Barrington, NS

1967 - 23 Radar Squadron RCAF Station Barrington, an active organization - C&E Digest

RCAF Station Barrington, a Canadian manned Pinetree station, was completed in 1957 and manned by the U.S. Air Force until 1962, when handed over to the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Located on the seaward end of Baccaro peninsula on the southern-most tip of Nova Scotia, Canada, the station consists of approximately thirty-seven acres and is surrounded on three sides by the Atlantic Ocean. The highest point of land is sixteen feet MSL. A remote GATR site is located approximately three miles from the main station area.

Since Air Force Housing is not available, all station personnel live on the local economy in the towns of Shelburne, Barrington and Barrington Passage. The RCAF supplies a bus service to connect with the regular bus and train service at Port Clyde and Clyde River. Commercial air connections with Air Canada are available at Yarmouth a distance of 80 miles on Route 3. The Bluenose, a large modern car ferry, runs from Bar Harbour, Maine to Yarmouth daily. Ferry connections are also available from St. John, New Brunswick, to Digby, Nova Scotia, or you may continue on by road from eastern Canada or the United States through Moncton and Halifax, and approach the station by Route 3 West, to Clyde River, then 14 miles seaward to the Baccaro area.

Many place names in Nova Scotia were derived from Indian names such as Musquodoboit, Shubenacadie, Sissiboo and Kedgemakooge. Baccaro is a Basque word Baccalaos, meaning codfish. Inshore fishing is carried on extensively in this area and the codfish is still caught.

The Provincial climate and the climate in the southwesterly portion is moderate. The average July temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It is rare for the temperature in Nova Scotia to rise above 90 degrees F in the shade. The station itself, because of the sea breeze, is always a few degrees cooler than the surrounding countryside.

The immediate area affords many pleasant seascapes and is a find for the marine artist. The sportsman can hunt deer, bear and a variety of small game. Canada geese and various ducks can be hunted in season. For the fisherman the speckled trout or a variety of salt water fish, including the giant bluefish tuna, are readily available. Tobeatic Park, 200 square miles of wilderness, is located near here and is accessible only by canoe.

Commercial fishing for lobsters and other salt water fish and their processing is the main industry in Baccaro. The area, owing to soil and climatic conditions, is well adapted to blueberry culture and thousands of crates are shipped annually to the United States via Yarmouth. Near the station are the remains of a fort built about 1627 by Charles de la Tour, and the foundation of Fort St. Louis is still visible.

The nearest town is Shelburne which is thirty miles distant. It was founded by the United Empire Loyalists, most from New York aristocracy. It became the leading shipbuilding area and was known as The Birthplace of Yachts.

Halifax is the closest city, and the capital of Nova Scotia. It was founded in 1749 by Edward Cornwallis. It is a city of trees, and several famous universities are located there. A magnificent harbor is commanded by a completely restored fortification atop Citadel Hill. Halifax is the headquarters for the Royal Canadian Navy, Atlantic Command, and Eastern Army Command, as well as the RCAF Maritime Air Command who are engaged in anti-submarine work.

On May 22 1962, the second base commander, Major Weston F. Griffith, handed over operational responsibility to Wing Commander R.F.M Walker, C.D., the first Canadian C.O., who relinquished command to Wing Commander BA Cameron, C.D., on 15 August 1964.

Curling Rink

W/C Carl Brown opened the 1967 curling season at 23 Radar Squadron when he curled the first stone on the evening of January 3rd, 1967. From then on he never looked back as his team went on to win the first game of the season.

The occasion was a memorable one, as the comparatively small radar unit had, up to that time, rather limited recreational facilities. A large number of the airmen originally came from areas in the Maritimes where no curling rink facilities were available. As a result, they are now being introduced to the game for the first time. Before the season is over the competition is expected to be very keen indeed. The experienced players have been appointed skips to ensure that the new players are afforded the opportunity of learning the game.

To build the rink the airmen borrowed the money from the Central Institutes Fund. They will repay the loan by monthly allotments over a number of years.

It is most difficult to single out any one person out of the vast amount of volunteer work completed during their off-duty hours. Cpl. Dale Nelson was appointed the official ice-maker and the target date of January saw the airmen in action.

A Great Team

RCAF airmen have long enjoyed a close association with personnel of the United States Air Force. Along with the Americans, they share the defence of North American. A contingent from Hill Air Force Base completed an evaluation of 23 Radar Squadron Barrington and found equipment and personnel at top efficiency.

The Air Defense Command team of North American Air Defense Command is comprised of United States and Canadian airmen. This integrated team has worked together for many years and the smooth, efficient manner in which they carry out their duties is a fine example to the whole world. Before leaving for Hill Air Force Base, Utah, these United States airmen were feted by the Sergeants Mess, 23 Radar Squadron.

Mess Management

23 Radar Squadron of NORAD is most fortunate in having a dedicated messing staff who provide all personnel with the finest food. One unusual arrangement is that the officers, Senior NCOs, and other ranks all eat in the same Mess. By careful management the messing staff is able to provide many extras to the happy servicemen. In addition, the Unit is able to host visiting Service Clubs as part of the Public Relations Program.

Spiritual Life

23 Radar Squadron does not have full time Chaplains on the Unit. However, the Unit has been most fortunate in obtaining the services of Rev. Mitchell and Rev. Colborne from the local area and Father Thibeau of Yarmouth. Father Thibeau was born in Yarmouth and as a youth was very active in the Boy Scouts organization before commencing his clerical duties. He has been very helpful in providing personnel of all faiths with his sage advice and assistance. Father Thibeau has just recently assumed the responsibility for the Catholic Information Centre at Yarmouth.

Sea Shore Drama

The airmen of 23 Radar Squadron Barrington have always admired the great courage and ability of inshore fishermen who wrest their living the hard way from the stormy Atlantic. On the first day of the lobster season, a number of them gathered on a nearby wharf. For many it was their first time to see the mounting drama of fishermen preparing for the official start of the season. The airmen wondered just how the heavily laden boats ever kept from being swamped. They are convinced that the lobster fishermen earn every cent that they receive at this hazardous occupation.

--This detail was extracted from C&E Digest USAF ADC September 1967, as provided by Gene McManus.

Click on the description text to view the item.

  1. CE& Digest, page 1.

  2. CE& Digest, page 2.

  3. CE& Digest, page 3.

  4. CE& Digest, page 4.