The Courier

Robert Jenkins, Cold Lake, 1957 – Supplied Photo

Medley of Memories is a captivating feature that invites you to delve into the rich tapestry of Canadian Forces Base Cold Lake’s legacy. From military personnel to civilian residents, Medley of Memories weaves together a mosaic of experiences. Immerse yourself in these tales as we celebrate the 70-year history of this iconic Canadian military institution through the heartfelt narratives of those who have left a mark on its legacy.

“Our family was transferred from North Bay to 3 Operational Training Unit (3 OTU) Cold Lake in May of 1955.” 

Robert Jenkins is the son of Flight Lieutenant Henry Jenkins, who found himself posted to a relatively new RCAF Air Station Cold Lake in the mid-fifties. 

“We were then transferred to Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida in Nov of that same year. We returned to Cold Lake to Central Experimental and Proving Establishment (CEPE) where my father was a CF-100 pilot in 1957.” 

“We spent the next 4 years there. We spent the summers camping at Marie Lake or at a cabin on the north shore of Cold Lake. I have many great memories of my growing up on the base. A friend and I accidentally started a huge grass fire north of the runway facing north and were rescued by the base fire dept. The Commanding Officer of the base later commented it was now the greenest field around.” 

“While camping my father sometimes did low level flyovers at 1000 feet and scared everyone but to me it was exciting. I played hockey in the winter and baseball in the summer and duck hunted near Cold Lake where there are now malls and stores. My older sister Gloria married Gord Wusyk, the son of the then mayor of Cold Lake.” 

Like many who spent time in Cold Lake, Jenkins ended up staying near the region. 

“Our family ended up at 1 Wing Marville France where my father was a test pilot on F-104 aircraft. I settled in Edmonton and most summers return to Cold Lake to camp and fish at the provincial campground there. Every year there is an air show I return to with either one of my children or my grandchildren. I never miss an air show, and I am looking forward this year to attend the 70th anniversary of the base and witness the always impressive air show the base always puts on “ 

“Even today at age 77 I have a sense of pride when I’m in Cold Lake or when I see or hear a CF-18 roar in the sky. I’m proud that I was somehow part of the growth of the community of the base.” 

“Here’s picture of Canadian CF-100 pilots sent to Tyndall AFB in Florida in 1955 to fly the F-102 Delta Wing jet. Most returned to CEPE in Cold Lake in 1957, including my father. My dad is in the back row, second from the left.”


Share via
Copy link