Dakota RCAF Airplane Crash

Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada

Sept 15, 1946

example of a C-47 (from wikipedia)

Listed as one of Canada's Largest Air Disasters, 2nd worst in Canadian Aviation History at the time.

The Dakota plane that crashed at Estevan Airport, was originally a US Air Force plane, a Douglas C-47A-DK Skytrain, SN#92713 (c/n 12544), transferred to the RCAF, as Dakota III #962, (12544).

The Plane Crashed, Exploded, and Burned, at 10:20 a.m. (CDT) Sept 15, 1946 killing 20 RCAF Pilots, plus one ground crewman, who was on board. Total deceased= 21

It crashed near a “Ravine” at the west end of one of the runways, in the NW part of the Landing field, a place that had become known by local residents as “Death Valley”, because of a number of R.C.A.F. accidents which took place there during the war. This “Ravine”, was actually part of Long Creek, which eventually was flooded, and became the Boundary Dam Reservoir. The Estevan Airfield was formerly No. 38 Service Flying Training School, opened on Apr 1, 1942, and then became the headquarters of No. 4 Equipment Holding Unit. It was the scene of several crashes during the war.

The DC3/Dakota started in production in 1935. This plane was only built in 1944, seating capacity= 34, 2 Piston Engines, Registration: #962, Msn / c/n:12544.

Some records say accident happened Sept 6, others 15th, others 16th, one record says a Dakota MKIII. Some records say 20 lives lost, some 21, some 22. The real date, Sunday, September 15, 1946, and the Number killed = 21, There were NO injuries on the ground. There were eye witnesses, farmers, and their children in the area, seen the whole accident happen.

It left Minot ND at 9:30 am flying to Estevan, when it crashed and burned. The victims were all Pilots from No.124 Ferry Squadron, RCAF, based in Rockcliffe Ontario, Canada. At the time of the accident they were being sent to Estevan, from Fargo ND., with a stop in Minot ND., to fly Lend-Lease, Cornell Trainers out of Estevan, returning them to Hector Airport, Fargo, ND. USA 124 Squadron was under the command of Squadron Leader, Col. Edwin “Ed” A. Bland Jr., AFC, (b- Jan 10,1916, Oklahoma, USA, d- May 1, 1996, Colorado Springs, Co, USA) and was part of the RCAF No. 9 (T) Group.

F.O. Henry (Harry) Hugh Cowan

  • b- Aug 18, 1915 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, d- Age 31,
  • Svc Number- J85095
  • Buried in Beechwood Cemetery, Ottawa., Sec. 27. Lot G. Grave 14.
  • He lived in Ottawa, ON., educated at Mutchmor School, and Glebe Collegiate.
  • He enlisted in RCAF in Ottawa, June 29, 1942.
  • Distinguished Flying Cross
  • Wife- Margaret Beatrice Cowan
  • Father- Capt. Alexander Benson Cowan,
  • Mother- Frances Elinor Cowan, nee Milner, of Ottawa ON
  • He had 5 brothers, and 3 sisters.
    • Brother- Rev. J. E. B. Cowan of Estevan, (Pastor of the Estevan Free Methodist Church).
    • Brother- Lieut.-Colonel Eric Cowan, Ottawa,
    • Uncle- Brigadier G. A. Cowan of the Salvation Army, Africa
  • Harry Cowan's body was flown back home, due to his mother's serious illness,
  • All those listed below, were sent home, via a Special Train.

Flt.Lt. James “Jimmy” Stewart Lees

  • b- Jan 1, 1917, in Oyen, Alberta, Canada, d- Age 32,
  • Svc Number- J20727
  • Educated in Oyen AB. Employed at Turner Valley AB, Oil Field Worker, for 2 years, before enlisting in 1941.
  • Stationed in Calgary, where he received his wings, in July 1942.
  • Posted overseas, August 1942, Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross in the Fall of 1943,
  • Buried in Royal Canadian Legion Cemetery, Little Mountain, BC
  • Son of Thomas Lees, b- Scotland, and Susan Lees, nee Welsh, b- in Scotland, both living in Chilliwack/Abbotsford, B.C. in 1946
  • Husband of Evelyn Gladys Lees, Abbotsford, B.C.

