FIMJ / Skyway #600 / Bu# 85870

Warbird Registry Info.

Early History

United States Navy. TBM-3S. Construction number 2689.
Royal Canadian Navy. Avenger AS Mk 3. Flew as #372 for Squadron VS 880. BOC: 19 Oct 1950, SOC: 17 Jan 1958.

3 Skyway TBMs, including #601 CF-IMJ at left, and a Stearman, possibly 1958

Very likely Skyway #600 CF-IMJ, possibly 1958.

Skyway Air Services, Langley, BC
#600 CF-IMJ 1958

Aerial Spray Program – NB
1958 Converted to tanker, Victoria, BC, 1958. Part of a fleet of 6 Wheeler and 6 Skyway TBMs.

Crashed 21 km (13 mi) east of Hartland, 12 June 1958, while spraying out of Juniper Airstrip. The pilot had failed to maintain sufficient speed during a turn. The aircraft burned and was buried on site. Pilot Tommy Marston was killed; he was the first casualty in the FPL TBM spray program.

2011 – Jamie Dyer visited the crash site on 26 November 2011 and provided several images. The tail shot clearly shows that FIMJ was #600, not #601 as earlier reported here. The image of the BuNo as 85870 confirms this.

Jamie Dyer recently visited the crash site and provided several images. The tail shot clearly shows that FIMJ was #600, not #601 as earlier reported here. The image of the BuNo as 85870 confirms this.

The Memorial Plaque

Daniel Goguen images, Nov 2013

Daniel Goguen images, 16 Nov 2013, courtesy Norm Sheppard, Vice President, Canadian Aviation Historical Society, Turnbull New Brunswick Chapter.

Daniel Goguen images, Nov 2013

On November 16th, 2013, a memorial plaque was installed at the crash site by Daniel Goguen and … Norm Sheppard, with the help of 8 local residents, in honour of the pilot who perished in this crash, and hopefully to help protect the area. This is part of an ongoing program to mark, commemorate, and protect the sites of fatal aircraft crashes in the Maritimes. The Turnbull NB Chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society has provided funding for the plaques. Other private corporations are also helping with the program. [Norm Sheppard, from the comment below]

Tommy Marston article 1958 - TWilson

I received this article describing the crash of CF-IMJ and the death of pilot Tommy Marston from former Skyway pilot Tom Wilson on 23 January 2014. This appears to be from a local New Brunswick newspaper. “Dr. E.N. Reynolds, Stanley, N.B., was flown to the scene by helicopter and pronounced the pilot dead.” See his diary entry below.

Historic Accounts

Don Henry’s account (13 June 2004)

Pilot Tommy Marston, of Skyways Aviation of Langley, BC, was #2 man in a team of a aircraft flying out of Juniper, NB, for the spruce budworm spray project of 1958. This was the first year that TBMs were used in NB for forest spraying. There were 6 TBMs from Skyway and 6 from Wheeler Airlines, St. Jovite, Quebec. Official reports state the cause of the accident to be the slipstream from the lead aircraft on a turn (180°) at the end of spraying. From the condition of the forest adjacent to the burned aircraft in photos, it seems that the aircraft hit the ground in a near vertical attitude. This is not uncommon when there is complete lack of control when succeeding aircraft get into the slipstream of the preceding aircraft on turning, with the low altitude associated with forest spraying. This condition of low flying and aircraft attitude does not give the pilot enough time or altitude to recover. This particular accident resulted in the first fatality of the TBM forest spraying period of some 35 years in New Brunswick.

Stuart Murray Cougle, a student at the Maritime Forest Ranger School in Fredericton, writes in his diary, 12, 13, 14 June 1958 (from photocopy in possession of Don Henry). Cougle and associates apparently had trouble finding the site on foot.

12 June, Thursday: I drove to the Juniper Cache in the morning and met Ranger Boyce Arnold. … we returned to the Juniper Cache at 6 P.M., Ranger Welch was there. Soon after we arrived Forest Protection advised us that a spray plane had crashed on the South Br. of Becaguimac [River] at Richardson’s Gulch. They supplied a map with the crash pin-pointed and I left for Cloverdale, there I met wardens Currie and Seeley and with five other men we went by jeep and on foot to an old camp near the crash. We searched until 12 midnight but failed to find anything. We stayed at the old camp until 4 A.M. Friday.

13 June, Friday: We started to search for the crash at daylight but failed to find it where they said it was on the map. Returned to Cloverdale at 11 A.M. and met Warden Darrah & three other men who had a new map and a new location for the crash. We returned to Richardson’s Gulch and searched till 4 P.M. but still failed to find anything. Ranger Welch & Cpl. Rippon R.C.M.P. arrived with still another location pin-pointed so the three of us drove to Juniper and a pilot flew Cpl. Rippon and I over the scene of the crash and we found it to be on the Little Forks Brook about three miles from where it was supposed to be. I returned to Bristol about 9 P.M. and tried to get some sleep.

14 June, Saturday, Heavy rain all morning, clearing in the afternoon. I left Bristol at 5 A.M. with ranger Welch. We picked up Cpl. Rippon and went to the mouth of the Little Forks Brook where we met about twelve more men, most of which had just come out from Richardson’s Gulch. We went to the head of the Little Forks Brook and after many false starts and considerable difficulty we found the crashed plane. We put what was left of the pilot in a plastic bag which we carried to the jeep on a stretcher and turned it over to Mortician Lorne Britton at Hartland. Arrived home at 5:15 P.M. Hard day.

tbm-crash-diary-entry_12jun1958_edreynoldsimg_0279

A page from Dr. Ed Reynolds’s diary, 12 June 1958, kindly sent to me by son Rhys Reynolds of Douglas, N.B., on 5 January 2017. Ed Reynolds was Regional Director Aviation with DOT for Atlantic Canada. He was also with FPL in the early years as the project doctor.
The text reads: “About 8pm a TBM “Avenger” stalled & spun into the woods near Becaquimic Lake. I was flown to the crash which was still burning. They lowered me into the woods by hoist & with some difficulty I found the charred remains of the pilot Thomas Marston, of Langley, BC. Stayed overnight at Juniper. John & Alice Lockhart came in to the airstrip.”

