Almost 77 years to the day John Dunlop McVie of Trail — and 22 other airmen — died in a plane crash over Germany on Sept. 24, 1944, people around the world may pay their respects during a livestream from the site where they died.
Sarah Benson-Lord from the Trail Museum and Archives contacted the Times this week to pass on information about the livestream, organized by German researcher Erik Wiemen.
“Erik is the gentleman who was leading the search for families of crash victims of the Dakota KG653 that crashed during the Second World War,” she explains.
“You might remember that Jack McVie, a young Trail man, was on that flight. We helped connect him with remaining family from Trail, one being his brother, Tom McVie, of the NHL.”
The ceremony is happening on Saturday, though given the time conversion, is closer to late Friday night, or very early Saturday morning.
“It was supposed to happen last June but, of course, that got totally derailed by global events,” Benson-Lord said. “I sent a letter from Mayor Lisa Pasin as well as a wreath from the Trail Legion to be placed as recognition from the City of Trail,” she adds.
“I think it’s just a wonderful thing this group is doing to honour all of these fallen soldiers.”
German researcher Erik Wieman first contacted the Trail Times in February 2018, looking for information on John’s life (John went by the name ‘Jack’).
Trail Times story here: German researcher seeks info on Trail airman
Letter from Erik Wiemen:
“Dear families and friends of the crew and passengers who will not be able to attend the Dakota KG653-Ceremony, September 25, 2021.
Due to COVID many families had to cancel their visit to Germany. But due to modern day technology now it will be possible to join us!
We have tested the connection at the (rather remote) crash site several times, and, however I cannot guarantee you will have a smooth connection to Canada, the UK and Australia without any pause, at least you will be able to be there too, together with us. All 23 families and friends!
With the folllowing link you will be able to join us: at the crash site at Nackterhof.
First we will welcome the guests at the meeting point in Neuleiningen, and we will reach the crash site around 10:15/10:30 a.m. From there you will be able to dial in.
My daughter Nadine Wieman will host this Live Stream at the crash site. This will be a “Cisco Webex-Meeting.
If you have already installed or used WebEx before, just follow the link, fill out a guest name (random) and join.
The USAF wanted to perform a Fly By from Ramstein Air Base.
Due to the situation in Kabul/Afghanistan in August, and the big number of refugees from Afghanistan now being in Ramstein and Kaiserslautern at the moment, they need all flying capabilities, so the fly-by of two C130s had to be cancelled. But we are working on a Plan B.
The attending families and special guests will be able to visit a Dakota at Zweibrücken Airport , 20 minutes away from Ramstein, 55 minutes from Neuleiningen.
It was built in 1943, and we will have complete access.
So everyone, the families of the pilot, co-pilot attending could seat in the chairs there family members sat in, and feel the feel of a real 1943-Dakota, now empty, but, imagine with 23 men, full of gear, can get an idea how it was in this aircraft.
I hope you will join the Live Stream in great numbers!”
Schedule of events: