"Louis Bourassa, O.B.E., and
Flying Officer John Bourassa, D.F.C. and Bar,
father and son,
brought honour to the land of their birth -
the Peace River District of Northern Alberta."
THE BOURASSAS OF PEACE RIVER
In the same file where my aunt (Louis Bourassa's daughter and Johnny Bourassa's sister) found the newspaper photo of Johnny's missing airplane she found an article written by CALGARY POWER LTD., entitled "Here's Alberta - People and Places". I've scanned and transcribed it below for the interest of Orwell Today readers. Click images twice to enlarge for reading:
"People living in the north aren't given to talking about themselves. Perhaps the immense size of the country accounts for it, or the solitude. And yet - there are many interesting stories about these vital folk. Take the Bourassa family of Peace River, for instance.
Do you ever think - after you've fixed a stamp on a letter and dropped it into a handy postal box - of what happens then? Of the people who take it to its destination? But let's take first things first, and in this case it means going back more than two centuries in Canadian history.
The first Bourassa to be born in Canada was Rene, who was born in 1688 in Montreal. He established this well-known French Canadian family whose members became prominent in the early fur trade. One hundred and twenty-seven years later - in 1815 - his direct descendant, Vital Bourassa entered the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company in the far north of this province, and members of the family have resided in Alberta ever since.
Louis Bourassa, who was born in 1885 in the Peace River, became a famous northern mail courier, a man who got the mail through - come hell or high water! Eventually, his devotion to duty was to be noted in London, and the reigning monarch designated Louis Bourassa as a citizen worthy of the Order of the British Empire.
They called him "big Louis" for he stood over six feet tall in his moccasins. He was strong - straight as a ramrod - and his eyes were direct and keen. Born and educated in the northland, he spoke English, French and Cree with equal facility. During the summer months big Louis was engaged by the Hudson's Bay Company as a pilot on the mighty Peace River. During the wintertime he was an employee of the Canadian government, under contract to deliver mail from Peace River northeast to the remote trading-post of Fort Vermilion. This route was one of the most hazardous in the world - three hundred miles over an icy cold land, shrouded in snow, and swept by fierce blizzards. The path leads up and down hills, around hairpin turns, and skirting sheer precipices overhanging the Peace River. Louis Bourassa always got the mail through and was equal to every emergency. He kept his eyes on the trail, but his mind on the calendar, for lonely people in the
northern posts and on trap lines were counting on the letters dropped so casually in the corner mail-boxes of civilization. And so it was that the King's New Year's Honours List in 1935, cited the name and deeds of the veteran mail-freighter and riverboat pilot of Northern Alberta, along with those of other notable citizens in our far-flung Empire.
Flying Officer John Bourassa, D.F.C., and Bar, was Big Louis' son. Johnny Bourassa went overseas in 1942 to fly with the R.A.F. He piloted a Lancaster bomber of the Pathfinder wing on two tours of duty totalling fifty-two flights. For general efficiency and leadership he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, with the Bar added for further duty. After the stress and agony of wartime flying were over, Johnny Bourassa returned to the Peace River to fly as a bush pilot with the Yellowknife Airways. He was missing on May 18, 1951, and a great air search was instigated. In September Bourassa's plane was sighted on the bank of a Northern lake. There were faint footsteps in the nearby terrain - but they led to nowhere.
Louis and John Bourassa were typical men of the north, who brought fame and honour to Alberta, the land of their birth. Brave, adventurous, and devoted to duty - "In the morning, and at the going down of the sun, we will remember them."
Calgary Power has brought you the story of Louis Bourassa, O.B.E., and Flying Officer John Bourassa, D.F.C. and Bar, father and son, who brought honour to the land of their birth - the Peace River District of Northern Alberta."
EDWARD VIII STAMPS/POSTBOX/ABDICATION and ORWELL'S WALLINGTON ROYAL MAIL DELIVERY
Searching for Johnny Bourassa (compilation of articles and photos)
LEGENDS LOUIS & JOHNNY BOURASSA and YUKON SURVIVORS FLORES FRIEND STORY and PILOT MCCALLUM RESCUED YUKON SURVIVORS and B-17 PILOT SPOTTED BOURASSA PLANE and THE FLYING BOURASSA BROTHERS and JOHNNY BOURASSA DIAMOND IN ROUGH and POEM MEMORY OF LOUIS BOURASSA and SNOW WALKER JOHNNY BOURASSA and U-2 SEARCHERS FIND BOURASSA and JOHNNY BOURASSA'S MISSING PLANE and JOHNNY BOURASSA FLIES FARLEY MOWAT and THE BOURASSAS OF PEACE RIVER and TRIBUTE TO LOUIS & JOHNNY BOURASSA
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