December 16: Commonwealth Air Training Plan signed; "Flying Bandit" declared dead.

Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
December 16, 1939 - at 1:00 a.m. the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) agreement is signed by Prime Minister Mackenzie King.

Though an international agreement made up of Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, Canada was the centre for most of the activity with 107 schools across the country, including Brandon. By the time the program ended on March 31, 1945 a total of 131,553 students, 50,000 of them pilots, were be trained.

Brandon's restored BCATP hangar is a National Historic Site packed with WWII and aviation artifacts including a Tiger Moth. The Russell Crowe movie For the Moment, in which he plays a BCATP airman training in Manitoba, was filmed there.

For more on the plan see the Veterans Affairs website and this Trib story for what it was like in Brandon at the time.

December 16, 1870 - The first band performance takes place in Winnipeg courtesy of the Ontario Rifle, Musical, and Dramatic Association.

December 16, 1990 - St. John Berchmans Parish in Holland Manitoba is blessed and officially opened by Archbishop Antoine Hacault.

December 16, 1980 - Ken Leishman, the Flying Bandit, is declared legally dead at the age of 48. He left behind his wife of 30 years, seven children and quite a legend.

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