H.P. Crabb:

An Inventory of His Papers at the University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections

Inventory prepared by Andrea Martin
University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
330 Elizabeth Dafoe Library
(July 2014)

Finding aid encoded by Andrea Martin (July 2014)
Finding aid written in English.

Collection Summary

University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections
330 Elizabeth Dafoe Library

H.P. Crabb

H.P. Crabb fonds

1913-2013; 1939-1945 predominant

0.22 m of textual records, 42 photographs, 1 negative

Mss 357 (A14-56)


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Biography of H.P. Crabb

Herbert Philip Crabb was born in Donisthorpe, Leicestershire, England on January 8, 1889. He came to Canada in 1904 as a boy of fifteen and settled at Borden, Saskatchewan. In 1907, after a few years of farm work he joined the staff of the Bank of Commerce in Radisson, Saskatchewan. In 1912 he went to Winnipeg, Manitoba and worked for the real estate firm of Stephenson and Field. In April 1915 he enlisted in Winnipeg in the Canadian Remount Depot of Calgary. In May he went to France with Canadian 3rd Echelon Headquarters. In January 1917 Mr. Crabb transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and received flying training in Christ Church, Oxford. He was then posted as a flight instructor and after qualifying for service in the R.A.F. he became wing examining officer with the 26th Wing, R.A.F. at Cambridge. Towards the end of the war (1918) he was training instructors at Fowlmere, Cambridge, on Handley Page bomber aircraft.

In July 1919 he returned to Winnipeg and became a member of Stephenson, Field, and Crabb. It was at Fowlmere that he met Doreen Simons, who was a transport driver with the W.R.A.F. She came to Canada in 1921 and they were married in Winnipeg. He was 32 years old. In 1923 Mr. Crabb formed his own firm, Crabb and Company Ltd. with himself as president. He later formed the Crabb Construction Company, which built many of the larger homes in Winnipeg. He was also president of Moss Products Ltd. and General Discounts Ltd. He eventually sold Crabb and Company in 1953 and since then was self-employed in the investment business. During World War Two, he became commanding officer of the 112th City of Winnipeg Squadron from 1937 to 1939. He mobilized the squadron for active service, and every officer and 95 percent of the men volunteered for active service. In December 1939 Phil Crabb went to Air Force Headquarters in Ottawa with the rank of squadron leader, going to the Directorate of Manning. He was promoted to wing commander and deputy director of Manning in March 1940, and director in November 1941 with the rank of group captain. He was later second in command of No. 4 Air Training Command at Calgary and then commanding officer of No. 9 Bombing and Gunnery School at Mont Joli, Quebec.

In the summer of 1944, at the age of 55, he returned to Winnipeg. Phil Crabb served for many years on the Assessment Board of the City of Winnipeg and was also regional director for the Dominion Department of Labor. One of his main interests was the development of Canadian aviation. He served as a commissioner of the St. James – Winnipeg Airport Commission. He was a founder-member of the Aviation League of Manitoba, the Aviation League of Canada, and the Winnipeg Flying Club. Along with Bill Straith and Air Vice Marshall John Sully, Group Captain Crabb located and founded the airport in Winnipeg. He was later chosen to investigate the death of young Frederick J. Stevenson (1896-1928) who was killed in a flying accident in Northern Manitoba. On his return he suggested using the name Stevenson Field which is now Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport. He was a member of the Winnipeg Gyro Club since its organization in 1920 and the Wartime Pilots’ and Observers’ Association. He was President of the St. George’s Snowshoe Club, and the Winnipeg Real Estate Board and a member of the Manitoba Club, St. Charles Country Club, Motor Country Club, and the Winnipeg Winter Club. Group Captain Crabb died at Winnipeg on May 5, 1966 after suffering from a series of strokes being survived by his wife Doreen and his son John Philip Crabb.

