July 29, 1916 - May 29, 1942
Raymond Purdy Dezall was the son of Robert Dezall, farmer, and Ethel May (nee Flewwelling) Dezall (1888-1937) of Raven, Alberta, later of Edmonton. Raymond’s brother, Arthur Edwin Dezall (1907-1943), died while serving with the Canadian Army during WWII and is buried in Italy. The family attended the United Church.
Raymond farmed with his father, then drove trucks, did general clerking and some bookkeeping for family members prior to enlistment. He liked to play tennis and skate. He had been a member of 2nd Batt. Duke of Connaught’s Own Rifles in Vancouver for thirty days prior to joining the RCAF. He stood 5’8” tall and weighed 133 pounds. “Well built. Wants pilot. Mature, alert. Sedentary. Tense. Does not seem to be fighter type. Better as AO.” He had blue eyes and brown hair with a fair complexion. “Has wanted to get in since September 1939 but people objected. Clean cut, alert, well-mannered, quick reactions. Used to hard work, conscientious and would be a good type for observer training. Used to detail. Irish descent. Done shooting on farm.”
Raymond began his journey through the BCATP at No. 2 Manning Depot, Brandon, Manitoba on March 12, 1941 until he was sent for guard duty at No. 12 SFTS, Brandon until June 8, 1941. He was in station hospital from April 4 - 9, 1941.
From Brandon, he was sent to No. 2 ITS, Regina June 9 until July 14, 1941. “This airman stood first in his course. He is very keenly interested in his work and should make good as a pilot. Recommended for commission.” He was then sent to High River, Alberta and No. 5 EFTS July 15 until August 30, 1941. “Very small and capable. Should make a satisfactory service pilot. GROUND TRAINING: Exceptional ability. Not outstanding appearance, but very alert and appears to be a hard worker. A very good type. Conduct has been very good.”” From there, he was sent to No. 10 SFTS, Dauphin, Manitoba until December 12, 1941. “Very good above average. Set a high standard. An average pilot in all sequences and in instruments and navigation. Very clever. Has no outstanding faults. Above average intelligence, quiet, reserved.”
Charlottetown, PEI was his next stop at No. 31 GRS. He remained there until February 14, 1942 then taken on strength at 31 O.T.U. Debert, Nova Scotia. He was then attached to RAF Ferry Command, out of Dorval, Quebec the third week of May 1942. “Above average. Worked with quiet application and improved steadily. A painstaking navigator. Exceptional. A quiet, hard working pupil who is very keen and has obtained exceptional results. 2nd out of 24 in class. 91%. This Officer is quick and hardworking and will make an excellent GR pilot.”
Sgt. Arthur Scarth R106002 (RCAF), Winnipeg, and P/O David George Gatehouse 126964 (RAF), 21 years old, son of Rupert and May Gatehouse, husband of Yvonne Alberta Gatehouse, Dorking, Surrey, England, were also lost at sea.
After Raymond died, Mr. Dezall wrote to the Under Secretary of State in London, England. “In P/O Dezall’s trunk there is a few things that he was taking over to his brother, Arthur, so if you would be kind enough to see that Arthur gets those things before his trunk’s return to me, I would be greatly thankful to you. The two boys, Arthur and Raymond was all I had in this world to live for and I am quite convinced that now I have only Arthur left. So thanking you in advance for your trouble at such a busy time.” Arthur died in December 1943.
Mr. Dezall wrote letters to the RCAF repeating many of his thoughts and feelings having lost both his sons to war. This from July 3, 1945: “the mother of the deceased Raymond Purdy Dezall is deceased, and I am his father. I have not been in receipt of any amounts as a dependent of the deceased but from what I believe in 1941, I have been in receipt of assigned pay receiving $15 a month up to an inclusive of May 1942, and in May 1942, I was notified that in June and therefore the check would be for $30, the deceased having received his Commission as pilot officer. I did not receive the June cheque. It might have been that I could have qualified as a dependent because while I am 66 years of age now, I was in general health able to carry on, in December 1939 I was in hospital and had to quit work on account of neuritis and phlebitis and while I have been able to work irregularly since, I have not been able to carry on my regular occupation which would have been farming.” In late 1955: “I had only two of a family and they were both boys and both joined in the war force, my eldest son, Arthur, in the Saskatoon Light Infantry, and youngest son, Raymond, in the Air Force, and neither of the boys returned home to me, now I am alone as my wife died in 1937, both boys were giving me a small portion of their army pay as I had lost my health and was unable to earn my own living, and have had a hard time in getting by, I am 76 years of age only getting old age pension and find it is hardly enough to get by on, I can do small odd jobs but when I apply my age always is against me, it is very tough at times and if you see any way I could get a little help, I would be very pleased to receive it, so thanking you in advance. My boys gave their life for their country. They both in listed on their own and was not called up by the government. They loved their country in gave their best for it.” Mr. Dezall had been moving often.