Aviation archaeology of World War II Gander: an examination of military and civilian life at the Newfoundland airport.

Daly, Lisa M. (2015) Aviation archaeology of World War II Gander: an examination of military and civilian life at the Newfoundland airport. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This project examines the Second World War (WWII) history of the Newfoundland Airport (Gander, Newfoundland), with a focus on civilian and military life on the base, and the potential for aviation archaeology to enhance the historical record. To accomplish this, ten WWII era airplane crash sites were examined archaeologically, using a variety of methods depending on the state of the wreck and the environment of the site. On the grounds of the original airbase, the Royal Canadian Air Force Globe Theatre was excavated to determine the viability of excavating areas of the former nearby town site and to examine the material culture of those living at the base. In particular, information was sought on potential interactions between the three main countries residing and working at Gander in WWII; Canada, the United States, and Newfoundland. The aircraft crash sites yielded information about the crashes themselves, modern reuse of sites, and the potential risk of disturbance. They also allowed for further development of archaeological methods to be used at other aviation sites around Newfoundland and Labrador. A major conclusion of this study is that base life was less segregated than official documents indicated, and that there was a significant amount of cooperation and flow of goods between the three countries. A combination of archaeological, documentary and memory research indicated a more relaxed atmosphere to the base, but still a realization of the importance to the work being done and the impact of the war on those serving at Gander. This project has set much of the groundwork for further archaeological study in this province, where numerous aviation sites of historical importance and war-era aviation and naval bases have yet to be researched, such as the WWII and Cold War facilities in Stephenville.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/8426
Item ID: 8426
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 223-239).
Keywords: Archaeology, World War II, Aviation, Airplane, Newfoundland, Gander
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Archaeology
Date: April 2015
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Gander (N.L.)
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Air bases, American--Newfoundland and Labrador--History; Air bases--Joint civil-military use--Newfoundland and Labrador--History; World War, 1939-1945--Newfoundland and Labrador--Gander; Excavations (Archaeology)--Newfoundland and Labrador--Gander; Gander (N.L.)--History--1939-1945

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