Flt.Lt. Edward Chester Stewart

  • b- Nov 4, 1917 in Holden, Alberta, Canada, d- Age 28,
  • Svc Number- J17000
  • Occupation Miner when he enlisted.
  • Distinguished Flying Cross, The Distinguished Flying Medal, was presented by the King of England, April 1943, Went overseas in Nov 1941, Completed 2 tours of duty over enemy territory, 48 sorties without a scratch. June 21, 1945 returned to Canada.
  • Buried in Plot 6 Row 1, Holden Cemetery, Holden, Alberta, Canada
  • Father- Albert Thomas Stewart, b- Dec 2, 1875, in Plattville, Wisconsin, USA, d- Apr 8, 1936, Chicago, IL, USA. He Immigrated to Canada in 1904, Grain Buyer in Holden in 1921. Buried in Britton, Marshall, S. Dakota in one source and Holden in another.
  • Mother- Lottie May Margaret Stewart, nee Brisbin (Brisban?), b- 1875 in Listowel, ON., d- 1934 in Holden?, buried in Holden AB.
  • Both parents were deceased when he enlisted.
  • Next of kin- Brother- Frank Brisbin Stewart of Camrose AB, b- 1913, d- 1980, buried in Valleyview Cemetery, Camrose AB, He was the BA Oil Agent in Camrose at the time of the accident.

Per Inquiry Reports below, he was Captain to Minot, then he switched with F.O. Pond, for the trip to Estevan.

F.O. Ned Jordan

  • b- Dec 1, 1919 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, d- Age 27,
  • Svc Number- J18919,
  • (Headstone says Flt. Lt.) Distinguished Flying Cross, summer 1945,
  • Buried in Elmwood Cemetery, 88 Hespeler Ave, Winnipeg, MB.
  • Educated at Lord Roberts, and St. John's Tech.
  • He worked at the City's Time Keeper Office when he enlisted June 1941 in the RCAF.
  • Received his Pilot's wings, Dec 1941, after training in Brandon, High River and McLeod.
  • Went overseas, Dec 31, 1941, He was a Veteran of almost 4 years service overseas.
  • He had made over 82 operational trips in “J” for Jig, a Bomber Command Lancaster.
  • While he held the Rank of Flight Lieutenant, he was awarded the DFC.
  • He spent the remainder of his term overseas, as an Instructor.
  • Returned to Canada June 1945, and was with the Ferry Squadron after that time.
  • Father- Edward Marsh Jordan, who lived at 238 Talbot Ave., Winnipeg, MB.
  • Mother- Annie Jordan
  • Brother- Edward M. Jordan, Winnipeg, MB
  • Brother- Ted Jordan, Martin Ave. Winnipeg MB.

F.O. William “Bill” Albert Perry

  • b- Feb 26, 1918 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada, d- Age 28,
  • Svc Number- J51726
  • Buried in St. James Cemetery, Kemptville ON
  • Enlisted in the RCAF the 2nd day of the War.
  • Living in Toronto, ON at the time, Mechanic when he enlisted.
  • Served with Coastal Command out of Gander Nfld., then At Rockcliffe from Apr 1946.
  • Wife- Bernice Mae Perry, nee Rosatte, Belleville, Ont., married in 1943. b- 1922, d- 1978
  • son- John William “Jack” Perry (Photos courtesy from him)
  • Nephew of Mrs. R. J. Torgensen, 40 Kingston Row,
  • Grandson of Mrs. W. P. Perry, 37 Kingston Row
  • Father- Melville Joseph Perry of Kemptville
  • Mother- Olga Perry, of Hawarden, SK

