RAMWC Aviation Conference: VIP & Volunteer Registration

Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada Aviation Conference

April 14 & 15, 2023

You are invited to join us as a guest at the Royal Aviation Museum’s first aviation conference.

As a VIP guest at the conference, you will receive:

  • Access to the conference and museum
  • Morning coffee, fruits and pastries
  • Catered 3-course lunches
  • Invitation to Opening and Closing receptions
  • Validated parking

Royal Aviation Museum Aviation Conference

About the conference:

Laying the groundwork for Canadian aviation

Join us April 14 – 15 as we welcome speakers from around the world for an in-depth look at early 20th-century aviation development. 

The period between 1918 and 1924 was key to the development of civil, commercial, and military aviation in Canada.

Prior to 1918, civil operations in support of government responsibilities, briefly considered before the First World War, were brought to a standstill by the conflict. Likewise, the development of commercial aviation failed to take off due to wartime priorities. Finally, while more than 20,000 Canadians flew with distinction in combat during the war, they did so as members of the British flying services and not as part of a distinctly Canadian air force.

By 1924, civil air operations were routinely being carried out for a variety of government departments, commercial aviation firms were springing up across the country and the Royal Canadian Air Force was established to provide the framework of a national military air service.

This conference will seek to answer how and why these important developments took place.




Subject to change

Friday, April 14

9:00 – 9:15 amMr. Terry Slobodian
Opening remarks with Major General Huddleston, Commander 1 Canadian Air Division Headquarters, Canadian NORAD Region
9:15 – 9:30 amHedley Auld
Conference Introduction
9:30 – 10:00 amCol. Randall Wakelam, Retired
Uncertain of Position but Making Good Time: Learning to Love the RCAF
10:15 – 10:45 amDr. Richard Mayne
A False Start and the Birth of the Royal Canadian Air Force: 1918-1924
11:00 – 11:30 amCol. John Orr, Retired
“The Imperial Gift – The Air Ministry, Oxford Circus House and the Air Board of Canada”  
11:45 am – 1:00 pm LUNCH
Luncheon address: Basil Deacon Hobbs
Mr. Hedley Auld
1:00 – 1:30 pmMr. Dirk Werle
Early Aerial Photography in Canada
1:45 – 2:15 pmMajor Jeremie St. Jacques
Development of Air-Ground Communications: 1918-1924
2:30 – 3:00 pmMr. John Parminter
Aircraft and Their Use in Forestry in B.C.: 1918 – 1926
3:15 – 3:45 pmMr. Chris Hargreaves
The Development of Airmail in Canada after 1918
4:00 – 4:30 pm Capt. Allan Snowie
1919 – 1920: The Years of Flying First
4:45 – 5:15 pmMs. Diana Trafford
George Fuller’s Legacy: An Approach to Aviation History
Sponsored by Charton Hobbs

Saturday, April 15

9:00 – 9:30 amMr. Matthias Joost
Robert Logan
9:45 – 10:15 amMs. Vanessa Ascough
Stuart-MacLaren Round-the-World, 1924
10:30 – 11:00 amMr. Christopher J. Terry
Curtiss HS-2L
11:15 – 11:45 amMr. Colin Owers
The Evolution of the Felixstowe F.3 Flying Boat and Its Introduction to Canada
11:45 – 1:00 pmLUNCH
Luncheon Address: “Air Station Victoria Beach & RCAF Station Winnipeg”
Mr. Hedley Auld
1:00 – 1:30 pmDr. David Riach
Winnipeg’s First Commercial Air Transport Companies
1:45 – 2:15 pm Col. Jack McGee, Retired
Edmonton Aircraft Company – Jock McNeill and Keith Tailyour, AFC
2:30 – 3:00 pm Dr. Ruth I. Groome
Roland J Groome and the Saskatchewan Aviators
3:15 – 3:45 pm Mr. Pierre Thiffault
Early Quebec Aviation: The Making of Commercial Flying
4:00 – 4:30 pm Dr. Bob Galway
An Overview of Early Canadian Commercial Aviation 1920-1925
4:45 pm Mr. Terry Slobodian
Closing Remarks
Sponsored by Charton Hobbs


The granddaughter of Squadron Leader Archibald Stuart-MacLaren, Vanessa has spent the past 25 years researching his life and career in the RFC and RAF.

