Welcome to the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum. The museum is staffed mainly by volunteers and funding is mainly through donations and admissions. This is the only museum, in the world, dedicated solely to those who trained under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, who fought, and of course, who gave their lives in the air war from 1939 to 1945. At the time the Plan was signed in December 1939, Canada had only 4,000 people in the Royal Canadian Air Force but it reached 250,000 by the end of 1943. Aircrew personnel from Australia, New Zealand, England and Canada were all trained under The Plan. Canada was chosen as the training country because of its preferable climate and the fact it was far from the dangers of enemy activity. The Plan was referred to by Winston Churchill as Canada’s greatest contribution to the allied victory and referred to by President Roosevelt as the “aerodrome of democracy.”
The tour normally takes about 30 to 40 minutes but you can choose your own speed, after viewing the museum once please feel free to return and take a detailed look at any of the displays in which you happen to be interested. Before you start please take a minute to sign the visitors book. On completing the tour please insert your remarks regarding the museum.
Above the visitor’s book is the Engbrecht display. This is a very significant display provided to the Museum by the Engbrecht family of Boissevain and the Ex-Air Gunners Association of Manitoba. The text and messages explain the reasons why Sgt. Peter Engbrecht earned one of the very few medals of gallantry.
On your left is a diorama with the caption “Forbidden Thrills.” Although low flying was generally forbidden, once trainees got far from base they found high flight boring so many took chances to experience the thrill of flying under telephone lines, railway bridges, etc.
Please follow the red floor arrows and note the displays by referring to the station numbers.
DISPLAY NO 1 - NAVIGATOR:
Starting down toward the air trade displays we begin with station number 1. This is the navigator’s display. The background of this display represents the night sky and the stars by which celestial navigation is carried out. (See how many constellations you can pick out in the backdrop!) The sextant held by the navigator has a leveling bubble which can be seen through the eye piece. By keeping the sextant level and focusing on a certain known star the angle of the star to the earth is recorded and by referring to an astro chart, the aircraft longitude or latitude can be determined. By doing so for three stars at different locations in the sky the place where the lines intersect is the location of the aircraft. Because the plane bounces about, the sextant is wound to run for one minute and the average over the minute the observed angle should be close to true.
The parallel ruler is attached to the navigator’s desk so it doesn’t bounce around. It has the directional degrees on the axis. The round aluminum item with dials on it is known as a Dalton computer and is used for navigating calculations. Among other items, the case contains a navigator’s battle dress tunic.
The display case behind you on your left contains a number of aircraft models. The yellow models are the types of aircraft that were used in the Training Plan. Above the display of yellow aircraft you will see a Squadron Leader’s uniform (three stripes on the sleeve) which was worn by Squadron Leader Coupland. On the left-hand pocket of the tunic there is a small brass wing with an “O” in the middle. This indicates that he completed a tour of Operations. A tour consisted of approximately thirty-two trips over enemy held territory. You will also notice the two little bars attached to the “O” wing, this indicates that Squadron Leader Coupland completed three tours of Operations. This means he completed in the neighborhood of 90 sorties against the enemy or missions over enemy territory. Many men never completed their first tour of operations. The average life expectancy for a bomber pilot was six weeks.
DISPLAY NO. 2 - BOMB AIMER:
Behind and to the left is Station No. 2 which is the bomb aimer’s display. Featured in this display is a bomb sight. This complicated looking instrument had adjustments for air speed, altitude, temperature and wind. This allowed the bomb aimer to calculate where the aircraft had to be in order to drop the bomb load on the target. During training the three small bombs in the case were used in practice. When the bomb struck the ground, it emitted coloured smoke. As there was more then one bomb aimer in the aircraft, observers on the ground would use the different colours of smoke to determine the accuracy and the identity of the bomb aimer.
