Yellowhead County and area residents celebrated Wop May Days this past weekend, commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Wop May Coal Branch Manhunt in Robb, Alberta.
On Saturday, August 31, approximately forty people including residents, dignitaries, and special guests followed in the footsteps of the infamous Coal Branch manhunt for an Edmonton murder suspect that escaped to the Coal Branch 100 years ago.
This manhunt that took place in September of 1919 included the participation of Wilfred ‘Wop’ May. The famous pilot flew Edmonton City Police detective James Campbell into the area to help apprehend the suspect who had escaped from Edmonton by train into the Coal Branch.
The murder suspect was quickly arrested in Mountain Park but escaped shortly after, south of Robb. Once seized for a second time, he was taken to Edmonton for trial.
A new historical sign that celebrates the Hamlet of Robb, as well as Wop May’s participation in the chase, was commemorated in Robb. Wop May’s son, Denny May and his wife Marg, and Detective James Campbell’s grandson, John Campbell and his family, were in attendance.
Also present were Yellowhead County Mayor Gerald Soroka, and Councillors Lavonne Olson, Shawn Berry, and Penny Lowe, MP Jim Eglinski, President of the Edson and District Historical Society Doug Woodhouse, and historian John Chalmers from Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.
Attendees also took part in a BBQ, and the Robb Community Association opened the multi-plex and provided tea and coffee for the event.
The new Robb historical sign is one of many heritage educations signs that Yellowhead County has been installing across the County over the last several years.
All photos courtesy of Yellowhead County and John Chalmers.