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War Memorials in Manitoba
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This Old Elevator
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Historic Sites of Manitoba: Equipment Depot No. 2 / Equipment Depot No. 7 / Carpiquet Barracks (Winnipeg)

Link to:
Commanding Officers | Photos & Maps | Sources

The Equipment Depot (ED) No. 2 was established by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) at Winnipeg in 1935, and a large central storehouse was acquired on a parcel of land southwest of Notre Dame Avenue, near the northeast corner of Empress Street (now Orange Street) and Dublin Avenue. This facility served as a parts hub for Military District No. 10. With the onset of the Second World War, and implementation of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan (CATP), large-scale expansion plans were drawn up for the site, and the base was assigned as the master supply centre for Air Training Command No. 2 (ATC). With the transition, the base was re-designated as the Equipment Depot No. 7, and the No. 2 name was transferred to another base further west.

The site was greatly expanded in the the spring of 1940, with the new property perimeter bordering Notre Dame Avenue to the north and east, Omands Creek and Dublin Avenue to the south, and St. James Street along the western city limits. Surrounding by 4,200 feet of fencing, the greatly expanded compound contained some 15 frame storage buildings, along with three fireproof reinforced concrete and brick structures measuring 25 by 40 feet, canteens, a headquarters, garages, guard houses, as well as a mess halls and quarters for commissioned and non-commissioned officers. The sprawling complex cost was built by the Bird Construction Company and cost some $284,000. Some 1.5 million feet of lumber were consumed in the construction of around 40 structures. An additional 15 structures along with a $120,000 storage warehouse were added by August of the same year in the southwest corner of the base. Further additions would occur during the war.

The facility serviced all bases within its ATC jurisdiction as well as functioning as a specialty depot for select other components. Within the storage buildings were millions of parts for the Allied war effort. To ensure efficient organization and supply management, all huts containing parts were governed with a storage and supply management system, using numbers 1-100 and alphabetic characters. Within each hut were stacks of labeled bins, and all compartments within a bin were labeled according to three dimensions. A latitude marking was applied every 6 inches away from the centre floor of a hut, while a longitude value was assigned was marked at 6 inch intervals along the side of bins, and a height notation with corresponding alphabetic letter representation assigned every six inches from the floor. Upon a part requisition requested being received, a slip would be issued with the corresponding location code (and date needed by the requesting entity) and the piece in turn retrieved by staff. Adjacent to each hut was a wagon, for which a tractor would make the rounds twice-daily and bring the laden wagons to the train depots for pickup. Intentionally situated near the Air Observers' School No. 5, Repair Depot No. 8, and Stevenson Field, it was also in close proximity to railway lines for the Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR) and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), allowing for quick shipping of requested parts both nearby and abroad. Twice per day, wagon loads from the storage huts would go to CNoR and CPR for dispatching within the ATC as well as shipping to requesting military entities within the Commonwealth and other Allied countries.

The Equipment Depot was disbanded on 31 January 1946 and the premises were used by the YMCA as part of a Canada-wide clothing drive for war-ravished Europe. Staffed by around 80 ex-servicemen, over 200,000 pounds of garments from the Winnipeg area were sorted at the facility prior to being sent overseas. Later, elements of the base were sold off by the War Assets Corporation (WAC). The site was then used by the Department of National Defence, with the premises serving as an Army Supply Depot and briefly as the new headquarters of the Army Prairie Command in 1946. The base was renamed Carpiquet Barracks for the French town in Normandy which Canadians (including Winnipeg-based units) liberated during the D-Day invasion. Several military regiments utilized the site in the immediate years, and upgrades were undertaken to structures on base. In February 1948, a further five storage buildings (representing some 28,800 square feet) of the Carpiquet Barracks were declared surplus by the WAC and sold off.

Following the end of military usage around late 1957, the site (then classified as a Forward Operating Base) was divested by the Crown Assets Disposal Corporation (formerly WAC) and salvaged by the Atlas Wrecking Company Limited in 1958. Many buildings were re-purposed to storage warehouses, dismantled for building supplies, relocated off-site, or demolished. In 1960, it was announced that a Labatt's Brewing Plant (since demolished) was to be build for a cost around $8 million.

The rail network which serviced the area has been removed and the area has been developed into industrial and commercial venues known as the St. James Business Centre. The former base complex has now been converted to commercial and industrial uses. All that remains from the base complex is the former Equipment Depot Storehouse and a few small nearby structures.

Commanding Officers

Period

Commanding Officer

1935-1937

Roy Stanley “Bill” Grandy (1894-1965)

1937-1940

Norman Egar Sharpe (1896-1967)

1940-1941

Squadron Leader R. G. A. Vallance RAF

1941-1942

Wing Commander A. J. Redmond RAF

1942-1943

Group Captain C. N. Scott RAF

1943-1944

Charles Bruce Turner (1904-1944)

1944-1945

Henry Russell “Harry” Dowie (1898-1970)

1945-1946

?

1946-?

Brigadier Harold O. N. Brownfield CB MC

1946-1957

?

Photos & Maps

Site Location (lat/long): N49.91462, W97.19582
denoted by symbol on the map above

Sources:

“Society [Mrs. R.S. Grandy],” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 August 1935, page 6.

“Two globe-girdling fliers fight winds to reach Manitoba,” Winnipeg Tribune, 28 August 1935, page 3.

“Among new residents [Squadron Leader and Mrs. Grandy],” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 December 1935, page 14.

“Winter supplies to aid in search for fliers ready,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 September 1936, page 10.

