Neepawa News Cuttings



Neepawa News Cuttings


Two cuttings referring to RAF Neepawa.
Item 1 shows a Tiger Moth, a ground crew woman and two airmen.
Item 2 is an article about local businesses supporting the RAF. It also describes Commonwealth and British pilots.





Two newspaper cuttings


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Neepawa Serves The Wings of the R.A.F.


Many girls from the Neepawa district, employed as civilians, are helping to operate the big R.A.F. elementary flying school which is training student pilots drawn from many parts of the British Commonwealth ranging from Cardiff to Ceylon. Here are scenes on the airport, pictured by George Young, a Free Press photographer. Top, Miss Mabel Morley, of Riding Mountain, wheels her cart of oil bottles from one plane to another, greasing them up so that they are ready for flight. Bottom left, a Ceylonese student pilot, Leading Aircraftman Chelliah Pathy, 26, a law student selected by the Ceylon government to be a flier. Bottom right, Leading Aircraftman David Lewis, 19, from South Wales, just about to take off in a Tiger Moth.

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Salt-Water Men in Neepawa

This is one of a series of articles dealing with the training establishments of the three armed services located in Manitoba.


New Brunswickers – not Blue Noses, please – set down in the heart of Manitoba to operate No [inserted] 35 [/inserted][deleted] 33 [/deleted] elementary flying school for student pilots of the R.A.F., miss their buckwheat pancakes and salt-water fish, but they are delighted with the way in which the people of Neepawa have taken them into their homes.
This was the report of J.W. Humphrey, managing director of the Miramichi Flying Training school, who formerly ran an automobile business in Moncton, N.B., and now is operating a big flying taxi business over Beautiful Plains.
The Moncton civilian company, which previously for 15 months operated No. 21 E.F.T.S. at Chatham, N.B., came to Neepawa two months ago, and ever since, R.A.F. men say, the food at the air school has greatly improved. On the food question, John Fallow, an airman from Devonshire, said he was surprised by the number of Canadians who are cafe-minded. He likes home cooking.
One of the founders and for some time president of the Moncton Flying club, Mr. Humphrey gave a business-like statement. The company has come to Neepawa for the duration. It brought a staff of 142 men from Moncton and, since arrival, has employed approximately 200 men and women from the Neepawa district. It still needs some 40 automobile mechanics who can be trained as aircraft mechanics. The town of Neepawa is helping to solve the New Brunswickers’ housing problem by sponsoring construction of 40 prefabricated houses through Wartime Housing, limited, Toronto.
While expressing some uneasiness on the buckwheat pancakes question, Mr. Humphrey said that the whole company was well pleased with the hospitality and friendliness of the people of Manitoba. He admitted that flying conditions were better here than in the maritimes “The weather is more suitable and the west seems to be one large landing-field,” he said.

Comfort Arrangements
He outlined the arrangements made for the comfort and relaxation of the airmen, which include organized sports, a Canadian Legion library, a theatre, canteens, a post office, a hospital and a barbershop. A classical music club is active under the direction of Flying Officer H.L.V. Tubbs.
Looking after the welfare of the R.A.F. airmen is Captain J.A. Banville, Saint John, N.B., Canadian Legion auxiliary services representative, a veteran who won the Distinguished Conduct Medal and the Military Medal while serving in the ranks during the last war.
Key men in the civilian operating company include: Mr. Humphrey, operating manager; R.C. Mills, assistant manager; C.C. Dryden, comptroller; C.J. Fitch, chief ground instructor; Ian Saunders, chief air engineer; W.H. Randall, station superintendent; F.H. Peacock, supply manager; W.J. Bergin, civilian personnel supervisor; and H.L. Bailey, quartermaster.
Squadron Leader G.E. Thompson, of Winchester, Hampshire, England, who is officer in charge of R.A.F. personnel and chief flying instructor at No. 35, received George Young, a Free Press photographer, and this reporter at the air school. He eloquently praised the kindness of Neepawa citizens to the R.A.F.
The air station increased its size by one-third in July. Unlike R.C.A.F. elementary flying schools, R.A.F. schools of this type use only air force men as instructors. Key men in the R.A.F. staff at Neepawa, Squadron Leader Thompson reported, include Flight Lieut. Eric Bradley, of Perth, Scotland, assistant chief flying instructor, and Flight Lieut. W.H. Brett, Northwood, Middlesex, England, administrative officer.
Squadron Leader Thompson has seen a lot of country since he started his travels in a tank, as a subaltern officer of Britain’s small tank corps in 1934. “When you close up the tank as you have to sometimes, the heat inside is terrific.” He joined the R.A.F. and became a pilot of Blenheim bombers.

Stationed at Medicine Hat
Before coming to Neepawa, he was stationed at the Medicine Hat R.A.F. school for 15 months, and he confessed that Alberta to him looked like one vast expanse of desert. Manitoba’s countryside, with its trees and green fields, seems much more like home to him.
He took us out to the flying field, where scores of little Tiger Moth planes were sailing about in the golden sunset sky. Miss Mabel Morley, of Riding Mountain, Man., a civilian employee, who used to serve maple syrup in a Neepawa cafe, was wheeling a tray full of bottles of a more precious amber fluid – oil – to a plane that stood on the tarmac. She was thrilled to be working with the air force.
We met one of the student pilots, Leading Aircraftman Chelliah Pathy, a Ceylonese law student, who was selected by the Ceylon government as one of a group of men to be trained as fliers. Asked what he thought of the Indian question, he said he was interested in flying, not politics. One of his classmates is a Hindu, Leading Aircraftman Vijayendra Kumar, of New Delhi, India, who won a B.A. degree in political economy at the University of Leeds, England.
The student pilots include eight officers who have transferred from the British army to the R.A.F.

Instructor Lands
Just landing was an instructor, Flying Officer Richard Magginson, 26, a rosy-cheeked Yorkshire farmer, who won the Diistinguished [sic] Flying Medal. As the pilot of a Blenheim, he dropped bombs on the Nazi tanks advancing to Dunkirk. “When we came back we could see tiny destroyers zig-zagging across the Channel. A trail of smoke extended up the east coast of England for 300 or 400 miles. It was the smoke-screen from Dunkirk.”
He told us a story, backed, he said, by the word of a reliable correspondent: In the early days of the war a British bomber, based on an airdrome in France, made a leaflet raid on Germany. As it flew back over the French border, the air gunner sat happily in his seat at the back. The plane, whose engines were behaving in a strange manner, made a pancake landing. The gunner got out and waited for the pilot and observer. They did not come. They had bailed out half an hour before, but as the speaking-tube had been shot away, the air gunner didn’t know about it.



“Neepawa News Cuttings,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed June 20, 2024,

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