As Remembrance Day, November 11th, approaches, we honour those who served—and continue to serve—in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Not many RCAF pilots can say that they flew with British ace Johnnie Johnson when he was still developing his tactical abilities (including flying as an element leader in his flight at Dieppe) or whose design for a navigation aid caught the attention of the British Air Ministry, or whose final words displayed confidence and eloquence.
Pilot Officer Junius Lyman Edward Hokan was such a unique pilot.
Junius Hokan was born and raised in St. Catharines, Ontario. Service to his country must have been in his blood as his father had served in the First World War. Lyman William Hogan [as his name is spelled on the enrolment document) had enlisted in the Canadian Field Artillery on November 30, 1914, and served with the 14th Battery, 4th Brigade. He arrived in france on September 15, 1915, and fought in all the major battles of the Canadian Corps. He was discharged in Canada on March 27, 1919. It should have been no surprise that at the age of 18 Junius Hokan enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on November 11, 1940, in Niagara Falls, Ontario.
Attending No. 1 Initial Training School, Aircraftman Class 2 Hokan learned the basics of flight and, more importantly, was assessed in the Link Trainer. Here he was able to demonstrate an aptitude for flying—if he hadn’t, he would have been relegated to being an observer (navigator). He then completed…