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In memory of Dr. Rowland (Buster) Dalton Haryett

“One more thing before I let you go.  Do you have any kids?” I usually ask this question early on as part of the ‘ice-breaker’ for lack of a better term.  In this particular interview, I asked it as we were about to hang up the telephone.
“Yes, I have one son named Kent.  He’s Senior Counsel in criminal law for Alberta.  I never really thought he’d amount to much; bummed around after high school, worked as a bus boy, started a PhD studying the Classics over in England.  He took a bit of a round-about-route but I guess he turned out okay.”

To that, I say, like father, like son.

Bus Haryett was born August 18, 1923 in Bancroft, Ontario (Pop. 850).  His father Rowland was born nearby in 1893 and served in the Dental Corps overseas during World War I.  Upon his return to Canada, he entered the accelerated dental program at the University of Toronto, graduated in 1920 and returned to open practice in the only place he called home.   His mother Margareet Hyatt left Picton Ontario to teach normal school. Following a two-year courtship that had the whole town talking, the teacher and the dentist were married and started a family.

Bus was the second eldest of five children, all of whom survived save for his youngest sister Beverly Rosemarie who succumbed to pneumonia as a baby.  Bus survived his rough-and-tumble childhood in the Haryett household, and went on to junior matriculation upon completion of his Grade 12 education.  As an energetic 16 year old, with a love of all things commercial, Bus took a job in the local bank and set out to earn his fortune.  The year was 1939.
War erupted in Europe.  Like all the boys of Bancroft, Bus was itching to go.  He worked his days in the bank, counting down the minutes until his eighteenth birthday.  When the day finally arrived, he bid farewell to colleagues down at the bank and made a bee-line to enlist in the Canadian Air Force.  They took him on the spot, and sent him off to basic training at Manning Pool (aka the Exhibition Grounds) in Toronto.

“What was it like to be in down in the big city?”  I like to get to the heart of the matter.

“Well, I guess it was okay.  They were strict with the haircut regulations and the donuts and coffee were good.  I wasn’t overly keen on the daily marches from Manning Pool to Sunnyside Beach and back; pretty hot to be doing such things in July.”  Nerves of steel, that Bus Haryett. 

From Manning Pool it was on to Belleville where Bus was immersed himself in flying lessons, airport protocol and Morse code.  To keep in shape, Bus took up boxing, keeping his fellow trainees at bay.  While there, he voted on the referendum concerning conscription, where pressure from within resulted in a 99 percent ‘aye’ vote. 

“Did you ever catch heck from the Drill Sergeant?”  I’ve seen An Officer and an Gentleman, like, 20 times.

“Occasionally me and the boys would take liberties with too much leave time.  The Old Sergeant would make us pay with jobs around the base, like peeling potatoes, polishing the floor and looking after the latrines.”  What ever happened to push-ups in the mud?

Two months later, Bus found himself in St. Eugene, Ontario learning the ropes flying the Fleet 16B Finch biplane.  The learning curve was steep; solo after ten hours of instruction or say hello to your new career as a navigator or tail gunner.   Bus witnessed more than one of his classmates getting killed while trying to learn his new skill.  But his class excelled overall, being the first group to be instructed in night flight.  Extra time was needed in the cockpit at night to appreciate the difference between the lights of the runway and the lights of downtown St. Euguene; more than one mixed them up and landed his plane on the main drag!

Sixty hours of airtime later, Bus landed in St. Hubert, at a real airport this time, to try his hand piloting the Harvard trainer.  The Harvard was known to be a noisy, handful of a plane to fly, but tended to stall at high speeds and again, Bus witnessed a number of his friends getting killed.  In St. Hubert he logged one hundred hours, learning aeronautics, cross-country night flying and flying in formation.  Upon graduation it was on to Summerside, Prince Edward Island for a condensed course in navigation and experience in Ensigns. 

