Royal Canadian Air Force honours veteran's 100th birthday

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A veteran of the Second World War was honoured by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) on Friday to celebrate his 100th birthday.

The RCAF planned a flypast featuring a CC-130H Hercules from 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron at noon Friday in the area of Monsignor William Irwin Catholic School, in recognition of retired flight Lt. Wallace Simpson. Born in 1921 in Gainsborough, Sask., Simpson joined the RCAF in 1942 and flew 33 missions with the 101 Heavy Bomber Squadron before being discharged in 1945. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Following the war, Simpson rejoined the RCAF as a pilot instructor and in 1960, he and his family made their way to the air force base at Namao, north of Edmonton, where he flew C47s and C130 Hercules with 435 Transport Squadron (435 Sqn).

“He brought to 435 Sqn his vast experience and great leadership,” RCAF said in an email statement. “He was a key element in the success of northern sovereignty’s operations as well as overseas missions. In his four-year tenure with the unit, he joined the very select group of aircrews who have flown at least 2,000 hours on the CC130 Hercules.”

Simpson retired at 60 years old after transitioning to flying for commercial airlines.

The father of four told his family that the secret to his long life was “clean air, healthy living and (having an) interest in life.”

“I was lucky that flying carried on for years and it became a career,” Simpson said. “For thousands of others, it did not. It’s an emotional subject. It’s in the past. I’ve met a lot of good people in my life and have friendships that have lasted years.”

jlabine@postmedia.com

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