Fonds 294 Lee Pooler fonds

fonds-294

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1942-2008. — 1 pp. of textual records. — 22 photographs. — 1 sound recording.


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Biographical Sketch

Lee Charles Pooler enlisted in the American Army in 1941, and after basic and medical training, became a weatherman with USAAF, the United States Army Air Force. His first posting was at the weatherstation in Ishek, Alaska, where he was the NCOIC (Non-Commissioned Officer In Charge), and on January 6, 1942, he arrived at Little Smoky in Northern Alberta. The first temporary weatherstation there was at the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals Repeater Station on the old Valleyview-High Prairie Road, about 6 miles north of the Brown’s Stopping Place and the Little Smoky Bridge. There were three weathermen stationed here, with their instruments and hydrogen tanks used for balloon runs. As planes still “flew contact” at that time, they had to report cloud ceiling levels. This was on the route the U.S. used to take the B25 Pursuit Planes they were lending to Russia for the war effort, and many of these pilots were women. The station was surrounded by dense bush, so they were also issued with water backpacks equipped with pumps. If there ever was a forest fire, their duty was to keep the telegraph poles from burning so they would not lose communications. Supplies, such as food and gasoline, were brought in from High Prairie, and the men were responsible for all their own care (cooking, cleaning, etc.) as well as for the maintenance of the weather station and the actual work of weather reporting. There was an agreement between the U.S. and Canadian governments which allowed them to “live off the land” and shoot moose for fresh meat.

When the weatherstation at Valleyview was finished, the weather crew moved there. This was a pre-fab Army Signal Corps building with barracks for four men and a weather station with observation platform in the main building. Other buildings on the yard included a garage, a generator shed, instrument shack and hydrogen generation shack. Reports were sent in by teletype every day, and the print-outs were delivered to headquarters at Grande Prairie once a month.

In 1943, after a furlough, Lee returned to Canada, but this time to the Yukon. He spent 3 1/2 years in Canada.

Custodial History

The records were deposited in South Peace Regional Archives by Lee Pooler in 2008.

Scope and Content

The fonds consists of Lee’s oral history of the time he spent as a weatherman for the U.S. Army Air Force at Little Smoky and Valleyview during World War II, a hand-drawn map of the buildings located near Little Smoky between Valleyview and High Prairie, and 22 photographs. There are 3 photos of Lee Pooler himself, 5 of the Royal Canadian Signal Corps station at Little Smoky where the first temporary weather station was located, 8 of the Weather Station on the hill north of Valleyview, and 6 of people or locations in the area.

Notes

Title based on the contents of the fonds.

