LCpl. William (Bill) Lang

Fort 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.

At 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.

The 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.

Lang 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.

We 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.