Canadian Virtual War Memorial
Michael William Simpson
In memory of
Michael William Simpson
August 9, 1974
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic
- Service Number:
- Logistics Branch
- 116 ATU - United Nations Emergency Force II (UNEF II)
- Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal, United Nations Emergency Force Middle East (UNEFME), Dag Hammarskjöld Medal.
- June 29, 1948 Toronto, Ontario
- June 24, 1965
Son of William (Bill) James Simpson and Loyola Helen Park (née Harrington) (1999 National Memorial (Silver) Cross Mother) of Toronto, Ontario. Husband of Catherine (nee Lambert) of Hearst, Ontario. Brother of John.
Cpl. Michael William Simpson, of Toronto, Ontario, joined the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps under the Soldier Apprentice Program in 1965. He trained as a Transport Operator after completing the two year Soldier Apprentice course at CFB Borden in 1967.
Cpl. Simpson remustered from Transport Operator to Traffic Technician, working at 2 Air Movements Unit, CFB Petawawa, after his promotion to corporal. He volunteered to serve with the Canadian Contingent of the United Nations Emergency Force Middle East II, commonly known as UNEF 2, based at Ismailia, Egypt, in 1974.
Cpl. Simpson was one of nine Canadian Forces personnel killed on United Nations Flight 51 on August 9, 1974. Their Canadian Forces Buffalo, 115461, was on a scheduled supply flight from Ismailia, Egypt, via Beirut, Lebanon, to Damascus, Syria. Shortly after crossing the Lebanese-Syrian border into Syria, three surface-to-air missiles were fired at the Buffalo by Syrian forces, destroying the aircraft and causing the deaths of all aboard.
When Flight 51 was destroyed, it resulted in the largest single-incident loss of life in the history of Canadian peacekeeping operations. The men who died that day are commemorated in the 7th Book of Remembrance in the Peace Tower, on the Memorial Wall at Peacekeepers Park in Calgary, Alberta, and on a monument at Buffalo Park, also in Calgary.
The Parliament of Canada proclaimed that: "Throughout Canada, in each and every year, the ninth of August shall be known as National Peacekeepers' Day". The proclamation received Royal Assent on June 18, 2008.
Volunteers at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at Hamilton, Ontario, restored the derelict airframe of a Buffalo, in United Nations livery, as a tribute to all Canadian peacekeepers and the crew and passengers of the last flight of Buffalo 461. It was dedicated on National Peacekeepers' Day, August 9, 2009, the 35th anniversary of the loss of Buffalo 115461.
Cpl. Simpson was pre-deceased by his father, Mrs. Park's first husband, William J. Simpson, a D-Day veteran and Toronto firefighter. He was survived by Mrs. Park, his brother, Jack, and his sisters, Janice and Theresa.
- TORONTO (PINE HILLS) CEMETERY ; Ontario, Canada
- Grave Reference:
- Grave 1520, Row N
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