Lost airmen laid to rest

News Article / September 18, 2013

Nearly 73 years after Nomad #3521 crashed in December 1940, Flight Lieutenant Peter Campbell of the Royal Air Force and Leading Aircraftsman Theodore (Ted) Bates of the Royal Canadian Air Force were laid to rest with military honours on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Guelph, Ontario.

"The courage and dedication of our Second World War heroes will never be forgotten," said Defence Minister Rob Nicholson. "After all these years, we recognize and lay to rest Flight Lieutenant Campbell and Leading Aircraftsman Bates with the honour and dignity they so greatly deserve."

F/L Campbell was born on March 29, 1916, in Quilon, South India. LAC Bates was born on January 8, 1913, in Guelph, Ontario. Both airmen were stationed at the No. 1 Service Flying Training School, located at Camp Borden, Ontario, which was a unit of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

Veterans Affairs Canada provided support to the family members of LAC Bates and coordinated their participation in the interment ceremony. The Royal Air Force Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre provided similar support to F/L Campbell's family in the United Kingdom.

"It is very gratifying that we can now properly lay to rest a Canadian who gave of himself for our country and our way of life," said Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino. "The recovery of these airmen offers an important occasion for the families to have a sense of closure, and for Canadians everywhere to recall and honour the sacrifices made by those who serve."

Members of F/L Campbell and LAC Bates’ families attended the interment ceremony in Guelph. Veterans, the mayor of Guelph and representatives of the Royal Canadian Air Force also attended, as well as a representative of the Lost Airmen in Muskoka Project (LAMP), which raised awareness of this lost aircraft.

On December 13, 1940, two Northrop A-17 Nomad aircraft – #3512 and #3521 – departed from Camp Borden (now Canadian Forces Base Borden and the home of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 16 Wing).

The aircraft were involved in a mid-air collision while flying over the Lake Muskoka area, searching for another Nomad that had gone missing . Shortly after the crash, local police were able to locate Nomad #3512, with its pilot and co-pilot onboard, by diving on the site. Nomad #3521, with pilot F/L Peter Campbell and observer LAC Bates, remained missing.

In November 2007, the investigation was re-opened by the Ontario Provincial Police and a search for the aircraft resumed. On July 27, 2010, Nomad #3521 was found at the bottom of Lake Muskoka by divers from the Ontario Provincial Police Underwater Search and Recovery Unit. From October 10 to 18, 2012, divers from the Royal Canadian Navy's Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) searched the Nomad #3521 wreckage at the bottom of Lake Muskoka and recovered remains of the airmen.

Date modified: