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Legacy of Heroes Issue 2: Flight into Danger

The second issue of Legacy of Heroes  was released on October 1, 2014.



The exciting story, taken from the EPS archives, describes the first time in Canadian history an aircraft was used by police in a criminal pursuit.

In August 1919, EPS Const. William Nixon was shot while on patrol duty. Before his passing, Nixon identified his killer, a petty criminal named John Larson. Larson fled Edmonton and headed southwest for Mountain Park, a remote coal mining town near Jasper.

Edmonton Police Chief Hill knew speed was critical to catch up with Larson, and approached ace pilot Wilfred “Wop” May and his brother, who owned one of the world’s first barnstorming companies. On Sept. 1, 1919, EPS Det. James Campbell boarded May’s fragile Curtiss Jenny bi-plane, an aircraft made of wood and cloth, and took off in pursuit of Const. Nixon’s killer.

“It was a daring move on the part of the police,” says Legacy of Heroes writer Jeff Awid, with the Digital Media Unit. “Airplanes were relatively new, and as far as we know, had never been used in Canada to go after a criminal.”

Watch "Wop" May's son, Denny, talk about his father's encounter with the Red Baron in World War One.