Otter number 57 was delivered to the RCAF on 26 November 1954 with serial 3690. It was delivered initially to 6 Repair Depot at Trenton where it was retained as a reserve aircraft. It went back to DHC in January 1956 for incorporation of AUW modifications and on completion of this work in June 1956 was assigned to 102 Communications & Rescue Flight at Trenton, Ontario. It remained with the Unit until October 1960 when it returned to DHC for an inspection and was then again entrusted to 6 Repair Depot Trenton as a reserve aircraft.
On 4 May 1961 the Otter took off from Trenton en route to its next assignment at Winnipeg, in the hands of a crew from 129 Acceptance and Ferry Flight, a ferry unit attached to 6RD. 3690 had just levelled off at 1,500 feet some seven miles north-west of Trenton when the engine began to run rough, backfire and spray oil over the windshield. The RPM dropped to 1,400 and altitude could not be maintained. The aircraft came down near the Stockdale Road west of Batawa, force landing on high ground in a stony and rough sod field. The Otter’s undercarriage was extensively damaged and the crew returned to Trenton by a helicopter from 4 OTU. Examination revealed that the number one cylinder exhaust push rod failed. The Otter was taken by road to DHC at Downsview for repair.
On completion of the repairs, in January 1962 3690 was assigned to Air Force Headquarters Piston Training Flight at Rockcliffe, before being returned to 6 RD on 5 February 1963 and put into storage. In March 1963 it was one of five Otters removed from storage, re-activated and sent to DHC at Downsview for packaging and shipment to India, having been donated by the Canadian government to India. On arrival in India the Otter joined the Indian Air Force and was allocated serial BM-1002, and assigned to 41 Squadron based at Adampur.
On 19 August 1965 during a period of hostilities between India and Pakistan BM-1002 was on a supply mission to the airfield at Poonch in the Jammu District and crashed on the landing ground. Over the years, the damaged Otter was stored by the Indian Army, until 2004 when it was shipped to Ambala where 41 R&SU restored it to displayable status, and it was transported back to Poonch, where it is currently on display in the Poonch War Memorial Park just outside the airfield. In the course of the reconstruction the former Canadian serial was encountered and the Otter is now marked as “690B”. As one commentator explains: “It is most likely that the Indian Army team discovered the 690 number and the ‘Rescue’ label after the original olive green paint on the fuselage faded off. Not being fully versed with Indian Air Force numbering and paint schemes, they must have adopted it as the Indian scheme and decades later when the Indian Air Force took up the job of restoring it at Ambala they went with whatever the Army had used, thus giving us the first case of an Indian aircraft being displayed with an RCAF partial serial painted on”.
A plaque beside the Otter gives some information: “Number 690B was extensively tasked to undertake missions to otherwise unapproachable far-flung areas in Jammu and Kashmir. It was used to land at the semi-prepared airstrip at Poonch and other advanced landing grounds. The kind of missions that were entrusted to it were mainly casualty evacuation from bases located amidst inhospitable terrain and in the line of enemy fire. The squadron flew a total of 25 casualty evacuations from Poonch. On 19 August 1965 during one of the missions, the aircraft flown by P/O Prakash came under heavy fire from the Pakistani forward line of troops and it caused heavy damage to the airframe, notwithstanding that P/O Prakash managed to control the aircraft and carry out a forced landing at Poonch.
Full history up to 2005 courtesy of Karl E Hayes © from DHC-3 Otter - A History (CD-ROM 2005), now with added and updated information which Karl has supplied for the benefit of the website.