“Strangers are just friends waiting to happen.” I do not know who said it first but it encapsulates the life of an Armed Forces BRAT!
Remember when you were a kid and you were insulted to be called a brat. Well, there is a whole culture of people in Canada who are proud to be called brat. They are the Armed Forces Brats (Borne, Raised And Transferred Somewhere).
Membership in this exclusive club is not difficult to achieve. It merely requires one or both of your parents to be members of the Canadian Armed Forces. (Or for those of my generation, members of the Air Force, Army or Navy!)
I remember my childhood in detail, but I cannot remember, with some exceptions, the names of the kids I went to school with and played with. Those memories still exist but need to be dragged forward. Check out Paul Dalby’s grade 8 class (photo on the left) in Trenton for example. Thirty-eight 13 year olds with raging hormones. (Now that’s a class size!)
Enter the World Wide Web. I was surfing the other day and came across a newsgroup named can.military-brats. To my amazement I actually recognized the name of one of the posters as someone I knew over 40 years ago. Since that time I have made connection with 5 or 6 people whom I had lost over the years. And I am sure that more friendships will be re-established over time.
One web site, http://www.milbrats.net, lists over 1000 resumes of Brats looking for their friends.
Brats are generally easy to pick out in a crowd. They made friends very quickly. They join activities without hesitation. But at the same time, they demand personal space on occasion.
If you are an Air Force Brat, you can recognize every aircraft ever flown in Canada because you went to 5 billion air shows (and you still like to go to them!).
If you were anything like me, you drew pictures of airplanes (usually CF-86’s, if you had any taste at all!) in every school book you used.
I read on one of the many Brat sites that, of the many ways, the best way to recognize a Brat was:
- he was the kid who graduated from grade 12 in his 13th different school
- she was the kid who could describe, first hand, most every country you were studying in geography class
- he would get a funny look on their face when asked about his “home” town
- she would answer the “home town” question with: “Where are we now?”
- she could concentrate on reading the cereal box when an low-flying airplane screamed overhead because: “I was brought up with the noise.”.
To all those 5 or 10,000 Brats I played with over the years. Hi! Long time no see.
In 2002 the Trenton Air Base Little Champs of 1960 got together to “play ball” just like the old days. Below there are photos of the guys in 1960 and 2002. How little has changed!
As a special treat for all you Brats who lived in Trenton, below is a photograph taken of the base before the grass fields gave way to paved runways (circa ~1940). If you look closely there is a Tiger Moth in front of Hanger 2!. Between 1939 and 1945, Trenton was the most important Commonwealth Training Base in the British Empire. More than 131,000 aircrew were trained there including almost 50,000 pilots.
I am a Military Brat
My hometown is nowhere, my friends are everywhere.
I grew up with the knowledge that home is where the heart is
and the family….
Mobility is my way of life.
Some would wonder about roots, yet they are as deep and strong
as the mighty oak. I sink them quickly, absorbing all an area offers
and hopefully, giving enrichment in return.
Travel has taught me to be open.
Shaking hands with the universe, I find brotherhood in all men.
Farewells are never easy.
Yet, even in sorrow comes strength and ability to face tomorrow
with anticipation….if when we leave one place,
I feel that half my world is left behind. I also know that
the other half is waiting to be met.
Friendships are formed in hours and kept for decades.
I will never grow up with someone, but I will mature with many.
Be it inevitable that paths part, there is constant hope
that they will meet again.
Love of country, respect and pride
fill my being when our flag passes in review.
When I stand to honor that flag, so also do I stand in honor of all
soldiers, and most especially, to the parents whose life created mine
Because of this, I have shared in the rich heritage of Military life.
Do you recognize anyone in this picture? If so send a message to email@example.com with the identity.
I learned to disappear before I could appear and when I did appear I had to disappear!
Patricia nee McKenzie
September 30,2021. Lived at R.C.A.F. station , Clinton, Ont. from 1959 to 1965 . Also Rockliffe Ottawa Ont. 1955 to 1959.Would love to find old friends I have never Fore gotten.
My name is ELIE FOUBERT; my father was Sgt. E.R. Foubert postmaster in Clinton from 1964; we lived on 45 Winnipeg Drive just behind the elementary school; before that I lived somewhere in Goderich in an apartment building – lots of snow, JFK assassinated and announced by Ms. Morris our teacher in grade 3. Read about the Truscott murder years later when we were posted back to Trenton in 1969 after five golden years in Paris and Ramstein. Good places for a kid to grow up.
Lived in 4 wing 62-66, St, Hubert 66-75, Namaio Edmonton 75-79.
Am looking for former classmates over at Combined High School in St, Hubert.
Hi to my fellow brats. My father John Greatrix was an RCAF fighter pilot who with wife Carmel had four kids (brats: Cheryl, Nancy, Mark, David). During my childhood we were based in Portage la Prairie, Ottawa (1963-1967), Lahr (W. Germany; 1968-1971) and Winnipeg. I’ve written about my times in Ottawa, Lahr and Winnipeg in the book “Farewell to the Good Old Days.” My only recent in-person contact with Lahr people has been Brad Frazer, being long-ago friends from Area 31 on Schwarzwald Strasse, circa 1968. I have some photos of various Lahr folks who may or may not remember me on my website, http://www.farewelltothegoodolddays.com.
I am now into my mid fifties. I grew up as a navy brat. Dad retired in 1980. He has since died, but we are left with his legacy. My life still remains impacted by my military experience. Making friends has always been difficult for me. That being said I am fairly happy on my life as a public servant. My mother remains healthy but lives provinces apart from her kids and is now becoming dependent upon us. We were and still remain gypsies. No place is really home.
