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CATP Museum site restoration ongoing

CATP Hangar Peel's Prairie Provinces

View of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Hangar, Brandon Municipal Airport, 1941. Postcard. Source: Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries.

The Commonwealth Air Training Plan site is in Stage One of an impressive redevelopment initiative.

The objective is to create a living history village depicting the daily life of the young airmen, from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, who lived and trained on the site.

Restoration includes the main hangar, medical building, chapel, H-hut aircrew barracks, motor pool building, canteen and interpretive centre.

The Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum is Canada’s only museum dedicated solely to those who fought for the British Commonwealth during WWII.

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It is a designated National Historic site, a Manitoba Star Attraction and one of only six designated Manitoba Signature Museums.

CATP Museum holdings include several World War II aircraft and vehicles, displays of navigation, pilot, bombardier, ground crew and transport equipment, various artifacts and a gift shop.

The restoration plan is driven by a very hands-on group of volunteers.

Stephen Hayter Angus Sneesby CATP Museum

(L-R) CATPM executive director, Stephen Hayter and volunteer, Angus Sneesby.

While their support helps reduce the expense of renovating the buildings, it is still a costly process.

Project funding comes from donations and grants (fundraising is ongoing) so expenses are carefully monitored.

“When we started on the Canteen building, which was our first renovation, we were looking for ways to reduce our heating and cooling costs,” says executive director, Stephen Hayter.

They decided that their best alternative was to install a geothermal system.

“We find it’s about a third of the cost of typical heating options and we like the even temperature geothermal offers.”

The Canteen can be rented for events and Stephen says that being able to cut down on operating expenses has helped increase their revenue.

The geothermal system has the capacity to meet the requirements of additional renovated buildings.

So, the most recent restoration, the H- hut aircrew barracks, was easily added to the system.

One side of the H-hut consists of research archives housing material that includes paper documents and textiles such as uniforms, flight suits and the like.

Here, the geothermal system’s even temperature coupled with the nearly 50 percent relative indoor humidity is especially significant.

Fluctuations in temperature and humidity can lead to deterioration issues in archival collections.

Creating a one-of-a-kind living history village is not without challenges, however, heating and cooling the WW II era buildings isn’t one of them.

“We are pleased that our historic buildings can be heated in this modern way,” Stephen says.

Reprinted from Brandon Now magazine

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The RCAF WWII British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Memorial ensures

They are not forgotten

A portion of the CATP Memorial Wall with the bronze statue of an airman in the background. photo by Bill HIllman

A portion of the CATP Memorial Wall with the bronze statue of an airman in the background. photo by Bill Hillman


Archie Londry

Commonwealth Air Training Plan (CATP) Museum memorial project committee chair, Archie Londry. photo: CATP Museum

Canada Remembers

Airman statue2 CATP museum

The 300 foot airfoil-shaped granite wall, watched over by a bronze airman, has been erected on consecrated ground. photo CATP Museum

“The unveiling of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Second World War British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Memorial took place on September 10, 2014 in Brandon, Manitoba.

It pays tribute to the brave airmen and airwomen of the British Commonwealth who lost their lives during the Second World War.

The memorial is impressive in both size and scope.

It has a 100 metre long row of black granite panels etched with 19,256 names, a 2.5 metre tall bronze statue of an airman and 1,150 square metres of paving stone, including a 20-metre wide RCAF wing in full colour.”  – Veterans Affairs Canada

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Today’s Throwback

Cessna Crane CATP Museum

Cessna Crane Aircraft

in a hanger at No. 12 Service Flying Training School, Brandon, c. 1941

photo: Commonwealth Air Training plan Museum

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