Fam­ily mourns loss of avi­a­tion hero

The Drumheller Mail - - SPORTS - Kyle Smylie The Drumheller Mail sub­mit­ted

A lo­cal fam­ily is mourn­ing the loss of a fa­ther, grand­fa­ther, and avi­a­tion hero af­ter Robert “Bob” Mor­gan passed away ear­lier this month.

Re­tired Flight Lieu­tenant Robert Mor­gan, 85, passed away on June 11, and along with be­ing re­mem­bered as a car­ing and giv­ing in­di­vid­ual, Robert Mor­gan was also the re­cip­i­ent of the Ge­orge Medal for brav­ery from the Royal Cana­dian Air Force when he pulled an in­jured pi­lot from a burn­ing air­plane when it crashed on a run­way in France in 1955.

“He was ev­ery­body’s friend, he was gen­er­ous to a fault, and he went out of his way to help peo­ple,” said his son Lloyd Mor­gan, owner of New­cas­tle Tow­ing.

Bob Mor­gan had been awarded the Ge­orge Medal in 1957 and be­came an avi­a­tion hero for ig­nor­ing his own safety and res­cued an un­con­scious pi­lot from a burn­ing air­craft amid ex­plod­ing am­mu­ni­tion.

The event took place on July 21, 1955 at a run­way in Marville, France. Mor­gan, who was work­ing in the land­ing shack that day when he saw a fel­low pi­lot land short on the run­way and his jet burst into flames. Mor­gan dashed to the jet and tried to get the un­con­scious pi­lot out but the canopy was jammed. He then grabbed a rock to break open the canopy. By the time firecrews ar­rived on scene, some­one passed Mor­gan an axe in which he broke open the canopy and dragged the pi­lot to safety.

Speak­ing at an event in late 2015, Mor­gan told re­porters, “He crashed and I ran to the air­plane, and af­ter that it’s just a blur… I think any­body would have done it. You don’t think. It’s just au­to­matic. And when it’s all over you can’t re­mem­ber,” re­ported 630 CHED in an ar­ti­cle from June 12, 2016.

“It wasn’t a big deal to him,” said Bob’s daugh­ter-in-law Shel­ley Mor­gan. “In the thick of it and with the adren­a­line go­ing you just do what needs to be done.”

“Those who served in the mil­i­tary are a dif­fer­ent breed, and have dis­ci­pline and love and car­ing for oth­ers,” said Shel­ley. “He was def­i­nitely a role model.”

The Ge­orge Medal is pri­mar­ily a civil­ian award, but it may be awarded to mil­i­tary per­son­nel for gal­lant con­duct that is not in the face of the en­emy. Only 77 Cana­di­ans have been pre­sented with the medal since 1940. Mor­gan spent 36 years in the air force, serv­ing in Canada, Eng­land, France, and Ger­many, fly­ing a va­ri­ety of air­craft in­clud­ing P51 Mus­tangs, F86 Sabres, Har­vards, CF 104’s, C130 Her­cules’, and Twin Ot­ters. He was named Air­man of the Year in 1986.

Af­ter leav­ing the air­force, Mor­gan be­came a duty man­ager at the Edmonton Mu­nic­i­pal Air­port un­til 1994, and at that time was still fly­ing with the re­serves in the Air Force.

In 2010, the City of Edmonton named a street in the com­mu­nity of Gries­bach in his hon­our, along with eight other Ed­mon­to­nian vet­er­ans.

Bob Mor­gan was an ex­tremely ac­tive vol­un­teer in St. Al­bert, where he resided, as well as an ac­tive mem­ber of many air force as­so­ci­a­tions as well as a long-time vol­un­teer with the St. Al­bert Com­mu­nity In­for­ma­tion and Vol­un­teer Cen­tre and the St. Al­bert Spe­cial Olympics, serv­ing as a bowl­ing coach for about 25 years.

Those who served in the mil­i­tary are a dif­fer­ent breed, and have dis­ci­pline and love and car­ing for oth­ers. He was def­i­nitely a role model.”

A lo­cal fam­ily is mourn­ing the loss of Bob Mor­gan, an avi­a­tion hero was hon­oured with a rarely awarded Ge­orge Medal for risk­ing his own life to save an un­con­scious pi­lot from a burn­ing air­craft amid ex­plod­ing am­mu­ni­tion in France in 1955.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.