Item AAAB3531 - Walter Gilbert interview

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Walter Gilbert interview

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  • sound recording

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  • 1978 [date recorded] (Creation)

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CALL NUMBER: T3221:0001 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1978 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Walter Gilbert discusses: his background- born in eastern Ontario in 1899, getting involved with the Royal Flying Corps of Britain in WW I, experiences in the war in France, came back in 1919; moving out to B.C. as soon as he returned to Canada; no active flying in 1919-20 in B.C.; Don MacLaren- started Pacific Airways at this time; differences between flying in the war and 'flying boats'; doing fisheries patrol, 1923-24; summers in Bella Bella and Prince Rupert; after 1927, he flew mainly in the Northwest Territories and the Yukon; takeover of Western Canada Airways by Canadian Airways; description of different types of airplanes; did not want to be part of Canadian Pacific after merger. TRACK 2: Walter Gilbert: description of Vancouver when he first arrived after WW I; getting to know Don MacLaren; fish patrol memories of the early 1920s; Queen Charlotte Islands experiences- first time many Indians had ever seen an airplane; no radio in the early days; fishery patrol for 7 years; ;then based out of Fort McMurray; weather conditions in the north; never had serious accidents; Lindbergh- flight anecdote, friendship.;

CALL NUMBER: T3221:0002 RECORDED: [location unknown], 1978 SUMMARY: TRACK 1: Walter Gilbert discusses: the grandfather route; Ginger Coote; Zeballos gold rush; more on Vancouver in 1921; clothing he wore as a pilot in open cockpit planes; loyalty to employer definitely existed; salaries; he was first president of Central British Columbia Airways- partner was Russ Baker, company started in early 1940s, did not do well business-wise; Alaska Highway surveying; did not like CPA- too many rules, not enough camaraderie; engine failure story- engine conked out near Fort McMurray. TRACK 2: Walter Gilbert: describes mountain goats in early days; occasional trouble with planes flying up to Alaska; anecdotes about Russ Baker; his first wife could fly- part of the 'Flying Seven'; Ginger Coote; book called "Arctic Pilot" by Walter (helped by Kathleen Shackleton)- no longer published; Helen Bristol; description of small towns on the coast, near Prince George; mosquitoes and black flies; weather conditions. (End of interview);

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Paul Stoddart, 1977 & 1978


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  • Transcript on file.
  • Reference cassette copy available in container 000443-185.

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No access restrictions apply. [WAS: Closed until publication of Sound Heritage Series no. 28, ca. 1980.]

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Copyright Status: Copyright B.C. Archives.

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General note

Interview recorded as research for Sound Heritage Series no 28, "The Magnificent Distances".

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Accession number(s): T3221

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speaker: Walter Gilbert, interviewer: Malcolm Paul Stoddart

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