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Heading to the gold fields and into enemy clouds

Jessie Pigeon

Head and shoulders view of seated woman writing

Jessie Pigeon, née Sinclair, 1959

The sheen of gold was part of the job for Jessie Foster Pigeon (née Sinclair), wife of Leslie Claude Pigeon, Moïse and Teresa Pigeon’s grandson. Not only did she serve from 1927 to 1959 as the first female Government Registrar in the province, but she also served in Quesnel as the province’s first female Gold commissioner.



As Registrar, she was involved in court cases from divorces to murders. As Gold Commissioner, her favourite job, she often travelled on horseback to examine and resolve claims. Working in what was then a man’s world, she excelled at both her positions.

Percy Edgar Pigeon

Air crewman in front of military plane

Percy Pigeon, circa 1943

Percy Edgar Pigeon – another grandson of Moïse Pigeon – became a celebrated Canadian war hero. The son of Eddie Pigeon and Elizabeth Victoria Pigeon (née Hamilton), Percy served both as a wireless operator and as air gunner during the Second World War. In 1942, he and three others formed a crew that flew more than 50 missions over the next two years.

On May 16, 1943, this crew was part of the “Dambusters,” a force of Lancasters directed to attack and breach dams in the industrial heartland of Germany along the Ruhr valley using purpose-built “bouncing bombs.” Their successful breach of the dams caused significant damage to the hydroelectric grid and the canals system, thereby impeding the German war machine. Forty percent of the men in the attacking force were shot down and perished during the attacks.

Percy was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He remained with the RCAF at its Maritime Air Command until 1962.