This was a very interesting exercise, mainly because of the location, i.e, in the "outback" with nothing but a frozen lake for an airport and deep snow to surround our bell tents (same old, same old !) Mixed tent groups this time with officers and NCO/Gnr support to do cooking and clean-ups!! The first picture is of the RCR HQ location so nothing to add. That picture I sent separately showed the distance from our camp.
We enjoyed the association with the RCAF folks, including the formation flying. Unfortunately, I missed that as I was back to Petawawa for a few days. Our flights were again photo ops, liaison, recce, RCR movement (location checks), and photo drops back to the battalion
It was also our first paperboy job as we dropped the newspapers to the unit every couple of days!! The RCAF Otter flew in for visits…. Flying Officer Hendrigen was the pilot and he took us up to 2nd pilot the lake landings.
Great experience with an hour of fun in that great plane. I had to fly back to Petawawa for a family medical emergency, but thankfully all was quickly looked after and 4 days later I returned to Butler Lake exercise. Flying time was 2.5 hours from Petawawa. My hours on the ex were 28, and similar I presume for Capts Card, Maclean, and Doucet.
Amusing anecdote: Padre Martin from the RCR, bravely asked for a flight, but he was very obviously terrified to fly. I convinced him all would be quite safe! After a very gentle flight, and the greasiest snow landing, he quickly exited and remarked, "Thank God! We made it"!!
Maj Dale Saxon
Note: July 20, 1960 on Bonnechere exercise. Low level flight from Petawawa... cut throttle on approach…engine quit... no restart... just able to reach airstrip…towed off strip... Assessment... Carburetor failure. Whew!!
Ex Terry Lee, Jan 1960.
Our 1 AOP Flt "HQ" on Bonnechere Airfield. Not shown were our livings quarters... bell tents.
We were 3 or 4 to each. These tents were fire hazards and the rule was... someone had to remain awake all night, watching the heater,
or as our group did, forget that and freeze, in our so called Arctic Sleeping bags. The temp. ran 30-35 below zero most days, so use your imagination!