Aerial Photo of RCAF Station Sea Island - August 1945
(Photo: Frank Honey)
RCAF Station Sea Island was established beside the Vancouver Airport on July 22, 1940 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan as No. 8 Elementary Flying Training School.
In June 1942, aerodrome defence platoons were established on Canada’s West Coast as part of the West Coast Air Defence Command.
Army Camps on Sea Island - 1937
(Photo: Harvey Stewart)
The Permanent Married Quarters (PMQs) for families of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC) were located on Sea Island’s East and West Boulevard, off Doherty and Airport Road. A few hutments (encampments of huts) for army service personnel were also located off McDonald and Grauer Road on Sea Island. The hutments consisted of 60’ x 24’ wood, tar-paper sheathed huts, some with cedar shingle siding.
Grant Thompson said that the army camp off Doherty Road was still there well in the 1950's because Jim Neilson, a former resident of Sea Island, lived there until they were able to move into the new RCAF PMQs which were built during the Korean War (1950-1953).
To read or listen to military veterans once posted to RCAF Sea Island or RCAF Vancouver go to the Memory Project website. Enter Sea Island in the search field, and you will get close to 100 veterans speaking of their military experiences, including being posted to Sea Island.
Photo: City of Richmond Archives
In her book, "Bridge to the World: The Life and Times of Sea Island" published by the City of Richmond Archives (see the attached PDF, 3MB), Mary Keen writes that military use of the airport continued after WWII when the Cold War of the 1950's saw a return to training exercises at RCAF Station Sea Island.
Bridge to the World
Through the RCAF and National Defence and Canadian Forces Directorate of History and Heritage and other resources, the Sea Island Heritage Society has been able to document the history of a number of squadrons created or stationed at RCAF Station Sea Island.
Click any of the cards below to learn more about each squadron and their role at RCAF Station Sea Island.
Closure of RCAF Station Sea Island
RCAF Station Sea Island parking map, 1958
(Photo: Rene Bousquet)
After World War II, RCAF Station Sea Island was renamed RCAF Station Vancouver.
When the Canadian military reorganized and consolidated services in the 1960's, several military bases were downsized, merged or closed as a result. RCAF Station Sea Island closed on March 31, 1964.
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