Excited to read about you fellow brats! Born in Belleville (Trenton ON) then on to Manitoba (Portage la Prairie- MacDonald’s??) to Ottawa Rockliffe ( addrress 21 Hornell Drive if that is Hornell Heights,…?) and then back to Trenton.
Air Force sergeant, my Dad joined to get out of his tiny town in New Brunswick. A mechanic, he hurt his back and was shunted ot office work in an office which might explain why he retired as soon as he could (age 45)
I wish to write our story; we have lived a unique lifestyle with good and bad all tied in. Talk to me. “firstname.lastname@example.org”
Hello. I started Kindergarden in January 1957 in Marville and then grade 1 at St Huberts Catholic school and was there till grade three. fall 57 to spring 60. Do not remember too many names maybe someone remembers me. Tried to connect to http://www.milbrats.net but it did not work. Maybe the site is gone .. Oh well Hello All!!!
My brother would have been in kindergarten around the same time. His name is Brian Hill. He and my other brother, Randy Hill, attended the Catholic school. We were there in about the same time frame we left around 1961.
My Father (SGT. Adams) was in the RCAF. We lived in Chatham, N.B. (1955-1959), 1 Wing ,Marville, France (1960-1963), 3 Wing, Zweibrucken, Germany (1963-1966) and Edmonton (1966-1969).
My father was in the Navy. Served on the Bonaventure. Stationed in Halifax, where I was born in 1963. Around 1967, we were posted to Victoria, as my father attended Royal Roads. Then moved to Vancouver. Lived in some crappy apartment on Hasting Street, until we secured a PMQ on Sea Island. I went to Grade One on Sea Island (September 1969), before we were posted to Calgary, and CFB Currie. We lived at 10 Mons Avenue (January 1970 to late June 1972). Paul Taylor my best friend. We went to Currie Elementary. Still looking for Linda from Mrs. Jergens Grade Three/Grade Two split class!!! Then we moved up to St. Albert. Our PMQ day’s were over. 14 Linwood Crescent in Lacombe Park. Friends with Darren. Town, and David Stengrem. Lived in St. Albert until June 1975…until my father was posted to Ottawa. Freezing cold Ottawa.
Is there anyone else who braved the mid Canada Line during the Cold War? Mainly the Arctic, Fort Churchill, Manitoba between 1958 and 1962?
I grew up in Ortona Barracks in Oakville from 1957 to 1962 which was referred to as the Command Central. My father was a Lt Col. It was a wonderful base with apple orchards where all the kids enjoyed climbing. I have nothing but good memories and if anything could not understand the culture outside the barracks in “the real world.” We are very adaptable people with the comings and goings and I will always remember those days growing up among soldiers and their families as a gift.
Hi…………any relation to shaun brown ……………….. thx ………pete booth
Devon (Sinkins) Coles
All the PMQ’s I ever lived in have been removed from the face of the Earth. And the bases they were stationed on have been erased completely. Such is the lot of Air Force brats whose parent served on the now defunct Pinetree Line during the Cold War. Looking around on the Internet for some remnant of my childhood makes me feel like we made it all up. Anyone out there who lived at RCAF Edgar, or Sea Island, or possibly even Hornell Heights between 1954 and 1963? Would love to know it was real.
Harold Cameron Campbell
Hi Devon; We did not live in Edgar but my Dad was stationed there in 1959 until it closed. He was a Flt . Sgt. in the teletype tech trade. We lived in Orillia at the time and I didn’t even know there were PMQ’s at Edgar until later after it closed. It became part of the Huronia Regional Mental Institution based in Orillia and my sister in law worked there. I was in the region recently and all of the buildings on the old base have been demolished and I believe they are going to build a resort on the grounds.
4 (F) wing 54 to 57
I was at 4 wing at that time too. Gr. 3-5.
Just found this site so that’s why the delay in responding.
I’m here if anyone recognizes my name!
(4 Wing 54-58 approx) Seem to have lost track of everyone… anybody still around?
Dominique (Dom) Marchildon
Your name sounds familiar from my brat days: ….I was in RCAF Borden from my birth in ’48 till 1960 when we moved to Centralia.
Let me know if my name or my family name sounds familiar
I lived on the Army side at Camp Borden in 1953. They Painted the whole street (gone now, but 14th St back in 1953), in one morning while I was at School.
Born 1944 in Middleton Nova Scotia, my maiden name was Dagg, my father was In RCAF lived on Greenwood Air Force base, have lived in Trenton, 3 Wing Zweibrucken, Langar Air Force base in England, Winnipeg, and Metz France. Can’t remember last names of friends, old age creeping in, but would like to reconnect with old friends.
Harold Cameron Campbell
Hi Wendy; You don’t state your age and it is not polite for a gentleman to ask. We have been stationed at many of the same bases and my brother also was at Greenwood for many years in the 60’s. Over the years our father was at Trenton, 3 wing Zweibrucken, Winnipeg, and Metz France. We were in Metz from 1957-1959. We may have run into each other if we are the same age. I am 79 now!
Shannon (Mckenney) Douglas
I lived in(born) in whitehorse in 1959, Centralia 61-63, Gimili, Manitoba 63-66, Dana(Sagehill) Sask 66-68, London Ontario 68-till 78. I have though of many friends who has stuck in my mind over the years. Some I can’t remember their last names but have never forgot them. Some you have played with everyday and I wish I could see them one more time to reminisce. You did feel a loss but had grown use to it. I did join the Canadian Force for 23 years and was shocked by how many Cdn Military Brats were in the Military. Wish I could see these people one more time.
We who went to school with you felt a loss when you left. I don’t remember ever hearing from anyone who left, but the memories we shared sure remained. Wainwright Blessed Sacrament in the fifties.