Aviation Memorabilia Newsletter Since 1995

Aviation Memorabilia Newsletter

Since 1995

The start of airmail service between Calgary-Edmonton-Lethbridge-Vancouver in 1938.

"Lethbridge Field Ready for TCA Mail Schedule; No Passengers Just Yet" - "Calgary Not to Be On Hook-up at Start."

Lethbridge (Special): Lethbridge airport facilities are in readiness for the inauguration of Trans-Canada Air Mail service on Saturday, October 1st, as well as service between Lethbridge and Edmonton. The eastbound airliner will arrive at Lethbridge from Vancouver before taking-off for Regina and Winnipeg. The westbound plane is scheduled to arrive from Winnipeg before taking-off for Vancouver. Passengers will not be carried at the present time. The Calgary airport will be included as soon as the airport is completed.

(source The Calgary Daily Herald issue September 29th, 1938).

An old Victorian mail coach will aid in the transfer of air mail, all part of the scheme of the airmail boosters' committee of the Edmonton chamber of commerce to celebrate the opening of the Trans-Canada Air Lines mail service which starts from our city to Lethbridge on Saturday October 1st at 8:45 pm, and will include mail from Port Radium, and from various northern points, collected by Mackenzie Air Service aircraft piloted by Stan MacMillian, will also be included.

(source the "Edmonton Journal" issue September 29th, 1938).

(Lethbridge (CP) - First airmail under the new service provided by Trans-Canada Air Lines arrived at Lethbridge 3:42 am, October 1st.  Pilots "Jock" Barclay and Ted Allen flew the plane from Winnipeg.

(source The Calgary Daily Herald issue October 1st, 1938).

Send-off for airmail will be brilliant September 1938. Ceremony starts at 8:15 p.m. With Plane's take-off at 8:45 p.m. Right on the dot of 8:45 o'clock tonight the twin-motored Trans-Canada Air Lines Lockheed Electra monoplane will lift its wheels from the Edmonton airport, tuck them back and start out on the inaugural flight of western airmail.

One of the most impressive ceremonies ever held at the city airport will take place as the first sacks of winged mail are placed aboard the aircraft, under the glare of floodlights, for a night flight to join the east-west line of TCA. The ceremony starts at 8:15 pm when His Worship Mayor John W. Fry, city commissioners and other civic officials will give brief addresses, which will be amplified by loud speakers.

At 8:30 pm the mail will arrive, carried in the old MacLoad stage coach, drawn by four horses and driven by Frank Dynes. The first mail sack and a bouquet will be presented by Mrs. Harrison Young to Captain Arthur Rankin who will pilot the plane. Co-pilot will be First Officer Jack Bradley.

The plane will taxi out onto the runway at 8:35 and will be ready to take off sharp at 8:45. It will circle the city once before heading south for Lethbridge. First incoming airmail on this route arrived in Edmonton at 5:45 am today. The airmail service for Edmonton provides for a pickup at the Edmonton post office at 8 pm. daily and delivery by noon next day in either Winnipeg or Vancouver.

(source The Calgary Daily Herald October 1st, 1938)

Following from the collection of Donald T. Renshaw Sr. The plane left for Edmonton at 4:00 am for the northern trip. Edmonton - Lethbridge feeder on the Trans-Canada Air Lines route will be inaugurated Saturday night (October 1st, 1938) when the first load of mail is dispatched from Edmonton. Experimental familiarization flights, both nights and day, have been operating recently.

tmb yeg crewHere is the T.C.A. staff at Edmonton headquarters with one of the big T.C.A. ships in the background.

Left to right: Jack O'Neill, apprentice; J. E. McLaughlin,engineer; E. M. Campbell, engineer; Captain Art Rankin; First Officer Jack Bradley; Captain Frank Young; D. W. Moir, station manager and Al Brown, radio operator.