Editors Note: The following was submitted to us as a bit of history, that few people seem to know exists, and appears destined for the forever forgotten files.
Its far to valuable to disappear from history. In an effort to re-write history the past must be forgotten. Many old timers (including aboriginal war veterans) know that aboriginal land claims would be non existent if Canada had not defended our sovereign territory, it would have become part of the Japaneses Empire. It was Canadians that kept Canada proud and free, the Canada that so many protesters today slam because they are blind to history.
As a nation we are beholden to each other, you cannot condemn one without condemning the other. We grew up together, not as master and servants as radical elements like to pretend, this is our combined history, be proud to be a Canadian, inclusive of being aboriginal. Those who use the word colonizers are the trash of human civilization, the scum that spoils the waters for all of us.
Opened in 1941, the station initially was used as a storage & maintenance depot, training station and refuelling stop for aircraft. Fighter and coastal patrol aircraft often stopped by in Smithers on the way to the larger airbase at Prince Rupert. Troops from the Canadian Army served as guards at Station Smithers. Aircraft frequently seen at Smithers include Ventura bombers and Hurricane fighters.
A Relief Landing Field was constructed near Woodcock, consisting of one runway and buildings.
As the war progressed, RCAF Station Smithers became quite a busy air base. Supply aircraft made regular trips to coastal defence stations along the west coast of British Columbia and U.S. Army Air Force planes made occasional stops at Smithers enroute to Alaska.
A new 4400 foot asphalt runway was completed by May 1943. The station became No. 17 Staging Unit on 1 April 1945
RCAF Station Smithers closed in August 1945.
The aerodrome was taken over by the Town of Smithers in 1946, but saw little use until 1953, when Canadian Airlines began regular passenger service.
Today the former station is known as the Smithers Regional Airport.
One WWII era hangar remains today, used today by Central Mountain Air as does an unknown building that used as a generator building by a local construction company. The Royal Canadian Air Cadets occasionally use the airport for gliding training. Air Canada and several other regional airlines and charters also operate from the airport.
All that remains of Detachment Woodcock is the crumbling runway. The airfield was abandoned around 2004.