Fairey Fulmar BP821 crash at Kirkistown, Co. Down

24th November 2017

Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm 887 Squadron found themselves at RAF Kirkistown, Co. Down in 1942 and experienced their first fatalities on Fairey Fulmar BP821.

On 24th November 1942, Fairey Fulmar BP821 lost control and came down near RAF Kirkistown, Co. Down. The Fulmar was part of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm 887 Squadron, formed at HMS Daedalus in 1942.

Fleet Air Arm 887 Squadron had been in Northern Ireland since 15th October 1942 based for only 4 days at RNAS Belfast. On 19th October 1942, the squadron moved to RAF Ballyhalbert, Co. Down and from 4th November 1942, they flew from a satellite station at RAF Kirkistown, Co. Down.

Fairey Fulmar

Imperial War Museum Photo: IWM (MH 4673) (Part of the RS Punnett Collection). A Mark I Fariey Fulmar on the ground in front of a hangar at a Royal Naval Air Station in the United Kingdom. Copyright Unknown.

The pilot of Fairey Fulmar BP821 lost control of the plane after coming out of a steep turn while flying at a low level. Sub-Lieutenant William Foster aged 22 years old and Sub-Lieutenant John Richard Mathers aged 21 years old died in the incident. These were the first fatalities experienced by 887 Squadron during World War Two.

Both men of the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve were from Kent. Their final resting place is Belfast City Cemetery, Belfast, Co. Antrim. Commonwealth War Graves Commission records indicate that Sub-Lieutenant Foster died on the day of the crash while Sub-Lieutenant Mathers died the following day.

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