RCAF Rivers was opened in May, 1942 as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Through this plan, over 130,000 airmen and women would be trained from the various countries of the British Commonwealth to take part in the war.
During Rivers' significant history, it would see a number of changes, but was always at the heart of the Canadian Armed Forces' training needs. These changes included:
- 1942 - 1945: No 1 Central Navigation School moved here from RCAF Trenton.
- 1947: Canadian Parachute Training Centre merged with Airborne School and relocated to Rivers.
- 1947: Army Aviation Tactical Training School opened, training pilots, instructors, etc. for the Army, Navy and Air Force.
- 1948 - 1960: Joint Air Photo Interpretation School.
- 1953: Basic Helicopter Training Unit formed catering to all three services using the Sikorsky H-5.
- 1963 - 1966: No. 1 Transport Helicopter Platoon established using CH-113A Voyageur and a CH-112 Nomad.
- 1964 - 1970: 408 Tactical Fighter Squadron moved here.
- eventually renamed CFB Rivers after unification of the three services.
Finally, the need for this centre was diminished when the runways proved too short for the new CF-5 Freedom Fighters. It wouldn't be long until the existing schools were moved to other bases and Rivers was declared surplus.
The base was formally closed September, 1971.
Driving along the main road, it's impossible to miss the massive hanger in the field. In its day, I'm sure the trees had been cleared, and the view was clearer. Despite that, there was no mistaking I was in the right place.
While moving from building to building, it became apparent that an active farm was in operation on this property. I realized that to continue further would require violation of those active parts, and decided to leave instead. I had seen the parts that most interested me.