The display cases on your left contains a number of instruments and articles that were used in the Training Plan. The first is filled with some of the more every day items you would find on a base, such as dishes, pamphlets, a writing kit. The case even contains some government over seas issue toilet paper! If you look closely you will see that every sheet actually has the words “Government Property” on it. The escape axe is exactly the same as in use today. Before there were electric lights on the runway, flare pots were used. These pots were filled with kerosene, the wick was lighted and the pot was placed along the side of the runway during night training flights. The Aldis lamp was a signaling lamp and was used to send messages, in Morse Code, from the ground to the aircraft, also, from aircraft to aircraft. The “Window” was a radar jamming device. As it was released from the aircraft, the metal foil unwrapped. The window was sized so that it was the perfect size to deflect radar waves. The waves would bounce of the window, and would appear on the radar screen as an enemy aircraft. Hundreds of these would be released, masking the actual plane on the radar screen. The parachute in the display is typical of that worn by many aircrews. This type of parachute also served as a seat cushion.
Across from this display there is a case filled with various emergency equipment. There is an emergency paddle, life jacket as well as the medical and food kits you would carry with you on a mission in case your aircraft went down.
DISPLAY NO. 3 - PILOT:
At the end of the aisle is display No. 3, our pilot’s display. This display contains artifacts which belonged to Flight Lieutenant Walter Dinsdale, who later became one of Manitoba’s MPs and was one of the ministers in the Diefenbaker cabinet. Walter was the pilot of a Mosquito aircraft and amongst other items in this display is a model of this type of aircraft. The Mosquito was the fastest aircraft the Allied forces had at the time. The Germans had developed a pilotless aircraft commonly known as the buzz bomb or “Vee One.” This bomb was programmed to fly across the channel from Europe and land whenever it ran out of fuel. Should an attacking aircraft attempt to shoot the buzz bomb down the resultant explosion would be sure to cause severe damage to the attacking aircraft. The safest method of preventing the bomb exploding on target was to put the wing of the attacking aircraft under the stub wing of the bomb and tilt the bomb off course. This was accomplished mostly over the channel and the buzz bomb would then dive into the water and the resultant explosion would do little or no damage. The speed of the Mosquito made it an excellent aircraft to carry out this task. Walter Dinsdale was one of the first to do so. To identify the various medals awarded to the Honourable Walter Dinsdale please refer to the medal display later in the tour.
The display behind you is a diorama of a typical Service Flying Training School. This display is 1/72nd scale and consists of three aircraft, a tow tractor, maintenance personnel, control tower and the front of a hangar. These hangers, like the one we are in now, were constructed to serve as temporary buildings, expected to last for about ten years. The fact that many of these hangers can still be found around Canada is a salute to the planning and dedication of the men and women who participated in the B.C.A.T.P. Can you find the hawk watching the gopher?
DISPLAY NO. 4 - WIRELESS OPERATOR AIR GUNNER:
Station No. 4, the Wireless Operator Air Gunner display is to the left of the emergency exit doors. This uniform was worn by Squadron Leader Casey and you will note that on the left sleeve, just above the cuff, are two small vertical silver coloured stripes. These are wound stripes which show that Squadron Leader Casey was wounded twice. The United States of America awarded wounded military personnel a Purple Heart. The machine gun on display is a 303-calibre Browning and it was the most common gun used in both training and operations. All aircrew had to be able to take a machine gun apart and put it back together again. This had to be accomplished blindfolded because during operations you could not use a light. The radio displayed here was quite modern for the era. Today, a radio with equal capacity to this one would fit in your shirt pocket.
Please note the model of the Boston aircraft which Squadron Leader Casey flew in and the story in the frame mounted beside the squadron crest.
To the right of this display case is an electrically heated flying suit. You will notice that right at the cuffs of both sleeves is an electrical socket. This electrically heated suit was needed by members of the crew such as the tail gunner or upper gunner whose location prevented them from accessing the normal aircraft heating system. These airmen were flying at 24,000 feet or better and many of the missions were 12 to 16 hours in duration, so they got very cold. If it wasn’t for supplemental heat they may not have been able to do their jobs. The vest on the flying suit was known as the Mae West. If you went down in the water then you blew the vest up and it would keep you afloat. The floatation device was called a Mae West because when inflated it resembled the bust of the actress. She was thrilled that the RAF personnel would name this life saving devise after her.
