Sunday, March 31, 2013

Slesse Mountain

       Not in Coquitlam, but still a sad bit of local news... This was the worst plane crash in Canadian history at the time, today it is sixth, probably still the worst aviation accident in western Canada though.
   When Trans Canada Air Lines , flight 810, using a Canadair North Star crashed into Slesse Mountain, ( nice panorama of the mountain ) killing all on board, Trans Canada Air Lines eventually became today's Air Canada.
      The Provincal government eventually got around to dedicating a 582 hectare site,  on the 29th of May, 1995 named it the Mount Slesse Commemorative site, to preserve it, since none of the bodies were recovered, the entire site is considered a graveyard.
        Wikipedia article about the disastrous crash on the 9th of December 1956, where 62 people lost their lives, the accident site was not located until five months later in May of 1957, by  mountaineers Elfrida Pigou, Geoffrey Walker, and David Cathcart.  (Vancouver Sun, article on May 13, 1957). For some crazy reason the deaths are mostly listed under Prince George, Pine Valley and finally, correctly under, Slesse Mountain.

       The site is high on the mountain, some photographs (1)(2)(3)(4) of the site taken by hikers are posted on the ClubTread hiking forum. Some more information from this disaster site
 All of the death certificates appear to have been done with  none or little, family and/or friends input, so they tell very little.

Mabel Florine Adams; Mabel Florence Adams, age: 33. Home: Bassano, Alberta. Home: 1032- 12th Avenue West, Calgary.  Mabel was a secretary for the Calvan Oil & Gas Company

Maxwell "Max" Sheppard Bailey, age: 58.  Home: Mt. Royal, Montreal. Wife: Ann G. Gordon. b.28 Jan1899 secretary, Machine Products Corp.

Melvin "Mel" Howard Becket, 1929-1956 Home: 3801 Princess Drive, Regina. Job: Professional football, Saskatchewan Roughriders. Center who previously played end at the University of Indiana. His number 40 was retired after the tragedy.   ( Wikipedia )

Mel Becket

Denise Marie Beernaerts, age: 19 b. Somerset, Manitoba 28 Aug., 1937 Home: 323 Provencher Ave., St. Boniface, Manitoba.  Worked as a combination filling clerk and P.B.X. operator.

Marion Lewis Bright, age: 43.  Home: Fort Worth, Texas. Job: British American Oil Co., Edmonton, Alberta.

Mrs. Elizabeth Duncan Burt, age: 68. Home: San Franscisco. Job: Housewife.

Mrs. Helen Phelps Chapman; Helen Gale Chapman, age: 27.  Home: 1813 19th Avenue Northwest, Calgary, Alberta. Mother: Mrs.Elizabeth L. Phelps, Calgary, Alberta.

Harold Cleven, age: 46. Home: 520 46th Avenue south-west,Calgary, Alberta. formerly of Winnipeg, Man. Job: Manager, Hilton Brothers, Calgary, Alta.

Karl Warren Collett, age: 58. Home: 3050 2nd Street, Northwest, Calgary, Alberta. Job: Mannix Ltd., Calgary, Alta.

Richard Theodore Custer; Lothar Richard T. Custer, age: 44. Home: 4444 Elmwood street, South Burnaby. Job: Western representative for Birds Eye Division, Seafoods.  Wife: Mable E. ( They also ran Custer's a fruit and vegetable stand, at 3470 Kingsway, Bby.)

Mario Joseph Demarco, age: 29. Home: Warren apartments, Regina, Sask. Job: Pro football, Sask. Roughrider.  Native of Boonton, N. J., who played guard for the University of Miami, Florida and starred in the team's 13-6 victory over Holy Cross in the Orange Bowl in 1946.  ( Wikipedia )

Hatsuko Hashimoto DongHashimoto Dong Hatsuko, age: 27
 Home: 79-2 Chome, Osaka, Japan. Worked as a secretary for the Matsushita Danki Manufacturing Company, Osaka, Japan.  Married to Hin C. Dong

Fred W. Edwards, age: 58. Home: 6026 Churchill street, Vancouver. formerly of Winnipeg.
 Job. 2nd Vice-president, Massie & Renwick insurance co.  (possible birth certificate; 22 Dec.,1899, Van.)  Wife: Edith M. (possibly: Edith Marie, age: 82. 3 May 1990)

Wilfred Emde,  age: 26. Home: Indian Head, Sask. Job: R.C.M.P. student; Constable RCMP at Union Bay, B.C.

James Anthony Folger, age: 60.  Home: Dallas, Texas. Job: Geologist,  DeGoyler & MacNaughton.

Wong Fook, age: 38. Home: New York, New York. Job: Chef. Father: Wong Sing

Yuen Gar; Yen Gar, age: 18. Home: Hong Kong. Job: Student. b. 28 June 1939

Major Philip Edwin Gower, M.C., age: 41. Home: 24 Arras drive, Calgary, Alberta. Job: Major in army

Margaret Jean Grant, age: 35. Home: 831 22nd avenue Northwest, Calgary, Alberta.  Mother: Mrs. Bessie Grant.