The Accident Report (Library and Archives Canada)

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FIMJ wreckage, from Don Henry files.

The following four images of the FIMJ crash site are from the accident report.

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25 responses to “FIMJ / Skyway #600 / Bu# 85870

  1. I forgot to mention that l finally made it to the crash site memorial over a year ago. 25 Oct 2015 my geocaching buddy Jeremy Nicholson and I visited the site. It was a damp cold somber day. I took several pictures which I would like to share, but don’t know how. Randall

  2. Tommy Marston was my father. This is the first I’ve heard of the memorial plaque.Thank you for remembering him. This has brought tears to my eyes and brought back many memories. Like my father, I’m a pilot. He was my hero.

    • Hi Ann,
      My name is Daniel Goguen. I`ve been looking for a Marston family member for a while now. I`m so glad you got an opportunity to see the memorial plaque done to preserve the site and commemorate your father. I would really like to have a conversation with you. My email is dlca@nb.sympatico.ca

    • Good day Ann Marston
      I visited this site today and I took some pictures of the wreckage using a drone. I would be happy to share them with you if you like. You can email me if you like at Adam.wj.lee@gmail.com. Thanks.

  3. At the time of the crash a lot of people visited the crash site- but then as there was a lot of woods work and new roads being built on the mountain- people couldn’t find it for several years although many searched for it. It was in mid September 2011 that Spurgeon Craig of Cloverdale, NB noticed the sun glinting off metal as he was driving along on the mountain and went to investigate and found it. He told others and a lot of people have visited the site as a result and the monument was put up.

  4. Talking to Tom O’Blenis yesterday. Irving Woodlands are going to mark this as a “Unique Historical Landmark” to help pteserve it. Nice to see that it is going to be kept in place.
    J.D.

  5. easier way is to take the becaquimac road in cloverdale and take first left road above camps,stay on this road you will come to a tee stay straight follow this road approx 1 km you will see a trail marked out with red ribbon to the right.If you come to a mailbox you have gone to far. hope this helps.

  6. Jim, simply go to the back (north west) of Crabbe Mtn and take the Irving Main Service Road towards Balancing Rock. Basically you go north past Becaguimec Lake until you come across a junction point with a road leading to the West. Take the road west passed Little Owl Lake. You are going to the area of N 46° 18.297 W 067° 14.894. Hope this helps.

  7. judy nicholson

    WE WATCHED THEM SPRAYING THAT DAY AND SAW THE SMOKE FROM THE CRASH. LATER WE WENT OUT WITH SOME NEIGHBOURS AND FOUND THE SITE. Edith Orser

  8. Jim Cougle is a writer and consultant. He wrote Mystery Plane Found in New Brunswick – Lost For Nineteen Years. This is the story of Delta 673 that crashed on September 14, 1939 near Beaverbrook Lake and was found on July 10, 1958. The pilots were the first two Canadians killed following the declaration of war. The book is featured on the website http://www.dfs2000.com. Jim is Stuart Cougle’s oldest son.

  9. I have some good photos. How can I send them?

  10. Well done, fitting tribute to an unfortunate accident. I hope that the plaque lasts longer than geocaches that have been installed in this area. It is my hope to visit before the snow flys.

  11. On November 16th, 2013, a memorial plaque was installed at the crash site by Daniel Goguen and myself, Norm Sheppard, with the help of 8 local residents, in honour of the pilot who perished in this crash, and hopefully to help protect the area. This is part of an ongoing program to mark, commemorate, and protect the sites of fatal aircraft crashes in the Maritimes. The Turnbull NB Chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society has provided funding for the plaques. Other private corporations are also helping with the program.

  12. My friend Norm Sheppard and I (both members of the NB Turnbull Chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society) along with several area locals installed a memorial plaque at the crash location on November 16, 2013. It is our wish that people who do cross path with the site learn of the tragic event and respect it.

  13. Crystal Kidney

    Jason & Crystal Kidney were just at this site with some friends on June 30th 2013 and my heart goes out this brave man and his family

  14. I visited the crash site June 30 2013. Most if not all wreckage is still there. It’s a very interesting story.

  15. I have my father Forest Ranger Stuart Cougle’s original note book on his search for this plane crash. He nad fellow searchers walked over ten miles through the forest for two consecutive days seaching. The soft-wood forests of that area of NB were very dense in 1958

  16. Taken from my father’s diary (Dr. Edward N. Reynolds, FPL project physician): Thursday, June 12,1958
    About 8pm a TBM “Avenger” stalled & spun into the woods near Becaquimic Lake. I was flown to the crash which was still burning. They lowered me into the woods by hoist & with some difficulty I found the charred remains of the pilot Thomas Marston, of Langley, BC. Stayed overnight at Juniper. John & Alice Lockhart came in to the airstrip.

  17. Visited the crash site Dec 2 2011.My father Stuart Cougle was a young ranger at the time of the crash he helped bring out the pilots remains .Being a pilot my self this was very interesting to explore the crash site .

  18. the person who found the plane was eldon herrington of cloverdale n.b.. he led the search party.

  19. looked for this plane a long time ,finally found the the wreck and did some research on the plane #601 BU 85870

    • pat maguire anthony shaw natasha shaw blaine shaw mureen shaw kim foster were at crash site oct22 2011. neat piece of history

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