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Thread: stranraer crash

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    Default stranraer crash

    Hello , I'm looking for information on R.C.A.F Supermarine Stranraer 946 . It went missing Nov. 4 1941 and was found in 1947. A carin was built at the site . It is said to be approximately 10 miles south east of Squamish British Columbia . I would like to hike to the site . Thank you . Adit

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    Default Stranny Prang

    G'day

    If you PM me at ccharlandATcogecDotca I will send you a copy of the accident report and the A.I.B. findings.

    Cheers...Chris

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    Adit:

    This via researcher Jerry Vernon here on the BC coast:

    The story is that the aircraft was one of several Stranraers being ferried out to the West Coast in late 1941/early 1942, after they had been replaced by Cansos on the East Coast. They had to land at various lakes and rivers and those that came out later in the Winter had to go via the U. S. to find open water, ie: via Fort Worth Reservoir, El Paso, Oklahoma, Phoenix, Hoover Dam, San Diego, etc. In Canada, they landed at places like Lac du Bonnet, Cooking Lake, Nelson, Osoyoos, Penticton, etc. until these locations froze over.

    946 was piloted by Sgt. Jack Bliss (one of two Bliss brothers who were flying Stranraers) and his last stop was at Penticton. Flying from there to the Coast, they ran into a snowstorm and got lost, hitting a hilltop up at the end of Indian Arm, between Indian Arm and Squamish.

    They searched on Vancouver Island, etc. but never found the aircraft until somebody stumbled upon in it 1947.

    The late Andy Craig had photos of the crash site and I have seen these photos of the wreckage, as I was working with Andy on his Stranraer book project a couple of decades ago. Unfortunately, he lost all of his photos when his garage roof leaked and they got wet, but I do have xerox copies, and perhaps the museum has copy negs that were made of them.

    Just looking at the photos....not much to be seen, but some items like hatch covers, rear gunner's position, etc. were intact. He describes the photographer as R. A. (Bob) Dick, BC Forest Service, Squamish.

    Bob Dick was in to the crash site at least twice and some of the photos are taken from a helicopter. I understood that any logging roads into the site were washed out long ago.

    The location is described by Andy as Mount Baldwin, on Timber Licence No. 3286, 10 miles SE of Squamish, East of Sky Pilot Mtn. and South of Mt. Alpen, at the 4876 ft. level on or near the Raffuse Creek Road. Near the headwaters of Raffuse Creek, off the Indian River. Somewhere else it says "4400 ft. level"(??)

    The aircraft just caught the top of the ridge, otherwise they would have been over the top and looking at Howe Sound in the distance. There was a wooden cross at the crash site with names of the crew, but vandals had partially burned it.

    Reading some of the detail on 946.....it had left RCAF Stn. Rockcliffe on 07 Oct 41. There was a change of pilot at Regina on 18 Oct 41, when F/O Coburn came down with acute appendicitis. Sgt. Jack Bliss took over as pilot. They landed at Brooks, Alberta, on 21 Oct 41 and bought gas from the Brooks Garage. One wingtip was damaged on the end of the CPR pier at Penticton on 23 Oct 41, and this took 12 days to repair. The aircraft departed from Okanagan Lake in poor weather on 04 Nov 41.

    At 1300 hrs, the aircraft reported that they were "SE of Vancouver in the North Sector of the Princeton Range, flying blind and descending to try and make contact with the ground". They were advised to remain at 11,000 ft. until they had crossed the Vancouver cone marker. At 1346, the last radio messages from the aircraft said that "We are lost in a dense snowstorm over land and are nearly out of fuel. No position can be decided."

    A large scale search was conducted, particularly in the Port Alberni and Mount Arrowsmith areas [Vancouver Island], as an aircraft had been heard in that vicinity. The search was discontinued on 27 Nov 41.

    It was found in heavy timber on 06 Oct 47 by an old trapper by the name of Zurbriggen. A cairn was erected and a memorial service was held for the 5 lost airmen.

