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Newfound plane wreck may solve mystery of missing Canadian


First World War pilot
Jake Edmiston May16,20128:33PMET|Last Updated: May 17, 2012 2:35 PM ET

FlightLieutenantWarnerHutchinsPeberdy,withthefirstgraduatingclassofthemilitaryaviationcampatLongBranch,nearToronto.

Archivephoto

Swaths of academics and historians have descended upon the Greek island of Thasos to investigate newfound airplane wreckage on
the side of a mountain. But it is a local amateur sleuth who may be the closest to solving a 95-year-old mystery involving the
disappearance of a Canadian First World War pilot.
Details on the life of Flight Lieutenant Warner Hutchins Peberdy are largely confined to a graduation photograph from the Curtiss
Aviation School in Toronto and a series of scrawled records locked in the British National Archives. Mr. Peberdy left the British
Airfield in the village of Prinos on an ill-fated reconnaissance mission in January 1917 and has since been considered missing in
action, presumed dead in the Aegean Sea.
Meantime, on Thasos, locals have long shared legends of a crashed airplane near the peak of the islands Mount Profitis Ilias. This
year, the local government invited researchers from the Hellenic Airforce Academy to conduct research on the Prinos airfield for a
war memorial. After interviewing 20 seniors in Prinos village, the research team was directed to the wreckage by local shepherds
and immediately, it looked as if the two mysteries were solving each other.
There is a strong case that this is Peberdys plane, lead researcher Constantine Lagos wrote in an article for Athens News this
month. This is the very first wreckage from a First World War aircraft to be found in Greece and a very rare find anywhere in the
world.
On Tuesday, the team received a report from U.K. experts who reviewed evidence from the crash site and determined the plane was a
Sopwith model throwing a wrench into the Peberdy theory. According to historic reports, Mr. Peberdy was flying a Nieuport model
when he disappeared.
The team is now leaning towards the belief that the plane on the mountain side belonged to another pilot who was reportedly shot
down by a German ace in the summer of 1917. Canadian, British and Greek pilots engaged in several dog fights against Central
Powers forces around the Greek Islands in the latter part of the war. Officers at Prinos thought this yet-to-be-named pilot had
ditched in the ocean and drowned, but the discovery could prove otherwise.
You can never be 100% sure of these things, Mr. Lagos told the National Post in an interview Tuesday.
But amateur investigator Tony Oswin hasnt ruled out that its Mr. Peberdy on the mountain.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/16/newfound-plane-wreck-may-solve... 27/06/2012

Newfound plane wreck may solve mystery of missing Canadian First World ...

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Mr. Oswin, a guidebook author and former pilot, tracked a mock flight path for Mr. Peberdys 1917
scouting mission to Eastern Macedonia, determining that he would have had barely enough fuel to
complete his journey in the Nieuport model. He says the Sopwith that litters the side of the island
mountain would have had ample fuel capacity to complete the trip, and its probable that Mr.
Peberdy took it instead.
Mr. Oswin, a British ex-pat living in Thasos, has devoted over 100 hours to cataloguing the
Canadian war pilots life, frequently updating his Thasos tourism website with new findings.

AircraftwreckagefoundatThasosaGreekIsland,thatisbelievedtobethatfromFlightLieutenantWarnerHutchins
Peberdy,whowaskilledJan.14,1917.

Handout

Enlisting the help of his brother in London, England, Mr. Oswin has pieced together military reports and school records in a web post
that reads like a biography of the fallen Canadian.
There are some stories that just somehow get under your skin, said Mr. Oswin, who operates a tourist information booth on the
Greek island.
According to service records, Mr. Peberdy was born in Rugby, England, and moved to Canada, where he attended a Toronto aviation
school and enlisted in the Royal Naval Air Service. The records say Mr. Peberdy failed to return from his mission, resulting in the
total loss of a Nieuport aircraft. His name is on the Chatham Naval Memorial in England.
The research team is scheduled to return to Thasos in June to conduct further
excavation of the crash site. Unless concrete findings are made in Thasos, Mr. Peberdy
will remain one of almost 28,000 Canadian military personnel from World War One,
World War Two and the Korean War who dont have known graves.

LibraryandArchivesCanada
AmateurinvestigatorTonyOswin
saysitsprobablethatPeberdywasflyingaSopwithCamel,
similartothisone,whenhewentmissingin1917.

Its exciting, particularly [Mr. Peberdys] case, because youre given a puzzle and youre
trying to figure it out, said casualty identification co-ordinator Laurel Clegg, whose
office within the Department of National Defence started an inquiry into the case on
Tuesday following her interview with the National Post.

http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/16/newfound-plane-wreck-may-solve... 27/06/2012

Newfound plane wreck may solve mystery of missing Canadian First World ...

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Shes working with British counterparts to determine which nation will take lead, considering Mr. Peberdy was born in Britain but
enlisted in Canada.
Its a really interesting mix of military historians combined with people who have a passion for it, like this local [guidebook
author], the forensic scientist said.
National Post
Posted in: Canada, News, World Tags: Airplane, First World War, Greece

JAKE EDMISTON
jedmiston@nationalpost.com

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clipe

http://www.cwgc.org/search-for...
1monthago

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lordjakir

Germany and her allies were not termed the Axis in WWI, it was the Central Powers. Does no one study history?
1monthago 10Likes

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pravadian

Greatest Pilots in the world, those German Aces are. Someone should paint pictures of their heroism.
1monthago 3Likes

Like

BlueScot

Excellent article. What a welcome change from the current bullsh_t.


Thank you. Nice to be talking about real men, not anarchists and bolsheviks.
1monthago 26Likes

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edsasha

"Nice to be talking about real men, not anarchists and bolsheviks."


Oh, please!
You just had to go and spoil it by saying something both irrelevant and stupid.
1monthago inreplytoBlueScot 9Likes

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ed_b

Please, Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS).


1monthago 9Likes

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http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/16/newfound-plane-wreck-may-solve... 27/06/2012

Newfound plane wreck may solve mystery of missing Canadian First World ...

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rattler

or Fleet Air Arm


1monthago inreplytoed_b 3Likes

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Specimen Yarp

Warner Peberdy is sitting on the front row, far right.


http://www.a-to-z-guide.co.uk/...
1monthago 9Likes

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werpor

Thank you...Specimen Yarp


1monthago inreplytoSpecimenYarp

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bob klinck

Mr. Peberdy is not identified in the photo.


1monthago 7Likes

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http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/16/newfound-plane-wreck-may-solve... 27/06/2012