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Black History Month – Canada’s First Black Fighter Pilot

08 Feb

Walter Peters was born in Litchfield, Nova Scotia in 1937, and growing up he had no idea he’d become a trailblazer in Canadian military aviation.

In the early 1960s, Peters enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and began pilot training.  This first step would lead to a career that would prove known the world over, even if his name wasn’t attached to it.  He would eventually assist in the development and spend two years flying with Canada’s military aerobatic unit, the Snowbirds.

Growing up, Peters was the youngest of six children.  They would move from Litchfield to Saint John in search of work when he was just a boy.  As his eldest daughter Shelley Carey said, “He said they [his family] had nothing, but they probably had less than nothing.”

Peters was a gifted athlete and won a scholarship to Mount Allison, where he would met and marry his wife, Nancy, a white woman from Sackville, New Brunswick.  Being an interracial couple in the 1960s was met with discrimination, but Peters never spoke publicly about the discrimination he faced.

Peters would go onto become a human rights officer as well as adviser to the United Nations Security Council.

Walter Peters passed away in an Ottawa hospital on February 24th, 2013.

You can read the details of his life in his obituary from the Globe and Mail, and watch videos from the Veterans Affairs website.

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Posted by on February 8, 2015 in Life, randomness

 

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