On May 27, 2011, of Sydney Wilson Clay, age 90.
Born Nov. 27, 1920 at Nottingham, England, son of the late Samuel Wilson and Bertha (Shelton) Clay. Syd received his education at schools in Nottingham and after the deaths of his parents in London.
In January 1937, shortly after his 16th birthday, Syd enlisted in the Royal Air Force as an apprentice, thus joining the elite group known as “Trenchard’s Brats” named Lord Trenchard. Marshal of the RAF, who foresaw the need for a highly-trained ground crew to maintain the increasingly complex aircraft, then entering the service to meet the gathering menace of Nazi Germany.
During the war, Syd saw service at various locations in England. Following the Battle of Britain, he was posted to Canada, rising in the ranks to NCO (non-commissioned officer) ground crew at Charlottetown and Weyburn, Sask. He then underwent aircrew training as a pilot, returning to England and eventually realizing a boyhood dream of flying the famous Spitfire fighter.
Demobilized in 1946 with the rank of Flying Officer, he returned to Canada as an immigrant and on June 25, 1947, married Minnie, the daughter of Percy and Catherine (Cameron) Downe of Charlottetown.
Following several years with Maritime Central Airways as an aircraft engineer, he was employed with the Post Office Department, mainly in the Area Manager’s office, where he supervised the operation of rural mail delivery and smaller Post Officers throughout the province.
After retirement, Syd pursued his hobbies of painting and writing. Many of his paintings were hung in the Confederation Centre of the Arts at various exhibitions and, in addition, many of his aviation paintings were selected to hang in the National Aviation Museum in Ottawa. In recent years, Syd was better known for his column, “Flotsam and Jetsam,” which appeared regularly in the “Voice for Island Seniors,” newspaper.
Syd leaves to mourn his wife of 64 years, Minnie, sons David (Elizabeth) and Cam (Ruth Ann), grandchildren Jacqueline, Johnna, Jeremy, Christopher, Cheryl and Scott. Great-grandchildren Sydney, Ashley, Matilda, Aiden, Wilson and Ella Minnie. Also one sister in England, Beatrice, sisters-in-law Roma Slomer, Kallie Wood and Jessie Downe, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
Predeceased by brothers Will and Cyril and sisters Dorothy, Evelyn and Gladys, all of the U.K. Also predeceased by brothers and sisters-in-law, Bob and Gladys Downe, Ed and Flo Downe, Hawley and Floss Crockett, Bob Slomer, Jack Herman, Russell Downe and Olive and Bert Hencher.
Resting at Hillsboro Funeral Home, 2 Hollis Ave., Stratford for visitation on Monday, May 30, 4 to 7 p.m. Funeral service will be held on Tuesday, May 31, at 2 p.m. at Stratford Chapel, Hillsboro Funeral Home. Interment will follow at Sherwood Cemetery.