Stories of a Legend
I met Ormand at RCAF Station Centralia, Ontario in November 1964 where we both attended Primary Flight School training on the DH-1 Chipmunk. At that time Hyphen, (his nickname when he served in the RCAF) was enrolled in the RCN “Venture Program” that trained navy pilots for deployment to our single aircraft carrier, the HMCS Bonaventure. When Ormand discovered that he would be relegated to flying either SeaKing helicopters or Anti-sub Trackers, he jumped ship and remustered to the RCAF.
Both Hyphen and I eventually became flight instructors at RCAF Station, Gimli. He was a memorable character who often stood apart from his peers. He joined the Base Theater group and became the toast of the town after brilliant performances in “A Visit to a Small Planet” and a 19th Century melodrama whose title I cannot remember. He produced a film for the Officer’s Mess that brought the house down and cemented his reputation as reconteur.
Ormand purchased his Sea Fury from the Australian Navy while still serving in the Canadian Forces. He took 30 days of annual leave from his new unit at Cold Lake, travelled to Australia, made his purchase and convinced an American Admiral to ship his aircraft back to San Diego aboard a US Aircraft Carrier. Hyphen told me that he used his connections with his uncle, a Royal Navy Admiral, to bend a few arms. Getting the Sea Fury airworthy in order to fly back to Cold Lake nearly caused an International incident when the USN discovered that Navy personnel were doing the work for him without authorization. He got off the ground from Navy North Island and headed to Cold Lake about 2,000 miles north. After a couple of unexpected forced landings during his flight, Hyphen arrived back in Cold Lake 10 days past his leave expiry. He faced severe disciplinary action that eventually led to his early retirement from the Canadian Forces.
Flight-Lieutenant Ormand Hayden-Baillie refused to conform. When offered the right to retain his old rank of F/L, he held fast. No one called Hyphen Captain without a quick reminder of his rank. We laughed at Hyphen because he was odd but he was always a good sport even when he took himself too seriously. He was an enormously talented individual who wanted nothing more than to make his mark on civilization. When we learned that he dubbed himself the Black Knight and toured with his T-33 and Sea Fury many were miffed because 414 (EW) Sqn. was known as the Black Knight Squadron and the “Black Knight” was a solo aerobatic demonstration team assigned to Training Command. After many “Black Knights” were killed during performances, the team was disbanded. It’s ironic that Hyphen too died using a name that had been burnished into the minds of many members of the RCAF.
Always a contoversial figure, Ormand will be sadly missed for his enormous talent and a brave heart. Per Ardua Ad Astra.