Episode 4

Published on:

29th Oct 2021

Gander enters WWII as a military airport

The RCAF takes

over control of the Newfoundland airport, renames it Gander and it now becomes

a military airport. Airborne surveillance for shipping in the western Atlantic also

becomes the role of the RCAF out of Gander. With the success of transporting

military aircraft to Great Britain, the RAF arrive setting up Ferry Command. The

US recognizing the strategic importance of Gander, establishes a USAAF base in

the spring of 1941 prior to entering the war. When the US enters the war a much

larger base is built, making Gander the largest multi military base in the

world. The base now includes the RCAF, RAF, USAAF, Canadian Army, Canadian Navy,

US Navy and temporarily, a Soviet military unit, ferrying US built PBYs to USSR.

Gander airport is now recognized as an active war front.

Show artwork for History of Gander

About the Podcast

History of Gander
The airport that started transatlantic air travel
The history of Gander airport, built in the wilderness of Newfoundland during the late 1930’s on the speculation that air travel between Europe and North America would evolve, with the only infrastructure, a narrow gauge railroad. The completion took two years to build just as the world entered into WWII. The timeliness of the airport’s construction led the airport playing a vital military role in being the anchor point of transitioning bomber type aircraft to Europe. Immediately at the end of the war, because of the success of flying large bombers across the Atlantic, the idea of commercial air travel was pursued with the Gander airport again playing a vital role for the refueling of aircraft that didn’t have the range to fly from one shore to the other. The requirement of people to service the needs of a busy airport led to another problem. There was no town for families to reside. The vacated military buildings built for the war effort were converted into livable dwellings and what was a military base now became a civilian town, located cheek by jowel to a very busy international airport. The airport town lasted until 1959 when a new modern town was built just a few kilometers to the North West of the airport.

This story will be told through discussions & interviews that better describe the anthropology and events of the past. Email us at "gahs.webster@gmail.com" for question or comments

About your hosts

Jack Pinsent

Profile picture for Jack Pinsent
Jack Pinsent, a retired air traffic controller, maintains a website collecting articles & photos of historical information about Gander airport. The purpose of the podcast is to support the website's information with more detailed facts. Visit our website http://www.ganderairporthistoricalsociety.org/

Terry Hart

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Terry Hart is a former radio broadcaster in NL, Canada, having spent over 45 years in the industry. He is the recipient of numerous news and other awards for Atlantic Canada and nationally, including the inaugural Broadcast News Award for news excellence in Atlantic Canada. Terry also interviewed world personalities like Fidel Castro, Soviet President Brezhnev, Muhammed Ali, Terry Fox and more. He has covered hijackings, the devastating Arrow Air Disaster at Gander International Airport, and other major events impacting Newfoundland and Labrador.