Recently in the House of Commons, Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison paid tribute to the memory of a local pilot.
Clarence “CB” Lang, born in 1937, moved to the area in 1949 where he was raised on a farm in Lister.
After his high school graduation in 1955, he took on his first job at the J.H. Huscroft Ltd. sawmill in Creston.
By chance, Lang was invited on his first flight with owner of the mill Ken Huscroft, who trained in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) during the Second World War.
It only took one trip into the skies to discover his passion for flight. The following year, Lang joined the RCAF to become a pilot.
“In 1962, Clarence was chosen to fly in the difficult slot position with the famed Golden Hawks,” said Morrison.
“In 1966, he was named squadron leader of the Golden Centennaires, formed to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday. They flew over 100 shows and were the only air force acrobatic unit to land and take off in formation. They were considered the best in the world.”
In fact, Neil Eddins, the commander of the American Thunderbirds, said in a letter that their demonstration at the Thunderbird Reunion in 1967 was “the finest exhibition of precision flying ever seen.”
In 1980, Lang retired as a colonel and moved back to Lister with his wife and three sons. He went into the dairy business with his brother, Alvin.
Sadly, he was soon diagnosed with cancer. Huscroft, who had given Lang his first airplane ride, also gave him his last, and flew him to the cancer clinic in Vancouver. Lang later died on April 22, 1984 at 47 years old.
His memory lives on, as he was well-loved by all who knew him. Huscroft’s son, John, said that Lang was a humble man who remembered everyone’s name and took the time to stop and ask about their day.
In tribute, Huscroft intends to bring a monument to Creston with one of the CT-114 Tutor planes used by the Golden Centennaires erected on a pedestal.
Huscroft purchased a Tutor from a private sale in Ontario. It has since been painted the iconic gold, red, and blue colours and is just waiting to be mounted.
On March 23, he presented his cause to the mayor and councillors at a town meeting. Council directed staff to explore locations within Creston for the monument. The options are to be brought forward at an upcoming Committee of the Whole meeting for Council’s consideration.
Huscroft wants to see the plane displayed in front of the Chamber of Commerce office with views of the valley engulfing it. He hopes to see it in place for when the Snowbirds fly over the beautiful Creston Valley one day.