Sergeant John Steen Campbell (1081343) served in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve during World War Two. He was a navigator on board Vickers Wellington HX737, which crashed in Falcarragh, Co. Donegal.
He was the son of Samuel Campbell and Eleanor Campbell of Belfast, Co. Antrim. He was the husband of Emma Campbell, also of Belfast, Co. Antrim. Campbell died on 28th February 1943 aged 34 years old.
Before joining 7 (C) OTU at RAF Limavady, Co. Londonderry, John Steen Campbell undertook navigation training in South Africa.
Vickers Wellington HX737
Early on Sunday 28th February 1943, mass goers in Falcarragh, Co. Donegal heard a plane circling overhead. Later reports suggest the plane came down in turf banks at Meenderry near the town of Falcarragh.
Vickers Wellington VIII HX737 of 7 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit crashed at around 0915hrs. The impact destroyed the plane and killed all six of the crew. The 17th Infantry Battalion recovered four bodies on the day of the crash and the remaining two the following day.
The crash caused the plane’s Pegasus engines to submerge in the boggy land. Other wreckage lay strewn across the fields. The army collected four Browning machine guns, two Vickers K machine guns, and around 200 rounds of damaged ammunition. In all, a truck removed around 2 tons of scrap. The rest of the wreckage remains buried at the crash site.
Remembering John Steen Campbell
As well as John Steen Campbell, the crash of HX737 took the lives of:
- Pilot Sergeant Leonard Ashby Court.
- Pilot Sergeant John D’Arcy Wall.
- Wireless Operator / Air Gunner Sergeant Ronald William Gutteridge.
- Wireless Operator / Air Gunner Sergeant James Gilmore.
- Wireless Operator / Air Gunner Sergeant Geoffrey James Scott-Farthing.
John Steen Campbell’s grave is in Section R, Grave 155 of Carnmoney Church of the Holy Evangelists Cemetery, Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim.