NEWS

WW II airmen missing for 70 years laid to rest

11/10/2014 06:30 EST | Updated 01/10/2015 05:59 EST
The remains of four World War ll aviators, lost for more than 70 years, were buried today after a military ceremony in Victoria.

A training aircraft and the remains of the four airmen who went missing in 1942 were recovered in May from a remote logging site on Vancouver Island.

- WATCH | WW II plane lost for 70 years being raised from Lake Muskoka

The Avro Anson aircraft went missing on Oct. 30, 1942, after it left the air force base at Patricia Bay in Sidney on a navigational training flight.

After the aircraft did not to return to the base as planned, searches failed to locate any wreckage.

The cause of the crash is still unknown, but weather is believed to have played a role.

In October 2013, a logging crew working for Teal-Jones Cedar Products on a remote mountainside on the west coast of Vancouver Island near Port Renfrew came upon the wreckage.

The Department of National Defence surveyed the site and discovered the remains of the four airmen, but conditions at the time made it too difficult to recover them.

In May, specialists from the B.C. Coroners Service returned to the site with Defence Department personnel and were able to recover and eventually identify the remains.

The surviving family members were then contacted to let them know of the discovery.

Sons at burial ceremony

Among those at the service with full military honours service were the sons of Pilot Officer Charles Fox. He died when one son was a toddler and the other an infant.

Also attending the funeral was a veteran who was a pilot who trained out of Patricia Bay. His stepson is a forest company worker who found the wreckage in dense bush last fall.

The ceremony gave closure to families and for many veterans attending, and reinforced the strongly held belief that no soldier that gives his or her life will ever be forgotten.

Aircrew included 1 Canadian, 3 Brits

The four airmen included Sgt. William Baird from the Royal Canadian Air Force, and three members of the British Royal Air Force: Pilot Officer Charles Fox, Pilot Officer Anthony William Lawrence and Sgt. Robert Ernest Luckock.

All four were members of the Royal Canadian Air Force 32 Operational Training Unit, and after they were presumed dead, their names were listed on the Ottawa memorial for the missing.

The Department of National Defence says more than 100 aircrew lost their lives while flying out of Patricia Bay during WW II.

The AvroAnson was a twin-engine aircraft used for training bomber crews throughout the Commonwealth during the war. They remained in use by the Canada military until 1952.

Google Maps: Port Renfrew, B.C.

MORE:cbcNews