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'It was beautiful to see': Hercules flyover marks Winnipegger’s 100th birthday


It was a giant celebration for a giant birthday in south Winnipeg Wednesday, which featured a flyover from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).

Richard Earl celebrated his 100th birthday and as part of the festivities, a CC-130H Hercules from the 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron flew over where he lives.

A large smile broke out on Earl's face the second the Hercules roared up above.

"I've never experienced a fly-pass until today and it was in my honour, which is very, very humbling," said Earl. "It was beautiful to see that Hercules up in the air."

He was a radio operator on the CC-129 Douglas Dakota, which was a transport aircraft used by the 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron during the Second World War.

He was also one of the original members of the 435 squadron serving in Burma and India and the Canadian Armed Forces said he has reconnected with the squadron over the last number of years.

"I never realized they were based in Winnipeg until a friend told me."

It isn't just Earl who is celebrating his 100th birthday, as the RCAF is also marking 100 years.

He said it's pretty special to have that connection to the air force.

On the ground was Lt. Col. Josh Leveque, the commanding officer for the 435 squadron. He helped present a number of gifts to Earl in recognition of the significant day.

"We are extremely humbled to be able to celebrate with our veterans for all the contributions they made to Canada in the war, and specifically this event where it’s a 100th birthday of an original 435 squadron member, which is exceptional," said Leveque.

Leveque is the 38th commanding officer of the squadron and said it means a lot to him to be part of the celebration.

"To be able to celebrate this event with a member who was there at the very stand up of the squadron I'm so proud of, it's impossible to put into words what that means to me." Top Stories

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