry on 26 December 1940 by the Royal Air Force under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, with Relief Landing Fields at Oberon and Petrel. No. 33 SFTS was one of the few double-sized training schools, with a double-sided airfield of six parallel runways. The school closed 17 November 1944, as did RCAF Detachments Petrel and Oberon.
Post-war, the aerodrome was used for a period as a military vehicle storage depot before the RCAF abandoned the station. The property was later sold to the Carberry Community Development Corporation.
From 1955-1957, the abandoned runways were used as a racetrack for sports car and motorcycle racing, afterwhich the runways fell into disuse.
Today former aerodrome is the site of McCain Foods Canada, and their world class potato processing plant. Some of the former school's buildings remain including one hangar, now incorporated into the current facility (the old control tower is now an office). The outline of the old runways remain, but a large part if it has been obliterated, with only small sections intact.
All that remains of RCAF Detachment Petrel are roadways, the hangar pad and two of the asphalt runways, though severely deteriorated. The remainder of the property is used for farming.
Nothing remains of RCAF Detachment Oberon.
Incidentally, one of Carberry's most famous former residents is first World War flying hero Wilfrid Reid "Wop" May, who was awarded a DFC for his service and had a part in shooting down the legendary World War I German pilot Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the infamous "Red Baron".
Source Material: Town of Carberry web site - http://www.townofcarberry.ca/War.htm, "Wings For Victory" by Spencer Dunmore, "Canada Flight Supplement 1999", the Midwest Foods Products Ltd web site - http://www.townofcarberry.ca/Midwest.htm, Grandville Island Publishing web site - http://www.granvilleislandpublishing.com/profile/sportscarracing/contents.shtm, Canadian Racer Web site - www.motorsportcentral.com & the personal recollections of the author (2003).
No. 35 Elementary Flying Training School (Neepawa) & No. 26 Elementary Flying Training School:
The aerodrome at Neepawa was originally opened by the Royal Air Force when No. 35 EFTS, originally founded in Moncton, re-located to Neepawa on 30 May 1942. A Relief Landing Field was built near the Village of Eden. No. 35 EFTS closed on 30 January 1944 and No. 26 EFTS stood up in its place, run by the RCAF. No. 26 would have a short life as it too closed on 25 August 1944. The aerodrome was then used as a storage depot until 1945, when the RCAF abandoned the site.
Today very little remains of the former school. One of the hangars, the drill hall, rifle range building and a small section of the maintenance building are the only remaining structures. The control tower was destroyed in a fire several years ago. Many of the buildings were torn down for material or moved following the closure of the school. Most of the property, including the hangar, is occupied by Prairie Forest Products. The remainder of the property is occupied by Provost Signs and Knight Upholstery.
The former station is now the Neepawa Airport, although the original runways were abandoned when a new 3510 foot runway was constructed in 1994. The Neepawa Flying Club uses this airfield.
At RCAF Detachment Eden, the abandoned airfield and the hangar, now covered in metal sheeting, are all that remain. The property is now used for farming.
Source Material: information supplied by Cecil Pittman, Historian, Neepawa, Manitoba (2002), "Wings For Victory" by Spencer Dunmore & the personal recollections of the author (2003).
No. 10 Service Flying Training School:
Opened under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan on 5 March 1941, four kilometers south of Dauphin, with Relief Landing Fields at North Junction & Valley River.
The school closed on 25 March 1945.
For several years, the abandoned runways were used as a racetrack for sports car and motorcycle racing.
The aerodrome was re-activated in the 1950s and is now the LCol W.G. (Billy) Barker, VC, Airport. Perimeter Airlines is the sole aviation tenant. Keystone Airlines used to operate out of the airport, but ceased several years ago, as did Purolator Courier, who still receive packages though Perimeter Airlines.
All that remains of the former school are the gunnery backstop and two of the WWII era hangars, but only one of the hangars remains in used for aviation. Two of the three original runways also remain in use, one expanded to 5000 feet.
RCAF Detachments North Junction & Valley River were abandoned after the war and no longer exist today.
Source Material: "Canada Flight Suplement 1999", "Wings For Victory - The Story of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada", by Spencer Dunmore, Grandville Island Publishing web site - http://www.granvilleislandpublishing.com/profile/sportscarracing/contents.shtm, information supplied by Gord Love, Dauphin Airport & Town of Dauphin web site - http://www.town.dauphin.mb.ca/NWRegion/wartime.html.
