May 28, 1925 - August 30, 1946
Olive Madge Lewis, known as Madge, was the daughter of William Harrison Lewis and his wife, Olive Beckham (nee Williams). Mr. Lewis was born in England; Mrs. Lewis was born in Canada. She had two sisters, Harriet Elizabeth Greig, 28, and Ruth Eleanor Black, 26. Her father was diabetic. Madge had had an appendectomy in 1936 when she was 11. She wore glasses. The family attended the United Church, and she lived with her parents at 232 Metcalfe Avenue, Westmount, in Montreal when she enlisted.
At the time of enlistment before March 1944, Madge was working at the Bank of Toronto in Montreal, operating an accounting machine. She had hoped to be a dental assistant after the war.
She weighed 134 pounds and stood 67 1/2" tall. She had brown hair and blue eys. She liked to ski, skate, swim and play tennis. She had a first aid course through the Red Cross and knew how to type.
Nursing Sister Kerr evaluated Olive Lewis at the end of her training at No. 1 Composite Training School (KTS), Trenton. "Immature. Intelligent. With constant supervision will be a fairly good hospital assistant." She was 16 out of 28 in her class with a mark of 71.8%.
LAW Lewis was also at No. 3 TC, HQ, Montreal in January 1945, then back to Lachine. She was at No. 3 RC, Rockcliffe in March 1946 for about two weeks, returning to Lachine at the end of that month.
On March 7, 1945, at Lachine, Quebec. "This airwoman consulted for retroccular headaches and eye strain. She was referred to S/L McColloch. On March 9, 1945, she again consulted for discharge from the nose and dyspnea [difficult or laboured breathing] which she attibutes to condition of nasal passages; both conditions having existed for the past two years. She states that she has definite dyspnea on effort which limits her activites in sports and everything which requires considerable effort. On clinical re-examination, heart is of normal size....this morning there is very slight aedema of the eyes. An ECG was requested this morning. Examination of heart requested, please." CONSULTANT's REPORT: "This girl has had blocking of the nose and difficulty in breathing for the past two years but she states that her symptoms have been more marked in the past six months. The difficulty is aggravated by exertion but is also present at rest. She feels tired most of the time and lacks initiative. Sleeps well. Appetite poor. Well developed girl of 19. Findings: Nose: there is a slight narrowing of the right nostril due to a deviation but the airway is sufficient for good function. Diagnosis: Chronic tonsillitis." In November 1945, she was again at the hospital. "This patient admits being very nervous about these attacks (not getting enough air into her lungs). Patient admits smoking about 15-20 cigarettes a day while working but probably more when she is not working. Also had about 2-3 cups coffee and 1-2 cups tea per day. It was recommended that she reduce the use of cigarettes, tea, coffee and to take sedatives if required.
On August 30, 1946, LAW Lewis, on a weekend pass, along with friends Ewan Morrison, 21, William Coles, 21, and Audrey Carson, 19, decided to head up to the Laurentians for the Labour Day weekend. They were involved in a fatal car accident when the car they were in hit an ice truck.
An inquiry was struck to investigate the accident. F/L J. A. Reid, adjutant at No. 2 Release Centre, RCAF Station, Lachine, PQ stated: "W318254 Leading Aircraftwoman Lewis, was formerly employed as a Hospital Assistant at No. 2 Release Centre. She was a living out member of the Station and her home address was 5554 Snowdon Avenue, Apt 4 in Montreal where she lives with her parents. When this airwoman left the Station after working hours, her time was her own until the working hours of the following morning."
Paul Emile Turgeon, driver of the ice truck stated, "There was practically no traffic on the road. When I saw this car coming towards me, it was no more than 15 to 20 feet away. I saw some lights, all of a sudden, the lights came towards me. All I saw were some bright lights suddenly and they blinded me...he tore two wheels off my truck. I just had to stop there, then they went on. I jumped off the truck, my hand was injured but I ran after the machine. I went to see if anyone was around, but I couldn't see anyone. I looked to see if anyone was going to call or warn the police when a man arrived who called the police and the police took down all the details. I returned to the machine and saw bodies in the car. The driver, in the front, had his head down and his arm behind the neck of a girl; in the back, there were to bodies stretched out in the car, resting on the back seat, their legs down."
The passenger in the ice truck, Roger Lalonde stated, "The truck had a capacity of 3 tons. All I saw were two lights coming towards us and hitting us. I cannot state the distance, it was too fast for me. The car appeared to approach rapidly by the blow I received. I hurt myself on the chin." When asked if he could have blown the horn, he stated, "Not a chance! All I could do was to protect myself with my two wrists in front of my face because I had a broken arm. I leaned on the front inside of the truck. After the accident, I told the driver to shut off the motor immediately. We ran to the car to give first aid but we couldn't touch anything because one person had his head on the side and the other two were in the back and when there is anyone dead, you can't touch anything. The one in front, the driver, had fallen on his left side with an arm around the neck of a girl, the girl was partly under the dashboard, the ones in the back were side by side, head down sitting on the seat...there was another car which arrived and then another one arrived who called the police...we were were too nervous to call the police." Both Lalonde and Turgeon had a translator provided for them, as they were francophone.
