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British Commonwealth Air Training Plan - Training

Prince Albert BCATP Casualties 

The City of Prince Albert Saskatchewan has fond and sad memories of the BCATP Schools that were located nearby during World War II. It has honoured  the nine instructors (one civilian) and 11 students who were killed in training accidents at No. 6 Elementary Flying School and No. 6 Air Observers School with an impressive plaque at the site of the schools, now the Prince Albert Airport (Glass Field).The Prince Albert Daily Herald also honored the BCATP fatalities with a news story published on November 10, 2012 with details of those who were killed and the accidents in which they were involved. The story is presented below, as it was written.  The story sadly highlights the dangerous consequences of training for a small number of those who were at Prince Albert during the war. 

Nine accidents killed five instructors and nine students at the No. 6 Elementary Flying School in Prince Albert during its operation from July 22, 1940 until it closed November 15, 1944. 

June 21, 1941 Sergeant Douglas E. Hall was killed instantly when the Tiger Moth he was in, crashed out of control at 7:45 p.m. at Round Lake, sixteen miles north-west of Prince Albert. At the time he was instructing Leading Aircraftman D. H. Read who was seriously injured but survived. Twenty nine year 

 of four airmen; two instructors and two students. Pilot Officer John Stanley Butler was the twenty-six year old instructor of one aircraft and had been stationed in Prince Albert since March. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. William John Butler of Orilllia, Ontario and husband of Etoile V. Butler of Detroit, Michigan who was residing in Prince Albert. He is interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Detroit. The other instructor was twenty-six year old Flying Officer Ralph Nicolaus Grest. Seriously injured, FO Grest escaped the crash by parachute. However, he succumbed to his injuries 10 days later. He was the son of Nicolaus and Lydia Grest of Humboldt, Saskatchewan and husband of Dorothy Grest of Maidstone, Saskatchewan. He is interred at the Watrous Cemetery. Grest Bay on Highrock Lake in northern Saskatchewan is named in his memory. Leading Aircraftman Paul Roger McLean was the twenty year old student in one plane. He was the son of Martin and Greeta McLean of Toronto, Ontario. He is interred at Mount Hope Cemetery in Toronto. Leading Aircraftman Edward Guyon Henderson was the nineteen year old student in the other plane. He was the son of Roland and Euphemia Henderson of Windsor, Ontario. He was a graduate of J. C. Patterson Collegiate in Windsor. Just months before his death LAC Henderson had been refused service in a downtown Windsor restaurant because they did not serve ‘coloured people’. He is interred at Grove Cemetery in Windsor.

June 17, 1944 The last accident in the school’s history took the lives of an instructor and student. It occurred seven miles north of Prince Albert and was the result of an in-flight break-up of their Fairchild Cornell airplane. The right wing separated from the aircraft during spin training. The instructor was twenty-eight year old Flight Lieutenant Douglas Harold “Hal” Burr. He was the son of Frederick and Mary Burr of Vancouver and husband of Euphemia Marquis Burr of Kelowna, British Columbia. He is interred at Kelowna Memorial Park Cemetery, Kelowna, BC. The student was twenty-one year old Leading Aircraftman Elmer Stephen Beingessner. He was the son of Frank and Mary Beingessner of Brant, Alberta. He is interred at Highwood Cemetery in High River, Alberta.

No. 6 Air Observer School

There was one accident at the No. 6 Air Observer School in the eighteen months that the school operated at Prince Albert from March 17, 1941 to September 11, 1942. Four people lost their lives on the night of March 18, 1942. Avro Anson Mk. 1 R9740 crashed at 8:30 p.m., forty miles south-east of Prince Albert (six miles south of Kinistino) during a night navigation exercise.

Mister Glen Kenneth “Doc” Hyer was a thirty-four year old civilian Instructor who had been at the school since June 1941. He was the son of Dr. Irving and Maude Hyer of Clarendon, Pennsylvania. He was living in Prince Albert with his wife, Helen Ann Hyer and their children Craig and Dennis. He is interred at Oakland Cemetery in Warren, Pennsylvania, USA.

