Breaking New Ground—Stories from Defence Construction Breaking_new_ground - Page 28

DCL oversaw the construction of the 1 Air Division Headquarters offices—shown here in 1961—in Metz, France. DCL in Europe In early 1952, DCL’s involvement in Europe was uncertain—but as Canada subsequently confirmed that its NATO commitments would include air bases in France, DCL responded by opening a European office in Paris. From there, it monitored the administration of the construction work for 1 Air Division: its headquarters in Metz, France; two airfields in France at Marville and Gros Tenquin; and two airfields in Germany at Baden-Soellingen and Zweibrucken. Dick Johnson recalled that DCL’s first Director of European Operations— Albert Deschamps, a Montreal contractor who had been president of the Canadian Construction Association—did a “fine job” of organizing DCL’s French establishment, and was succeeded by “a young man by the name of Baribeau who was responsible for constructing our air bases at Metz, Marville and Gros Tenquin.” A program was also launched in 1952 to provide for married quarters and schools for air force dependents in Europe, with construction from 1954 to 1956. Recreation facilities were built during this time as well—indoor pools (to provide dinghy training for aircrews), for example, and curling rinks and bowling alleys that started life as storage buildings. Construction at Marville began in 1953–54, with initial cost estimates at $6 million, while the two stations in Germany became operational during 1953. DCL was also involved as the bases expanded in the 1950s to handle the new Avro CF-100 all-weather fighter aircraft. 18 BREAKING NEW GROUND DEFENCE CONSTRUCTION CANADA