Monday, December 21, 2015

Seasons Greetings

A special thank you to everyone for their interest in the historical features of the Gander Airport. We really appreciate your support. From all of us here at GAHS we wish everyone a Merry Christmas  and a Happy New Year. I am sure the people at the Big Dipper shown here back in the 50’s would wish you the same greetings.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Stuart McLean

It was with deep sadness to hear of Stuart Mclean's health issues. We just hope and pray that his treatment will be successful. For those who have never heard or for those who wish to hear it again, here is Stuart's tribute to the Gander Airport and it's town.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

BBC Documentary Recognizes Gander Airport

Just came across an interesting documentary from the BBC on YouTube entitled The Way We Move. The basic concept of this documentary shows how the world has become smaller as a result of innovations in travel. What attracted our interest was about aviation and the complementary comments they made about Gander airport as well as some very good video. You will have to wait however for at least 45 minutes or so into the production before the bit on Gander is shown. This is well worth watching.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

RAF Ferry Command

Nov 10, 1940 marks the most important event that has very occurred at the Gander Airport. 7 Hudson bombers left Gander on a perilous voyage to the UK. Once proven to be successful, RAF Ferry Command commenced. This event, later acknowledged through out the world, was a key factor that led to the defeat of Nazi Germany. Gander Airport was about to morph into a world renown airport. To be known throughout aviation worldwide. We commend the Gander Rotary Club and the North Atlantic Aviation Museum in the organization of this anniversary. For more information on RAF Ferry Command we ask that you visit our website.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Above and Beyond

CBC produced a two part doc/drama back in 2006 entitled Above and Beyond, the story of RAF Ferry Command in WWII. Playing key roles were Nfld’s Allan Hawco, Mark Critch, and Peter Soucy. The extras used during the film consisted mainly of people from Gander. The location of the production was Gander Airport and the main prop was the Hudson Bomber from the North Atlantic Aviation Museum. A worth while view to relive the 75th anniversary that will take place on Nov 10. To view the video click here.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

GAHS Celebrates Ferry Command’s 75th

In honour of this prestigious day, the GAHS will be posting 3 stories with reference to Ferry Command on our website in the near future. Not only was this an event that led to a major contribution in the winning of WWII but it set the course for Gander Airport’s future. This future led to the town of Gander as it is today. Indeed, a most important day in Gander’s History.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Ferry Command's 75th Anniversary Event

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Ferry Command, the Gander Rotary Club and the North Atlantic Aviation Museum will be sponsoring a gala event to be held 6 pm Tuesday, Nov. 10 in our historic Gander Airport's International Lounge. Organizers are encouraging 40s dress. Funds raised support the Ferry Command Memorial Hall, Cobb’s Pond Rotary Park, and other Rotary projects worldwide. Tickets are $60 per person and available from any member of the Gander Rotary Club or North Atlantic Aviation Museum. Mayor Claude Elliott will serve as MC and auctioneer (those who have seen His Worship in auctioneer mode will note it is an event in and of itself). Get out and support the NAAM and Rotary Club.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gander Lake’s B24 Liberator Crash Update

We have been in contact with Tony Merkle about an update on his progress lately in his attempt to recover the B24 that crashed in Gander Lake during WWII . He advises us the project is still ongoing. There was a delay with the archaeology permit but that is to be resolved shortly. He had to put the project aside this summer due to personal work commitments. He hopes to resume searching later this fall. He advised he is getting  good feedback from the pilot's son who turned 72 this year. It looks like later attempts at dragging with grapnels may have sent the plane down over the steep slope into much deeper water. This was from an attempted salvage operation carried out by the military shortly after the crash.  Tony  has re-equipped himself with much better underwater video equipment which will aid in his search. We hope to follow this project as it progresses.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

OO-CBG, Sabena Crash Video

In 1946 Sabena Airlines OO-CBG crashed west of Gander. The USCG Association has presented this video . It was one of the first effective uses of the helicopter for civilian rescue work. This documentary includes actual film and photographs of the rescue underway and also features a narrative by one of the Coast Guard helicopter pilots, CDR Stewart Graham (ret). Army Captain Samuel Preston Martin, MD was instrumental in organizing the lifesaving effort. He was posthumously awarded the USCG Legion of Merit in 2007 - 41 years after the rescue. The cemetery at the crash site was named in his honour ’St. Martin In The Woods’. This video was first shown at that award ceremony. Our compliments to the USCG for this presentation.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Frank Tibbo To Be Awarded Order of Nfld. & Lab.

