Similar career choice takes brothers’ lives in totally different directions
Blagdon brothers reminisce
Two brothers born in the vacated community of Femme, Fortune Bay more than 80 years ago followed in their father’s footsteps in choosing engineering as a career.
This choice, however, would take their lives in totally different directions.
Onslow Blagdon, 83, now makes his home in Greenwood, Nova Scotia. He visited his brother Fred, 87, this summer at his home in Terrenceville in this province.
While visiting Fred’s wife Norah, who resides in the Blue Crest Home in Grand Bank, the brothers shared some of their life experiences with the Southern Gazette.
Onslow reminisced about his career as a flight engineer in the Canadian Air Force on planes such as Bristol Freighter, the Helicopter H2 and the Labrador, the Hercules, and the 707. He spoke with great pride and admiration of the opportunity to meet prime ministers, queens, princesses, governorsgeneral and popes.
Fred’s memories were quite different. He spent 32 years in the engine room on Newfoundland draggers, starting with Captain Arch Thornhill on the Blue Foam. His journey started as a herring fisherman with his uncle in Lally Cove when he was only 17, before becoming a bank fisherman and then a deckhand and engineer on several side and stern trawlers. Onslow’s story
In 1953, Onslow moved from Boxey to live with his sister in Halifax, where he found work in an oil (cannery) factory. That experience was short-lived.
“I hated the job; it was dirty work and I got disgusted with it after a few months,” he said.
It was then he enlisted in the Canadian Air Force, doing his basic training in Saint-Jean, Quebec, before completing his training in aero-engineering at Borden. He subsequently worked with Search and Rescue in Greenwood for five years.
From 1958 to 1962, the airman and his young bride were stationed in Langar, England where he started crewing on a Bristol freighter. He subsequently returned to Greenwood, and later served in such places as Summerside and Trenton.
One of Onslow’s memorable experiences occurred when he flew on the Labrador Helicopters.
“We spent two summers on Eagle River, Labrador with many VIPs. I have many happy members of Governor General Michener, a very distinguished gentleman. He used my spinning rod to catch Arctic char. He didn’t like salmon fishing on the river, so I would fly him out to fish for char. I cherish these memories,” he said.
See FRED’S STORY, page 3
The Blagdon brothers, Onslow and Fred, reflect on where their lives have taken them during a conversation with the Southern Gazette.