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.
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
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
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 went
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.