Baldy Hughes, BC

1966 –Airman Disappears– Prince George Citizen

Airman Disappears
Baldy Hughes, BC
17 January 1966

Assorted Newspaper Clippings – Prince George Citizen

18 Jan 66 – Man’s Disappearance "A Strange Thing"

An RCAF helicopter from the rescue coordination centre in Vancouver was to arrive in Prince George early this afternoon to participate in the search for a young RCAF Sergeant whose car was found abandoned about three miles from radar station Baldy Hughes.

The helicopter due here at about 1 p.m. was to help a five man ground party in the hunt for Sgt. Robert Taylor, 33, reported missing at 4 p.m. Monday.

Police said Taylor has not been seen since about a week ago but a spokesman added "they get lots of free time out there".

The RCMP-RCAF search party, trekking through the bush on snow shoes, believe the airman may have walked off the Clear Lake Sawmill road for a short hike.

Police said there was no indication he had emerged on the road.

The mans car was found three-quarters of a mile off the road to Baldy Hughes. It contained Sgt. Taylor’s coat and other gear.

The married mans disappearance was described by an Air Force spokesman as a "strange thing".

An RCMP aircraft flew over for fires Taylor may have started to keep warm but none was spotted.

19 Jan 66 – 30 Men Continue Search

A 30 man ground party and a helicopter continued a search in sub-zero weather today for a young married RCAF Sergeant who has disappeared mysteriously.

Thirty-two year old Sergeant Robert Taylor was last seen at Baldy Hughes radar station, 30 miles from Prince George, Saturday night.

He was reported missing about 4 p.m. Monday after his car, containing his coat and other gear, was found three-quarters of a mile off the road to Baldy Hughes on the Clear Lake Sawmill Road.

Police and Air Force spokesmen said today tracks apparently made by Sgt. Taylor were followed into the wooded area and then back out onto the road Tuesday. No other sign of Sgt. Taylor has been found.

Sgt. Taylor, a day worker whose normal duty was from Monday to Friday is "one of those types who likes to walk in the bush" an Air Force spokesman said today.

He said it wasn’t considered strange that the man could be gone for a good part of the weekend.

The helicopter from RCAF rescue coordination headquarters in Vancouver was to continue flying over the area today, although it may leave if the search yields no new clues by Thursday.

The ground party was composed mainly of Air Force personnel from the base. RCMP and others were also included.

21 Jan 66 – Search is Terminated

Eleven inches of snow overnight dealt the final blow to the search, which in four days had turned up no clues to the mysterious disappearance Sunday of the 32 year old airman.

"We couldn’t locate any tracks when they were available", said Squadron Leader Al Craig of RCAF radar base Baldy Hughes.

It was snowing and overcast at the station today, with temperatures of about 10 degrees above zero. During earlier parts of the week temperatures in sunny weather hovered at about 10 below.

"It’s pointless to continue" said the RCAF officer.

He pointed out that every possible lead has been checked and re-checked and that the possibility of the Sergeant’s disappearance was intentional has grown stronger. "To be a corpse in the bush – and I hope he isn’t – you have to have walked into the bush, said Squadron Leader Craig.

"We were unable to ascertain anywhere he had walked in".

Police have turned up nothing in their routine missing persons investigation.

Cpl. TH Stanton said today the RCMP has been making "general inquiries" about Sgt. Taylor.

Cpl. Stanton said he hoped someone as a result of publication of Sgt. Taylor’s picture in The Citizen would remember having seen the man "somewhere other than out at Baldy Hughes".

Sgt. Taylor, last seen on Saturday night, was reported missing late Monday afternoon when his car was found abandoned and locked on a road leading from the Blackwater Road, which leads to Baldy Hughes.

When last seen he told friends he had nearly become lost on a walk through the woods Saturday.

Pinetree Line Note:

Rather than leave this disappearance unresolved, I communicated with a number of RCAF personnel that were at Baldy Hughes in January 1966, in an attempt to obtain additional information about Sgt. Taylor. The following information has been compiled from the responses of a number of personnel. We do not claim 100% accuracy of detail - but the information which has been provided should be sufficient to close this particular situation.

Sgt. Bob Taylor was on the station "unaccompanied". This was not unusual in those days when a shorter "unaccompanied" posting was an option. His wife had made at least one visit to the unit. Prior to his disappearance he often went on hikes in the woods, even in the depths of a "Baldy" winter. He would take his car (a Volkswagen Beetle) on a side road and then go into the bush on snow shoes as part of his routine When he disappeared it was immediately rumored that he had set the stage with his hikes and that his disappearance was deliberate.

On the day of his disappearance, Sgt. Taylor left his car on a side road not far from the base and walked into the woods. The search party was able to track him for about a mile or so. It appeared as if he walked in a circle and came out on the road again not too far from his car. The tracks disappeared some distance from his car. There was a lot of logging truck activity in the area so obliterating tracks on a road was to be expected. It was rumored that he must have had help and it appears that everything must have been planned because after he came out of the woods, he walked to the main road to Prince George, caught one of the logging trucks into Prince George and then he hitchhiked to Vancouver.

He was eventually caught by the authorities as he attempted to cross into the United States at a border crossing in the Vancouver area.

Detail from this point is quite speculative. Some sources indicated he was processed with a number of tests while others indicated he was never charged for being AWOL – and he was eventually released from the military.

Should you feel that any of this information is not correct – please advise by email message and we will amend the detail accordingly.