If you happened to be down in the North Atlantic you hoped that you didn’t float too long because the water was close to zero degrees and it wouldn’t be very long before hypothermia would set in. The furry looking thing to the right is the teddy bear which was worn under a flying suit. This display includes an oxygen mask..
On the wall behind the “teddy bear” is a drawing showing the method of training air gunners. The aircraft which is towing the target drogue is a Lysander. The target was towed 250 feet behind the tug while the student gunner would fire at the drogue from the turret of the other aircraft, the Bolingbroke. Usually three trainees would go up at a time each had bullets with a different coloured wax on them. On inspecting the target this enabled groundcrew to determine who was hitting or missing the target.
DISPLAY NO. 5:
The display case behind you and slightly to your right is station number 5. In this display case are a variety of artifacts, gun sights, compasses, a cloud atlas for navigational computers and a navigator’s log book. All the aircrew had to have an understanding of meteorology, they had to know which clouds you could fly into safely and which clouds you had best stay away from.
DISPLAY NO 6 - GROUP CAPTAIN GEOFF NORTHCOTT:
Display 6 is that of Group Captain Geoff Northcott, who came from a town north of here. He was a Spitfire ace. Some of the medals he earned were the Polish Eagle and the Order of the Orange Nassau with Swords. The Orange Order of Nassau was a Dutch medal awarded to Geoff for some of the operations which he carried out in their interest.
DISPLAY NO. 7 - W.W.I, ROYAL FLYING CORPS:
Display number 7 contains the only uniform we have from the First World War. This is a Royal Flying Corp. tunic and cap which were worn by Lieutenant Walter Hall of Foxwarren, Manitoba. You will notice the types of guns that were common at that time. The Air Force sword and scabbard and was part of the dress uniform worn by the personnel of the Royal Flying Corp. The models are of the type of aircraft used in World War I.
DISPLAY NO. 8 - WOMEN’S DIVISION (WDs):
Display number 8 is of the Women’s Division of the R.C.A.F. They were commonly known as the WD’s. The jobs associated with the Women’s Division are usually that of Nurse and of Stenographer. While these were important jobs filled by some of these women, they were definitely not the only jobs filled by these courageous women. These ladies did a tremendous array of jobs, including parachute packing, some were aero engine mechanics, air frame mechanics, instrument mechanics, radio operators, they worked in the communications section, refueled aircraft, they drove and serviced the myriad of vehicles that the R.C.A.F. operated, a tremendous job with a very dedicated group of ladies doing it. The display depicts WD’s doing instrument repair work, nurses and administration. There were more than 17,000 WD’s and their motto was “We serve that men may fly.”
DISPLAY NO. 9 - RADIO GEAR:
Display number 9 contains many items of radio gear and again we suggest you compare these transmitters and receivers to the size of the radio receiver you have at home or in your pocket. The radar scope is typical of the ones used by our airmen when searching for surface contacts such as submarines and ships. The wooden box on the top shelf which contains a wind up mechanism is a mystery to us. If you can tell us what it is we would appreciate it.
Just past this case and to your left is a small table on which are a number of binders. Number 2 Manning Depot was located in downtown Brandon (where the 10th street Safeway is now located). One of the first things that new Airmen had to do when they got into the Air Force at Manning Depot was to get a haircut. In the case of the Number 2 Manning Depot, a gentleman by the name of Jack Taylor, (a picture of Jack and his staff is on the wall above the table), asked everybody who got their hair cut to sign a scribbler. The copies of the signatures of some 22,000 airmen are in these books. We often have people coming through the Museum who passed through number 2 Manning Depot. When they come across their names they get very excited about doing so. On the wall above the barber’s books there is a display of the various ranks and trade insignia of the RCAF.
