News Release - Lost airmen of the Northrop A-17 Nomad 3521 aircraft found

NR - 13.275 - September 13, 2013

OTTAWA – Nearly 72 years after the Nomad 3521 aircraft crash in December 1940, the remains of Flight Lieutenant Peter Campbell of the Royal Air Force and Leading Aircraftsman Theodore (Ted) Bates of the Royal Canadian Air Force have been successfully recovered. The remains of the airmen were located and recovered by members of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) during a dive to the aircraft wreckage in Lake Muskoka in October 2012.

This recovery will provide closure to the families of Flight Lieutenant Campbell and Leading Aircraftsman Bates, as well as reassure them that the ultimate sacrifice made by their loved ones will never be forgotten,” said the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence.  “These airmen can now be laid to rest with the military honours that they so rightfully deserve.

The Royal Canadian Navy’s Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) was tasked to survey the Nomad 3521 wreckage site as part of the Canadian Armed Forces Directorate of History and Heritage’s mandate to recover and identify Canada’s personnel. The recovery was a combined effort of the members of the community, who raised awareness about the existence of the aircraft, the Ontario Provincial Police’s Underwater Search and Recovery Unit, who surveyed and located the aircraft on July 27, 2010, and the Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic), who recovered the remains, personal effects, and the aircraft’s three .30 calibre machine guns.

This particular dive operation will certainly stay with the team forever,” said Lieutenant (Navy) Greg Oickle, Acting Commanding Officer of Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic).  “The divers’ persistence and exemplary work played a crucial role in the efforts to give these airmen the respect and dignity that they deserve. The team is proud to have been part of this homage to their military predecessors.

The Royal Canadian Air Force is committed to the recovery of the Nomad aircraft. Planning for the necessary logistics of such a recovery and salvage operation, as well as the appropriate coordination with other interested parties, is underway.

Flight Lieutenant Campbell and Leading Aircraftsman Bates went missing on December 13, 1940, when their aircraft, Nomad 3521, was involved in a mid-air collision with another aircraft, Nomad 3512. Both aircraft were searching for a fellow airman who had gone missing during training the day before. Following the crash, only Nomad 3512 and its pilot and co-pilot were located. The Nomad 3521, with Flight Lieutenant Campbell and Leading Aircraftsman Bates onboard, remained missing.

Flight Lieutenant Campbell and Leading Aircraftsman Bates will be laid to rest in an interment ceremony set to take place on September 17, 2013, at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Guelph, Ont.

As discretion regarding this case is the best protection against disturbance of the crash site, information regarding the survey dive was kept in confidence until the interment was imminent, and a decision regarding the disposition of the aircraft had been made.

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Note to editor/news director:

For more information, please see the following Backgrounder on the Internment Ceremony for Flight Lieutenant Peter Campbell and Leading Aircraftsman Theodore (Ted) Bates.