In 2017 Clarence Simonsen met veteran Spitfire pilot Gordon McKenzie Hill who then shared with him all he had kept from his service with the RCAF during WWII. He shared stories and photos but mostly he remembered his comrades-in-arms.
Clarence then wrote me because he wanted Gordon’s stories and photos online to preserve Gordon Hill’s past.
In 2017 I knew nothing about 416 Squadron, but with Clarence’s research I learned so much more about Gordon HIll and also some French-Canadian Spitfire pilots who according to Gordon Hill were dawn good pilots. Being myself French-Canadian suffice to say that information made my day.
On Sunday Clarence wrote me again and asked something…
RCAF Pilot Gordon Hill died on 30 January 2021. Gordon was 97 years of age. Maybe you can add something at the end of this wonderful man’s history blog.
I then decided to add something and share Clarence’s research on the links below…
Gordon McKenzie Hill’s obituary is here.
Gordon McKenzie Hill November 11, 1923 ~ January 30, 2021 (age 97)
Along with sharing our joy and gratitude for his wonderful long life of 97 years, his family is sad to share news of the passing of Gordon Hill.
Gordon was born on the family homestead in Canora, Saskatchewan on November 11, 1923, and he grew up there and in Regina.
He enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in December,1941, shortly after graduating high school and directly after the attack at Pearl Harbour. During World War Two, he became a fighter pilot with Squadrons 133 and 416. He flew a variety of planes, including Hurricanes and Spitfires, both in British Columbia and Europe. Over the time of his service, he flew close to one thousand hours. He loved flying and was proud to serve his country. His service was recognized and celebrated in a number of ways over the years, including a letter from the prime minister, a meeting with the King of Holland in Ottawa in 2015, having a boardroom named after him at M30 Retail Services, and, most recently, the grand homecoming of a reconditioned Hurricane (#5389) that he flew several times, to the Hangar Flight Museum, in November of 2019.
Following his return from the war, Gordon initially went into business with his father at the Hill Equipment Company in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. While there, he became reacquainted with Helen Plasteras, and they were married on October 1, 1949. They moved to Calgary in 1951, and Gordon worked for Stanolind /Pan American/Amoco for many years. At the beginning of that time, he attended night school to earn his CPA/CMA designation.
Gordon and Helen enjoyed 59 years of marriage. They raised their family, were involved in church and community activities, sang in several church and community choirs, travelled the world, trailered, and spent many wonderful summers at Twin Echo Shores in northern Idaho, U.S.A. They always set an example of unconditional love for each other and for their family.
Gordon’s interests were varied and eclectic. He was a faithful member of Lakeview United Church for 55 years, and he supported the church in a variety of ways including singing in the church choir until 2019. He always enjoyed anything to do with music and he sang in church and community choirs including the West Side Singers and the choir at The Manor at Garrison Woods. Gordon was a founding member of the Calgary Aerospace Museum (now the Hangar Flight Museum) and was a docent there for many years. More recently he was a docent at the Museums of the Regiments. He actively participated in most reunions of the Canadian Fighter Pilots Association and enjoyed “The Wing” (Wing 127) meetings. Gordon had a lifelong interest in philately and was a member of BNAPS and the Calgary Philatelic Society. He volunteered for many years for the C.N.I B. and the United Way. He loved to play cribbage and he enjoyed cherry pie and ice cream and a drink of single malt scotch.
He was devastated by the illnesses and deaths of both his wife Helen and his daughter Barbara, but he supported them with all he had and then tried his best to carry on. Gordon had an indomitable spirit and greeted each new day with optimism. He genuinely enjoyed all the times he spent with family and friends.
Gordon is survived and remembered with love by his daughter and son-in- law Eleanor and Peter Creasey, son and daughter-in-law Douglas and Donna Hill, grandchildren Erin and David (Julie) Creasey, great granddaughters Helen and Rose Creasey, nephews Scott (Chris) McKay, Gord (Laura) Hill, Alec (Esme) Hill and their families, other family members, and many good friends, including Marion Rogers.
He was predeceased by his beloved wife Helen, his treasured daughter Barbara, his parents Lilly and John Ross Hill, his siblings and their spouses, Dr. Marian Hill, Kathleen (Neil) McKay and Dr. Jim (Sandy) Hill, and his niece Allison Broenink.
In time, when circumstances allow, a memorial service will be held at Lakeview United Church and Gordon will be interred at Queen’s Park Cemetery, near to his wife and daughter.
The Hill and Creasey families offer special gratitude to his caregivers at the Manor at Garrison Woods, and to his many friends and family for their visits, phone calls and care packages over the last few months. Most of all, we want to express our deep appreciation to all the angels at the Carewest Colonel Belcher, who, at great personal risk, cared for Gordon with unfailing compassion and kindness, especially during his final illness with COVID- 19.
“I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7
In lieu of flowers, if friends so wish, memorial donations may be made to one of the following:
The Hangar Flight Museum (https://www.thehangarmuseum.ca/support/make-donation) or the Calgary Health Foundation in support of the Friends of Colonel Belcher Society (www.focbs.ca)