He’s a decorated Second World War fighter pilot ace, has been knighted by the French government, an Order of Canada recipient, Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame inductee and named one of the 100 most influential Canadians in aviation.
Now, Comox resident Stocky Edwards is hitting another milestone as a centenarian, and those around him are getting ready to celebrate.
Friend and former honourary colonel of 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron at 19 Wing Comox Dave Mellin is assisting in co-ordinating a pandemic-friendly birthday party for Edwards and is inviting the public to join in the celebration.
On June 5, the streets of Comox near the former St. Joseph’s Hospital site will be filled with dignitaries, military members, RCMP officers and more driving (and flying) by wishing Edwards a 100th happy birthday, explained Mellin.
Those wishing to participate in the drive-past parade are encouraged to park in the former hospital parking lot between 10:30 and 11 a.m. and participate in a socially-distanced manner.
Mellin said anyone who wishes can drop off a card for Edwards, however, gifts are not needed. Those who wish to do so can donate to the Ducks Unlimited Stocky Edwards Wetland and Wildlife Conservation fund (with the goal of raising $100,000 in Edwards’ honour) or the Stocky Edwards Legacy Trust, which supports, assists, promotes and furthers the education of young Canadians in careers related to aviation, especially those enrolled in Air Cadet programs.
Canada’s highest-scoring ace in the Western Desert Campaign, Edwards earned respect for his quick reflexes, flying abilities and shooting instincts while serving with 260 Squadron in the Western Desert Air Force in North Africa in 1943.
During the war, he flew Spitfires after first piloting a Kittyhawk, which has since been refurbished by Vintage Wings of Canada.
By the start of 1943 when he was a flight commander, Edwards had earned a Distinguished Flying Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross, awarded for acts of valour or courage.
Before the war broke out, his hockey abilities also sparked the interest of the Chicago Black Hawks.
Edwards is the subject of a book, The Desert Hawk, penned by Barbara Hehner.
– With files from Scott Stanfield