Timeline... 1940 - 1949

The World

December, 1941 the United States enters the war after the  Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour

1945 – WW2 ends..


Aug. 19: Nearly 1000 Canadians die and 2000 are taken prisoner in the failed raid on Dieppe.


Rationing and consumer goods shortages become a way of life.
Manitoba Power Commission decides to extend  service to more rural areas.

Rivers and Area


Construction begins on buildings to be used by the Royal Canadian Air Force training program.

Announcement that 700 novice pilots from Trenton ON will be transferred to Rivers.
First family to arrive was that of Flt. Lieut. J.Hone.

Housing becomes scarce. Town council encouraged conversion of all available space into apartments.

War Services Committee organized.

Hall on Second Street renamed the “Tailspin Inn”


First Navigation School tradgedy – five Canadian die as a plane crashed on takeoff


The Air Navigation School renamed in May 1942 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) as No.1 Air Navigation School (No.1 ANS)

In 1942, No.1 ANS merged with No.2 ANS from Pennfeld Ridge (New Brunswick) to form No.1 Central Navigation School (No.1 CNS)


The Town of Rivers launched Aid to Russia, Milk for Britain, Chinese and Greek WarRelief Funds

A troop train and a general passenger train collided  at St. Lazare and planes from the No.1 CNS were used to tranposrt injured to the air station hospital

The first army parachutists to jump in Canada flew from Rivers in June 1943 in a Lodestar aircraft to "drop" at Camp Shilo. They had been trained in England and the United States.


The six ton bomb that destroyed the German battleship Tipitz was released by Rivers-born F/O Walter Daniel. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross


A trade group arranges a V-E Day Celebration, and launches a twelve-member Rehabilitation Committee.
1 Week after V-J Day , No1. CNS, the largest training centre of its kind on the North American continent, closed (temporarily) . The event was marked by Air Force Day – an event that drew about 12000 people – the greatest crowd to ever assemble in the region.

In five years No. 1 CNS saw 126 classes graduate. Personnel at its peak totaled 3000.

In October 1945 a plan for Army/ Air activities in Canada resulted in the formation of No. 1 Airborne Research and Development Centre located at Camp Shilo. By April 1947 sufficient progress had been made to permit the unit to be called the Joint Air School and it was moved to Rivers.


Jan. 15-  RCAF Guards took charge of Rivers Airport.

In 1947 the Canadian Parachute Training Centre, established at Camp Shilo in 1942, merged with the Airborne School of the Canadian Joint Air Training Centre and moved to RCAF Station Rivers, making the station Canada’s main para-training centre.

Joint Air School and it was moved from Camp Shilo to Rivers under the command of G/C M. G. Doyle.
Its function was to meet all the requirements of training and development for the Canadian forces in tactical support of land and airborne operations.

May 3 – first group of 300 trainees were traqnsferred from Camp Shilo.

Carol Yvonne Schmitz was the first “air school child” born in Madden Nursing Home.

Also in 1947, the Army Aviation Tactical Training School was established at Rivers to provide pilot training to Army aviators, as well as helicopter instructor training for the Army, RCN and RCAF

444 Air Observation Post Squadron was formed on October 1st 1947, but disbanded on April 1st 1949.


Royal Canadian Navy personnel were added to the Joint Air Training school in August 1948.

In 1948, the Joint Air Photo Interpretation School opened at Rivers. The school closed in 1960 and its personnel merged with the Air Photo Interpretation Centre at RCAF Station Rockcliffe (Ontario) who became fully responsible for training photo-interpreters.

Contracts were let for the building of 100 housing units for the base followed by contracts for a further 375 dwellings. 150 of them were to be built in Rivers.


A change in organization in March 1949 created the Joint Air Training Centre out of the elements of
the Joint Air School. The station was divided into Air Training, Technical, Administrative and Land/Air Warfare Wings.

444 Air Observation Post Squadron was disbanded on April 1st 1949.

Prime Minsiter Louis St. Laurent visits Rivers and the base

Renovations to the roundhouse and the station

- for the first time in 40 years  “Continental” passengers were afforded a quarter hour stop at Rivers for lunch.