R.C.A.F. Ventura bomber crash near Cowichan Lake, 1944
Arctic & Northern Aviation History
The Province (Vancouver, British Columbia) - Monday, May 1, 1944
An R.C.A.F. bomber which disappeared on a routine flight over Vancouver Island last week has been found wrecked near Cowichan Lake with five of its six man crew dead, Western Air Command reports.
FUNERAL ON SCENE.
Officials, in daily contact with a search party which reached the scene late Sunday said they had identified five bodies.
No mention of the sixth was made, leaving a faint possibility that one of the airmen may have parachuted and is somewhere in the vicinity.
The wreck is four miles from the end of the Lake Logging railroad at Rounds at an elevation of 3500 feet.
The wreck was spotted from the air late Friday and a land party of RCAF personnel reached the scene on Sunday.
The crash victims are FO Ambrose Moynaugh of Souris; PO. John E. Moyer, St. Catharines; WO1 Brinsley C. H. Palmer, Saskatoon; Sgt. Harry A. Maki, Sudbury; WO2 Lawrence Kerr Millet, Alberta, and LAC. Murray T. Robertson of Patricia Bay.
WO. Brinsley Palmer of Saskatoon was wounded severely early last year during an air-sea battle off Malta. His bomber sank an Axis tanker.
Burial of the men will take place at the scene of the crash, air force officials announced. Positive identification will be made before funeral services are conducted.
The Ventura was completely wrecked on the high mountain side.
There were no witnesses to the crash.
Cause is unknown.
There are 50 men in the ground party now at the scene, They have a two-way radio with which communication is being maintained with Western Air Command.
Some of the bodies were found in the wreckage, according to the radioed information.
Only detail so far received is that the aircraft hit the side of the mountain.
The rescue party had a great deal of difficulty in reaching the wreck, because of the mountainous, heavily wooded territory over which they had to travel.
Mountains in the district range as high as 5000 feet. It is understood the Ventura bomber, which was out on a routine patrol trip, crashed near the peak of one of the highest.
The Vancouver Sun (Vancouver, British Columbia) - Tuesday, May 2, 1944
Six airmen who died when their Ventura training plane crashed on the side of a 3500-foot mountain in the Lake Cowichan district last Wednesday, will be buried with full military rites at the spot where they met their death.
The airmen, posted as missing after their plane failed to return from a flight from a west coast base, were found dead near the splattered wreckage of their aircraft.
Five of the men were found on the wreckage itself, but so badly mutilated were their bodies that it took RCAF officials three days to identify their remains. The sixth man's body was found some distance from the wreckage, where he apparently had been hurled when the plane crashed.
Western Air Command said that no attempts would be made to bring the bodies from the almost inaccessible spot where the crash occurred.
A complete funeral party, including a Protestant and Roman Catholic padre, will leave Vancouver by flying boat today.