The twin engine fighter plane, Avro Anson, was reported missing on October 30, 1942. Archived reports said the plane failed to return from a navigation training flight off Vancouver Island.
Wreckage finally found
A logging crew found the Avro Anson wreckage in the fall, 71 years after it crashed. The remote crash site was on a mountain near Port Renfrew.
Coroner Matt Brown said the case is extremely unusual.
“In May of this year, members of the Coroner’s Service as well as a number of specialists from National Defense went into the area and performed a very, thorough recovery effort,” Brown said.
The coroner added that families of the victims were notified. Some of those relatives included siblings in Albert who are now in their 90s.
The four killed airman have been identified as Sergeant William Baird who was with the Royal Canadian Air Force, and three members of the British Royal Air Force – Pilot Officer Charles Fox, Pilot Officer Anthony William Lawrence and Sergeant Robert Ernest Luckock.
In summary, here are the key facts as released by the Canadian military:
The crew, all members of the Royal Canadian Air Force 32 Operational Training Unit, departed from Patricia Bay, British Columbia on October 30, 1942. The aircraft failed to return and was not discovered during the subsequent search operation. The four airmen on board were presumed to have died, and their names were listed on the Ottawa Memorial to the missing.
More than 100 aircrew lost their lives while flying out of Patricia Bay during the Second World War.
The wreckage of the Avro Anson was located on southern Vancouver Island in October 2013 by a logging company, Teal-Jones Cedar Products Ltd, working in the area, which immediately notified authorities.
The DND and the CAF worked collaboratively with the British Columbia Coroners Office, which maintained jurisdiction over the crash site, to conduct a recovery operation from May 5 to 9, 2014. The primary focus of the operation was to recover any human remains and artefacts, as well as identify and remove potential physical and/or environmental hazards. Access to the crash site is currently restricted while the department completes environmental testing.
The CAF and the British Columbia Coroners Office have now confirmed the recovery and identification of the four airmen.