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Eighty Years Ago Today

On the 20th of April 1942 a Whitley Mk V bomber of number 58 squadron RAF Costal Command took off from St. Eval airfield in Cornwall on a navigational training exercise. Whilst over the Atlantic a message was received at 18:45 saying that they were returning to base due to an engine failure. Because the radio message was corrupted their exact position could not be plotted.

Immediately a sister aircraft was scrambled to assist, however, nothing further was heard from them. The following day ten aircraft commenced a search some 120 miles south of the Fastnet Rock lighthouse but no trace of either aircraft or aircrew could be found, the crew were posted as missing in action.

The crew members were:

Pilot: Sgt. K. L. Mcadam R.N.Z.A.F. age 24

Pilot 2: Flt. Sgt D. O. Newlove R.C.A.F. age 27

Observer: Sgt. A.T. G. Gough R.A.F. Age 28

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: Sgt. P.J. Leary R.A.F.

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: Sgt. R. J. Harwood R.A.F. age 24

Wireless Operator/Air Gunner: Sgt. J McClelland R.A.F. Age 22

Air Gunner: Sgt. P.J. Leary R.A.F. Age 21

Flt. Sgt. Newloves body was recovered from Bantry Bay, Ireland late in May 1942 and his body lay in state at Bantry Bay House before being buried at Abbey cemetery Bantry. No trace of the other crew members was ever found. A plaque was erected at Bantry Bay House in memory of this tragic loss of young airmen.

The pictures of Bantry Bay House and the memorial plaque were taken by Iain Campbell during an Armstrong Siddeley Owners Club visit to Ireland.


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