Although the Nanaimo Airport was established in 1942 and the Nanaimo Airport Commission was incorporated in 1990 as a not-for profit authority, the aviation history of the area dates back much further thanks to flying Ace Raymond Collishaw. In fact, the terminal building was named for this Nanaimo born hero in 1999.
For those that don’t know the Collishaw history, Wikipedia indicates, Air Vice Marshal Raymond Collishaw (22 November 1893 – 28 September 1976) was a distinguished Canadian fighter pilot, squadron leader, and commanding officer who served in the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) and later the Royal Air Force. He was the highest scoring RNAS flying ace and the second highest scoring Canadian pilot of the First World War. He was noted as a great leader in the air, leading many of his own formations into battle. As a member of the RAF during the Second World War, he commanded No. 204 Group (which later became the Desert Air Force) in North Africa. The Canadian Encyclopedia notes Collishaw was credited with 60 victories during WWI, placing him second on the roster of Canadian aces.
The Nanaimo Airport team was privileged in late July to have a visit from Bob Collishaw, great nephew of local flying ace, Raymond Collishaw. Bob and his companion Denise made a special trip to Nanaimo on their way to an Alaskan cruise from their home in Denver to see the Collishaw display at the Nanaimo Airport.
Bob had the honor of meeting his great uncle Raymond, during a visit to Vancouver when he was a young boy. The family remembers Raymond as a humble man, who never boasted or bragged about his accomplishments. “I was keen to come to Nanaimo,” shares Bob. “It’s great to see his actual uniform. He was someone who really did something but never looked for credit for his accomplishments.”