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From page 1 of the 16 Aug 1943 Simcoe Reformer:
[Several paragraph breaks added by the transcriber.]

Port Rowan Man awarded 
Order of British Empire

William 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.

The citation 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 party. 

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.

Taking the company's launch, he attached a 14-foot skiff to it and immediately set out for Rice Bay.

Dragged Skiff Over Land

When he 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 dry land. 

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. 

Fortunately, the lake was calm, otherwise the skiff would have swamped immediately. 

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. 

Mussel managed to get them all into the skiff although it was riding well down in the water.

Plane Soon Sank

Before the party reached shore, the plane sank in approximately 50 feet of water. 

When they arrived at the beach they started a small fire with some difficulty, having only a few matches and a cigarette lighter.

Meanwhile, 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.

They finally 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.

An interested coincidence was the fact that the rescue of the plane crew took place only two miles from the point where Abigail Becker, the heroine of Long Point, rescued eight members of the crew of the 'Conductor,' when it ran aground during the great November storm of 1854. 

In recognition 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.

William Mussel

Mussel in skiff

Mussel in launch

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