View Full Version : Dakota 576 - crashed plane site, Port Hardy

mista fitz
02-22-2006, 11:31 AM

On April 19, 1944, an RAF Dakota 576 a military version of the venerable DC3 took off from the Pat Bay airport in Sidney on a simple navigation exercise. The young British aircrew, pilot officers Tom Wordlow, James Talbot and their wireless air gunner Sgt. T.R. Moss, were barely out of their twenties. A few hours later, in thick Port Hardy weather and low on fuel, the plane tragically crashed into the densely wooded hillside just above the shoreline as they were making a second final approach. Only Sergeant Moss survived.

[excerpt from the Official Report of DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY (Hansard) MONDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2002 - Volume 9, Number 2, regarding the placement of a memorial at this site]


Port Hardy, BC. (map to follow)

There is no real directions to this site online anywhere, so I'll try to help with a map I created on my hike. I received basic directions from a geocaching site, co-ordinates to the turnoff the road, where the trail *should* start after some hiking on a logging road - and a coordinate close to the plane itself. My first approach through the forest led me to bush so thick and steep it was impassable. Only 150m from the cache, but quite obviously the wrong way, and getting confusing as to which way is the way back, I decided to hike back to the gravel road and see if there was another way.

After a lot of bushwacking, tumbling over fallen trees, tredging through muskeg-like swampland and over and over hillsides, I came across what I was looking for.

It was an odd sight indeed after tripping along this rough, dense, forest to see the twisted, ripped remains of a DC-3, RAF aircraft. It's tail nestled pointing down a long opening in the forest, where the fire ravaged the area on that day, and the cockpit ripped completely off and destroyed.

Airgunner Sergeant T.R. Moss would be the only survivor.

Pilots J.M. Talbot and T.S. Wordlow would lose their lives that day, when this simple training exercise would go horribly wrong.

The gravel road would lead most of the way to where we look here:

on the far right is a parking lot where my car is parked:

taking a bearing, and leaving the 'marked' part of the trail:

go over it, go under it? let's go through it!:

cool different mosses...http://ridgemeadowshealth.com/pics/dakota05.JPG

I see you.

coming over the last hill going south towards where I think the wreckage is:

ok, and here we are:


memorial that was put up in 2002:

RAF colors still hold their own:

looking back from where the cockpit should be:

metal torn back where the cockpit used to be attached:

view of the torn wing, and demolished engine:





enjoy the pics, I'll get a good map up here soon.

mista fitz
02-22-2006, 11:35 AM
here's the map for those interested:


02-22-2006, 11:37 AM
wow, thats very cool dude...

02-22-2006, 11:45 AM
wow, thats cool. I love exploring bits of history like that.

Awesome photos. you should enter one of the last few of the wreck for pic of the month[cheers]

02-22-2006, 11:59 AM
WOW thats a nice set of pictues!!! What kind of camera are you useing?

02-22-2006, 12:15 PM
great pictures thanks for the history lesson muched enjoyed[cheers]

mista fitz
02-22-2006, 12:23 PM
WOW thats a nice set of pictues!!! What kind of camera are you useing?

a Minolta D'image 7i - couple of the pics with a bit of a fisheye lens.

a wicked little hike... weird to see an old RAF plane just left in the woods like that.

02-22-2006, 12:25 PM
What were the dates of these adventures you posted. I'll update the pictures of the week!!

looks like a blast!

mista fitz
02-22-2006, 12:28 PM
this one is feb 11th!

02-22-2006, 01:47 PM
That is some very interesting stuff I love Military history and any thing to do with planes and flying

02-22-2006, 02:26 PM
Very cool pics Sean!

02-22-2006, 06:33 PM

02-22-2006, 08:16 PM
wow u can still see the RCAF insignia... theres supposed to be a missing B17 around too, no ones found it so its probley in the ocean

02-22-2006, 08:21 PM
those are some kool pics..........[cheers] anything to do with downed planes and history is allways interesting

02-22-2006, 08:24 PM
Hey Sean

Great pics

GOod to see you takin advantage of the area and doing lots of exploring -----

Too bad your old girls not there with ya ! I miss seeing you driving her around toppless !

You should have taken her up there !

02-22-2006, 09:20 PM
there's a downed plane over near tofino as well...no pics though...been awhile since i wandered out that way.

02-22-2006, 09:20 PM
That's a cool post! I absolutely love local (BC) history like this. Pretty neat to be able to walk to the crash site and see the remains of the aircraft. There is a courier plane crash on Mt. Sentinel by Castlegar that I like to go to once a year. I don't know the pilot or even who he was, but still feels like I am paying my respects to him just going there. The plane is hard to find without having been there before, and is opened up like a canopener went around the plane front to back along each side! Eventually I will find the info on the crash and get involved in putting up a memorial for him there.

02-22-2006, 09:24 PM
Right on Sean, thanks for the adventure bro [cheers]

02-22-2006, 09:31 PM

mista fitz
02-23-2006, 10:11 AM
Too bad your old girls not there with ya ! I miss seeing you driving her around toppless !

her? or the jeep ? or both? hahah

new girlfriend since then, but I wouldn't mind driving her around topless either. ;)