Born in Devon, UK, after boarding school she tried her hand at many jobs in London working for Simpsons of Piccadilly selling fashion, then in the advertising department of the Reader’s Digest (with a short spell in Cape Town, South Africa) and finally in estate agency. 

Having married, she then spent 10 years in Hong Kong, qualifying and practising in Chinese medicine and acupuncture. Then returning to the UK she did a degree at Bristol University at the grand age of 45, and finally ended up as editor of a magazine for the Centre for Leadership Studies at the University of Exeter.

Having now retired, Vanessa continues to follow her passion for adventure and public speaking, and is now writing the biography of her grandfather’s impressive life and vocation.

Hedley Auld retired in 2016 after a 37-year career in freight transportation management with CN in economics, finance, and marketing, based in Montreal and Winnipeg.  He has degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Manitoba and in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of Oxford.  Volunteer work included historic research for the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada before its reopening in May 2022.  Hedley was astonished to discover that two of the six places where Canada set up its first government air stations in 1920 and 1921 are now occupied by Vancouver’s Jericho Beach Sailing Centre, where his family’s catamaran was bought, and the Victoria Beach Yacht Club, where it is sailed by family each summer.

Dr. Robert Galway was born in Kenora and grew up in Red Lake, ON.  He has received degrees from the University of Toronto in Geology and Medicine and has specialized in orthopedic surgery.
He is also a pilot, aerophilatelist, and prominent aviation historian based in Toronto. 
He’s penned more than ten articles about aviation history including: Wm. Roy Maxwell “In the News”; “The Trethewey’s and de Lesseps Airfield”; and “Early Days in the Bush with the RCAF.”

My sister and I were born near RCAF bases in Ontario where our father, Leslie Groome, was stationed during ‘the War’. After the armistice, we spent a year in Vancouver, then moved to Regina, close to our grandparents and our uncle Paul. Yet another move followed – to Moose Jaw, where my father taught art at the teachers’ college.

I was fascinated by the face in a photograph that was prominently placed on my grandmother’s mantlepiece. One day I asked, “Who is that?” The adults fell silent. My father finally spoke: “That’s Uncle Roland. He died in a plane crash.” Silent grief surrounding Roland continued until the death of Paul, the eldest and last surviving brother, in 1992.

I attended schools in Moose Jaw, Central Collegiate in Regina, McGill University (B.Sc. Hon., Woodrow Wilson Fellow ’65), and the University of Pennsylvania (M.A.’67, Ph.D.’70).  I conducted research in neuro-behavioural sciences in New York, Rio de Janeiro, and London, taught in Rio de Janeiro, married, and had two sons.  Returning to Canada, I developed my career in clinical areas related to my research.  

After Paul’s death, I found myself custodian of Roland’s papers, letters, and photographs, which Paul had painstakingly preserved. The photographs drew me into the story of Roland Groome and his pioneering contemporaries. My childhood curiosity became a decades-long quest to fit together the missing pieces. Through reading his own words, and seeing life through his eyes, a vivid and intimate portrait emerged, revealing a visionary and adventurer, a man before his time.

Chris Hargreaves has been editor of The Canadian Aerophilatelist, the quarterly journal of the Canadian Aerophilatelic Society, since 1994, and continues to enjoy the correspondence that involves him with members and researchers across Canada, in the USA, and around the world. 

