James’ Brand New Blog

Bill Corfield (May 29, 1920 – Dec. 9, 2013)

- December 11th, 2013

 

Southeast Pasture, 1963 Bill Corfield

An image  from the 1963 CFPL-TV drama South East Pasture. “The actor on the left is Haddon Whiteside, the only name I remember of the four in the cast. I played a very small cameo at the start.” — Bill Corfield in a May 24, 2013 e-mail. In conversation, with Bill’s son, Geoffrey Corfield, JBNBlog can give the full details: Haddon Whiteside, left, who played the hired man; Al McPhail, as the father, June Rowe as the mother, and little John Robinson as their son. Bill Corfield had a walk-in piece as the grown-up version of the little boy, setting up the memory-filled play.

My thoughts & prayers are with the family & friends of the late Bill Corfield, a Free Press titan of an earlier era. Bill e-mailed me about a drama he’d written in 1963 earlier this year … & I meant to do something about it eventually. Someone may want to find Bill’s script for Southeast Pasture, his 1963 play as one of many possible tributes to this remarkable Londoner. Bill died earlier ths week & so his words here & the memories of good friend to JBNBlog & ace London historian Stephen Harding will remind me never to wait to tell a good story …

Here’s Stephen:

I am writing to pass along the sad news that Bill Corfield has passed on . . .I just received the news via a member of the Kiwanis Club.Mr. Corfield was the pilot of The London Free Press Newshawk aircraft, starting ca 1946 when he left the RCAF. He performed many other duties for the paper.

You may want to feature him in a My London article.
The aerial photography coverage by the Free Press was an outstanding feature of the paper in the 1940s & 50s.

I used one of his pictures of ( SW corner of Dundas & Richmond St.) in a Flashback. Later I had the pleasure of discussing the shot with him at a Kiwanis Club meeting. The picture was shown in one of my hidden history talks.

Bill said that he flew so low along Richmond St. that various windows were broken. He added that such feats would not be tolerated today.

He was writing letters to the editor until very recently.

Bill e-mailed me too & I will always regretting not following up more on his generous offers to share his knowledge  . . . including “ribald pictures” from the coverage of the 1950 Winnipeg flood. Bill, RIP.

Here’s Bill on the background to Southeast Pasture in a May 24, 2013 e-mail.

James – with your periodic forays into cultural history, I thought you might be interested in this picture, one of a series, of SOUTH EAST PASTURE a drama I wrote for CFPL-TV when the station produced wonderful half hour dramas written, produced and played by locals. I have the original script. The actor on the left is Haddon Whiteside, the only name I remember of the four in the cast. I played a very small cameo at the start. The innovative and creative talents at the station were outstanding. The budget was $500 and I received $50 for the script.

SOUTHEAST PASTURE was aired on Sunday June 2 1963, so that it will be 50 years in a couple of weeks – Bill Corfield.

Here’s an e-mail from Jan.24, 2013 about Bill’s role in The Free Press coverage of Barbara Ann Scott:

Enjoyed your column on (Barbara Ann) Scott.  I remember the flight. Ron Laidlaw was the only photog who cognized the news value of her perky hat with the flower because it suited her perky personality. He sold it to Time for $25 and it may have been on the cover. Jack Park didn’t like flying. He had a few beers in Ottawa and when we were leaving, I strapped him in his seat and he fell asleep. This was good because we left in a blizzard and I had to hug the radio ranges all the way back on instruments. Her father was an army office and many friends had helped her training expenses. When she won they bought her a convertible Cadillac. With its usual hypocrisy the Olympic bosses made her give it back. Enjoy your history columns. Looking Over Western Ontario, a weekly page of history was the most read feature in the FP at that time. You might do a nostalgic column on the Mary Hastings column that Elsie Bullen wrote. I saw her daughter today and we joked about that era. Bill Corfield.

. . . &  being added here is the yourlifemoments.ca obituary, which has many remarkable details & a tone that is Bill in perfection. Like Les Bronson’s, this obituary of a great Londoner ends with -30-

F/O William E. (Bill) 93 1/2 Corfield

CORFIELD, F/O William E. (Bill) 93 1/2 – went for a doctor’s appointment and never returned. Died 9 December 2013 at University Hospital, London after telling them he’d be dead in three hours on 25 November. Survived by sons Geoffrey and Paul, granddaughter Megan, two boxes of Shredded Wheat, four cans of creamed corn, and a silent computer. Predeceased by wife Margaret and daughter Leslie. Born Redditch, UK. Famous at St. Catharines Collegiate Institute for riding his motorcycle through the hallways upon graduation. Held a flying licence before a driving licence. Never known to have played any sport (took up walking at 92). Loved flying and writing and became pilot instructor RCAF 1942-45, and flying reporter The London Free Press 1945-52. Director of Public Relations, Labatt Breweries 1957-65 (“Mr. Pilsener”, “Take 5 for 50″). Established Corfield Associates, Public Relations Services 1965-99. Tolerated socialists and academics (sometimes graciously). Once asked to thank the speaker at a Baconian Club banquet, stole the evening by thanking the speaker so well he left early. Belonger to and writer of many things. Last flew age 90. He may be gone for some time. Gathering at The Hermitage Club, Commissioners Road, Byron (across from park near Springbank Drive), Sunday 15 December 2-4 pm. Serva Fidem. -30-

 

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