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Published on:

24th Dec 2021

RCAF Christmas in WWII Gander

The RCAF service men & women understood Christmas without the excitement of children, the spirit of Christmas was missing at a war front base, which Gander was classed. Through permission from their base commander, along with the cooperation from others at Gander, they organized a special train to pick up children in near by communities, to bring them to Gander for a Christmas party. Parents were not permitted to accompany the children because of security but they understood and agreed with the RCAF plans. The children met Santa, was treated to entertainment and a meal, plus a short tour of the airport. For most it was the first time seeing an airplane. The children were returned to their communities before the day was out. In addition we hear how the RCAF WDs felt about spending Christmas in Gander during war times and their activities that boosted their Christmas spirit.

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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

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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.