Alan Frederick AvantDSO DFC C BME was born in September 1922 in Haughton, Saskatchewan and was educated at Haughton and the University of Saskatchewan. In March 1941 he joined the RCAF and was trained as a pilot. He received his commission as a Pilot Officer and in February, 1942 was transferred overseas. Avant completed his training there and joined 115 RAF squadron, flying Wellington bombers until June 1943 when he was posted as an instructor to 6 RCAF Group. Then he was transferred to operational duty as a flight commander with 426 Thunderbird Squadron.
On the night of March 29/30, 1943, while starting his bombing run, Avant suddenly found his Lancaster trapped in a concentration of searchlights. Because straight and level flight had to be maintained if bombs were to drop accurately, Avant kept on an even course while flak began to burst all around his aircraft. He dropped his bombs, but the windshield in front of his pilot's seat had been shattered.
Then a shell smashed through the starboard wing, cutting all controls and gas to the outer starboard engine. Suddenly, the port engine began running out of control because of flak damage. As he approached home base, he had only two engines running and wings were riddled with flak damage, yet he managed a perfect landing. For his night's work Avant was awarded aDistinguished Flying Cross (DFC).
After finishing his first tour, Avant served as an instructor to 6 Bomber Group RCAF and then completed a second tour with 426 Squadron RCAF, adding aDistiguished Service Order (DSO) award to his achievements.
After the war Avant resigned from the RCAF to studyMechanical Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, from which he received a BME (Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering) degree. After several senior appointments, which included a stint as Commandant of Royal Roads Military College, Victoria, B.C., Avant served as CO of No. 1 Wing of the NATO Air Division in France from August 1963 to August 1966. He retired from the Canadian Forces in December 1976 with the rank of Colonel.