Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 23 Jan 1956, Mon, Page 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.
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.
1956 accident on Mississippi Lake. City of Ottawa Archives
Clipped from The Ottawa Journal, 29 Jan 1955, Sat, Page 1
— Ottawa Journal 1959–
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