No. 12 Service Flying Training School:
Opened near Brandon on 10 May 1941 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, with relief landing fields at Chater and Douglas. The School consisted of five hangars and forty-two buildings.
The School closed on 30 March 1945, as did RCAF Detachment Douglas.
The aerodrome became the Brandon Airport on 1 June 1948. Only one of the original runways remains in use, expanded to 6500 feet.
Only two of the War II era hangars and three administration buildings remain today. The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum opened at the Brandon Airport in 1981 in one of the hangars. Four H-hut barracks were recently acquired and moved to the Brandon Airport. Future plans by museum staff include recreating part of the former flying school with vintage buildings; essentially a life-size diorama of the former No. 12 SFTS.
Other tenants at the airport are Maple Leaf Aviation and the Brandon Flying Club.
In the early 1990s, the RCAF returned to the Brandon Airport, with the help of some movie magic, in the movie "For The Moment", a film about an Australian pilot who comes to Manitoba to train under the BCATP, starring Russell Crowe. Some scenes were also filmed at the former CFB Rivers and RCAF Detachment Chater.
RCAF Detachment Douglas was abandoned at the end of WWII . The combined garage-control tower building remains today. Plans were made to re-located to Brandon to be used as a part of the BCATP Museum complex, but sadly, it is too deteriorated. A replica will be built at the museum site.
Source Material: The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum web site - www.airmuseum.ca, "Wings For Victory - The Story of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada", by Spencer Dunmore, information supplied by Stephen Hayter, Executive Director, British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum (2001-2010), "History of Canadian Airports" by T.M. McGrath, Canadian Racer Web site - www.motorsportcentral.com & the personal recollections of the author (2003).
Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Chater:
Opened in 1941 as the No. 1 Relief Landing Field for No. 12 Service Flying Training School at Brandon.
With the closure of No. 12 SFTS in March 1945, RCAF Detachment Chater became a storage depot.
The hangar was used for many years to store aircraft for
future use at the National Air Museum in Ottawa. By 1960, these
aircraft were removed and transferred to RCAF Station MacDonald.
From 1967-1974, the abandoned runways were used as a racetrack for sports car and motorcycle racing.
The abandoned and crumbling airfield remains today, as does the hangar (with the control tower), which is now used to store grain and farm vehicles. A small bunker, possibly the ammo dump also remains. The land is now used for farming.
The rest of the buildings were sold to the Town of Killarney. The
former accomodation building was used for many years as the Killarney
In the early 1990s, the RCAF returned to RCAF Detachment Chater with the
help of some movie magic, in the movie "For The Moment", a film about an
Australian pilot who comes to Manitoba to train under the BCATP,
starring Russell Crowe. Most of the scenes were filmed at the Brandon Airport, with some scenes filmed at Chater and the former CFB
Source Material: The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum web site - www.airmuseum.ca, "Wings For Victory - The Story of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada", by Spencer Dunmore, information supplied by Stephen Hayter, Executive Director, British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum (2001), Canadian Racer Web site - www.motorsportcentral.com & the personal recollections of the author (2003).
No. 17 Service Flying Training School:
Opened near Souris on 8 March 1943 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, with Relief Landing Fields at Hartney and Elgin. The school and the airfield closed on 30 March 1945.
From 1963-1964, the abandoned runways were used as a racetrack for sports car and motorcycle racing.
The former RCAF Station is now the Souris-Glenwood Airport.
Only two runways and the taxi-way remain of the airfield. The gunnery backstop also remains, as do the roadways and the sports track, but all buildings were demolished. The site is now the Souris-Glenwood Industrial Air Park, used by Adventure Sky Diving of Winnipeg and occasionally by the Royal Canadian Air Cadets for gliding training.
All that remains of RCAF Detachment Hartney is the abandoned and crumbling airfield and a quonset hut. The barracks stood until the-mid 1980s when they burned down. The property itself is used for farming.
At RCAF Detachment Elgin, all that remains are one shed and the barracks, now part of the current owner's house.
Source Material: "Wings For Victory - The Story of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada", by Spencer Dunmore, "Canada Flight Supplement 1999", information provided by Ralph Jewell, Board Member, Souris Glenwood Airport Commission (2003), information provided by Margaret Robbins, Elgin & District Historical Museum (2004), Canadian Racer Web site - www.motorsportcentral.com, Grandville Island Publishing web site - http://www.granvilleislandpublishing.com/profile/sportscarracing/contents.shtm & the personal recollections of the author (2003).
Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Netley:
Opened in 1943 as a Relief Landing Field for No. 18 Service Flying Training School at Gimli. RCAF Detachment Netley was abandoned in 1945.
The abandoned runways were used as a race track for sports cars from 1954-1958. For a period, up to the late 1980s, Netley was still being actively used by ultra-lights and crop-dusters, after which two of the runways were chopped up.
All that remains of RCAF Detachment Netley today is one crumbling runway and the taxi-way, still occasionally used by crop-dusters, although the outline of the other two runways are still visible. A hangar stands on the property, used to store farm equipment, but it isn't of wartime vintage.
Source Material: "Wings For Victory - The Story of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada", by Spencer Dunmore, "Canada Flight Supplement 1999", information provided by the Gimli Gliding Centre (2003), COPA web site - www.copanational.org/PlacesToFly/airport_view.php?pr_id=4&ap_id=323 & the personal recollections of the author (2003).
No. 7 Bombing & Gunnery School:
Opened near Paulson on 23 June 1941 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The school and the airfield closed on 2 February 1945.
From 1959-1962, the abandoned runways at Paulson were used as a racetrack for sports car and motorcycle racing.
Today, only the outline of the abandoned runways and the gunnery backstop remain.
Source Material: information provided by the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum (2003), Grandville Island Publishing web site - http://www.granvilleislandpublishing.com/profile/sportscarracing/contents.shtm, Canadian Racer Web site - www.motorsportcentral.com & "Wings For Victory - The Story of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada", by Spencer Dunmore.
Originally opened by the US Army Air Force in 1942. The aerodrome was taken over by the RCAF in 1945 and then by the Department of Transport in 1964.
No. A-4 Canadian Artillery Training Centre:
Opened at the Brandon Exhibition Grounds on 15 February 1941. The camp made use of the existing Provincial Exhibiton Display building and the Agriculture Extension building, as well as a stately mansion at nearby 1129 Queens Ave.
After the war, the Exhibiton Grounds and its buildings were returned to the City of Brandon. All the above mentioned buildings remain, as does the motor transport building on Queens Ave.
Source Material: The Canadian Army WWII Training Establishments web site - www.canadiansoldiers.com/wwiitrain.htm & the personal recollections of the author (2003).
Camp Hughes Transmitter Station:
Opened in 1909 as Camp Sewell, a summer military training camp nine miles west of Carberry. The camp became a year round training facility in 1915.
Re-named Camp Hughes in honour of Major General John Hughes, GOC in 1916, the camp had all the amenities - freight sheds were built for hay and oats, a telephone system was installed, a hospital, two theatres, a jewelry store, a barber shop, two cafes, and two banks.
Also in 1916, a trench system was dug at the camp to teach trench warfare. Camp Hughes trench system accurately replicated the scale and living arangements trenches in Eurpoe.
By the time the training school re-located to Brandon and Winnipeg in 1917, when Camp Hughes reverted to a summer training camp, 30,000 troops had trained at the camp. Many of the soldiers who trained at Camp Hughes later distinguished themselves at the battle of Vimy Ridge, in April 1917. Camp Hughes remained open after WWI, but finally closed in 1934 after the newly constructed Camp Shilo opened. Some of the buildings from Camp Hughes were moved to Shilo, while others were dismantled and the material used in the construction of new buildings at Shilo. Except for occasional use as a training area during World War II for troops from Camp Shilo, the former camp sat unused.
In the early 1960s, the site was re-activated as a remote transmitter station for the main communications centre at CFB Shilo. An underground communications bunker was constructed at the former camp. Both bunkers were staffed by the Manitoba Signal Troop, who were later re-designated 731 Communications Squadron. By the end of the cold war in 1991, the bunker's usefulness had passed. In 1992, the bunker was closed and sealed up, and was finally demolished in 2000.
All that remains of Camp Hughes and the Transmitter Site today are the outlines of the old World War I trench system, roadways and some old building foundations.
Source Material: Information supplied by Scott Aikens, Surveyor for the Manitoba Military Historical Society (2000), Town of Carberry web site - http://www.townofcarberry.ca/War.htm, The Military History Society of Manitoba web site - http://www.taniwha.mb.ca/MHSMb/hughes/hughes.html, the personal recollections of the author (2003) and "Bunkers Bunkers Everywhere" by Paul Ozorak.