Flying Officer William Bird

Birth
Death 21 Feb 1941
Burial Halifax, Halifax County, Nova Scotia, Canada
Plot Sec. E. Grave 198.
Memorial ID 59960070 · View Source
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Lockheed Hudson III (#T9449) was one of five aircraft which took flight from Gander, the Dominion of Newfoundland, on 20 Feb 1941 on a delivery flight to England. There were three aircrew and one passenger aboard. Shortly after take-off and over the Atlantic Ocean about 50 miles from Gander the oil supply to the Hudson’s starboard engine failed. The pilot, Captain Joseph Mackey, attempted to shut down the engine and to feather the propeller (i.e.-the blades are rotated parallel to the airflow in order to reduce the drag if an engine fails) but found that it would not feather.
The decision to head back to Gander was made, but then the port engine failed in a similar manner.

Hudson T9449 crashed in trees near Seven Mile Pond Lake; the navigator, RAFVR Flying Officer William BIRD, and the radio operator, Radio Operator William SNAILHAM, died in the crash.

Sir Frederick Grant BANTING, the distinguished medical scientist, Nobel Laureate, and one of the two co-discoverers of insulin, who was travelling to England as a passenger, was seriously injured in the crash and he died the next day.

On 25 Feb, five days after the accident, the wrecked Hudson was sighted from the air. Capt. Mackey was rescued by a party from Musgrave Harbour, about 16 km away from the crash site.

Military Service:-
Rank: Flying Officer
Trade: Navigator
Service No: 79749
Date of Death: 21/02/1941
Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

*MUSGRAVE HARBOUR: BANTING INTERPRETATION CENTRE*--
In 1991 the 'Banting Interpretation Center' was built following the airlifting in 1990 of the remains of Hudson T9449 from Seven Mile Pond (Banting Pond) to Banting Park, Musgrave Harbour, Newfoundland.


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