Airplane Lands on Cassidy Lake 1940

Airplane on Cassidy Lake
Airplane on Cassidy Lake near church.
(From Hazel Douthwright)

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Canadian Airways operated a regional mail and cargo service in the Maritimes. It would not be unusual for one of their planes to pass by Cassidy Lake.

On or about February 22,1940, one of their planes, CF-BGO a Stinson SR-9CM Reliant, experienced engine problems and landed on Cassidy Lake. The landing was uneventful but the engine could not be fixed on site and had to be removed and shipped off to be repaired.

Using historical reports for the weather 30 miles away in Saint John we see the weather at the time (Feb, 21-24) was not too bad. Temperatures varied from a high of 32F to a low of 5F (0C to -15C). Saint John got 3″ (7.6 cm) of snow on Feb 24 the day Robert Allen Cassidy hauled the engine to Norton. Temperatures were similar on March 20-22 except it snowed every day. Not great weather for changing an engine outside on a frozen lake.

CF-BGO on Cassidy Lake
CF-BGO on Cassidy Lake
(From Murray Monahan)

The people in the photo were not identified but the person on the left sitting on the main wheel may be Robert Allen Cassidy. The build and facial features are similar. The 4-legged stool looks like one Allen kept in the farm workshop.

This incident provided a business opportunity for Robert Allen Cassidy. From the accounting records he kept, we see the crew and repair people got 33 meals. It is likely this included a bed for the night as travelling back and forth on a daily basis to Norton or Sussex would not be easy in the dead of winter. On Feb. 23. Robert Allen was paid $2.00 for logs and his help in building a derrick. The next day he received $4.00 for hauling the engine to the rail station in Norton using a team of horses pulling either a sled or wagon. A month later on March 20, Allen got another $4.00 to haul the repaired engine from Norton to Cassidy Lake.

Canadian Airways Account
Canadian Airways Account

We can conclude the crew onboard the plane were very lucky. The lake was the logical place to land. Roads in the area, if they were plowed, would be narrow and likely rough and rutted making for a tricky landing. The lake would certainly be frozen in late February, but the question is how deep was the snow covering the ice. This part of New Brunswick gets a lot of snow in winter. It could be a foot or more deep and heavily crusted which would be disastrous for a landing unless the plane was on skis which it was not. It appears there was only an inch or so of snow and the landing was uneventful. They were also fortunate to be able to complete repairs before the spring thaw.