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Alberta's Aviation Heritage
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Captain Wilfrid Reid "Wop" May

Roy Brown

Donald McLaren

Fred McCall

Lt. George Gorman

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World War I Heroes

Edmonton fighter pilot, Wilfrid Reid "Wop" May As the hostilities erupted that brought about the First World War, many were unsure what role the airplane would play in the coming hostilities. It quickly became clear that aircraft could play a crucial role in the military effort. Those who wanted to be pilots could choose which service they wanted to enter, as the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service were available to provide training. These two services merged on 1 April 1918 to form the Royal Air Force.

Alberta made some very significant contributions to the air forces of the allies with the exploits of aces like Captain Wilfrid Reid (Wop) May of Edmonton, who shot down thirteen enemy aircraft during his time in service; Arthur Roy Brown, also of Edmonton, who was given credit for shooting down the Red Baron; and Donald Rodrerick MacLaren of Calgary, who shot down forty-eight aircraft and six balloons. Frederick Robert Gordon McCall, also of Calgary, claimed thirty-five victories before the war ended. Lieutenant George Gorman, from Edmonton, participated in a bombing mission to destroy the bridge at Voyennes, France on 8 August 1918, but was forced to land in enemy territory, becoming a prisoner of war.

All of these WWI pilots returned to Alberta after the war and made significant contributions to the nation’s fledgling aviation industry. They all played important roles in the development of the strong air service Canada has today.

 

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Alberta's Aviation Heritage

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