Grumman Hellcat FN394 crash near Newtowncrommelin, Co. Antrim

22nd April 2017

Grumman Hellcat FN394 came down on a training exercise as 22 year old pilot Lieutenant Hugh Greenville Knowles flew over high ground in rural Co. Antrim.

On 22nd April 1944, Grumman Hellcat FN394 crashed into high ground at Skerry West, north-west of Newtowncrommelin, Co. Antrim.

Pilot Lieutenant Hugh Greenville Knowles flew with the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm 1847 Squadron based at RNAS Eglinton, Derry, Co. Londonderry at the time. Hellcat FN394 was on a daytime, low flying training exercise in low cloud.

Knowles was the 4th pilot of 1847 Squadron killed while training in Northern Ireland. The squadron had formed in January 1944 at RNAS Eglinton, Derry, Co. Londonderry. The initial squadron was 4 British pilots and 8 Dutch pilots. In only 4 months, a third of those men had died in aviation training accidents. Following the death of Lieutenant Knowles, the Royal Navy decided to absorb the squadron into 1840 Squadron on 20th May 1944.

Hugh Greenville Knowles was 22 years old from Claygate, Surrey. Rescuers took him to Waveney Hospital, Ballymena, Co. Antrim but he succumbed to wounds received in the accident before treatment. His grave is in St. Canice’s Church of Ireland, Faughanvale, Co. Londonderry.

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