72-year-old wartime mystery solved
The crew of a war plane that went missing 72 years ago during a training flight from Patricia Bay has finally been found.
The remains of four airmen were recovered earlier this month.
Their Avro Anson L7056 plane went missing on Oct. 30, 1942 on a navigation training exercise.
After the aircraft failed to return to the air force base, searches immediately following the disappearance did not locate the plane or any wreckage.
The four airmen on board were presumed to have died, and their names were listed on the Ottawa Memorial.
The wreckage was finally located on southern Vancouver Island in October 2013 by a logging company working in the area.
The crew members have now been identified as Royal Canadian Air Force Sgt. William Baird and British Royal Air Force Pilot Officers Charles Fox, Anthony William Lawrence and Sgt. Robert Ernest Luckock.
The recovery is a joint effort between the British Columbia Coroners Service and the Department of National Defence (DND).
Canada’s Department of National Defence and Britain’s Ministry of Defence have contacted surviving family members of the deceased to inform them of the recovery.
The family of Sgt. William Baird released the following statement to the media:
Sgt. William Baird was the son of Francis and James Baird, and a brother to six siblings.
For over 70 years, the family of Sgt. William Baird were left wondering whatever happened to their loved one, who had disappeared on a RCAF training flight in 1942. The mystery has now been solved several decades later and there is an end to the story, with the discovery of the crash site of the Anson L7056 at Cowichan Bay, B.C., which involved four crew members, one of which being Sgt. William Baird.
The family of Sgt. William Baird cannot find enough words to express their gratitude to the members of the Teal Jones Group and the Department of National Defense, especially Laurel Clegg, and many others, for their hard work and diligence in bringing closure to our family, as well as their kindness, understanding and compassion in a somewhat difficult time. Although Sgt. Baird’s parents and most of his siblings are now deceased, he does leave two surviving siblings and several nieces and nephews, that can now have peace knowing that their brother and uncle will finally be laid to rest with the honour and dignity that he very much deserves.
Once again, on behalf of Sgt. William Baird’s family, we give our heartfelt thank- you, appreciation and gratitude to the endless hours of work so many people have endured to bring closure and peace to our family.
DND is working to plan for an interment ceremony to provide the airmen with a final honoured and appropriate resting place in a Commonwealth War Graves plot.
More than 100 aircrew lost their lives while flying out of Patricia Bay during the Second World War.