Clennell Haggerston "Punch" Dickins was born on 12 January 1899
in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. When he was 10 years old, the
Dickins family moved west to Edmonton.
When he was 17, he joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force,
then was transferred to the Royal Flying Corps to be trained as
a pilot. By the time that the First World War had ended, Dickins
had participated in 73 missions and won the Distinguished Flying
Cross for successfully completing missions under fire.
After the war, he was a member of the Royal Canadian Air
Force from 1921 until 1927. When he later left the air force, he
started working for Western Canadian Airways.
Punch Dickens tells how the Edmonton Municipal Airport was born.
Watch | Read
Dickins was well known as a bush pilot and for his exploratory flight over the barren lands of the eastern Arctic in 1928.
On 23 January 1929, Dickins flew the first airmail flight
into the high Arctic, travelling
through Fort Simpson, Northwest
Territories, and into Aklavik on the Arctic Circle. A feat
challenged further by the fact his compass did not work because
of its proximity to the magnetic pole, forcing him to fly by
Dickins was famous for flying in the Arctic region, and was
the first to fly over many unmapped regions of the Northwest
Territories including the Arctic coast, and the 3,200 kilometres
of the Mackenzie River. He was the first pilot to fly into Great
Bear Lake, where uranium was found.
||Picture taken November, 1966 for the
Alberta Aviation Council's Convention at the Airport
Inn, Edmonton Municipal Airport. The aircraft is the
"Silver Dart" replica.