“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Woodside in San Mateo County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

In Memoriam The Aircraft “Resolution”

The Aircraft "Resolution" Marker image. Click for full size.
By James King, November 16, 2013
1. The Aircraft "Resolution" Marker
Inscription. The Australian company British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines DC-6B, VH-BPE, on a scheduled flight from Sydney to San Francisco with a final destination of Vancouver, Canada, crashed on Kings Mountain in San Mateo County during the morning hours of October 29, 1953.

This is the worst aviation accident in county history, claiming the lives of all on board, eight crew members and eleven passengers. The cause of this disaster remains a mystery but is a testament to modern day aviation safety procedures initiated from that day forth.

Capt. Bruce Dickson 1st Off. Frank A. Campbell Flt. Eng. Charles Cattanach Navg. George R. Murtagh Radio Op. Vernon A. Walker Purser: Walter B. Knight Hostesses: June F. Elder Amy K. Lewis

John R. Briscoe John W. Butterworth Jean Chiverton William J. Cox Reginald Eastoe Janos Fehr & son John William Kapell Cyril G. McDonald Capt. Paul O. Olsen Bernard R. Tischler

This memorial made possible through the efforts of Christopher M. O'Donnell, Flight of the Resolution Committee, Hiller Aviation Museum, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, Historical Preservation Foundation of Native Sons of the Golden West and valued contributers.
Erected 2006
In Memoriam The Aircraft "Resolution" Monument image. Click for full size.
By James King, November 16, 2013
2. In Memoriam The Aircraft "Resolution" Monument
by Native Sons of the Golden West.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Native Sons/Daughters of the Golden West marker series.
Location. 37° 24.376′ N, 122° 19.205′ W. Marker is in Woodside, California, in San Mateo County. Marker can be reached from Skyline Boulevard (California Route 35). Click for map. Take State Hwy 92 west from Interstate 280 to Skyline Blvd./State Hwy 35. Go south on 35 for 8.6 miles to the Skegg's Point parking area. Alternatively, travel west on State Hwy 84 from Interstate 280 to Skyline Blvd./State Hwy 35 and go north on 35 for 3.9 miles to Skegg's Point.

Leave your car at Skegg's point and walk or bike north on Skyline for 100 or 200 feet to the trailhead on the west side of the road. Grab a brochure at the trailhead sign, there's a map on the inside. Follow the trail on the extreme left, this is Fir Trail. Fir Trail is paved to the top of the hill and the second gate. Continue on Fir Trail (mind the signs at the forks) for about a mile to the fork on the right to the vista point. The monument is at the fork.

This is an easy walk as there is very little change in elevation. From the monument you can go up to the vista point for a view of the country where the crash occurred, down the hill to the Resolution
In Memoriam The Aircraft "Resolution" Monument image. Click for full size.
By James King, November 16, 2013
3. In Memoriam The Aircraft "Resolution" Monument
(l to r) Native Sons of the Golden West Grand Trustee Dean Zellers, Grand 3rd Vice President Paul Lapachet and Grand Trustee Carey Pearce.
Trail where pieces of the wreckage can still be found, back to your car or wherever you like. Marker is in this post office area: Redwood City CA 94062, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Woodside Store (approx. 2.9 miles away); Folger Stable c.1905 (approx. 3.2 miles away); The Chinese Walls (approx. 3.2 miles away); First Saw Mill (approx. 3.6 miles away); Town of West Union (approx. 4 miles away); Town of Searsville (approx. 4.1 miles away); Filoli (approx. 4.5 miles away); Our Lady of the Wayside (approx. 5 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Woodside.
Also see . . .
1. The Crash of a DC-6 in San Mateo County, California. Thursday, 29 October 1953. A four engine DC-6 is heading for a landing at San Francisco International Airport. The plane is almost at the conclusion of the last leg of its journey from Sydney, Australia. It took off on its last flight from Honolulu, Hawaii at 10:59 p.m. on 28 October 1953 with eleven passengers and a crew of eight. As the plane was approaching the west coast of the United States it encountered a fog bank. The plane was given clearance to continue on its flight path, which required that the crew maintain at least 500 feet elevation
60th Anniversary Memorial Flag image. Click for full size.
By James King, November 16, 2013
4. 60th Anniversary Memorial Flag
On 29 October 2013, a 60th anniversary memorial was held at the monument site.
above the fog/cloud cover. Sadly, the flight did not maintain at least 500 feet on top of the fog/cloud cover, and descended in weather conditions which precluded visual reference to the ground.

At 8:44 a.m. the plane's wings sheared off the tops of Redwood trees at an elevation of 2,020 feet, and the plane's fuselage then slammed into the west side of a forested and steep mountain area at an elevation of 1,950 feet one-fourth mile to the north. All of the crew and passengers perished. (Submitted on November 18, 2013, by James King of San Miguel, California.) 

2. The Civil Aeronautics Board Accident Report (PDF). (Submitted on November 18, 2013, by James King of San Miguel, California.)
3. El Corte de Madera Open Space Preserve. This is information about the trails and environment where the crash occurred and the monument is placed. (Submitted on November 18, 2013, by James King of San Miguel, California.) 

