Cecil Edward Durnin enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on July 4, 1941, at the age of 19. After training in Canada and the UK, he participated in aircraft ferry operations, flying a Bristol Beaufighter from the Isle of Islay, Scotland to India by way of Africa and the Middle East. In India, he was stationed at Lahore (now in Pakistan), and for the next two years he served as a transport and flight test pilot. During that time he reckons, “I guess we saw more of India than very many other pilots.” He returned home to Canada in September 1945 and was honourably discharged from the RCAF on November 27th.
During the war, he piloted 14 different types of aircraft, from twin-engine Bristol Beaufighters to Hawker Hurricanes to North American Harvards. His last flight at the controls was in a brand new ultralight plane just outside of Winnipeg, shortly after the war.