Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Honor in Tragedy; by Joe Daraskevich

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Honor in Tragedy; by Joe Daraskevich

Article excerpt

Byline: jdaraskevich@jacksonville.com

An unlikely discovery on a Northeast Florida beach gave a little comfort Monday to relatives of a Canadian pilot lost at sea some 60 years ago.

Lt. William Thomas Barry Troy of the Royal Canadian Navy was flying a McDonnell F2H Banshee just off the coast when it went down in a dense fog. The discovery of a wheel, a helmet and a shaving kit confirmed the Feb. 25, 1958, crash, but most of the wreckage remained missing.

Then, in the fall, hurricanes Irma and Maria churned through and pushed pieces of the wreck to the surface along with a harness, a parachute and a life vest with military markings. They were discovered by Zack Johnson, a Hanna Park ranger with a Navy background.

On Monday, the items were on display at Naval Station Mayport for a ceremony honoring the 29-year-old Troy.

"He was our big brother; he was our hero," Dick Troy said. "We lost him, and now we have him back in a way. So there's some finality to that."

The fatal flight was a training mission in which Troy was supposed to land his fighter jet on the HMCS Bonaventure a few miles off shore. Other pilots flying the same mission turned inland to avoid the fog, but Troy turned toward the aircraft carrier, said Richard Mayne, the director of Royal Canadian Air Force History and Heritage.

He said flying just 500 feet above the surface left

little room for error in that type of weather. It's assumed the aircraft went down nose first into the ocean, killing the pilot immediately.

Mayne said the family will have a chance to keep any of the artifacts they choose, and the rest will be displayed at a military museum in Canada.

Dick Troy said his parents were never able to attend a ceremony like the one Monday honoring their son. Their graves have a tribute that says he was lost at sea, so Dick Troy said it would be nice to bury some of the items found in the ground with his parents. …

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