do you remember

July 12, 2011

We came across this photo entitled “Gander Pioneers” and not sure of the time or date or the folks pictured.  I asked fellow classmates to help identify those pictured and any information they may have about the people. Below is a summary of that search…Best of all we got comments and information from someone who is pictured in the photo-- on the far right standing, Dr. Peter Blackie.

Here is Peter’s note and information…


This was a picture taken at the 50th anniversary party at Gander Airport in 1988, January I think.

On the far left Rex Tilley, a former Airport Manager and on his left Edgar Baird. The chap next to him I am not sure of at the moment ( did know them all and have a copy of this picture somewhere with all Id’d).

Next to him is Cec Edison ( Shell).

In the front row sitting is Captain Fraser, who was the guest of honor and first to land here, (as well he had been the pilot involved with the aerial survey and choice of location of Gander Airport). Next to him is Jack James, Airport manager, then Jim Dempsey and my Dad (Charlie).    In the standing row behind is Frank Lawlor, a former DOT airport employee at Gander, and I think at the time was AGM @ St. John's. Cy Rowsell, I think he was ATC chief at the time and the Les Gettle and myself. (I am not sure how I got into that photo, either because I was there with Dad and or because of my involvement with the Museum).

Jim Dempsey and Father were the only two of the original signals group from Botwood left and Cec had time as a refueller in Botwood and of course Doug Fraser had flown out of Botwood, although the inital flights started in Norris Arm. Where there is a new Museum worthy of a visit. Jim Dempsey who is now deceased was the last of the Botwood radio operators.
Keep up the great communications

Peter Blackie, GA Class of 1957





Seated from L. to R.

  1. Rex Tilley,
  2. Edgar Baird,
  3. ???,
  4. Cec Edison
  5. Captain Fraser,
  6. Jack James,
  7. Jim Dempsey
  8. Charlie Blackie

Standing from L to R.

  1. Frank Lawlor
  2. Cy Rowsell
  3. Les Gettle
  4. Peter Blackie



Carol Mercer Walsh and Gerard McCarthy thought #2 was Lloyd Mercer, Mayor of Town of Gander, and Carol and Gerard believe that #4 could be Don Jewer but not sure.

Dave Robertson also suggested  #4 could be Roy Jenkins AND YES, #4 COULD Be Dave’s dad, but Dave never knew him to wear brown.
Others included notes of information:

Agnes Geange also had this to say:

Cy Rowsell was head of ATC back then and Les Gettle was manager of
Allied Aviation at the Gander airport for years. Jack James was manager of Gander Airport and remember Connie, he was her father. Diane Steel died just recently and she was married to Jack Squire, but in later years she married Les Gettle. (Jack James was Airport Manager after Rex Tilley).


Thanks to the following contributors for their help identifying people in this Gander Pioneers’ photo

Jim Butler, GA Class of 1959
Gerard McCarthy, SP Class of 1963
Peter Blackie, GA Class of 1957
Agnes Geange, SJ Class of …
Eileen Stack,  SJ Class of 1956-57
Dave Robertson, GA Class of 1961
Patricia DeeDee Lannon, SP Class of 1967
Marion Pardy, GA Class of 1958
Carol Mercer Walsh, GA Class of 1954

There could still be room for modification on this….and who is #3???

Thanks for your input everyone, email me if you have suggestions for changes.


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