In 1940, during a training flight at Camp Borden, one aircraft went missing. The next day, 2 of the search party aircraft collided and crashed into Lake Muskoka, killing all 4 airmen. Not until 2010 did we find one of the missing planes and its crew.
Camp Borden was one of the main centres used as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during the Second World War.
In 1940, the Royal Canadian Air Force acquired 32 Nomad aircrafts that were used as advanced trainers at Camp Borden. In the latter years of the war, the Nomads were used for target towing.
On 12 December 1940, during a flight while training out of No. 1 Service Flying Training School at Camp Borden, the aircraft flown by Leading Aircraftman Clayton Hopton went missing. The following morning, a search party was launched to find the missing airman.
During the search, two aircraft – Nomad 3512 and Nomad 3521 – collided over and crashed into Lake Muskoka killing all four airmen. Nomad 3512, with Flight Sergeant Lionel Francis and Leading Aircraftman William Gosling, and Nomad 3521, with Flight Lieutenant Peter Campbell and Leading Aircraftman Theodore Scribner Bates, were lost in the lake.
On 9 January 1941, divers confirmed the location of Nomad 3512 and the bodies of Flight Sergeant Francis and Leading Aircraftman Gosling were recovered and interred. Despite searching for weeks, they were unable to locate the second aircraft.
In 2010, The Underwater Search and Recovery Unit (USRU) of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Orillia, confirmed the location of the wreckage of the Northrop Nomad A-17A Serial No. 3521 aircraft that had crashed in Lake Muskoka in 1940.
Since 2008, the USRU had been undertaking a renewed search for the lost Nomad 3521. Using a variety of techniques, including side scan sonar, the USRU were able to map the lakebed surrounding the potential crash site. Several dives confirmed the crash site due to the discovery of personal items found in the wreckage.
When the personal effects of Leading Aircraftman Theodore Scribner Bates and Flight Lieutenant Peter Campbell were recovered, the USRU promptly contacted the Department of National Defence. The Casualty Identification Program then began planning the recovery of the remains of the airmen.
In October 2012, Canadian Armed Forces divers from the Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) retrieved the remains of the two airmen and three machine guns from the site of the Nomad.
In September 2013, both airmen were laid to rest side by side at Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Guelph, Ontario.
Information about casualty identification
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