Canadian Rocket Society

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In 1942 a group of enthusiasts, including Hillel Diamond, a music student at the University of Toronto, created The Canadian Rocket Society (CRS) which was modeled on the German VfR. After the war Kurt Richard Stehling returned to Toronto where he soon became president and founder of The University of Toronto Rocket Society. In January 1948 Stehling publicly debated senior members of the Canadian astronomy community about the promise of space flight and suggested that with its wide open spaces Canada should become a leader in long-range rocket experiments. In the spring of 1948 it appears that these two competing societies merged under The Canadian Rocket Society banner. According to Fred Durant, one of the editors of Missiles and Rockets magazine, writing in June 1958, the CRS folded in 1953 before being resurrected as the CAS. This is inconsistent with evidence that Hillel Diamond continued to operate a version of the CRS until at least the mid 1970s and was involved in some capacity until his death in 2011. This latter-day CRS seems to have been primarily a model rocket club run by Diamond out of his science store on Yonge Street in Toronto. A later article in Missiles and Rockets magazine Oct 19 1959 attributes Project CHARM to the CRS when it was in fact a CAS project. In 1963 it was reported in the press that Rev. Father Guy Morin of St Patrick high School in Quebec was appointed vice-president of the CRS. At the time the organisation was apparently based in Guelph Ontario. The national broadcaster CBC filmed a documentary about the group which was supposed to have aired on January 22 1963.

The CRS displayed designs for their "C-1" moon rocket at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in August 1948. Their model was built by 49-year-old Sam Kernerman in his basement.

Kernerman was born in England in 1899, moved to Canada in 1913 and died in 2000 at the age of 101 having lived in a world before the Wright Brothers all the way through to the International Space Station. He was a member of the Royal Engineers, served in World War 1 and served as President of the CRS. Other members of the CRS included Fred Hurter (President 1945), Captain Edward Cecil Evans Fox (Chair), Kurt Stehling (President 1948), Jack Bird (VP), Boris Duke (Dyke?) (VP 1949), John Wartman (Director), Gordon Allen Batley (Director 1949), as well as Gordon Patterson, Dean of Aerospace at the University of Toronto.

A branch of the organisation was formed by students in 1955 at St George Williams College in Montreal.


What Do We Know of the Canadian Rocket Society? by Frank H. Winter