In August 1959, Flight Officer Raymond Gran and his passenger, Conservation Officer Harold Thompson, set out on a mission in Ray’s Saskatchewan Government Airways Cessna 180. They never returned. Through decades of ingenuity, abiding love and perseverance, the surviving family located the plane in 2018, and were able to bring both lost souls home, solving the mystery of their disappearance.
On August 20th, 2022, the 63rd anniversary of the incident in which both men lost their lives, the Saskatchewan Aviation Museum will exclusively launch Victoria Hetherington’s book Into The Mist: Finding CF-JDO a nonfiction account of this unique piece of Saskatchewan history. The event will run from 11AM – 1PM.
The event promises something for everyone: guest speakers will include award-winning author and historian Bill Waiser OC, Saskatchewan Leader-Post journalist Will Chabun, and Saskatchewan Aviation Museum Founder Dorrin Wallace. Musician James Clark will debut his song “Marcella Never Got the News” written in tribute for Ray and his wife Marcella. Guests may participate in a Q&A afterwards, and books will be available for purchase. Running in parallel with the event, the Aviation Museum’s Friday Cockpit Day allows guests to enjoy an inside peek of the Museum’s array of planes. Guests may enjoy the Museum’s popular aviation exhibit elements, including “CF-JDO: A Canadian Mystery,” an exhibit years in the making that commemorates the story. At 12PM, guests can chat with the panelists, mingle and enjoy a classic Museum burger lunch.
Guests may also enjoy tours of the Museum, which features numerous historic aircraft that served Canada in both war and peacetime, and hundreds of objects and historical texts provide fascinating context. In its preservation and presentation of the rich history of aviation in Saskatchewan, the Saskatchewan Aviation Museum is second to none. Three years in the making by a range of volunteers from commercial pilots to carpenters to aircraft mechanics, guests may explore the JDO exhibit, unveiled this Spring at the Museum. The exhibit features a replica of the SGA Cessna 180 flown by Raymond, with its unique Saskatchewan Government airways paint. As with Into The Mist, the JDO Exhibit honors Saskatchewan heroes Ray Gran and Harold Thompson, who served the province in war and peacetime.
About the Book:
In August 1959, Flight Officer Raymond Gran and his passenger, Conservation Officer Harold Thompson, set out on a mission in Ray’s Saskatchewan Government Airways Cessna 180. They never returned. Their loss sent shockwaves of grief through the community, and became the stuff of legend across a province where there’s a rich and enduring tradition of propeller planes connecting communities.
Ray’s daughter Linda was born to Marcella just two months after Ray’s plane disappeared, and mother and daughter kept the story alive. Decades later, Linda and her family mounted a quest to find the missing men.
Finding a lost plane in dense boreal forest dotted with countless lakes in northern Saskatchewan is harder than finding a needle in a haystack. With the help of people from all walks of life, from sonar expert Garry Kozak to world-class diver Mike Fletcher to the resourceful people of Michel village near the crash site, Ray’s family brought the lost souls home.
Into the Mist weaves together spoken accounts that reveal the hardships and joys of life in the Canadian North of the 20th Century, and explores the extraordinary lengths one family went to find their loved ones.
About the Author:
Victoria Hetherington (she/they) is the author of 2020 Amazon First Novel Award shortlisted and critically acclaimed novel Mooncalves. Her book Autonomy (Dundurn/Rare Machines, Spring 2022) has received wide acclaim from The Vancouver Sun, The Toronto Star, Quill and Quire, Forward Reviews, and the Literary Review of Canada. Into The Mist is her first work of historical nonfiction. Hetherington’s work has appeared in Hazlitt, CBC The Next Chapter, The Puritan, Joyland, among others. Hetherington leads writing workshops in Toronto and is a seasoned literary panelist; appearances have included and will include the Word on the Street Festival, Fan Expo Canada, The International Festival of Authors and Calgary Wordfest.