“To new post,” Winnipeg Tribune, 2 June 1937, page 3.

“New Commanding Officer of R.C.A.F. here arrives Friday,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 June 1937, page 3.

“New Air C.O.” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 June 1937, page 5.

“Lt. R. Thompson heads Indoor Rifle League,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 November 1938, page 17.

“City roars welcome to King and Queen,” Winnipeg Tribune, 24 May 1939, page 21.

“R.C.A.F. West Command may move to Winnipeg,” Winnipeg Tribune, 7 March 1940, page 1.

“$162,500 award for R.C.A.F. Depot,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 March 1940, page 1.

“Plans for Air Depot,” Winnipeg Tribune, 20 March 1940, page 13.

“Four Winnipeg Air Officers are promoted,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 April 1940, page 1.

“[Photo captions],” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 April 1940, page 1.

“25 buildings started here for Air Force,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 April 1940, page 1.

“Six up and 22 to go on Air Force job,” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 April 1940, page 13.

“R.C.A.F. Repair and Assembly Depot planned,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 April 1940, page 13.

“17 Air Schools, Three Depots, in No. 2 Command,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 April 1940, page 3.

“$162,500 award for R.C.A.F. Depot,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 March 1940, page 1.

“Plans for Air Depot,” Winnipeg Tribune, 20 March 1940, page 13.

“Vast Air scheme zooms into action,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 April 1940, page 1.

“Six up and 22 to go on the Air Force job,” Winnipeg Tribune, 5 April 1940, page 13.

“R.C.A.F. Repair and Assembly Depot planned,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 April 1940, page 13.

“17 Air Schools, Three Depots, in No. 2 Command,” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 April 1940, page 3.

“8 contracts for Manitoba in latest list,” Winnipeg Tribune, 26 April 1940, page 17.

“Air Depot gets the old run-around,” Winnipeg Tribune, 23 May 1940, page 6.

“Former No. 112 men to join Depot here,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 June 1940, page 5.

“Work to start at once on Air Observer School,” Winnipeg Tribune, 22 June 1940, page 21.

“Trade Board report shows steady gain,” Winnipeg Tribune, 13 July 1940, page 17.

“Air Force structure will cost $120,000,” Winnipeg Tribune, 20 July 1940, page 4.

“Arms contracts break records,” Winnipeg Tribune, 9 August 1940, page 5.

“Western air contracts let,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 October 1940, page 13.

“No. 2 Command may train some British Airmen,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 October 1940, page 13.

“22-Unit Air set-up of No. 2 Command nears completion,” Winnipeg Tribune, 1 November 1940, page 17.

“Contracts let for defence work in West,” Winnipeg Tribune, 9 December 1940, page 14.

“[Wing Commander R.G.A. Vallance],” Winnipeg Free Press, 12 February 1941, page 6.

“Former Winnipeg R.C.A.F. Official moved to Toronto,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 March 1942, page 22.

“Wing Cmdr. Scott given promotion,” Winnipeg Tribune, 4 July 1942, page 5.

“Airmen's method,” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 June 1943, page 3.

“"Up the Glens" yell Canadian Kilties - How Caen was taken,” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 July 1944, page 1.

“Notice to creditors [Disbandment, No. 7 Equipment Depot],” Winnipeg Tribune, 22 February 1946, page 17.

“"Carpiquet Barracks" Army Headquarters set up at Air School,” Winnipeg Tribune, 14 March 1946, page 7.

“Carpiquet Barracks,” Winnipeg Free Press, 14 March 1946, page 7.

“Shifts in Army High Command are announced,” Winnipeg Tribune, 19 March 1946, page 7.

“RCAF building offered for sale,” Winnipeg Free Press, 20 April 1946, page 1.

“For sale [Crown-owned land and industrial building at Winnipeg, Manitoba],” Winnipeg Tribune, 24 April 1946, page 9.

“[Photo caption. Brig. M. H. S. Penhale],” Winnipeg Tribune, 11 June 1946, page 3.

“Centre of City is target for tonight,” Winnipeg Tribune, 18 June 1946, page 13.

“City gives 200,000 pounds of clothing,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 June 1946, page 10.

“Army unit moves to Carpiquet site,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 December 1946, page 3.

“Medical unit occupies Carpiquet Barracks,” Winnipeg Tribune, 31 March 1947, page 7.

“City Council holds special housing session,” Winnipeg Tribune, 22 August 1947 page 11.

“War Assets sells No. 7 Air Depot,” Winnipeg Tribune, 3 February 1948, page 13.

“[Photo caption, Army bridge builders],” Winnipeg Tribune, 15 November 1949, page 4.

“Geoffrey commands 'Garrys',” Winnipeg Free Press, 11 December 1957, page 12.

“For sale - 31 buildings at Caqpiquet Barracks,” Winnipeg Free Press, 6 June 1958, page 43.

“Warehouse buildings,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 July 1958, page 5.

“Attention! Farmers - Homebuilders - Contractors,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 August 1958, page 8.

“"Salvaging - 40 Army warehouses,” Winnipeg Free Press, 13 September 1958, page 4.

“For sale - 5 buildings,” Winnipeg Free Press, 7 November 1958, page 42.

“New brewing plant to cost $8 million,” Winnipeg Free Press, 17 June 1960, page 3.

Western Canada Fire Underwriters Association, H7 614.41 edc Series 3 Volume 6 - Winnipeg, Sheet #673, Archives of Manitoba.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 15 October 2017

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