Remembering Palm Springs and Bert Cofield

Jeff Editor

From the Editor’s Desk

Jeff Gaye

While I was chatting with Keith Rieder about the history of the Palm Springs Golf Club (see story on page 8), we both remarked on the scenic beauty of the par-three 11th hole.

The 11th is dedicated to the memory of Bert Cofield. Bert was a former Base Chief – an old-school RCAF photo tech with an easygoing manner and a mischievous sense of humour. He was my supervisor when I arrived in Cold Lake in 1990.

When I reported as his new bandmaster, Bert told me he had two expectations of me: make sure there was a band on parade, and “keep us both out of jail.” The rest was up to me. It was a golden opportunity for creativity, innovation and an awful lot of fun. The base band blossomed in those years, thanks to Bert’s support.

I sometimes substituted as the Base Chief’s assistant. One Friday morning I was sitting at the desk when I heard Bert giggling to himself in his office. When I looked in I saw he was packing a huge frozen jackfish into a box, to send through the base mail to a Unit CWO who had ticked him off. The CWO would receive it sometime Monday.

Back then the Base Pipe Major and I used to cover for each other pretty well. If one of us wanted to take off from work early, we’d tell the other we needed to visit the Base Supply section. We figured Bert didn’t need to know everything.

But one day, the P/M and I were in the assistant’s office when Bert came through wearing garish ridiculous golfing clothes and carrying his clubs. “See you boys Monday,” he said. “I’m off to Supply.”

When you come to the 11th hole at Cold Lake Golf and Winter Club, pour a tiny bit of Newfoundland Screech or other dark rum onto the teebox in his memory. If Bert has any influence at all, your tee shot will land softly on the green within putting distance of the cup.

The rest is up to you.