Air Force Museum of Alberta

RCAF Personnel

The following is a collection of stories about Canadian's who have served in the RCAF over the years.

My Worst Day - Tales of an old Fighter Pilot

by: K.C. (Ken) Lett, MGen (Ret’d)

As the invasion of Continental Europe was being planned, the RAF decided to change the structure of Fighter Command by placing the majority of the squadrons into a Tactical Air Force (TAF). The balance of the squadrons being allocated to the Air Defence of Great Britain.

The photo shows Ken Lett receiving his wings from Prime Minister Mackenzie King in 1942.

Read more: My Worst Day

1 Air Division RCAF, Choloy War Cemetery, France

by Don Norrie

I was raised in Edmonton during the years of World War 2. It was a busy military city in those days with an American presence building the Alaska Highway and ferrying aircraft to our Russian allies via Edmonton. The BCATP was in full swing at Blatchford Field (later Edmonton Municipal Airport) and the city sky was dotted with yellow training aircraft.

Read more: Choloy War Cemetery

WWl Ace - Capt Conrad Lally

by: Don Norrie

Most, if not all, who read this story will have no idea who Conrad Lally is; yet in the early years of the 20th Century he was one of Wainwright, Alberta’s leading citizens. Conrad was born in Toronto in 1882, the only child of Conrad Colthurst Whitley Lally and Lucy Fedora Wells. He received his education at private schools and prestigious Upper Canada College.

Read more: The Story of Conrad Lally

Uncommon Gallantry, the story of Karl Gravell

by Don Norrie

A white granite boulder resting near the bottom of Simon’s Valley at the junction of Range Road 25 and Big Hill Springs Road east of Airdrie, is a monument to the outstanding bravery of a 19 year old airman, and a local schoolteacher, Frances Walsh who tried to save his life. LAC Karl Mander Gravell, GC, was posthumously awarded the George Cross the highest British (and Commonwealth) award for bravery out of combat.

Read more: Uncommon Gallantry

Arctic Diary: My Year on the Alcan Highway

A collection of stories by RCAF nurse, Mary Elizabeth Fairey

Early in 1942, the U.S. Government conceived the idea of building a road through the mountainous wilderness of northwestern Alberta, British Columbia, the Yukon and Alaska forging a link between Edmonton and Fairbanks.

Read more: Arctic Diary

Boxtop 22: Rescue at the Top of the World

by Gary Watson

No permanent human settlement sits farther north on this planet than Canadian Forces Station (CFS) Alert. At 82 degrees 30 minutes north and 62 degrees 19 minutes west, it is located 817 kilometres (508 miles) from the geographic North Pole on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island and spends six months of the year in twilight and darkness.

Read more: Operation Boxtop

Lost and Found: The Return of a Cold War Painting

CF-104 pilot Andrew Henwood and his "lost" painting

During the 1960’s, Pilot Andrew Henwood served with the RCAF at the Canadian Airforce base in Baden-Sollingen, West Germany. Andrew was one of many RCAF CF-104 Starfighter pilots and Air Force personal who served in Western Europe during the Cold War. Their mission was to help maintain a fragile peace by providing a deterrent to potential aggression from the Soviet Union.

Read more: Return of a Cold War Painting

Tales of a Gun Plumber

by: Don Norrie

Back in the years when I was growing-up, nick-names for people were as common as apple pie. The nick-name could be derived from a persons physical stature (Shorty or Slim), racial origin (Scotty or Paddy), hair color (Red or Blondie), or surname such as Bell (Dinger) and Martin (Mink) and many other correlations that had to do with the personal make-up of an individual.

Read more: Tales of a Gun Plumber

Air Marshall W.A. Curtis

The Curtis collection donated to the AFMSA

Dr. Glenn Curtis the grandson of Air Marshall (AM) W.A. Curtis recently donated the collection to Colonel (Ret’d) Don Matthews, Chairman of the Air Force Museum Society of Alberta.

Read more: Air Marshall W.A. Curtis

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