As skiers and snowboarders make their way down the T-33 ski run on Cypress Mountain, the majority are unaware of what lies in the treeline just a few feet away. It is the site of a crashed T-33 Canadian Naval training jet, its large debris field still left untouched for over 50 years. In 1963 two Canadian naval pilots, Lt. Norman Ogden and Lt. Donald Clark, lost their lives when their training jet crashed into the side of Mount Strachan, part of the present day Cypress Provincial Park. To this day, the only explanation for the wreckage strewn about the woods is a simple stamped placard measuring 3”x5” nailed to a tree. Richard Dunn of the Air Force Officers Association (AFOA) and Battle of Britain Society of Vancouver began a move to better commemorate the site by putting a monument with a bronze plaque at the trailhead to the debris field. He was put in touch with 192 Construction Engineering Flight in Aldergrove to assist in bringing the project to fruition.
192 took a lead role with the AFOA and other key players on design, site work, and construction. A boulder from the mountain was picked for the base, and was transported back to the Aldergrove Detachment where it was ground, shaped and prepped for the granite frame and brass plaque. Co-ordinating with Cypress Mountain and the AFOA, 192 performed site work at the mountain, including pouring a thick concrete base to support the monument. Much thought was put into the design, materials and placement to ensue it would stand the test of time.
The monument was placed and secured two days before the August 28th unveiling ceremony which took place at the site of the crash. Thirteen family members of Lt Ogden flew into Vancouver from all over North America to take part in the commemoration of their fallen loved one. It was nice to have the family members of Lt Ogden personally thanked the 192 members who were involved in the physical work. Unfortunately after much effort, no family members of Lt Clark could be located. The ceremony concluded with a flyby of a Buffalo from 442 Squadron.
192 is proud to be a part of preserving a piece of local history. It was an honour working with the past serving members involved in the project, some of who were in the search party back on that tragic day in 1963.