He is also Editor-in-Chief for The Air Mails of Canada and Newfoundland, which has just published a second edition, and contributes articles to other philatelic journals. Chis has won several awards for his writing, including a Postal History Society award for his article “Pioneering Airmail in the Canadian North”, and the American Air Mail Society’s L. B. Gatchell Literature Award for an article on “The Saint Lawrence Air Mail Service 1927-1939”. 

For a complimentary copy of the latest issue of The Canadian Aerophilatelist, and/or more information about The Air Mails of Canada and Newfoundland email Chris.

Mathias Joost served in the Canadian Forces for 32 years. The last 18 he served as the war diaries officer at the Directorate of History and Heritage. As an air force officer in this history-rich environment he developed an interest in little-known aspects of the RCAF. As a result, he has developed a specialty in diversity in the military and in the history of the Air Reserve. Mathias also has an interest in lesser known but significant figures in the history of the RCAF, researching officers and senior non-commissioned officers about whom there is little written but whose service was nonetheless significant. Mathias is enjoying retirement in Ottawa, doing research and writing for the RCAF’s 100th Anniversary in 2024. He travels regularly to South Korea and to Scotland to visit family.

Dr. Richard Mayne, CD, received his BA from the University of Toronto, MA from Wilfrid Laurier University (Waterloo, ON) and a Ph.D. in military history from Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario).  While attending these institutions, Dr. Mayne won several academic awards and scholarships including Wilfrid Laurier’s Graduate Gold Medal for Arts and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Scholarship while at Queen’s. After serving 17 years as a Maritime Surface and Sub Surface officer in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) he is now the Chief Historian and Director of Royal Canadian Air Force History and Heritage.  Before joining the public service in 2008, Dr. Mayne spent nine years as a historian at the Directorate of History and Heritage at National Defence Headquarters.  He has authored, co-authored, or co-edited a number of books and articles on various aspects of Canadian military history and defence issues.

He has been involved in other capacities for the Department of National Defence over the years, including part-time work for the Canadian Forces Leadership Institute and academic staff of the Canadian Forces College’s Joint Command and Staff program, as well as serving as an academic advisor for the RCAF Air Warfare Centre’s Air and Space Power Operations Course.

Jack McGee was an RCN Carrier and CAF Air Force pilot (1958-1992); flew from USN aircraft carriers on exchange; Maritime Staff Officer Air Command HQ; CO 412 (VIP) Squadron (flying Royals); at NDHQ procured Challengers, Hercules (& simulator), Dash 7s & 8s; a graduate of USAF Air War College and runner-up for the United States-Italy Douhet-Mitchell International Air Power Trophy (research); Director Air Studies at CF Command and Staff College; commanded CFB Comox, accumulating 7500 hours on 47 types of aircraft; and served as Honorary Colonel 442 Squadron. Articles published in US Naval Institute Proceedings and other defence and civilian journals. Presented at CANUKUS institutions and universities. Awards: CF Decoration, Special Service Medal (NATO) and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for service to Canada; Canada 150 Award (2017) and BC Community Award (2021) for volunteer service.

Jack was Dean Science & Technology at George Brown College, President of St. Clair College, and Past President of the Justice Institute of BC. He holds a BA (St. Mary’s), MPA (Auburn), completed Doctoral level courses in International Relations and Strategic Studies (York), and an Honorary Doctor of Laws (Windsor). Current boards include the Sovereign Order of St John, supporting hospice, and Pacific Autism Family Network Foundation.

Colonel Orr joined the Royal Canadian Navy in September 1963 and graduated in 1967 from the Royal Military College of Canada. Selected for aircrew duties, he completed five operational tours on the Sea King helicopter culminating in command of 423 Squadron.

He attended the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College and has held a variety of command and staff appointments in Canada, NATO, and the Middle East. He retired from the Canadian Armed Forces in September 2000.

