LETTERS FROM THE FRONT: HENRY H. PIBUS
On November 14, 2015, the Brome County Historical Society launched our first online exhibit: Letters from the Front: Henry H. Pibus. This year (2015) and next (2016) mark the 75th anniversary of local Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Pilot Officer Henry ‘Harry’ Pibus’ service in World War II. The exhibit will tell his story in his own words, through a series of letters written by Harry during the War.
Henry ‘Harry’ Hodsmyth Pibus was born February 12, 1914 in Knowlton, QC, the son of Luther and Anabelle Pibus. He grew up in the village and after graduating from Knowlton High School, went on to study at Bishop’s University in Lennoxville.
" Henry first awakened the inhabitants of Knowlton with his lusty howls on February 12th, 1914. He led an active life while accumulating knowledge at Knowlton High School, and now comes to Bishop’s in search of an M.A. in economics. Later on he aspires to Law or the business world. He is interested in Hockey, Tennis, Debating, and like many of his fellow freshmen can sing quite truthfully “I’m in the army now.” Henry does not record any other hobbies or interests, but it is reported that he is out to make the most of every moment. "
– Bishop’s University literary magazine, The Mitre, October 1931
While at Bishop’s, Harry participated in drama, hockey, football, and rugby and served on the Students’ Executive Council and Year Book Committee. He received his B.A. from Bishop’s in 1934 at the age of 20, and returned to the University the following year to complete the Teacher’s Course. Upon receiving his Education degree, he became a teacher at Lachute High School.
In 1940, at the age of 26, Harry entered the RCAF Flight Academy. He was first stationed at Regina, Saskatchewan and was later moved to other training bases across Canada, including in Alberta and Ontario. In the summer of 1941, he finally went overseas, where he finished his training and that fall, he commenced his service as a Pilot Officer for the RCAF as part of Squadron 82.
Harry’s letters, which total 44 and span one year (November 1940 – October 1941), are written to his mother Belle and detail his training and experiences in the War. They also shed some light on aspects of his personal life, including his eventual marriage to Miss Phyllis A.M. Patterson. Harry’s letters are full of detail and emotion and give a unique glimpse into the hard work, training and dedication needed to become a successful pilot during the War.
Each letter will be published on our website as a scanned copy along with a transcribed version on the anniversary of the date it was written, beginning on November 14. We invite you to follow his story and read about all of his adventures and accomplishments over the next year.
Click a letter to begin reading Harry’s story…