WARREN, Douglas (Duke)
The full life of Douglas Warren came to a tranquil end on August 28, 2011 in Comox, BC. Douglas was an identical twin born in Nanton, Alberta on May 28, 1922. His brother’s name was Bruce but they both had the same nickname, “Duke”. In 1929 the family moved to the Wetaskiwin area and settled on a farm close to town. The twins loved aviation from an early age and in late 1940 joined the Royal Canadian Air Force, training in Canada until proceeding to England in January 1942. After advanced training, they flew two tours of operations with Royal Air Force spitfire squadrons. Finishing in early 1945, they were awarded Distinguished Flying Crosses by King George VI at Buckingham Palace.
After returning to Canada in May 1945, Bruce married Lois Burroughs and Douglas married Melba Bennett, with whom he enjoyed a wonderfully happy life until her death on September 17, 2010.
The twins joined the permanent RCAF in October 1946, and three years later they went overseas again. Bruce took the prestigious test pilot course at Farnborough, and Douglas took the fighter leader course at West Raynham. Shortly after their return to Canada, Douglas became a Flight Commander with 421 Squadron flying DH Vampire jet aircraft at Chatham, New Brunswick while Bruce was attached to the AV Roe aircraft company in Toronto as a test pilot for the prototype CF-100. Tragically, on April 5, 1951, Bruce was killed while testing this aircraft. Some readers may consider this an odd obituary in that it refers to two men. However, the twins were so close, and their lives so intertwined for 29 years that it would be unusual to mention one without the other.
Douglas became Commanding Officer of 410 F86 Sabre Squadron at North Luffenham, England in 1952. While there he did a 6 month tour with the United States Air Force in Korea, and in 1956 became Chief Flying Instructor at Chatham, NB. When Germany joined NATO in 1957, he was given a three year assignment to the same position with the German Luftwaffe in Oldenburg. After serving for a year in Sardinia, Italy, he was posted to the Flight Safety Directorate at headquarters in Ottawa in 1961. A transfer in 1965 to RCAF Station Baldy Hughes near Prince George, BC as Commanding Officer for two years was followed by three years at NORAD headquarters in Colorado Springs. In 1970 he accepted a final posting to CFB Comox as Operations Officer and retired in 1973.
After retirement, Douglas led an exceptionally active community life. Supported by his dear wife Melba, he volunteered with United Way and CNIB, and was a charter member of the Filberg Lodge and Park, the Comox Archives and Museum, and the Coast Guard Auxiliary. He also served with the Canadian Marine Rescue Society and the Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons. Together, he and Melba drove for Meals on Wheels for 33 years. Always a supporter of Air Cadets, Douglas was Commanding Officer of the summer Air Cadet Camp in Penhold, Alberta for three years. Active with Branch 160 of the Royal Canadian Legion, he served as Branch Padre for 24 years, and also for a time as Padre for the 888 Wing of the Air Force Association of Canada and the Korean Veterans Association. For many years Douglas was a popular speaker at area schools discussing the importance and meaning of Remembrance. He wrote a bi-weekly column “On the Docks” for the local newspaper and hosted a bi-weekly TV interview program “The Blue Review”. After several years of these two activities, the paper closed and the TV station changed hands. Douglas, who was well known for his positive nature and quick wit, was often heard to say “It wasn’t my fault!”
Douglas was recognized for his community work when he was awarded the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award in 2002. In 2006 he was awarded the Minister of Veterans Affairs Commendation, and was accorded the Freedom of the Town of Comox. Also in 2006 he was appointed Knight of the Legion of Honour by the President of France.
Despite his numerous accomplishments, Douglas will best be remembered for his warmth and integrity in his dealings with all who knew him.
Douglas Warren was predeceased by his parents, Earl and Marie Warren, his older sister Alta, his twin brother Bruce and his beloved wife Melba. He leaves to mourn him, his son Bruce (Laura Lee McGibney), daughter Wendy (Ron McKibbon), grand children Kyra and Marc, and great grandchildren Oliver and Aurora, as well as his sister Joyce, many extended family members and countless friends.
Funeral service is to be held at 2pm on Friday, September 2 at St Michael and All Angels Protestant Chapel.
If friends so wish, they may make a charitable donation to the Comox Air Force Museum, the Bomber Command Museum of Canada in Nanton, Alberta, or to the charity of their choice, in memory of Douglas.