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LA MONTAGNE NOIRE AND THE LIBERATOR HARRY

 

LA MONTAGNE NOIRE, more than a simple hike!

The village of St-Donat, located in the vast and beautiful region of Lanaudière, boasts many peaks. The highest of them, the summit of the Montagne Noire, culminates at an altitude of 892 m. Walking its trails allows you to contemplate magnificent landscapes but also to discover the site of the crash of a Canadian military plane, the Liberator Harry.

In the midst of World War II, on October 19, 1943, a military aircraft carrying 20 passengers and 4 crew members crashed near the peak of the Montagne Noir. The aircraft, a Canadian Army Consolidated Liberator B-24, took off from Gander Airport in Newfoundland and was on its way to Mont-Joli Airport. Bad weather conditions prevented it from landing there and the plane was redirected to Dorval or Rockcliff airports, near Ottawa. It never made it to either airport. All 24 passengers were killed instantly and a large part of the aircraft was destroyed by fire.

At the time of the Liberator's disappearance, intense aerial searches were carried out. Between October 20 and November 26, 1943, 728 sorties totaling 2,438 flight hours took place. But the remains of the plane were invisible among the countless peaks of this densely vegetative region.

The Liberator Harry was eventually discovered by chance, almost three years after its crash, in June 1946. Aerial searches were being carried out to find another missing plane in the area. Immediately after sighting the metal debris and the twin fins of the Liberator, ground troops set out to climb through the untamed forest. When they arrived at the crash site, they could confirm that the crash was indeed the Liberator Harry with all passengers and crew having perished. To this day, the crash of the Liberator Harry is still the Royal Canadian Air Force's worst air tragedy.

A commemorative monument has been erected and 24 white crosses allow the names of those who lost their lives to be read. The plane's fuselage still lies there, surrounded by debris.

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Liberator B-24

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TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE LIBERATOR TRAGEDY AND SUPPORT THE LIBERATOR GUARDIANS CAUSE, PLEASE VISIT:

 

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