April 23, 1943#34 Operational Training UnitWest Camp - RCAF Station YarmouthAircraft: Ventura AE 878
Name:Calvert, Kenneth George Rank:SergeantService No: R/ 144389Service:Royal Canadian Air ForceDate of Death: April 23, 1943Age:21Cemetery: Toronto (Pine Hills) Cemetery (Sec. K. Grave 56)Kenneth Calvert was the son of Fred and Ellen Calvert, of Toronto, OntarioCommemorated on Page 143 of the Second World War Book of RemembranceDisplayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on March 26Name:Franckeiss, John EdwardRank:Sergeant PilotService No: 1525643Service:Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Date of Death: April 23, 1943Age:20Cemetery: Yarmouth Mountain Cemetery (Lot 1. Sec. A.K. Grave 3)John Franckeiss was the son of Frederick John and Elizabeth Franckeiss of Andover, Hampshire England.Name:Self, Keith Robert Rank:SergeantService No: 425367Service Royal Australian Air Force Date of Birth February 13, 1919Place of birth Townsville, Queensland Date of Enlistment: February 1, 1942Place of Enlistment Brisbane, QueenslandDate of Death: April 23, 1943Age:24Cemetery: Yarmouth Mountain Cemetery (Lot 1. Sec. A.K. Grave 4)Keith Self was the son of Alfred Frederick and Ellen Annie Self, of Gaythorne, Queensland, Australia.
Sergeant John Edward Franckeiss, pilot, with Keith Robert Self as observer and Kenneth George Calvert, as air gunner took off at 1157 hours G.M.T.,. in Ventura AE878, on an authorized cross country flight, at a height of 6,000 feet.Nineteen minutes after take off RAF ground station received a message from the aircraft to the effect that aircraft was returning to base. No reasons was given for the return. Nine minutes later the R/T operator in the control tower (RCAF) heard aircraft calling: "878 calling tower, are you receiving me ?" Operator replied: "Tower to 878, receiving you loud and clear, go ahead." 878 back to tower: "I can barely hear you but I am 15 miles North of aerodrome, we are going to force land. Both engine dead." This last message was acknowledge and there was o further communication passed.Farmers at Springhaven saw the aircraft about 50 ft. up approaching from the south east and apparently trying to land, but overshot a field. Then the pilot gained height and continued north westerly towards Duck Lake, but failed to clear a wooded section lying between the field and Duck Lake. The aircraft crashed, burst into flames and was totally destroyed. The three occupants were killed instantaneously.When the aircraft taxied out at 1145 hours G.M.T. persons in the control tower heard the engines back-firing and noticed "larger and more frequent puffs of smoke coming from the exhausts than is usual."The Engineer Officer of the Unit examined the wreckage of Ventura AE878 with a view of ascertaining whether or not there were indications of structural failure in flight. He stated: "Owing to the condition of the wreckage, it was impossible to form any opinion. It was noted that the propeller on the Port Motor was in fully feathered position. Petrol was found to remain in the auxiliary tank."The eye witnesses at Springhaven stated that the engines were running at least partially just before the crash.An Investigation found that engine failure necessitated a force landing. The Pilot attempted to land in Duck Lake and crashed into trees. The aircraft on an authorized cross country flight crashed about 33 minutes after take-off and burst into flames. The airmen were killed dying instantaneous from multiple injuries.
Source:File 1300-AE878-1/ Library and Archives Canada/ Copy Number C-5934.