In the nature of things, I no longer receive email from men who served at BW-1 during the Second World War. But the other week I got email from Harold Patton, who was an air policemen there in 1952-53, by which time the official name was Narsarsuak Air Force Base.
"At the time I was there," he writes, "there was a small 'mountain' at the end of the runway. They took it out while I was there. Several of us would hike behind the hospital area and thru the saddle area thru what looked like a very old river bed to the mountains. We had hikes summer and winter. Each had their places you could go and should not go. The Air Police was involved in the investigation of two Newfies [civilian workers from New Foundland] who made a hike in the wintertime and fell threw the ice and died. Explosives were used to break up the ice and they were found with grappling hooks. I understood they were kept in the frozen state for transportation back home.
"We went swimming in a pond atop a mountain overlooking the glacier behind the base. The water was crystal clear and very cold. There was a very large rock jutting out into the water and we would dive off of it and immediately swim to shore, lay out in the sun to warm up and dry. I never knew the name of the glacier behind that mountain. I told my Sunday School Class about a time we went to this same mountain and instead of climbing up, we went around to the left and got on the glacier and standing on it I walked a few steps before the wind stopped me. I told them that was the last time I walked on water. It got quite a laugh. Although I never went into it, I was told that the Base telephone office was in a cave on base but I never cared to go in. I drove past it and rode the base bus by it. I am 85 years old and still have many memories from there."
Thank you, Harold! I think I saw that cave when we explored Narsarsuak in 2005. It was to the south of the runway, a presumably blast-proof steel door set into a cliff. (The mountains press so close to the runway that, if you are in the window seat of your Air Iceland Bombardier, you can't help wondering if the wingtip is going to scrape on the rock.) Blue skies! — Daniel Ford
Question? Comment? Newsletter? Send me an email. Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
Posted October 2016. Websites © 1997-2016 Daniel Ford; all rights reserved.