4. Trail Map of the Corte de Madera Preserve (PDF). (Submitted on November 18, 2013, by James King of San Miguel, California.)
5. Bay Area Mountain Bike Rides - Skegg's Point (Suggestion #1). ....This ride starts out by following Tafoni Trail. This one is a curvy fire road that undulates a little bit but does not experience any drastic change in elevation. Then you get on Fir Trail, which is a similar one (as far as the portion of that trail
Where it Happened image. Click for full size.
By James King, November 16, 2013
5. Where it Happened
NSGW Grand Trustees Dean Zellers and Carey Pearce discuss the crash while looking into the country where the disaster occurred.
included in this particular ride is concerned; otherwise, it gets very different and steep later on). Along Fir Trail there's a small clearing where you'll find a memorial plaque in memory of the people who lost their lives in the crash of the aircraft Resolution in this park. The actual spot of the crash is along Resolution Trail; hence the name. You'll also notice a short connector trail departing from this clearing. This leads to a small vista point where some limited views are available to neighboring ridges toward the southwest, as well as down to sections of Resolution Trail.... (Submitted on November 18, 2013, by James King of San Miguel, California.) 

6. A Photo of the Clearing and the Monument. (Submitted on November 18, 2013, by James King of San Miguel, California.)
7. The Crash of British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines Flight 304. Delivered to BCPA on November 26th, 1948, the "Resolution" was often chartered from BCPA to ANA to provide extra capacity at peak times. And thus, on the evening of October 28th, 1953, the "Resolution" left Sydney on its bi-weekly run of the "Southern Cross" route. After the traditional stops in Fiji and Canton, the plane arrived in Honolulu. With a flight of nine and a half hours ahead for the plane, the flight crew switched, and Captain Bruce Dickson took command of the plane. With over 10,000 hours of experience in the air, the 34 year old had flown this route for
El Corte de Madera Creek Area image. Click for full size.
By James King, November 16, 2013
6. El Corte de Madera Creek Area
This is the country where the Resolution went down. The ocean is shrouded in fog beyond the far ridge.
BCPA for several years. Captain Dickson and his first officer and co-pilot, Frank Campbell, 28, checked the weather on the route, and learned that there were no adverse flight conditions for their route, or in the San Francisco Bay area. However, there was a low overcast layer, obstructing visual reference with the ground, and so an instrument approach in Milles Field, the airport at San Francisco, was going to be required. With over 100, combined, of such approaches flown into Mills Field by the flight crew, they was no worries as the "Resolution" flew east towards the continent at 10:59 PM. (Submitted on November 21, 2013, by James King of San Miguel, California.) 

8. Queensland Air Museum - BCPA & Resolution Memorial Cabinet. Sadly, BCPA's short history was marred by the loss of DC-6 VH-BPE Resolution and all 19 on board while on approach to San Francisco on 29 October 1953. The following year, BCPA ceased to exist and its operations were taken over by Qantas. Trans-Pacific services became the responsibility of Qantas from 1 April 1954 although services were operated by BCPA DC-6s up until 15 May 1954. The remaining three BCPA DC-6s were handed over to the New Zealand airline Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL - later Air New Zealand). Subsequently, they were operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force after which they were passed on to a succession of civil operators.

Through the efforts of expatriate Australian Christopher O'Donnell, a plaque honouring those who perished on the Resolution was laid on the slopes of Kings Mountain, San Mateo County, California on 27 June 2009. Until recently, this was the only memorial to the passengers and crew of the Resolution. Accordingly, the Queensland Air Museum decided that there should be a memorial on this side of the Pacific so QAM's Registrar, Nick Sayer, set about collecting artefacts for a memorial display. This culminated in the British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines & DC-6 VH-BPE "Resolution" Memorial Cabinet which was dedicated at the Museum on 30 October 2010, the 57th anniversary of the crash (it was still October 29 in the US). (Submitted on November 21, 2013, by James King of San Miguel, California.) 

9. Flight of the Resolution. Thursday October 29th, 1953 was to unfold as a significant day in the aviation history of San Mateo County, home of the busy San Francisco International Airport. Unfortunately it was to be a day of tragedy. A British Commonwealth Pacific Airlines DC6, on the last leg of a trans-pacific flight, made a fatal navigational error and crashed into the coastal hills near Kings Mountain. This event remains the worst aviation crash in San Mateo County and took 19 lives, 11 passengers and 8 crew.

Although more than 50 years have passed since this tragic event, no memorial or commemorative display had been erected to hold it in the public's remembrance. Our goal was to provide the effort and funds for a memorial exhibit. With assistance from the Native Sons of the Golden West, an organization dedicated to the preservation of California history, and the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space Distirct a commemorative plaque was dedicated June 27th, 2009. (Submitted on November 21, 2013, by James King of San Miguel, California.) 
Categories. Air & SpaceDisasters
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by James King of San Miguel, California. This page has been viewed 635 times since then and 27 times this year. Last updated on , by James King of San Miguel, California. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on , by James King of San Miguel, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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