Since his retirement, Colonel Orr has volunteered as a researcher at the Shearwater Aviation Museum. In 2013, he published a history of the Canadian Sea King helicopter, PERSEVERANCE: The Canadian Sea King Story. Since then, he has lectured on the history of Shearwater from its inception as US Naval Air Station Halifax in 1918 until today and has also authored several articles regarding the first trans-Canada flight from Halifax to Vancouver (7-17 October 1920). He is currently researching the civil, commercial, and military aspects of Canadian aviation in the period from 1918-1924 and recently won the inaugural J. A. Wilson Air Power and History Essay Contest for his article “Lieutenant-Colonel John Tulloch Cull DSO RAF and the Royal Canadian Naval Air Service.”

After a forty-year career in local government engineering, Colin retired to Canberra, ACT.

Colin’s professional qualifications provided his technical background to his study of World War I aircraft. A foundation member of the Australian Society of World War I Aero Historians, Colin is a foundation member of the Australian Society of WWI Aviation Historians, and is a current member of the League of WWI Aviation Historians where he is an editor of the League’s Journal. Colin is also a member of Cross and Cockade International and a regular contributor to their Journal.

Over a period of years Colin has worked with the restoration of the WWI aircraft at the Australian War Memorial, as well as currently working two days a week in the Military Historical Technology (MHT) section as a volunteer.

Aeronaut Books in the USA has published eight of Colin’s books on WWI aircraft as well as contributing to other books in their series.

Colin’s fascination with marine aircraft began when his father would take him to Rose Bay, Sydney, to watch the QANTAS flying boats at their terminal. His research into the America flying boats of WWI forms the base for this presentation.

John Parminter studied forestry at the University of British Columbia in the 1970s, obtaining his BSF and MF degrees. From 1980 to 1993 he was a fire ecologist with the Protection Branch of the B.C. Forest Service, specializing in fire history, fire ecology, and vegetation succession modeling for both wild and prescribed fires. From 1993 to 2009 he worked for the Research Branch of the B.C. Forest Service, adding the maintenance of biodiversity, wildlife habitat monitoring, forest resources inventory methodologies, and coarse woody debris decay dynamics to his expanding repertoire.

Following his retirement in 2009, he was a volunteer Researcher Emeritus and produced an annotated bibliography about natural disturbances in British Columbia’s forest and grassland ecosystems. His most recent publication, Fire Season 1, concerns indigenous cultural burning in B.C.

John co-founded the Forest History Association of B.C. in 1982 and edited the organization’s newsletter until 2008. In 2002 the Association of British Columbia Forest Professionals honoured John with their Distinguished Forester Award. In 2014 he was made a Life Member of that association. He was also instrumental in the formation of the B.C. Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration in 2003.

Originally from Winnipeg, David Riach received a Ph.D. in political studies from Carleton University in 2000. Research for this work took him to Warsaw, Poland, Minsk, Belarus, and several other locations. During the mid-1990s, Warsaw was home for the better part of two years. David published findings related to his dissertation “National Identity in Post-Soviet Belarus’” in the journals Lithuania (1997) and Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism (2000). He also contributed a chapter on the subject to the book New Europe: The Impact of the First Decade, Volume 1 (2006). Although not a career choice, aviation has always been a passion. Since leaving full-time work in February 2018, David has been able to devote himself to the subject. Today, he is an independent, non-profit aviation researcher and writer living in Winnipeg. Subjects of special interest include the early years of commercial air transport in Canada, the “flying fur trade,” biographies of lesser-known but significant players in Canadian aviation history, John M. Larsen and the Junkers-Larsen JL-6, and the role of aviation in Canada’s residential schools.

Terry has been the President & CEO of the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada (RAMWC) since June 2019. He was given the mandate to transform and grow the museum. Since then, he has led the construction of the new museum ahead of schedule and under budget; a remarkable feat in COVID times. He is also responsible for spearheading the museum’s $48 million Climb Aboard! Capital Campaign. More than $47 million has been raised toward the campaign to date.