Beginning at the top left row and working down is a Canada shoulder patch, the Albatross, a propeller, which denotes the rank of Leading AirCraftman, Corporal, Sergeant, Flight Sergeant, Warrant Officer Second class and Warrant Officer First class. On the right-hand side at the top you have an officer’s cap badge and below that are the commissioned officer rank insignia which were indicated by a silver strip worn on the epaulette. The lowest rank was the Pilot Officer, moving down the display but moving up in rank there is, Flying Officer, Flight Lieutenant, Squadron Leader, Wing Commander, and Group Captain. The white flash at the bottom was inserted in the wedge cap and worn by aircrew when they finished initial training school. This indicated that the wearer was aircrew and that the person without the flash was not. This was not an indication of rank. The centre row holds the trade badges for ground and air trades. Starting at the bottom and working up are several ground trade badges including that of the Radio Operator (sparks), Musician and Physical Training Instructor. Above these are the air trades, Air Gunner, Engineer, usually referred to as the Flight Engineer, Bomb Aimer, Navigator/Bomb Aimer, Navigator, and Pilot. The pilot was the only one to wear the full wing. All other air trades wore a half wing.
By going through the door at the bottom of the stairs you will be in the aircraft display area. From time to time we reposition the airworthy aircraft so you may have to look for the aircraft which is being described. On your right as you come through the door is a wingless Cessna Crane. This aircraft is set up so that children may climb into it and pretend they are flying it. The ailerons, elevators and rudders work and it does give the youngsters, of all ages, some amusement to see what is like sitting in the pilot’s seat. The Cessna Crane was the type of aircraft that flew out of this very hangar back in the '40s.
The name and a brief description are in front of each of the aircraft and will provide you with basic information.
When you enlisted in the air force you went to Manning Depot and were subject to many physical tests. Depending on the results of these tests, the individual’s education, and to a small extent the individual’s wishes, the recruit was sent to either Initial Training School for air trades or Technical Training School for ground trades.
At these Training Schools they sorted out the various trades, pilots, navigators, aero-engine mechanics, riggers, etc. After ITS, student pilots went to an Elementary Flying Training School and learned to fly a Tiger Moth, Fleet Finch, or a Cornell. If the student was going to fly more advanced single engine aircraft then he would go to a Service Flying Training School, finish his pilot’s training on a Harvard and graduate as a full-fledged pilot. If it was decided that the student would become a pilot of multi engine aircraft then he would go to an SFTS, finish his pilot’s training on Cessna Cranes, Oxfords, or Ansons and graduate as a full-fledged pilot. The other air trades would go to the appropriate schools, Navigators to an Observers Training School, Bomb Aimers and Air Gunners to a Bombing and Gunnery School, and Wireless Operators to a Wireless School. As Wireless Operators had to know how to use machine guns, and Navigators had to learn how to drop bombs, the students didn’t spend all their time at the same school.
The Lysander, the Bolingbroke, and the Anson were a few of the different types that the Navigators, Bomb Aimers, and Air Gunners trained in. If you went to an Elementary Flying Training School before 1943, you would start off on the Tiger Moth. The Tiger Moth is a biplane and was the real work horse of the first training era. After 1943 the student completed his Elementary Flying Training on the Cornell. Note the picture showing the condition of this aircraft when the Museum retrieved it before restoration. The Harvard aircraft was the Cadillac of all of the training planes. This is a beautiful flying aircraft that unfortunately was a little too much aircraft for some students to handle and so quite a few got racked up.
All of the training aircraft are painted a bright yellow colour and that was to make the aircraft highly visible in winter or summer thus enabling search parties to more easily locate a crashed aircraft.
A lot of our visitors ask “Why do you paint a target on the side of the aircraft?” The item that looks like a target is actually called a “roundel” and indicates this is an aircraft of the British Commonwealth. If you compare the Union Jack flag and the German flag, you will notice that from a distance, they look very much alike. During the First World War it got to the point where it was very difficult to identify friends from foe. The British, in their typical British manner, said we’ll soon fix that, so they took the red white and blue, put it in a circle and called it the roundel.
To the left of the door you just came through is a display of a number of engines which were used in the training aircraft and some of the operational aircraft. For example, the V-12 engine is a Rolls Royce Merlin engine which was used in a Mosquito bomber which crashed up near Riding Mountain in 1957. You can see that this one will never run again.
