"The continued offering of his aeronautical brilliance in the cruellest geographic arenas, his total dedication to the cause of uniting people through air transport, and his numerous and humane contributions, have been of outstanding benefit to Canadian aviation."
Wilfred “Wop” Reid May was educated in Alberta at Edmonton and Calgary. He left the University of Alberta in 1916 to enlist with the 202nd City of Edmonton Battalion. On April 20, 1918 during an aerial engagement over enemy territory, he shot down one aircraft before Manfred von Richthofen, the "Red Baron" attacked him.
Out of ammunition, May led the Baron into Allied airspace where the Baron was shot down by another Canadian, Arthur Roy Brown. In 1919, May joined his brother in forming May Aeroplanes Limited at Edmonton, the first air service for that city; he also founded the Edmonton and Northern Alberta Aero Club.
During his aviation career May helped transport a serum to Fort Vermilion, Alberta, where there was a diphtheria outbreak. He was also commissioned by the RCMP to help them locate from the air the man known as the Mad Trapper, who had shot police and several other searchers. In the Second World War, May became supervisor of the BCATP Schools operated by Canadian Pacific Airlines and developed a trained parachute squad that volunteered with Canadian and American forces, saving the lives of many airmen.
Born: 20 Mar 1896, Carberry, MB
Died: 21 June 1952
Awards: OBE, DFC