August 5, 1939
In the Canadian province of British Columbia, a regional airport built six miles (nine kilometers) northwest of the city of Kamloops was officially opened. Kamloops Airport was widely seen at the time as a facility that would become a pivotal link in the province’s airways network. “Kamloops Becomes Aerial Crossroads,” stated a headline for the Vancouver Sun’s account of the debut of the airport.
“Just a year ago, wings over Kamloops meant a mighty-motored bird passage, or, at best, a seaplane landing on the blue waters of the Thompson [a tributary of the Fraser River],” reported the Vancouver-based Province newspaper on the day of the airport’s opening. “Today Kamloops stepped into line with air-conscious Canada when she opened a modern airport.”
Thomas O’Neill, the member of the Parliament of Canada for Kamloops, officiated at the Saturday afternoon inaugural ceremony for the new airport. A key part of that ceremony involved O’Neil presentation of a pair of silver wings to Fred D. Scott, a Kamloops City Council alderman. As chairperson of the city council’s Civic Airport Committee, Scott was a staunch advocate for constructing Kamloops Airport.
Those dedication festivities for the airport also included an airshow featuring several pilots from such places as Vancouver, the largest city in British Columbia, and Spokane, Washington. The much-anticipated airshow took place despite that day’s ominous weather.
The Vancouver Sun reported, “The weather-man was not in good humor, supplying squalls and heavy clouds that prevented many fliers from other points arriving, but about a dozen planes from the coast and Spokane managed to get through.” The Vancouver Sun further noted, “What the show lacked in quantity it made up for in quality, the rain holding off until the last scheduled flight was completed.”
Kamloops Airport remains in operation today. (The above aerial view of the airport was taken in 2006.) This airport is now also known as Fulton Field or John “Moose” Fulton Airfield. Fulton, a Kamloops native, served as a wing commander in the British Royal Air Force during World War II and lost his life in that global conflict.
Photo Credit: The City of Kamloops (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en)
For more information on Kamloops Airport (Fulton Field), please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamloops_Airport