As you look at these aircraft, you should remember that these aircraft were all flown by 18 to 23-year-old men and it was very hectic for some of the instructors when they had to contend with these young guys wanting to do their best, particularly to show their girlfriends how well they could operate.
The Avro Anson Mk V was strictly a training aircraft. It was never an operational aircraft. These aircraft were built by MacDonald Brothers in Winnipeg, were built out of plywood and used primarily for navigational training. Please note the picture of this aircraft before restoration. Behind the Avro Anson MK V is a wing on large rollers. This is for the Cessna Crane in our workshop. The purpose of the rollers is to enable workers to turn the wing over to always work from the top. The Bolingbroke flew on operations out of England and was known as the Blenheim. It was one of the top aircraft Britain had when the war broke out. Bolingbrokes were operational in Canada as sub hunters off the east coast and west coast. When the Japanese started to come up the Aleutian chain of Islands in 1942, the Americans ran short of air power so they called on Canada for a couple of squadrons of aircraft. Canada sent a squadron of Bolingbrokes and a squadron of Kitty Hawks up to give them a hand. In 1996, the Anchorage Museum paid recognition to the contribution of the Canadians by putting up a display. We were able to provide them with material from this museum pertaining to the RCAF activities in Alaska. When the Bolingbroke became obsolete, as far as the European operations were concerned, they were brought back to Canada and were used both for bomber and air gunner training.
If you look on the top of the Bolingbroke, about half way back, you will see a turret, that was where the air gunner operated out of during operations and training. In the nose of the aircraft is where the bomb aimer was located.
The big high winged aircraft is a Lysander. This was a short take off and landing aircraft. It had the short take off and landing features because of the additional flap on the front of the wings and could take off in little more then the length of this hangar. You’ve all seen pictures of the War when the people behind the lines would light little fires of hay and aircraft would come in and land to exchange agents, drop new agents off and pick-up those who had done their duty. Those were primarily Lysanders. The aircraft were painted black so they would be hard to see at night and with their short landing take off features they were ideal for this type of operation. When they came to Canada, they were used to pull the drogues. Drogues were wind socks that were pulled 250 feet behind the aircraft and they were used as targets for air gunners practice. The gunners fired at the drogue from either a Fairey Battle or the Bolingbroke aircraft. Each of the students going up in the training aircraft would have bullets with a different colour wax on them so when the exercise was over they could determine who was hitting the drogue and who was missing it.
Because of space limitations, you may not be able to see many of our wheeled vehicles. The 1941 Chevrolet staff car, which was bought by a farmer NE of Brandon who donated it to the museum, required some repair and was worked on by the Crocus Plains students who did up the body work. We had the motor work done at Fowlers and we use it for parades. There is a half-ton truck that was used here at the station during the war. It was completely restored by Allan Johnson who was, at the time, the head mechanic at Wilton Motors. The big red truck is an RCAF crash truck. This truck was used at number 10 Service Flying Training School at Dauphin and after its use there it went to the St. Rose Fire Dept. When they were finished with it, they left it sitting out behind the Fire Station where it was all seized up and rusted. We picked it up, restored it, and it runs beautifully. The Ford tractor, which is located nearby is one that was also used during the war years at this airport has been restored and is used for pulling aircraft around when required.
The RCAF Jeep of the 1940s was donated by Tom Duncan of Ninette and was restored by museum volunteers, Honda Land and the roundel by Adrax Advertising, Financial assistance was provided by Royal Canadian Legion Branch 247 and the Manitoba Department of Culture & Heritage.
The turret from the Bolingbroke aircraft is displayed here and you can take a closer look at it. We don’t have the hydraulics hooked up on it but you can get some idea of how they were operated.
