This morning we went to see the Air Museum in Brandon. Its where they trained the Canadian pilots during WWII. We saw a lot of cool stuff. The volunteers there gave us a personal tour when they realized that Dad actually flew some of the airplanes they had in the hanger. The hanger itself is quite a structure – having been built out of enormous pine logs – the structures might look like steel but they are all wood. They were designed to last 20 years, but are still standing today.
This is a small wooden trainer they used for instrument training – and Dad remembered using one in the Civil Air Patrol as a teenager.
They have an impressive array of WWII training aircraft. Some of which they still fly for demonstrations.
They also have a number of vehicles that were used by the training facility.
This radial engine is the same type that Dad and his buddy tore down and put back together during engine shop class in high school. As they were putting it back together their shop teacher came by to remind them that they needed to hand turn the engine before starting it so that the engine oil that had collected in the lower plugs would be cleaned out. Alas, when they started it up a stream of oil came out of the engine exhaust hitting their instructor square between the eyes. Oil dripping from his nose, the instructor said to them, “I see you boys forgot my instructions, huh?”
During the war numerous pilots were captured by the Germans. In care packages the British put games of Monopoly. They had worked with the game manufacturer to hide escape instructions, small bits of useful items like nail files, along with real money inside to help them escape.
Here is Dave explaining to Dad and our tour guide how the old radios worked inside the airplanes.
The museum has a small chapel where there are numerous tributes to the fallen.
The text of this telegram reads, “Deeply regret to inform you your husband sergeant Granville Andrew Jackson is reported missing believed killed as a result of air operations 15th February 1942. Letter confirming this cablegram and giving all available information follows. The Air Council express their sympathy.” Telegrams like this were delivered by the town priest whenever possible. However during really large battles that wasn’t possible, and often these were delivered by children on bicycles who happened by the telegraph office.
This chalk board was from a local school and shows how much the kids were able to contribute each month to the war effort. The board would have been destroyed, but a smart contractor hid it inside the walls of the school he was refurbishing – preserving it to later be found and sent to the museum with the writing intact.
After our visit to the museum we were off for Kenora, last stop before we head to Lake Manatou and Uncle Bob's cabin where we will be off the grid for a week eating nothing but fish we catch ourselves. We stayed tonight at a beautiful B&B log cabin on a lake. When we arrived the proprietress was in a bit of a tizzy as she had forgotten we needed two rooms and had inadvertently rented the other room to someone else. So she gave up her own suite to us and stayed in her small loft. Can't really ask for better service than that!