Contributed by R. Pelley
Bob's Post Card Collection
These are photos I have collected over the years of aviation activity in Gander. Most of them are actual postcards I have but a few of them are copies that people have sent me when they knew I was looking for photos of the Gander terminal.
(click for enlargement)
This is a hand coloured postcard from 1952. The colouring is not very accurate. For example, the outside of the hanger was grey and not that brick-red shown on the postcard. This is actually an American Overseas Airlines DC-4 which had basically red trim as compared to what looks like blue. It took me quite some time to identify this airplane due to the imaginative colour scheme! The postcard was done by Folkard of Montreal..
This is an aircraft used in the late 1940s for in-flight refuelling, mainly because the earliest transatlantic flights had limited fuel capacity with little margin for error. This is a converted Lancaster bomber. The postcard was mailed from Gander on 16 July 1952.
As far as I can find out, this is a postcard specially made for American Overseas Airlines when it started flying through Gander. It must be from the 1946-1950 period because AOA was the international arm of American Airlines and was sold by AA to Pan American in 1950. This one is weird though as it was sent with three Nfld stamps but clearly postmarked 18 Oct 1964 !
This is a Scandinavian Airline System (SAS) aircraft on a postcard that was sent from Gander on 6 July 1951. Looks like a DC-4.
I like this postcard in particular (a) because a Constellation has to be one of the most graceful aircraft ever built and (b) I think this is the road leading to Deadmans Pond which means that the TWA plane is parked close to where we would go as a family on Sunday afternoon to see the planes. Remember the entrance next to the Allied Commissary?... every now and then they would give us a "airplane meal" when an aircraft was late arriving and the meal had to be redone or when an aircraft had fewer passengers than expected. We'd eat the meal and imagine that we ourselves were on our way to some exotic and mysterious destination.
Another AOA aircraft, also looks like a DC-4. Unused postcard, no date.
A great colour shot of a TWA Super Connie. Also an unused postcard... but it shows that "globalization" had already started - it is a photo by Ruggles of St.John's, published by the Book Room Ltd of Halifax and printed in the USA.
Another unused, undated postcard of a Connie but this time a KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.
According to the caption, this is an "Alaskan" aircraft in Gander. I must say though that while this is a postcard made in Toronto by the "Photogelatine Engraving Co. Ltd", I'm not convinced it is really Gander nor an Alaskan airplane. This is because (a) the trucks don't seem to be the same as others I've seen from Gander, (b) even though Alaska became the 49th state in 1959, the identification on the airplane that starts with ZS doesn't seem to be North American and (c) the flag on the tail looks Dutch or Belgian.
The message on this back of the postcard (29 June 1951) is very human, obviously sent by a father to his son and meant probably to reassure him. The photo on the front is of a two-engine airplane but the message and the back says " Dear Dave, We are flying in a DC-4. The plane has 4 engines. Must run, Daddy."
Another Connie, this time a Pan American.
This full colour postcard showing a KLM Connie and an SAS DC-6 might be my favorite for a number of reasons. Firstly, my father Calvin worked for Shell at the time and who knows, he might have been refueling that KLM. Secondly, this postcard was bought in Gander by a lady who sent it back to Washington from Madrid on 4 April 1955. It is fairly warm in Madrid in April so her comment about Gander on the front of the postcard is probably understandable : "A bleak place when we were there - snow and ice."
this is also a fascinating postcard firstly because it shows a Trans Canada Airline DC-3 in Gander, a type of photo which is hard to find. I have traced the pedigree of this particular airplane : it was a US Airforce C-47 number 92306 transfered to the RCAF as FZ557. It then went to Trans Canada Airlines as CF-TDS in 1946. It then became CF-QBF with Quebecair and was written-0ff in hangar fire 13 July 1958 at Rimouski, Quebec.
Another interesting facet of this postcard comes from the comments on the back, written on 5 July 1952. It tells us that the person who wrote it came in on a Pan American flight O72 that landed in Gander on three engines. The 85 passengers on Pan Am 072 had to wait 8 hours in Gander until another airplane was flown in from New York. The writer says they were well treated in Gander. One can imagine they were happy to know that Gander Airport was nicely placed between the US and Europe with nice long runways.
I got this postcard from a chap in Lima, Peru as it had been sent to someone in his family from Gander on 5 June 1949, This is another Forkard postcard and the photo was taken by Mr DB Moore, manager of the Skyline Club. This is the rarest postcard I have ever seen of Gander and shows a small airplane, possibly a Beaver, flying up the shore of Gander Lake. From the description, it would appear that this photo was taken at the bottom of Burner Road near what became the "DOT boathouse" (unless it was the main seaplane base a bit further to the east.) Hard to tell because it is described as "a short walk from Gander Airport".
Not a good photo but interesting because we see a Boeing Stratocruiser landing at twilight.
Again not a good photo, but shows an Air France Connie.
This photo is interesting for a number of reasons, Firstly, it is a nice close-up of a BOAC Stratocruiser where on can really see that this airplane was based on the B-29 bomber (the one that dropped the atomic bomb on Horoshima). Funny how a machine of mass destruction became a symbol of civilization. Secondly, it is interesting to see how the hanger building changed over time. In earlier photos, the roof of the hanger has what looks a line of antennas, sometimes with or without flags of many countries, while the roofline is much cleaner in this photo. Also, the earlier sign just said "Gander Airport" while this one now says "Gander International Airport, Newfoundland, Canada". I wonder why the change ??
Just a black and white shot of what looks like two DC-4s, the closest one being an SAS.
I'm not sure where I got this photo but it has a seldom seen angle. Both aircraft are Pan American (Stratocruiser and DC-6).
Seaboard and Western" DC-4, named the "Frankfurt Trader", N1543V, refuelling at Gander in 1951. Just look at the old fuel trucks, hard to find anything more 1940s than that!