On May 15, 1956, two Avro CF-100 Canuck interceptor/fighter jets from 445 Squadron were deployed from their base at RCAF Station Uplands, in the South of Ottawa, to intercept and identify and unknown aircraft approaching Montreal. The air crews identified the unknown aircraft as an RCAF North Star flying from Resolute Bay to Dorval Airport.
Before returning to base the aircraft climbed to 33,000 feet to burn off excess fuel. One of the aircraft successfully returned to base. The other aircraft, due to causes that were never determined, with a descent speed of 680 miles per hour, crashed into the Villa St. Louis after 10:30 p.m.
The aircraft's fuel and on board armament exploded on impact. Eleven nuns died in the massive explosion and fire, along with a priest, a cook and the two men aboard the plane. Seventeen student nurses who would have been in residence at the time of the crash. Instead of returning to their convent that night they had decided to stay late at the Ottawa General Hospital on Bruyere Street to see a play.
On returning to the convent they found it in rubble. They spent the night treating survivors. Funeral services were held at the Notre Dame Basilica on May 19, 1956. The eleven nuns are buried in unmarked graves at Notre-Dame Cemetery in Ottawa.
|The aircraft depicted on the cross is a CF-101 Voodoo, not a CF-100 Canuck. On|
the side of the aircraft is the crashed CF-100's registration number, 18367
|The fifteen stones at the base of the memorial, representing the fifteen people|
killed in the disaster, were taken from the ruins of the old convent.
|REV. FATHER R.M. WARD|
1916 - 1956
F/O K.D. THOMAS
1936 - 1956
F/O W.L. SCHMIDT
1930 - 1956
Those killed in the crash were:
Father Richard Ward, 42
Flying Officer Kenneth Thomas, 20
Flying Officer William Schmidt, 26
Miss Aline Lapointe, 40
Sister André-Bernard, 22
Sister Jacqueline Dube, 21
Sister Arrore Bussiere, 30
Sister Maria Berube, 58
Sister Marie-Berthe Lajeunesse, 31
Sister Eliane Simard, 27
Sister Valeda Lefebvre, 67
Sister Emilie Hurtubise, 77
Sister Lumena Genest, 71
Sister Marguerite Guenette, 71
Sister Huguette Blais, 25