Canada’s First Aviation Fatality in the Second World War
On 27th August 1939, Delta 673, along with 5 other Northrop Deltas departed Ottawa for Sydney, designated as a General Reconnaissance squadron. Following their arrival at Sydney, they would become a Bomber Reconnaissance squadron to help allies by patrolling enemy submarines off the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia. Engine trouble forced Doan and Rennie to do a full engine replacement for the Delta 673 on the rugged shores of Lac Mégantic. Following successful flight and engine tests on September 13, Ted and Rennie were scheduled to depart for Sydney on September 14.
As war against Germany was officially declared on by Canada on September 10, Doan and Rennie were unable to overfly Maine like the other 5 Squadron 8 Deltas had, since the United States was neutral at the time. Northrop Delta 673’s new routing was through Rivere-du-loup and Grand Lake before continuing on to Shediac and Sydney. The aircraft was spotted flying over Edmundston and Plaster Rock, NB before disappearing for 19 years.
On July 9, 1958, two J.D. Irving, Limited employees were conducting an aerial survey of the Deersdale area forest when wreckage was found. A quick investigation proved that this was the missing Delta 673 from 1939. It’s been thought that Doan and Rennie were the first Canadians casualties after Canada’s official declaration of war on Germany.