Capt. Red Martindale

I first met Red Martindale in October 1968 shortly after I arrived in Montreal to assist Nordair introduce their new (not yet delivered) 737s.  He was a Captain - flying Nordair L-1049H Super Constellations, an airplane long dear to my heart.  One of my first jobs was to fly around to various Nordair stations in the Arctic destined to receive 737 service.  A couple of years earlier I had received a Flight Engineer license on the Connie as a stepping stone to a Boeing flight crew training job - a job that never panned out.  I wound up in the Field instead.

CF-NAL

Red was an incredibly nice guy - got his nick-name from his red hair, and round red face.  More than that, he was an incredibly gifted pilot - a "natural."  He wasn't in the first group of pilots that transitioned to the 737 - so our association had a little hiatus until he moved onto the jet.  Man - could he ever fly that airplane well - just as smooth as silk.  As I think back, I think he was the smoothest pilot I ever flew with.

Red signed my IceWorm card when we crossed the Arctic circle flying from Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island to Resolute Bay (the most northern airline airport in the world.)  It was aboard CF-NAL, the airplane pictured above.

Red and I shared a lot of time together away from work and more than a few beers.  Which made reading his Obit all the more amazing - I had never heard of this RAF and Spitfire stuff.  Typical.

After he reached Nordair retirement age of 60 (I was gone by then), he continued flying with Nationair - another Canadian airline - on Stretch 8s, until he reached 65.  We stayed in touch over the years - first via email and later via phone calls.  His wife Anne - was the computer operator go-between.  Anne had been a Nordair stewardess.  When she sadly died (Dec 24, 2007), we switched to phone.  In the his last year or two, Red moved into a care facility, where he died just shy of 3 years after Anne.

Flying here aboard the 737 - to Red's left is an Astro Compass - a device used then to navigate in the High North, where the magnetic compass becomes unreliable.  (Resolute was then only 111 miles from the North Magnetic Pole.)

I spoke with him quite often. He'd always start crying when I called, which made me feel bad...and, in some ways, good - that he felt that way. He always talked of this picture he had on the wall that he cherished - of him and me somewhere up North - I cherished the fact that he cherished it. Later, after he died, I did a bit of rummaging, and came up with the picture - the family had taken it down from his wall and cropped it for his obit.  It was taken at Nanisivik on northern Baffin IslandĀ  21 Oct 1982 - ambient temp -20 F.


He almost made it down to Rome, N.Y. in July 2009 for the Connie Reunion, but his trip fell through at the last minute. Really too bad - he really liked the Connie, and we could have seen each other again for one last time.

 Nanisivik 21 Oct 1982

We were very good friends until the end......

 


Obituary

MARTINDALE, Arnold (Red) - December 22, 2010

 

MARTINDALE, Arnold (Red) - Mr. Arnold “Red“ Martindale at Hospice Cornwall on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at the age 85 years. Beloved husband of the late Margaret Anne Griffiths. Dear father of Elizabeth Ann, Susan, Kim, Glenn, Dana, Cathy and Neil. Arnold was loved by his many grandchildren. Sadly missed by sisters Mary and Joyce. Loving son of the late Featherstone Ross and Dorothy (Forster) Martindale. Also predeceased by one brother, Herbert and daughter Patricia. Arnold served in the Second World War from 1942 - 1945 and was also a flying officer and instructor with the RCAF. In keeping with Arnold's wishes, cremation has taken place. Interment in Old Stone Church Cemetery, South Lancaster at a later date. A service in memory and celebration of life will be held in the chapel of the WILSON FUNERAL HOME, 822 Pitt Street, Cornwall on Monday, December 27, 2010 at 10:00 AM. If so desired, memorial contributions in Arnold's memory to Hospice Cornwall or the Canadian Cancer Society would be appreciated by the family. Online messages of condolence may be made in the obituary section of: www.wilsonfuneralhome.ca

'Red' had flown Spitfires in the second world war and I believe he was the youngest Spit pilot at the end of the war. 'Red' had flown with Nordair and Wardair and others before retiring. After his stint in the RCAF he had his own flying school for a short time. I'm sure others can add to the story of 'Red' and it would be nice if they could add to what we know.