Jean Christian Hamilton; Christian Hamilton, age: 48. Home: 17 Wellington crescent, Edmonton, Alberta. Job: housewife.

 This swimming pool is still being used, has been renovated a few times

Robert Winslow Hamilton, age: 45. Home: 17 Wellington crescent, Edmonton, Alberta. Job: Partner in chartered accountant firm. ( biography of Winslow. He worked for  the Winspear(Francis G.), Hamilton, Anderson & Co., accounting company, who had offices in Dawson Creek, Calgary, and Vancouver.)

Miss Audrey Cameron Harper, age: 39.  Home: Medicine Hat; Calgary, Alberta. Job: Imperial Bank, Calgary,Alta.

John Bennett Hemming, age: 42. Home: 429 18th Street northwest, Calgary. Job: General sales & advertising manager, Palm Dairies Ltd., Calgary, Alta.

John "Jack" Edward Henderson, age: 47. Home: R.R. 1, Issaquit, Wash. ; apt.1-2003 Burrard Street, Van. b. Glasgow, Scotland 5 June 1909. Job: western divisional manager, Capital Carbon & Ribbon Co., Ltd. Wife: Nan Cochran Smart. Father: Edwin Milne Henderson,of Edinburgh, Scot. Mother: Georgina Proudfoot, of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Donald Arthur Holden, age: 24. Royal Bank of Canada, Vancouver, formerly of Winnipeg. Home: Winnipeg Job: member of Junior Chamber of Commerce, Chilliwack. Father: Arthur E. Holden. (the information on the death certificate is confusing.)

Calvin "Cal" J. Jones, age: 23. Home:  Steubenville, Ohio, All-Star Winnipeg Blue Bomber guard. 1955 all-American guard, played for the University of Iowa. Wikipedia biography of Cal Jones, and a Sports Illustrated cover of him.

 Calvin " Cal" Jones

Queenie Georgina Kafoury; Mrs. Georgina Kafoury, age: 50.  Home:  Portland, Oregon. Job: Housewife

Clarence Gordon Kennedy, age: 41.  Home: Toronto. b. Peterborough, Ont. 16 May 1915. Job: Wage and salary administrator, B.A. Oil Co., Toronto. Wife: unk Castle. Father: John Bruce Kennedy, of Peterborough. Mother: Ethel May Brant, of New Castle, Ont.

Kenneth Roy Laird, age: 41. Home:  4416 Burke street, South Burnaby, B. C. Job: sales representative, First Spice Mixing Co. (Canada) Ltd. Wife: Dorothy S.

Miss Aline Litovchenko, age: 24. Home: 2023 29th Avenue Southwest, Calgary.  Worked for Allan & Johnson, custom brokers.  Mother:  Clara Litovchenko.

Miss Cheng Sau Chun Low; San Chun Low Cheng,  age: 24 At B.C. Archives is states death at Prince George. The name is possibly totally miss-spelled, since I cannot find a copy at the LDS site either.

John David Lyall, age: 41. Home: 5998, Vine street, Vancouver. Wife: Mabel Leona Lyall.(Leona M.) Job: casualty manager, North Western Mutual Insurance Co.(Northwestern Mutual Fire Asociation)

Ian Hamilton Macbeth, age: 41. Home: 56 Laurie crescent, West Vancouver. Job: branch manager & sales representative, B.W. Deane & Co., Montreal.

Harold Clarence McElroy, age: 56. Home: 3015 Champlain street, Calgary. Job: president of Smeeds Security Storage.

James Milne McKay, age: 35. Home: 546 37th street, Calgary. Job: sales manager, V.M.H. Realty, Calgary, Alta.

Ronald W. Mitchell, age: 23. Home: 2222 West First Avenue, Vancouver. Job: sales promoter, Vick Chemical. Father: Arnold Mitchell

Mr. Robert John McNaughton Muir, age: 47.  Home: 5 Harvie Avenue, Powell River, B. C. Job: Self employed hardware merchant.

John Archibald Munro, age: 42. Home: 2563 West 23rd avenue, Vancouver. Job: appraiser, General Appraisal Co., Ltd. Wife: Alice M.

Mr. Edwin Stanley Pettitt, age: 29. Home: 3213 Kilkenny Road, Calgary. Job: salesman, Kleen Ltd.

Mrs. Sarah Clark Rose, age: 54. Home: 627 16th street, Calgary. 326-17th Ave. N.W., Calgary, Alta. Job: widowed housewife.

Patrick Rowan age 11
Susan Gail Rowan age 5
Yvonne Rowan age 41
Walter Peter Rowan, age: 42. Home: 3628- 8th Ave., Calgary, Alta.  Job: Trans Canada Airlines, station manager, Calgary. Wife: Yvonne Labelle.
(It appears that the entire Rowan family was killed in this accident.)

Kwan Song   Home: 12- 12 Bowery, New York, New York. Age 63, he was of Chinese descent and worked as a second cook in the merchant marine.

