Leading Aircraftman Pilot John Henry Reginald Willett

Birth: January 29, 1918 in Calgary, Alberta
Death: January 19, 1942 in Boundary Bay, Delta, BC
Service: WWII
Service Number: R122014

John Henry Reginald Willett, known as Jack, was born in Calgary, Alberta, but was educated in Richmond. He attended Bridgeport School from the age of 6 until 1931 when he attended Richmond High School, graduating in 1935. He placed fourth in Canada in the civil service examinations and was employed as a Customs Agent until enlistment in June 1941. He also took courses in navigation and piloting in 1937 at a private aero club and was a member of the active Militia with the Irish Fusiliers.

On enlistment in the Royal Canadian Air Force, Jack stated his religion was Church of England. He listed his wife Norma Helen Willett as his next of kin and their address was 1326 West 12th Avenue, Vancouver. They were married on September 14, 1940. His father, Reginald Henry Willett, lived in Vancouver but his mother Adeline Maud (Smith) Willett, had died prior to Jack's enlistment. The family had lived on Cambie Road when residing in Richmond.   

John Henry Reginald Willett was posted to bases in Alberta for training before returning to the flying school at Boundary Bay. Tiger Moth aircraft #4372 was in a mid-air collision, during a landing approach, with another Tiger Moth aircraft. All 3 men, from both planes, were killed. Jack Willett was buried in the Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver.

History of the Road Name (Willett Avenue):

  • Council Resolution to adopt road name: Council Minutes February 4, 1946, res. 8711, pg. 45