The first aerial fire patrol in Canada, in 1919, was also a test flight to determine if seaplanes could be used to patrol Canadian forests.
Daring 22-year old aviator and Nova Scotia native Stuart Graham, mechanic Bill Kahr, and Stuart’s wife, observer Madge Graham, flew the Curtiss HS-2L flying boat on aerial patrol from Nova Scotia to Grand-Mere, Quebec in 3 days.
This remarkable feat was accomplished in spite of the dark predictions of the renowned explorer and aviator Admiral Byrd, who “when he learned our intention to transport the HS to the interior, …declared that it was invitation to suicide to control a seaplane above dry land, and it was criminal to involve a woman.”
The crew of La Vigilance dropped thousands of pamphlets over Trois Rivières, Quebec, to celebrate Canada’s first aerial patrol.
To learn more about Canada’s first aerial patrol, click on the Stuart Graham Papers.