F.O. Robert James McIntyre

  • b-July 22, 1923 in Carman, Alberta, Canada, d- Age 23,
  • Svc Number- J19103
  • He was a member of the Manitoba Mounted Rifles when he enlisted.
  • Buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Carman MB
  • Father- Peter McIntyre, Carman, MB., b- Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Mother- Mary Ann McIntyre, nee Robertson, b- Aberdeen, Scotland

F.O. Raymond (Ray) Avard Brandser

  • b- May 1, 1923 in Glen Bain, Saskatchewan, Canada, d- Age 23,
  • Svc Number- J28638
  • Home- Glen Bain SK
  • Buried in Hawley Cemetery (Clay), Plot 24 Row 2 Grave 1, Minnesota, USA
  • -Father- Henry Sylfest Brandser, b- Aug 18, 1879, Hamden, Fargo, Becker Co., MN, USA.
  • -Mother- Lillian Adell Brandser, nee Burns, both from Glen Bain, SK.
  • Brandser Island in Northern Saskatchewan named after him.

F.O. Raymond (Ray) Avard Brandser
Last 2 photos from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, sent in by Anne Gafiuk —-

F.O. Max Thomas

Photos above from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, sent in by Anne Gafiuk
Photo submitted by Lois Wilson, July 2, 2020

  • b- Oct 4, 1922, in Lashburn, Saskatchewan, Canada, d- Age 23,
  • Svc Number- J92977
  • Home- RockGlen SK
  • Buried Sept 20, 1946, in Woodlawn Cemetery, Block K Lot 121 Grave 12955, Saskatoon SK
  • Father- Evelyn Thomas of Saskatoon SK., b- England
  • Mother- Eugénie Barbara Thomas, nee Watson, 652 Saskatchewan Cres. E.,Saskatoon, SK., b-Scotland
  • Thomas Lake in Northern SK named after him
  • Oct 15, 1924, Max was age 2, travelling to be with his father in Long Beach CA.
  • He was with his mother Eugenie, and brother, Richard Thomas
  • Uncle Gordon Watson lived in Lashburn SK at that time.

Flt.Lt. Leonard “Len” Edgar Turtle

  • b- Nov 19, 1919, in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada, d- Age 24,
  • Svc Number- J14865
  • Home- Marshall SK., near Lloydminster SK.
  • Buried in Woodlawn Cemetery, Block K Lot 122 Grave 12956, Saskatoon, SK
  • Wife- Mrs. Z. Maxine Turtle, nee Jones, 26 Hazel Ave., Ottawa and Saskatoon SK..
    • Maxine daughter of A. B. Jones of Lilac
    • They had a daughter Eloise who married a Jack Caverson. She became a Nurse.
    • Maxine remarried Len's brother Bob Turtle
    • Maxine settled in PEI.
  • Leonard and Maxine were married May 1942 in Ruddell United Church, North Battleford
  • Jan 9, 1946 Leonard was part of the Mail Squadron, delivering mail overseas.
  • He left his car on a street in Ottawa, and baffled the police for a while.
  • Father- Alfred Ernest Turtle b- Birkenhead, England,
  • Mother- Kathleen Isabelle Turtle, b- Souris MB., both living in Cavalier
  • Turtle Island in Northern SK named after him

Signature above from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, sent in by Anne Gafiuk

F.O. H. C. Stephen Pond

His photo above from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, sent in by Anne Gafiuk

  • b- Mar 14, 1912 in London, England, d- Age 34,
  • Svc Number- J29113
  • Immigrated when he was 5 months old.
  • Living in Summerside PEI when he enlisted, Occupation a Trader.
  • Buried in Mount Royal Cemetery, Montreal QC, Sec. G.944. Grave 548
  • -Wife- Mrs. Constance Marie Pond, Montreal.
  • -Son of John Pond and Annie Pond, nee Turner, of Montreal
  • The Oldest of all the men on board

Per Inquiry reports below, he was the Captain of the plane from Minot to Estevan, taking over from F.O. Stewart