With more than 20 years of international leadership experience, Terry brings an impressive track record of leadership and innovation to RAMWC. Prior to RAMWC, he was Vice President of Fund Development, Marketing and Communications for Christian Children’s Fund of Canada and has served as President & CEO of Bridgepoint Hospital Foundation, as Vice President of University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and as a foreign diplomat for the United Nations in Moscow and Geneva.

Terry is an Air Cadet alumnus and his awards include Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal for “making a significant contribution to Canada and impacting literally thousands of lives through humanitarian service” and the University of Western Ontario’s Alumni Award of Merit.

Emigrating from Scotland with his family at age twelve, Allan found a future in aviation through the Air Cadet flying scholarship program.  Joining the Royal Canadian Navy Air Branch in 1965, he flew out of Shearwater, Nova Scotia, and later with 412 RCAF Squadron, Ottawa. His aviation career next encompassed thirty-three years in Air Canada.  During that time he also served with the Highland Fusiliers Army Reserves and wrote a history of the regiment.  A book on Canada’s last aircraft carrier, HMCS Bonaventure, as well as another on Canadian Naval Aviators 1914-1918 followed.  On retirement from the airline, a hobby of flying First World War replica aircraft culminated (with the help of many others) into a wee squadron of seven biplanes.  The forty-two member Vimy Flight Team travelled to France and conducted an April 9th, 2017 flypast during the Centennial of Canada’s Victory at Vimy.

Major St.-Jacques joined the Canadian Armed Forces on 31 July 2002 as an Electrical and Mechanical Engineering officer. He quickly transferred to the Combat Engineer classification within the first year of joining and graduated from the Royal Military College of Canada in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in physics.  He was then posted to Headquarters, CFB Kingston. Unfortunately, due to injuries, he transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy as a Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface officer in 2009. He served on nearly every major warship in the Pacific Fleet and deployed twice on OP CARRIBE in HMCS Ottawa. In 2015, he transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force as a Communications Electronics Engineer officer. He completed his training in 2016 and was posted to 4 Wing Cold Lake. While at 4 Wing, he occupied the positions of Wing Telecommunications Information Services (WTIS), Operations Officer, and Deputy Officer Commanding of Communications Information Systems Flight (CIS Flt). Following his promotion to major in 2020, he occupied the position of Officer Commanding of the CIS Flt at 4 Wing. In 2021, he was posted to the staff of A6 at Headquarters, 1 Canadian Air Division in Winnipeg as Command and Control Information Systems Officer.

Christopher Terry has been an active member of the Canadian aviation heritage community for almost sixty years.  Professionally he is best known as the former Director General of the then National (later Canada) Aviation Museum at Rockcliffe Airport in Ottawa (1989-2001). He subsequently became President and CEO of the Museum’s parent body, the Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation (now known as “Ingenium”) until he retired (2001-2008) during the whole of which time he participated widely in the global aviation and space museum community. 

He continues active support for the aviation heritage cause in Canada as President of the National Aviation Museum Society and Board advisor for Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. He is a long-time member and former Chair of the Ottawa Chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. He has spoken, presented and published on museum and aviation history topics.  He was the first Honorary Colonel of the RCAF Aerospace Warfare Centre (2006-2012) and was awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers in 2018.

He has received degrees from the University of Guelph and the London School of Economics. He lives in Port Hope, Ontario with his wife Victoria.

Pierre Thiffault has been involved with aviation for the last 40 years, either as flight planning specialist and simulation specialist at Nav Canada, or writer of various books and articles related to aviation history.  In the English language, his publications include a number of papers for the CAHS Journal and a biography on Larry Lesh, the “Flying Lad” who at the age of only 14 performed in 1907 the first glider flights in Canada, towed by a galloping horse and a motor boat.

In 2001, he co-founded the Quebec Air and Space Hall of Fame and for 10 years directed the Selection Committee.  He currently works at the Trois-Rivières airport, a major industrial hub for aeronautics in eastern Canada.