Duncan MacKenzie Stewart, age: 39. Home: 2207 West 47th avenue, Vancouver. Job: sales representative, Moffats Ltd. (wholesaler of appliances)

Russell Smith Stratton, age: 52. Home: 700 South Ardmore, Los Angeles, Calif. Job: director of trade relations with the Merganthaler Linotype Company and a veteran of 25 years with the St. Petersburg, Florida, Times.

John Struthers, age: 42. Home: 1970 Quilchena Crescent, Vancouver. Job: assistant manager, International Harvester Co. of Canada. Wife: Mary.

Gordon Henry Sturtridge  Home: 615 17th avenue, East Regina, Saskatchewan formerly of Winnipeg.
Professional football player, age 27,  married to Mildred A. Sturtridge ( see Next entry )   ( Wikipedia )
Gordon Henry Sturtridge

 Mildred A. Sturtridge, age: 27. Home:  615 17th Avenue, East Regina, formerly of Winnipeg. Job: housewife. Father: Edwin J. Allford

Raymond "Ray"  Nicholas Syrnyk, age: 23. Home: Redwater, Alta.; 2022 Retallack Street, Regina, Sask. Job: professional football, Rookie defensive lineman for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. b. 25 Aug., 1933. His jersey number 56 was retired after this tragedy.  ( Wikpedia )
Ray Syrnyk

 Leslie Edward Webb, age: 33. Home: 6151 Granville Street, Vancouver. Job. western sales manager, Canadian Chemical Co. Father: Samuel Webb.

Mrs. Frances Eleanor Welch, age: 41. Home: Toronto.; 28 Peard Road, Scarboro, Ont. Job: stenographer- receptionist, Howard Air Conditioning, Toronto, Ont. b. 20 Oct., 1916. Step-father: Major, F.J. Pue

Arthur Lawrence West, age: 38. Home: 4716 West 4th avenue, Vancouver. Job: western district sales manager, Playtex Ltd. Wife: A. Margaret.

Mrs. Joan Elizabeth Williams, age: 32. Home: 19 Regal avenue, St. Vital, Man.; 44 McAllister Street, San Fransisco, Cal. Job: private secretary, Aetna Casualty Company.  Father: Thomas Henry Williams.

Frank John Wright, age: 28. Home: 1125 West 11th street, Vancouver. Job: representative, Canadian Chemicals Co.

Mr. Brig. Harold Edwin Wright, age: 57. Home: 1116 West 48th Ave., Vancouver. Job: vice-president, Canadian Bakeries Ltd. b. Toronto, Ont. 6 April 1899. Wife: Lillian Mary Walsh. Father: Herbert William Wright. Mother: Mary Lavina Byers.

Woon Yuen Wah; Yuen Wah Woon, age: 18. Home: W. K. Chop Suey House, Regina.; 199 Electric Road, Honh Kong. Job: night school student. b. 26 Jan.,1939

Mrs. Li Wan Ying Yuen; Lee Wan Ying, age: 51. Home: 54 Hennessy Road, Hong Kong. Job: housewife.

Captain:    Alan Jack Clarke, age: 35. Home: 2645 McBain Ave., Van.;  Montreal
First officer:    J.C. Terry Boon; John Charles Terrence Boon, age: 26. Home:  908 Adderley Street, North Vancouver, B. C.

Stewardess:    Dorothy Elizabeth Bjornsson; Dorothy Bjornson, age: 24. Home: 955 West 10th Aveneue, Van; Swan River, Man.

UPDATE:  Added some death certificate links.
 And recently the local newspaper The Chilliwack Progress has been digitized; which tells some of the story of the aftermath, and the community reponse to the tragedy.

May15, 1957  page 1
May 22, 1957   page 1 and page 10
June 5, 1957  page 2 and page 8
June 26, 1957  page 2 and page 16
August 18, 1957  page 5
Sept 4, 1957  page 1 and page 6
Sept 18, 1957  page 5
Nov 13, 1957  page 1
Dec 11, 1957  page 1

July 22, 1959  page 13   the accident inspired the locals, to start up a Search And Rescue group.  Chilliwack SAR  still going strong; no end of customers in the area, these mountains are unforgiving for those who are unprepared.

And the public would have to wait until May 31, 1995 page 8  to see the entire site dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives that fateful day 38 years earlier.

1 comment:

  1. This helps put the humanity to the list of the lost. I was a 13 year old boy living on a US Forest Service ranger station about 6 air miles from the crash site. It was a dark stormy night. The state highway superintendent 10 miles up the highway reported he thought he heard an explosion on the night wind. The search went on. I was deeply affected by the fate of those 62 souls. All these years and I still have the list and I pray for them from time to time. Life is fragile. I am a pilot, my son is a pilot. I understand the cockpit dynamics that must have gone on that night. The pilot and the flight attendant were subs for the normal duty crew. Somewhere I read that Dorothy, the stewardess, had only been on the job two months.