 
Lee Charles Pooler, [1940]
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. Lee Charles Pooler graduated from College, and in 1941 enlisted in the United States Army Air Force.
Location: 0294.01
Little Smoky Repeater Station, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. The long low log building is the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals Repeater Station at Little Smoky during the second World War. Behind it is the maintenance building, and the weather station.
Location: 0294.02
Maintenance Building, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. The maintenance building on the Canadian Signal Corps station at Little Smoky, Alberta, was located behind the main Repeater Station building. It contained all the stores as well as the maintenance equipment.
Location: 0294.03
Alaska Highway Convoy Truck, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. A convoy truck, bound from Edmonton to Dawson Creek and the Alaska highway, stopped in front of the temporary weather station and behind the Repeater Station at Little Smoky.
Location: 0294.04
Little Smoky Repeater Station, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. The Little Smoky Repeater Station at Little Smoky was segmented for the various activities. From the south end on the right of the photo the building contained a maintenance room, the operation center for generating electricity, electronics room for the teletypes and phones, sleeping barracks, kitchen, and double doors for weather protection.
Location: 0294.05
A Sense of Humour, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. The Repeater Station personnel took great delight is scaring the new weather station personnel when they were in the outhouse, by shooting at the building. They took care not to shoot through the roof, as they did not want to be dripped on when they were in the outhouse.
Location: 0294.06
Brown’s Stopping Place, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. The Brown’s Place at Little Smoky River on the Old High Prairie Road. Sid and Margo Brown and their family lived there from 1932-1945. All the Army convoys to Alaska passed right by the little store by the old bridge.
Location: 0294.07
Crossing the Little Smoky Bridge, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. Lee Pooler’s jeep crossing the bridge at Little Smoky. Supplies, such as gasoline and groceries for the Repeater Station and Weather Station at Little Smoky were brought in from High Prairie.
Location: 0294.08
The Little Smoky River, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. The Little Smoky River, seen from the bridge near Sid and Margo Brown’s Stopping Place.
Location: 0294.09
Valleyview Weather Station, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. The weather station at Valleyview was a pre-fab Army Signal Corps building with barracks for four men and the weather report station. On the roof was an observation platform. Staff had to report cloud ceilings because all the planes “flew contact”, including the B25 Pursuit Planes which were being flown to Russia (many by women pilots) to help with the war effort.
Location: 0294.10
Weather Station on the Hill, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. This USAAF weather station was constructed on a hilltop outside of the town of Valleyview during World War II. Other buildings on the yard included a garage, a generator shed, pump station for the well, instrument shack and hydrogen generation shack.
Location: 0294.11
Weather Observation Platform, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. USAAF staff and visitor using the observation platform on top of the Valeyview Weather Station. Staff at the station were Seargent Lee Pooler, Seargent William Coe, and Corporal Bachman. Staff were required to send reports by teletype every hour on the different tyes of clouds, wind direction, cloud ceiling height, and any unusual features like fire.
Location: 0294.12
Installing the Gas Generator, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. Gas Generator being installed into the Generator shed.
Location: 0294.13
Teletype Machines, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. Teletype machines inside the USAAF Valleyview Weather Station during World War II. Reports were sent by teletype once a day, and hard copies delivered to headquarters in Grande Prairie once a day.
Location: 0294.14
Weather Station Kitchen, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. Kitchen inside of the USAAF weather station at Valleyview during World War II.
Location: 0294.15
Weather Station Kitchen, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. Kitchen inside of the USAAF weather station at Valleyview during World War II.
Location: 0294.16
Weather Station Office, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. Weather Station Office inside of the USAAF weather station at Valleyview during World War II.
Location: 0294.17
Valleyview Restaurant, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. When the USAAF staff first came to Valleyview, they had no supplies. Meals were eaten in the town of Valleyview at a small restaurant run by the woman in the photograph.
Location: 0294.18
Sturgeon Lake Indian Reserve, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. Treaty Day at Sturgeon Lake Indian Reserve in the company of Constable Brown of the RCMP.
Location: 0294.19
Grande Prairie, AB, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. Seargent Lee Pooler delivered hard copies of the weather reports to headquarters at the Grande Prairie Airport once a month. Margaret Wilson, a teacher at GP, is touring him around the town.
Location: 0294.20
Seargent Lee Pooler, USAAF, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. Street photo taken in Edmonton of Lee Pooler and two other USAAF personnel.
Location: 0294.21
Seargent Lee Pooler, USAAF, 1942
1 photograph; b & w; 4 x 6 in.
Copy of an original photograph. Street photo taken in Edmonton of Lee Pooler and two other USAAF personnel.
Location: 0294.22
 
Lee Pooler Oral History, 2008
Audio Cassette
During World War II Lee Charles Pooler worked for the United States Army Air Force at weather stations in Little Smoky, Valleyview and High Prairie. He spent 3 1/2 years in Canada, and his oral history of this time covers the following topics: 002 Start of tape and introduction 016 Canadian Signal Corps Repeater Station at Little Smoky, where the first temporary weather station was located in the winter of 1942, until the weather station at Valleyview was built. There were three employees, trained as medics and combat personnel as well as weathermen, whose duties included making weather observations using hydrogen balloons, sending weather reports by teletype, maintenance of the station, and firefighting (as Little Smoky was surrounded by dense bush). 125 had to report low cloud ceilings because all the planes “flew contact”, including the B25 Pursuit Planes which were being flown to Russia (many by women pilots) to help with the war effort. 208 winter wood supply was “sniped” from the native people who would circle trees with their axes so that they died standing. This would provide dry firewood when they needed it. 250 Valleyview weather station was a pre-fab Army Signal Corps building with barracks for four men and a weather station with observation platform in the main building. Other buildings on the yard included a garage, a generator shed, instrument shack and hydrogen generation shack. 300 What the duties of a weatherman were, what observations were made, how reports were done, how the observations and reports were used in headquarters at Grande Prairie. 335 description of the interior of the weather station. 354 Valleyview restaurant 390 Treaty Day at Sturgeon Lake Indian Reserve in the company of Constable Brown of the RCMP. 409 Bringing reports into headquarters at Grande Prairie. Mentions Margaret Wilson, a teacher, who was kind enough to tour him around the town. 434 Description of photographs of Lee Pooler taken in Edmonton and after graduation from college. 458 Personnel at Little Smoky and Valleyview: Seargent William Coe, Corporal Bachman 499 Agreement between the US and Canadian governments that the army personnel could “live off the land”–shooting moose for fresh meat. 527 Codebooks very valuable–When stationed in Ishek, Alaska, reports were done by radio and they were all in code. In Little Smoky and Valleyview, they were done by teletype and therefore not in code. 568 Medical Services to the native people and experiences at Ishek, Alaska. Mentions District Nurse in Valleyview and the natives cutting willows at the Little Smoky. 668 “Spirit Houses” of the native people. The sick set outside if they were about to die, because if they died inside, the house/tent became a “spirit house” and you could no longer live it in. 715 Conclusion: 25 years old and in charge of the station at Ishek. In the army, you had to use all the resources and the training you had gathered in your lifetime. 745 End of tape.
Location: 0294.23
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