With training behind him, Bus Haryett received his first commission as a Pilot Officer.  After two weeks stationed in Halifax, Bus boarded a Dutch cargo liner and as part of a convoy of thirty ships, crossed the Atlantic Ocean.  The trip was long, the route tortuous and the speed slow, all in the name of avoiding German U-Boats.  On that particular trip, five ships were lost to submarine fire. 

Bus ended up in Bournemouth on the south coast of England, and along with his buddies from Summerside, they made up the 58th RAF Squadron flying Halifax aircraft on submarine patrol.  From there, Bus took part in coastal command in Wellingtons (172nd  RAF Squadron), night radar runs in the Bay of Biscayne and ultimately ended up off the coast of the Azores where he made ‘contact’ with four submarines in thirty days.  One particularly memorable mission involved the SS Queen Mary and a submarine twenty miles behind her lit up in the moonlight.  Bus’s plane was hit that night; the tailgunner taking it in the leg.  Bus pulled the gunner from the turret and tied the tightest tourniquet that he could.  The gunner lost his leg but survived; both he and the captain received the Distinguished Flying Medal.

Upon his return to England, Bus oversaw his own operational training unit, instructing his own crew.  The newly formed 407th Canadian Squad of Wellingtons, known as the Demon Squadron was based in Wick, Scotland.  Bus’s biggest challenge was keeping the boys from killing each other and from destroying the furniture during the countless touch rugby matches in this dry Scottish town.  Subsequent missions included looking for Turbots out of Germany off the coast of Norway and patrolling the English Channel.  When Bus’s tour was up, he was grounded. 

“What did you do now that you couldn’t fly?”  Some questions just need to be asked.

“The Germans surrendered so I enlisted to go the Japanese Theatre.”  Ask a silly question….

Bus headed back to Canada to get ready for his next adventure when the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, ending World War II.  For the first time in four years, Bus Haryett was a civilian. 

So here’s Bus, a 22 year old single man in Toronto, with some serious life choices to make.  He could go back to the bank, where security and seniority were waiting.  He could become the recipient of the GI assistance program and become a land owner, start a business or have his university tuition and expenses covered.  Bus thought about a degree in commerce, but reconciled his skills making vulcanite dentures during the summer months back home in Bancroft at his father’s dental office.  His future path was set upon completion of senior matriculation in a record four months time.  Bus joined 199 freshman students at the Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto in 1946, graduating near the top of his class in 1951.  But don’t for a minute think you could keep this pilot from checking out the hangar.  Bus took a shine to the two-years-his-senior Muriel when he was in second year dentistry and they were married in 1949.

One particularly slow day at the Faculty, Bus wandered up to the grad clinic where he was flagged down by Dr. Moyers who requested that he examine a patient and construct a list of ‘things that weren’t right’ with the patient.  Bus was proud of his two findings, but was blown away by Dr. Moyer’s list of twenty.  The die was cast and in 1951, Bus joined his classmates Matthew Matthews, Dave Mitchell, Bruce Morrow and Frank Popovich in orthodontics.  In 1953, with a freshly minted orthodontic diploma cradled safely in one arm, Bus and his severe allergy to ragweed travelled to the city with the lowest pollen count in North America; Edmonton Alberta was now home.

Dr. Bill Quigley, the renowned Edmonton orthodontist, recruited Bus to the University of Alberta in Bus’s second year in practice to instruct students on Moyer’s techniques in interceptive orthodontics.  In 1956, Dr. Quigley died suddenly and Bus became department chair, a position he held until 1972.  Since retiring from practice, Bus has kept busy perfecting his computer skills by writing The History of Orthodontics in Canada.

Which brings us back to Kent.

“Dr. Haryett, it sounds as if you also followed a round-about path into orthodontics.”

“Yes.  I guess I did after all.  How about that.”

The number of awards, honours and positions held by Dr. Bus Haryett is exhaustive and can be found within his incredible book.