Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum Visit

A couple of weeks ago Jen and I made the 2 1/2 hour drive out to Brandon for PrairieCon, where I played in the fun games put on by fellow Conscripts Greg and Dallas. Saturday evening we were joined by Kim, Byron, Anne and Chris at my favourite Brandon watering hole/restaurant, The Dock on Princess. Yum!

On Sunday, Jen and I went to the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, located by the Brandon airport. We'd been meaning to go for some time, and this was a great opportunity. During World War Two the British  Commonwealth Air Training Plan trained 131,533 Allied pilots and aircrew at 231 locations all across Canada. Brandon was a major centre for this effort.

There are several dioramas at the museum depicting day to day operations...

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...including prohibited activities such as stunt flying!

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There were uniforms on display...

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...including this heated flying suit that looks like teddy bear pajamas!

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There were some exhibits regarding women's role in the war effort.

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The heart of the collection are the many aircraft located in the hanger portion of the building, some of which are illustrated below.

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The father of our friend Samantha trained as an air gunner in a Bristol Bolingbroke (a license built copy of the Blenheim bomber), but the war ended before he was posted overseas.

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There were interesting exhibits such as CO2 based firefighting equipment...

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...and war booty seized from the Japanese.

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The museum is in the midst of restoring several aircraft, including a Hawker Hurricane.

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The Fairey Battle in the workshop is interesting. There exist no plans, but the museum is working with a museum in Australia who are undertaking a similar project. Note both the R/C model (which the pile of junk behind it will eventually look like)...

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...and the more detailed model fuselage covered in pencil marks.

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The memorial of the fallen will be completed in the fall of 2014.

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I urge anyone in the neighbourhood to drop by, and to consider making a donation to the Memorial Project.

2 comments:

paulalba said...

What a great museum Dave! Would love to see the hurricane complete!

Admiral Drax said...

Just brilliant - thanks for sharing!

I've always been a fan of the link trainer in particular, and I'd never heard of the Bolingbroke before (although I did pick it out as a Blenheim!)

Cheers.