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No. 11 Squadron
RCAF July 1945
August 11, 1983
|Pilot F/O William Edward Davies, J/28139 RCAF (MIA / KIA) Toronto, Ontario
Co-Pilot Flying Officer Robert Joseph Martello, J/26660 RCAF (MIA / KIA) Rossland, British Columbia
Navigator Flying Officer Nicholas Maxwell Popovich, J/47933 RCAF (MIA / KIA) Ladysmith, BC
Engineer Flight Sergeant Donald William Hope, R/59081 RCAF (MIA / KIA)
Radio Flying Officer Harry Alexander Lowe, J/47850 RCAF (MIA / KIA)
W/AG Warrant Officer Class I Victor Gilbert Crosson, R/151140 RCAF (MIA / KIA) Thessalon, Ontario
W/AG Warrant Officer Class II Joseph Bertrand Raymond Presse, R/90751 (MIA / KIA) North Bay, Ontario
Passenger Corporal William Hrysko, R/106466 RCAF 4 Sqn (MIA / KIA) Pine Ridge, Manitoba
Passenger Cpl Norman Marshall Johnson, R/130808 RCAF (MIA / KIA) Vancouver, BC
Passenger Leading Aircraftman Raymond Valentine Kiteley, R/255935 RCAF (MIA / KIA) Vancouver, BC
Passenger Leading Aircraftman Lloyd Henry Tull, R/261754 RCAF (MIA / KIA) Victoria, BC
Passenger Sgt Pamela Gladys Bennett, W/316180 RCAF-WD 11 Sqn (MIA / KIA) Victoria, BC
Passenger Corporal Nora Marshall Johnson, W/307410 RCAF-WD (MIA / KIA) Victoria, BC
Passenger Leading Aircraftwoman Margaret Mann, W/302037 RCAF-WD 11 Sqn (MIA / KIA) Vancouver, BC
Crashed July 13, 1945
Built by Ford. Constructors Number 3986. Delivered to the U. S. Army Air Force (USAAF) as B-24L-1-FO Liberator serial number 44-49131.
During May 1945 transferred to the Royal Air Force (RAF) as Liberator GR.VIII serial number KL519. Assigned to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as Liberator GR.VIII serial number 11121. Assigned to No. 11 Squadron. No known nickname or nose art. This Liberator was assigned to Western Air Command.
On July 13, 1945 took off from RCAF Patricia Bay piloted by F/O William E. Davies on a cross country training flight landing at RCAF Comex then took off again and flew to RCAF Tofino where seven passengers including three women from the Royal Canadian Air Force-Women's Division (RCAF-WD) boarded to fly to RCAF Patricia Bay.
During the afternoon took off from RCAF Tofino on the last leg of the flight to RCAF Patricia Bay. Due to bad weather, this Liberator d crashed into the forest covered side of a mountain seven miles east-south-east of Bamfield near the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. Everyone aboard was killed on impact.
When this aircraft failed to arrive it was declared missing. Immediately, search efforts began to locate this Liberator. Four days later on July 17, 1945 a search party located the crash site.
Recovery of Remains
On June 25, 1945 the remains of the crew and passengers were buried at the crash site.
After the recovery of remains, a wooden cross was erected on the grave of the crew and passengers. The vertical of the cross read "RCAF" and below "July 13 1945". The horizontal of the cross had the names (left side): F/O WE Davies J/28139, F/O RJ Martello J/26660, F/O NM Popovich, WO1C VG Crosson, WOCII Presse R/90751 (right side) F/O HA Lowe J/47850, Hope R/59081, Cpl W Hrysko, R/106466, LAC LH Tull R/261754, Cpl NM Johnson R130806 [sic W/307410] (lower) LAC RV Kitley R/255935. This list of names does not include Pamela Bennett, Nora Johnson or Margaret Mann.
This Liberator impacted trees and crashed into the mountain side in rugged terrain. The crash left few pieces larger than 2 meters. During 1980, a logging road was cleared only 110 meters away from the crash site allowing easier access to the crash site. During 1983 over six days using the logging road personnel from RCAF Comex trekked to the crashs site to built a memorial cairn at the crash site.
