- PA 311
George Henry Oscar (Joe) Friel was born on May 21, 1919 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan to Charles and Mabel (Prizeman) Friel. He attended elementary and high school in Moose Jaw and completed his studies in 1939. Friel worked for the Security Lumber Company in 1939 as a Second Man in the Company's Avonlea lumber yard, and in 1940 as a Stock Checker in its Moose Jaw lumber yard. During this time, he also studied to be a Wireless Operator.
Friel voluntarily enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on September 2, 1940. He received training in Manitoba and Nova Scotia and graduated from flight school, receiving his wings, in 1941. Friel entered the Royal Air Force's Trainees' Pool in February, 1942. After further training in England and West Africa, Friel was posted to Karachi, Peshawar in India in September, 1942. Friel's duties in South Asia included the delivery of supplies by air to land soldiers posted in India and Burma. He was a member of Royal Air Force Squadron 194 and, as a Flight Sergeant, captained a Hudson aircraft. The climate and conditions of South Asia were unkind to Friel as he suffered from malaria followed by anemia in October, 1942 and frequent bouts of bronchitis in 1942 and 1943. Still, he endured and logged over seven hundred flight hours as part of Squadron 194.
Increasing health concerns related to bouts with asthma led to Friel's repatriation to Canada. After a brief stay in England, Friel was repatriated to Rockliffe, Ontario in July, 1944 for assessment, and then posted to Comox, British Columbia in September, 1944. Friel served as an instructor and test pilot for the remainder of his military service and was honourably released as a Flying Officer on October 25, 1945. Joe Friel received the 1939-45 Star, the Burma Star, and the Canadian Service Medal with Clasp and War Medal 1939-45 in honour of his service during the Second World War.
Joe Friel married Shirley Marguerite (Parsons) on June 14, 1945 in Comox, British Columbia. They spent much of their married life in Moose Jaw, raising four children: Joanne, Dawn, Jon and Mark. Joe Friel was employed by the Crown Lumber Company Ltd., in Moose Jaw for over twenty years. He was promoted to District Manager for the parent company, Crown Zellerbach's Southern Saskatchewan Division. After employment by Crown Zellerbach, Friel earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Administration from the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus. He became an instructor of Administration - Retailing at the Saskatchewan Technical Institute in Moose Jaw in 1970 and was employed in this position until his death. Joe Friel died on June 18, 1978 in Moose Jaw.