When Bob Russell says his hobby group’s contribution to Remembrance Day services in Winnipeg is small, he means literally, not figuratively.
For almost 20 years Russell and the Winnipeg Model Boat Club have contributed replica scale models of ships to the Remembrance Day service at HMCS Chippewa.
"We’ve had an excellent reaction to the ships," says Russell, a retired police officer who lives in St. James.
"Most of the people that attend have naval experience and have served in the Second World War. There’s also a large group that has served post Second World War."
The WMBC will once again have a display at the Remembrance Day service on Nov. 11 at HMCS Chippewa at the Naval Museum of Manitoba located at 1 Navy Way.
Russell says the club supports, and is supported by, the Naval Museum and many of the displays there are made by WMBC members.
The group, which will be celebrating its 20th year in 2014, has also donated a replica of the Second World War Corvette HMCS Dauphin to the town of Dauphin in exchange for the ship’s bell that is now on display at the museum.
Ships that club members build range from static sailing models to radio-controlled models that perform on water like their full-size counterparts.
Russell’s own interest in model ship building is anchored in being a sea cadet and a young model builder. He eventually drifted away from the hobby but got back into it in 1993.
"I used to be a police officer and it was a good way to unwind for your own well-being and the well-being of the job," he said.
There are approximately 15 members in the WMBC. They met Sunday mornings this past summer at the Assiniboine Park Duck Pond.
"We’re there first thing in the morning and so far we’ve had a good public reception," Russell says.
The group will continue to meet once a week over the winter, he says, but over a cup of coffee.
The WMBC participates in several demonstrations throughout the year and will have a display at Gooch’s Bicycle and Hobby Shop at 1046 Portage Ave. on Dec. 1 and 2.
Membership in the WMBC is free and everyone, regardless of their skill level, is welcome to join. For more information call Bob at 204-837-4040 or 204-918-7607 or visit www.facebook.com/groups/winnipeg.mbc/.
Trevor Suffield is a community correspondent for St. James-Assiniboia. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.