Article: Trouble is Their Business…Rescues “On the Jump”

  • Noorduyn Norseman in flight

    October, 1947, Aircraft and Airport

    Located on the rim of the North, Hargreaves and Dick, original RCAF “crash and carry” boys, cater to the flying trade going down North…their doctor partner jumps to rescue too

    Unique not only in Canada, but throughout the world, is the enterprise of Hargreaves and Dick located at Edmonton Airport – for trouble is their business.

    These two RCAF veterans, Owen S. Hargreaves, BEM, and Jack Dick, offer to the aviation industry the original “crash and carry” service.

    Associated with them in the business is Dr. Colin Ross, house surgeon at the Royal Alexander Hospital not far from the Edmonton Airport. A veteran of the paratroops, he jumps with the rescue crew in the event of death.

    Both Hargreaves and Dick were members of the original Crash and Carry squad of the RCAF, and they have carried their service trade into civilian life. Their para-rescue service is available not only in Canada, but they are ready to go anywhere in the world where there is a legitimate call and a chance to save a life.

    The story of their business goes back to the service where they met. Owen S. Hargreaves, now 37, came to Canada in 1929 and settled in the west. He worked in the mines and followed his fortune throughout the Yukon, MacKenzie and the Arctic, flying with veteran bush pilot “Wop” May in the early thirties.

    He had returned to New Zealand for a visit when war broke out. Upon his return to Canada in 1940, he went to No. 2 AOS as an aircraft engineer. There he met Jack Dick, 25, who was also an air engineer and later became a para-rescue instructor.

    While at AOS they became familiar with search and rescue work, and Owen Hargreaves with Scotty Thompson went to the Forestry School at Montana for a special course in bush jumping. Upon their return they served as instructors of air force personnel in a special RCAF para-rescue unit, formed at the suggestion of “Wop” May.

    Carrying on in this capacity, and during which time he received the King’s Commendation and the BEM, Owen Hargreaves was released from the service in 1946, when he joined with Jack Dick to continue their work on civvy street.

    “We carried it on into civil life because there is a great feeling of satisfaction in effecting a rescue, and you can’t appreciate the lift you get out of the spirit in which you are received by someone in trouble.” Owen Hargreaves declared.

    While the more spectacular side of their work is flying to the scene of an air crash and jumping to carry out rescue work, there is a more prosaic side to the business, he pointed out.

    “When you have seen a few crashes, you see just how much good a bit of preparedness can do, and that is what we are pushing now,” he added.

    Located at Edmonton Airport on the fringe of the North, Hargreaves and Dick have adopted the slogan “Before you go North, see H. and D.,” and it is rapidly becoming a byword among the men who go down North by air.

    Booklet for Flyers

    They have prepared a booklet for the guidance of anyone going North, which contains complete instructions on camp making, selecting camp sites, how to use rivers as highways through the North and what native vegetation can be eaten safely.

    In their Edmonton workshop are also kit bags, winter mukluks, mitts, mosquito netting, airplane engine tents, wing covers, etc. They prepare an emergency kit for stowage in the aircraft, containing first aid supplies, fishing tackle and hooks and spoons tested for efficiency in northern waters, snares, axe, knife, cooking utensils, matches and other equipment which would be needed in the event of a crack up.

    Hargreaves and Dick also offer parachute jumping instruction and training in para-rescue work. In this end of their business they have undertaken a special school for the Saskatchewan government, and have been approached from across the world – by the Chinese government.

    This article originally appeared in the October, 1947 edition of Aircraft and Airport magazine.

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