We have lost two members of our museum volunteer family. Cliff Rhind, a World War II Mosquito pilot, who helped out for many years in our library, died June 15 at the age of 94. Ted Allen, an accountant, who served on the Alberta Aviation Museum board during its early years, died June 17 at the age of 88.
Rhind was a unique connection to our de Havilland Mosquito. He loved telling visitors about the famous and fast World War II fighter/bomber.
“They were beautiful to fly, so easy on the controls,” he remembered during a 2014 interview for our Blatchford Tales Oral History series.
Rhind, who had spent two years in Training Command overseas before getting a chance to fly operational duty, never got any actual instruction on the Mosquito before taking it aloft for the first time. He remembers only being handed a 40-page booklet.
“There it is. Study it and when you are ready to fly, take it,” he was told. “I got in it, taxied around and checked all the instruments…and away I went.”
Ted Allan, spent much of his free time putting his accounting expertise to work helping Edmonton charities including the Kiwanis Club, the Canadian and World Figure Skating Championships, the Canterbury Foundation and the World University Games. Fortunately for us he also served a stint as treasurer of the Alberta Aviation Museum.
“He was the treasurer when I first served on the museum board,” current AAM Pesident Rod MacLeod remembers. ” We had a computer failure with no backup for our accounts at that time. Ted put in endless hours reconstituting the books so that, among other things, we could retain our charitable status and our casino license. Ted was a very quiet and self-effacing guy, but the museum would probably not still be open if not for his efforts.”
Allan’s obituary can be found here.
We were also honoured last month to receive a large donation from the estate of another former museum volunteer, Juanita Elsden. As a young women, Elsden was hired to work in the fabric department at Aircraft Repair Limited. She went on to work there (later called Northwest Industries) for 36 years. During the early days of the Alberta Aviation Museum Elsden helped with the fabric work on our iconic Fairchild CF-ATZ. She also assisted with fabric work on one the Noorduyn Norsemans.
Elsden died last October at the age of 103.
It’s volunteers like these who make our museum possible. We pay tribute to all those past and present who donate their time. Without them we could not keep the museum doors open to the public.