James Arnold Dickie
James Arnold Dickie was born in Grandview, Manitoba on February 10 1893. He trained as a pharmacist/druggist and worked for the Vancouver Drug and Chemical Company from 1910-1914. He enlisted in the Manitoba Regiment on January 27, 1916, but in September 1917 he transferred to the RFC as a 2nd Lieutenant. After flight training in England on the Maurice Farman Shorthorn and Armstrong Whitworth FK3 he progressed to the BE2e and FE2b. He does not appear to have flown any combat missions and likely served as a flying instructor. He returned to Canada after the war in 1919, and in 1925 moved to Fort William where he opened a drug store. When the Fort William Aero Club was formed he became its chief instructor. Dickie was also active in aviation outside the city as the secretary-manager of the Canadian Flying Clubs Association, which had been formed to promote aviation across the country. He was recognized as an extremely competent instructor, well thought of by the Club members, and his death in a training accident in September 1930 came as a major blow to the club. He had married J. Henderson Burnett of Perth, Ontario in 1929, and they had one son who was born shortly after his father’s death.
Hector Fraser Dougall (1897 – 1960)
Hector Fraser Dougall was born in Winnipeg in 1897 to William Dougall, a carriage builder, and his wife Isabel. He enlisted in the 221st Infantry Battalion in Winnipeg in March 1916 and served in Canada for 14 months. Unlike many of his contemporaries he did not go overseas with the CEF before transferring to the RFC, instead he enlisted as a trainee pilot in May 1917 in Toronto. Following basic pilot training he received his wings on August 19, 1917. Later that year he sailed to England where he was posted to 46 Squadron with effect from December 2. In mid-December he crashed and spent several weeks in hospital, but by late January 1918 he was back flying a Sopwith Camel in 54 Squadron, which was operating over the Somme sector of the Western Front. The records show him to have been an aggressive, determined pilot always ready to take on enemy fliers. While attacking a pair of German machines on February 26, 1918, his plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire, which caused head injuries and left Dougall with a piece of shrapnel in his leg. Passing in and out of consciousness he was able to land the plane, but on the wrong side of the lines and he was taken prisoner. After some rudimentary surgery, which included one of his fellow prisoners removing the shrapnel with a knife, he recovered sufficiently that he made several escape attempts as he and other RFC prisoners were being moved to a permanent camp in Germany. By April, his captors had had enough and he was imprisoned at Holzminden in Prussia, in a camp reserved for serious troublemakers and persistent escapers. Dougall did not give up and while there was caught preparing another escape attempt. When the armistice was signed, as a final nose-thumbing gesture to his captors. he climbed the flagpole and took down the camp flag. It was the state flag of Prussia, and destined to become a prized Dougall family heirloom.
Hector Dougall returned to Canada in January 1919. Following a period of bush flying in Northern Manitoba he moved to the Lakehead in 1927. There he continued his aviation activities, being a founding member and first President of the Fort William Aero Club, which operated out of Bishopsfield on Rosslyn Road, west of the city. During WWII he became the manager of the #2 Elementary Flying Training School, which operated at Fort William Municipal Airport, providing basic training for pilots destined for service in the RAF and RCAF.
Hector Fraser Dougall is perhaps best known in Thunder Bay for his part in the introduction of radio and television broadcasting to the city and region. He died as a result of a heart attack near Kenora in 1960, but his legacy lives on in DOUGALLMEDIA, the multimedia company that grew out of his original entry into the communications field in the 1930s.
(For more information on Hector Fraser Dougall’s WWI exploits see Dubé, Timothy (1996) "Hector Fraser Dougall, RFC: A Pilot’s Account of the Great War," Canadian Military History: Vol. 5: Iss. 2, Article 13.)
