Episode 2

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Published on:

1st Oct 2021

Why Great Britain built an airport in Newfoundland

In our discussion on why Great Britain decided to build the airport, later to became known as Gander, much of the information was gleaned from a book written by Robert Stone, A Newfoundland writer, entitled ‘Gentleman’s Agreement’. In his writings, he researched the need for Great Britain’s requirement to have political control over the government of Newfoundland in order for the airport to be a success. Therefore bringing up an unanswered question, ‘was the bankruptcy of Newfoundland orchestrated’?  Whether or not, if such a political move was actually made, was it good or bad ? This could be a future discussion by more learned scholars. Considering the facts that WWII was not part of any decisions made and also after the war, the airport was to be given back to Newfoundland for a minimal fee, we will explore bringing up this subject again in the future, maybe in another environment.

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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.