On Sunday 28th February 1943, many of the residents of Falcarragh, Co. Donegal were on their way to mass. They heard a plane circling overhead. This area was in the "Donegal Corridor", an area of Irish airspace in which Allied planes could operate on the Atlantic coast.
At around 0915hrs, Vickers Wellington HX737 crashed into turf banks at Meenderry near Falcarragh, Co. Donegal. The Mark VIII bomber was from RAF No. 7 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit based at RAF Limavady, Co. Londonderry.
The impact destroyed Vickers Wellington HX737 killing all 6 crew members. Wreckage lay across surrounding fields while the heavy Pegasus engines submerged in the boggy ground.
A rescue and recovery operation by 17th Infantry Battalion found 4 bodies on the day of the crash. The following day saw the recovery of the remaining 2 crew members. The army also collected 4 Browning machine guns, 2 Vickers K machine guns, and around 200 rounds of damaged ammunition. A military truck removed around 2 tons of scrap metal, leaving the rest buried at the crash site.
Remembering the crew of Vickers Wellington HX737
|Last Name||First Name(s)||Rank||Role||Information|
|Court||Leonard Ashby||Sergeant||Pilot||RAFVR 1213640.|
|Wall||John D'Arcy||Sergeant||Pilot||RAFVR 1140108.|
|Campbell||John Steen||Sergeant||Navigator||RAFVR 1081848.|
|Gutteridge||Ronald William||Sergeant||Wireless Operator/Air Gunner||RAFVR 1333994.|
|Gilmore||James||Sergeant||Wireless Operator/Air Gunner||RAFVR 1036700.|
|Farthing||Geoffrey James Scott||Sergeant||Wireless Operator/Air Gunner||RAFVR 1315164.|
John Steen Campbell
Sergeant • 1081343
John Steen Campbell from Belfast, Co. Antrim died on 28th February 1943 on board Vickers Wellington HX737 when it crashed in Falcarragh, Co. Donegal.
Sergeant • 1036700
RAFVR Sergeant James Gilmore from Belfast, Co. Antrim died on 28th February on board Vickers Wellington HX737 when it crashed at Falcarragh, Co. Donegal.