Oscar Rochon, another witness testified: "They were coming behind me as if they were going to hit me; when they saw that they were nearly on me, they turned sharply to miss me; that brought them to the left; after that they returned to the right; in coming back to the right, they cut in front of me, passing six or eight inches from my car and took their place on the right; they then took to the road. I then noticed that they increased their speed because I noticed that their rear light was disapperaing in no time. I did not see them crash. No other cars passed me. When I got to the scene of the accident, I got out of my car. There was a man standing there. I said, 'Is the driver of the truck hurt?' He said, 'I am the driver.' I said, 'You're not hurt?' He said, 'No.' I said, 'You can thank God because they nearly hit me.' Thereupon, I went forward to the car and noticed that there were four people. I noticed the positions inside. Facing me was the driver who was pushed to the left, and in the back, they seemed to be lying on the seat, sitting, but at an angle. I then went around the car and saw that there was a girl or woman with the driver in front, who was leaning on the driver. I didn't notice the position of the driver's arms. Their headlights, when they passed me, were in good order." Again, Mr. Rochon had had the same translator provided. His name was Mr. Clement Fortier, employed by Mr Roland Langlois, Insurance Adjustor.
Lt. Detective J. Haney, member of the Homicide Squad of the Provincial Police, Montreal, stated: "On 30th August, 1946, at 1120 pm, an accident occurred approximately 2 miles south of St. Jerome, PQ on Highway 11. The car driven by Ewan Morrison was proceeding in the south to north direction and apparently was out of control, as he collided with an ice truck coming north to south. All the occupants of the car...were instantly killed and had been pronounced dead by Dr. J. Duval of St. Jerome who was called on the scene approximately 15 minutes after the accident occurred. There was only one eye-witness to the accident, Mr. Oscar Rochon of Ville St. Laurent, PQ who in his testimony at the inquest stated that the car driven by Morrison passed him about one mile before the scene of the accident, and that he was travelling at an excessive speed and zig-zagging all over the highway. The driver and occupant of the truck, Paul Emil Turgeon, and Robert Lalonde, both stated at the inquest that they were travelling about 25 mph on the right side of the road at the time of the accident. They did not see the approaching car until it was practically on top of them and could take no avoiding action. The Provincial Police in testimony at the inquest, also stated that the truck was on the right side of the road at the time of the accident. The Coroner's inquest was held on the 5th September 1946 at 11 am at the St. Jerome Court House, Leo Dugal presided at the inquest, and after the hearing of the witness, the jury rendered a verdict of accidental death." Cause of accident: "Probably speeding."
F/L A. Glustien, Investigating Officer, RCAF Service Police filled out a form "Officer of Airman -- Report on Accidental or Self Inflicted Injuries or Immediate Death Therefrom. "Deceased was a passenger in a private car which crashed into an ice truck....sustained a fractured skull with depression which caused instantaneous death, according to Dr. J. Duval." He also commented, "Since the driver, the occupant of the truck and the only eye-witnesses could all speak little English, and seemed reluctant to give any other evidence than that given at the Coroner's Inquest, the writer decided to use the proceedings of the Inquest in presenting the evidence of these witnesses...the Investigating Officer visited the scene of the accident on September 5, 1946, and found the highway to be in good condition, straight for over a mile and wide enough to permit 3 cars to travel abreast of each other at that point." On October 10, 1946, investigating officer, F/O R. E. McKibbon wrote a memorandum with these details: "Three civilians riding in the car with LAW Lewis were also killed in the accident...a vehicle driven at an excessive rate of speed and lurching from side to side on the highway narrowly missed striking a car proceeding in the same direction...a verdict of accidental death was rendered by the jury." Findings: "That the car driven by Mr. E. Morrison was traveling on the wrong side of the road at the time of the accident. The cause of the LAW Lewis's death is considered accidental death."
On September 11, 1947, Mr. Lewis wrote to the Director of Estates in Ottawa. "It is now just over a year since the accident that killed my daughter above mentioned whilst she was still a member of the RCAF. To date, I have no word from you regarding the settlement of her estate (gratuities). Also, Wing Commander Charles Lachine told me that the Air Force would very definitely make a contribution toward the funeral expenses. You already have the bill to $375.00. Shall be glad to know that these matters have not been overlooked and when I may expect to hear from you."