Martin B-26 Marauder 41-17990 crash at Toome, Co. Antrim

On 28th March 1944, USAAF Marauder 41-17990 - "Chickasaw Chief II" crash landed during a failed take-off from Toome Airfield, Toomebridge, Co. Antrim.

On 28th March 1944, Martin B-26B Marauder 41-17990 crashed during takeoff from Runway 4/22 at Toome, Co. Antrim. The crash site is now home to the Macrete Ireland Ltd. concrete production plant near the Moyola River.

The crew named the plane “Chickasaw Chief II”. The words are visible on the nose of the craft even with the damage caused by the crash. The pilot of 28th March 1944 was Fayden D Watson, a 28-year-old from Oklahoma, USA. He was an experienced pilot, having enlisted in the United States Air Corps in 1941.

Martin B-26 Marauder

Martin B-26 Marauder 41-17990, known as the "Chickasaw Chief II" crashed on takeoff at Toome Airfield, Toomebridge, Co. Antrim on 28th March 1944. Photo from US Forces in Northern Ireland (Flickr). Copyright unknown.

Marauders were difficult to handle in take-off and landing. Many referred to them as “Widow Makers”. The real cause may have been down to inexperienced pilots and ground crews. However, the B26’s poor reputation stuck.

Authorities declared “Chickasaw Chief II” written off, damaged beyond repair. This was the first B-26 to suffer this fate with No. 3 Combat Crew Replacement Center at USAAF Station 236 at the Toome Airfield, Co. Antrim. A further 12 would come to similar ends before the end of the Second World War.