Flt.Lt. Joseph Alphonse Camille Bouchard

  • b- Sept 14, 1918 Ste-Anne de la Pocatiere, Quebec, Canada, d- Age 28,
  • Svc Number- J26027
  • Distinguished Flying Cross
  • Buried in Notre Dame Roman Catholic Cemetery, Ottawa ON
  • Wife- Ruth Bouchard, Longeuil, Que.
  • Son of Dr. J. Georges and Marie C. Bouchard, of Ottawa, Ontario
  • His father was Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
Right Photo courtesy Pierre Legace Blog, Ext link below

Flt.Lt. Joseph Alphonse Camille Bouchard
Last 2 photos from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, sent in by Anne Gafiuk

Flt.Lt. William Murdock Jackson

His photo above from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, sent in by Anne Gafiuk

  • b- Dec 1, 1921 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, d- Age 24,
  • Svc Number- J15733
  • Clerk when he enlisted
  • Buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto ON.
  • -Wife- Kitty Marie Jackson, Lansing, Ont.
  • -Father- George Richmond Jackson, b- in Winnipeg, MB
  • -Mother- Isobel Jackson nee McKenzie, of Winnipeg, MB

Flt.Lt. Charles Stanley Wright Proctor

His photo above from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, sent in by Anne Gafiuk

  • b- Jan 14, 1917 Brighton, Northumberland, Ontario, Canada, d- Age 29,
  • Svc Number- J6150
  • Student of Engineering when he enlisted.
  • -Wife- Mrs. Helen Isabelle Proctor, 248 Heath Street West, Toronto ON.
  • Buried in Park Lawn Cemetery, Toronto, ON
  • awarded Distinguished Flying Cross, Feb 2, 1943.
  • Served overseas, and was commended for his Navigator Bomb aiming ability, on enemy targets.
  • -Father- Charles Russell Weller Proctor, b- Mar 16, 1871 in Brighton, Northumberland Co. ON, d- 1930
  • -Mother- Mona Louise Wright, b- 1884, d- 1974
  • -Grandfather- John Edward Proctor, b- Mar 29, 1824, d- 1911

Flt.Lt. Morris (Maurice) Crosby Cuthbert

  • b- Dec 27, 1917 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, d- Age 28,
  • Svc Number- J16223
  • Occupation Repairman when he enlisted.
  • buried Pinecrest Cemetery, Ottawa, ON., Plot South half 597. Sec. D. Grave 1.
  • -Wife- Mary Beryl W. Cuthbert, Ottawa, ON.
  • 2 Memorials 1947 says his name was Maurice C. Cuthbert, one signed Mother and Dad Whiting, other his wife Beryl.
  • -Father- John Cuthbert, b- ON
  • -Mother- Edith Eliza Cuthbert, nee Husband, b- Lennox Co, ON, both living in Vancouver BC

Flt.Lt. Clifford Somerville Coppin Note

His Picture has been carved,
I don't have a copy available yet for online use.

  • b- June 22, 1923 in Kamsack, Saskatchewan, Canada, d- Age 23,
  • Svc Number- J85255
  • Buried in Riverview Cemetery, Kamsask, SK., Plot 1. Block 6. Grave 7
  • -Wife- Amelia E. Andrews, Kamsack, SK., b: July 13, 1922 in South Ockendon, Essex
  • -Father- George Sommerville Coppin
  • -Mother- Elizabeth Morden
  • Coppin Lake in NW SK named after him

Note*- Clifford Somerville Coppin's name was corrected by his daughter, Valerie Palmer Sept 12, 2006
I am trying to contact her again for a photo of her father.

Last photo from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, sent in by Anne Gafiuk

Flt.Lt. Laurence Victor “Vic” Kirsch

Photos above from Vic's Son, Larry Moran. His mother, Beryl Kirsch, remarried.

His photo above from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, sent in by Anne Gafiuk

  • b- Mar 20, 1918 in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada, d- Age 28,
  • Svc Number- J11048
  • Distinguished Flying Cross
  • Home- Yorkton SK, Buried in Yorkton Cemetery, Yorkton, SK., Block 11. Lot 41. Grave A.
  • Wife- Beryl Kirsch, 174 Tupper Avenue, Yorkton, SK.
  • Father- Henry Kirsch of Yorkton SK
  • Kirsch Lake in Northern SK named after him.

