Public Works Garage By 1916, the First World War was claiming the lives of Royal Flying Corps pilots faster than new pilots could be trained in Great Britain. New recruits and training grounds were needed and the British War Office looked to Canada to fill the deficit. A unique program was established, with the agreement of the Canadian government, by which the Royal Flying Corps would establish training camps here and arrange for the manufacture of aircraft for the training squadrons. In January 1917 the Deseronto area was chosen for two camps, one to the north of the town (Camp Rathbun) and one on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory to the west (Camp Mohawk). Construction began in April 1917. The building at 100 Prince Street was originally one of the hangars used for the storage and maintenance of aircraft at Camp Rathbun. Dismantled after the war, it was transferred to its current location for use by the Public Works Department. The photograph below shows the interior of one of the Camp Mohawk hangars. Clearly visible are the lattice-work roof supports. This structure was known as a ‘Belfast truss’ and used diagonally-interlaced pieces of thin pine. This economical construction technique was originally introduced in the late nineteenth century by a company called McTear & Co. Ltd., from Dublin, Ireland and was later adopted by the Belfast company, D. Anderson & Co. Ltd. These hangars had sliding doors at both ends for ease of access and exit by the aircraft, as can be seen in this external shot of one of the Camp Rathbun hangars. Tall windows along the side walls allowed plenty of daylight into the structures, in an era when electric light was less prevalent (and very expensive). The training aircraft used at Camps Rathbun and Mohawk was the Curtiss JN-4 (known as the Jenny). They were manufactured by Canadian Aeroplanes Limited in Toronto. The company had been established by the Imperial Munitions Board in December 1916 and it took over the operations of the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, including their factory on Strachan Avenue. The JN-4 was a re-design of the Curtiss JN-3. It was a two-seater biplane with an eight-cylinder OX-5 engine which delivered 90 horse power. A new factory was built at Dufferin and Lappin, employing more than 2,000 staff to build the new aircraft. Over 1,260 JN-4s were produced, at a cost of $7,625 each. They had a maximum speed of 75mph and were built mainly of light-weight wood (spruce, for its flexibility and ash, for its strength).

(Click on the image above for a closer look.)

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Public Works Garage

By 1916, the First World War was claiming the lives of Royal Flying Corps pilots faster than new pilots could be trained in Great Britain. New recruits and training grounds were needed and the British War Office looked to Canada to fill the deficit. A unique program was established, with the agreement of the Canadian government, by which the Royal Flying Corps would establish training camps here and arrange for the manufacture of aircraft for the training squadrons.

In January 1917 the Deseronto area was chosen for two camps, one to the north of the town (Camp Rathbun) and one on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory to the west (Camp Mohawk). Construction began in April 1917.

The building at 100 Prince Street was originally one of the hangars used for the storage and maintenance of aircraft at Camp Rathbun. Dismantled after the war, it was transferred to its current location for use by the Public Works Department.

The photograph below shows the interior of one of the Camp Mohawk hangars. Clearly visible are the lattice-work roof supports. This structure was known as a ‘Belfast truss’ and used diagonally-interlaced pieces of thin pine. This economical construction technique was originally introduced in the late nineteenth century by a company called McTear & Co. Ltd., from Dublin, Ireland and was later adopted by the Belfast company, D. Anderson & Co. Ltd.

These hangars had sliding doors at both ends for ease of access and exit by the aircraft, as can be seen in this external shot of one of the Camp Rathbun hangars. Tall windows along the side walls allowed plenty of daylight into the structures, in an era when electric light was less prevalent (and very expensive).

The training aircraft used at Camps Rathbun and Mohawk was the Curtiss JN-4 (known as the Jenny). They were manufactured by Canadian Aeroplanes Limited in Toronto. The company had been established by the Imperial Munitions Board in December 1916 and it took over the operations of the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, including their factory on Strachan Avenue.

The JN-4 was a re-design of the Curtiss JN-3. It was a two-seater biplane with an eight-cylinder OX-5 engine which delivered 90 horse power. A new factory was built at Dufferin and Lappin, employing more than 2,000 staff to build the new aircraft. Over 1,260 JN-4s were produced, at a cost of $7,625 each. They had a maximum speed of 75mph and were built mainly of light-weight wood (spruce, for its flexibility and ash, for its strength).