Montreal, QB Transport Crashes, Apr 1944
FAMOUS POLISH AIRMAN VICTIM OF DOWNTOWN MONTREAL CRASH.
Montreal, April 27. -- Poland's most famous airman, Flt. Lt. KAZIMIERZ BURZYNSKI, was captain of the R.A.F. transport command Liberator bomber, which crashed in downtown Montreal Tuesday and killed 15 people, including its five-man crew, the Royal Air Force transport command announced here today. BURZYNSKI, 47, was one of three Polish fliers aboard the craft which plummeted into a row of tenement houses a few minutes after it had taken off from nearby Dorval airport on its way to an overseas air base.
A verdict of accidental death was returned today by a coroner's jury following an inquest into the crash.
Sqdn. Ldr. Fowler Morgan Gobeil, investigating officer of the R.A.F. Transport Command at Dorval airport, testified that "no official suggestion of possible sabotage has been made to the R.A.F.T.C. court of inquiry investigating the cause of the crash."
He said the plane had been tested two days before the crash and put under armed guard in one of the hangars at Dorval until it took off on its fatal flight Tuesday.
Crew members were as follows:
Flt. Lt. KAZIMIERZ BURZYNSKI, 47, Polish air force, captain of the craft.
PO. ANDRZEJ KUZNIACKI, 30, Polish air force, co-pilot.
Flt. Lt. ADOLF JAN NEWKICKI, 31, Polish air force, navigator. Next-of-kin is his wife living at Huneaton, England.
PO. JAMES SMITH WILSON, 21, R.C.A.F., radio operator. Next-of-kin is his mother living at Trenton, New Jersey.
Flt. Sgt. ISLWYN JONES, 23, R.A.F., flight engineer. Next-of-kin is his father living at Birmingham, England.
The aircraft struck a block of tenement houses near the old Canadian National railways Bonaventure station. Those in the tenements had no warning of what was coming, but hundreds of Montrealers had a foreboding of disaster as they watched the roof-top-skimming battle that the plane's pilot put up in a futile effort to reach the St. Lawrence River before his failing aircraft took its fatal plunge.
After working almost constantly for the past 24 hours, salvage crews Wednesday had only been able to fill one truck with the wreckage of the four-engined bomber.
Royal Air Force Transport Command Officials said that it was about all the wreckage they hoped to gather from the debris of the gutted buildings.
Winnipeg Free Press Manitoba 1944-04-27
From the Winnipeg Free Press Manitoba 1944-04-26
The aircraft had just cleared the post office and was flying ever lower, over the tenement district beyond, when a wing came off and fluttered to the ground, shedding one of its two motors as it fell. The rest of the plane pitched sharply down then, clipped a flagpole off a school and then crashed into the tenements. Within a second, the explosion of about 2,000 gallons of aviation gasoline completed the destruction to the block.
The known dead were:
MRS. JAMES WELLS, 25, and her two-year-old son, JIMMY.
MRS. WALTER WELLS, 58.
MRS. VICTOR GEOFFRION, 50.
LOUIS PHILIPPE LEMIEUX, 37, Montreal police constable.
AURELE LAROUCHELLE, 53, of Farnham, Que.
MRS. DELIA DOWLLING, 56.
Constable LEMIEUX, whose body was later recovered, was on traffic duty at Colborne and Notre Dame Streets. He was last seen dashing into a flaming house, where he had been told an indefinite number of persons were trapped.