Someone dropped off this huge pile of aviation files/ notes in my mailbox and I can’t remember who did it. So if it was you, please tell me, so I can give due credit. This page has Duncan Rogers name printed at the bottom so I assume the information originally came from him.
” I remember working late quite often in those days and on occasion would talk with Tony Percy the caretaker. One day when we were chatting he told me that Charles Lindbergh had landed his plane in Carleton Place. Tony told me that during the 1920s Charles Lindbergh and a group of pilots came to Ottawa shortly after his historic trip across the Atlantic Ocean to help with the 1927 celebrations in Ottawa. The Silver Jubilee celebrations had been delayed because of the war”.
“At any rate, Tony told me that one of his planes developed engine problems while flying over Carleton Place so they all landed here at about where McNeely Avenue is today. One of the engines was repaired and they flew on to Ottawa. During those very celebrations in Ottawa one of Lindbergh’s pilots, Thad Johnson accidentally hit another place over Parliament Hill and he was killed”.
With only 300 feet between his doomed plane and the ground, Johnson’s parachute barely had time to open before he slammed to earth, dying instantly in front of the crowd.
On July 3, with bells tolling, Johnson’s flag-draped coffin was placed on a carriage that made its way to Ottawa’s Union Station, where the unlucky aviator was put on a train back to Michigan. Crowds lined Wellington Street as the cortege passed. At the train station, a firing party assembled for a three-volley salute as a band played The Last Post and The Star Spangled Banner. As the funeral train slowly steamed out of the station and along the Rideau Canal, an aircraft was spotted dropping out of the grey skies above. It was Lindbergh circling above the train. In tribute to his fellow flyer, Lindbergh cut the engine of the Spirit of St. Louis and quietly glided his aircraft to within a few feet of Johnson’s car. He cast an armful of flowers out of his plane before climbing back into the clouds and turning home to the U.S.
There’s a short road near the Ottawa airport that bears the curious name of Thad Johnson Private. It’s not particularly notable, save for its location by the FedEx depot, but now you know the rest of the story.