Remembering Lucky McIlquham of Carleton Place

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Remembering  Lucky McIlquham  of Carleton Place

 

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal23 Jan 1956, MonPage 15

 

There used to be a former tall “gunner” who lived in Carleton Place whose claim to fame was being a brave soldier among other things. He survived a 400-foot fall into a haystack when the rear of his bomber was shot off in World War ll and made a lot of local folks proud. Sadly in January of 1956, a little more than 10 years after he came home from the war, he drowned in Mississippi Lake trying to save his son.

Thomas Oswald McIllquham DFM was a machinist with the Ottawa branch of the Ontario Department of Highways and his young son Scott would have been 5 years old when they both lost their lives in the cold water of Mississippi Lake. They probably thought the ice was thick enough that day their truck went through the ice near their home.

They found Thomas’s body 7 feet down, but his son’s body was found just a few scant inches away from the edge of the hole made by the settling chassis. It is believed that Thomas had valiantly tried to save his son and almost did.  His wife Oda Larsen had already seen tragedy losing her brother to an accident a few years previous and the *Queen’s Park Lodge owned by her father Swen Larsen had burned to the ground in 1955.

Before the accident Thomas had been driving around the lake visiting fisherman on the ice even though Victor Majury had warned him to be careful. A change of heart of must have occurred as they were last seen heading to Rocky Point.  Barely 400 yards from the shore facing the Lodge the ice thinned and Victor Majury, Harry Willis and Stanley Gibson all from Carleton Place told the OPP that the truck went down as if it was in slow motion.

The men were powerless to help so they went to the farm of Mrs. Percy Hay and she drove them two miles so they could use a telephone.  Lucky McIllquham had survived the heaviest fighting of the war and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal by King George.  His record was long: destroying at least two enemy fighters and the damage of many others, a parachute leap from a burning plane, and his fabulous drop into a haystack when the tail gunners section was destroyed mid air.

 

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Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

 

Lucky was born and raised in Carleton Place and was one of the sons of Mr and Mrs Clyde McIllquham who owned the Mississippi Hotel.  He was survived by wife Oda and his 3 year-old daughter Ruth and two brothers Walter and Gilmour who were residing at the Mississippi Hotel.

How ironic and sad was it that Lucky had died in 7 feet of water on a sunny January day in Carleton Place instead of that day flying into battle in Cologne. Every time I stand at the old dock of Lake Park Lodge it will now have more meaning.

In memory of Thomas “Lucky” Oswald McIllquham. Another resident to be remembered today.

 

historicalnotes

 

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1956 accident on Mississippi Lake. City of Ottawa Archives

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Clipped from The Ottawa Journal29 Jan 1955, SatPage 1

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          — Ottawa Journal 1959–

 

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

 

 

Related reading

 

Carleton Place Boy Brings Down 10th Hun Plane — Daniel Galbraith 1917

It was Friday the 13th on Napoleon Street in Carleton Place

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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