Farewell to Art Sager

Art Sager was not a pilot with 403 Squadron. He was with 443 Squadron.

I wrote some articles on my other blog paying homage to 443 Squadron.

Art Sager in Spitfire

Art Sager
1916-2007

SAGER, Arthur Hazelton

On the afternoon of September 22nd, in the 91st year of his extraordinary and rich life,

Art Sager succumbed to cancer of the liver and passed away quietly and peacefully at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria.

He was born on 22 October 1916 in Hazelton, British Columbia, the son of Dr. William Sager, a medical missionary, and his wife Esther (Hettie), nee Duckers. His life took him to many places: he lived in Surf Inlet, Port Simpson, Port Coquitlam, Vancouver, London (England), Ottawa, New York, Addis Ababa, Rome, Aix en Provence, and, finally, Victoria.

From early 1942 to 1945 he was a Spitfire pilot in the RCAF, becoming a Flight Commander and then Commanding Officer of 443 Squadron. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the French Legion d’Honneur. He was, at various times before and after the war, a journalist, actor, steamship deckhand, mucker, teacher, CBC radio producer, Assistant to the President of the University of British Columbia, Executive Assistant to the federal Minister of Fisheries, Public Relations Director of the Fisheries Association of B.C., Director of the UBC Alumni Association, Director of UBC’s International House, and international civil servant with the United Nations. He finished his career with FAO (the Food and Agriculture Organization) in Rome, and then moved to Aix en Provence in 1978, where he lived for a quarter of his life. He moved to Victoria in 2000, and spent seven gloriously energetic and happy years at Somerset House on Dallas Road.

A disciplined and punctilious wordsmith, he is the author of Line Shoot: Diary of a Fighter Pilot (Vanwell, 2002), It’s In the Book: Notes of a Naive Young Man (Trafford, 2003), a family history entitled The Sager Saga (1998), a history of Somerset House, and many short articles and biographies in The Trumpeter, the Somerset House magazine.

Twice married (to the late Dorothy Planche of Vancouver in 1941; to Jacqueline Roussel of Rouen, France, in 1967), he is predeceased by brother Murray and sister Shirley, and survived by his son Eric Sager of Victoria, daughters Ann Blades and Susan Henry of Surrey, granddaughters Catherine and Zoe, grandsons Jack, Angus, James, Kevin and Ian, brothers Melvin and Henry, sister Elsie Wilson, a multitude of cousins and nieces and nephews, friends in several countries, and his beloved companion of recent years, Scotty Day.

Published in The Times Colonist from September 25 to September 26, 2007

Art Sager and Trevor Guthrie

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Life is funny sometimes

I knew nothing about RCAF 403 Squadron in September 2011, and I knew nothing about Spitfire pilot Walter Neil Dove.

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Back in 2013, I knew nothing about Pat Murphy and his Spitfire collection of model kits in display at the Vancouver Island Military Museum, located in Nanaimo.

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Pat Murphy is a generous person and he wrote some posts on this blog that pays homage to Spitfire pilots.

Pat Murphy virtually introduced me to Trevor Guthrie when he sent me this e-mail…

Pierre, you’ll find this interesting, I’ve attached a picture of a Canadian singer/song writer Trevor Guthrie. He has been an entertainer for years and was part of a Canadian rock band a few years ago, I understand he now works as a solo act. He is very interested in World War II RCAF History and would visit the Y2-K Spitfire restoration project from time to time. He became good friends with Art Sager and Stocky Edwards in fact even wrote a song about Art and sang it at Arts funeral. I was exchanging emails with Trevor on the weekend and he informed me he will be presenting an award on the Juno’s next Sunday, live from Winnipeg and he will be wearing a T-Shirt that honours Stocky Edwards. I’ve sent you a picture of the T-Shirt he will wear. Trevor is a real nice guy and he loves Spitfire pilots.

Pat

TREVOR GUTHRIE t-shirt

I had never heard of Trevor Guthrie before.

Life is funny sometimes isn’t?

Pat had this other e-mail…

This is a picture of Trevor Guthrie and Art Sager taken at the Y2-K Spitfire restoration project in 2007. Trevor attended a few of the RCAF Fighter pilot reunions in Canada and one in Belgium, he was well thought of and as far as I know he stays in touch with several of the surviving pilots.
Art Sager and Trevor Guthrie

Precious contribution

Pat Murphy has been contributing to this blog about 403 Squadron.

Last night he sent me this picture of Charles Charlesworth who flew with 443 Squadron.

In a sense this post belongs here and I will reblog it later on my other blog about the 443.

443 Squadron Art Sager Squadron Leader 001

Pat is a subscriber to this blog and he saw the post about Chuck Charlesworth.

He wrote this message…

Pierre really enjoying your recent postings and it’s always nice to see the Smith Brothers story again. Here is a picture that Art Sager gave me in 2004 of Charles Charlesworth at the far left, Art in the middle and Lloyd Hunt sitting on a jeep. It was taken in March 1945. Those are the only details I have.

Pat is the contributor who wrote the story about the Smith brothers.

He had more to say.

Art also gave me a 443 Squadron group photo probably taken around the same time. We never got around to identifying all those Spitfire pilots but you can see Art second from left, Charlesworth far right and Jim O’Toole is in the bottom row second from right without the hat.

443 Squadron Art Sager Squadron Leader

Pat had even more in store…

Jim lives in Nanaimo and recently celebrated his 90 birthday at the Vancouver Island Military Museum with his family in attendance, Stocky Edwards came down from Comox to say a few words and it was a fun time to see these two Spitfire pilots together. Stocky was the Wing Commander for the last few months of the War.

JIM_O'Toole2-crop

Jim on the left

Much more…

I’ve also included a picture of Jim O’Toole in his Spitfire.

All 3.9 megs of it!

Jim O'Toole

Jim O’Toole

I was so beautiful that I could not resist sprucing it up a little.

Jim O'Toole modified

We have a copy of Jim’s log book in the museum and it makes for interesting reading.

Keep up the good work

Work?

This is not work.

This is a passion!