The Executive Council of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador issued the following News Release on September 23, 2015 titled Individuals to be Invested into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador. The GAHS passes along our congratulation to Frank Tibbo especially for his contributions to our website.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

RCAF Gander WWII Publications

We have just finished posting the last of the RCAF Gander Magazines that we have collected to this date. There are a few more missing which we hope to collect in the future. For those who have been following this collection, we have improved our website in order to make reading these editions more accessible. Downloading and saving these magazines are no longer necessary. Clicking on the link now will load the magazine directly to your browser. Our software hasn’t improved to allow this. We have just learned how to do a few more tasks in the software’s application. We are still not too old to learn new tricks.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

GAHS General Meeting Report

The Gander Airport Historical Society Inc. held it's 3rd Annual Meeting on Sept 15. We have completed 2 successful years since our official startup in 2013. At the meeting the Board of directors re-elected Jack Pinsent as President and George Innes as Treasurer for their 2nd term of office.  To highlight the GAHS activities for the past year; the society has become incorporated and now includes the abbreviated INC after it's title. An application for the entitlement of 'Charitable Status' has been submitted to the CRA in order to provided receipts for a tax credit to prospective donors. Our main accomplishment for the past year was the erection of a memorial for the fatal crash of CSA Flight 523 in 1967. The main project for the society in the coming year will be the commencement of the construction of a model of the old airport of the early 1950s. The project is presently being evaluated by a model builder for a cost analysis.  We are happy to report that our website continues to provide a growing interest in the airports history

Friday, September 11, 2015

Weather Forcaster McTaggert-Cowan

We recently posted a page dedicated to Dr. McTaggert-Cowan, , brought over to Gander by the British Air Ministry in the late 30’s, to forecast the weather for those traversing the North Atlantic. Originally to assist the flying boats out of Botwood, he later became an intricate part of Ferry Command’s success in their objective. No doubt he was a scientist in his own right and later in life was acknowledged for his pioneering work in aviation weather forecasting. Many of his meteorology theories are in use today. However reading his interview on this webpage, shows his very opinionated views on the role of Gander airport's activities. I take the liberty in begging for your consideration of the gentleman’s age when giving this interview. Whatever your opinion may be, his work in Gander during this era was of great value to the history of commercial & military aviation.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Senior Hockey Web Page Fixed

Our apologizes for the dead links on our webpage Senior Hockey . A change in a website link causes this . This is a problem we try to avoid by not linking to other websites.We are at the mercy of others. When we make an exception this is what happens. Don’t get us wrong . It is not the fault of the originator, this is what happens from time to time. Anyway no big deal, the problem is corrected. We will make this note however, whenever you see a dead link, let us know. You are contributing to our website when you do this.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Flashback To A 1943 Historical Report

From the ‘RCAF Gander’, December, 1943 magazine edition, we have have taken a report that was written by S/L H. A. L. Pattison, Gander Airport's first CEO and included it on our website in the Thirty's Era, entitled Early Days At Gander. S/L Pattison was given the responsibility to oversee the development of Botwood and Gander by the British Air Ministry. The historical accuracy of this report is undeniable, given the time it was written. This is an historical document written by an individual who was a part of the original history in the making.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Website Restructuring Of The WWII Era

