Work on this Web page feature is long overdue. I spent many memorable hours on that base. Back in the '50s, while a member of #317 Strathclair Air Cadet Squadron for eight years, we were often bussed over to this Rivers where we were thrilled to ride in most of the aircraft shown below. The visits to the Rec Hall were a favourite because it was our first exposure to a real gymnasium. We spent many enjoyable weekends practising drill on its huge hardwood floor as well as playing volleyball, Bordenball, and other gym sports. The building also housed a bowling alley, rifle range, snack bar, and an area for films. Later, in the early '60s, while earning tuition money for university, I worked summers in the CE section painting PMQs, hangars, fuel tanks, etc. I boarded in one of the barracks through the week and but many nights I climbed onto the military shuttle bus to Brandon -- guitar slung over my shoulder -- to play with one of the country, rock or TV bands I was playing with at that time. Still later, in the late '60s, Sue-On and I performed many times in the various messes and clubs on the base.
Canadian Joint Air Training Command
CJATC RIVERS, MANITOBA
Recently Rob Sproule sent an e-mail and photos to encourage me to make a start on this project.
Rob wrote: "I would encourage you to develop a page on CJATC ... It is much needed. To jump start this effort, I attach some photos, etc. My family was there from 1954 to 1957 ... And like you, we have some good memories.
The first stage of this project is to share some of the photos that Rob has sent us. We will add to this site as more material -- photos, anecdotes, documents, maps, etc. -- cross our desk.
My first helicopter flight was in this Bell 47.
A real thrill for a 14-year-old kid.
The all plexiglass cockpit made for an incredible view
and gave the sensation of floating through the air.
We landed on one of the steep drumlin-like hills outside of rivers - I think to the southwest.
I heard a few years later that the pilot had retired from the air force
and gone into the lumber industry in BC
where he was decapitated after landing and exiting on a steep slope.
Our cadet squadron took many rides in this aircraft
-- an experience I never looked forward to.
For much of my time in my eight years in the squadron I was a Flight Sergeant and Warrant Officer
and was expected to set an example.
However, the ride was always very noisy and rough...
and I spent every hour in this craft trying to keep from vomiting.
The most memorable ride was the trip to summer camp at St. Jean, Quebec.
Before reaching our destination, however, we lost an engine and
had to make a tense forced landing at Toronto where we spent and uncomfortable night.
The Dakota was another of the planes in which
we were "treated" to regular flights all over SW Manitoba.
The Harvard trainer was a plane I didn't catch a ride in until 40 years later at the
Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum in Brandon, MB.
See the pictorial HARVARD WINGS OVER BRANDON
JOHN RAULSTON SAUL
REMEMBERS BOYHOOD AT CJATC RIVERS
"John Raulston Saul, Clarkson's husband, has a more sentimental attachment to the region. Yesterday, he and Clarkson visited Rivers, where Saul lived for three years as a child when his father was commander of a parachute school on the military base that has since been converted into a hog barn.
"Saul climbed a hill where his family used to picnic and picked a bouquet of flowers for his wife, press secretary Stewart Wheeler said."
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