Permanent memorial to be erected for WWII bomber that crashed near Chilliwack

An engine from a WWII bomber that crashed into a mountain in Chilliwack during a training flight 70 years ago has been recovered to become part of a permanent memorial for the crew that perished in the accident.

Eleven men, mostly in their early twenties, were lost in what is considered the worst war-time training accident in British Columbia.

On June 1, 1945, Liberator bomber KK241 took off from Abbotsford Airport. A short time later, the plane flew into the side of Mount Welch in Chilliwack, killing all aboard.

A large ground search lasting two weeks was launched. The wreckage was eventually sighted on the rocky slopes of Mount Welch.

The 11 men were buried at the side of the mountain on July 1 and a cross was put up to mark the grave.

In 2013, a group of cadets was sent to find out what the condition of the memorial was and they found the cairn face down in the middle of Airplane Creek. The decision was made that a new, more permanent memorial should be made, listing the names and the pictures of the men.

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The memorial will also incorporate a part of the aircraft, which is being brought back to honour the men.

The engine was supposed to be recovered from the crash site Monday morning, but weather got in the way. On Wednesday, a helicopter has finally managed to bring back one of the engines from the bomber in a ceremony near Cultus Lake B.C. This engine from the original bomber will become part of the new memorial.

Liberators at Abbotsford.Courtesy of W/C MacKay from the DesMazes collection.
Liberators at Abbotsford.Courtesy of W/C MacKay from the DesMazes collection.

$63,000 have been raised so far for the monument, but the goal is to raise $105,000.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has donated $25,000 toward the project.

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to raise money for the memorial.

A large chunk of money raised will go toward the maintenance for the memorial and the cost of flying in family members of the crew. The group working on the project is in the process of contacting the families, hoping they can witness their loved ones being honoured in a special dedication ceremony planned for Sept. 26.

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When finished, the memorial will be installed in Thompson Park, just outside of Chilliwack.


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