We have added a new section to the WWII era by adding ‘Magazines’ . We have come across several magazines produced by the RCAF entitled ‘Gander” from Brandon, Manitoba’s Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum. These are very good magazines but too large to put on a web page. To overcome this problem we have provided a link in order for you to download them in a PDF file format, to read on your PDF Reader. So far we have 6 of these magazines which tells of the very interesting life in Gander during the war. We will be posting these editions individually on a timely basis rather than flooding the section with too much information. For some it will give the opportunity to read about your grandparents/parents contribution during the war.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Airport Model From The 50’s

We have initiated talks with a model maker in St. John’s to seek out the feasibility of constructing a model of the old airport from the early 50s era that will include streets, buildings , hangers and runways, all to scale. We have a copy of the blueprints of the airport that includes everything , even the heating pipes  and building numbers that were assigned so the modeller has plenty to work with except the building's detail. We will be cataloguing photos of all the buildings on the airport in order to give the modeller the detail we require.  We have quite a collection but there are always some that will be missing.  We are canvassing everyone to send us any photos in a digital format that show buildings from the old town. They don’t have to include the complete building. Any portion helps, the size and shapes of the buildings are included in the blueprints. Keep a lookout for future updates. We expect the model to be completed in late 2016 or early 2017. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Old Gander Airport Town Area

For those of you who have noticed concrete barriers that were placed at several of the street entrances, in particular Foss Ave. and Chestnut St., this is to notify everyone the purpose of this action. We have been briefed by the Airport Authority that this is only for the purpose to deter motor vehicles from taking advantage of this secluded area. Pedestrians are more than welcome to walk about these old historical streets as in the past. For those who are not familiar with this area, we have a walking tour guide available on our website in the form of a PDF file that may be downloaded to install on your smart phone or tablet and/or available for print. Just click on the link for instant downloading.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Gander Street Name Mis-spelled

We recently introduced a new section in the Transition era namely
Streets of Gander . We were about to include the historical details about Carl Backman, the first to depart Gander on a trans Atlantic flight in 1939, as an inclusion in this section when during our research we find the street is named 'Bachman Place'. If it is indeed named because of the historical actions of Carl Backman, then the street name is spelled incorrectly. To correct this error, it more than likely will create a nightmare in the Canada Post system. Maybe the best way to deal with this is to leave it as is and put an asterisk by the street name as a mis-spelling. Or name another street as 'Carl Backman St.'. There must be someone connected with aviation named 'Bachman'.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Royal Rifles of Canada 75th Reunion

We have just received email from Eileen Elms, one of the first children to live in Gander during the war. She advises; 'There was a very impressive ceremony on Sat. past (Aug.8) at our new Memorial Park. About 50 veterans attended, along with the present commanding officer of the regiment.I remember them being here in the 40’s. They were the third regiment to be stationed here. A big deal for an 8 year old. There were very few local people in attendance on Sat.'. Thank you Eileen for the update.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Dover Crash

A new item posted in Warbird Down tells the story of how the community of Dover in Bonavista Bay came together to save the lives of six airmen from perishing of hyperthermia. This came about after their Digby bomber crashed landed in the ocean near their community. Another story of Newfoundlanders taking quick action in getting involved in helping others in distress. Read about it on the website. The Dover Crash

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Special Gander Day Website Addition

To commemorate this years Gander Day, the GAHS is introducing a new section in the Transition Era entitled Streets of Gander that will include 14 articles. Frank Tibbo has written some fine documents on people directly involved with the town of Gander and it’s airport. Most of the street names in Gander themselves have an historical connection and are easily identified. Others, not so much. This section will deal mainly with street names that have, in some way, a direct connection to Gander Airport's history. Transposing Frank’s information on individuals who had street named after them, made us realize just how deserving they were. Their contributions should be told and not forgotten. Other names will continually be added with time. It is also our desire to bring forward more names for the town to consider in the future naming of streets.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New Director On GAHS Board

We are pleased to announced the appointment of Maurice Geange to our Board of Directors. Maurice has lived in Gander just about all of his life and has a special interest in Gander Airport's history. We are looking forward to working with Maurice. He will be an excellent addition.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Tip Of The Hat To Charlie Falk