Flt.Lt. Louis (Lew) Eric John Murphy


His photo above from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, sent in by Anne Gafiuk

  • b- Aug 22, 1923, Mobberly, Cheshire, England, d- Age 23,
  • Svc Number- J20191
  • October 6, 1944 awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
  • - No.427 Squadron
  • -Wife- Mrs. L. E. J. Murphy, Ottawa
  • Discrepancy- one record says husband of Delys D Murphy, nee Worth of Charlottetown PEI,
  • Son of Squadron leader Ernest Eric Murphy and Edith Gladys V. Murphy of Britannia Heights,
  • Buried in Pinecrest Cemetery, Plot 598 Sec D Grave 1, Ottawa ON.
  • Father- Ernest Eric Murphy, b- Cardiff, Wales.
  • Mother- Edith Gladys Victoria Murphy, nee Ranson, b- Campbridge, England
  • Memorial notice 1947, signed Patricia, Bridget, and Jacqueline, another signed his Mom and Dad, and brothers Eric and Kenneth
  • Aug 1944 he piloted an aircraft of a bomber force detailed to attack Forte De Nieppe, his airplane sustained severe damage but he still flew it back to base. He had completed many sorties by this time.

Flt.Lt. James Pyle Jessee

James Pyle Jessee

James and Marjorie in Halifax

Last 2 photos above from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, sent in by Anne Gafiuk

  • b- Feb 2, 1920, in Spring City, Russell Co., Va. USA, d- Age 26,
  • Svc Number- J26908
  • - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.184 Squadron
  • Buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Burnaby BC
  • -Wife- Mrs. Marjorie Eleanor Jessee, nee Southerland, of Vancouver BC
  • married ca 1945, had a daughter Carolyn Lee Jessee
  • James was an American from Lebanon Va, USA, joined RCAF in 1941,
  • Surname spelled Jessee in a Pittsburgh paper.
  • -Father- Conley Trigg Jessee, b- Mar 25, 1885 in, Russell Co., Va., d- Aug 2, 1934 in, Russell Co., Va.
  • - Mother- Margaret Augusta (Gussie) Jessee, both of Lebanon, Virginia, USA
  • James was fourth of 10 children, 6 brothers, 4 sisters.
  • He was one of 5 brothers who served in WWII.
  • A 6th brother was not old enough, and served later in Germany.
  • -Grandfather- John Henry Jessee
  • Info and pictures above and below, from his nephew Jim Jones, May 29, 2013
  • (son of Dorothy Jessee, sister of James Pyle Jessee)
  • James was quite a daredevil, and had joined the U.S. Army Air Corps because he believed that war with Germany was imminent and wanted to get ready. James had completed his second year at Milligan College in Johnson City, Tennessee when he joined the Army. He received his pilot training in 1940 at Chanute Field, Champaign, Illinois as a member of the Fourth School Squadron (Air Corps), where he was considered an outstanding pilot. Apparently some of the pilots would take the planes and dogfight at night, James being one of them. Once caught, the offenders were offered the choice of taking their entire training course again or leaving the service. Several chose to leave because they considered themselves fully trained and capable pilots and chafed at the thought of repeating their entire course of training. James and several of his friends joined the R.C.A.F. because they could begin flying immediately; the R.C.A.F. was happy to get trained pilots.
  • During WW II, James and his best friend from the R.C.A.F. were assigned to No. 184 Squadron RAF, based originally at RAF Colergne in England but which moved to many other RAF airfields and then to Normandy, the Netherlands, and finally Germany itself. The 184 Squadron claims to be the first based on German soil (21 March 1945). The only plane we are certain James flew was the Hawker Typhoon. James flew 150 missions over Germany, for which he received the DFC. He told the family he didn't feel right about the fact that of all his close compadres, he was the only one to come back alive from the war. James got out of service, went to work for the father of his best friend (who did not come back) at a trucking company in Vancouver. But his love was flying, and that is what he wanted to do, so he re-joined the R.C.A.F. After the Estevan crash, James' brother Harold, himself a WW II hero with a number of bomber missions over Germany, met James' wife and daughter, Marjorie and Carolyn, in Canada and drove cross-country to Vancouver, where another service was held for James prior to his burial in Burnaby BC. In 1949, Marjorie came from Vancouver, and some of James' family – his mother Gussie, sister Dorothy, and brother Harold – traveled from Lebanon, Virginia to Ottawa to attend the ceremony at Government House in Ottawa where James posthumously received the DFC from Viscount Alexander, Governor General of Canada.

