Family Ties by Fred Wilon 250*309-6651                Updated June 9th 2009
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A. My Family History etc. personal Memorabilia Websites:
1. Art Sovereign:
2. Agnes Sovereign (Me at the right in the photo one week before she passed away, two weeks after my dad left us... )-:
3. Agnes Sovereign's Handicapped Parking Project ideas / brainstorm: Now become a  world standard.
4. Pheasant Run:        ==> See how all my “spam” email addresses are used? :-) <==
    - See above: (my home for 40 years) Coldstream Centennial Park;
5. Ellison Family: See also Myra King Ellison (my amazingly great! great aunt)
6. Mackie Foundation: or the Mackie House Foundation
7. Neighbourhood Foundation properties slated for inclusion in Coldstream Centennial Park:
8. and Vernon Murals several remembering my family (Dad  in RCAF Navigators Uniform & “Baba” Bishop Sovereign Nordic skiing...

B. Ellison & Sovereign Family Legacy Parks around Vernon BC Canada
 - sold at nominal sums in the Okanagan Valley:
1. Ellison Park; (I lived at Otter Bay in the summer of 1962.)
   - Sold by Aunt Lil to the BC Gov't for $72,000 for 720 acres in 1966. At the time Provincial parks were to be left untouched, pristine.
   So in the one month it took for the title to change hands she put in the walk ways and change rooms and washrooms
   and walked away with $26,000. (Actually paralyzed in Hospital with Parkinson's Disease.)
2. Polson Park;  See also:
Slide show:
    (Sold to the Polson Family along with the present day mall area on the condition that Polson Park be fractioned off to the City of Vernon.)

3. Coldstream Centennial Park;
4. the Paediatric Wing of Royal Jubillee Hospital is named after our dad. - and:

C. Parks etc my Mom etc. was responsible for via political pressure:
* 1. Kalamalka Park;   - See more at:  Parks.BC
* 2. Sovereign Lakes Nordic Ski Hill: named after my Step-Grandfather:
       Bishop of the Yukon & Athabasca, later Okanagan & Kootenay Regions, Anglican Church of Canada: Arthur (“Baba”) Henry Sovereign;
* 3. The People Place.

D. And
1. Oyama Lakeshore Bed and Breakfast: (Owned and operated by my cousin, a 4 Star Chef.)
2. The Vernon Court House was built of Granite rocks cut from the Quarry in what is now Ellison Park;
3. Oyama BC, once largely owned by my great uncle: Vernon Ellison
4. The Town of Ellison where the Kelowna airport is was once owned by, and is named after, my Great Step-Grandfather Price Ellison.

E. Price Ellison was the President and a large shareholder of the Grand Trunk Railroad when it went bankrupt in the Great Depression of 1929.
… and thus lost nearly it all.
 - The first gold he found prospecting became the Ellison family heirloom wedding ring.
 - his house named the "Big House" received a letter in 1964 sent from England addressed only to "The Big House Canada."
            which Aunt Myra proudly showed me, the Ellisons and the house were that well known.
                Note: Every item in the "Pioneer Room" of the Royal BC Museum in Victoria BC that is UNLABELLED came from the Big House.

F. The Wilson / Lawlor side of the Family
1. Donald Broadribb Wilson - Killed during a mercy flight for a Polio victim at Whitecourt Alberta. GPS: N 54 11 021 W 115 40 651 – using GPS System setting Wad 84
Earth.Google KMZ file

     This became the single longest and most expensive Search and Rescue in Canadian History.
     When the Gov't abandoned the search, a very young Peter Loughheed: later Premier of Alberta, paid out of pocket for the search to continue another six months.

2. See also the Family Tree

My father was lost in a mercy flight Sunday Nov 22nd 1953. This became the most expensive Search and Rescue in Canadian history.
The patient was one of the first victims of that Polio outbreak, the pilot was one of Canada's most famous WW2 Bomber pilots and my Dad was the Doctor.

Gordon Webster MacDonald DFC of Wanham Alberta: See
Polio Victim: Lloyd Williams of High River (but who'se listed address was Grande Prairie) was in a temporary Iron Lung. 

Doctor: Donald Broadribb Wilson had just graduated and started his practice in 1951. A nurse would normally have accompanied the patient but in this case he was on a manually operated Iron Lung which was physically demanding so Dr Wilson volunteered.

My sister "AO" was born almost exactly 9 months to the day after the crash. "A gift from God" my mother always said.

The airplane was a Cessna 180. It had just come on the market that year and was the luxury "Lear Jet" of its time.
Gateway Aviation allocated its best aircraft and with it its best pilot for the mission.

After 6 months the Canadian Gov't gave up the search. A very young Peter Loughheed, one of my Dad's best friends, paid out of pocket for the next 6 months S&R until my dad was found.
All available Forestry employees in Alberta were pressed into the search by the Alberta Gov't as well.

One of the reasons it became so expensive, was that reports of aircraft in distress were reported in: Athabasca, Great Slave Lake (where an unexpected hole in the ice was found)
NW of Edson where a Forest Ranger reported emergency flares and
Nth of Edmonton where fires were seen burning in the bush.
 - along with many, many false reports. But the above had significant information from reliable people.

Day one:
12 Civilian aircraft were involved
Plus five from Gateway Aviation (where MacDonald worked)
20 aircraft out of Grande Prairie
All available aircraft from Nanton were sent (Dakota's with extra fuel tanks, largely assigned to the area north of Edmonton)
The Air Force sent out two Norsemen, two Expiditers, a brace (whatever that adds up to) of Mitchells and a Harvard.

And then the CASARA search expanded dramatically, including HUGE ground forces.

The pilot had completed in excess of two tours of duty in the RAF with 82 Squadron, totaling 119 missions in Europe, the Middle East and from mid 1943 in SE Asia and in particular Burma.
He repeatedly made the front page news across Canada, most famously for continuing on to bomb a Japanese destroyer after having all but one engine shot out, still managing to return safely to base.
He was also famous for dropping bombs far into railway tunnels coming out of mountain faces. The Japanese stored their bombs and ammunition as deep as they could in tunnels.
Having the bomb go off in the bomb dump area could close the rail line for good. His exploits in the Burma Campaign "Bloody Shambles" made newpaper headlines from Coast to Coast.
See Request for further Infornation at

MACDONALD, F/L Gordon Webster (J15099) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No. 82 Squadron - Award effective 11 February 1944 as per London Gazette dated 18 February 1944 and AFRO 644/44 dated 24 March 1944.  Born Wanham, Alberta, 1921; home there;  enlisted in Edmonton, 27 September 1940.  Trained at No.2 ITS (graduated 31 October 1940), No.8 EFTS (graduated 22 December 1940) and No.4 SFTS (graduated 17 March 1941).  Commissioned 1941.  Presented 13 November 1948.

This officer has taken part in operations both in the European and Middle East theatres of war. On one occasion, when participating in a low level shipping attack, the port engine of his aircraft was hit by anti-aircraft fire and the propeller fell off.  Nevertheless, with great determination, he pressed home the attack and flew the damaged bomber safely back to base on one engine.  During the last six months Flight Lieutenant Macdonald has flown on a large number of bombing attacks against the Japanese in Burma.  He has often led the formation in adverse weather and, by his resolution, zeal and courage, has contributed in no small measure to the successes achieved by his squadron.

His family has produced a private book on their history. I hope to borrow a copy some time as a full chapter is dedicated to
Gordon. His son Rod (bcc here) lives just north of me in Armstrong BC.

They took off in bad weather from Grand Prairie. The pilot radio'd that he was iced up and turning back to Grande Prairie, then later that he was returning on course at low altitude below cloud level.
They were last reliably heard by Mrs Reid, a woman at a farm west of Whitecourt near Iosegen lake who heard a plane in distress overhead at 6:35 PM Sunday night
and stamped out "SAW PLANE with an arrow" in the snow pointing to Whitecourt.

The wreckage was found by pilot George Andrews of Peace River on Aug 4th 1954.

From the impact zone it appears the plane had overshot and had turned back to Whitecourt to land. Likely iced up. Reports at the time noted severe snow squalls in the area.

Its wreckage is still used for
CASARA training exercises.
There is talk among our families of making the site a registered grave site, and for formal recognition as a CASARA Training site.

3.  Thomas Wilson Lawlor and his Law Scholorship Foundation,
     (I, Fred T. L. Wilson am named after my two grandfathers Fred Wilson and Thomas Lawlor and I am PROUD of my name in memory of these wonderful grandparents.)
     Grandpa Lawlor fought through every major battle in WW1. His university class was volunteer without notification by the University Dean.
     The whole class entered the same regiment with their professor as company commander.
     Towards the end of the war he was transferred to the RAF in the Arabia for Training. Whilst there he was guard for Lawrence of Arabia for a weekend - highlight of his life.


Thomas Wilson LAWLOR of Grande Prairie Alberta

·  Sex: M ·  Birth: 27 AUG 1890 in Killarney, Manitoba graduated B.A., 1914, and LL.B., 1921, at Manitoba. University, a well-known Alberta lawyer, enlisted in 196th Bn., and served in France with 2nd Machine Gun Corps, then as Lieut. in the R.A.F., Egypt, during the Great War

SARAH CLEMENTINA MAC CRIMMON, graduate nurse, b. at Calgary in Alberta, 24 Nov., 1892; married at Edmonton 2 May, 1921,  ; they have issue:

1c. FLORA FRANCES LAWLOR, Box 1063, Grande Prairie, b. 1 May, 1922.

2c. ENID MAE LAWLOR, b. 13 May, 1927.

3c. AGNES ISOBEL LAWLOR, b. 25 March, 1929.

G. WW2 Memorabilia Reference Sites.
1. Lost (Caution: Only go here on a STRONG day.)  Period
2. WW2Forum
3. 12 Squadron Wickenby Airfield WW22
4. The Dambusters, in memory of Joe Merchant. (See the Operational Record Book PDF.)
 - I, Fred, am also named after Fred Sutherland of the Dambusters. See Dambuster's Blog  and:

5. 460 Squadron RAAF
" The most sorties
The highest tonnage
The heaviest casualties
The most decorations
of any Squadron in Bomber Command"

Home: Enid Lawlor, my aunt, Socal worker:
1st female Colonel ever in the history of the US Armed Forces (Honorary Retirement Rank)
(Rank and Tile previously reserved for males only); and

Martha Schenbly, her room mate:
a) Past Dean of Medicine, Columbia University;
b) MENSA stopped evaluating her at an IQ of 245 because:
"there was no hint of her slowing down and it was not worth the time to carry on with the test any longer."
c) Sedona Arizona, (maybe the most beutiful location on earth, 100 times better
scenery, with more Native history, than Ayres Rock)
is named after her mother Sedona Schnebly. See also Schebly Park, Sedona Arizona.
(NB: Why anyone in America would go to Ayers rock when Sedona is within driving distance is completely beyond me!)
+ has my all time favorite Breakfast / Brunch Restaurant... Yum!)