Sim­i­lar ca­reer choice takes brothers’ lives in to­tally dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions

Blag­don brothers rem­i­nisce

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - BY CARL ROSE

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.

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