The twin engine all silver aircraft is a Beech aircraft which was used by VIPs during the war but not in operations. We picked this aircraft up at Silver Falls a few years ago and there were several different coats of paint on it according to the different companies that used it for freighting fish and carrying passengers. We have stripped the paint off and would like to get it in the air someday when we get enough money to overhaul the engines and put an additional spar item on it which is now required. The Avro Anson Mk I is in the process of being rebuilt to display status but a lack of space prevents us from displaying it appropriately. The Mk Is were used as bombers at the beginning of the war. When they became obsolete, they were sent to Canada for pilot and navigator training. The starting procedure for these aircraft was you cranked them until you got the inertia starter going well and then you flipped it into gear, got the right-hand motor running then you went underneath the aircraft, over to the port motor and repeated the procedure.
A second Bolingbroke has been rebuilt and is on display on #1 highway in front of the Comfort Inn. It represents the aircraft technology of the era and is dedicated to all who died in training during the BCAT.
That pretty well covers all the aircraft in here, again I want you to remember that these items were all used more than 50 years ago and are all antiques and we are very proud of the fact that we still fly the Cornell, Tiger Moth, Harvard, and the Stinson.
As you go back out the door, you came in please turn left and go upstairs. As you start up the stairs you will see two wall mounted displays. The first one shows all the various theatres of operations stars and the explanation contained within the display is quite easily understood. The other display is a repeat of previous information except the cap badges and pilot wings of Royal New Zealand Air Force, the Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the Royal Air Force are shown here.
DISPLAY NO. 10:
At the top of the stairs display number 10 shows a couple of Air Vice Marshals’ uniforms. One of these uniforms is that of AVM Howsam, who was responsible for setting up the Northwest Staging Route. This was the air route that connected the northern United States with Alaska which provided the airfields and support for the United States aircraft being flown across Canada to Alaska for delivery to the Russians.
The other is a uniform of a former Brandonite, AVM Ball. He was the Deputy Director of Air Training Operations across Canada. To your right is a framed painting of AVM Collard who was responsible for construction of all of the airfields across Canada.
DISPLAY NO. 11:
Moving further along this same wall, you will come to display number 11 which shows a few of the items which were available in case of an emergency. Many of the bomber operations fields had a Loftsman. He was responsible for the care, feeding and training of the homing pigeons. A pigeon was carried on the aircraft during bombing missions. If the aircraft was shot down and a survivor was able he would attach a message to the pigeon’s leg indicating their location and send it off home. Beside this case is a Bomb Winch, and some interesting displays on the wall. Please read the explanations of the display containing the samurai sword, and the one labeled “When Japan Attacked Canada”. You will also notice a raised bench area which has a bomb rack and a twenty-millimeter canon setting on it.
DISPLAY NO. 12:
Going past this area and around a half wall is display number 12. There are two WD uniforms on mannequins, as well as a nursing sister’s uniform. At the far right of the case, a uniform that was worn by the civilian staff of the training schools. Most of the Elementary Flying Training Schools and Air Observer Schools were operated by civilians and a uniform was designed and issued to those civilians. This uniform is of the Empire Air Training and the Empire Air Training was the name of the training program before it became the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
The next display cases are all along the windows which over look the aircraft display.
DISPLAY NO. 13:
Number 13 contains a number of souvenir items which were the type that you would send home to your mother, wife or girlfriend.
DISPLAY NO. 14:
Number 14 is a display of some tools that were made by some of the ground crew. The aircraft that came to Canada from Britain all had metric measurements and we of course were using imperial. Wrenches were not supplied with the aircraft and the mechanics had to make their own.
Behind you are two free standing displays which depict the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan stations and aircraft across Canada. If you look at western Canada and at Manitoba in particular, it gives you some idea of how many aircraft there were in the air at anyone time during that period. We had fields at Dauphin, Paulson, Neepawa, MacDonald, Gimli, two or three in Winnipeg, two in Portage, one in Carberry, Brandon, Souris, and Rivers. Rivers was the first navigation school and indeed the first navigators graduated from Number 1 Central Navigation School in 1940. By taking a close look at these two displays you will be able to gain some appreciation of the magnitude of the Training Plan not only in equipment and airfields but in man power as well. There were 131,000 aircrew consisting of Australians, New Zealanders, British and Canadians who were trained under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. In order to keep those people in the air a large number of ground staff were required, there were some 80,000 ground crew trained. They were the aero engine mechanics, airframe mechanics, instrument technicians, riggers, fitters, armourers, etc. It took about fifteen men on the ground to keep one man in the air.
