A Synopsis of W.R. (Wop) May’s Life

Wilfrid Reid “Wop” May:

  • was born in Carberry, Manitoba, in 1896 and died at Provo, Utah in 1952.
  • was a famous World War I Pilot, and one of Canada’s early  Bush Pilots.
  • flew a Sopwith Camel in France in 1918, and survived being chased by Baron Manfred Von Richthofen – the famous “Red Baron”.
  • was awarded the D.F.C. in 1919.
  • was Issued Pilot’s Licence No. 49 on July 7, 1919.
  • formed, with his brother Court, “May Airplanes Ltd.” in 1919.
  • was issued Commercial Air Pilot’s Certificate No. 7 on May 7, 1920
  • was instrumental in the formation of the First Flying Club in Canada in 1927.
  • flew a famous Mercy Flight in 1929.
  • flew the first airmail to the Canadian Arctic in 1929.
  • was issued Air Engineer’s Licence No. A 726 on December 15, 1931.
  • worked with the RCMP in tracking the “Mad Trapper”.
  • flew with “Canadian Airways Ltd.” in the NWT
  • served as General Manager of #2 A.O.S. for the British Commonwealth Training Plan.
  • formed the Para-Rescue Service for the RCAF.
  • was awarded the “Medal of Freedom with Bronze Palm by the US Government in 1947.
  • served in the Canadian Arctic & the Far East as Director of Development for Canadian Pacific
    Airlines and later served as the first Manager of Canadian Pacific Airlines (Repairs) Ltd.
  • was honoured by Max Ward of “Wardair” who named three aircraft the “W.R. “Wop” May,
    and by Pacific Western Airlines who named one of their cargo aircraft after him.
  • was honoured many times. (See the medals he was awarded.)
  • was a proud husband and father.

Where can you find “Wop” now?
Wop May was nominated as a member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974. Visit Canada’s
Aviation Hall of Fame and the Reynolds Alberta  Museum in Wetaskiwin, Alberta – 45 minutes
South of the City of Edmonton.

Talks and Frequently Asked Questions
Wop’s son, Denny, and his wife Margaret often visit schools and museums talking to students and interested people. In past few years they have spoken to more than 12,000 people at 166 events such as:

  •  a special display at the St. Albert Museum
  • the official opening of the renovated “Mayfield School” in Edmonton
  • the Multicutural Heritage Centre in Stony Plain (Alberta)
  • the national convention of the Soaring Association of Canada, in Edmonton
  • the 2000 national convention of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, in Calgary
  • Aviation Days at the Reynolds Alberta Transportation Museum in Wetaskiwin
  • the Edmonton Historical Society
  • the Northern Alberta Pioneers Association
  • Air Cadet Groups in Edmonton and Parkland County
  • the Rotary Clubs of St. Albert, Westlock, Spruce Grove and the Mayfield Rotary Club in Edmonton
  • the Lloydminster Flying Club
  • the 2003 HMCS “Nonsuch” 80th anniversary dinner
  • the 2006 Flying Farmers annual convention
  • The Masonic Lodge of Edmonton
  • several Church Groups, Seniors Groups and seniors homes
  • the Central Alberta Historical Society
  • The 2001 Aviation heritage Dinner at Edmonton
  • the Edmonton Masonic Lodge
  • the Edmonton Aviation Heritage Dinner
  • the “Edmonton A City Called Home” club
  • the 125th Anniversary Celebrations at Carberry, Manitoba
  • The Canadian Clubs in Edmonton
  • the Edmonton Probus Club and the Edmonton Gyro Club
  • the Central Alberta Flying Club
  • The South Shushwap (B.C.) Chamber of Commerce
  • the Para-Rescue Association 60th Anniversary Convention in Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • the Galloway Museum, Edson, Alberta
  • schools in rural Alberta – Cold Lake, Edson, Chauvin, St. Albert, Namao & Busby
  • The Northern Alberta Pioneers & Old Timers Association
  • The opening of the new ObservationTower at the Fort McMurray (Alberta) International Airport
  • The Legal (Alberta) Chamber of Commerce

Often people ask questions – many of them strange & interesting. In building this website we have answered most of the questions we’ve been asked over the years.


Marg and Denny were honoured in 2016 by the Edmonton Historical Board for their work in keeping aviation history alive and for their many volunteer activities.