Bill Hillman's Monthly Military Tribute
AS YOU WERE . . .
WAR YEARS ECLECTICA
SEPTEMBER 2020
2020.09 Edition
THE ORIGIN OF THE
COMMONWEALTH AIR TRAINING PLAN MUSEUM IN BRANDON, MB
By Greg Sigurdson
I am currently the archivist at the Commonwewalth Air Training Museum and member since 1994. From the museum web page -- www.airmuseum.ca -- The Museum had its beginnings in 1980 when a local group headed by Ed Baker became concerned that several trainer aircraft owned by Wes Agnew of Hartney, Manitoba, would be sold to foreign interests. Mr. Agnew was a R.C.A.F. Flight Instructor in the B.C.A.T.P. and had a desire to see a Museum formed to honour the men and women who trained under "The Plan". A deal was struck with Mr. Agnew and his five aircraft formed the nucleus around which the Museum was formed.

The C.A.T.P.M. was incorporated in the Province of Manitoba as a Non-Profit, Charitable organization March 4, 1981.

The Museum opened in 1981 in Hangar No. 1 at the Brandon Airport. Located one mile north of the City, the airfield was the site of No. 12 Service Flying Training School operated by the B.C.A.T.P. during World War II.

Construction of the school, in which the museum is located, began on November 14th, 1940 and was completed and opened for service on May 10, 1941. The Hangar was one of five built at #12 SFTS and was used to hangar the Cessna Crane aircraft which were used for pilot training. The hangar was decommissioned on March 30, 1945.

The mandate of our museum is to collect, preserve, restore, and display artifacts of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (B.C.A.T.P.) and to commemorate the 18,039 who gave their lives while in the R.C.A.F. between 1939 and 1945.

During the formative years a concerted effort was mounted by volunteers to retrieve and store over fifty airframes and hundreds of parts for various aircraft from farms on the Prairies. This cache of parts has enabled the Museum to rebuild several aircraft and will serve as a source of restoration material for many years to come.

A Dedication Ceremony on June 4, 1984 dedicated the museum as a Memorial to all of Canada's airmen and airwomen who died in training and operations during World War II.

Currently, the Commonwealth Air Training Museum has approximately 20 aircraft on display in Hangar No. 1 - examples of just about every aircraft used in the BCATP. It also has approximately 20 motor transport vehicles relevant to the plan as well. Flying aircraft today include a Harvard, two Tiger Moths, A Fleet Finch, Corenll and Stinson. Future restoration for flying includes a Cessna Crane and possibly a Fleet Fort.

The museum has close to 40,000 small artifacts and archival materials in storage as well as on display in approximately 5000 heated feet of display in Hangar No. 1 Original BCATP Buildings on display include Hangar No. 1, the Canteen and the Medical Building (to be restored). A faithful recreation of a Motor Transport / Beam Approach buidling has been built. A World War II h-hut was moved on site from CFB Shilo and was restored. It is now the home of the archives, CASARA - local air rescue group and the Brandon Hills Model Railroad Club. Plenty of great photographs at our instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/catpmuseum/

~ Greg Sigurdson
(Plus the +1,000 Webpages at  www.airmuseum.ca which includes virtual tours, articles, Webzine reprints, etc.)

A Recommended WWII Book
THE PADRE:
DAVID PARSONS ROWLAND
by
Barry David Rowland

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The First of Hundreds of Letters :: From 1942
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The Last Letters :: From 1945
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The Padre by son Barry David Rowland is available from Amazon.ca
Thanks to grandson David Rowland
of Brandon University for sharing this copy.

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