A 78 year old and 256k mile long loop back to hallowed grounds

As the book passed through Calgary on 8 June 2022 on the way to its next appointment in Alberta the occasion closed a 78 year long loop.

Cyril Devaux attended Course 106 at No. 3 SFTS Calgary on his journey to becoming an operational pilot reporting to the base on 8 April and graduating 27 October, 1944.

On 8 June 1944 Devaux takes two flights in Cessna Crane 7895. His entries into the log book records a total of 2 hrs 45 min over the two flights combined.

So exactly 78 years later the very same log book passes through Calgary yet again on its way to an appointment further north. The loop is closed with at least 412 682 km / 256 428 miles recorded in its journey – a simply staggering thought.

Cyril Devaux will have had this log book issued to him around the time of starting Course 98 at No 5 EFTS High River in Alberta. Digesting and setting aside achievements of miles traveled it is sobering thought that the book now is back on hallowed ground.

Tracking the book from Calgary as Canada Post records a stop in Edmonton we realize it has taken the book passed some places of both past and recent interest for the project.

The book will have passed by Penhold where No. 36 SFTS Penhold aerodrome was/is located. It is from here that F/O David Merry and LAC George Conway embarks on what will become their final fatal flight. Cyril Devaux participates in the search for their missing aircraft and today, generations later, the Devaux and Merry families are through coincidence joined through marriage.

Passing Penhold the book would have been only a few miles from the field where their fatal flight ended and where a commemorative ceremony was held for the two fallen just a few weeks ago.

Just further north of Penhold is Red Deer where both Merry and Conway are buried.

From the flights that Cyril Devaux has entered in his log book it is apparent that he has spent some time in the area.

  • 23 may 1944 – a 2hr 25min long navigation exercise with F/O Halliburton in Cessna Crane 7949 from his home base in Calgary that is recorded as RED DEER – HALKIRK.
  • 2 July 1944 – a 2 hr long flight with F/Sgt Stower in Cessna Crane 8119 to BOWDEN – DELIA.
  • 4 July 1944 – a 2hr 5 min long solo navigation exercise in Cessna Crane 8113 to GADSBY and back.
  • 13 July 1944 – a 2 hr long night navigation flight with F/O Larsen in Cessna Crane 7866 to PONOKA and back.
  • 29 July 1944 – a 3hr long navigation flight with WO2 Arms in Anson FP869 to STETTLER and WETASKIWIN.
From Cyril Devaux log book – 29 July 1944 flight visible

This is truly a journey back to hallowed grounds.

The flight of 29 July, 1944 with a way-point over WETASKIWIN is something we will most likely find reason to circle back to in a later post.

About Lars McKie 73 Articles
An ordinary Swede with a passion for history and just grateful to be given the chance to participate and contribute to the project.

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