Stinson Reliant FK914 crash on Sawel Mountain, Co. Londonderry

5th January 2016

On 5th January 1944, Stinson Reliant FK914 took off from RNAS Eglinton in Co. Londonderry before coming down on the north-eastern slope of Sawel Mountain.

The Stinson Reliant AT-19 was a product of America built for the British during World War Two. It was the last model to feature the distinctive Gullwing design that dated back to 1936.

This military version of what started as a commercial plane served with the USAAF and US Navy before the war. By the time America entered the conflict in 1941, commercial production had ceased. Five hundred more were produced for the Royal Navy between 1942-1943. These were a modified, more powerful plane designated UC-19.

An American Stinson Reliant

Imperial War Museum Photo: A 19269 (Part of the Admiralty Official Collection). An American Stinson Reliant. This plane was used by the Fleet Air Arm for training observers at Lee-on-Solent Fleet Air Arm Station. Photo taken by Lieutenant EA Zimmerman - Royal Navy Official Photographer.

Stinson Reliant crashes in The Sperrins

Alan Albert Pollock, Alan Frederick Orchard, and John Bernard Johnson were killed when their Stinson Reliant crashed in Northern Ireland.

The plane belonged to Eglinton Station Flight and the men were from 878 Squadron. The three men served at HMS Landrail.

Stinson Reliant FK914 took off from Royal Navy Air Station Eglinton on 5th January 1944. In bad weather, the plane struck the north-east of Sawel Mountain in the Sperrins in Co. Londonderry.

With the bad weather came deep snow drifts in the mountains. Because of this, bodies from the accident were not recovered for several weeks on 29th January 1944.

Sub-Lieutenant Alan Albert Pollock, Sub-Lieutenant Alan Frederick Orchard, and Sub-Lieutenant John Bernard Johnson’s graves are in St. Canice’s Church of Ireland Churchyard, Faughanvale, Co. Londonderry.

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