Nomad 3521 1940/2010

Douglas (Northrop) Nomad A-17A aircraft
Douglas (Northrop) Nomad A-17A
aircraft were used by the
search party seeking LAC Hopton.
(Photo: RCAF / ARC)

Camp Borden was one of the main centres used as part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan during the Second World War. Thirty two Nomad aircrafts were acquired by the RCAF in 1940, and were used as advanced trainers at Camp Borden. In the latter years of the war they were used for target towing.

On 12 December 1940, during a flight while training out of No. 1 Service Flying Training School at Camp Borden the aircraft flown by Leading Aircraftman Clayton Hopton went missing. The following morning, a search party was launched to find the missing airman. During the search, two aircraft - Nomad 3512 and Nomad 3521 - collided over and crashed into Lake Muskoka killing all four airmen. Nomad 3512, with Flight Sergeant Lionel Francis and Leading Aircraftman William Gosling, and Nomad 3521, with Flight Lieutenant Peter Campbell and Leading Aircraftman Theodore Scribner Bates, were lost in the lake.

Accident Investigation Report

Accident Investigation Report for Nomad 3512 and Nomad 352.
Accident Investigation Report for Nomad 3512 and Nomad 3521. These documents are presented
in their original language only.

On 9 January 1941, divers confirmed the location of Nomad 3512 and the bodies of Flight Sergeant Francis and Leading Aircraftman Gosling were recovered and interred. Despite searching for weeks, they were unable to locate the second aircraft.

Members of the Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic)
Members of the Fleet Diving
Unit (Atlantic) prepare for a
third day of diving on Lake
Muskoka (October 2012).
(Photo: Melanie Villeneuve)

In 2010, The Underwater Search and Recovery Unit (USRU) of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Orillia, confirmed the location of the wreckage of the Northrop Nomad A-17A Serial No. 3521 aircraft that had crashed in Lake Muskoka in 1940. Since 2008, the USRU had been undertaking a renewed search for the lost Nomad 3521. Using a variety of techniques, including side scan sonar, the URSU were able to map the lakebed surrounding the potential crash site. Several dives confirmed the crash site due to the discovery of personal items found in the wreckage. When the personal effects of Leading Aircraftman Theodore Bates and Flight Lieutenant Peter Campbell were recovered, the URSU promptly contacted the Directorate of History and Heritage (DHH) at the Department of National Defence (DND). The Casualty Identification Programme then began planning the recovery of the remains of the airmen. In October 2012, Canadian Armed Forces divers from the Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) retrieved the remains of the two airmen and three machine guns from the site of the Nomad with the assistance of OPP USRU and a forensic scientist from DHH.

The Headstones of Peter Campbell and Theodore S. Bates.
The headstones of Peter Campbell and Theodore
S. Bates for Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery.

National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces make every attempt to bury soldiers and airmen with a name. DHH, in partnership with the Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) and URSU OPP were able to recover and inter Leading Aircraftman Theodore Scribner Bates and Flight Lieutenant Peter Campbell. In September 2013 at Woodlawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Guelph, Ontario both airmen were laid to rest side by side.