Rae was also opened during October 1933, the operators being SSgt.
Jack Ross and LCp1 Bill Lang. The Fort Rae station however was doomed
to be short lived and was to be the scene of the second tragic System
fatality during the year.
approximately 8 a.m. on the morning of 30th December 1933, while
SSgt. Ross was out to breakfast at the residence of Northern Traders
Ltd. post manager, George Buffum, where he and LCpl Lang took all
their meals, fire of unknown origin broke out in the Radio Station
building. Ross noticed flames issuing from the station as he left
the Northern Traders, shouted to Buffum that the station was on
fire and dashed hurriedly to the scene. The downstairs of the building
was a raging inferno and impossible to enter, so Ross obtained a
ladder and tried to effect entry through the window of the upstairs
bedroom where he knew Lang was sleeping. As Ross shattered the window
a terrific explosion occurred and he was hurled from the ladder
amid smoke and flame to the ground. He was forcibly restrained from
making a second attempt by Buffum and others, who had by now arrived
on the scene, as they realized that such an attempt would be suicidal.
In a few more minutes the building was totally demolished but it
was early afternoon before the RCM Police were able to recover the
charred remains of the unfortunate Lang who, it was hoped, had mercifully
suffocated before being burned.
air temperature at the time of the fire was 53 degrees below zero
and the residents were fortunate in saving adjoining buildings and
fuel drums from damage with the limited fire fighting means available.
was survived by his mother and one sister residing in Sussex, England.
Instructions were received for burial to be made at Fort Rae and
this was carried out on 19th January 1934 in a simple but impressive
ceremony attended by the entire white population of the Fort who
had learned to like and respect Lang during the short time he had
been on duty there.
are interested in learning whether there is a memorial cairn or
any other marker to the memory of LCpl Lang, either at his gravesite
or anywhere else. Perhaps one of our viewers from Ft. Rae can confirm
if his grave there is marked. If anyone has any information in this
regard, or any photographs, please get in touch with us.