Greenfield Family History, Eaglesham Alberta

Flying
History proved that flying came natural for
the Greenfield men. Below left is a photo
of my great uncle Frank Greenfield,
a World War One fighter pilot.

Below right is my father Frank Greenfield. He
began as an engineer and eventually earned
his wings and rank as a Pilot Officer.

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Great Uncle Frank Greenfield, a WW1 Fighter Pilot

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Frank on takeoff from our farm runway

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Frank in the Gun Turret of a Canso

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Photo on the right shows my own flying fun, flying both ultralight gyrocopters and fixed wing aircraft by age 19. (Doug Greenfield)

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Father’s “flying outfit” shown here on a trailer behind our
‘62 Studebaker. We travelled to all the local fly-ins.

Interested in Aviation?
Check out "Save The Canso"


To the left is a Canso similar to the one that Frank Greenfield Flew during the war. This aircraft is being restored at Fairview Alberta.

When I was only 15, Father and I took up flying with a homebuilt ultralight aircraft called a Gyrocopter. The farm served as a runway and training ground while we experimented with various modifications of the Gyrocopter. Eventually, after a few hundred hours of flying and at a time when I was serving with the Royal Canadian Navy, Father suffered a terrible accident. He had ordered a new, commercially made rotor from the Benson factory in North Carolina and was in the process of tracking and balancing it when the new equipment disintegrated. Because the rotor was “semi-finished” there was no recourse with the factory. Frank lay in his Edmonton hospital bed for three long weeks in a coma.

Eventually, the physio professionals at the Royal Alex retrained him to walk and even drive once again. This might have been the end of that momentary grief were it not for his unwise doctor who prescribed that he not return to the farm but retire to completely unfamiliar surroundings out on the West Coast. Sadly, everything that Father and Mother knew about earning a living and the critical resources he needed to redevelop his mind and body again, were back on the farm.

The next years were extremely tough for Mother who now found herself as the chief breadwinner. She worked in restaurants and in cleaning jobs trying desperately to make a living. Dad worked around the home, improving the properties and keeping the house while she was at work. As a result, he never did regain his engineering confidence, being able to use his considerable talents as an inventor, builder and businessman that he had once been.

They attempted to return to their roots in Saskatchewan but soon found that all the “kids” they had grown up with were gone. In a couple of years, when they finally returned to British Columbia, they settled in the Okanagan Valley, savouring the warmth that comforted Mother’s chronic arthritis. Here, they finally retired and enjoyed the beauty of the Okanagan until Mom’s passing in 1982. Father continued to crane his neck and watch every passing airoplane until the spring of 2008 when he finally earned his "final" flight to the great blue yonder.


Other flyers in the family include Father's brother Vern who was also in the Air Force and his brother-in-law Doug Cameron who served as a Major in the RCAF until retirement.