801 (Vancouver) Wing, Air Officers Association of Canada, Air Crew Association (Vancouver Branch) and the British Columbia Veterans Commemorative Association are raising funds to design and construct an educational commemorative cairn and historical plaque in honour of the Jericho Beach Flying Boat Station.
The station was constructed in 1920 by the Federal Air Board and became the first Canadian Air Base. In 1924 it became the first R.C.A.F. base in British Columbia representing an important milestone in Air Force history.
During the 1920’s and early 30’s flight services from this station were used by federal and provincial ministries for patrolling, inspecting and transportation along the rugged coastal waterways to remote communities. From 1930 to 39 the station played a vital role in expanding coastal defences in preparation for the Second World War.
Prior to the end of the Second World War, a commemorative cairn and plaque were dedicated at the Jericho Beach Flying Boat Station by Clarence Wallace, a renowned major ship builder. Wallace’s company built the famous Second World War “Liberty” ships and he later became Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia (1950-55). Wallace also donated funds to construct the Wallace Sports Field at Jericho and installed the aforementioned commemorative cairn and plaque in the names of his four sons, all serving with the R.C.A.F.
His oldest son was a “Hurricane” pilot in the Battle of Britain but was lost in action flying “Spitfires” the following year. Twin sons were also “Spitfire” pilots and served on operational sorties during 1944, one over France and the other over Albania. Both survived the war and are now deceased. The youngest son also served in the R.C.A.F. and trained as a Bomb Aimer.
In 1947 flying boats were replaced by long range land based aircraft and flying ceased at Jericho. The Air Force vacated the premises, which was taken over by the Army, thereby becoming the main military centre in British Columbia. In 1969 the military was reorganized and the majority of the Jericho property was transferred to the City of Vancouver by Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau.
In the ensuing years, the property was developed as a park by the Vancouver Parks Board. The hangers, personnel quarters and most of the other facilities were removed and the station’s role in history disappeared along with the structures.The Wallace Sports Field was incorporated into the extended sports field and sometime around 1980 the commemorative cairn was demolished and the plaque disappeared.
In the early 2000’s the missing plaque was discovered by 801 (Vancouver) Wing. The surviving Wallace son agreed to donate the plaque and plans commenced to design and construct an educational commemorative cairn, incorporating the revived plaque. The Vancouver Parks Board approved the project but fundraising is the responsibility of the aforementioned veterans’ organizations.
Fundraising for the project is underway: 801 (Vancouver) Wing c/o Ian R. Whiting, Wing Treasurer, #38-998 Riverside Drive, Port Coquitlam, BC V3B 7Y4 email@example.com . CRA Charitable Donation Receipts will be issued for this worthy and meaningful commemorative initiative, “Wallace Field and Jericho Beach Project”.