Artifacts from 1958 military crash off Mayport given to pilot's family, Canada

Plane debris, pilot's personal items to be put on display at military museum

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A special ceremony held Monday at Naval Station Mayport brings closure to a 60-year-old Canadian military aircraft tragedy off Jacksonville's coast.

Artifacts recently found belonging to Royal Canadian Navy Pilot Lt. Barry Troy were handed over to the fallen pilot's family. 

News4Jax first told you in September about Hanna Park ranger Zach Johnson discovering aircraft debris and personal items immediately after Hurricane Irma. After doing his own research, he believed the items were connected to Troy's mysterious crash off Mayport in 1958. 

Since our initial stories, the Canadian Navy confirmed the debris and items found -- including a parachute harness -- did belong to the Canadian pilot and his downed aircraft, and in a planned ceremony held today, representatives from the Canada joined the U.S. Navy to make those items a part of Naval history.

"I'm amazed at what they did find and that his name was on that chute after 60 years of being in the water, or buried in the dunes," Dick Troy, Lt. Troy's brother, who traveled from California to Florida for today's ceremony.  

"Today we can look to the sea and say 'thank you' for providing us with what some militaries don't receive and that is closure," said U.S. Navy Master Chief Bill Houlihan. 

For 60 years, Troy's family was left wondering what may have happened. Very little was found after Lt. Troy's F2h-3 Banshee aircraft that crashed during a training mission with the U.S. Navy.

But Irma unearthed some answers: pieces of a parachute that likely never deployed and a harness with the name Lt. Troy embroidered on it.

After the historic discovery, News4Jax called Dick Troy in California and told him what was found. Months later, he got to see it all in person.

"When I touched that chute and harness, knowing that's my brother, there was a connection there. I touched it, and it was his body that last wore that chute. It's some kind of connection there. That kind of sends chills through me, and it's good in a way," Dick Troy said. 

The U.S. Navy today proudly took part in what's called an artifact transfer -- handing over these pieces of history to Lt. Troy’s family and the Canadian Navy and Embassy authorities.

"My mom and dad never got any of this to kind of put this to bed. They went to their graves without much news, so we've grieved all these years," Dick Troy explained. "I would like to take one of those artifacts and bury that with my parents because on their gravestone they have his name and 'Lost at Sea,' so I'd like to put something like that in there buried with my parents."  

It's believed that the artifacts are in such good shape because they likely washed ashore soon after the 1958 crash and were preserved in the sand dunes. The waves from last year’s hurricane season revealed them, finally giving Lt. Troy's family some peace. 

"He was our big brother, and he was our hero, and we lost him," Dick Troy said. "Now we have him back and there's some finality to that."

Artifacts from the Troy's crash will be taken to the Shearwater Aviation Museum in Nova Scotia and will be placed inside the Royal World Canadian History and Heritage display.

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