Rodney Webber’s fate was sealed the day he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and took a ship to the United Kingdom to serve on a British bomber in World War II.
The crash that took his life – along with six other airmen – wasn’t a surprise to Chuck Tolley. The assistant archivist with the Canadian section of the 158 Squadron Association had known of the crash for years; how a German fighter downed the bomber one night over the Netherlands in 1943.
But as the Dutch government began to excavate the wreckage and repatriate the bodies in 2014, Tolley and Wolter Noordman, a Dutch historian, took to the record books to review the flight’s crew. They were surprised to find that Webber wasn’t Canadian, but rather an American born in Missoula.