We recently received a request from a German publishing company requesting photos of Gander Airport showing communist country airplanes in Gander. They plan to publish an article about the airport on how it was an important stop from the eastern European countries on the way to Cuba. Thanks to Charlie Falk's generosity he has supplied us photos for this publication.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Come From Away Musical

After last weekend's memorial to the rescue response to CSA 523 back in 1967, this news release just goes to show how Gander/Newfoundland responds to aviation emergencies. Or any emergencies for that matter.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

CSA Memorial Map

With reference to our comments below about a nice 1.5 km walk via the trailway to visit the Czechoslovakian Memorial, this map is to assist those not familiar with the area.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Airport Coffee Shop Apology

Thanks to Gerard McCarthy, who informed we had several errors in linking to other sites, we discovered that we had a corrupted error in our html template codes. An error  we should have detected earlier for which we now apologise. We have gone back as far as February to find and make all the corrections necessary up to this date. Like Gerard, if anyone detects an error of a similar manner, including typos, please write to us at gahs.webster@gmail.com .  If you missed some of the material we referred you to in our links, they are now available. We want to do the best we can here at the Airport Coffee Shop.

Monday, June 29, 2015

OK523 Memorial Unveiled June 27

An excellent day and an excellent turn out. The weather was a little chilly but it was dry. The unveiling ceremony was conducted by the Right Rev. Dr. Marion Pardy and the unveiling by Alena Zimova, a survivor. The GIAA did a commendable job from constructing the memorial site, preparing the area with appropriate seating/facilities, transportation from parking area and hosting a social for everyone after in the International Lounge at the terminal. Brian Hicks and Stephen Burbridge should take a bow for this. The ATV trailway is in excellent condition making it a very nice 1.5 km walk for pedestrians. Got to https://twitter.com/GahsYQX for more photos

Monday, June 22, 2015

Remembering The Crash Of OK523

September 5, 1967. OK523 an IL18 departed Gander at 2:40 AM enroute to Havana, Cuba with 69 people on board. Shortly after airborn the aircraft crashed without warning. 35 died. 34 survived. The total destruction was almost unimaginable. The airport rescue team faced the task, in total darkness, how to gain access to the crash without a road to drive on. Then the problem of getting survivors to medical aid as quickly as possible. The hospital staff went on full alert for this emergency. One of the most amazing facts that came out of this operation is that this situation was never simulated in a practise exercise. Everything was reacted too instantly, instinctively and very successfully. One has to wonder about human reactions in an emergency situation. Read about it on our website . Below is a photo of the debris field.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

OK523 Crash Memorial

This coming Saturday, June 27,  at 2:00 PM, the Gander Airport Historical Society will be dedicating a memorial to commemorate the tragedy that occurred on Sept. 5, 1967.  Alena Zimova, one of the survivors will be doing the honour of unveiling this memorial. Transportation will be provided to the original crash site commencing after 1:00 PM shown on the map below.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Aviation Archeology Thesis

Lisa Daly has just completed her thesis on airplane crashes in Newfoundland during WWII, particularly in the Gander area, for her completion in receiving a PHD in Aviation Archeology. She has made her thesis available for download at https://db.tt/1GNq2a4d for your reading.  In the near future Lisa will be joining our website in doing several articles for us on specific  crashes in the Gander area which will be posted in our Warbird Down section in the WWII era. We are sure a few  of you have encountered some of these crashes while exploring the island’s terrain. The history of Gander airport is slowly coming back to life.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Gander Airport Terminals

Just a humorous thought that come to mind. Our first terminal was the old Administration Building, better referred now as 'the GAHS logo'. Then after WWII the old RAF hangers were renovated and became the  "International Terminal, Cross Roads of The World". To update your memory, Heathrow Airport started construction in 1946. We are already on our second terminal. In 1958 a new third terminal was built which now became known as the "New Terminal". We are starting to run out of titles. Shouldn't the next terminal be called "Terminal Four"?  Toronto only has 3 .  We deserve it. Go, CYQX, Go.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

