Second World War airmen at rest

News Article / November 19, 2014

From Royal Canadian Air Force Public Affairs

Three Royal Air Force (RAF) airmen and an airman of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) were laid to rest November 10, 2014, 72 years after they and their aircraft disappeared over Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Pilot Officer Charles George Fox, 31, of London, England; Pilot Officer Anthony William Lawrence, 21, of Bramley Croft, Surrey, England; Sergeant Robert Ernest Luckock, 21, of Brentwood, Essex, England; and Sergeant William Baird, 25, of Calgary, Alberta, were lost on October 30, 1942, when their Avro Anson aircraft failed to return from a flight out of Patricia Bay, British Columbia.

“The aircrew whose remains we buried today were lost without a trace in 1942, and for their families and all who loved them, that loss must have caused incalculable pain,” said the Reverend (Group Captain) Nick Barry, Queen’s Honorary Chaplain, Royal Air Force Deputy Chaplain-in-Chief. “Seventy two years later, while that pain may have numbed, those left behind still bear the reality of a life lived without a father or a brother, and today's ceremony has been of immense significance to them.”

The airmen, who were members of the Royal Canadian Air Force 32 Operational Training Unit at Pat Bay, have been interred in a Commonwealth War Graves Commission grave at Royal Oak Burial Park in Victoria, British Columbia. The collective grave marker will be perpetually maintained by Canadian staff of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

“Regardless of the amount of time that is passed, and perhaps because of it, it is incredibly important and gratifying to finally be able to give these fallen members the dignity and respect they so deserve,” Defence Minister Rob Nicholson said. “This ceremony demonstrates to the families that their sacrifice will never be forgotten.”

The remains of the airmen were recovered by Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces personnel, working with the British Columbia Coroners Service, in spring 2014.

“It has been my great privilege, and that of the three members of the Queen's Colour Squadron of the Royal Air Force Regiment who accompanied me to Canada, to participate in this final chapter of the story of those missing men,” said Group Captain Barry. “On behalf of the Royal Air Force, we salute their dedication, courage and sacrifice. Per Ardua ad Astra.”

 The wreckage of the Avro Anson aircraft was discovered on southern Vancouver Island in October 2013 by logging company Teal-Jones Cedar Products Ltd.

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