Local “legend” of Canadian entombed at WWII airfield

The National Post newspaper in Toronto Canada has run an article about Dunsfold Aerodrome, entitled Local legend of Canadian entombed at WWII airfield.

Their story stems from local legend and anecdote – but without documented evidence.

For decades, staff at the Dunsfold Aerodrome in southern England talked of the dead Canadian beneath the runway. Clifford Davies heard the story when he started working there in the 1960s, 20 years after the Royal Canadian Engineers built the airfield during the Second World War.

The story, as Davies recalled, was about a Canadian accidentally killed by a machine during construction of one of the runways. Under war-time pressure to finish the aerodrome on schedule, the Canadian serviceman’s comrades kept working, leaving him entombed in the cement.

“It was just general knowledge, really,” Davies said, adding that he had never seen any evidence of the claim. “It was a very strong rumour.”

Now the historic aerodrome, 60 kilometres southwest of London, is facing the prospect of being replaced by an 1,800-unit residential development. And Davies — a long-time opponent of the proposal — has raised concerns that construction on the site might amount to the desecration of a grave.

But after conducting an investigation this month, an official with the Canadian Department of National Defence (DND) said the story is just folklore.

So it begs the question – does anyone know more? Who lived or worked at Dunsfold in 1942 and would have direct memory of any incident?

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