Archie had a long and distinguished career in aviation and is a member of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, Quebec Air and Space Hall of Fame, and Les Vieilles Tiges De Belgique. Archie immigrated to Canada from Belgium at the age of 16 in 1925. Motivated at an early age, watching dog-fights in the skies above his backyard in Belgium during WWI, he developed a fascination for flying machines.
He witnessed and lived through the early years of aviation and was motivated by pioneers such as Lindbergh. He commenced flying training at the Montreal Flying Club and soloed on October 28, 1928. He flew with Central Airways in Amos, Quebec as a pilot engineer in 1935 and joined MacKenzie Air Service in 1937. He flew alongside Canada's Aviation Pioneers until commissioned in the R.C.A.F. as a Flying Officer in 1939. He attained the rank of Squadron Leader and was appointed CO of 160 Squadron, a Canso Coastal Reconnaissance Unit at Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. At the time of his discharge in 1945, he was Director of Instrument Flying Training.
After the war Archie joined Canadian Pacific Airlines and moved to Vancouver in 1949 to fly for CPA Overseas Lines. He was one of five Captains on the first Canadian registered Aircraft to fly to Tokyo, Shanghai and Hong Kong. His firsts included - Captain of the inaugural flight to Honolulu, Fiji, Sydney and Auckland; Captain of the first direct Honolulu-Vancouver flight by a Canadian aircraft; Captain of the inaugural flights between Lima, Peru and Mexico. Between 1973 and 1982, he acted as the instrument flight instructor for Austin Airways and also worked for CIDA. He trained African pilots on the DHC-6 Twin Otter in Senegal, Mali, Upper Volta and other African countries; a Chief Pilot for the Aviation Project in Dakar.
Archie retired in 1983 at the age of 74 after 56 years in aviation. He had flown over 90 different types of aircraft from the biplane Curtiss JN4 to the prototype Boeing 707, totaling more than 25,000 hours. He had a passion for flying and a love for all things aircraft. In retirement he spent years drafting memoirs and reflecting on his great joy of instrument flying and the contributions that he had made as a pioneer and instructor.
Friends will be received at the DODSWORTH & BROWN Funeral Home, ANCASTER CHAPEL, 378 Wilson Street East, on Thursday, May 7, 2009 from 2-5 p.m. Funeral service from St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church, Hamilton on Friday, May 8, 2009 at 11 a.m. Interment Hamilton Cemetery. "Oh I have slipped The surly bonds of earth ... Put out my hand And touched the Face of God"