DISPLAY NO. 15:
By turning around, once again, you should be in front of display number 15. This case contains some of the instruments and the test equipment that the instrument repair technician used to do his job. The photo shows a typical repair bench.
DISPLAY NO. 16:
Moving to your left is display number 16. This case shows some of the tools and training material used by the air frame and aero-engine trade. As part of the training the students had to make various items to prove there skills. One such item is the “V” shaped block shown here. The student had to fashion this out a rectangle of metal by using a file and a hack saw. When the block was held together, it had to fit well enough so that no light could be seen around the edges of the “V.” The other block with bolts screwed into it was made by the student out of a block of metal and some pieces metal rod. The student had to bore and thread a hole then thread the rod and make sure every thing fit. Air frame mechanics had to be able to build frame parts from raw pieces of metal. Note the aluminum parts made for aircraft repairs, some from new material and some from used.
DISPLAY NO. 17:
Next in line is display number 17. The armourers display. The armourer had to know how to load and arm, bombs, flare pistols, as well as several different calibre and types of guns.
DISPLAYS NO. 18:
Display case number 18 contains radio transmitters, receivers, radar scopes, test equipment, equipment to provide the proper electrical supply to these units and an antennae post.
DISPLAY NO. 19:
Display number 19 contains a drift meter and a drift recorder. As you may or may not realize a flying aircraft’s course is subject to wind speed and direction. The aircraft will drift downwind and a correction to the course will have to be made. To determine how far the aircraft heading was different from the desired course, the drift meter and drift recorder was used to calculate the amount of drift and the course could then be corrected.
This display contains a number of operational aircraft models. Note the various camouflage colours used, depending on the area in which the plane was stationed.
We’ll now go downstairs and ask that you turn to your left at the bottom of the stairs. As you go downstairs you may want to take a glance at the picture of some members of the Royal Family of 1937-1938 vintage. This is a picture of King George V, King George VI and King Edward VIII.
DISPLAY NO. 21:
As you come off the stairs and turn left the case you see is number 21. This is a display of the various medals of valour, including the Victoria Cross which is the highest award for bravery in the British Commonwealth. In the first world war, three men from the same street in Winnipeg, Manitoba were each awarded the VC. The name of the street was changed to Valour Road.
DISPLAY NO. 22:
Display case number 22 is to the right of number 21 and shows the items that the fledgling airman were issued at Manning Depot. Some of the items are uniforms, the housewife, as they were called, that includes the paraphernalia that was used to polish boots, buttons and all those things you didn’t like to do. The shaving kit you were issued even came complete with instructions. The kit bag was your sole suitcase for the duration of your service in the Air Force.
The next display is a flip chart of photographs. We have thousands of photographs. When people provide photographs to us, we copy them and send the originals back if requested. This display also contains some examples of Canadian War “propaganda”, showing some examples of the “Don’t Gossips” posters that were seen all over the country during the war. There are also some examples of War Era money from various countries overseas.
By going through the glass door and down the small ramp you will arrive in our workshop. As this is a workshop, you will understand that restoration items are constantly changing and being moved in and out and this makes it very difficult for us to be 100% accurate in the book tour. As you come down the ramp, the funny looking blue aircraft to your left is a Link Trainer. The Link was one of the first flight simulators. The first time an airman saw a Link was at Initial Training School. The Link could simulate all aspects of flight except inverted flight and was an excellent instruction tool to teach coordination and blind flying.
The next series of display cases and the instrument panel are repeats of what you have seen and are used as portable displays.
