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Geoff Holly

Warrant Officer (W/O) Geoff Holly received flying training at De Winton and Penhold and was awarded his Wings at Rockcliffe in Ottawa. In the following excerpt, he recounts the dramatic beauty of Alberta, and is appreciative that he could attend training in such a lovely locale. He comments on the peace he experienced in Canada, and the warm friendships he made.


G.F. Holly From the 23rd of  March to the 14th of May 1943, I was at No.31 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) in De Winton, flying the good old Tiger Moths in course No.77. One thing I remember before arriving in Calgary on the Canadian Pacific Railway was that prior to leaving Moncton, New Brunswick, we were told that the temperature a few days previous had been -34 degrees in Alberta. However, that was soon forgotten as we settled in to life in De Winton with its technical learning, exams and of course the flying side. It was so enjoyable flying around the Alberta landscape and being so near to the gorgeous Rocky Mountains.

I remember so many good times during my time [in Alberta], however, my main and happiest memories are from the many visits a group of us made to Sylvan Lake. We usually stayed at the Sylvan Lake Hotel and wenG.F Holly, third row from the top on the left side, course 81 at Royal Air Force (RAF) Station Penhold, Alberta. Home of No. 36 Service FlyingTraining School (SFTS).t to the dances in Timber Hall on the edge of the lake. It was there I discovered the origin of the song, 'Ten Cents a Dance." You went and asked a girl for a dance but not before you had bought a dollar's worth of tickets at 10 cents each. The dance floor was roped all around except for an opening where a person took your ticket. You were then cleared to dance...Our group had many happy hours on the lake in rowboats. We also stayed a few nights in timber cabins—they were basic, but jolly good fun in those days...

It was very memorable to me that I received my Wings at a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Station. They have always remained a prized possession—to have liked Canada so much and then to have been presented with RCAF/Canadian Wings really made it perfect.

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