Remembering Bill Briggs

The New Brunswick Aviation Museum lost a great friend in February. Master Warrant Officer (Retired) Bill Briggs was a member of the RCAF Golden Hawks ground crew from 1959-1964. He served as the Crew Chief for Squadron Leader Fern Villeneuve from 1959-60, Flight Lieutenant Alf McDonald from 1961-62 and Flight Lieutenant Al Young in 1963. Bill succumbed to cancer on February 7 at the age of 77.

Bill was especially proud of the years he spent with the Golden Hawks and gathered an impressive collection of newspaper clippings, air show pamphlets, post cards and photos. He spent thousands of hours over the past three years organizing his collection into a series of five albums, broken down by year. He generously donated the albums to the New Brunswick Aviation Museum in September 2016 so they could be returned to the Golden Hawks' original home in Chatham (now Miramichi), New Brunswick.

Bill and his wife, Pat, returned to Chatham in August 2013 for a Golden Hawks reunion. The event was held in conjunction with the Atlantic Canada International Air Show to mark the 50th anniversary of the Golden Hawks' final air show season. Making the event even more special was the participation of Hawk One, the F-86 Sabre in Golden Hawks markings flown by Vintage Wings of Canada.

Bill is survived by Pat and sons Michael and Kevin, and fondly remembered by his teammates of the Golden Hawks.

Fern, Bill & MarcBill Briggs (right, then an LAC) was Crew Chief to original Golden Hawks team leader, Fern Villeneuve (seated in cockpit). At left is LAC Ron Embree.



Golden Hawks

At the induction ceremonies for Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame, to be held in Vancouver on June 15, the Golden Hawks will receive the Belt of Orion Award for Excellence. Attending will be the aerobatic team’s original leader, Fern Villeneuve. Other team pilots and former ground crew members will also be present.