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Name: Rank: Service No: Service: Date of Birth: Place of Birth: Date of Death: Age at Death: Memorial: Reference:
Orley Whitney Bligh
Orley Whitney Bligh Pilot Officer 42186 97 Squadron, Royal Air Force August 21, 1915 Berwick, NS February 10, 1940 24 Abingdon Cemetery, United Kingdom Sec. 9. Row X. Grave 18. Commemorated on page 10 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on January 12, 13 and 14 Orley Bligh was the son of William O. Bligh and Mary Kathleen (Chute) Bligh of Berwick, NS. He had three brothers, Harley, Lester, and Kenneth, and a sister, Violet. He attended Berwick High School and played hockey for the Berwick Bruins of the Valley Hockey League. He studied Engineering at Acadia University between 1934 and 1936 and starred on the varsity hockey squad. After leaving Acadia, he moved to Halifax, where he took a job with Sears and played hockey with the Halifax Wolverines. Orley Bligh joined the Royal Air Force in April of 1939 and served as a bomber pilot with 97 Squadron, RAF. He was known as the “smiling Canadian” in British circles. Pilot Officer Bligh was killed when his Armstrong Whitworth Whitley crashed near Abingdon, Oxfordshire while returning from an air photo reconnaissance mission over Europe.
Photo of Orley Whitney Bligh – Photo of Orley Whitney Bligh on the 1936 Acadia University Axemen hockey team. Acadia University has an MVP trophy called, "The Orley Bligh Award" which is given out every year*. *The Orley Bligh Award is presented each year to the Most Valuable Player on the Acadia Axemen Hockey Team. It was originally purchased by the Town of Berwick and given to Acadia University. In recent years a replacement trophy was donated by Orley Bligh's brother, Harley. Orley Bligh was born in Berwick, Nova Scotia in Aug. 21, 1915. His father, William O. Bligh, owned the local theatre and was, for a time, the mayor of the town. He had three brothers, Harley, Lester and Kenneth and a sister, Violet. Orley attended Berwick High School and played hockey for the Berwick Bruins of the Valley Hockey League. He studied Engineering at Acadia between 1934 and 1936 and starred on the varsity hockey squad. After leaving Acadia, he moved to Halifax, where he took a job with Sears and played hockey with the Halifax Wolverines. Ace Foley, the noted Halifax sports columnist, said of Orley Bligh, 'I never saw a hockey player with more dash, more enthusiasm and down right ruthlessness.' Orley Bligh was recruited by the Royal Air Force in April of 1939. By 1940, Pilot Officer Bligh was a bomber pilot with 97 Squadron RAF. On 02 February 1940, his Armstrong Whitworth Whitley crashed near Abingdon, Oxfordshire while returning from an air photo reconnaissance mission over Europe. He was the first Acadia casualty of World War Two. Ironically, he was due to return home to Canada to serve as an instructor in the Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Courtesy of Acadia University, Vaughan Memorial Library.