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Laurel Clegg, casualty identification coordinator with the Department of National Defence and Courtney Brown, Coroner from the BC Coroners Service search though aircraft debris at the site of the Avro Anson aircraft crash on May 5, 2014.

Remains of WWII airmen found in British Columbia

04 June 2014

The remains of four airmen from the crash of a Second World War training aircraft in British Columbia have been recovered and will soon be re-interred by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC).  

The four airmen, Sergeant William Baird from the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), and three from the Royal Air Force (RAF), Pilot Officer Charles George Fox, Pilot Officer Anthony William Lawrence, and Sergeant Robert Ernest Luckock, were conducting a navigation training exercise aboard the Avro Anson L7056 aircraft in October 1942 when they failed to return from the mission. 

The crew, all members of the RCAF 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.

The wreckage of the Avro Anson was located on southern Vancouver Island in October 2013 by a logging company that was working in the area, which immediately notified authorities. The Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) and the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) worked collaboratively with the British Columbia Coroners Office, which maintained jurisdiction over the crash site, to conduct a recovery operation.

The CWGC is working together with the Canadian DND, the RCAF and the British Ministry of Defence to plan an internment ceremony, in consultation with the airmen's relatives, to provide the airmen with a final honoured and appropriate resting place in a Commonwealth War Graves plot.

Click here to read the full media release.