    I have a whole lot of stuff such as the RCAF Record Card and RCAF Accident Card, neither of which tell us much as the aircraft was written off as lost and never found. I also have a copy of the SAR log detailing the actions after the wreckage was found and a bunch of logging road maps, topo map, etc. with the crash site indicated.

    At the time the aircraft was found, the initial thought was that it might be the missing TCA Lodestar, CF-TDF, or the missing Expeditor, HB100, which is still missing under similar circumstances to the Stranraer and Lodestar.

    Some clarification....the SAR report says it is 11 miles by trail from Squamish. Immediately East of spot height 4876 ft, at 4400 ft. The map shows a myriad of old logging roads in the area, which is NE of the Stawamus Lake Road.


    Hope this is helpful:

    Regards:

    Robert

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    Crew 5 Sqn RCAF

    Bliss, Jack Fenton, Sergeant,
    R58599, missing. C. F. Bliss (father),
    4468 Idaho Street, San Diego, Cal.

    Palmer, Gerald Searing, Sergeant,
    4216, missing. Mrs., F. M. Palmer
    (mother), Raymond, Alta .

    Fernie, John Robert Bruce, Corporal,
    R50490, missing. Mrs. J. R. B.
    Fernie (wife), Rimbey, Alta .

    Ross, Charles Murray, Leading
    Aircraftman, R65863, missing. Mrs.
    C. M Ross (wife), Vernon, B.C.

    Willett, Gilbert Fowler, Leading
    Aircraftman, R65048, missing. Mrs.
    G. F. Willett (wife), Box 116, Hampton
    Station, N.B .

    Interestingly Bliss on CWGC as 5/11/1941 all others as 4/11/1941

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    Thanks very much for the information Robert and Paul .

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    Default Stranraer

    Quote Originally Posted by Dakota View Post
    G'day

    If you PM me at ccharlandATcogecDotca I will send you a copy of the accident report and the A.I.B. findings.

    Cheers...Chris
    Hello Chris , I've tried to pm you for the information but it does not go through . Thanks Eric [adit]

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    Default Stranny Loss

    G'day Eric

    Accident Record Card and A.I.B. Summary just sent.

    Cheers...Chris

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    Default Stranraer-946

    I am Ken Fernie age 73 from Calgary
    My father was on Stranraer-946 which crashed on mount Baldwin near Squamish 04NOV41
    I visited the site in 2002 by helicopter along with my wife and daughter
    The person in Squamish most knowledgeable about the crash site is Mike Wallace 604-892-9001
    If you visit the site I would appreciate any photos etc

    Ken Fernie
    403-281-6874

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    I have a bit of trivia to this story. I'm not sure to what extent it is true.

    My uncle (on my mother's side) was Gerald Palmer, one of the crew members to die in this crash. Coincidentally, my father was in the RCAF and stationed at Comox in the early 1950s. He was talking to an airman there by the name of "Gibby" Gibson, about the crash and Gibby told him that the RCAF had sent a search team up to find the crash site -- presumably before 1947. There was a junior USAF exchange officer on base at the time with typically nothing to do, so the OC decided to have him lead the search. They ended up finding the site along with various human bones scattered around the site. Presumably most had been taken by animals. Now this officer had not been given any orders as to what to do if he found the crash site, but it being American tradition is to bring soldiers back home for burial he had the remains gathered up and returned to base. Apparently the OC flipped his lid when this officer returned to base with a sack full of human bones. Fearing scandal, or the very least lots of paper work, the OC ordered the officer to take the bones back up to the site and bury them. Nothing more was said of it.

    My aunt (Gerald's sister) told me that decades later a local Boy Scout troop went up to the site to place a memorial of some sort -- possibly the vandalized cross.

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    Hi,
    Did a quick google for Squamish+ stranraer 946......
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...0515202&type=3
    Has some photos of the crash and one of the map of the location.

    Alan.

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