Two children’s aviator helmets. Cold case evidence. #graphicnovel #Vancouver @Kickstarter @annatfabulous


He brushed the leaves aside and uncovered the most baffling double murder Vancouver has ever had.

– The Vancouver Province April 15, 1953

The case itself centres around two unknown children, two young brothers who deserve to be identified.

By its very nature, physical evidence is circumstantial; it provides clues to a particular course of events, but does not do so directly[1]

Research into the clothing worn by the victims confirms that children of this age group wore these types of outfits in the 1940’s.   A good photo regarding the type outfits worn by the two victims is found in The Vancouver Sun in 1941:

In 1941, Vancouver witnessed its first wartime blackout.  Windows were covered with tarpaper, and automobile headlights were taped to reveal only a sliver of light.  Fear of a Japanese air assault gripped the city.  This policeman is enforcing the dusk to dawn curfew imposed on Japantown.”  From Vogel, A., Wyse, D. (1993) Vancouver- a history in photographs, Vancouver, BC, Canada: Altitude Publishing Canada Ltd. [Vancouver Pubic Library Special Collections, VPL 1345]

As mentioned in previous posts, the April 15, 1953 edition of The Vancouver Sun ran an article on the crime entitled ‘Babes in the Woods’ Slain by Mother- Police Reconstruct Deaths of Boy, Girl Found in Park.  As DNA results show the victims were indeed two boys, the “girl” in the article pertains to the larger skeleton and the “boy” pertains to the smaller skeleton:

The [smaller skeleton’s] head was encased in a leather aviator-type helmet and subsequent investigation revealed that his other clothing consisted of a red Fraser Tartan jacket of Canadian manufacture, cream or fawn corduroy trousers and scamper-type shoes with plantation rubber soles.  Identical helmet was found by the right hand of the [larger skeleton] but [his] other clothing was deteriorated almost completely. 

This ad appearing in The Vancouver Sun, November 5, 1947 gives an indication of the prices of new children’s clothing, including aviator helmets:
This photo (video capture from Babes in the Woods Task Force meeting at Vancouver Centennial Police Museum, February 2004)  shows me holding the remnants of one of the helmets:

Pertaining the aviator helmets found at the scene, a popular literary character from the 1930’s to 1960’s was Biggles– a WWII aviator with a distinctive aviator helmet.  The character experienced similar popularity to today’s Harry Potter.  Children collected the books and wore outfits to emulate their hero.

Johns, Capt. W.E. (1947), Comrades in Arms: Stories of Biggles of the R.A.F., ‘Worrals’ of the W.A.A.F. and ‘King’ of the Commandos, London, England: Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd

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[1] From Rudin, R., Inman, K. (2002) An Introduction to Forensic Analysis. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press LLC

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