Douglas A-20K Havoc #44-184 crash near Aughnacloy, Co. Tyrone

On 1st July 1945, a solo American pilot, First Lieutenant Fred Anthony Barton fatally crashed his A-20K Havoc into a hillside near Aughnacloy, Co. Tyrone.

On 1st July 1945 Douglas A-20K Havoc #44-184 crashed into a hillside in the townland of Eskra near Aughnacloy, Co. Tyrone. At the controls was First Lieutenant Fred Anthony Barton, a test pilot based at Langford Lodge Airfield, Co. Antrim.

The 21-year-old had completed 35 missions before undertaking his final assignment at U.S.A.A.F. Station 597. He was the only occupant of the plane on that fateful July afternoon.

Sergeant L. Johnston, Aughnacloy, who visited the scene, found blood-sodden handkerchiefs bearing the name Barton. Local people heard the explosion but no one saw the crash, and a huge crater on the hillside leads to the belief that the machine crashed into it. It is understood that Barton was on the eve of departure from Northern Ireland and had taken the plane up for a last flight.

Parts of the exploded plane covered a distance of half a square mile. Sergeant L. Johnston of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Aughnacloy, Co. Tyrone received assistance at the scene from Dr. Pringle from the village, and National Fire Service units from Portadown, Co. Armagh.

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