Goose Bay's storied air force base gets a revamped military museum

CFB Goose Bay has cut the ribbon on its revamped military museum, which aims to tell some of the stories of a base that dates back to World War II.

The Goose Bay military base has been in operation since 1941

The new space is meant to be more accessible, easier to navigate and more welcoming than the space the museum used to occupy.

Canadian Forces Base Goose Bay has a new museum to highlight its storied history in Labrador. 

"As soon as I seen it, it brought back so many memories," said Goose High School graduate Jackie Compton, standing in front of the sign, prominently displayed on one of the walls of the museum.

"I just had to get a picture with it," she said.

Goose High graduate Jackie Compton Hobbs says seeing the sign from her former school brought back many memories. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

The base has been in operation for nearly 78 years and was originally built as a staging area for Canadian and American aircraft heading to Britain during the Second World War.

"We wanted it to be a self-guided tour and to make sure that we include many of the artifacts and all the stories that went along with it," said Warrant Officer Jerry Kean, the base's heritage officer. 

Warrant Officer Jerry Kean played a big part in putting the new museum together. (Janice Goudie/CBC)

Honorary colonel Geoff Goodyear, who flew helicopters in the area at a time when the Allied forces were at their peak, said a highlight for him was seeing displays on German and Dutch fighters jets. 

"Watching these things pass underneath you while you were flying along in a helicopter brings back exciting memories," Goodyear said. 

I really do hope that in 15, 20 years that in this museum they're going to be covering some of the things we're doing today.- Lt.-Col. Stephane Racle

"It's an incredibly varied and rich history here from a military and aviation perspective so somebody could come in [to the museum] completely new to the area … and hopefully leave with an interest about what went on and what continues to go on here." 

Base commander Lt.-Col. Stephane Racle said the idea was to make a space that was more accessible, easier to navigate and more welcoming than the space it is replacing. 

"You need to consider the past to understand the present and to make sure you're well set up for the future," Racle said.

It took nine people to get this propeller, recovered from an American aircraft, up the stairs into the museum. (Janice Goudie/CBC)

"I really do hope that in 15, 20 years that in this museum they're going to be covering some of the things we're doing today."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

About the Author

Jacob Barker

Videojournalist

Jacob Barker reports on Labrador for CBC News from Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.