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6 (BR) Squadron
Alliford Bay, BC
RCAF February 12, 1945
Darroch February 1945
Douglas Tate Nov 19, 1992
National Park 1993
Google Earth May 11, 2012
|Pilot F/O Ronnie J. Scholes (survived)
Co-Pilot F/O LC Laker (survived)
Navigator F/O Lace Knechtel (survived)
Crew P/O Clarence Sartorius (survived)
Crew WO2 LH Malcomston (survived)
Crew WO2 JB Campbell (survived)
Crew WO2 CH Henningsen (survived)
Crew F/Sgt. RW Hacker (survived)
Crew Sgt. RF Bell (survived)
Crew Sgt. WA Hooge (survived)
Crew AW1 RJ Pike (survived)
Crew Mr. DF Marlett (survived)
Force Landed February 8, 1945 at roughly 11:00pm
Built by Canadian Vickers Limited in Montreal, Canada as the Model CL-1 a license built version of Consolidated Aircraft Corporation Model 28-5A. Constructor Number CV285.
On October 30, 1943 delivered to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) as PBV-1A Canso serial number 11007. Assigned to No. 6 (BR) Squadron based at RCAF Station Alliford Bay, BC. No known nickname or nose art with tail code "A".
On February 8, 1945 at noon took off from Coal Harbour Seaplane Base piloted by F/O Ronnie J. Scholes with twelve aboard armed with four 250 pound depth charges and landed at Tofino Airfield so the crew could pick up parts and at 11:00pm took off from Tofino Airfield. After take off, the left engine stopped and the flying boat crash landed into a pine forest roughly three miles west of the runway on Vancouver Island. During the crash, the outer right wing broke off and is separated from the aircraft. The wing section remains atop the fuselage and the nose section was damaged by the impact. Both engines broke off on impact. The crew survived unhurt. Officially, this aircraft was stricken off charge on April 14, 1945.
On February 9, 1945 two search missions were flown by F/O Weir to locate the downed aircraft. The first departed at 3:30am using Catalina 9753 and the second departed at 8:45am using Catalina 9761.
Fates of the Crew
Afterwards, the entire crew was rescued and returned to duty.
This Catalina remains in situ in a pine tree forest on a terrace edge roughly three miles west of Tofino Airfield on Vancouver Island. To the north is a bomb crater filled with water. During the crash, the outer right wing broke off and is separated from the aircraft.
After the crash, RCAF personnel walked to the crash site and recovered the .303 machine guns, ammunition and radio equipment. One of the personnel was F/O Darroch who took photos at the crash site.
During 1972, former crew member Mr. Lace Knechtel plus eleven RCAF veterans visited the crash site:
"Regarding the crash of Canso 11007, the official location is 49 degrees 07 minutes north and 125 degrees 46 minutes west. There were twelve people aboard. The pilot was named Ronnie Scholes. I was flying as pilot-navigator. We left Coal Harbour about noon on the 10 [sic 8] February 1945 and flew to Tofino. The weather was quite blustery by the time we landed at Tofino. Several of us then drove to Ucluelet to pick up some engine parts (I think it was) and then spent the early evening hours in the Tofino mess. We finally cleared for take-off at 2300 hours and had just cleared the end of the runway when the port engine quit cold. At this time we were carrying 12 people (one WD), 4 – 250 pound depth charges, normal emergency gear and about 750 gallons of gas."
Today, the crash site is located in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and is designated a "non-aboriginal site 319T" located at Clayoquot Land District Lot 237, Long Beach Unit.
To visit the aircraft, a walking trail begins on the south side of Highway 4 between the Grice Bay Turnoff and Radar Hill Road. The walking trail proceeds to the southeast into the pine forest to the crash site and is marked with red flags. On January 23, 1993, Mr. Douglas Tate conducted a site survey and created site sketches and maps. The wreckage is designated an archaeological site and the removal of any parts or adding graffiti is prohibited.
Mark Adam reports:
"The machine is remarkably intact, the airframe anyway. It has been picked clean of instruments, seats and anything else that could be carried off. but there it lies. It is has Royal Canadian Air Force markings #11007."
Susan adds (cousin of Clarence Sartorius)
The RCAF serial number of this aircraft is also listed as "A11007"
Flight Log F/O Garfield Darroch - February 6, 1945 - February 28, 1945
The Catalina News – Issue No 35 May 1997
Air Classics Review / Warbirds International "Forgotten Canso" by Ron Mak Winter 1987 Issue
Warbirds International "Letter to the editor by Garfield J. Darroch" March/April 1988 Issue
Tofino, BC The Canso Crash of 1945 via WayBackMachine May 25, 2009
Tofino’s Canso Wreck – An Update via WayBackMachine March 8, 2008
1972 – Navigator Returns to Scene of Crash - Lace Knechtel via WayBackMachine March 8, 2008
Warbird Resource Group PBV-1A/RCAF1107
Jerico Beach and the West Coast Flying Boat Stations (1997) page 276
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