GAHS Now "tweetable"

We have officially opened our new twitter account. Visit us at https://twitter.com/GahsYQX. Follow us and catch up on all the new updates. Be aware, we are new at this so be patient with our errors.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Reunion of Giants

Our old friend Mike McAnany sent along this link from YouTube depicting a short video on the last two airworthy Lancaster bombers (RCAf & RAF) remaining in the world, reuniting in England last year for an air show. Very moving as well as an historic event. I am sure the airshow they were involved in will be made available on the English TV network in the near future.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Gander Lake’s B24

We have just posted this story under the same title on our website. This correlates with the project that Tony Merkle has undertaken to locate and attempt to recover this airplane. In recent correspondence he informs us that he is has made contact with the pilot’s son in hopes that he can attain more information on the crash itself. The pilot's son is now 72 years old and was born 21 days after his father was lost. Tony has completed a couple of searches with some positive results receiving interesting targets on the sonar returns. He had trouble with his underwater video equipment but has now re-equipped with higher tech gear. He plans to be back on the lake in June to continue the search.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Nominations Requested for the Board of Directors

The GAHS Board of Directors is requesting nominations for a director to replace a vacancy on the board.  This vacancy does not necessarily have to be replaced by someone from Gander.  Those who are interested please forward your intentions to serve as a Director to gahs.webster@gmail.com for our consideration no later than July 31. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

GAHS Officially Incorporated

We have been informed by our legal counsel that we have officially received our Incorporation entitlement. Our official title is now Gander Airport Historical Society Inc.( Incorporated). The next step is to receive charitable status from the Canadian Revenue Authority. Then we can proceed in raising funds for the old Airport Town Model. We will have more to report on this model after talks with the model craftsman later this summer. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Restructuring of the WWII Era in the GAHS Website

We have just completed some housecleaning (restructering) in the GAHS website by adding an overdue section on Ferry Command. Our posting policy is not to flood the website with information but to prioritize our postings in an orderly and readable manner. This section is planned to eventually highlight some of the history of Ferry Command and of those that contributed historically to this venture. As in all restructuring work, errors in missing links,typos and omissions etc. will occur so we trust our readers to inform us of these ‘flaws’ throughout the website. Please keep us advised by using our website mailing address gahs.webster@gmail.com .

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Opinion of Gander From A USAAF Officer In 1942

We just posted a confidential report from a USAAF Officer to his superiors on the living conditions in Gander in 1942. It is quite obvious the officer had not served before in a war zone in which the airport was considered to be. His observations on the conduct of others at the base is understandable but the living conditions is a different matter. He was very fortunate not to have had to live in a tent as others had to do in the western part of Europe at that time. One must also take into consideration the fact the US had just entered the war and maybe not prepared for living conditions in a war zone at that early stage. It is interesting to read about the observations of others on Gander at that time.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Czech Memorial

We have had  three major airplane accidents at the airport in Gander since the conception of North Atlantic commercial air travel. Nothing to be proud off but Gander airport ranks pretty high with this number in the world. At this point in time 2 of these 3 accidents have been dignified with memorials . These being  the Sabena crash SW of Gander and the Arrow Air crash near Gander Lake. This society felt it would be fitting that a memorial should be erected to commemorate the Czechoslovakian Airline crash in 1967 to honour those that died in this horrific accident, to those that survived and to those who assisted in their survival. The Gander Airport Historical Society has undertaken this task. This memorial will be dedicated on June 27 at the scene of impact at Gander Airport. As well as survivor  Ms. Alena Zimova and her family, the Czech Ambassador to Canada will be in attendance for this ceremony. Other guests including municipal,  provincial and federal representatives have also being invited to attend. The placement for this memorial will be located alongside the old rail-bed, now an ATV trail way, E of the departure path for runway 13. This may be a little difficult for some to walk to this location however the public are invited to attend this ceremony.  It is our intention to have some form of transportation provided. More updates will be issued if necessary.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

