Suburban reader helps track down family of downed WWII RCAF pilot

Suburban reader helps track down family of downed WWII RCAF pilot

Niece of Harrison Bakeries founder Dent Harrison
By Robert Frank

Notre Dame de Grâce resident Gloria Parkinson has helped to solve the mystery of what became of Flying Officer Allan Cashion’s family. The Suburban reported two weeks ago that the village of Charleval, France, wants to honour the Royal Canadian Air Force pilot’s post-D-Day heroics by giving his name a new bridge, just metres from where he crashed.

The catch is that they need permission from a family member before they may do so, and the June 28 dedication ceremony is fast approaching.

Parkinson told The Suburban that she was a colleague of his parents at McKim Advertising during the 1950s, and that she knew that his mother, Olive (Harrison) Cashion, was related to Harrison Bakeries magnate Dent Harrison, whose sons founded Montreal’s famous POM Bakeries.

That permitted The Suburban to track down his great-grandson, Peter T. Harrison, who confirmed that Olive’s father was Dent Harrison’s brother, John George Harrison.

“According to the census of England in 1871,” explained Mr. Harrison, “he was the older brother of Dent Harrison. There were three brothers and one sister, and her mother’s name was Louise Hemmingway.”

He added that F/O Cashion wasn’t the only member of the family to serve as an RCAF aviator during World War II.

“My uncle, my father’s brother Greg Harrison also flew with the RCAF and was shot down over Germany, where he spent the rest of the conflict as a prisoner of war.”

“They would have had the same great-grandfather,” he said.

Sanda Men Makoth, the municipal official in Charleval who is overseeing the memorial project, told The Suburban in a telephone interview that she is delighted that a distant relative of F/O Cashion has at last been identified.

She said that she looks forward to contacting Mr. Harrison, who is hopeful that the genealogical information that he has provided will help to identify even closer relatives of the downed RCAF aviator.

Peter T. Harrison

Reader Gloria Parkinson helped The Suburban to track down relatives of James and Olive Cashion, parents of Flying Officer Allan Cashion, by recalling that his mother (right) was related to Montreal magnate Dent Harrison, who founded Harrison Bakeries.
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