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Scope and Contents of the Collection

This accession consists of documents and photographs relating to H.P. Crabb's military service with the Royal Flying Corps (RFC), the Royal Air Force (RAF), and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

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Arrangement of the Papers

This collection is arranged into four series:

  • 1.) Military Service
  • 2.) Personal
  • 3.) Certificates
  • 4.) Photographs

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Restrictions on Access

There are no restrictions on this material

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Custodial History

The latest accession to this collection (A14-56) was donated to the Archives & Special Collections by John Philip Crabb in 2014.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

Military Service [ 1917-2013; 1939-1945 predominant ]
11 Air Force Instruction Manuals
2 List of Cadets to be Temporary Lieutenants, 1917
3 General Instructions: Royal Air Force - Thetford, April 1, 1918
4 Pay Account Statements, Request for Per Diem Increase, Request for War Service Gratuity, 1918-1919
5 Officers' Indoctrination Course Materials, [193?]
6 H.P. Crabb represents Manitoba Premier John Bracken at reception of R-100 in Montreal - correspondence and news articles, 1930
7 Instructions for the Non-Permanent Active Air Force - 2 copies, 1934
8 No. 12 (AC) Squadron, RCAF - Report of Annual Summer Training - Shilo, Manitoba, 1937
9 No. 112 (AC) Squadron Documents - training guides, routine orders, personnel lists, memos, notes, correspondence, 1938-1939
10 Miscellaneous Documents re: H.P. Crabb and the RCAF, 1939-1942
11 H.P. Crabb Appointed Director of Air Force Manning - correspondence and news articles, 1939-1942
12 No. 4 Training Command - Calgary, Alberta - correspondence, news articles, daily routine orders, 1941-1943
13 Correspondence, Clearance Certificate, News Articles, 1943
14 Mont Joli - Correspondence, Commanding Officer's Handing Over Certificates, Nominal Roll of Officers, 1943-1944
15 Issues of the "Mont Joli Target: No. 9 Bombing and Gunnery School - 4 issues, 1944
16 Correspondence, 1944-1948
17 RCAF Monthly Newsletter for Reserve, Retired, and Former Members of the RCAF, 1947-1950
18 RFC-RNAS Anniversary Reunion - Roster of Warbirds, 1958
19 Correspondence and Documents of Major W.R.W. Henderson, 1958-1963
20 Wartime Pilot's and Observers' Association - Blank Membership Application, Membership Roster, 1960
21 Air Force Officers Basic Course Materials - Significant Individuals, 2013
21 The Royal Canadian Air Force List, 1939
2 The Royal Canadian Air Force List, 1940
3 The Royal Canadian Air Force List, 1941
4 The Royal Canadian Air Force List and Index, 1942
5 Index to the Royal Canadian Air Force List, 1943

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Personal 1913-2005; 1939-1945 predominant
26 H.P. Crabb's Sketchbook and Drawings
7 Membership in the Winnipeg Canoe Club & Winnipeg Rowing Club, 1913
8 Notes on Stevenson Field - Talk on Aviation to St. James Board of Trade, 1931, 1937
9 Personal Correspondence, 1936-1948
10 Newsclippings re: H.P. Crabb and the Air Force, 1928-1945
11 Collected Poetry and Humour, 1937-1945

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Certificates 1918-2005
212 Certificates, 1940, 2005

Removed from frame

Includes material in oversized folder, see below

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Photographs 1918-[1945?]
213 Untitled and Undated Photographs - 3 photographs, 1 negative
14 Photograph taken at the Canadian Day Office in London, England - 1 photograph, 1918
15 RCAF and Wartime Service Photographs - 33 photographs, 1939-[1945?]
16 Military Service Photographs - 3 photographs, 1931; [between 1930 and 1950]

Removed from frames

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Oversized Material
11 Military Service Photographs - 2 photographs

Removed from frames

1 Certificates, 1918, 1934, 1940
  • 1.) Appointment to Officer in the Royal Air Force - 1918
  • 2.) Appointment to Officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force - 1934
  • 3.) Appraisal Institute of Canada Certificate of Membership - 1940

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