Moosonee, ON

1963 – Historical Report – John Shearer

Historical Report
RCAF Station Moosonee

Key Personnel & TOS Date

W/C LL Nault


2 Jul 62

S/L F Reader


1 Aug 63

F/L E Dolter


20 Oct 63

F/L DR Lawrence


1 Sep 63

F/L RF Burger


18 Nov 63

F/O JB Walsh


1 Jun 63

F/O PF Gray


6 Jan 63

F/O E Alldred


21 Feb 63

Introduction and Summary of Years Events

RCAF Station Moosonee is located on the south west end of James Bay. It is one of the newest radar bases in the NORAD System and one of the most northern in the Pinetree Line.

Although the station was officially opened in late 1961, 1963 was a very important year in the short history of this unit, for much work was accomplished. The major happening being the changeover of 15 AC&W Squadron from manual to Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE).

15 AC&W Squadron had a very successful short lived manual operation. The unit participated in several Region wide exercises and weekly Sector exercises. A visiting team from ADC headed by S/L Patterson arrived to evaluate the operational capabilities of the unit. This was the first actual examination and unfortunately, the team had to make a second visit.

On 1 Oct 63, 15 AC&W Squadron officially switched over from manual to Semi Automatic Operations. At that time, the Fighter Controllers were transferred out and were replaced by five Telecom officers with S/L Reader as CTSO.

With the changeover from manual to automatic, technicians and Fighter Cops had to be trained to cope with the new system and equipments. A total of thirteen airmen underwent training at USAF bases. A representative from General Electric Company came to the unit to give lectures to radar personnel on the handling of certain equipment. A crew from 414 Squadron North Bay spent two days on the unit to brief the Operations personnel on the CF-101 capabilities.

The technical aspect underwent a major change in the early part of the year. Representatives of various electronic companies arrived in the first half of the year to commence installation of various equipment for the upcoming SAGE changeover.

In August, S/L Reader arrived to take over as CTSO from F/L Durnam, transferred from St. Hubert. He was followed by five Telecom officers who arrived in October to set up the new operation mode.

On January 7, A/C AC Hull, CStaffO ADCHQ, carried out the Staff Annual Visit accompanied by various Administrative and Technical Staff officers.

On September 18, W/C Hovey and Staff SOPA carried out their annual inspection. Their comments on the efficiency of the station were gratifying. The following month, F/L Veals and Staff of SOAF carried out their annual inspection.

Although the station is well isolated, sports activities are numerous perhaps in even greater numbers than on a normal station. A curling rink built out of volunteer labour and GP huts were the scene of several bonspiels in addition to men’s and mixed league competitions. Softball was also very popular. The station team visited Moosonee, Moose Factory and Otter Rapids. Bowling was active all year round with winter and summer leagues. Swimming, volleyball and trampoline facilities were widely used.

With the nearest town one hundred and eighty six miles from the unit, Public Relations is therefore limited to National stories, and hometown releases. There was no incident of national interest in the past year.

Monthly Record of Activities - 1963

18 Jan 63

The first curling match was held in the almost completed two sheet Station Moosonee Curling Rink, constructed from Contractors GP huts by volunteer officer and airmen labour.

21 Jan 63

A/C AC Hull, CStaffO, ADCHQ, carried out Staff Visit accompanied by G/C TJ Powell SOMS, W/C W Roger SORA (P), S/L BR Biddiscombe SOCE/CE-3, S/L E Lee SORS/RS2, S/L AW Apleby SOPA/PA2, F/L MG Anthony SOGT/GT6-2 and F/L Conn SOSec/Sec2.

24 Jan 63

First Mess Dinner held in Sgt. mess. The CO was the after dinner speaker.

26 Jan 63

The first Bonspiel, a men’s event, was held at the Station Moosonee Curling Rink. The Mixed Curling league commenced play the following day.

23 Feb 63

G/C ES Light DRA(P) and W/C W Rodger SPRA(P) arrived by service aircraft and attended a reception in the Station Rec. Hall. These officers later officiated at the Protestant Chapel Dedication Service held on 24 Feb.

25 Feb 63

Mr. Martin of General Electric Company gave lectures to Radar personnel on the handling of 7182 magnetrons for the FPS-507 radar.

18 Mar 63

LCol CF Robinson ADCHQ/SCSO SO4, accompanied by S/L HA Pattison, F/L V Jewitt and F/L AD McLeod arrived on 4 days TD to conduct the first Unit Operational Evaluation.

G/C JB Davignon DRA(RC) and W/C R Poirier SORA(RC) arrived via service aircraft to officiate at the consecration of the RC Chapel held at 0900 hours 19 Mar, followed by High Mass and a reception later in the Sgts. Mess.

