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Canada's First Royal Canadian Air Force Casualties of World War II Remembered near Deersdale N.B.


In remembrance of their valor and service during the Second World War, Canada’s first RCAF casualties were remembered at a service on the crash site near Deersdale, New Brunswick.

The site is on land owned by J.D. Irving, Limited. James K. (JK) Irving and the company have protected the area and dedicated a memorial stone to the memory of the two RCAF servicemen.

The commemoration was attended by family members of the pilots who travelled from British Columbia and Saskatchewan. They joined Major General Blaise Frawley, Deputy Commander of the RCAF, several local veterans and RCAF members as well as company employees and members of the Irving family.

 RCAF Commemeration
 (l to r) Lynda Diepold, niece Cpl. Rennie RCAF; Shirley Routliffe, niece; Walter Bateson, nephew;  Major General Blaise Frawley, Deputy Commander, RCAF; and James K. Irving. 


"Major General Frawley, members of the Rennie family, ladies and gentlemen, it is an honour for our family and company to be part of today's service. I know that the Rennie family has traveled a long way for this event, and we welcome you to New Brunswick which we are proud to call home" said JK Irving, Chairman of J.D. Irving, Limited. "Today's event is about making sure we never forget the bravery of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country. We have commissioned a special memorial on this site that will act as a permanent reminder of the courage of these two men, for generations to come."
"It was nice to have so many people there that thought it was an important occasion. I was thinking of Uncle Dave (Rennie). We were all too young to have met him, but we felt we knew him because of the stories that went around our family at the Sunday dinner table. Today I reflected on that." said Shirley Routliffe, Corporal David Alexander Rennie's niece. "The site is so beautiful. All the work that's been done by J.D. Irving, Limited, and the fact that it’s going to be maintained is really very special. We know our parents would have absolutely loved it."

"Today was very moving. The individuals that crashed were out of Ottawa and were on their way flying to Sydney, Nova Scotia. They weren't actually found for 19 years. The fact that personnel from J.D. Irving, Limited found the crash site brought closure to the family, which was very important. More importantly J.D. Irving, Limited has taken the time to preserve the site over the years and it is now an established memorial there." said Major General Blaise Frawley. "It's an incredibly remote part of New Brunswick. Just getting to the site is an arduous activity. The incredible work and infrastructure to get there, and the actual site itself, I can't thank JDI and the personnel behind this enough for what they've done."



September 14, 2019 marked 80 years since RCAF pilots Warrant Officer 2nd Class James Edward (Ted) Doan and Corporal David Alexander Rennie aboard the Northrop Delta 673 mysteriously disappeared en route to Sydney, Nova Scotia.  At 1:10PM, the time of the crash, those attending the memorial service remembered the brave airmen with a moment’s silence.

 Doan and Rennie


On 27th August 1939, Delta 673, along with 5 other Northrop Deltas departed Ottawa for Sydney, designated as a General Reconnaissance squadron. Following their arrival at Sydney, they would become a Bomber Reconnaissance squadron to help allies by patrolling enemy submarines off the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia. Engine trouble forced Doan and Rennie to do a full engine replacement for the Delta 673 on the rugged shores of Lac Mégantic. Following successful flight and engine tests on September 13, Ted and Rennie were scheduled to depart for Sydney on September 14.

 Planned Flight Path


As war against Germany was officially declared on by Canada on September 10, Doan and Rennie were unable to overfly Maine like the other 5 Squadron 8 Deltas had, since the United States was neutral at the time. Northrop Delta 673’s new routing was through Rivere-du-loup and Grand Lake before continuing on to Shediac and Sydney. The aircraft was spotted flying over Edmundston and Plaster Rock, NB before disappearing for 19 years.

 Actual Flight Path


On July 9, 1958, two J.D. Irving, Limited employees were conducting an aerial survey of the Deersdale area forest when wreckage was found. A quick investigation proved that this was the missing Delta 673 from 1939. It’s been thought that Doan and Rennie were the first Canadians casualties after Canada’s official declaration of war on Germany. 

 Memorial Stone