President Roosevelt had a great deal of difficulty persuading his fellow Americans that they needed to get involved in WWII, public opinion was isolationist and several opinion leaders like Joe Kennedy and Charles Lindbergh were pro-German. Pearl Harbor, of course, settled the matter.

Prior to that Roosevelt devised several programs to assist Britain and the Commonwealth while not offending his own voters too much. He shipped off 50 largely obsolete American destroyers to the British and Canadian navies in exchange for a US lease on a naval base at Argentia, Newfoundland. He concocted financial arrangements which made it possible for Canada to tap in to American resources for the war effort without bankrupting us. And he developed Lend-Lease, see

Basically the program committed the US to the Allied side and made it possible for the Americans to rent war materiel to the Commonwealth, the Soviets and the Chinese at very low rates. The program required the Allies to return the military goodies to the US at the end of the war and several hundred aircraft had been collected at the BCATP base at Estevan for return to Minot, North Dakota.

A crew of 21 Canadian fliers, all veterans, was assembled to fly Cornell trainers southeast. A Dakota C47 flying from Minot to Estevan was bringing the pilots back from a delivery run and crashed and burned 19460915, one person on the ground and all on board were killed.

The official RCAF statement quoted in the Estevan Mercury stated the “…aircraft was seen to approach the airport normally with its wheels lowered…For some reason the pilot decided not to land on his first approach and opened up the engines to go around again. During this manoeuvre the pilot apparently lost control and the aircraft crashed. A technical examination of the wreckage has shown that the control lock on the starboard elevator was in position and had not been removed before the flight commenced.”

Six Saskatchewanians – RA Brandser, CS Coppin, LV Kirsch, WA Perry, M Thomas and EL Turtle – died in the incident.

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