The Bill Hillman Military Tribute Series
Presents
Canadian Joint Air Training Centre
CJATC RIVERS, MANITOBA
www.hillmanweb.com/rivers
Parts 1-11

SITE NAVIGATION CHART
Rivers I | Rivers II | Rivers III | Rivers IV | Rivers V | Rivers VI
Rivers VII | Rivers VIII | Rivers IX | Rivers X | Rivers XI

Photo from the John Davies Collection
View more oblique aerial photos of the base from the
Canadian Air Force Brats Association Site
.
PART 1
CONTENTS: Part I
Intro: Bill Hillman Remembers
Prince Philip Royal Visit to CJATC Rivers
Photos from the Rob Sproule Collection
The Aircraft
Life On The Base
John Raulston Saul Remembers CJATC Rivers Boyhood
George Wilkinson Photos
Web Refs - Links

Bill Hillman Remembers

Work on this Web page feature is long overdue. I spent many memorable hours on that base. Back in the '50s, while a member of #317 Strathclair Air Cadet Squadron for eight years, we were often bussed over to this Rivers where we were thrilled to ride in most of the aircraft shown below. The visits to the Rec Hall were a favourite because it was our first exposure to a real gymnasium. We spent many enjoyable weekends practising drill on its huge hardwood floor as well as playing volleyball, Bordenball, and other gym sports. The building also housed a bowling alley, rifle range, snack bar, and an area for films. Later, in the early '60s, while earning tuition money for university, I worked summers in the CE section painting PMQs, hangars, fuel tanks, etc. I boarded in one of the barracks through the week and but many nights I climbed onto the military shuttle bus to Brandon -- guitar slung over my shoulder -- to play with one of the country, rock or TV bands I was playing with at that time. Still later, in the late '60s, Sue-On and I performed many times in the various messes and clubs on the base.
Promotion to SergeantRoyal Canadian Air CadetsAir Cadet WO2 Hillman
Recently Rob Sproule sent an e-mail and photos to encourage me to make a start on this project.

Rob wrote: "I would encourage you to develop a page on CJATC ... It is much needed. To jump start this effort, I attach some photos, etc. My family was there from 1954 to 1957 ... And like you, we have some good memories.

The first stage of this project is to share some of the photos that Rob has sent us. We will add to this site as more material -- photos, anecdotes, documents, maps, etc. -- cross our desk.



Some of the photos are from the Rob Sproule Collection
Many of them may be clicked for full-screen images

Prince Philip Royal Visit to CJATC Rivers
Autumn 1954


Base Commanding Officer G/C J.A. Sproule, DFC and HRH Prince Philip




THE AIRCRAFT

Bell 47-D-1
My first helicopter flight was in this Bell 47.
A real thrill for a 14-year-old kid.
The all plexiglass cockpit made for an incredible view
and gave the sensation of floating through the air.
We landed on one of the steep drumlin-like hills outside of rivers - I think to the southwest.
I heard a few years later that the pilot had retired from the air force
and gone into the lumber industry in BC
where he was decapitated after landing and exiting on a steep slope.

C-119 Flying Boxcar
C-119 Flying Box Car
Our cadet squadron took many rides in this aircraft
-- an experience I never looked forward to.
For much of my time in my eight years in the squadron I was a Flight Sergeant and Warrant Officer
and was expected to set an example.
However, the ride was always very noisy and rough...
and I spent every hour in this craft trying to keep from vomiting.
The most memorable ride was the trip to summer camp at  St. Jean, Quebec.
Before reaching our destination, however, we lost an engine and
had to make a tense forced landing at Toronto where we spent and uncomfortable night.

Dakota IV P
The Dakota was another of the planes in which
we were "treated" to regular flights all over SW Manitoba.

Harvard IV
The Harvard trainer was a plane I didn't catch a ride in until 40 years later at the
Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum in Brandon, MB.
See the pictorial HARVARD WINGS OVER BRANDON
http://www.airmuseum.ca/harvard1.html

DH BeaverL-19 A Cessna Bird Dog
DH Beaver                                                                         L-19 A Cessna Bird Dog

T-33 Silver Star Jet Trainer
T-33 Silver Star Jet Trainer


C-119 Flying Box Car


F-86 Sabre Jet


LIFE ON THE BASE

Championship Tug-O-War Team
Championship Tug-O-War Team with Colonel Saul.
Mike Chimko (upper left)

1955 Kids - Salisbury Lane
1955 Kids - Salisbury Lane

Little League, Rivers
Little League, Rivers


JOHN RAULSTON SAUL
REMEMBERS BOYHOOD AT CJATC RIVERS
"John Raulston Saul, Clarkson's husband, has a more sentimental attachment to the region. Yesterday, he and Clarkson visited Rivers, where Saul lived for three years as a child when his father was commander of a parachute school on the military base that has since been converted into a hog barn.

"Saul climbed a hill where his family used to picnic and picked a bouquet of flowers for his wife, press secretary Stewart Wheeler said."


CONTENTS: Part I
www.hillmanweb.com/rivers
Intro: Bill Hillman Remembers
Prince Philip Royal Visit to CJATC Rivers: 
Photos from the Rob Sproule Collection
The Aircraft
Life On The Base
John Raulston Saul Remembers CJATC Rivers Boyhood
Web Refs - Links
CONTENTS: Part II
www.hillmanweb.com/rivers/02.html
Photo Memories
Photos from the Gerry Logan Collection
CONTENTS: Part III
www.hillmanweb.com/rivers/03.html
Eclectica
Parachute Training: Rivers Mock Tower and Shilo High Tower
We Remember: Letters
Memories from Gerry Logan
CONTENTS: Part IV
www.hillmanweb.com/rivers/04.html
Para Photos from Latham "Bernie" Rice ~ Part I
CONTENTS: Part V
www.hillmanweb.com/rivers/05.html
Para Photos from Latham "Bernie" Rice ~ Part II
CONTENTS: Part VI
www.hillmanweb.com/rivers/06.html
Michael Czuboka Remembers
The Rivers Connection ~ Korean War ~ Air Cadets ~ Brandon College
CONTENTS: Part VII
 www.hillmanweb.com/rivers/07.html
Photos of What Remains of the Base Today
by Johnnie Bachusky
plus
History of the Base 
from the Ghost Towns of Canada Site
CONTENTS: Part VIII
 www.hillmanweb.com/rivers/08.html 
Tragedy and hauntings at ghost base CFB Rivers
Text and Photos by Johnnie Bachusky
Article reprint from the Red Deer Express | August 18, 2010
CONTENTS: Part IX
 www.hillmanweb.com/rivers/09.html
WWII Scrapbook
Letter, Photo and Graduation Dinner Menu 
From the Bill Bainbridge Collection
Course 86A - No. 1 Central Navigation School, Rivers - 1943
CONTENTS: Part X
   www.hillmanweb.com/rivers/10.html
Helicopter Training
From the Myles Kopytko Collection
Also Parachute Training and a Princess Pats Inspection
.CONTENTS: Part XI
 www.hillmanweb.com/rivers/11.html
Parachute Training 
Photos from the George Wilkinson Collection
.


click for full-size collage


SITE NAVIGATION CHART
Rivers I | Rivers II | Rivers III | Rivers IV | Rivers V | Rivers VI
Rivers VII | Rivers VIII | Rivers IX | Rivers X | Rivers XI

Visit the
COMMONWEALTH AIR TRAINING PLAN MUSEUM
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

Bill Hillman: hillmans@westman.wave.ca
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