Canadian Virtual War Memorial

Michael William Simpson

In memory of
Michael William Simpson
August 9, 1974
Damascus, Syrian Arab Republic

Military Service:

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.

Additional Information:

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.

Commemorated on Page 159 of the In the Service of Canada Book of Remembrance. Request a copy of this page.

Burial Information:

Grave Reference:
Grave 1520, Row N

Digital Collection

Send us your images
  • Photo of Michael William Simpson – Cpl. Michael William Simpson In RCASC Dress Uniform - 1966
  • Photo of Michael William Simpson – Cpl. Michael William Simpson - Camp Shams, Ismailia, Egypt - May, 1974
  • Photo of Michael William Simpson – Cpl. Michael William Simpson celebrates his 26th Birthday (a few days late) on July 1, 1974 in Cairo.
  • Camp Shams – , Ismailia, Egypt, 1974. This view of Camp Shams, the Canadian Contingent United Nations Emergency Force (Middle East) compound at Ismailia, Egypt, was photographed by Cpl. Michael W. Simpson in the summer of 1974.
  • Buffalo 115461 – Buffalo 115461 on the runway at Ismalia, Egypt in 1974. This photo, believed to be unique, was taken in the spring of 1974 by John MacFarlane. He provided the following infromation: "This photo is probably the only one of its kind and I have no problem with it being displayed.  I knew Mike before the incident as he was my replacement, as my initial replacement had health issues and was cancelled at the last moment."
  • Buffalo 115461 Replica – This replica airframe of Buffalo 115461 was restored by volunteers of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. It was dedicated to the memories of the passengers and crew of UN Flight 51 on August 9, 2009 by the Lt. Gov. of Ontario, the Honourable David Onley, in the presence of their surviving family members. The replica is on permanent display at the museum at Mt. Hope near Hamilton, Ontario.
  • Memorial Propellor Blade of Buffalo 461 – Memorial Propellor Blade of Buffalo 461 at Camp Shams Chapel c. 1974-75. The memorial is dedicated to the memories of the passenger and crew of UN Flight 51, killed on August 9, 1974.  It is constructed of a propellor blade recovered from the wreckage of Buffalo 115461. The memorial is on permanent display at the National Air Force Museum in Trenton, Ontario
  • Memorial – Plaque listing passengers and crew members of United Nations Flight 51, Buffalo 115461 shot down by Syrian Armed Forces near Damascus, Syria on Agust 9, 1974. This plaque is affixed to the memorial at Buffalo Park, Calgary, Alberta.
  • Memorial – This plaque, describing the circumstances of the incident in which 9 Canadian Forces personnel were killed on August 9, 1974 near Damascus, Syria, while on a United Nations mission, is affixed to the Buggalo Memorial at Buffalo Park, Calgary, Alberta.
  • Memorial – United Nations Flight 51 Memorial - Buffalo Park - Calgary, Alberta - posted by wildwoodke on
  • Royal Assent to an Act Respecting a National Peacekeepers Day
  • Proclamation of Peacekeepers's Day – Ontario Proclamation of Peacekeepers' Day signed by Lt. Gov. James Bartleman.
  • Grave Marker – Cpl. Michael William Simpson's Grave - Blessed are the Peacekeepers
  • Memorial – UNDOF Memorial: CFSCE Museum,CFB Kingston, Ontario.

Courtesy of Canadian Forces Joint Signal Regiment
  • Inscription – UNDOF Memorial: CFSCE Museum,CFB Kingston, Ontario.

Courtesy of Canadian Forces Joint Signal Regiment
  • Group Photo – Aerial Delivery / Basic Air Transportation Course 1970. Cpl. Mike Simpson is front row, second from left. Photograph courtesy of Greg Sheen.

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