Friday, 25 January 2019

USAAF B24 Liberator Wreck,Gairloch,Wester Ross...

Blog post from 2011,
On the west coast near Gairloch,is a 1/2 hour walk up to a small hill above the coast named Sidhean Mor, somewhere i have wanted to visit for a long time...


Visiting War Graves is always a moving experience, i have visited a few plane wreck sites but none like this...

Rewind to 1945;

It was the 13th of June. The War in Europe was over, Hitler was dead, Nazi Germany defeated and many Allied forces were now involved in helping starving and homeless people all across Europe.
Many service men and woman who came to Britain to help fight the war in Europe were now being returned to there home countries all around the Commonwealth and America.
For 9 American crew of 66th Bomb Squadron and there B24 H Liberator bomber No- 42-95095 the war was over...

A B24 H Liberator Bomber;


They had flown there missons and had made it... they were going home...
The 9 American crew and 6 USAF passengers of Air Transport Command were flying home to there families and loved ones who were expecting them- telegrams and letters had been sent home...
The Plane left Preswick to fly over Stornoway on the Western Isles on route to Iceland to refuel before crossing the Atlantic to Newfoundland and then across the United States.
It is unknowen why the plane was not out over the sea, flying off course it glanced the top of the Mountain summit of Slioch, A 980m peak overlooking Loch Maree and not far from Kinlochewe...


Bomb doors and other parts were ripped off in the contact and the plane went out of control,
The pilot managed to fly on for a bit and attempted a crash landing but the plane hit a rocky outcrop at the Fairy Lochs killing all on board and scattering the wreckage across the small lochans...

When you walk up here you pass the summit of Sidhean Mor and you look down onto two small lochs...


You don't see anything at first in the heather rocks and water and then as your eyes adjust the wreckage is unbelievable, i walked around here for an hour and then sat for a while and thought about what happened here on that day in 1945 in such a beautiful part of Scotland and the sad loss of young lives,
For this to happen after what these young people had been through is very sad...

Memorial to the 15 buried here...














Wreckage is scattered all around the loch...










Landing gear undercarrage...


Engine Turbo...


Part of an engine and propellor lie in the shallow water of the loch...




Looking down into the shallow loch when the wind dropped the bottom was covered in Aluminium parts shining in the light...




Divers lifted part of an engine onto a rock as a memorial...






The crew and passangers names are listed on the USSAF Memorial Wall in Cambridge, England;

1st/Lt Jack B Ketchum (22), Pilot
1st/Lt J H Spencer (22), Co-Pilot
2nd/Lt R J Robak (20), Navigator
Technical Sgt H L Cheek (21), Engineer
Technical Sgt J C Stammer (23), Radio Op.
Staff Sgt E J Giles (24), Gunner
Staff Sgt A L Natkin (20), Gunner
Staff Sgt R E Davis (26), Gunner
Staff Sgt H Riefen (25), Gunner


Passengers (Air Transport Command):

Staff Sgt J B Ellis Jr. (24), 314th T.C.G.
Staff Sgt J D Harvey (30), 314th T.C.G.
Staff Sgt A W Hastings (23), 314th T.C.G.
Staff Sgt E Einarsen (48), 314th T.C.G.
Staff Sgt J H Hallissey (27), 93rd B.G. (H)
Staff Sgt R J Francis (20), 323rd B.G. (H)

2 comments:

  1. Hi Bruce, I am really enjoying your retrospective posts. Keep up the good work!

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  2. Hi Motorman, Good to here from you, and that your enjoying the old reposts from the blog, got one a week pre posted for February then hopefully be back cycling and new blog posts in March!

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