Derek Haracka adds:
"Crashed near Flora Lake near Franklin River logging operations. I have flown over it in a helicopter on a fire patrol with a buddy of mine who flys for it. The site has a cairn that was erected a few years back by a joint Canadian / US ceremony. As i search the net i cannot find anything about this crash. I have been told it was a flight from Tofino Airbase to Patrica Bay Airport which is know as Victoria B.C. International Airport. All crew were killed including a number of nurses who were on the flight. For many years the site was quite remote but logging in the last twenty years has made it accessible. I had a class mate in 1968 who lived in the logging camp who told me he hiked into the site and took one of the .50 cal. guns."
The entire crew was officially declared dead the day of the mission. The entire crew and passengers are memorialized at the Ottawa Memorial in Ottawa. Davies on panel 4, column 2. Bennett and Johnson on panel 4, column 3. Mann at panel 4, column 3. Crosson at panel 4, column 3. Hope at panel 4, column 3. Hrysko at panel 4, column 3. Kiteley at panel 4, column 3. Lowe at panel 4, column 2. Martello at panel 4, column 2. Popovich at panel 4, column 2. Presse at panel 4, column 3. Tull at panel 4, column 3.
On August 10, 1983 a memorial cairn was built at the crash site by personnel from RCAF Comex with a bronze plaque provided by the Canadian Agency of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) in a ceremony attended by Honourable W. Bennett Campbell, Minister of Veterans Affairs, provincial government, armed forces and four relatives of those killed in the crash. The plaque reads: "Those honoured here died in the service of their country and are buried nearby 13th July 1945" with the names of the crew and passengers.
May Patterson (sister of William Davies)
Marie Persicki (sister of Lloyd Tull)
John Popovich (brother of Max Popovich)
Danton Crosson (son of Victor Crosson)
Note, some sources list 14 crew and passengers were killed in the crash incorrectly.
USAF Serial Number Search Results - B-24L-1-FO Liberator 44-49131
"49131 to RAF Mar 1945 as Liberator GR.VIII KL519"
CWGC - William Edward Davies
CWGC - Robert Joseph Martello
CWGC - Nicholas M. Popovich
CWGC - Donald William Hope
CWGC - Harry Alexander Lowe
CWGC - Victor Gilbert Crosson
CWGC - Joseph Bertrand Raymond Presse
CWGC - William Hrysko
CWGC - Norman Marshall Johnson
CWGC - Raymond Valentine Kiteley
CWGC - Lloyd Henry Tull
CWGC - Pamela Gladys Bennett
CWGC - Nora Johnson
CWGC - Margaret Mann
FindAGrave - Flying Officer William Edward Davies (photo, grave photo, Ottawa Memorial photo)
FindAGrave - Flying Officer Robert Joseph Martello (photo, grave photo, Ottawa Memorial photo)
FindAGrave - Flying Officer Nicholas Maxwell Popovich (photo, grave photo, Ottawa Memorial photo)
FindAGrave - Flight Sergeant Donald William Hope (photo, grave photo, Ottawa Memorial photo)
FindAGrave - Flying Officer Harry Alexander Lowe (photo, grave photo, Ottawa Memorial photo)
FindAGrave - Warrant Officer Class I Victor Gilbert Crosson (photo, grave photo, Ottawa Memorial photo)
FindAGrave - Warrant Officer Class II Joseph Bertrand Raymond Presse (photo, grave, Ottawa Memorial photo)
FindAGrave - Corporal William Hrysko (grave photo, Ottawa Memorial photo)
FindAGrave - Corporal Nora Johnson (photo, Ottawa Memorial photo)
FindAGrave - Leading Aircraftman Raymond Valentine Kiteley (photo, grave photo, Ottawa Memorial photo)
FindAGrave - Leading Aircraftman Lloyd Henry Tull (grave photo, Ottawa Memorial photo)
FindAGrave - Sergeant Pamela Gladys Bennett (photo, news, grave photo, Ottawa Memorial photo)
FindAGrave - Corporal Nora Johnson (photo, news, grave photo, Ottawa Memorial photo)
FindAGrave - Leading Aircraftwoman Margaret M Mann (news, Ottawa Memorial photo)
The Vancouver Sun "Three Airwomen Missing On Liberator All From B.C." July 17, 1945
The Vancouver Sun "Three Woman on Lost Plane" July 21, 1945
The Vancouver Sun "Cairn marks wartime crash" by Glen Schaefer August 11, 1983
Times-Colonist "In memoriam: The day 14 died in a fiery air crash" August 11, 1983
Thanks to Derek Haracka for additional information
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Do you have photos or additional information to add?
July 12, 2020
July 13, 1945
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