Resolution News Events

To Respect and Remember

2017 Local Press
From the Daily Journal archives ~ The county’s worst plane crash ~ By Jim Clifford ~ Feb 13, 2017
2013 ~ 2018
Over the span of 5 years, two relatives of the flight crew visited the memorial three times. Here are some thoughts and images to give the reader a very personal perspective. With special thanks to both Chris Purcell and Alan Campbell for your visits and sharing.
Alan Campbell, 2nd oldest brother of First Officer Frank Campbell, trekked to the memorial and impact sight in 2016 and 2018. He has graciously provided us his travel journals and I will let him tell the story as it leaves us with a powerful connection from the past to present.

April 2013
Stacks Image 152
2013 was, again, another chapter in the ongoing saga of this project revolving around “RESOLUTION”.

April produced a visit, to the Bay Area , from Chris Purcell and his wife, Kerrie, from Australia. Mr. Purcell is the son of “RESOLUTION” pilot, Bruce Dickson. Name difference is because of adoption. Christopher O'Donnell escorted the pair to the plaque , in the woods, memorializing the fateful day and crash.

Pleasant weather...good camaraderie....and interesting banter from Mr. Purcell livened the day with his memories of 'sit on Dad's lap' while Captain Dickson
taxied a DC-6 at Mascot airport in Sydney...his awe of the 'busy' cockpit...his pride of his Dad, the pilot !

Arriving at the plaque, it was obvious this visitor was moved by the place in the quiet forest...and even more when he carefully read the engraved words, along with the list of passengers and crew. A short hike up a nearby trail brought us to Vista Point, a clearing that was purposed as a landing site for helicopters and personnel involved with the recovery operations in 1953. The view from here, out to the Pacific Ocean, was the flight path of RESOLUTION. Purcell took time, alone, to spend time gazing westward.

Chris Purcell decided not to continue down the mountain to the actual impact point, feeling a little overwhelmed by this day alone. He hoped to return , later in the year, to participate in the 60th anniversary hike and assured O'Donnell that that would be a more of an appropriate time to deal with expected emotions from the past. Such would turn out to be true.

February 2012
The Resolution Committee, for historical purposes, would like to note on the passing of William Kapell's wife, Anna Lou Dehavenon. We are including excerpts from Wikipedia to provide our readers with a glimpse into her life after William's death

Anna Lou Dehavenon (November 24, 1926 – February 28, 2012) was an urban anthropologist
She was the wife of pianist William Kapell, who died in 1953; she later married Gaston T. de Havenon. She undertook a career as an expert on homelessness in New York in part as a result, she said, of her own experience of suddenly becoming a single mother with no income when Kapell died. She helped to publish Kapell's diaries and issue new recordings of his music after his death.

She was born in Bellingham, Washington as Rebecca Ann Lou Melson, and originally studied piano; she was a student of Sergei Tarnowsky, the teacher of Vladimir Horowitz. She earned her doctorate degree in anthropology in 1978 from Columbia University, and taught at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dehavenon produced annual studies on hunger for the East Harlem Interfaith Welfare Committee, and founded the Action Research Project on Hunger.

Dehavenon died in 2012 in Greenport, Suffolk County, New York, and her obituary was included in The Socialite who Killed a Nazi with Her Bare Hands: And 144 Other Fascinating People who Died this Year, a collection of New York Times obituaries published in 2012.

May she rest in peace.

Fall 2011
The fall of 2011 was a "busy" period for activity related to RESOLUTION, in so far as folk that were directly or indirectly connected to that fateful flight.

The most unusual visitor to the memorial plaque was 80 year old Tayab Ali, a gentle man , originally from Fiji, accompanied by his son, Nesib and other family members. In 1948, as a teenager,he had climbed up into the very cramped nose wheel well of a BCPA airliner, he remembering it to be RESOLUTION, and hung on and flew from Nandi to Canton Island to Honolulu, with his goal being San Francisco. He was apprehended in Hawaii and flown back to Fiji, comfortably in first class and given a 'slap on the wrist' for his adventure. Much could be written about this stowaway but I will leave that to his son, who is planning a book on his father's life!

Another visitor, Stephen Downes, followed me all the way to the crash site, taking prolific notes to flesh out his upcoming book, based on the life of William Kapell. This author from Melbourne, Australia, was intrigued to discover that little has been written on this passenger aboard RESOLUTION and felt something should be done about that. He even took the time to fly back east to meet and interview Kapell family members.

