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RCAF Station Pennfield Ridge

I would like to extend a huge thank you to G. Christian Larsen for his assistance with this page.

General Information

Base / Station: Pennfield Ridge

Province: New Brunswick

Dates of Operation or Period of Information:  1941 – 1945

Units: 

  • No 2 Air Navigation School
    • formed 21 July 1941
    • Conducted a four week intensive course on astro navigation designed to qualify students for night navigation
    • Aircraft:
      • Avro Anson
    • When No 2 Air Navigation School disbanded it was absorbed into No 1 Air Navigation School, Rivers, Manitoba. The school was the redesignated No 1 Central Navigation School, Rivers, Manitoba.
    • 30 April 1942, school disbanded later reformed in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
  • No 2 Operational Training Unit
    • Unit Formed – 6 July 1942
    • Unit suspended – 19 August 1942 due to aircraft shortages. All personnel posted out
    • Squadron Leader E. Lawrence O’LEARY (C/1920) – Commander
  • No 34 Operational Training Unit (RAF)
    • sailed from Gourock, Scotland 8 April 1942
    • arrived at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia 18 April 1942
    • The plan was initially to establish the Unit at Yarmouth, however this plan changed as the plan progressed.
    • Was moved to Pennfield Ridge on a “Temporary” basis over the period of 14-27 May 1942
    • this move became permanent by air force order on 31 August 1942.
    • the purpose of this unit was to provide advanced training of bomber crews prior to full operational deployment in the theater of operations.
    • A Detachment of the unit was formed at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. This detachment was composed of the Armament Training Wing. This detachment trained the first 9 courses. These courses were trained at both locations. The dates the Yarmouth Detachment was in place were 20 August 1942 – 30 April 1943.
    • Aircraft:
      • Lockheed Ventura
      • Avro Anson
    • Became inactive effective – 30 April 1944
    • Disbanded – 19 May 1944
  • RCAF Station Pennfield Ridge
    • This unit was formed on the disbandment of No 34 (Royal Air Force) Operational Training Unit
  • Operational Training Squadron
    • a sub unit of RCAF Station Pennfield Ridge
    • with Flight Lieutenant Van Elslande – Commander
    • Aircraft:
  • Transport Conversion Squadron
    • a sub unit of RCAF Station Pennfield Ridge
    • Flight Lieutenant L.B. Stevenson – Commander
    • Aircraft:
  • Eastern Air Command School of Survival
    • a sub unit of RCAF Station Pennfield Ridge
    • organized – May 1945
    • Flight Lieutenant G. Durrell – Commander
    • This school gave an extensive course in survival measures for those heading to the far East

Commanding Officers:

  • Wing Commander Frank Robert MILLER (C/139)
  • Group Captain Anthony Caron EVANS-EVANS (GB19018)
    • 17 April 1942 – 6 February 1943
  • Group Captain Anthony LEACH, MC (GB07202)
    • 6 February 1943 – 19 May 1944
  • Group Captain William Waldo Scott ROSS (C/638)
    • 20 May 1944 –

Financial Impact:

  • In 1939 Pennfield Ridge had a population of 188. By 1943 it was over 5,000 as a direct result of the Pennfield Ridge Air Station & the Canadian Infantry Training Centre, located 1/4 mile in behind the Air Station.

Date / Reason for Closure:

Current Status: 

  • for many years No 3 runway was home to the Pennfield International Dragway, drag racing facility. The dragway closed in 1996.
  • The aerodrome was listed as abandoned in the 19 July 2018 edition of the Canadian Flight Supplement, I would need to review older flight supplement to determine exactly when the aerodrome was formally declared abandoned.
  • In 2006 Acadian Seaplants Ltd purchased the site. Prior to this date they had been using runway 9-27 for drying seaweed to convert into fertilizer. since that time they have expanded the drying operation to encompass all runways and the taxiway.
RCAF Aerodrome Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick. Image from the RCAF Pilots Manual of Aerodromes and Seaplane Bases circa 1942. –
Image courtesy of Matt Heintz
Site drawing from the No 2 Air Navigation School Student Handbook c.1941 Source G. Christian Larsen
Aerial Photo Source G. Christian Larsen
Aerial Photo – Oblique c.1944 National Defence Photo

Site Plan – 1948

Site Plan, Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick
(Circa 1948) (Source 1 Canadian Air Division)
If you would like a PDF Copy Please Click to Download.

