Location of First RCAF Canadian Second World War Casualties Commemorated Near Beaverbrook Lake, NB
In 1958, an Irving pilot, helping track new road locations noticed shimmering metal in the Deersdale area of Beaverbrook Lake, NB. An investigation into the metal led to a story that no one expected.
On August 29, 1939 on the eve of the Second World War, six Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft departed Ottawa to help allies by patrolling for enemy submarines off the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia. The flight, from Ottawa to Sydney, Nova Scotia, was intended to be used as a ferrying mission with scheduled stops in Maine and Shediac, NB. One of the aircraft, a Northrop Delta 673, was forced to make an emergency landing in Maine when engine problems became apparent. Pilots, Warrant Officer Second Class James Edgerton “Ted” Doan and Corporal Dave Rennie, fixed their injured aircraft as quickly as possible, but were forced to make a second stop at Lac-Mégantic for a full engine replacement. On September 14th, the aircraft returned to the air, with new routing 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.
In July 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.
J.D. Irving, Limited has included the crash site in its voluntary Unique Areas program and has erected a sign at the location of the crash. On Wednesday, November 8, JDI will be bringing local veterans to the crash site to see the newly placed sign in honour of Ottawa natives Warrant Officer Doan and Corporal Dave Rennie.
They bravely made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country. We remember them.