In the fall of 1936
an extensive search was under way in the Ft. Reliance area, for two lost
RCAF fliers. This required extensive communications between Reliance/Edmonton/Ottawa,
etc. These were being carried out under most difficult conditions, by the
RCAF personnel who were engaged in the search. They had low-powered, portable
equipment and relayed their traffic to Resolution or Rae, whichever of the
stations could read them thru the summer static.
Joe Slean was the
Outpost Island operator, and I believe it was Joe who suggested that the
Outpost Station be moved to Ft. Reliance to aid in message handling during
the search. This was carried out and was of great benefit to the conduct
of the search. As an aside, the lost were found, on the verge of winter,
after enduring for 28 days on 2 weeks rations. Joe Slean was part of the
move to Reliance. He set up the equipment at Reliance and remained there
for the duration of the search, putting in many long hours at "the key"
in handling all of the communications requirements during the search.
Because of clues that
had been found, the latter part of the search was centered in the Lac de
Gras/Aylmer area. This was far from the main base at Reliance. A sub-base
(read "tent camp") was set up at Aylmer with some of the search
aircraft based there. My records make no mention of a base at Lac de Gras.
So, the "Govt. Survey Parties" (mentioned
by Cal Vince in
the official history of the NWT&Y RS) that Joe was "working"
were part of the search party, the ones who happened to be in camp at that
All this, of course,
was long before the RC Sigs station was built in Ft. Reliance. That didn't
happen until twelve years later, in 1948.
(Note from Rex Terpening)