A First Class radio operator certificate
Un certificat d'opérateur radio de Première Classe
was born (Francis Charles Aitkens - called Chas or Charlie) in Sept
1904. His family farmed in Gordon Head. He completed school in
Victoria (Vic High) to Grade 9. He was larking about and cutting
classes the next year and his father enrolled him at Sprott-Shaw in a
radio course (?). That would be about 1921. By 1923 - age 19 - he had
graduated. I don't know the exact sequence, but possibly Point Grey,
then Bull Harbour, then Pachena where he boarded with "Mrs Mac"
(?). He also mentioned being based at Gonzales Hill to me, but I
don't know when. Some time before 1930 he was posted to Estevan. In
1931, my mother Gene came from Edmonton to Estevan to visit her
brother Clarence (Tommy) Thomas, who was also a radio operator, and
may have been there on relief duty (?). I think Tommy was also at
Alert Bay at some time. My parents were married in 1932 and left
Estevan in about 1936-37. From then until 1939 he was leading crews
to site radio beacon positions throughout BC. In 1939 he joined the
RCAF Special Forces, doing much the same work. In 1947 he signed onto
RCAF regular forces and retired in 1957. He then went overseas with
ICAO to Syria, Nepal and Afghanistan and retired again in 1967.
Laval 23 June 2007
Click on the photos to see the certificate in high resolution
Obituary - Avis de décès
Francis Charles (Chas) (Charlie) Aitkens
1904 - 1996
Francis Charles (Chas) (Charlie) Aitkens passed away on March 7, 1996 in Victoria, British Colombia. He was born in Melita, Manitoba on September 29, 1904 and married Gene Marie Thomas at Victoria, British Colombia on 22 July 1932. They had a son, Arthur Charles Aitkens.
From 1923 to 1939, Chas served as a a wireless radio operator on west coast lighthouse stations and at other remote sites. He was leading crews to radio beacon sites when World War II started so he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and served from 1939 to 1957. He joined the United Nation's International Civial Aviation Organization in 1957 and went overseas with ICAO to Syria, Nepal and Afghanistan until he retired in 1967.
As per Chas's request, his ashes were scattered at sea. His name was added to a memorial stone at the St. Luke's Anglican Church cemetery in Victoria, BC. Also on the stone are the names of his parents Francis Edwin Aitkens and Mary Katharine Estlin, and his sister Lorna Grace Aitkens.
Links - Liens