A bundle of straps that looked like any other beach flotsam has solved a 60-year-old mystery and answered some questions for the family of a Canadian Navy pilot. When Zack Johnson unraveled the straps he realized it was a parachute harness and its last occupant’s name, LT ℗ TROY, was stencilled it. A quick search of Canada’s military archives revealed Lt. Barry Troy’s F2H-3 Banshee disappeared in fog off the Florida on Feb. 25, 1958 on a flight from NAS Mayport in Florida to HMCS Bonaventure. His helmet and a piece of landing gear were all that was recovered from the crash area.
The harness, which Troy would have been wearing at the time, was found on a beach near Jacksonville last September. Hurricane Irma had strewn a lot of debris on the beach but the tangle of webbing caught Johnson’s eye. The former Navy man, now a park ranger, realized he had something significant and the investigation ensued. Earlier this week, the State of Florida returned the last remnant of a 29-year-old naval aviator’s life to Canada. Troy flew for 871 Squadron based in Shearwater and the crash occurred shortly before the squadron was disbanded and amalgamated with 870 Squadron.