Originally published on planecrashgirl.ca on 15 April 2015.
In July 2013, I was contacted by Byron Ruby about an aircraft he had found on his property near Cochrane Pond, Newfoundland. Unfortunately for me, I was working at a summer camp that July, and could not get the time to go out to the site. So I contacted by doctoral supervisor, Dr. Michael Deal, and asked if he was interested in going to the site.
Visiting this site is part of our ongoing project to document the aviation material heritage around Newfoundland and Labrador. As such, a permit was obtained and the site was visited, photographed, and recorded with GPS. A metal detector was used to determine the extent of the site (about 1200 m2). A couple of artifacts were removed and are undergoing conservation at MUN. No subsurface testing was done at this site.
On 15 October 1942 RCAF Hawker Hurricane 1359 crashed near Cochrane Pond as it was returning from a dusk patrol. According to research by Deal (2014), the probable cause was engine failure as there was a glycol leak or an air lock in the fuel line. The engine was too badly damaged in the crash to make a definitive assessment.
Flight Sergeant J.W. Gilmartin, who bailed out at 2000 ft. and survived, reported that he tried to restart the engine by changing tanks, pumping the throttle and using the primer. He bailed when this failed. He used his parachute as a signal. Gilmartin was located about an hour after the crash by a local man, William Linegar, who witnessed the crash from his boat. The two walked to the crash, found a nearby road, and were met by an RCAF search party.
The archaeological investigation of the site confirmed Linegar’s statement in the incident report that the aircraft took a nose dive before it crashed. It also looked at how much has been removed from the site over the years. The crash occurred in 1942, and after the crash investigation was completed, locals often visited the site and removed material.
The site was forgotten and local aviation enthusiasts had been looking for the site for years. Mr. Ruby located it in 2013 when lumbering operations were undertaken on his property. This site is now classed as an archaeological site.
Deal, M. 2014 In Defense of Newfoundland: The Fate of Hawker Hurricane 1359. Provincial Archaeology Office Review, vol. 12, pg. 25-27.