Photos and Stories
By
Larry Creel
All of them were taken in 1957 & 58 w/an Argus C3 & C4 35mm camera. Back then we had to send any color slides to N.Y. for processing. All of these pictures I developed in the photo lab across from North Rec hall. I was a Squadron photographer for Fasron 106. We had an Annual for the unit in 1958 & I did a lot of the pictures for that. The publisher was Clyde Beatty & a lot of his pictures were also used.

This was North Rec. Hall. It had a movie theatre, band room, pool room, snack bar & tables, & a stage. They had a lot of USO shows there. I remember seeing Connie Francis there & she sang a hit tune at the base long before it came out on the charts. It was "Stupid Cupid". I spent a lot of time there.


The photos above & below are of the Beer Hall for non officers.
It was right across from our barracks which we had to climb a high hill to get to the barracks. This was especially hard to do in the snow after we left the hall. There were stairs, but they were always iced up to much for walking & stepping while Drunk.
I think the buildings behind there were the NAS hangars




This photo is where the PT Boat/Rescue Boat was kept.
This boat was a converted PT Boat w/drop down rear deck for a small boat or small plane to ride for a recovery. We use to go out about once a month in this craft for a fast turn-up on the high seas. It was operated by the base Coast Guard if I remember correctly. I knew the 1st. Class that skippered it.



Here is a not so good picture of the WW2 submarine nets & buoys that were in the bay during the war. If you look at the background you will see half of Mae West.



Here's a picture of the Chow Hall, which was 2 barracks over from ours. This photo has been doctored by hooking 2 photo's together.



Here's a pic of the roller rink inside the Gymnasium. I taught Navy & all other branches "kids" how to roller skate for 2 years. We used the area where the boxing & wrestling ring was used during competition & practice. Canadian Navy, US Navy, Marines & the Seabee's use to practice their wrestling moves there about once a month. It was only open to the people that worked in the Gym. The Gym had a weight lifting room, equipment rental storage ski's, basketballs, ice skates, weights, & other stuff) basketball courts, & a bunch of other rooms for different kinds of indoor sports. All wood floors. Tall ceilings, heated, etc.



This photo is the inside of the Fasron 106 Hangar. That is a P2V-7 Plane that belonged to VP11. We serviced all of their planes besides our own & everything coming thru from all over the world. They had about 8 planes almost all the time on the ramp. I use to fly w/ them as a nose observer about once a month to get that extra $25 flight pay. We would stay in the air for about 4 hrs. & skim the Atlantic for foreign subs & ships. I worked on the Line Crew & slept almost all the time in the hangar w/about 10 other guys. The Hangar was heated by steam & had a giant basement. Great place for our private beer parties. The offices in the hangar were along each wall w/a catwalk & steel staircases.



Snowplow. December, 1957



Super Connies--VW11 on fasron Ramp. 1957. They usually had some of them in the Miami Hangar. The Miami Hangar would hold 2 of those planes. They use to taxi them into the hanger w/2 engines running. There was a crash on the base in 1958 & only 2 crewmen were slightly injured. The plane landed w/gear up about 2pm on a thurs. The plane ripped off the belly radar & both wing tip radars & didn't catch on fire until the plane stopped moving right in front of the terminal. They let it burn its-self out which lasted for about 3 days. Then they went in & picked up what was left w/the big cherry picker. I had taken a whole bunch of photo's as the plane was crashing into the runway. Right after the plane came to an abrupt stop a Chief walked up to me & grabbed my camera, opened it up & ripped out the film. Everyone that had taken pics of the crash that day
had their film confiscated before it left the base.




This was our fuel trucks. International Harvester cab over 4 speed sticks. 8,000 gal. Avgas 115/145
We had regular fuel nozzles. We also had a truck w/jet fuel--JP-3 that had pressure nozzles.


These cannons were on the shore line in the cut. In later photo's of Castle Hill these cannons were at the top of castle Hill. When I was stationed in Argentia in 57 & 58 the only thing that was on Castle Hill was a very small rock wall. We use to dig up there all the time & find some small cannon ball chunks, metal buckles, & a few small pieces of swords & etc. We use to take metal detectors up there all the time, but never found anything of great value. At the base of the hill, in the water were hundreds of small cannons about 100 ft. from the shore line. We use to borrow wet suits from the base divers & swim in that icy water. We use to jump off the side of the hill at high tide w/out wet suits. No Brains at that age. Also, about 30ft. down the hill on the water side was a small cave opening. We went inside a couple of times, but our flashlights didn't have much penetration in that dark place, so we never ventured more than a couple. of feet. I told the Placentia Archeology society about the cave, but never did hear anything from them whether they found it or not. I might have been mistaken of where it exactly was almost 48 years ago & I know a lot of things change in that amt. of years.
The guy sitting on the cannons is me in 1957.


Remember the Ferry Docks? Once when I went to a Newfy party on the other side of the gut from Jersey Side the ferry was having a real hard time making it in the dock in a regular manner. The winds were blowing real hard & the ferry Captain was drunk. He had gone to the same party we had gone to. The Ferry always made the last run back to shore at 10pm on Fri. & Sat. nights. We had stood at the loading area until almost 11pm that night until the captain finally showed up. We all loaded up w/cars & people & set out to the other side. He tried to dock sideways. Finally one of the crewmen took over & we made it safe & sound. I remember the parties we attended.  The girls always outnumbered the guys at least 10 to one.


Notice in this photo, the Ferry was way off the docking area. Many times the Captain had to fight the currents & winds to make a straight docking.


Kelly's Snack Bar.
Every time I went off base, Kelly's was my Place. A lot of guys that were stationed at Argentia met their wives there. A lot of girls that visited from all over Newfoundland at their kin folks always ended up at Kelly's. A lot of them were from Belle Island. Had to take a Ferry from St.Johns to get to that beautiful Island. Anyway, Kelly's was the place to be to meet new women.


Low Tide in Placentia. The only place that had a drastic tide change that only took about 30 minutes to go down 15 ft. You had to be real careful if you were going to go to the island across the bay & make sure you made it back before low tide or spend the night.


 

Fishing Boat next to the Fish House close to the Ferry Docks on Town side


Torbay in St.Johns. Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Their main hangar. Use to land there when I took the Grumman Goose for Liberty in St.Johns.


Torbay--RCAF British Lancaster Mark 10--dec. 1957. Used for Air/Sea Rescue


We use to beach about 3 of these in an 8 hr. period. There were 2 men in a small boat that would push the wheel assy's out to the side of the plane. Then there were the guys that had to wade out to the plane in weighted waders to attach the lines & the wheel assy's, plus the guy that would attach the tow line to the tail so I could drag it up the launch ramp w/the TD-9 bulldozer. Sometimes I had to sit w/my feet on the dozer brakes for 2 or 3 hrs at a time to keep the plane half way up the ramp. It was always a danger in high winds to beach this P5M Marlin. I was always the point man (center pull). There was 2 more tractors to keep the plane straight in the water till you got the wheels on the ramp. They were tied to the wing tips w/long ropes to the tractors at the sea wall. The wheels had to be attached where you see them in the photo, belly & tail.


Fasron 106 Aircraft--1957