Armstrong Whitworth Whitley P5041 YG-C took off from RAF Aldergrove, Co. Antrim on 23rd January 1941 at 1222hrs. The crew from RAF 502 (Ulster) Squadron was to provide cover for Convoy HG50 sailing from Gibraltar to Liverpool. They met with the convoy and maintained escorting duties for three hours.
On their return journey, they veered off course, disorientated in poor weather. Traveling too far east, the Whitley bomber crashed into the steep rising ground of the Mull of Kintyre. All five of Whitley P5041’s aircrew died in the incident.
The crash site lies 200 metres above an abandoned township called Balmavicar on the Mull of Kintyre. A scar in the earth is still visible next to a stream that runs downhill to where burnt out fragments of the plane lie. Nearby are parts of the undercarriage.
Eleven military aviation crashes occurred on this part of the Mull of Kintyre since 1941. There have been 67 fatalities, including 23 who died in the Chinook helicopter crash of 2nd June 1994.
Casualties on Whitley P5041
The following men died on board Armstrong Whitworth Whitley P5041 on 23rd January 1943.
|Last Name||First Name(s)||Rank||Role|
|Billing||Philip Leslie||Flight Lieutenant||Pilot|
|Holmes||Arthur Peter Buckley||Flying Officer||Navigator|
|Bradley||David John Peter||Sergeant||Wireless Operator|
Philip Leslie Billing
Flight Lieutenant • 39297
Flight Lieutenant Philip Leslie Billing served with RAF 502 (Ulster) Squadron. Although serving with the Ulster Squadron, Billing was born in Worth, Kent.
Arthur Peter Buckley Holmes
Flying Officer • 90038
Flying Officer Arthur Peter Buckley Holmes was a navigator in RAF 502 (Ulster) Squadron. He had joined 502 Squadron in 1935 and was killed in January 1941.
RAF Aldergrove, Crumlin, Co. Antrim
RAF Aldergrove is now an RAF Joint Helicopter Command Flying Station next to Belfast International Airport. It was RAF Aldergrove between 1918 and 2009.