The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is leading operations to recover its Northrop Nomad aircraft that crashed into Lake Muskoka on December 13, 1940, killing Lieutenant Peter Campbell and Leading Aircraftsman Theodore (Ted) Bates. The operation is expected to last approximately 10 days.
The aircraft was discovered by the Ontario Provincial Police on July 2010, some 70 years after its fateful crash. In October 2012, the Royal Canadian Navy’s Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) recovered the remains of the fallen airmen and they were interred a year later with full military honours.
Lieutenant-General Yvan Blondin, commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force, said:
This operation is the culmination of many good people working together to make this happen. I appreciate and warmly acknowledge the support provided by federal, provincial, and local partners.
Recovering the Nomad aircraft and bringing it to a more appropriate resting place underscores the RCAF’s commitment to our heritage and the preservation of our history.
The recovery operation is led by the Royal Canadian Air Force, partnered with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Directorate of History and Heritage at the Department of National Defence, the Ontario Provincial Police Bracebridge Detachment, the National Air Force Museum of Canada, located in Trenton, Ontario, and the Canadian Coast guard. Notable support also came from the towns of Gravenhurst and Bracebridge and the Lost Airmen of Muskoka Project.
The main recovery effort for Nomad #3521 is supported by a recovery and salvage team from the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Aerospace and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron based at 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario, with critical diving support from the Royal Canadian Navy’s Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) out of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The Royal Canadian Air Force conducted an extensive environmental assessment in coordination with federal, provincial and local authorities in preparation for this operation. The personnel involved in this operation are trained professionals and are treating the wreckage with extreme care.
The recovery of the aircraft is a unique opportunity for the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Armed Forces and all those involved in the recovery to honour Canada’s military heritage. The wreckage has remained the property and responsibility of the Royal Canadian Air Force until the full recovery is achieved, at which point the aircraft will be handed over to the National Air Force Museum of Canada.
Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, said:
The Canadian Armed Forces has a rich heritage of professionals who carry out their mission daily with courage and dedication whether in training or in operations; at home or overseas; in peace-time or in war.
As we approach Remembrance Day, I could think of no better tribute than to finally raise the Nomad from the depths where it can find its home with the National Air Force Museum of Canada.
Press release, Image: Canadian Navy