2 Apr 63

Mrs. ML Marcellus, wife of LAC Marcellus, was delivered of a male baby by N/S Alldred on the Station, the snowmobile road to Moose Factory Hospital being impassable.

5 Apr 63

Mrs. FA Vercammen, wife of Sgt. Vercammen was delivered of a male baby by N/S Alldred in the Station Hospital.

19 Apr 63

An Officer’s Mess Mess Dinner was held at which His Excellency H Belleau, Bishop of James Bay, was Guest Speaker.

3 May 63

The Moose River became navigable by boat making the Moose Factory Hospital once again accessible from Moosonee. F/L DM Aitken Med/MO departed the following day.

The first outdoor CO’s Parade was held on the concrete apron between Bldgs 6 and 7. The CO was Reviewing Officer and presented CD’s to F/L TE Butt, Sgt. RC Cooke, Cpl WG Buker and LAC HJ Nelson.

10 May 63

The Sgts. Mess held a Mess Dinner to honour WO2 WA Smith prior to his departure on transfer to Station Falconbridge and subsequent early retirement on CRA.

13 May 63

Representatives of Canadian General Electric Company arrived to complete final phase of GATR installation.

18 May 63

The First Annual Station Moosonee Sports Banquet and Dance was held in the Rec. Hall. The CO spoke of the growth and development of the Station and presented a variety of trophies.

28 May 63

The Ontario Minister of Highways, Mr. CS McNaughton accompanied by RJ Boyer, MLA and Vice Chairman on the Ontario Hydro Electric Power Commission, Mr. McNabb, deputy Minister of Highways, Mr. A Brunelle MLA for Cochrane North, and Mr. Cown EA to the Minister arrived for an informal visit. They were taken on a tour of the unit, including the Ops Tower, by the Acting CO.

5 Jun 63

CAE completed several modifications to the AN/FPS-507. Four modifications were left outstanding.

10 Jun 63

Western Electric and Burroughs representatives accompanied by S/L Pattison arrived for Pre-SAGE testing.

13 Jun 63

Van Cal (Canadian Aviation Electronics) representatives arrived at this unit to commence equipment calibration tests.

21 Jun 63

Mr. Spooner, Minister of Municipal Affairs, arrived with a party of four for an informal tour of the station.

25 Jun 63

Handover of final phase of GATR installation from CGE Company took place. Van Cal personnel departed this unit.

26 Jun 63

Mr. P Pots and Mr. R Robichaud arrived at this unit via rail from Burroughs Company for installation of the UPX-14.

3 Jul 63

Final stages of SAGE installation started by Burroughs; to include CU-601, message consoles, video mappers, TDA, FGD, etc. UPX-14 installation started. Peaking GATR started.

8 Jul 63

Peaking of Radar equipment started; including search, HF, SIF, FST-2, etc.

9 Jul 63

UPX-14 installation completed and accepted.

10 Jul 63

Microwave links tied in – ONC carrying own testing.

20 Jul 63

Solar Eclipse – DRTE at Moosonee – ADC co-ordinating Officer, Mr. RL Haglow, Senior Operational Research Officer arrived at this unit.

22 Jul 63

24 hour a day operation started on FST-2.

29 Jul 63

Mr. Hornichuck and Mr. Bowden from Burroughs arrived for Unit SAGEing.

1 Aug 63

Microwave testing started by Bell Telephone Company.

12 Aug 63

Mr. G Mitchell and Mr. D Kelly of Burroughs Company arrived for AN/FST-2B installation.

15 Aug 63

Microwave testing completed and ready. Peaking GATR completed. Peaking Radar completed. Sub-system and system testing to start.

1 Oct 63

Testing completed. SAGE operation started.

21 Oct 63

W/C Edward, SAGE Operation officer at North Bay, and Colonel Grashio, USAF, arrived at this Unit for SAGE co-ordinating visit.

3 Dec 63

1963-64 Curling season officially under way, with W/C LL Nault throwing the first rock. First snowmobile run across the Moose River to Moose Factory Island.

19 Dec 63

Christmas party held in the Rec. Centre for the Moosonee school children. Over 200 children were present.

20 Dec 63

Christmas party held in the Rec. Centre for the PMQ children. A shipment of skates and hockey gear, organized by radio station CKEY and assisted by all service stations of Toronto arrived Moosonee by C-119 of 426 Squadron Downsview. They were air dropped and forwarded on to Fort George by Austin Airways.

21 Dec 63

A shipment of clothing arranged by ONS personnel arrived Station Moosonee for distribution to the needy children. These were given to the RC Mission and different schools.

25 Dec 63

Christmas day: Officers served Airmen traditional dinner.

28 Dec 63

Local Bonspiel. Moosonee and Moose Factory participated.

31 Dec 63

New Year’s Ball held in station Rec. Centre.