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History of the CAHS Regina Chapter
Had you been hanging about the Saskatoon Municipal Airport in the city's north edge in the 1930s, you would have noticed a thin lad named Ray Crone peddling his bicycle to watch the aircraft of the day come and go. It made an impression on him -- and ultimately, one can say, led to the creation of a chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society in Regina Saskatchewan.
After the Second World War broke out, young Ray joined the RCAF, trained as a radar mechanic, and served in Canada and in Iceland. Returning to Canada after the war, Ray joined Saskatchewan Government Telephones, which took him to a number of communities in the province, where he pursued his keen interest in aviation history. Other people talk about aviation history: Ray wrote about it, initially for the historical journal of the Saskatchewan Archives Board, and later for the Canadian Aviation Historical Society Journal. He was frequently interviewed about the province's aviation history, and he sat as the Western representative on an advisory body for the National Aviation Museum. But he always dreamed of setting up a CAHS chapter in Regina, an idea that came to fruition in 1988. Mindful that other CAHS chapters bear the names for distinguished aviators, he even found one for our group, that of Roland J. Groome.
Groome was born in Britain, raised in Regina, and logged First World War service as a mechanic and instructor pilot with the Royal Flying Corps (Canada) in 1917 and 1918. As a partner in a small flying company after the war, Groome held (from 1920) Canadian commercial pilot's licence No. 1, operated Canada's first licensed commercial aircraft -- Curtis JN-4 (Can) Canuck G-CAAA -- and flew from the country's first licensed "air harbour" in what is now a residential suburb of south Regina. His partner, Robert McCombie, was Canada's first licensed air maintenance engineer. Ray received permission to use the name Roland Groome for the Regina Chapter from Roland's brother Paul.
The Regina Chapter grew steadily; its first project was a monthly newsletter called "The Windsock." A regular event is the Chapter's display at the annual open house held by the Regina Flying Club, which traces its own history back to 1927. The Chapter meets 10 times a year. In 1993, the Roland Groome Chapter hosted the first CAHS National convention held outside of central Canada. Before Ray died in 2005, he was able to see the chapter grow and take root, holding its second National convention in 2005. Ray deservedly has a place in the Saskatchewan Aviation Hall of Fame. Sadly, he was not able to live to see the airfield at the Regina International Airport named in 2006 for Groome.