Bush Pilot Red Lymburner

Googling a Lymburner ancestor recently, I noticed Red Lymburner in the search results. Bush pilot, Antarctica and Mount Lymburner. So I read more.

1936 Winnipeg, L-R rear Red Lymburner, J B Boyce, Herbert Hollick-Kenyon, front Patrick Howard (Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada)

His full name was James Harold Lymburner, known as Harold or Red. And he’s my 4th cousin twice removed. His parents were George Malcolm Lymburner and Annie Josephine Christie. He was born April 24, 1904 in Caistor Township, Lincoln Co. ON.

Red Lymburner got his commercial pilot’s license in 1931 and worked as a bush pilot for Canadian Airways until 1939. Mainly he flew mining gear and explosives to northern Quebec mines. But one time, according to a 1964 Winnipeg Free Press article (quoted in RAMWC), two oxen needed to get to the mine. Author Edward R. Green wrote:

Well, Lymburner thought, freight was freight no matter what form it came in. He bundled one ox in a tarpaulin, dragged it into the plane and packed it in with bales of hay. The flight was uneventful, so he did the same thing with the other ox. The only difference was the second ox was airsick.

bushplane.comSo if you can fly an airsick ox in a small plane, you can probably do anything. Red Lymburner went on to prove it. While at Canadian Airways, he worked as a test pilot for Fairchild Aviation as well.

Ellsworth Antactic Expedition 1935

Red Lymburner and fellow Canadian Airways pilot, Herbert Hollick-Kenyon, were chosen to fly on the 1935 Ellsworth Antarctic Expedition. Mount Lymburner, found during their trans-Antarctic flight in November 1935, is named after Red. In 1938, he went again with Lincoln Ellsworth to the Indian Ocean part of Antarctica. That time, he was lead pilot.

Red arrow marks Mount Lymburner in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains.

In 1935 the Royal Canadian Air Force made Red an honorary Group Captain in recognition of his flying skills. The Air Transport Association of Canada named him the ATAC Lifetime Honoree in 1979. He had retired by that time and, with his wife, had moved to Clearwater, Florida.

Sentinel Range, Ellsworth Mountains, Antarctica 2012 (Michael Studinger NASA)

Jessie and Red Lymburner family lines

Red’s wife was Rachel Jessie Tice, daughter of Albert Edward Tice and Emma Jane Swick. She was born in December 1901 in Caistor Township. Her ancestry also goes back through two lines to Matthew Lymburner and Margaret Kaims.

Red and Jessie and my grandmother, 4th cousins. Click/tap to enlarge

Red and Jessie had one daughter Glenna Marie, born July 1927 in Caistor Township. Educated at McGill University, her career, like her father’s, was wide-ranging. From railway rebuilding in post-WWII Yugoslavia to Guyana to Toronto. There she was Head of Archives, established a public information office and served on the Federal Immigration Appeal Board. She married Keith Tisshaw (1928-2011) in 1950 and they had three children. Ms. Tisshaw died in April 2015.

Red Lymburner died in Clearwater, Florida in August 1990. Jessie died in October 1991 also in Florida. They are buried in Caistorville United Church Cemetery.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 thoughts on “Bush Pilot Red Lymburner”

  1. Just came across the name J H Lymburner in the context of researching the construction of the DEW Line early warning system in the mid-1950s for an upcoming book on Canadian aerial survey company Spartan Air Services.
    Mr Lymburner was designated by Spartan to coordinate the collection DEW Line site positioning data for the Canadian section of the Line.
    Looking for any further background on his participation.

    Robert M Stitt
    Vancouver Island, Canada

    1. Hi Robert, you know much more about this than do I, but a quick google showed Andrew Taylor papers at the U of Manitoba Library. There’s correspondence between Taylor and Lymburner from 1955 about the DEW Line. Also a 2005 DEW Line Bibliography on Scribd. Thanks for writing, and maybe someone reading this will know more.

  2. Hello,
    I am Robert James Ronald Lymburner, son of Donald Lymburner who was Harold (Red) Lymburner’s brother. They grew up in Dunnville Ont. and their parents were Annie and Malcom Lymburner who farmed in the Castorville area then ran a boarding house in Dunnville. My uncle ‘Red’ went to Scotland after the 2nd World War to debunk the barbs from co-workers that claimed anyone with a name like Lymburner had to come from German stock. He told my father on his return that he had located our ancestoral origin in a small village and had actually spoke to a very old lady who knew well that our ancestors went to America.
    For many years we believed we were descendants of two brothers from Scotland that had settled in or around Montreal Quebec and were fur traders ( Pictures of which are sometime displayed in the Chateau de Ramsey Museum in old Montreal.)
    Respectfully ,
    Robert Lymburner

    1. Hi Robert, yes, I had thought Germany until Scotland kept coming up in genealogies. My grandmother (a Lymburner) said she was Pennsylvania Dutch, and there was evidence of that in her cooking and many of her sayings. I don’t know the connection between the Ont. and Que. Lymburners, although there must be one. So thanks for this – another bit for my Red Lymburner collection. And I’ve just seen that I don’t have your dad in my database, so will add him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *