From page 1 of the 16 Aug 1943 Simcoe
[Several paragraph breaks added by the
Port Rowan Man awarded
Mussell is Decorated for Saving
Crew of Plane from Lake Erie
For his resourcefulness
and determination in rescuing three airmen and an airwoman after
their plane had crashed a mile off shore into Lake Erie on Saturday,
May 22nd, William Mussell of Port Rowan, keeper for the Long Point
Company, has been awarded the Order of the British Empire.
said "had it not been for Mussell's determination it is
probable the flyers would have perished as the plane sank shortly
after they were taken off."
The rescue was
not a simple matter as Mussell was forced to travel four miles by
launch and skiff, partly overland, to reach the stranded
The plane was
one of a flight of four Ansons from No. 16 SFTS Hagersville, and
crashed into the lake approximately eight miles southeast of Port
Rowan, shortly before eight o'clock in the evening.
Mussell, who was
near The Cottages of the Long Point Company at the time, heard the
plane hit the water and immediately climbed a nearby tower.
With the aid of
binoculars he saw the aircraft about a mile off the shore of Long
Point and approximately four miles from the tower.
the company's launch, he attached a 14-foot skiff to it and
immediately set out for Rice Bay.
Skiff Over Land
travelled as far as possible for the launch, a distance of about two
miles, he took the skiff and paddled over the marsh until he came to
He then was
forced to drag the skiff, which weighed close to 200 pounds, across
a strip of land about 100 yards in width, before he was able to
launch the frail craft on the lake.
By this time he
was pretty tired and as there were no oars in the skiff he was
forced to paddle all the way out to the plane.
the lake was calm, otherwise the skiff would have swamped
When he reached
the plane, the three men and the woman were sitting on top of the
fuselage, soaking wet. and shivering with the cold.
to get them all into the skiff although it was riding well down in
party reached shore, the plane sank in approximately 50 feet of
arrived at the beach they started a small fire with some difficulty,
having only a few matches and a cigarette lighter.
officials of the Hagersville Air School had contacted No. 1 Bombing
and Gunnery School, Jarvis, and two crash boats which are used on
the lake bombing range were sent out from Port Dover.
managed to locate the party on the beach and the rescued persons
were taken out to one of the boats and thence back to the station.
coincidence was the fact that the rescue of the plane crew took
place only two miles from the point where Abigail
heroine of Long Point, rescued eight members of the crew of the
'Conductor,' when it ran aground during the great November storm of
of her heroism, the merchants of Buffalo presented her with a purse
of $150; Queen Victoria sent her $250 and a letter of thanks and
appreciation, while the American Humane Society presented her with a
gold medal, on which was engraved the story of her brave exploit.