Air Force, Military History
Mr. Gerald Haddon was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering, 16 Wing Borden, Ontario from October 2010 to April 2014. He is the grandson of Honorary Air Commodore, The Honourable J. A. D. McCurdy, the first British subject to fly a heavier-than-air aeroplane in the British Empire on February 23, 1909 on Bras d’Or Lake, Baddeck, Nova Scotia in an aeroplane called the Silver Dart, which he designed and built with the aid of the members of the Aerial Experiment Association. Among his many aviation first, John Alexander Douglas McCurdy was Canada’s first pilot, he opened Canada's first aviation school and became known as the “John the Baptist” force behind the founding of the Royal Canadian Air Force. He served as Nova Scotia’s Lieutenant Governor from 1947-52.
Born in Victoria, British Columbia, to a senior Naval Officer of the Royal Canadian Navy with postings abroad that included Washington, D.C. and London, England, Honorary Colonel Haddon was taught at numerous schools in England, Switzerland, theUnited States and Canada, finishing at Shawnigan Lake School on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. He is a graduate of University College London, England and Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Political Science and Economics. From 1964-66, he travelled extensively throughout the Middle East and Europe, working in France, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran and Kuwait. Professionally, he was in broadcasting for the CTV Network based in Toronto, Ontario for 39 years where he was involved in the production and direction of such notable live shows as Canada AM - the breakfast show which he helped launch on air in September 1973 - CTV News, W5 as well as Winter and Summer Olympics and numerous outside drama, sports, comedy, variety and cultural shows produced for both national and international audiences.
Honorary Colonel Haddon was a member of the AEA 2005 group, which built a replica of the Silver Dart that was transported to Baddeck, Nova Scotia and flew successfully on Bras d’Or Lake, February 22, 2009 on the occasion of the 100th Anniversary of J. A. D. McCurdy’s historic flight. He and his wife, Amanda, were sworn in as members of 434 (Niagara Peninsula) Wing, Royal Canadian Air Force Association, on Baddeck’s frozen ice, February 23, 2009 in front of the replica Silver Dart. Since 2009, as part of the Centennial of Flight celebrations and as the proud grandson of J. A. D. McCurdy, Honorary Colonel Haddon has been actively engaged, and travelled extensively across Canada, as a keynote speaker to detail the exploits of his eminent grandfather. The story of J. A. D. McCurdy’s historic flight of the Silver Dart has captivated and educated a diverse audience of Canadians and firmly established Honorary Colonel Haddon as a member of the Air Force Speaker’s Bureau. Honorary Colonel Haddon knew his grandfather for the first nineteen years of his life and therefore speaks from a personal point of view. He is also a member of the Memory Project Speaker’s Bureau whose mandate is to inform a broad spectrum of students about Canada’s proud and illustrious history.
Honorary Colonel Haddon was awarded the Chief of the Air Staff Medal in 2009 and was presented with the Centennial of Flight Award of Excellence. Named after his grandfather, Honorary Colonel Haddon presented the J. A. D. McCurdy Trophy, the Air Force Association of Canada’s top civilian Aviation Award to the AEA 2005 Silver Dart Team in 2009, of which he was a proud member. Honorary Colonel Haddon met his future wife Amanda, from England, whilst sailing a yacht in the British Virgin Islands. They have two daughters: Edwina who has a B.A. (Hons) degree from the University of Toronto in Political Science, and a law degree from the College of Law in London, England; and Emma who obtained a B.A. (Hons) degree in Political Science and International Policy from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario; and a Certificate in Human Resource Practice from Southbank University, London, England. Both daughters live in London, England where Edwina works at an international law firm and Emma at a private equity company. He and his wife Amanda reside in Oakville, Ontario where his hobbies include sailing, reading, writing, travelling, public speaking and building vintage aeroplanes!