Cecil Bertram Whyte

“We were all extremely fond of your son. He was always the brightest spark in the squadron.”

On March 21, 1918, Cecil Bertram Whyte and Wilfred Whyte celebrated their brother Reg’s discharge at a restaurant in Soho Square, London. “It was splendid news,” Cecil wrote in his diary about learning of his brother’s discharge earlier that day. Later, Cecil and Reg spent time together at a tea house and then went for a walk.

At the time, they had no idea that would be the last day they would all see each other. Reg returned to Canada and Wilfred died of wounds in 1918. Cecil left for France a few days later, only to be killed in May 1918. Cecil was born in Leeds Village, Quebec and grew up in Saskatchewan and Alberta. He was living in Saskatchewan when he enlisted April 14, 1915. He went overseas with the 2nd Canadian contingent and subsequently saw action in France. Even so, his heart was in Alberta—his war diary mentioned several times how he missed Alberta’s big Prairie skies.

In 1916 he was offered a commission in the British Army and joined the Royal Scots as a second lieutenant. He fought in France again and was seriously wounded at the Somme. Cecil recovered from his wounds in England and Edmonton and returned to Scotland in June 1917. Once there, he joined the Royal Flying Corps as an observer and flew with the 98th squadron. In May 1918, he and his pilot were shot down and killed. “From the evidence of eye-witnesses there is not the slightest doubt that both your son and his pilot were both killed,” Major Harold O’Malley from the 98th Squadron wrote to Cecil’s father. “We were all extremely fond of your son. He was always the brightest spark in the squadron.”

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