Francis Charles (Chas) Aitkens



Served as a a wireless radio operator on the west coast from 1923 to 1939. Served in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1939 to 1957. Joined the United Nation's International Civil Aviation Organization in 1957. Went overseas with ICAO to Syria, Nepal and Afghanistan. Retired in 1967.

A servi comme opérateur radio sans fil sur la côte ouest de 1923 à 1939. A servi dans l'Aviation royale canadienne de 1939 à 1957. Il s'est joint à l'Organisation internationale de l'aviation civile des Nations Unies en 1957. A voyagé outre-mer avec l'OACI en Syrie, au Népal et en Afghanistan. Retraité en 1967.


Charlie Aitkens

A First Class radio operator certificate

Un certificat d'opérateur radio de Première Classe


With his daugther Fran's kind permission and with the help of Frank Statham, a photograph of F.C. Aitkens 1st Class certificate which was printed on a heavy linen paper; its dimensions 16 x 20 inches ( 40 x 50 cm± ).

Avec la permission de sa fille Fran et la collaboration de Frank Statham, une copie du certificat de 1ière Classe de F.C. Aitkens. Le certificat était imprimé sur un tissu épais, aux dimensions de 16 x 20 po. (40 x 50 cm±)


Fran writes:

He was born (Francis Charles Aitkens - called Chas or Charlie) in Sept 1904. His family farmed in Gordon Head. He completed school in Victoria (Vic High) to Grade 9. He was larking about and cutting classes the next year and his father enrolled him at Sprott-Shaw in a radio course (?). That would be about 1921. By 1923 - age 19 - he had graduated. I don't know the exact sequence, but possibly Point Grey, then Bull Harbour, then Pachena where he boarded with "Mrs Mac" (?). He also mentioned being based at Gonzales Hill to me, but I don't know when. Some time before 1930 he was posted to Estevan. In 1931, my mother Gene came from Edmonton to Estevan to visit her brother Clarence (Tommy) Thomas, who was also a radio operator, and may have been there on relief duty (?). I think Tommy was also at Alert Bay at some time. My parents were married in 1932 and left Estevan in about 1936-37. From then until 1939 he was leading crews to site radio beacon positions throughout BC. In 1939 he joined the RCAF Special Forces, doing much the same work. In 1947 he signed onto RCAF regular forces and retired in 1957. He then went overseas with ICAO to Syria, Nepal and Afghanistan and retired again in 1967.

My dad died in March 1996. My mother Gene is still alive at 99.


Laval  23 June 2007


Click on the photos to see the certificate in high resolution


Obituary - Avis de décès

Francis Charles (Chas) Aitkens

1904  -  1996

Francis Charles (Chas) (Charlie) Aitkens passed away on March 7, 1996 in Victoria, British Colombia. He was born in Melita, Manitoba on September 29, 1904 and married Gene Marie Thomas at Victoria, British Colombia on 22 July 1932. They had a son, Arthur Charles Aitkens.


From 1923 to 1939, Chas served as a a wireless radio operator on west coast lighthouse stations and at other remote sites. He was leading crews to radio beacon sites when World War II started so he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and served from 1939 to 1957. He joined the United Nation's International Civial Aviation Organization in 1957 and went overseas with ICAO to Syria, Nepal and Afghanistan until he retired in 1967.


As per Chas's request, his ashes were scattered at sea. His name was added to a memorial stone at the St. Luke's Anglican Church cemetery in Victoria, BC. Also on the stone are the names of his parents Francis Edwin Aitkens and Mary Katharine Estlin, and his sister Lorna Grace Aitkens.



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