Please turn to your right, face the exit door and look high on the wall above the door and you will see a historic mural. In the early part of 1997 this mural was uncovered by a demolition crew busy demolishing the interior of the 90-year-old Greenway School in Winnipeg. As soon as Wayne Imrie saw the mural he instructed his workers to cover it up immediately. Wayne knew the difference between what was rubble and what was rare. This chalk decorated, black board had been walled up - hidden behind two pieces of wall board - since 1943. Amongst the writing on the mural were the words in red chalk “Please do not rub off.” John Dryzstek, the principal of the school dug out the 1942-43 class list from Mrs. Christine Mitchell’s Grade 7 class. There were 46 names. The first of the 46 to be reached was Frank Scardina, a retired teacher now living in Quebec City. “Don’t tell me they found that picture,” were Scardina’s first words. He drew the mural to go along with a class project to raise money for the war effort and buying War Bonds. Those cherry-coloured bombs he dropped from his chalk aircraft each represented a target amount of money the class had raised. Lowering your vision back down onto the display floor you will see an aircraft that is not painted yellow.
The Hurricane you will recognize, if you see any war pictures, as one of the two main fighters of the British Commonwealth Air Forces. When we picked this aircraft up all, we had was the centre section, Jack Leonard has been working on this aircraft for nearly six years now and will put it in good display condition as soon as he is able to spend some more time on it.
At the front of the workshop is a Cessna Crane which is being restored to flying status.
As you walk back toward the entrance where you came in we go past three or four yellow doors on your left. These are areas in which our volunteers do different kind of jobs. These areas are not open to the public. One is the darkroom in which our photographer does a lot of copying of the photographs as well as storage for the uniforms.
The last area on our tour is the Chapel. Go out to the reception area and across from the till is the Chapel. This is the solemn area of the museum and one that we ask you to respect. To the right of the entrance of the Chapel, you will notice a number of pictures of people who met their demise during the war and some books about them. As we pass the organ we come to more displays of people who were killed in action and of the medals that they wore as well as the Silver Cross Medal that mothers and/or wives wore. You’ll also notice as you move along a number of the “we regret” telegrams. These were the telegrams that were sent to the next of kin when someone was killed or went missing and you can appreciate the trauma that they must have experienced when the saw the telegraph boy coming up their lane. The whole of the Chapel is dedicated to all those who gave their lives and I hope you will take the time to go along and get a feeling for the kinds of things that happened. You’ll notice, when you get a chance to look at the memorial book, that most of these casualties were 19 to 24 years of age. One of thing that the Manitoba Government has done is to name a geographic feature with the name of the person killed whether Army, Navy, of Air Force. This could be a lake, a point, a creek, or an island. You will notice that two of the Lang boys from Souris, Francis and James, were killed and you will see there is a Lang Island named after one of them and Lang Point named after the other. The four Pollock brothers from McConnell were all in the armed service. Two of them were killed while in the RCAF and again you’ll see the plaque dedicated to them naming Pollock Island after one and Pollock Lake after the other. Between the flags in front of the stained glass windows is a case containing the Memorial Book “They Shall Grow Now Old.” This memorial book contains a short biography of each of the 18,039 Canadian Air Force personnel who gave their lives between 1939 and 1945. This book was researched and published by museum members. It is used world wide as a reference.
On the wall to the left of the case you will see a Roll of Honour listing the names of citizens of the United States who were killed while wearing the uniform of the RCAF. The US was not an active participant in the war until 1941 (although they did help the Allied Forces out, with programs such as the lend lease aircraft program), and a lot of young Americans who wanted to get into the war, joined the RCAF. Unfortunately more than 800 of these Americans lost their lives serving with our Air Force.
That concludes the tour of our museum. Please take the time to look at our Souvenir Shop. Thank you for coming to the CATP Museum and please you take the time to look around and revisit any of the displays.
NAVIGATION MAP FOR OUR VIRTUAL TOUR
Navigator ~ Bomb Aimer
Wireless Op ~ Navigator
WDs ~ Radios ~ Insignia
Vintage Aircraft I
Ground Vehicles ~ Aircraft II
Emergency Eq. ~ Souvenirs
Ground Crews ~ Medals
Manning Depot ~ Photos
Restorations ~ Blackboard