Canadian Aviatrix #81 – Beryl Armstrong (1913-1986)

Beryl Kathleen Armstrong was born on 11 August 1913 in Nanaimo, BC, to George Edmond Armstrong (Hudson Bay Company department manager) and Annie Beatrice Coburn.

Annie had been married before – to William Spargo when she was 16. He had appeared to be a nice, religious man, but once they were married, he insisted she go out to work as a milliner and spent her salary gambling. He eventually abandoned her and after 18 months alone, Annie divorced him – asking for no alimony as his money was “tainted”.

 

1921 census

 

Nanaimo BC

George

42

Annie

38

Beryl

7

 

Beryl was a talented horse rider – winning many trophies with the Lions Gate Riding and Polo Club.

On 21 October 1940, Beryl passed her flying test and received her PPL, making her the 81st female pilot in Canada. She was 27 years old.

Canadian Aviatrix #81 – Beryl Armstrong (1913-1986) 

Photo: The Province (July 6, 1940)

In 1941, she became an official member of the Flying Seven. Her involvement in the group will be part of a separate article, but she was appointed vice-president and pushed for the establishment of the group’s ground school course.

Beryl died in 1986, aged 72.

The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots

 

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