Flt.Lt. William (Bill) Jacob Louis Weicker

  • b- Oct 10, 1915 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, d- Age 30,
  • Svc Number- J15301
  • D.F.C. and bar, Family Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross
  • No. 405 Squadron
  • Buried in St. Peter's Lutheran Cemetery, Kitchener, ON
  • Father- William Weicker, b- Tavistock, ON.
  • Mother- Emma E. Weicker, nee Youngblood, b-Tavistock, ON, both living in North Kitchener, ON.
  • Photo he sent to his mother, courtesy his nephew David Weicker, Nov 2017

His Signature documents above from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, sent in by Anne Gafiuk

F.O. Robert (Sandy) Cowan McRoberts

His photo above from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, sent in by Anne Gafiuk

  • b- Nov 25, 1917, in Glasgow, Scotland, d- Age 28,
  • Svc Number- J12537
  • Family Awarded Distinguished Flying Cross
  • - No.421 Squadron
  • He came to Canada age 10, completed his education in Calgary AB.
  • He was a School Teacher at Rocky Mountain House, AB. before the war.
  • enlisted in the Army in 1940, and then transferred to the RCAF a year later.
  • He graduated from Uplands, as a Pilot, and Instructed at Dunville ON.
  • June 1943 he was posted overseas, returning to Canada Aug 1944.
  • First to 176 Ferry Squadron, then 124 Ferry Squadron.
  • He was checked out to fly 23 different types of aircraft.
  • -Wife- Mrs. Rose A. McRoberts, 288 Yale Avenue, Winnipeg, and Sudbury ON. and 2 children.
  • -Son of Henry Hunter McRoberts, and Jessie Park McRoberts of Calgary;
  • Buried in Burnsland Cemetery, Lot 105. Block 11. Sec. G., Calgary AB.

Leading Aircraftman (LAC) Vitantos Luke Kirko,

Vitantos Luke Kirco

Kirco and his sister from newspaper

Photo of V. L. Kirco, from newspaper
3 Photos above, courtesy Major Victor Tyerman

  • The only Non-Pilot in the Group.
  • b- Oct 18, 1925, Weston, Ontario, Canada, d- Age 20,
  • Svc Number- R276396
  • Machinist when he enlisted.
  • Buried in Mount Hope Cemetery, Range 45, Sec 18, Grave 121, Toronto ON.
  • -Sister- Miss Mary Kirko, Toronto.
  • -Son of Kaiton Kirko, b- Vilma Russia, and Victoria Kirko, nee Bloomberg, b- Kauna, Russia, of Toronto

Photo of his signature above from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, sent in by Anne Gafiuk

The Official RCAF Statement quoted in the Mercury stated the “aircraft was seen to approach the airport normally with its wheels lowered.” “For some reason the pilot decided not to land on his first approach, and opened up the engines to go around again. During this maneuver the pilot apparently lost control, and the aircraft crashed. A technical examination of the wreckage has shown that the control lock on the starboard elevator was in position and had not been removed before the flight commenced.” Ground Crew error, but should have been seen by the Pilot, on his pre-flight inspection.

I have read somewhere one assumption says the pilot was aware that he had a problem, and asked the men in the plane to get into the rear of the plane for landing, so he could get the nose up, but when something happened on his landing, and he gave it full throttle, the plane couldn't recover from the weight imbalance and crashed. If they would have stayed sitting they might have survived. But who really knows if this is true.

