Orval Ernest "Ernie" Brown



Joined DOT in 1942 - Retired in 1976.

A rejoint le MDT en 1942 - Retraité en 1976.



When researching for writing an History of Monitoring in Canada, I came across one of those history keepers, Ernest Brown who worked at the Ottawa Monitoring station.   More of him will come up on this web site, pending the book. Here are some lines, extracted from personal correspondence and adapted for the web by Laval, September 2005.


Ernie Brown graduated from high school in 1939. Trained as a radio operator at the Toronto Canadian Electronics Institute, he got his 2nd Class radio operator Certificate in 1941 to henceforth serve as second 'Sparks" on the Dutch vessels SS MAASDAM and MV TUVA, both torpedoed in the North Atlantic while he was aboard.

He joined DOT in Ottawa in Jan. 1942 and was with the crowd at the Ottawa Monitoring station, with Jim Gilmour who eventually became shift supervisor before Ernie left the station


In Feb. 1943 , Ernie transferred to Air Services in the Yukon, on the Northwest Staging Route.   ( a log-built ops building ).


In 1944, he moved out to the Prairies on Radio Ranges at Swift Current and Dafoe in Saskatchewan


He became OIC of the Fort Churchill Radio Range in 1948, while Art Bambrick was OIC of the Marine Radio there. On to Regina in 1953, then into the Winnipeg Regional Office as a Technician in 1955.


Moved on to pursue his career in Ottawa in 1960.  More can be learned of his adventures on his web site .


Ernie retired at the end of 1976.


Quarter Century Wireless Association Inc.

National Capital Chapter 70 - Ottawa, Canada




Education / Employment History


Graduated from Canadian Electronics Institute, Toronto, with 2nd Class Certificate of Proficiency in Radio.


Radio operator on SS MAASDAM of Holland America Line. This ship torpedoed and sunk June 26, 1941.


Assigned to MV TUVA, also of Dutch registry. This ship also torpedoed and sunk Oct. 2, 1941. Time for a career change.


Employed by Department of Transport as Radio Operator at Ottawa Monitoring Station, intercepting German wireless traffic.


Transferred to Edmonton Region.  Assigned to Aishihik, Y.T. Radio Range Stn. Duties included CW communications with other stations.


Transferred to Winnipeg Region. Assigned to Dafoe, SK, Radio Range Station.


Promoted to Officer in Charge, Fort Churchill, MB, Radio Range Station. Duties included CW communications with The Pas, MB.


Promoted to Officer in Charge, Regina, SK, Radio Range Station.


Promoted to Radio Technician in Winnipeg Regional Office. Duties included maintenance of station equipment at Radio Range stations in the Region, and installing new equipment when required.


Selected for Radar training to maintain radar systems to be installed at major airports in the Region, (5 sites).


Promoted to Technician, Electronic, in Ottawa Headquarters of DOT T&E Section, to deal with maintenance of radar systems at airports across Canada.


Promoted to Chief Instructor, Telecommunications & Electronics, in the Air Services Training School, Ottawa, ON.


Assigned to Special Projects in the Telcom Bureau of DOT.


Named Senior Advisor, Manpower Development in the Telecom Bureau of DOT.


Retired at end of year after 35 years service with DOT.


Amateur Radio History


First licensed as VE5AM in Dafoe, Saskatchewan. Assigned VE4CP at Fort Churchill, MB.


Assigned VE3ICP on moving to Ottawa, ON.


Joined OARC. Served as Director in 2003-4.


Obtained “initials” call sign VA3OEB.


Joined QCWA and SOWP.


Member of RAC and was a member of CARF.


In retirement, portable operations from a motor home became a major interest from 1978 to 2003.


Presented with 65 Year licensed Golden Certificate and pin at the May 2013 dinner meeting.

Moved to Stouffville in the Toronto area to be near family.


Received the Bletchley Park Commemorative Badge award from Her Majesty's Government and GCHQ in recognition for his service at Ottawa Wireless Station monitoring for U-Boat radio traffic during WWII.


Biography prepared by VE3XK with assistance from VE3VC


Obituary - Avis de décès

Orval Ernest "Ernie" Brown

17 September 1920  -  27 September 2018

Merchant Marine Sparks, Ham Radio Operator VA3OEB

Peacefully with his family around, Ernie passed away on Thursday September, 27, 2018 at the Margaret Bahen Hospice, Newmarket. Ernie was predeceased by his loving wife Pearl. Dear father of Sharon (Don) Roach, Eric (Johanne), and Glen (Diane). Loving grandfather of Alan Roach, Christine (Sean) McBride, and Greg Roach. Delighted great grandfather to Brendan and Declan McBride. Ernie was predeceased by his brothers Joseph and Clarence, and by his sisters Ruth, Grace Black and Irene Turner. Ernie will be missed by his nieces, nephews and cousins.


In his 98 years, he made many friends including within the United Church of Canada, Quarter Century Wireless Association, and Stouffville Creek Retirement Centre.


Friends and family are invited to pay their respects at O’Neill Funeral Home, 6324 Main Street, Stouffville (905-642-2855) on Tuesday, October 2 from 10-11 a.m. Service will be held in the Chapel at 11 a.m. Interment will take place in Capital Memorial Gardens, 3700 Prince Wales Drive, Ottawa Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 2 p.m. . Donations to the Salvation Army, Red Cross or to the Margaret Bahen Hospice in lieu of flowers would be gratefully appreciated. 


Arbor Memorial


Links   -   Liens

Ernie's Website