January 01, 2014

Armstrong AS / RCAF Station Armstrong / CFS Armstrong


CFS Armstrong was built quite remotely by the USAF in 1952 and became operational in 1954 as the Armstrong Air Station, it was handed over to the Canadian RCAF in 1963, and became CFS Armstrong after unification in 1967. As other radar stations became more powerful it became redundant and was decommissioned in 1974. Most of the base still stands, including the foundation of the radomes. From what I gather, the more remote the radar station, the better preserved it has been - it seems like nobody goes there because it's really remote - perfect!


The location of  the operations site and domestic site are obvious, but the GATR, RX and TX sites I'd like to locate as well.  From the available imagery I can only identify one of them (east of the operations site, at the end of the road) and I hope I can find the others when I have boots on the ground.  (NB, In the 1950s there were always two communications sites; one for transmit, one for receive; about 10 years later the higher powered GATR sites were built)

I do not currently know where the CFS Armstrong GATR site would have been, which would have been built in the early 1960s, I suspect.  I also do not know where the "cabins" were that were supposedly built by German prisoners of war in the years before the station was built.


View Larger Map
 

The local town of Armstrong was a short trip away and the rail brought in most of the base supplies.
Here is the site plan of how the base was paid out:

What places do I need to see when I'm in Armstrong?

Well, clearly The King George Hotel/Bar is a must.  By military standards it was a rough hotel/bar, so I can only imagine what stories its walls hold... It has been renovated, but it is still there under a new name and new management (uh, I think?  I'd hope!) now called "Chateau North"

Photo Credit: Fred Rasmussen (1971)
Seeing the airport East of town is also essential.  I hope the hanger shown below is still standing.  Taking pictures of how it stands today would be well worth he trip.

(L-R) Bob Wanner, Bob Landenman, Kelly at the airport
April 1955. (Credit Bob Wanner)

Armstrong International Airport
August 1962 (Credit Keith Robinson )



Checking out the plane at Armstrong airport before take off
July 1958 (Credit Wayne Mathern)

This L-20 aircraft was attached to the 914th AC&W Squadron
April 1960 (Credit Greg Clarke)
For an overhead view of the station from 2001 we go to Bob Warner's images, photos he took while circling above.








More areal views:

Armstrong AFS - February 1960
(Credit: Greg Clarke)

Aerial close up of Operations Site - 9 May 1962
(Credit: National Photo Library)

Aerial photo of the radar station - March 1969
(Credit: National Photo Library)

3 comments:

  1. I was posted at CFS Armstrong in 1972 and was held over past my 1 year as it was closing and they didn't want to bring new personel in. And yes, there are many stories around the King George Hotel. It was right across from the train station and the first place most people saw in Armstrong. Like stepping a hundred years back in time.

    Will Beaudoin

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was posted at CFS Armstrong in 1972 and was held over past my 1 year as it was closing and they didn't want to bring new personel in. And yes, there are many stories around the King George Hotel. It was right across from the train station and the first place most people saw in Armstrong. Like stepping a hundred years back in time.

    Will Beaudoin

    ReplyDelete
  3. I was wondering where to get a list of men that were posted in Armstrong? I have a half sister, her father was stationed there. she was given up for adoption in 1969

    ReplyDelete