Flying Officer Olav Alfred Ness was the navigation instructor. FO Ness was thirty-three years old. He had been instructing at the school for several months and was residing in Prince Albert with his wife Pearl. He was the son of John and Gunda Ness of Sturgis, Saskatchewan. He is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in Saskatoon.

The two student observers were:

Leading Aircraftman Harvey William Hurst, age twenty. He was the son of Albert and Ida Hurst of Gravenhurst, Ontario. He is interred at Lakeview Cemetery in Gravenhurst.

Leading Aircraftman Cyril Samuel Lapp, age twenty-seven. He was the son of Samuel and Mary Lapp and husband of Mildred Lapp of Dunnville, Ontario. He is interred at Riverside Cemetery in Dunnville.

Prince Albert Daily Herald – November 10, 2012. On the web (cut and paste):

old Hall was due to leave shortly for overseas service as a commissioned officer. Sgt. Hall was the son of William and Margaret Hall of Danville, Quebec. He is interred at Danville Protestant Cemetery in Danville.

July 27, 1941 Leading Aircraftman Robert H. Hendrix lost his life in a drowning accident at Waskesiu Lake. He succumbed to a seizure while swimming with his twin brother LAC Ralph M. Hendrix and fellow American students; LAC S. M. Benford of Florida and LAC W. Alsworth of Texas. Twenty year old Hendrix was the son of William and Mary Hendrix of 

No. 6 Elementary Flying Training School
Prince Albert Daily Herald – November 10 2012

Russell Duncan and Ena R. Miller of Smeaton, Saskatchewan. He is interred at Southill Cemetery in Prince Albert.

September 23, 1943 Leading Aircraftman Leonard Raymond Meere was the solo pilot and died instantly when his aircraft dove into the ground at high speed five miles north of Prince Albert. He was the nineteen year old son of Thomas and Edith Meere of Sarnia, Ontario. He is interred at Lakeview Cemetery in Sarnia.

November 24, 1943 A mid-air collision between two Tiger Moth aircraft took the lives

Walsenburg, Colorado. He is interred at the Masonic Cemetery in Walsenburg.

August 15, 1942 Leading Aircraftman Philip Gordon Cameron was electrocuted when the aircraft he was flying with his instructor hit high tension wires. They were attempting a night landing at 2:15 a.m. just west of Melfort, Saskatchewan. Twenty-three year old LAC Cameron was killed instantly. He was the son of Gordon and Delphine Cameron of Shamrock, Saskatchewan. He is interred in the St. Charles Cemetery in Coderre, Saskatchewan. Cameron Lake in northern Saskatchewan is named in his memory. 

October 25, 1942 Leading Aircraftman Lloyd Reginald Alexander Burns was killed as the result of a mid-air collision during formation training north-east of White Star (north of Prince Albert). The twenty year old student was solo at the time. The student pilot of the other aircraft parachuted to safety. LAC Burns was the son of Thomas and Ethel Burns of Vancouver, British Columbia. He is interred at Ocean View Burial Park in Burnaby, BC. 

July 20, 1943 Thirty-four year old Flying Officer Harold Mathew Pettigrew and his thirty-two year old student; Leading Aircraftman Charles McNaughton Miller, were killed in a crash six miles west of Prince Albert. FO Pettigrew had been instructing at the school since September 1942. He was the son of Bernard and Annie Pettigrew of Hamilton, Ontario. He is interred at Eastlawn Cemetery in Hamilton.  LAC Miller was one week from graduating the EFTS course. He was the son of William and Mary Ann Miller, husband of Catherine Miller and father of a two year old son; all of St. Vital, Manitoba. He is interred at Elmwood Cemetery in Winnipeg. 

September 16, 1943 Twenty year old Leading Aircraftman Vernon Russell Miller was on a solo training exercise when he crashed twenty miles northwest of Prince Albert. He was the son of