Location – Google Map

Photo Gallery

Staff and Students of the Eastern Air Command Survival School hiking back to Camp. Photo provided by G. Christian Larsen
Student of No 2 Air Navigation School training with bubble Sexton at Pennfield Ridge, September 1941. Photo provided by G. Christian Larsen
Mounds of Seaweed being dried on the former tarmac of the Pennfield Ridge Aerodrome. Photo provided by G. Christian Larsen
25 Yard Range Butts, Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick (Photo provided by G. Christian Larsen on facebook 1 July 2011)
Munitions Shelter #1, Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick (Photo provided by G. Christian Larsen on facebook 1 July 2011)
Paving the Aerodrome, Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick (Photo provided on facebook by G. Christian Larsen)
Scraping to contour the Aerodrome Site, Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick (Photo provided on facebook by G. Christian Larsen)
Scraping to contour the Aerodrome Site, Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick (Photo provided on facebook by G. Christian Larsen)
Site preparation, Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick (Photo provided on facebook by G. Christian Larsen)
A collection of Heavy Equipment in use during the winter at Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick (Photo provided on facebook by G. Christian Larsen)
25 yard Range Butts, Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick (Photo provided by Jason N. Gaudet on facebook 6 June 2011)

Station Magazine
“The Adventura”

Daily Diary – Links – No 34 (Royal Air Force) Operational Training Unit

Daily Diary – Links – No 2 Operational Training Unit

1942

June

July

August

unit suspended

Fatalities

This list was compiled from the entries in the Daily diaries of No. 34 (Royal Air Force) Operational Training Unit, No 2 Air Navigation School and other sources.  The list likely does not include all fatalities of personnel who died while stationed at RCAF Station Pennfield Ridge, and likely includes some errors. Currently this list contains 77 personnel.

14 January 1941

15 January 1941

21 August 1941

25 August 1941

9 May 1942

23 July 1942

20 November 1942

22 November 1942

16 December 1942

5 January 1943

23 January 1943

26 January 1943

6 February 1943

8 February 1943

26 February 1943

13 March 1943

14 April 1943

23 April 1943

29 May 1943

3 June 1943

9 June 1943

12 June 1943

25 June 1943

10 July 1943

10 August 1943

26 August 1943

19 December 1943

19 March 1944

2 September 1944

16 October 1944

6 December 1944

21 March 1945

3 June 1945

22 June 1945

* This member died while posted to Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick however he was executed after being convicted of Murder.

Aircraft List

Courts Martial

The following personnel were recommended for courts martial and a file was created on the Charged Offence, not all Offences were tried. This list is not complete but I will be working my way through the reels in the upcoming months.

  • Corporal Ralph Kenneth Bates (RAF-615927)
    • Charged with:
      • 1 count of While on Active Service , Striking his superior officer
      • Alternate charge, 1 count of Striking an Airman
    • Trial Date – 22 September 1942
    • this file is 77 pages.
    • Member was found Not Guilty of Both Charges, however was found guilty of offering violence
    • sentenced to:
      • loss of seniority and
      • a reprimand.
  • Flight Sergeant John Fenwick (RAF-246332)
    • Charged with multiple counts of Conduct to the Prejudice of Good Order and Air Force Discipline
    • Was also separately charged with Absent Without Leave for the period of 17-31 October 1942
    • Trial Date – 9 November 1942
    • This file is 132 pages but covers multiple courts martials.
    • Member plead guilty and was sentenced to reduction in Rank, to the Rank of Sergeant.
    • The file also contains a courts martial that occurred for Absent Without Leave that occurred in Kingston, Ontario the previous year.
  • Aircraftman 1st Class James George Price (RAF-1298732)
    • Trial Date – 22 February 1944
    • File is 54 pages
  • Leading Aircraftman John Earl Shields (RAF-945510)
    • Tried via Summary Trial
    • File is 26 pages
  • Corporal Andrew Waterhouse (RAF-627775)
    • Charged with 1 count of Striking an Airman
    • Trial Date – 22 September 1942
    • The file is 72 pages.
    • Member was found guilty
    • sentenced to:
      • Reduction in Rank and
      • a Severe Reprimand.

Course List
No 2 Air Navigation School

Course List
No 34 Operational Training Unit


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