Bill Hillman Presents
Forces: Land ~ Air ~ Sea ~ Home
Compiled by Bill Hillman
Wherein we share an eclectic assortment of items gleaned from the
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By David J. Carter

Internees at the Castle Mountain Camp.
During both world wars Canada operated camps for prisoners of war in the many thousands.
Many internment camps, POW camps, and satellite work sites were opened across Canada.
POW - Behind Canadian Barbed Wire is based upon historical documentation and first hand accounts
of both 'Alien' and German POW and includes material never before published.
It is 265 pages in length and includes 24 photographs.
POW - Behind Canadian Barbed Wire by David J. Carter is available from:
David J. Carter ~ Eagle Butte Press Ltd ~ Box 39 ~ Elkwater, AB ~ Canada ~ T0J 1C0
Phone: (403) 893-2470 ~ Email:

...and now...
the NAVY
We have just launched the
Memorial Site

HMCS Prince Robert
H.M.C.S Prince Robert
This ship played a vital role in protecting the convoys which
transported many of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan trainees
from Commonwealth countries to the training bases in Canada.

Air Museum President Reg Forbes:
Expansion plans taking off,
thanks to provincial funding

by Rod Nickel
Brandon Sun Millennium Edition
Saturday ~ January 1, 2000

The fortunes of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum have risen sky-high in the late 1990s.

Late last year, the province committed a $55,000 annual grant to the museum, enabling it to hire its first full-time manager, Stephen Hayter.

This year, the museum received a further $500,000 from the province to expand and preserve its Brandon airport facility with a sprinkler system, wheelchair access and reinforced roof. It plans to raise another $3 million privately.

Contrast that with the museum's struggles since 1981. Until the province announced its annual grant last year, it had provided no significant funding and the federal government has contributed nothing since 1983.

The feds refused to fund the museum because it didn't have a full-time paid manager. The museum argued it couldn't afford to pay a manager until it received more government funding.

"It's a Catch-22," said Reg Forbes, museum president and a Royal Canadian Air Force veteran. We have been unfairly treated (by federal government) compared to other museums."

"Since 1981, the museum has relied largely on visitor fees, donations and an annual raffle to meet its budget, which has reached $150,000.

Without paid staff, it has leaned heavily on its volunteers, Forbes said, who have responded with passionate dedication.

"We all have a great deal of pride in our history," said Harry Hayward, the museum's vice-president, noting Canadian achievements such as the Avro Arrow and the first pressure suit.

"Nobody seems to give a damn that people (fought for Canada). It's a crying shame. It's that type of feeling that causes our volunteers to spend so much time here."

Visitor levels have held steady over the last few years at 9,000-10,000 annually. The vast majority of visitors come from Western Canada, Britain and New Zealand, where veterans have settled. Few visitors come from western Manitoba.

"You do get frustrated but you try to channel it into something," said Hayward.

A walk through the museum is more difficult for some than others. Forbes said visitors often break down when they look up loved ones in the museum's book They Shall Grow Not Old, honouring the plan's former trainees who were killed in the line of duty.

Equally as moving are the RCAF's telegrams to casualties' next-of-kin.

"It's pretty sad," said Forbes. "I can remember so many of my classmates' parents getting those."

The museum has four air-worthy planes and another 10 used for display.

Over the next few years, volunteers will restore at least one more plane to flight-readiness and another two for display.

To accommodate the expansion, the museum hopes to move into the remaining third of its hangar, which currently houses Maple Leaf Aviation.


Moving words in the museum chapel
can stir painful memories
  • The plan was an Allied initiative to train Canadian, British, Australian and Kiwi pilots in Canada.
  • A combination of training accidents and the war killed 18,039 students of the plan.
  • In western Manitoba, training establishments were located in Rivers, Dauphin, Brandon, Souris, Carberry, MacDonald, Virden and Neepawa.
  • Many of the hangars from those facilities have since been converted to other uses. In Souris hangars were converted into a community hall and arena, but have since been torn down. Prairie Forest Products has converted the Neepawa facility into its plant.
  • The Brandon Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum is the only one of its kind in Canada.
  • It has more than 900 members all over the world.

Gleaned from the Net: (January 1, 2000 entry)
A website of special interest to BCATP veterans and scholars

The recovery of Lancaster DX-P for Peter


"During the longest night of 1942, RAF Bomber Command launched a Lancaster-force of more than one hundred bombers towards the German town of Munich. One of the raiders which took off that evening of December 21, 1942 was Lancaster "DX-P" W4234 of 57 Squadron, stationed in Scampton. "P for Peter" was piloted by 22-year old F/O Ronald Bowles."


The following piece of nostalgia is one of the features found on
The Canadian Air Force Brats Association website

Remember When.....?

-Accumulate wasn't a four letter word.
-A 10 on a PER meant you weren't tied with everyone else in the trade.
-A 3% raise wasn't calculated over a period of the last 6 years.
-Someone got promoted.
-Beer calls were considered rewards and not contraband.
-You got to fire a rifle.
-Being 35 meant a difference on your PT test.
-Your whole uniform was exchangeable.
-A MCpl with 20 years service was considered a loser in the trade (not an "Expert")
-You worked with Pte's.
-PMQ's were low rent.
-Being 10 on the merit list meant you'd be promoted this year.
-A day off didn't always mean an annual.
-A blast of shit was considered discipline, not harassment.
-You could look forward to a posting.
-The Military wasn't out to make a profit.
-You were entitled to "seconds" at the Mess Hall.
-You had a career and not just lucky enough to have a job.
-Supervisors actually made decisions.
-Everyone hoped for an IPS and not a FRP.
-There was a requirement for all trades.
-Job security was a reality.
-You were issued bullets on deployment.
-Civilians worked for us.
-You could order stuff from supply.
-You could smoke in a warm building in January.
-You used to drive a new car.
-Fridges and stoves were supplied for free in the PMQ's.
-CANEX tried to compete with Mikes Milk priced.
-The pool was free.
-The gym was too!
-The Base Theatre was a place to go on Friday night.
-"Swans" weren't just birds.
-You could tell a joke at work.

A Mexican newspaper reports that bored Royal Air Force pilots stationed on the Falkland Islands have devised what they consider a marvelous new game. Noting that the local penguins are fascinated by airplanes, the pilots search out a beach where the birds are gathered and fly slowly along it at the water edge. Perhaps ten thousand
penguins turn their heads in unison watching the planes go by, and when the pilots turn around and fly back, the birds turn their heads in the opposite direction, like spectators at a slow-motion tennis match. Then, the paper reports "The pilots fly out to sea and directly to the penguin colony and overfly it. Heads go up, up, up, and ten thousand penguins fall over gently onto their backs.
-Audobon Magazine

Police in Britain using a radar gun noted a reading of more than 300 mph, just before their equipment fried. Seconds later a low-flying Harrier jet hurtled past. The police complained to the Royal Air Force about the
damage to their equipment, but the police were told to consider themselves lucky. The Harrier's target-seeker had locked onto the radar and triggered an automatic retaliatory air-to-surface attack. Fortunately for the police, the Harrier was not armed with missiles.

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