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Modern take on heritage photo found at CFB Trenton

In commemoration of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, and 8 Wing’s role in its success, Wing Commander Colonel Colin Keiver, third from left, is joined by (left to right) Lieutenant-Colonel (Lt.-Col.) Cathy Blue, Quinte International Air Show 2016 Co-chair, Lt.-Col. Ryan Deming, standing in for QIAS2016 Co-chair Lt.-Col. Kevin Tromp, Wing Chief of Staff, Lt.-Col. Dave Alexander, and Wing Chief Warrant Officer Darcy Elder. Master Corporal Chad Merlin and his daughter, Lenna, age 3, complete the tableau recreating the planting of the first of 150 English Oak trees at 8 Wing on 11 April, 1945. Photo: Aviator Moulton, 8 Wing Imaging

In commemoration of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, and 8 Wing’s role in its success, Wing Commander Colonel Colin Keiver, third from left, is joined by (left to right) Lieutenant-Colonel (Lt.-Col.) Cathy Blue, Quinte International Air Show 2016 Co-chair, Lt.-Col. Ryan Deming, standing in for QIAS2016 Co-chair Lt.-Col. Kevin Tromp, Wing Chief of Staff, Lt.-Col. Dave Alexander, and Wing Chief Warrant Officer Darcy Elder. Master Corporal Chad Merlin and his daughter, Lenna, age 3, complete the tableau recreating the planting of the first of 150 English Oak trees at 8 Wing on 11 April, 1945. Photo: Aviator Moulton, 8 Wing Imaging

An historical Second World War era photograph was recreated at 8 Wing/Canadian Forces Base Trenton by the Wing’s leadership and Quinte International Air Show 2016 co-chairs in honour of the history and heritage that has existed in the region centering on the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP).

Group Captain Bell-Irving (third from left) watches his grand-daughter, Virginia, help plant the first of 150 English Oak trees, while his Wing leadership look on at 8 Wing/CFB Trenton, 11 April, 1945. Photo: DND Photo Archive

Group Captain Bell-Irving (third from left) watches his grand-daughter, Virginia, help plant the first of 150 English Oak trees, while his Wing leadership look on at 8 Wing/CFB Trenton, 11 April, 1945. Photo: DND Photo Archive

The photograph was taken April 11, 1945 and marked the first of 150 English Oak trees that were transported across the Atlantic Ocean on the RMS Queen Mary to be planted on the Wing along Highway 2. The old photograph shows Group Captain Bell-Irving, and the Wing’s leadership, watching his grand-daughter Virginia and a gardener as they plant the first oak tree.

The photograph was found during an archive search as 8 Wing continues its plans to commemorate the BCATP (1939-1945) through a series of events and activities as the Quinte International Air Show 2016 (QIAS 2016) approaches, June 25-26.

“We are so fortunate to have made contact with Group Captain Bell-Irving’s descendants, the grandfather of the little girl in this photograph. Having his daughter, Trish Wilson, and her family here as we recreate this piece of history truly highlights what is important: history, family and community,” said Colonel Colin Keiver, Commander 8 Wing/CFB Trenton. “By planting this new tree today, we are turning a new page in the history books of 8 Wing – one that is sure to continue our great story that includes the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.”

The BCATP had a significant impact on the Quinte region, with training facilities in Trenton, Mountain View, Belleville and Picton. From its start in 1939, more than 167,000 students were trained, over half of them from Canada.

The original trees were a gift from the Marquess Camden, who donated them from his Bayham Abbey Estate in Sussex, England, as a token of friendship between the United Kingdom and Canada.

Honouring the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, and the formation of the 400 series squadrons, are the themes of the QIAS 2016.

Tickets for the QIAS 2016 are on sale through the QIAS 2016 website (www.qias2016.ca) and at the Trenton Military Family Resource Centre (50 Rivers Dr. E), and the Trenton CANEX (241 RCAF Rd.).

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