The 1942 Plane Crash Site is located in the Stage Cove area of Conche, NL. It contains the wreck of a kind of short-range bomber plane known as a Boston BZ-277, in a fenced off grassy area. The designation is confined to that fenced off area of land.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
The 1942 Plane Crash Site has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Conche because of its historic and aesthetic value.
The 1942 Plane Crash Site has historic value due to its connection to an unusual World War II event. On November 30, 1942, three Boston BZ-277s were being ferried from Gander, Newfoundland to England. They were heading overseas via a northern route to Greenland when they struck on bad weather over the Atlantic. For hours they struggled through heavy icing conditions. Faced with the possibility of running out of fuel and the continued loss of control due to severe icing, a decision was made to return to Gander. Two of the planes crashed into the ocean. The third made it to land at Conche.
The third plane was piloted by Ferry Command Squadron Leader Robert Morrow, who had enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1939. In September 1940, he arrived in England, where he became an expert in leading bombing raids. By December 1941, he was a Commanding Officer. By August 1942, he had flown 161 missions and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He then returned to Canada and flew with the Royal Air Force Ferry Command. On the day of the Conche crash, his crew included Pilot Officer C.W. Tamblyn as navigator and Flight Sergeant J.C. McLaughlin as radio operator. A smooth landing at Conche would be impossible. The navigator was advised to bail at 600 feet and landed safely. Morrow managed a rough landing which he and McLaughlin survived.
Salvage of the aircraft was immediately begun by its own crew, the crew of the Royal Canadian Air Force coastal ship L.K. Sweeney, and some local men. Parts not initially salvaged were left at the wreck site for future collection. Morrow asked the local priest, Father William Hennebury, to supervise the second phase of the salvage operation. James Flynn and Ambrose Flynn of Conche were appointed to guard the aircraft. The second phase of salvage didn’t occur, leaving parts of the wreckage as enduring reminders of a moment in Conche’s history.
The 1942 Plane Crash Site has aesthetic value due to its quite striking appearance on Conche’s rural coastal landscape. The wreck of the plane is still in its original place, and the Town of Conche has erected interpretative information and fenced the site to draw attention to its significance.
Source: Town of Conche Regular Council Meeting December 19, 2007.
Character Defining Elements
All those elements which represent the historic and aesthetic value of the 1942 Plane Crash Site, including:
-presence of the original plane wreck, and;
-the location of the site.
This site was fenced by the Town of Conche in 2004, and is maintained by the Town of Conche and the French Shore Historical Society.
During their time in Conche, Morrow stayed with Fr. Hennebury and Tamblyn and McLaughlin stayed with Ambrose Flynn.
The aircraft Boston (Douglas DB-7) was a high speed short range bomber type of aircraft that was used as a bomber, night fighter and torpedo carrier.
Location and History
Town of Conche
1942 - 1942