Before the Second World War broke out, James (Stocky) Edwards had sparked the interest of the Chicago Black Hawks. But a National Hockey League career never materialized. Instead, he would become a decorated fighter pilot, credited with being Canada’s highest scoring ace in the Western Desert Campaign in Africa.
The 97-year-old Comox resident will be the guest of honour at an Aug. 8 banquet at 14 Hangar at the base. The event is part of a Y2K Homecoming Celebration, in reference to a re-constructed, Second World War Spitfire named Y2K. The aircraft is journeying around parts of North America and will arrive in Comox in time for the banquet, where a legacy fund named after Stocky will be launched.
The Stocky Edwards Legacy Fund is a bursary program that will support young people pursuing careers in aviation.
“If it helps out some of the young people, that’s good,” Edwards said.
An Order of Canada recipient, Stocky has also been appointed a knight of the French Legion of Honour.
Organizers hope he will climb into the cockpit of the MK IX Roseland Spitfire at the banquet. But that will depend on the condition of his hip and arm, which he broke last Christmas after a fall.
“That was a bad thing, trying to get over that,” Stocky said. “You break your hip and it doesn’t know how to walk again.”
But he recovered, and is walking without a cane.
“But there’s so many things you can’t do,” Stocky said.
Still, recovering at his age must mean he’s a naturally tough guy.
“You gotta’ be,” he responded.
For more information about banquet tickets or sponsorship opportunities, visit www.y2kspitfire.ca