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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

North Island College president to retire next year

North Island College’s president and CEO has officially announced his plans to… Continue reading

Canadian Ferry Association cautions against politicizing BC Ferry operations

Reasonable safety, not politicized safety way to go, Canadian Ferry Association says

Scarlet Ibis sale falls through

Beloved pub and restaurant in Holberg, B.C. is back with previous owner

Fishing so far has been great this season in the north Island

‘I can’t think of a better way to spend Canada Day. This year I got to fish with two amazing guests’

UPDATE: Search suspended for missing Vancouver Island hiker

Searchers scoured Strathcona Park near Gold River for experienced 65-year-old on 40-kilometre trek

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

Almost 99% less land in B.C. burned this year compared to 2018

2018 was the worst year on record for wildfires

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

Most Read