And finally, a most fascinating email was received from a Mr. John Meyer, informing me that his father had flown from Sydney to Hawaii, along with his wife, on Flight 304. During their brief lay-over, he was enamored by Honolulu and decided that he and his wife would wait for another BCPA flight and spend a few days in this tropical paradise. Of course RESOLUTION flew on and crashed hours later. I spoke with the older Mr. Meyer by 'phone, now living in London and he confirmed this quirk of fate

June 15th, 2010
In mid June 2010, grandson of passenger Cyril McDonald, Phil Watt of Darwin, Australia, made the trek to Kings Mountain to visit the impact point of VH-BPE. As he emerged from the deep canyon, he 'stumbled' upon the memorial plague placed in memory of the passengers and crew, not knowing of its existence beforehand. He felt that this was the time to place a small Australian flag in front of the sand stone & granite monument, a salute to his relative and all others aboard RESOLUTION, fifty seven years past . 'Twas a fitting gesture'.
"Resolution" Resolved - October 29th, 2009
The 56th anniversary of the disaster of VH-BPE, the crash of DC-6 " Resolution" on Kings Mountain in 1953, was remembered with a poignant visit to the plane's memorial by Grant (Chips) Tischler, visiting from Australia, son of passenger Bernard Tischler, representatives of MROSD, Rick Perry & David (Sango) Sanguinetti along with Christopher O'Donnell, founder of the " Flight of the Resolution Project."

Although this was a respectful & quiet gathering for those involved, the day was not a sad meeting but one of a sense of accomplishment and reverence with Mr. Tischler viewing his father's memorial of the permanent granite plaque remembering souls long forgotten no longer! Leaving for home in Queensland, Australia, Grant announced plans for overseeing a display recalling " RESOLUTION" at a museum near his home there, long overdue from the aircraft's origin.

Rick Perry- Chose the local sandstone and mounted the plaque
David Sanguinetti- Chose the location
Grant Tischler
Christopher O'Donnell


Hands across the ocean
Grant and Christopher in a symbolic gesture that marks the final chapter in the " Resolution" project, well maybe not!

The Resolution Project Resolved - June 27th, 2009
...'twas a warm morning on Kings Mountain....sun dappling the trail leading to a gathering of persons brought together with a common remembrance in mind...the crash of BCPA Flight 304, a DC6B nosing into the ridge, killing all 19 aboard on fog shrouded October 29, 1953.

Finally, a handsome granite plaque, laser etched with a photo of the Douglas craft, flags of USA and Australia, along with each individuals name, mounted on sandstone, was unveiled and ribbon cut ....a moment of high revere for those long forgotten but no longer forgotten.

Christopher O'Donnell, for six years has been driven to produce this day and all it entailed, stepped to the podium and stood quietly..for many moments, intriguing the guests...and opened his comments with " I like cats...I love cats !" ...puzzled faces and a chuckle or two from those gathered..." My cat Tim scratches to be let out at 3 am...not knowing it disrupts my peace...he meows to be let in...again not realizing for one moment that he wakes me again and 'upsets' me...he just knows that he get what he wants...and so I 'scratched at doors' and probably upset some folk, but I did not know any better and eventually I got what I all times with due respect to those I approached with innocence....and thus the plaque was placed where it should have been all along...Kings Mountain!" A noble deed, indeed! An accomplishment achieved by a simple 'tip of the hat ' from some, to a check of three figures from others. All present, and some not, can be proud of this permanent marker now standing as a sentinel in the woods, silent in memory of the RESOLUTION."

Donors, relatives and others of interest to this catastrophe (the worst air disaster in the history of San Mateo County) now took the time to admire the memorial and chat amongst themselves of their poignant connection to this event, while enjoying scrumptious food and beverages supplied gratis by the organizers of the day, the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District. It was a day to remember ! Truly !! You are invited to hike to the con-flux of the Fir and Resolution trails, just below the newly cleared Vista Point. Park at CalTrans lot known as Skeggs Point on Skyline Blvd. Click onto the web site of MROSD for more details or chat with Christopher at Soon to go dark, web site kept the project visit...and a Wikipedia listing at BCPA Flight 304, and William Kapell, world famous pianist of the day, a passenger.

The Resolution Project Gets the Nod from Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD)
A tireless 5 year effort is on final approach

The passengers on flight 304, a BCPA DC-6 bound for San Francisco in October 1953 had no inkling of their upcoming fate that foggy morning. And for five years, the Resolution committee, lead by Christopher O'Donnell, has waged a quiet effort to commemorate this tragic event and give it the recognition it is due to honor the passengers and crew, also without a clear view of the final outcome.

History is once again coming to a resolution. On Wednesday January 28th, at the regular meeting of the Board of Directors for MROSD, by a vote of 6-0, the final approval was obtained to place the plaque donated by the Native Sons of the Golden West at the entrance to the Methuselah trail. Christopher was joined by Linda Suffion and Mark Zborowski to sketch out the journey that started in 1953, thousands of miles away in the Southern Hemisphere and has now come to rest in peace. The board was very supportive and we thank all the members for their vote that realizes a 'Noble Quest' that started with someone asking " why" and then acting on it