James Francis (Stocky) Edwards was born on June 5, 1921, on a farm near Nokomis, Saskatchewan, about 80 miles east of Saskatoon. His grandfather Edwards had been a pioneer homesteader in the area. Jim was the second child in a close-knit farm family.
When Stocky was five and Bernie was seven, an early blast of wintry weather destroyed the Edwards’s wheat crop before it could be harvested. To support his family, Jim’s father took his horses and went to work for another farmer. In that farmer’s stable, his horses caught sleeping sickness (equine encephalitis) and died. That was the final blow. The Edwards family gave up on farming and moved to Battleford, Saskatchewan, a town of about 1,200 people.
Adapted from: Hehner, Barbara. Desert Hawk: The True Story of Stocky Edwards, World War II Flying Ace (Kindle Locations 59-61). HarperCollins Canada. Kindle Edition.