New Musical Play About Gander & 9/11

We received correspondence today from a Ms. Shirley Fishman who was interested in knowing more facts about Gander and the surrounding area during 9/11 and the days after. Ms. Fishman is the Resident Dramaturg at the La Jolla Village Playhouse in La Jolla, California. She is presently working on a new musical play titled Come From Away that tells the story of what happened in Gander and Newfoundland. She is looking for any information – documents, newspapers articles, interviews, photos of that period of time If anyone out there has an interesting story to tell or an item to pass along you can contact Shirley via  email: sfishman@ljp.org

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Old Airport Town Tour Guide Map

Over the past few years we have been getting requests to assist in giving brief tours of the old airport town. While this has not by any means an inconvenience, there are times when we are just not available. To overcome come this problem we have generated a map of the area where you can download a tour guide map along with old photos that will enable you to conduct your own personal tour. The touring map is in a PDF format which can be printed or viewed from your tablet or smart phone. This map is by no means perfect and will be improved upon in the near future. We would appreciate feed back for improvements. To down load your map click on this link and be patient . This file is 34 MBs in length and takes a little time to download. For feed back; our email is gahs.webster@gmail.com

Friday, March 6, 2015

Another Documentary on the History of Gander Airport

This morning we just completed a lengthly interview with Geoff Morrison from Big Cedar Films in Toronto . Geoff is very interested in doing a documentary on Gander Airport’s History after viewing our website. It is his intention to enter the planning stages this summer by visiting Gander and touring the airport property getting information on the old town and it’s past history first hand. The airport continues to draw interest from far and wide. This just goes to show that our history is worth documenting with all the interest being shown recently. We must be doing something right.

Monday, February 9, 2015

A New Section In WWII Era

If anyone missed or was unable to see ‘Fallen War Birds’ on Land & Sea this past weekend here is a link to watch this very fine production by the CBC. Lisa Daly recently has written her MUN thesis on these crashes during WWII in the Gander area based on her research. She intends to take chapters from her thesis, adapt them to be separate and a more detailed look at each of the crashes, to be posted on our website. We have just posted a new section in the WWII era titled ‘Warbird Down’ based on airplane crashes during WWII and also in preparation for posting Lisa’s future work. This should be a most interesting addition to the airport’s history.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Fallen War Birds on Land & Sea

Lisa Daly, our plane crash girl , has informed us that Sunday's (Feb 8) Land and Sea will feature Gander. Lisa, Dr. Mike Deal and Dana Young, instructor at CNA, went to a couple of sites around Gander to discuss the importance of Gander during WWII and the need to protect the crash sites and remember their history. The show synopsis is on the CBC website and it will be online after Sunday. This show will be available outside of NL for the interested. We will be featuring Lisa's work on the history of these crashes on our website in the near future.

Friday, January 30, 2015

US Navy Super Connie 1963 Crash

We just received this link to a video on Youtube produced by Dennis Smeaton of Gander . His father Fred Smeaton had taken video footage of the incident and Dennis recently produced this mini documentary. Dennis, like his father, continues to collect and produce historical video data about the Gander Airport. Many thanks to Mike Mcanany for bringing this video to our attention.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Gander Airport Documentary

Bull & Sail Films, a film group out of Calgary, has contacted us in asking for the GAHS assistance in developing a documentary on the history of Gander Airport. We are humbled in being considered for our input. We have been in contact with Reg Wright (GIAA), who we have recommended to this film group, to be also invited to participate. This is a great opportunity to be involved in a documentary film depicting the history of Gander Airport in telling the world Gander’s role in aviation’s history. We anticipate the full cooperation of everyone concerned in having this history documented as it should. The Gander Airport Historical Society is prepared to step up to another level. Filming is expected to start in the summer/fall of 2015.