by Evelyn Ward de Roo
Who would ever have thought that South Beach would play a part in the Second World War? Ray Roper (Hansson St) has in his garage the propellor from this plane, the Harvard Trainer.
It was one of the many aircraft used at the Gimli Air Force Base back in the 1930’s. Where did Ray get this piece of aviation memorabilia? He picked it up in South Beach, in a field, somewhere on Benedict St when he was a little boy. Apparently one of these planes crashed there. He dragged it home and kept it.
One end of it is damaged but Ray doesn’t mind. He still keeps it as a childhood trophy, a treasure hunt find from a very special day in his early childhood. His uncle, Mike Evans (of the famous Evan’s Store, corner of Anna and Hansson), rented their cottage at 17 Hansson Street to a Polish pilot, who was training at the base. Other airmen frequented South Beach too, dating local girls and cottagers.