Reproduced from The Beacon, Supplement July 31, 1991

Deadman’s Pond

Breaking the monotony of military life on an isolated base


Picture compliments of Max Lush

Military personnel living on the Gander Station in the early ‘40s were isolated from civilization.  They were confined to the base, surrounded by wilderness, with the only means of escape by train or plane.


The occasional five day pass would include a trip to  Grand Falls or Corner Brook, otherwise, they had to provide for their own recreation and leisure.

Deadman’s Pond was located a couple of miles from the station.  It was more than 10 fathoms deep and was well stocked with mud trout.  Sgt. Larry O’Toole said (in an article written for the Propaganda Magazine), “seldom did a fisherman return from the pond without some sort of catch to show for his time and effort.”

Recognizing the site’s recreational potential, administration gave the go ahead for the building of a log cabin.  It would be 60 by 65 feet and have a 60 foot veranda facing the pond.  When completed, it would serve as a sort of club house for station personnel and Squadron parties.

The new cabin boasted two fireplaces and a snack bar.  It was officially opened by Leading Airwoman Eileen Butt in September 1944.  It remained open until the end of the war.  The outdoors-men on the station found enough to keep them occupied with the many hiking trails, boating and fishing facilities.  On any given day a number of canoes, sailing skiffs and outboard motor boats could be seen skimming the surface of the pond. 

In the beginning, getting to the pond usually meant a hike but later transportation by bus was provided.

The cabin at Deadman’s Pond and its environs became a big contributing factor towards the solution of the problem of diversion for the many soldiers serving at the Gander station.”


Post WWII saw the area run by Mr. & Mrs. Jack Lush (parents of Peter and Max) and was the scene for many weddings and parties. The cabin was accessed from the main road by boardwalks around the side of the pond.  The area welcomed families and children during the summer and was ideal for picnics and swimming outings.   Many a long summer day was spent by airport children who biked down to the Pond where the wharves and docks made for safe swimming and the canteen at the Cabin that offered delightful refreshments. 

 As with all of the other areas of the airport, it is very sad to visit there now and see what had once been the source of so much enjoyment and entertainment suffer so much to devastation by man.  C. Walsh




McNiven Wedding Reception - compliments of Max Lush
Left to Right:  Gwen Reid, Unknown, Peter Lush, George Woodford
Unknown, Al Brown, Bill McNiven, Mrs. McNiven, Norm Green


Researched by Carol Walsh


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