The Museum of the Highwood in High River has a special display set up around Remembrance Day.

Curator Irene Kerr says they're focusing on World War II and the people who enlisted in the Army, Navy and Air Force from this area who went and fought overseas.

It also looks at those who stayed behind.

"A lot of women entered the workforce, women obviously had to take care of their families on their own and probably do a lot of things on their own like take care of the household and the bills and everything that they never really had to deal with before, so it was a really interesting time."

She says many people may not know about the Number 5 Elementary Flight Training School.

"Pilots came from all over the Commonwealth, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain and they were trained here at this air station, and High River had one of the most successful training schools and they produced over 4,000 pilots for the Royal Air Force and the Royal Canadian Air Force."

Kerr says she's seen footage of the pilots arriving at the train station, which is now the Museum of the Highwood. They'd board a bus that would take them to the flight school which still sits along 498 Ave. southeast of High River, where it's commemorated with a plaque and flags.

"They had barracks out there but a lot of the officers stayed in different places in town or they would rent houses, but a lot of people worked at the air base in all kinds of roles. Women would work in administration, in the kitchen and even got trained as mechanics so they all had a big part in the success of the war effort."

She says a part of the exhibit involves rationing and how people back home had to do a lot with very little and make do without the ingredients they usually had at hand, including flour, despite being in the "wheatbelt".

Kerr says the town raised about a million dollars in War Bonds, and local women got together to sew or knit clothing for servicemen and wrote letters to soldiers overseas.

The museum's display is up from November 11-22.


In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, HighRiverOnline and OkotoksOnline encourage you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the HighRiverOnline or OkotoksOnline app.