MORE MEMORIES OF THE PILOT
Gord Heath recalls many strange events occurring throughout his life. Heath, a computer systems engineer presently living in Vancouver, was born in Fort William in the Spring of 1954, about nine months after the Kinross incident. (Used with permission)
THE RED KNIGHT
I think it was the summer of 1959, that we went to see an Air Show in Fort William. I remember seeing the RCAF Golden Hawks perform. I also remember us walking on a large asphalt surface to look at a large number of static plane displays on the ground.
I am not sure if it was the same air show, but I also remember watching a performance by the Red Knight. This might have been at a later event in Fort William or Edmonton. The Red Knight was an RCAF pilot who flew a red painted T-33 Silver Star in a solo aerobatic performance. I remember that I loved the look of the sleek red jet and the vertical flights and hammerhead turns. As I was watching him perform, I started really getting into the aircraft maneuvers, and I suddenly started to feel a sense of what it was like to be flying the plane. As the plane made its turns, I felt like I was in the plane and could feel the G-forces affecting me. I suddenly sensed that I could remember flying that jet or one like it. I turned to my brothers and told them "I'm the Red Knight. I'm the Red Knight." Of course they thought I was talking nonsense.
The T-33 was the jet that Lt. Moncla received his advanced flight training, while stationed at Reese Air Force Base, in Lubbock, Texas. A side note of some interest was that the call name assigned to Moncla and Wilson’s last flight was “Avenger Red”.
I think it was that fall that I first entered school which was right behind our house on Moodie Street. At recess we played various games like tag and cops and robbers I guess. One of the boys had an idea of playing that we were Jet Fighters. He started with his back against the wall and his arms stretched out and swept back like and F-86. He would start slowly and then accelerate to a run, and then bank of in one direction or another before returning back to his original spot. I really got into the idea of pretending I was in a fighter jet, and was playing this game by myself, long after the other boys lost interest in it.
Note: My recollection of watching the airshow happened while I was driving on my trip to Madison in late 2001. I had just been daydreaming about the times our family had when we lived in Thunder Bay. When I had the memory of watching the Red Knight, I wasn’t even completely sure that there was such an act and I thought, well maybe this was something I was imagining had occurred. When I got back from my trip, I searched the Internet and found out that there had been such an airshow performer in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I asked my brother about this, and he told me that the time we went to the airshow in Fort William, that the featured acts included the Golden Hawks. He could also remember that we had seen the Red Knight perform. He didn’t remember that I had told them that I was the Red Knight, but of course, at that time, he just thought this was just a very stupid story that I was making up.
THE MODEL AIRPLANES
I was about two and a half, when I first remember my dad showing us the model planes. We were in the living room and my dad brought out this stainless steel round jar, with a nicely shaped top. Inside the jar were some tiny model airplanes, carved out of plastic. My dad had made these by hand when he was in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II.
He told us that they were not toys, but that we could look at them and hold them when he was with us.I remember that we all loved the shiny, semi-transparent planes.I seem to remember that there was other Air Force stuff in the box at that time, but I don't think we looked at this other stuff. My dad might have said something like "those are Gordie's", but I am not sure about this.
One related memory from about the same time, was one night my mom and dad sat down with me and told me a story. I am not sure if they had the steel jar with them at that time or not.What they told me was that they used to go and visit two men. They tried to tell me where they were but I didn't understand. I remember they said that one of them decided to go with "them", and the other one didn't. He wanted to go back. I remember that my mother said that he couldn't go back because they were going to put him in prison. My dad said this was true, but he still wanted to go back so he could see his family again.
I was very young and had a hard time even asking the right questions to figure out the stuff I couldn't understand. They told me that the last time they saw the two men, that the man who didn't stay with them, gave my parents the jar and the badges inside. He had also written a diary, and wanted to give it to my parents, but my parents said they wouldn't let him.
I remember that I felt really sorry for the man, even though I didn't understand what happened to him and where he was being kept. I also never understood who was keeping him. I was very confused about the prison part, because it sounded to me like the man was in prison when my parents went to see him, otherwise; why wouldn't he be allowed to go see his family?
Note: There is much more to this story that continues on. My recollection of my parents telling me the story is quite fuzzy compared to my memory of the first time my dad showed my brothers and I the model planes he kept in the jar. This is the only memory I have of my parents telling me about them visiting these men.
An Argument in the Night
I was about four years old when this happened. My parents sometimes had long arguments in the night after we went to bed. Because they talked so loud and sometimes shouted, we couldn't go to sleep. I remember that one night, they were arguing about something that related to me. This was something I heard and my brothers heard also. This was very unusual, because they mostly confronted us directly when they had problems with us.
I remember my dad saying to my mother, "It's not real. It's not real. It didn't happen." My mother was crying and kept arguing with him that it did happen. I also think I remember my dad saying that if my mother told people about this, that she would be placed in a mental hospital. It was certainly not clear to me what they were arguing about at the time, but I wonder if it somehow tied into the story they told me before about the two men. I remember that as we listened to this, that I felt guilty, like I had done something bad because I was somehow responsible for the problems that were happening in our family.
I have highlighted the clues that pertain to him gradually piecing together his past life. It will all come together at the end of this story.