Allen “Al” Cameron will be remembered for many things, including his love of music, the passion he had for his work, and the devotion he had for his wife Yvonne.
But the flyover that closed his funeral in Moose Jaw, Sask., may become one of the lasting impressions of Moose Jaw’s last World War II veteran.
Cameron died last month at the age of 98. On Thursday, shortly after 2:30 p.m. CST, a pair of CT-156 Harvard II training aircraft flew from east to west over a gathering of Cameron’s friends and family outside the Moose Jaw Funeral Home.
The planes were from nearby 15 Wing Moose Jaw, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircrew training centre.
“I think we did a good job firing Mr. Al Cameron,” said Chief Officer Marlene Shillingford, the officer in charge of 2 Canadian Air Divisionwho oversees 15 Wing Moose Jaw, after the ceremony.
“That was an opportunity for 15 Wing to thank him for everything he has done over the years for the wing.”
Cameron was born in Saskatoon in 1925 and joined the RCAF in 1941.
He moved to Moose Jaw, where he completed his basic training. Although Cameron dreamed of being a pilot, a color deficiency in his vision prevented him from achieving that goal.
But that didn’t stop Cameron from answering the call of duty. He became an airframe mechanic and in 1944 was sent to Italy and Great Britain, where he worked on airplanes during World War II.
Cameron’s son Brett said his father loved his job and couldn’t stay away from it.
“He tried civilian life and didn’t like it,” Brett said. “He did it for about six months and then he got tired and went back to the army.”
Cameron would eventually retire, but stayed in Moose Jaw. As he grew older, the commitment to the Royal Canadian Air Force did not disappear.
Shillingford said 15 Wing Moose Jaw made sure to integrate him into the base and invite him to events.
“Last year we invited him to put the wings on a new graduate,” he said.
Brett said the people on the base gave his father something special by taking him under their wing when his family couldn’t visit him during COVID-19.
That’s why the flyby meant so much to Cameron’s family.
“It was emotional and, you know, it brought tears to my eyes,” Brett said.
Cameron’s final message to his family and friends was: “Be happy for me. I have had a long and wonderful life and I look forward to being reunited with Yvonne, ‘Twinkle’. I couldn’t ask for more.”