When Planes Fell Around Donegal Bay
While out on a cruise on The Donegal Bay Waterbus recently the crew got to talking about the picture below of a Sherman Tank on the seabed near Malin Head and soon the conversation turned to other World War II equipment that could be laying on the seabed.
From shipwrecks the conversation turned to plane crashes during WWII and after a little research I discovered that there were approximately 162 wartime crashes or forced landings in southern Ireland. Listed here are those that happened on or near Donegal Bay.
24 January 1941, 17.00 hours, Lockheed Hudson reconnaissance bomber, RAF 233 Squadron, forced to land at Skreen, Co. Sligo (out of fuel). Repaired and flown to Baldonnell at 19.15 hours,26 March 1941. Four survivors, two missing. Two carrier pigeons taken into custody and sent to the Curragh!
21 March 1941, Catalina flying boat, 240 Squadron, Castle Archdale, crashed on the mountain near Glenade, Co. Leitrim. Nine dead, no survivors. The plane was completely wrecked.
30 April 1941, plane based at Limavady crashed at Askill, on Ballyshannon to Garrison road, Co. Donegal. Crew baled out safely.
21 July 1941, 19.00 hours, British Lockheed Hudson forced to land on Tragh Bui, Ballyconnell, Co. Sligo. Took off at 13.40 hours for Limavady. No casualties.
17 November 1942, 16.25 hours, Catalina flying boat en route from Bermuda to Scotland forced to land on Lough Gill, Co. Sligo. Crew of six unhurt. Refuelled and took off at 16.35 hours, 19 November 1942.
10 May 1943, 09.00 hours, B-17 Flying Fortress, 524th Bomb Squadron, en route from Gander, Newfoundland, to Prestwick, Scotland, forced to land (out of fuel) at Tullan Strand, Finner, Co. Donegal. Crew of ten unhurt. Aircraft dismantled and conveyed to Northern Ireland on low-loader.
9 December 1943, 17.19 hours, B-25 Flying Fortess, en route from Goose Bay, Canada, to Prestwick, crashed on Truskmore Mountain, Ballintrillick, Co. Sligo. Three dead, seven injured; plane a total wreck.
23 January 1944, 18.40 hours, British Halifax bomber struck cliff at Fairy Bridges, Bundoran, Co. Donegal. Completely wrecked; six bodies recovered, four washed out to sea.
31 January 1944, 23.30 hours, Sunderland flying boat DW 110, 228 Squadron, Castle Archdale, crashed at Bluestack Mountains near Brockagh, Co. Donegal. Seven killed, five injured.
20 February 1944, 18.10 hours, B-17 Flying Fortress forced to land (out of fuel) on Fintragh Strand, Killybegs, Co. Donegal. Plane submerged at high tide, becoming a total loss; ten injured.
5 May 1944, 09.15 hours, B24 US Liberator forced to land (out of fuel) at Carradreshy, Foxford, Co. Mayo. Crew of ten uninjured. Partially salvaged and handed over to RAF, Northern Ireland, on 1 June 1944.
19 June 1944, 22.50 hours, American Flying Fortress bomber forced down (engine failure) on the land of Hamilton Black, Sheegus, north-west of Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal. Two killed, seven injured, one unscathed. Plane badly damaged; handed over to US forces in Northern Ireland.
12 August 1944, 11.55 hours, British Sunderland, Squadron RCAF 422, Castle Archdale, crashed (engine failure) on Breesy Mountain near Belleek, Co. Fermanagh. Three killed out of crew of twelve. Surviving three engines and rear turret handed over to RAF in Northern Ireland.
4 September 1944, 21.00 hours, British Swordfish torpedo and reconnaissance biplane forced to land at Carrowcastle, Skreen, Co. Sligo. No injuries. Stephen Foley’s hen house destroyed, thirty chickens killed and half an acre of cabbage ruined! Plane dismantled and handed over to RAF in Northern Ireland, 10 September 1944.
17 December 1944, 16.20 hours, British Martinet, Squadron 131, forced to land on Classiebawn estate, Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo. No injuries. Wreckage salvaged and transferred to RAF in Northern Ireland by low-loader, 21 December 1944.
14 March 1945, 02.30 hours, British Sunderland, 201 Squadron, crashed on Fintragh Mountain, Clane, Killybegs. Crew of twelve killed; plane completely wrecked.
9 February 1945, 16.30 hours, British Halifax bomber forced to land in sea one mile east of Mullaghmore Head, Co. Sligo. Four survived, two drowned; one body recovered at Rossnowlagh and one at Mountcharles, Co. Donegal. Privates Herrity and Gilmartin of Mullaghmore commended on prompt reporting to Killybegs lifeboat, resulting in rescue of survivors.
Some of the sites listed above have had memorials erected on them in recent years here are just a three of them.
- Seumas MacManus – Many a man’s tongue broke his nose
- A Ghostly Tale – Donegal