On 4th September 1943, Cessna UC-78 Bobcat 42-58314 crashed at Carntogher near Maghera, Co. Londonderry. There were no survivors. On board the plane were Commodore James Alexander Logan, Commander of the United States Navy in Northern Ireland, and Captain Loren Lee Miles of 8th United States Army Air Force.
A high-profile passenger on the craft was David Grimes. He was a civilian and early pioneer of radio technology who had an involvement in the development of radar. He was Vice President of the Philco Radio Company at the time of the fatal crash.
The 3 men were bound for London, England for a meeting with General Dwight D Eisenhower. Grimes worked closely with the United States forces and this meeting would have been part of the preparations for D-Day.
The Final Journey
The Bobcat took off from RNAS Eglinton, Co. Londonderry at around 1435hrs on 4th September 1943, piloted by Captain Miles. It never arrived at its destination in London, England and around 4 hours after the planned arrival time, an investigation began. Locals discovered the crash site the following day at around 1800hrs. They notified the United States Army who attended the scene and notified Acting Navy Commandant Commander John E Williams. A recovery team removed the bodies to the United States Naval Hospital, Creevagh, Co. Londonderry.
A funeral service took place with full military honours on 8th September 1943. Government officials from Northern Ireland, Great Britain, the United States of America and Canada attended. The 3 men were first buried at Brookwood Cemetery, Surrey on 10th September 1943.
A memorial to those on board stands on the Carntogher Way – Old Coach Road off Tirkane Road, Maghera, Co. Londonderry. The family of James Alexander Logan erected the memorial on 4th September 2003.