Calgary pilot Jack Hilton, flew rocket-firing Typhoons during Second World War, dead at 99

Calgary pilot Jack Hilton, flew rocket-firing Typhoons during Second World War, dead at 99

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[Global News] Alberta Second World War veteran Jack Hilton died on March 7 at age 99, the Royal Canadian Air Force has confirmed.

VIDEO: [Hunter ICX] Introduced late in the war, the Hawker Typhoon was intended to be the replacement for the obsolescent Hawker Hurricane. However, equipped with rockets, it proved to be a superlative ground attack aircraft. [Contemporary footage, posted Dec. 30, 2008]


Hilton died peacefully in his sleep at St. Teresa Place in Calgary. He is survived by four children — two daughters and two sons ranging in age from 62 to 75 — and multiple grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

As a Typhoon fighter pilot, Hilton completed more than 100 operations across Europe during the Second World War — including getting shot down over Dunkirk and flying on D-Day — and later went on to train hundreds of other young men to fly.

“In 28 days, I flew 28 times — and 28 times you take off and land, you’re pushing your luck,” Hilton told Global News on Remembrance Day in 2018.

He said every time he took to the air, a quarter of the men who went up didn’t return.

“I went over to France with 28 pilots,” Hilton said of his overall mission. “Eight of us came home to Canada. I’ve seen things that humans shouldn’t see.”

Hilton was born in Toronto on April 22, 1919, and straight out of high school he joined the Air Force.

In 1939, Hilton moved to Fort Macleod, Alta., to train pilots. He met Ethel on the Air Force base in 1940 and they tied the knot in 1942 — a marriage that lasted 71 years.

“They were always holding hands,” said Sandra Kratz, Hilton’s eldest daughter, on Wednesday.

This article continues at [Global News] Alberta WWII veteran Jack Hilton dies at 99

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