The son of Alfred Hales, John Playford Hales graduated from Ontario Agricultural College in 1915. He joined the Royal Naval Air Service in July 1916. Posted to France with 9 Naval Squadron in September 1917, he scored 4 victories in 4 months flying the Sopwith Camel. He then became a ferry pilot, flying aircraft from England to France. In April 1918 he was promoted to Captain and returned to combat with 203 Squadron in the summer. Twelve days after he scored his 5th victory, Hales was killed in action over the Somme by anti-aircraft fire.