From left

Qualicum Beach Second World War veteran gets to fly again

Howard Bouey, 94, got to fly a Cessna last week, thanks to the Parksville Qualicum Aero Club

  • Nov. 4, 2014 7:00 a.m.

RANDY PARCELS

Special to The NEWS

On Wednesday, Oct. 29, Jim Hannibal, of the Parksville Qualicum Aero Club, took Howard Bouey, a 94-year-old resident of Qualicum Beach’s The Gardens and a former Second World War bomber pilot, for a ride in Parksville Qualicum Aero Club’s Cessna 172. The club’s 172 is available to the club’s flying members as well as non-flying members via its KIWI program.

Howard showed us that he still has “The Right Stuff” when he took over the airplane’s controls enroute to Duncan.

Bouey left university early and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in the fall of 1941. After training in Edmonton and Calgary, and marrying Grace on October 10, 1942. Howard went overseas to England and Scotland, where he did more training on bombers, including the Wellington. The Wellington Bomber had a 14 million candle power light on a retractable assembly in its belly that was operated by a second pilot located in a clear plastic nose of the plane. After a few hours training and flying the Wellington and operating the light and other onboard equipment they were approved for flight operations.

Operations were conducted mostly at night. The job was to fly the chosen area scanning for contacts on the water. Snow or rain or shine, they flew at 1,100 feet above the water. If a contact was spotted they honed in on it while losing altitude to 100-110 feet above the sea. When appropriate, they would use the light to expose the contact, which could be a sailing or fishing vessel or maybe a submarine caught by its snorkel (a breathing tube getting the air needed by its crew). Then they would drop their depth charges and hopefully damage the sub or render it disabled.

Howard and his crew did this for approximately 400 hours. Trips were 10-12 hours covering the English Channel, The Irish Sea and the Bay of Biscay. Later they were posted to Wick on Scotland’s most northern coast. On December 26, 1944, Howard and his crew attacked a snorkel in the English Channel. Assessed as “damaged,” their squadron leader came out the next night and killed the sub. Howard and crew continued operations in the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay. That’s where he was on the night the war in Europe was declared over. They had completed 402.2 hours and their tour was over.

Howard Bouey, Flight Lieutenant RCAF, returned to Canada, completed his university education at the University of Manitoba and became an architect who worked for many years in Edmonton, Alberta. He and his bride Grace retired to Qualicum Beach approximately thirty years ago. Sadly, Grace has passed away. However as you can see by Howard’s grin after the landing back at Qualicum Beach Airport in PQAC’s Cessna 172 he is keeping sharp and enjoying our beautiful part of the world.

If you’d like to learn more about the Parksville Qualicum Aero Club and its involvement in COPA for kids, the PQAC High School Scholarship, the KIWI flying program or other activities be sure to visit www.PQAC.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Perfect Storm Group pushes for community-owned and operated primary care facility

Seeks proposals for development of feasibility study for ’Oceanside Campus of Healthcare’

RCMP arrest suspect after attempted break-and-enter in Parksville

Resident provides description, cops nab 46-year-old man

B.C. records four new COVID-19 cases, Abbotsford hospital outbreak cleared

Four senior home outbreaks also declared over, eight still active

Young killer whale untangles itself from trap line off Nanaimo shore

DFO marine mammal rescue unit arrived as whale broke free from prawn trap line

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP, coroner investigate murder-suicide on Salt Spring Island

Two dead, police say there is no risk to the public

Gold River organizes a shop local initiative to creatively boost economy

Local purchases can earn shoppers $200 gift certificates to be spent on businesses within Gold River

About 30% of B.C. students return to schools as in-class teaching restarts amid pandemic

Education minister noted that in-class instruction remains optional

Trudeau avoids questions about anti-racism protesters dispersed for Trump photo-op

Prime minister says racism is an issue Canadians must tackle at home, too

B.C.’s Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics goes virtual

The annual event partnering RCMP with Special Olympians is dramatically altered by COVID-19

Most Read