Ernest Potter - A Port Arthur Aviator in WWI
Ernest Potter was born in Woodbridge, Suffolk, England in 1892. In 1907 he immigrated to Canada, where he and his family settled in Port Arthur. Ernest worked for the Molson Bank in Port Arthur and then in Winnipeg, until 1915 when he went to the Curtiss Flying School in Toronto to learn to fly. After three months tuition on the Curtiss Biplane – the JN-4 or “Jenny” - he graduated with his pilot’s certificate on September 3, 1915. From there he went to England, as a Flight Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) and after further training was posted to No. 3 Wing of the RNAS at Luxeuil in eastern France. The unit included a large contingent of Canadians, including Raymond Collishaw, who was to become an ace with 60 victories to his credit and rise to the rank of Air Vice Marshall of the RAF in World War II. The Wing was equipped with the Sopwith 11/2 Strutter, the first British two-seat tractor fighter, and the first British aircraft to enter service with a forward firing, synchronized machine gun, capable of firing through the propeller arc. The Strutter was also built in a bomber version in which the gunner’s position behind the pilot was fared over to allow bombs to be carried. During his time with No. 3 Wing, Ernest Potter flew both versions. As a bomber pilot he participated in two raids in October 1916, one on a munitions factory in Metz and another on the Mauser Rifle Works in Oberndorf . The latter was a major effort with 40 British and French aircraft taking part. It involved a round trip of some 200 miles into Germany, a flight of more than four hours duration, and set the pattern for the strategic bombing offensive that was to become the hallmark of the RNAS. The following month, Ernest and several of his colleagues were decorated for their services, by General Joffre with a white whistle cord, or aiguillette, a mark of distinction worn on the left shoulder and given only to airmen. In January he was promoted to Flight Lieutenant.
Ernest Potter returned to Port Arthur where in 1917 he married Edith Merrill Leaney. By 1921, he was back in Winnipeg working as a bank inspector. Later he moved to Victoria, B.C. where he died in 1959.
Stanley Wallace Rosevear (DSC) - World War One Flying Ace
Stanley Wallace Rosevear was born in Walkerton, Ontario, in 1896, but grew up in Port Arthur, where his father was a teacher. The family lived on Prospect Avenue and Stanley attended Port Arthur Collegiate Institute. From there he enrolled as a student in Applied Science at the University of Toronto where, in 1916, he enrolled in the University Overseas Training Company The following year he transferred to the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS). After pilot training in Britain, and commissioned as a Flight Sub-Lieutenant, he went to France in July 1917, where he flew Sopwith Triplanes out of Bailleul as a member of 1 (Naval) Squadron. From the outset, Rosevear was recognized as a skillful, aggressive pilot, being mentioned in dispatches several times and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in October 1917 for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. As the citation in the London Gazette noted “He has destroyed several hostile machines, and has also attacked and scattered parties of enemy infantry from low altitudes, on one occasion from a height of only 100 feet.” His squadron gained a reputation for its ground attack work, flying the Sopwith Camel, but Rosevear was also skilled in other aspects of aerial combat. In nine months at the front, he shot down 23 enemy aircraft. As a result of such activities he was awarded a bar to his DSC in March 1918. He was promoted to the rank of Captain when the Royal Flying Corps and the RNAS amalgamated to form the Royal Air Force on April 1, 1918, but later that month Stanley Wallace Rosevear lost his life when the plane he was flying crashed near Arras in France.
Wilfred Laurier Rutledge (1891-1948)
Wilfred Rutledge was born in Fort William in 1891, one of two sons of Edward S. Rutledge, both of whom became pilots in the Royal Flying Corps.
Wilfred enlisted in the 28th Battalion, Saskatchewan Regiment in 1914. For some reason his military records list his middle name as ‘Lloyd’ rather than ‘Laurier’. In 1915, as a member of the CEF, he went overseas and serving with distinction in France, he was awarded the Military Medal and Bar in 1916 for gallantry.
The following year he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and after training in England he went back to France as a lieutenant in 48 Squadron, which was equipped with the new Bristol Fighters. Returning to Britain in mid-1917, he remained with the squadron until early 1918 when he transferred to a training squadron as an instructor teaching new pilots to fly. His brother Stanley Arthur Rutledge was also an instructor, who unfortunately died in a flying training accident in England in 1917. Following a stint as an instructor, Wilfred became a member of 119 Squadron, which was training as a day-bomber squadron, but the war ended before it became operational. His final posting was with 1(Can) Squadron, one of two squadrons that made up the Royal Canadian Flying Corps at that time. In 1919 he was awarded the Air Force Cross in recognition of his service.
Wilfred Rutledge was demobilized in July 1919 and returned to Canada with his English-born wife and two daughters in March 1920. The family settled in western Canada, where he worked for CPR, but in the late 1920s he put his flying training to use by becoming the instructor for the Calgary Flying Club, and establishing Rutledge Air Service. In 1930 he became the first man to fly a single engine plane across the Rockies between Calgary and Vancouver.
The family returned to Fort William in 1934, where Wilfred, among other things became involved in the city’s politics. He died as the result of an accident in his home in 1946.
For more information on Wilfred Rutledge’s activities in municipal affairs see: F.B. Scollie (2000) Thunder Bay Mayors and Councillors, 1873-1945, published by the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society.