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Ace Second World War pilots remembered

Judy Assoon said her father John MacCormac (pictured) was a distinguished World War II pilot who won many accolades, including the Air Force Cross for the Royal Air Force.  - Martin van den Hemel photo
Judy Assoon said her father John MacCormac (pictured) was a distinguished World War II pilot who won many accolades, including the Air Force Cross for the Royal Air Force.
— image credit: Martin van den Hemel photo

They earned their pilot wings just months apart in 1941, won commendations for their expert skills, and settled down to raise their families in Richmond back in the 1960s.

Just weeks before Remembrance Day, two local families are in mourning after the passing of World War II veterans George Laughlin Craig and John W.D. MacCormac.

Bob Craig said his father George was an aviation career man who flew a four-engine bomber out of Yorkshire, England during World War II for the Royal Canadian Air Force.

He completed bombing raids over Europe, including on D-Day, June 6, 1944, the turning point of the war, Bob said. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

George Craig, 90, died of natural causes on Oct. 26, and is survived by his wife, Pat—who still lives in the family’s West Richmond home—four children and five grandchildren. A celebration of his life was held on Nov. 2.

“Dad was a devoted son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and uncle,” a published obit from the Craig family said.

Richmond’s John W.D. MacCormac was determined to make his 100th birthday, but died of complications on Oct. 15 following a bout with pneumonia just three months short of his goal.

MacCormac’s daughter Judy Assoon said it was shortly after her father earned his wings for the Royal Air Force in England in the spring of 1941 that his expertise was recognized, and he was tasked with training hundreds of other pilots.

He was awarded the Air Force Cross, the Star, the 1939-1945 Atlantic Star, the Air Crew Europe Star and the 1939-1945 Defense Medal. Following the war, MacCormac settled his family in Richmond in 1968 on a five-acre property on No. 7 Road.

“He was generous, big hearted, determined and strong, earning great respect from all who knew him,” his family wrote in a published obituary.

MacCormac was pre-deceased by his wife Carol, shortly after their 71st anniversary, and his son Bry. He is survived by his daughter Judy, two grandsons, a great granddaughter, and many nieces and nephews in England.

A celebration of his life is scheduled for Nov. 22 at Unitarian Church of Vancouver, 949 West 49th St. in Vancouver at 3 p.m. In lieu of flowers, friends and family are asked to make a contribution to the charity of their choice.

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