The date of the full Military Funeral was Wednesday afternoon, at 2:45 CST, Sept 18,1946, held in a drill hall at the old Estevan Airport, 5 miles south of Estevan.

McNeil and John Lee were in charge of funeral arrangements. The Funeral was delayed for an hour, since the train bringing the Families and Dignitaries was late arriving. More than 800 people attended, complete with a Legion Group, and the RCAF Honour Guards. They had 7 2 ton, green trucks, each with 3 flag draped coffins on the rear decks, except one truck only had 2 coffins. FO. H.H. Cowan's body had already been flown home, and was not part of the official funeral here.

There was an Altar, draped with a Union Jack, flanked by 2 other Union Jack Flags, The Altar was situated between the trucks at one end of the Hall with the Coffins, and the Mourners at the other end.
The Altar was banked with 39 wreaths. Before the Altar were the 3 officiating Ministers:

  • -Squadron Leader, P. Janz, No 2 Training Command, Protestant, Command Chaplain
  • -Squadron Leader, A. J. Leveque, Roman Catholic, Command Chaplain
  • -Rev. Frank H. Morgan, Rector of St. Paul's United Church in Estevan.

They had 42 in the Armed Escort Party, 12 members of the Firing Party, No 2 Command Band, with drums muffled. Honour Bearer, S. L. J. Coyne, carried a purple cushion, with the men's decorations placed on it.
Attending the funeral:

  • Air Vice Marshall K. M. Guthrie, Winnipeg, MB
  • W/O Les Halliwell, in charge of the Firing Party.
  • FO W. Palmer in charge of the Escort Party,
  • Flt-Lt- B. Lewis in charge of the Parade.


Caskets entering town, Highway 47 Hill, South end of the City, 20 Caskets on 7 Air Force Trucks

Military Band leads the Funeral Procession, on 12th Ave

Military Guard for the Funeral Procession, on 12th Ave

Military Guard corner 4th St and 12th Ave

Caskets being loaded onto the train, Sept 18,1946

Note- the funeral Pictures were in my Mom's scrapbook, and no doubt from the “Estevan Mercury” at the time.
I thank the photographer and the source.


Inquiry Documents, and photos above from Library and Archives Canada, Ottawa, submitted by Anne Gafiuk, May 2018

A large order was placed in 1940 for the military DC-3, which was designated C-47 and became known as “Skytrain,” a name it would soon be asked to live up to. More than 10,000 were built under various names and designations, including SKYTRAIN, C-53, C-117 and DAKOTA (British designation). These aircraft played a major role and served in every theater of operations during the Second World War. Thousands continued to serve in both military and civilian roles after the war.

Brief Squadron History
Authorized as the “Air Force Headquarters Ferry Squadron” Jan 1, 1942. Re-designated “No.124 (Ferry) Squadron”- Feb 13, 1942. Disbanded- Sept 30, 1946

Above the Piano bar at the Billy Bishop Legion, 1407 Laburnum Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, is a propeller from a Cornell Trainer from Estevan, Saskatchewan


The Chainsaw Carver, Darren Jones, who carved the Soldier's Tree in Estevan, carved the faces of these men, into a large permanent display, to be installed hopefully on the east side of the court House in Estevan.

Base is in the shape of a large horseshoe, approx 10ft x 15ft, 12 feet high in the front and 10 feet high in the back, per the organizer of this Project, Lester Hinzman in Estevan. Lester is working in conjunction with the head of the Air Force Base in Moose Jaw, home of the Snowbirds, to get this Memorial to these Air Men built. Unveiling took place Sept 17th, 2017 at the Estevan Airport!.

Please contact Lester in Estevan to donate to this long overdue Memorial.

Darren Jones, the carver, “Mr. & Mrs. Cab Studio, Art and Design”, is based out of Rimbey Alberta.

see my New Page for this memorial

  • Last modified: 2021/07/05 08:30
  • by dlgent