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World War II plane crash: Mystery from WWII over, DNA testing proves identities

A World War II plane crash discovery has recently been brought to the surface after seven long decades, and a burial is finally in the works for four of the seven missing men, all World War II pilots or support crew men. The remains of several of the crash victims were unearthed in the debris of the wrecked aircraft. The airmen were said to have suddenly vanished in the middle of a routine training mission mid flight, were listed as missing, and were never found. Now, however, Canada Journal News reports this Saturday, May 31, that the mystery surrounding the lost plane is at last over in this described “wild case,” and the brave men’s memory can be given peace. DNA testing has proven the identities of some of the pilots and flight officers.

World War II crash site of fighter plane newly found
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The location of this missing World War II plane crash was on an isolated mountainside in the wilderness of Canada. It seems that there may have been engine trouble while the 7 British servicemen were aboard the Avro Anson twin-engine aircraft, though an exact cause leading to the fatal crash has not been formally announced at this point in time. Fortunately for these fighters in training, their spirits will finally be given a rightful burial soon, a full 72 years after they actually went missing in Canada.

Raw Story notes that a logging crew came across the wreckage late last year, roughly 80 miles from Sidney. Prior to searching for the actual remains of the fallen servicemen, rescue teams jotted down in their report that bits of evidence, from a boot to a water canteen, were found not far from the crash site. A coroner has also confirmed the identities of several of the recovered victims using DNA testing.

The crashed plane in this “wild case” was recorded to have gone missing all the way back in 1942, on October 30. The aircraft never made its expected return to base during a training flight that initially launched out from the southern end of Vancouver Island. Last fall in October, however, a staggering seven decades after the 7 on-board men were declared missing and eventually dead, a shocked team of loggers in the forest came across the aftermath of the aircraft on a mountain, not far from Port Renfrew.

According to the Post Register this morning and a statement made by Regional Coroner Matt Brown, this discovery is nothing less than a powerful reminder of the past and a truly rare find. He noted in a recent statement that an in-depth effort was made to salvage the remains of the individuals from the plane's rusting debris.

“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.”

The families of the missing servicemen following the World War II plane crash site finding have all been properly notified by local officials. What’s more, a majority of these living family members are already in their late 80s and 90s in terms of age, but it is no doubt likely that the find is incredible nonetheless. At least several of the seven men's names working the plane have been made public.

“Four have so far been confirmedly identified as Sergeant William Baird from the Royal Canadian Air Force, and a total of 3 members of the British Royal Air Force – Pilot Officer Charles Fox, Pilot Officer Anthony William Lawrence as well as Sergeant Robert Ernest Luckock.”