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Saanich veteran says he enjoyed every moment of his 42 years with air force

William Floyd has been able to fly to over a dozen countries
William Floyd poses for a photo at Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich. (Brendan Mayer/News Staff)

After serving for 42 years with the Royal Canadian Air Force, veteran William Floyd believes times are fun when you’re flying. Floyd joined the air force in 1953.

“I learned to trust people in the Royal Canadian Air Force,” Floyd said from his Saanich retirement home.

“It was a very good service. The best in the world as far as I’m concerned. You trusted the officers completely. It made me more trustworthy because you had to be. We were standing up as brave Canadians and making a good example of ourselves and were learning to be friendly.”

Floyd was working as a mechanic millwright in Kitimat when he learned about the life of Geoffrey de Havilland Jr., which inspired him to be a pilot. De Havilland was a British test pilot, who died while carrying out tests in the de Havilland DH 108 TG306 aircraft which broke up over the Thames Estuary.

“He has quite a story,” Floyd added. “It was very inspirational. The man was totally fearless. I sort of followed him and his habits.”

Floyd’s been to approximately 16 countries.

“I’ve flown all over. You learn about all the nationalities. I flew to Europe quite a bit. That was a great experience.”

Gunnery camps in North Africa were Floyd’s favourite memories from his time with the air force.

“We went down twice a year to practice shooting. We fired thousands and thousands of rounds. We enjoyed doing it and were good at it. I passed on the word about safety factors. We practised a lot. We didn’t have any wars, but we got close.”

Floyd was also appointed to fly as a test pilot for Scottish Aviation for several months.

“I sometimes wore several hats. I enjoyed flying in Scotland very much. They are wonderful people.”

Floyd had seven siblings and remembers writing letters to his brothers and sisters during his travels.

“I tried to keep them informed about what was going on in each country. I have a large family. I also got a lot of mail.”

Floyd says he never regretted joining the air force.

“I enjoyed every bit of it. I had a great time flying. I had a good job. I was paid well. We demanded good service. The Canadian government raised our pay quite high in 1976 and then it was all good.”

Remembrance Day continues to be important for Floyd.

“It’s about honouring those who died to save their country. They died to preserve our way of life. We now need to treat fellow Canadians well.”

ALSO READ: Victoria veteran spent Second World War flying below the radar


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Brendan Mayer

About the Author: Brendan Mayer

I spent my upbringing in Saskatoon, and in 2021, I made the move to Vancouver Island.
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