He’s also the chairman of the biggest winter kite festival in Canada, held in the small community of Grandes-Piles, QC.

Researching the Golden Age of aviation in Canada and the work of RAF Ferry Command has been a passion of Diana’s since 2012 when she set aside family history to focus on the careers of two uncles, Howard and Bruce Watt, who both had careers as bush and ferry pilots. Her article about a 1933 charter flight by Howard Watt for Canadian Airways up the east coast of Hudson Bay came to the attention of George Fuller, starting a friendship that lasted until his death in July 2022.

As a public servant from 1962 to 1980, Diana served in communications and publicity roles for various federal departments with technical, social, and economic orientations. She then launched a 35-year career as a freelance writer and editor for such clients as Communications Canada, the Science Council, the Roundtable on the Economy and the Environment, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, Canadian Parents for French and l’Université du Québec en Outaouais (Department of Engineering and Computer Science). Now retired, she devotes her time to equestrian sports and researching aviation history.

After graduating from RRMC/RMC in 1975, Wakelam flew with 10 Tactical Air Group, becoming CO of 408 Sqn in 1991.  Subsequently, he worked in senior officer education at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto (on the site of the RCAF Staff College) and at the Canadian Defence Academy HQ.  Joining RMC after retirement he has taught history and leadership courses. Now partly re-retired, he tutors students in the college’s writing centre.  He also volunteers in the Aeronautical Engineering capstone aircraft design course where he serves as the non-engineer, asking the students to explain their engineering to a customer/operator.  He finds the course a wonderfully realistic learning opportunity for the students as they prepare to join the RCAF. 

Wakelam attempts to share what he learns about the air force through writing.  In 2009 he published The Science of Bombing: Operational Research in RAF Bomber Command and in 2010 co-edited The Report of the Officer Development Board: Maj-Gen Roger Rowley and the Education of the Canadian Forces. In 2011 he published Cold War Fighters: Canadian Aircraft Procurement, 1945–54. In 2020 he was the lead editor of Educating Air Forces Global Perspectives on Airpower Learning.  He is currently lead editor for On Wings of War and Peace:  The RCAF during the Early Cold War – a history of Canada’s pre-unification RCAF which is planned for publication in late 2023.  He continues to gather material for a biography of Air Marshal Wilf Curtis, Chief of the Air Staff from 1947 to 1953.

Dirk Werle is a geoscientist with a Master of Science degree in Physical Geography from McGill University. His professional career as a managing partner with ÆRDE Environmental Research in Halifax focused on the use of Earth observation satellites for remote sensing of land and marine areas and environmental monitoring. He has served as an advisor for several government and non-governmental organizations and chaired the National Remote Sensing Working Group of the Canadian Government for two terms. He is an active member of the Canadian Remote Sensing Society and served as Officer and President of the Society for six years. From 2010 to 2020, he was a member of the Board of the International Oceans Institute, IOI Canada, and served as chair for three years. He worked as an Adjunct Professor at several universities teaching remote sensing and contributed remote sensing lectures to the annual IOI training program for ocean governance over two decades. For the past three years he has been employed part-time by the Canadian Space Agency as a senior Earth observation expert. Dirk has been fascinated by the view from above ever since he acquired a glider pilot license as a teenager in the early 1970s.

Travel & Accommodations

Arriving by air: The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada is conveniently located on the campus of the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport.

Arriving by car: The museum is located at 2088 Wellington Avenue, Winnipeg, MB.


We’re pleased to partner with Lakeview Hotels to offer delegates preferred rates at their two airport properties:

Lakeview Grand Winnipeg Airport Hotel – $178/night

Lakeview Signature – $161/night

These rates are available to conference attendees from April 13-16, 2023

We will provide you with a booking code once your conference registration is confirmed.

The museum is just a short walk from the hotels. Alternatively, delegates staying at one of the Lakeview properties will have access to the hotel’s shuttle if they require transportation to the museum.

Sponsors and Partners