Image: Notes on the trial following George’s airplane accident from his military service file. (Library & Archives Canada)
Branch: 39th Battalion; Royal Air Force
George was born in County Donegal, Ireland on May 2, 1891. It is unknown when he first came to Canada, but he enlisted in the Canadian Army in Belleville, Ontario 1915 (his brother Arthur served in the South African Army). In December of 1916, George was attached to the RFC (RAF) as Observer. On July 2, 1918, he was in an airplane accident at Grantham. At the time of this accident, he’d had six hours and 25 minutes of dual flying experience, and seven hours solo. He was a pupil at the time. Pages 27 to 36 of George’s service file contain notes from the resulting court case, including witness testimonies. In 1919, he came to the South Peace and filed on SW 7-73-11-W6 and SE 12-73-12-W6. He was part owner of a 700 acre ranch from 1919 to 1922 at which point he “gave up the struggle.” George operated a trading outfit on the Mackenzie River from 1925 to 1927. After this experience, he spent a year in Ireland. At some point after his return, George married Anne Robinson. They had one son. George wanted to serve in the Canadian Army during World War II, but was rejected because of his age. George and Anne lived in Edmonton for some years, where George was a supervisor for the Northern Transportation Company. He later became the manager of the Calgary Municipal Airport. George died on February 29, 1968.
Soldier Spotlight highlights veterans from the Archives’ online Soldiers’ Memorial. Each week, our volunteers select a remarkable individual to showcase in this 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.