Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this new blog series. The Soldiers’ Memorial commemorates more than 1,100 WWI veterans and 2,300 WWII veterans from our region. Three dedicated volunteers have contributed over 1,200 hours to this project by researching and writing biographies. Our goal is to have all South Peace soldiers acknowledged for their service. If you know of someone who lived in the South Peace and should be listed on the Memorial, or would like to get involved by researching a local veteran, please contact the Archives.
Daniel Rycroft was born in Spirit River on October 24, 1924 to Helen and Robert Henry Rycroft. In 1928 the family left the area to eventually reside in Smoky Heights where Danny took all of his school. In November 1942, shortly after his eighteenth birthday, he enlisted in the RCAF. He was on duty overseas in 1944 when he was reported missing in action. A month later his mother received news that he was alive. His plane had been forced down but he had bailed out and had been taken in by a French family. The French underground were able to assist his return to England where he was hospitalized for a fractured spine and ribs. After returning home, he married Violet Spry in May 1945. They raised a family of six children: Loraine, Greg, Bill, Neil, Jean, and Jack. Danny became a grain buyer for National Grain Co. and then Alberta Wheat Pool for eighteen years. In 1974 he went to work for the County of Grande Prairie. Danny Rycroft died on April 13, 2011.
Photograph: Home on a Christmas leave in Sexsmith, 1944. Picture taken at Sexsmith Train Station. From Left: Ross, Hawkstead, J. Johnson, Danny Rycroft, Sorken. (SPRA 292.02.06)
Read about the Daniel Rycroft fonds here at the Archives