Ann’s grandfather, in the centre of the photograph, was a man called Harold ‘RIP’ Northrop. Harold was a fighter pilot in World War 1. He crashed his plane on the Allied side in France after he was shot down. Luckily, he survived the incident – a rare feat – so his friends nicknamed him ‘RIP’.
‘RIP’ Northrop was born in the city of Bradford, Yorkshire in England in 1894, where his family is from. He moved to Vancouver and studied Law at university in 1914. However, World War 1 soon called, and ‘RIP’ quit university and signed up for the 72nd Canadian Battalion, which merged into the Canadian Expedition Force. ‘RIP’ was interested in being an aviator, and he was quickly transferred to the flying core of the British Armed Forces. At 24 years old, ‘RIP’ headed to war in France.
In 1921, ‘RIP’ returned to Canada and ran a Cadet group as a Lieutenant out of Victoria, BC. He then attended UBC, where in 1923 he graduated with an education degree at 29 years old. ‘RIP’ began teaching immediately at Britannia School in east Vancouver and, in 1924, became involved in two programs outside of his teaching role: Rugby and a military club, where men would parade and march.
‘RIP’, who finished his teaching career at Point Grey High School, had a big influence on those he taught and coached. Many of the boys who bonded with him wanted to keep Rugby going in the community. So ‘RIP’ formed a men’s Rugby club, made up of his former high school students, and called it Ex-Brits RFC. The club would later become known as the Brit Lions RFC which, to this day, continues to run in the City of Delta.