101 Squadron (North Island) photo An aerial capture of the Canadian air force’s military base located near Port Hardy.

Kervin’s Corner: 75 years ago this week – Jokerville, RCAF station gets new wing commander

Jokerville was the RCAF airmen’s living quarters, but the station had more history than expected.

Hidden by a grove of trees, locals can take a little dirt path into what is known as Jokerville, which used to be a residential area for WWII airmen who worked on a nearby military base.

This week 75 years ago, the No. 8 Squadron of the Royal Canadian Air Force was reassigned to a new station, Jokerville. With them came a Lockheed Vega Ventura G.R., according to a Sept. 2015 plaque labelled “RCAF Station Port Hardy.”

The Lockheed Ventura was a twin-engine bomber used in WWII during daylight attacks against parts of Europe which were occupied.

San Diego Air and Space Museum Archive photo What a typical Lockheed PV-1 “Ventura” patrol bomber may look like, circa 1942.

These bombers were riddled with weaknesses the RCAF thought, so they pulled it from bombing and sent it for use as a patroller in Coastal Command.

Jokerville, it’s said, was “sufficiently advanced on Dec. 10, 1943, to accommodate one (bomber reconnaissance) squadron.” Authority was given by Western Air Command by Secret Organization Order No. 117. No. 8 Squadron had served in Alaska prior.

The station became fully operational in January 1944 with about several hundred men. The homes in which they lived were constructed by the airmen in the same way, in the same fashion. At the time, a military home built in Port Hardy was exactly the same as a building made in, say, RCAF Station Dartmouth during the Second World War era.

The house typically had two rooms, a bedroom and a living room which also duelled as a kitchen. These sorts of houses could be more commonly known as a story-and-a-half home.

As of January 1944, while late to war efforts, the Port Hardy RCAF station was fully capable and operating. Wing Commander R.H. Little was the commanding officer of the station. R.H. Little was part of the No. 3 Bombing and Gunnery School prior to reassignment.

THOMAS KERVIN PHOTO The heritage building, a WWII era hangar built by the RCAF, still stands today.

Premier W.A.C. Bennett called for an operations order No. 20 for No. 8 Squadron to move to Patricia Bay. The order went into effect two weeks later. Eventually, the Port Hardy RCAF station was to disband, when the wing commander gave command over the station to Flight Lieutenant Bruer, a senior flying control officer.

The station would then be primarily used for weather reporting services and stop-over and refueling needs. During the WWII wartime efforts, the U.S. Air Force sent aircraft to fuel up when travelling from Alaska. The U.S. also regularly used the base as a stop-over when sending supplies to the Alaskan base.

In what was originally an aerodrome – a place in which military air force operations take place – eventually converted into Port Hardy’s airport. The last originally standing infrastructure, the big hanger, also turned into a heritage building.

with files from 101 Squadron (North Island) and A Dream Come True: Port Hardy 1904-2004 by Port Hardy Heritage Society.

Just Posted

Port Hardy RCMP cleared in arrest that left man with broken ribs, punctured lung: watchdog

The IIO noted the matter will not be referred to crown counsel for consideration of charges.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Devil’s Bath is the largest cenote in Canada

“This trail is rough and should be executed with caution”

OPINION: MP Rachel Blaney takes aim at coastal fisheries restrictions

“We all share in the responsibility of taking care of our salmon habitats and populations”

Northern Vancouver Island regional science fair winners – 2019

Daniel Kornylo won one of the 12 provincial science fair awards.

North Island Eagles select head coaches for upcoming season

“We appreciate the commitment each of you make to the club and to your teams”

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

B.C. man pleads guilty in snake venom death of toddler

Plea comes more than five years after the incident in North Vancouver

Trudeau says Ottawa open to proposals for B.C. refinery as gas prices soar

Prime minister says he knows B.C. residents are struggling and the federal government is open to ideas

LETTER: The constant growth of the Harvest thrift store and food bank

“we now serve the complete Northern end of Vancouver Island – everyone North of Woss!”

Most Read