Back in June, WarbirdsNews published a story (click HERE) concerning the discovery in late 2013 of four missing airmen and their wrecked Avro Anson Mk.I in British Columbia, Canada. Anson L7056 was stationed at 32 (OTU) Patricia Bay and disappeared during a training mission over Vancouver Island on October 30th 1942. The deceased airmen included RCAF Sgt.William Baird and RAF Pilot Officer Charles Fox, Pilot Officer Anthony Lawrence, and Sgt. Robert Luckock. Their remains had lain undiscovered amidst the debris from Anson L7056 for more than seventy years. Finally the men could receive a proper burial, and their families a sense of peace and closure. A group of dedicated Canadians has made it their goal to properly memorialize the four young airmen by making a film about their lives and the aircraft. One of the filmmakers, Allan Scott, gave us all the details about the crash in the previous article (click HERE if you missed that piece). He picks up the story again here to talk about the film, and the memorial service held for the four airmen.
Allan Scott continues…
A memorial to the four airmen took place with full military honors at the Royal Oak Burial Park in Victoria, British Columbia on November 10th, 2014. The crew were interred together in a Commonwealth war Graves plot. Surviving relatives of the crewmen from Canada and England attended as did numerous Canadian military persona, three members from the Queen’s Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force and Reverend Nick Barry, Deputy Chaplain-in-Chief Royal Air Force. Many decorated veterans and members of the public also came to pay tribute to the crew.
Several months ago our film team consisting of producer Nick Versteeg, Aviation historian Robert Stitt and Researcher Allan Scott escorted relatives of the Canadian crewmen to the crash site to lay a wreathe and pin poppies on a large fir tree. Standing amongst the wreckage in pouring rain, the experience was very surreal and emotional for all of us. We were also much more vigilant in keeping a lookout for bears on this visit as we had a pretty scary surprise the last time out (see previous article HERE).
Our intention was to escort the British relatives to the crash site on November 13th, but unfortunately the fall weather was not conducive to a safe trip up the steep mountain road. We hope to see them again for another attempt next summer.
Our documentary film called ’71 Years – The Loss and Discovery of Avro Anson L7056′ had its film premier on the evening on November 11th, Remembrance Day, at the Vic’ theater in Victoria, BC. Our film played to a enthusiastic full house of Canadian and British aircrew relatives, RCAF and RAF representatives and numerous veterans and members of the public who came to learn about Avro Anson L7056 and Patrica Bay’s contribution to the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada. It took the collective effort of dedicated people to make our film a success, and everyone seemed to enjoy the results. All of us are proud of our achievement. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has been informed of the Anson’s discovery as well as our documentary production. Our film team is honoured to send a copy of ’71 Years’ to Buckingham Palace in the New Year.
The very next morning after the film premier, producer Nick Versteeg flew to China. When Nick and his wife return from China the final editing of the November 10th memorial at Royal Oak will be at the end of the DVD with a few extras. The DVD ’71 Years’ will be available for purchase before too long. WarbirdsNews will let everyone know this information as soon as it is available.
Military photographers supplied us with a few photos for the article. The first video shows the crash site with the military going in and showing the forensic investigators in white. The last video is of the memorial. The video tells the story of the morning at Royal Oak Cemetery (Note the tall British Reverand and the RAF Queen’s Regiment soldier behind the casket giving orders silently).
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