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Six Killed in Crash of RCAF Beechcraft, 1947

Arctic & Northern Aviation - Photos and History

The Lethbridge Herald

Thursday, January 16, 1947

Six R.C.A.F. Members Killed in Whitehorse Plane Crash - January 1947
    EDMONTON, Jan. 16. - (C.P.) - R.C.A.F. officials announced today the names of six men killed when an air force plane crashed yesterday on Marsh Lake near Whitehorse, N.W.T.

    The victims were five R.C.A.F. personnel, including the commanding officer of the station at Whitehorse and a civilian employee.

    Officials of Northwest Air Command at Edmonton said the only information they have is that the crash occurred while the plane was returning to Whitehorse from Teslin, Y.T., where R.C.A.F. officials had been investigating a fire.

    Teslin is about 105 miles by road southeast of Whitehorse. Marsh Lake is about 45 miles south of Whitehorse and near the Alaska highway.

    N.W.A.C. officials said case is unknown but they have received reports from a Mr. Martell at Marsh Lake that he saw the aircraft flying low and the sound of the engines gave him the impression that they were in trouble.

    Wing Cmdr. J. D. Somerville, senior air staff officer at N.W.A.C., and two other officers left Edmonton by air today to investigate the accident.

    Killed were:
    Flt. Lt. Robert L. Curtin, pilot attached to No. 6 Communications Flight at Whitehorse.
    Sqdn. Ldr. Robert Andrew Bucham, D.F.C.
[sic], commanding officer of the R.C.A.F. station at Whitehorse.
    F.O. Alfred Henry Hartvickson, works and buildings officer stationed at Whitehorse.
    Flt. Sgt. Joe Milner, N.C.O. in charge of fire fighter section stationed at Whitehorse.
    (Wives of these four men are living at Whitehorse.)
    LAC. Charles Curtis Brooking, aero-engine mechanic at Whitehorse, flying as crewman: mother, Mrs. Sid Brooking, Trehern, Man.
    Ray Othen Porter, electrician, R.C.A.F., civilian employee at Whitehorse: mother, Mrs. Harriett Porter, Edmonton.


    VANCOUVER, Jan. 16 - (C.P.) - Sqdn-Ldr Robert A. (Bobby) Buckham, commanding officer of the R.C.A.F. station at Whitehorse, Y.YT., killed in the crash of an air force plane in the northern Wilderness, was a former rugby star here and one of Vancouver's most famed war-time heroes.

    He was the holder of both the British and the United States Distinguished Flying Crosses, winning fame as a member of Wolf fighter squadron and before going overseas in 1941 was a star with the Vancouver Meraloma rugby squad.

    His widow and child live in Whitehorse, and his mother and two sisters here. His father, the late John A. Buckham, was a speaker of the British Columbia legislature.

    A brief report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch of January 16, 1947, stated that the aircraft that crashed was a twin-engined Beechcraft. Other than that, there was no coverage of the crash in the thousands of newspapers we have access to at Newspapers.com.

    So far, we have found the graves of four of the men killed: