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Firm: J. Cawston and Associates

Address: 1119 Riverdale Avenue SW

Date of final plans: December 1963

Status: demolished 2020



Melville Hermes Joseph "Mel" Dalphond (1922-1991) was born in Edmonton to John and Grace Dalphond, and grew up in Morinville. In 1940 Dalphond enlisted in the RCAF, receiving his bombing and gunnery training at RCAF Station Mossbank, and his wireless air gunner training at RCAF Station Mt Hope. In December 1940 he arrived in England and was assigned to No. 405 Squadron at RAF Wellesbourne Mountford. On 24 July 1941 Dalphond flew as the nose gunner in Wellington W5551, piloted by W/Co Peter Alexander Gilchrist, on a daytime raid on Brest, France. The plane was shot down and crash landed between Lesneven and Ploudaniel. Dalphond bailed out of the plane and after struggling to open his parachute landed safely in France. Fluent in French, he was taken in by a French family where he recuperated. With the help of the French Resistance, Dalphond trekked across the country and made it within one mile of the Franco-Spanish border. Unable to cross the Pyrenees in the dark, he spent a night in the loft of a barn. The following morning he was discovered by a Gestapo German Shepherd and taken prisoner.

Dalphond was sent to the Fort de la Revère, a moated prison on the south coast of France near Èze. In France, he was "something less than a model prisoner." As well as serving on escape committees, he was an expert in key theft and manufacture. On 5 September 1942 he and several others escaped the prison through a tunnel. By January he had returned to England, and on 21 January was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal. Upon his return to England, Dalphond enrolled in pilot training and after getting his wings served as a transport pilot for the duration of the War. After 1945 Dalphond stayed in the RCAF and served across Canada and Europe. In 1962 he was a member of the International Control Commission in Vietnam. He retired from the Air Force in 1963 at the rank of Squadron Leader.

On 26 August 1944, Dalphond married Margaret Winifred "Peggy" Quint (1920-1992) of Calgary. Peggy was the daughter of Dr Walter S. Quint. The couple had one son, Murray. When S/L Dalphond retired from the RCAF in 1963, the couple settled in Calgary and built their house on Riverdale Avenue. They lived in this house until 1979 when they moved to Summerland, British Columbia.

A full chapter of Edmond Cosgrove's 1970 book The Evaders details Dalphond's wartime exploits.

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