Petty Officer, 115 Squadron Tofino B C,
Service Number: J36677
who died on
Thursday, April 25, 1944
Son of Ernest Sidney Moyer
No cemetery, buried on summit of Mount Bolduc
Lake Cowichan, British Columbia, Canada
(Taken from the Cowichan Leader, dated May 1, 1944))
Bomber Plane Crash Kills Six Airmen on Lake Cowichan Peak
Six R.C.A.F. flyers were given a last resting place at the
top of rugged peaks in mountains near Cowichan Lake where their
plane crashed killing them all last Wednesday. They were on a
navigational flight from a Vancouver Island Base.
On Tuesday, while two R.C.A.F. Padres read the burial service,
comrades of the dead men reverently erected a cairn of stones
over the bodies and left them to their last sleep.
The dead airmen are: FO Ambrose Moynagh, Souris, P.E.I; PO John
E. Moyer, St. Catherines, Ont.; Sgt. Harry Maki, Sudbury,Ont.;
WO1 Brinsley Palmer, Saskatoon, Sask., WO2 Lawrence Kerr, Millet,
Alta.; LAC Murray Robertson, Patricia Bay, B.C.
Search for the missing plane and its crew was one of the
most intensive carried out in this district. It was marked by
the daring of those who searched from the air and by the hardihood
of loggers from Lake Logging Company at Rounds, who risked death
or serious injury in scaling the rugged mountain wall on Saturday
and Sunday to reach the 3,500 foot peak where the aircraft crahed.
An unusual feature of the search was the part played in it by
a United States Navy dirigible ballon from an Oregon coast station.
Airplane search over a wide area began last Wednesday night
when the plane failed to return to its base. Planes from Vancouver
Island and northern Washington stations flew over many districts.
On the following day Mr. David Beech, skidder engineer, and Mr.
J.G. Pappenberger, head loader, working on Lake Logging Co. operations,
saw smoke arising from a mountain top approximately five miles
southeast of Rounds. They notified the B.C. Police, who in turn
notified the Aircraft Detection Corps. Immediately FO Godwin,
R.C.A.F., flew in by sea-plane with a party of Air Force men.
The next morning, Friday, the flyers left their base at Honeymoon
Bay and, accompanied by two guides furnished by the Lake Logging
Co., climbed the mountain where it was believed the smoke had
been seen. They found nothing so returned to their base.
That night FO Heaslip landed a sea-plane on Cowichan Lake and
after receiving directions as to location of the smoke made a
short search. He thought he had located a burned area on a mountain
top but had to give up his search owing to darkness.
On Saturday, with Const. Andrew Grant, B.C. Police, and a wireless
operator, he set out again in spite of extremely bad flying conditions,
which were so bad that the wireless man became airsick.
Eventually the searchers spotted a swath cut through the timber
at the top of a peak. It was about 200 feet in length. Risking
disaster by striking tree tops the pilot followed this swath
and on the top of another peak, one quarter of a mile away, he
and his companions could make out the wreckage of a plane.
The party returned to Honeymoon Bay and made a report. FO Heaslip
went on to Vancouver and came back the following morning. On
Saturday night another plane, with a number of R.C.A.F. personnel,
with equipment arrived at Honeymoon Bay.
On Sunday morning the airmen and 20 loggers set out for the mountain
top where the wreckage was seen. Shortly afterwards a United
States Navy blimp appeared over Lake Cowichan. FO
Heaslip met it in the air and talked by radio with its pilot.
He then led the balloon to the scene of the wreck, where the
balloon hovered and dropped marker balloons.
The ground searchers arrived at a steep and almost perpendicular
face below the mountain top. A party led by Mr. William Crapo
and composed of Messrs William Green, Arthur Wayment, Peter Kachnia
and Raymond LeFleur, all Lake Logging Co. employees, set out
to scale this face, often clinging like flies to the steep cliff.
At 12:15 noon they reached the summit to be met by a ghastly
The wreckage of the big plane was still hot and smouldering.
Bodies of two of the crew were found 30 feet in front of the
demolished fuselage. Another body was found at one side and two
more were discovered in the wreckage.; Later a sixth body was
found to one side and 50 ft. distant. All must have died instantly.
After making a full investigation, Mr. Crapo and his men made
the difficult descent to where the rest of the party awaited
them and reported in detail. The party then returned to their
separate bases at Rounds and Honeymoon Bay.
On Monday R.C.A.F. personnel, travelling by an easier
but much longer route, went to the scene of the crash for further
investigation which resulted in the decision that it would be
practically impossible to remove the bodies for burial. It was
then decided to inter them beneath a cairn at the mountain top.
Dr. Joseph Tassin, acting as coronerÃ&SHY;s physician
for Col. J.H. Boyd, coroner, Lake Cowichan, examined the bodies.
Following the burial service on Tuesday, the coroner held an
inquiry at Rounds and declared that death of the flyers was accidental.
Operations of the R.C.A.F. at the scene of the crash
after discovery of the wreckage on Saturday were directed by
Wing-Cmdr. McNee. R.C.A.F.
Few Cowichan residents noted the arrival of the U.S. Navy dirigible
in the district but on its return journey, about 1 p.m. Sunday,
it attracted great interest and aroused much conjecture as to
the reason for its appearance over Canadian territory. Few connected
it with the search for the missing plane.
Commemorated on Page 400 of the Second World War Book of Remembrance.
The Book of Remembrance is in the Memorial Chamber, which occupies
the second level of the Peace Tower in the Houses of Parliament,