Estevan memorial for war-time pilots killed in crash denied a home near courthouse

The plane crashed just outside of Estevan in 1946.

Memorial deemed not architecturally compatible with the courthouse, says author

The sculpture by Darren Jones hasn't yet found a home. (Submitted by Marie Donais Calder)

Marie Donais Calder has dedicated years of her life to bringing recognition to soldiers.

She has written 25 books about World War II. The series is called the Other Side series and all of the books are connected to Saskatchewan.

But there is one story, largely forgotten, that she's trying to bring to life again.

This is part of Estevan's history.-Marie Donais Calder

In 1946, a plane carrying 21 people crashed just outside of Estevan.

The people inside were almost all pilots, nearly all of whom had served in the second World War. The United States had loaned planes to Canada, and these soldiers were on a mission to Minot, N.D. to return them. On the way back, their plane — a Dakota 962 — crashed.

Forever in the Clouds

The community in Estevan has created a 17-foot monument carved by a chainsaw to honour those killed in the crash. It's called 'Forever in the Clouds'. The faces of 17 of the 21 people have been carved into the statue with photos of two more waiting to be carved. The last two men are still missing photos.

The pillars that hold the plane up have the faces of the deceased carved on them. (Submitted by Marie Donais Calder)

Donais Calder is part of the group trying to find a public place for the commemorative statue to be placed.

"The more people I meet, the more soldiers and their families, the more determined I am to do everything in my power to bring some sort of recognition to the contributions they've made to us," she said, speaking to CBC Radio's the Afternoon Edition on Thursday.

Application denied

The group applied to have the statue stand on the courthouse lawn by the Estevan Soldier's Tree and in close proximity to the cenotaph. The committee Donais Calder is on is the same group that brought the Soldier's Tree to fruition.

The application was denied.

"Apparently it's because perhaps it isn't architecturally complementary to the courthouse is what I understand," Donais Calder said.

"It's possible that there is a home for it outside of the city of Estevan, however, this is where the accident occurred. This is part of Estevan's history."

Moving forward, Donais Calder said the committee has to regroup and come up with a new strategy to get the statue a home.

The names of the two missing soldiers are Clifford Sommerville Coppin, a pilot from Kamsack, Sask., and Vitantos Luke Kirko, a leading aircraftman who is from Toronto. If you have any information about these two men, contact CBC here to get the missing information to Donais Calder.

With files from CBC Radio's The Afternoon Edition