LETTER: Loss of peacekeeping aircraft a tragic memory

It was interesting to read the article in the Aug. 18 Victoria News about the UN-marked Canadian peacekeeping aircraft shot down by a Syrian missile, killing all nine Canadians aboard on Aug. 9, 1974. Like Ret. Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Chris Preston, I too recall that event. Being scheduled to fly from Ismailia, Egypt to Damascus, Syria on transfer shortly thereafter, I was naturally relieved to learn the authorities had decided to instead send us by road convoy.

Being with 73 Canadian Signals Unit, we had a ham radio operated from a signals truck. This radio allowed us to make calls to loved ones in Canada thanks to the volunteer civilian ham radio operators in Canada who would patch through our calls. To facilitate these calls, small cards with our contact information were placed in a box.

I remember going through this box to remove the cards belonging to the nine Canadians who were on board the Buffalo aircraft. It was a long time ago but they were good men who should have returned to their families. Sadly, that was not their fate.

Eric Ballinger, Master Warrant Officer (retd)