The Legacy of Art Field

Art Field

13/01/2009 04:25 PM

Lieutenant Colonel, Samuel (Sam) Michaud

The community of Southampton bid a fond farewell to Arthur (Art) Edgecombe Field at a special memorial service held at the Southampton United Church Saturday.

Among those in attendance were Art's wife, Jean and his extended family.  Unexpectedly, was a special guest speaker, Lieutenant Colonel Michaud, who gave a moving tribute to Art Fields, the pilot.

Colonel Michaud, who is posted in Halifax, is commander of Air Force Squadron 423, the same RCAF Squadron that Art Field served in as a young pilot during World War II.

Michaud said that it was men like Field, flying the Sunderland reconnaissance planes, that  changed the outcome of the war.  He went on to explain the value of the Sunderland, known to the Germans as the Prickly Porcupine, because of its endurance and ability to fend off the enemy.

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"They acted as protection for the many troops and equipment crossing the North Atlantic supply channel and, if it weren't for them, there is no doubt that England would have fallen, there would have been no D-Day and the outcome might have been very different.

There were 49 men lost flying reconnaissance and of them, 11 were part of Art Field's crew.  When his plane went down in the North Atlantic, he was the only survivor so it was like losing 11 members of your family all at once, because they were family.

Men who go through situations together in war time become, not only fast friends, but family to each other.  Being in the same unit forms a life-long bond and shapes you forever.

If Art were to walk into Squadron 423 today, he would instantly recognize it.  The planes and equipment may be different but the same dedication and commitment of the men is there.  Today, we are standing on the shoulders of men like Art Field who went before us and, without whom, none of us would be here."

Michaud was, at one time, going to become an astro-physicist and had been accepted into university, but his path was to change when he decided to become a pilot.  He has served in the Gulf War and in Somalia and has been part of NATO.  He and his family will eventually return to Ottawa

Related Article about Art Field -  The Flying Boat