Logan, Robert A., 1892-1992

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Logan, Robert A., 1892-1992

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Robert Archibald Logan was born in Middle Musquodoboit, N.S. on August 17, 1892. His parents were Charles and Jessie (MacKenzie) Logan. Born to small land-owning farmers, he helped his mother on the farm whilst attending school. After graduating, he attended the Technical University of Nova Scotia to become a Dominion land surveyor. When war broke out in 1914, he learned to fly an airplane at his own expense and became the first Canadian civilian pilot to earn a commission in the British Royal Flying Corps. During the war he distinguished himself as a pilot and navigator and was involved in training other pilots. On April 8, 1917, he was shot down behind enemy lines by an aerial attack led by Baron von Richtoven. He and his observer survived the crash and spent the rest of World War I in six different German POW camps, including Schweidnitz. He began to study languages during his internment, which sparked an interest that continued for the rest of his life.

When the war ended, he participated in a Canadian government expedition by boat into the Arctic and helped to establish the first air landing fields in the far North, including on Ellesmere Island. He also became involved in the new field of aerial surveying, which led him to South Central Africa for two years. He then went to the United States, where he was employed by Pan-American Airways, for whom he investigated potential landing sites, involving travel that took him from Alaska to Argentina. He was also Operations Manager for Pan-Am in Argentina and Brazil. Robert was married to Daisy Barrett on November 2, 1919.

In 1933, he participated in the “Jelling” North Atlantic voyage with the Lindberghs, which investigated fuelling and landing sites for Pan-Am’s cross-Atlantic routes. He also began and managed a gold mining operation in Nova Scotia during this time. He was then hired by the Irish national airline Aer Lingus Teoranta, as general manager until World War II necessitated the shutdown of its operations.

During WWII, Robert A. Logan worked for the Royal Canadian Air Force as a Command Navigation Officer in Nova Scotia, and Lt. Colonel and Director of Intelligence in Ottawa until the United States entered the war. In 1941, he participated in a secret Arctic expedition to Greenland and Iceland with the US military for the establishment of northern military airbases. After that, he continued work with the American military, and was sent on another special mission to the South Pacific in 1943 with Rear Admiral Richard Byrd (whom he knew from their mutual association with the Explorer’s Club in New York), again to research potential airfield and fuelling sites for the US military. Due to a leg injury during this expedition, he was given a medical retirement discharge and retired as a Colonel.

After his retirement from the military, he threw himself full-force into writing. This spanned a great deal of topics such as genealogy, history, astrology, philosophy, mineralogy, writing systems, and fiction. He also compiled and published a two-volume Cree-English dictionary and had it distributed to many academic libraries across North America at his own expense.

He remained active in these pursuits well into the later years of his life and his achievements have been noted by organisations like the International Biographical Associations of the UK and the US, and the Explorer’s Club. He died on September 26, 1995 at the age of 103 in Duluth, Minnesota.


Middle Musquodoboit (N.S.)

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Royal Canadian Air Force
Gold mining

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Province of Nova Scotia (2011). Nova Scotia historical vital statistics. Retrieved April 11, 2013, from https://novascotiagenealogy.com/ResultsPage.aspx

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