Frederick Ernest Boalch R194666

February 12, 1923 - February 12, 1945

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Student from Calgary enlisted with RCAF and became a flight engineer. While on a training tow target bombing exercise, the plane crashed into the water. The crew had planned on celebrating Fred’s birthday when they returned to base.

Frederick Ernest Boalch was the only child of Clara and Ernest Boalch of Calgary, Alberta. See the link to BCAM for more of his biography.

He was the Flight Engineer aboard Canso 9701 along with the crew of P/O R. B. Fraser, Pilot, P/O A. B. Crawford, 2nd Pilot, P/O G. T. Kingswood, Navigator, Sgt A.L. McClean, WAG, Sgt. W. B. Norris, WAG, Sgt. H. Collis, WAG, and Sgt. L Desjardins, Flight Engineer. They had planned on celebrating Fred’s birthday after their tow target bombing exercise.

From the microfiche, T-12354, the full inquiry starts on image 1392. “F/O Long, pilot instructor captained this crew on their first bombing run in order to screen F/O Fraser and disembarked when the aircraft landed to reload with bombs for the second bombing run. Upon completion of the second bombing run, P/O Fraser as captain of the aircraft changed positions with P/O Crawford, 2nd pilot, in order to allow P/O Crawford to land the aircraft from the 1st pilot’s position. As the aircraft was coming in for the landing, and when at approximately 20’ above the water, the nose went down, striking the water at a sharp angle. There was an explosion and the tail of the aircraft stood straight up for a moment before it fell back into the water. The whole area became enveloped in flames.” Fraser, Crawford, Kingswood were all killed, McClean, Norris, Collis, and Desjardins were all injured. Boalch’s body was never recovered.

Sixteen witnesses were called to the inquiry. “Cause: Error in judgment on the part of P/O Crawford in that he failed to carry out a correct glassy water landing by failing to level out at a safe height and flew into the water. Recommendation: “When student 1st and 2nd pilots are flying together, that student 2nd pilots be prohibited from landing and taking off.”

Sandra McCulloch wrote an article in July 2005 for the Times Colonist, Victoria, about the crash -- and subsequent chance discovery, of the wreckage of Canso 9701. She interviewed the survivors. See image above of the article for their recollections of February 12, 1945.