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Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Orley Whitney Bligh

In memory of:

Pilot Officer Orley Whitney Bligh

February 10, 1940

Military Service


Service Number:

42186

Age:

24

Force:

Air Force

Unit:

Royal Air Force

Division:

97 Sqdn.

Additional Information


Son of William Oakley Bligh and Mary Kathleen Bligh of Berwick, King's Co., Nova Scotia.

Commemorated on Page 10 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page. Download high resolution copy of this page.

Burial Information


Cemetery:

ABINGDON CEMETERY
Berkshire, United Kingdom

Grave Reference:

Sec. 9. Row X. Grave 18.

Information courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Digital Collection

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  • Memorial– Pilot Officer Orley Whitney Bligh is also commemorated on the Bomber Command Memorial Wall in Nanton, AB … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Memorial– Pilot Officer Orley Whitney Bligh is also commemorated on the Bomber Command Memorial Wall in Nanton, AB … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Memorial– Father J P Lardie's comments as inscribed on the Bomber Command Memorial Wall in Nanton, AB … photo courtesy of Marg Liessens
  • Photo of ORLEY WHITNEY BLIGH– Submitted for the project Operation Picture Me
  • Photo of Orley Whitney Bligh– Photo of Orley Whitney Bligh on the 1936 Acadia University Axemen hockey team. Acadia University has an MVP trophy called, "The Orley Bligh Award" which is given out every year*.
     
*The Orley Bligh Award is presented each year to the Most Valuable Player on the Acadia Axemen Hockey Team. It was originally purchased by the Town of Berwick and given to Acadia University.  In recent years a replacement trophy was donated by Orlay Bligh's brother, Harley.
     Orley Bligh was born in Berwick, Nova Scotia in Aug. 21, 1915.  His father, William O. Bligh, owned the local theatre and was, for a time, the mayor of the town.  He had three brothers, Harley, Lester and Kenneth and a sister, Violet.  Orley attended Berwick High School and played hockey for the Berwick Bruins of the Valley Hockey League. He studied Engineering at Acadia between 1934 and 1936 and starred on the varsity hockey squad.  After leaving Acadia, he moved to Halifax, where he took a job with Sears and played hockey with the Halifax Wolverines. Ace Foley, the noted Halifax sports columnist, said of Orley Bligh, 'I never saw a hockey player with more dash, more enthusiasm and down right ruthlessness.'  Orley Bligh was recruited by the Royal Air Force in April of 1939.  By 1940, Pilot Officer Bligh was a bomber pilot with 97 Squadron RAF.  On 02 February 1940, his Armstrong Whitworth Whitley crashed near Abingdon, Oxfordshire while returning from an air photo reconnaissance mission over Europe.  He was the first Acadia casualty of World War Two. Ironically, he was due to return home to Canada to serve as an instructor in the Commonwealth Air Training Plan. 
     -Courtesy of Acadia University, Vaughan Memorial Library.
  • Team photo– Photo of Orley Whitney Bligh* & his teammates on the 1936 Acadia University Axemen hockey team. Acadia University has an MVP trophy called, "The Orley Bligh Award" which is given out every year*.
     *The Orley Bligh Award is presented each year to the Most Valuable Player on the Acadia Axemen Hockey Team. It was originally purchased by the Town of Berwick and given to Acadia University.  In recent years a replacement trophy was donated by Orlay Bligh's brother, Harley Bligh.    
     -Courtesy of Acadia University, Vaughan Memorial Library.
  • Biography– Submitted for the project, Operation: Picture Me
  • Newspaper Clipping– Memorialized on the pages of the Globe and Mail. Submitted for the project, Operation Picture Me

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