Military Ops




Reproduced with permission from The Beacon Supplement July 31, 1991



Gliding through Gander Lake  

A seaman in the Royal Canadian Air Force seemed rather unnecessary at Gander during the Second World War but there were about ten on full time duty at a seaplane base on Gander Lake.

The Marine Base was a well-equipped and organized little unit capable of handling all types of flying boats including the Boeing Clippers.  The crew’s job was to service the Norseman seaplane and provide transportation between the plane and docks for mercy flights.  They ferried servicemen across the lake by launch and were on call in case of accidents in the water.  The work was essential and, for them, quite pleasant.  Their most difficult job was to carry a mercy flight patient on stretcher from the Norseman to a waiting ambulance on the docks.

The seamen were on attached duty from Dartmouth and the Marine Squadron there.  Flight Sergeant Wentzell was in charge of the crew.  One soldier, perhaps sparked by a little jealousy, once said: “They certainly have a delightful job for hot summer days – gliding through cool green water and enjoying the fresh Gander Lake breezes.  How pleasant to be able to call a motor boat ride your duty!"

researched by Carol Walsh


top return to top