B-24H Liberator 42-95095 of the 66th BS / 44th BG, 8th USAAF, crashed at Sidhean Mor, near Gairloch 13th June 1945
|Jack B. Ketchum||1st Lieutenant||Pilot||Killed|
|Jack H. Spencer||1st Lieutenant||Co-pilot||Killed|
|Richard J. Robak||2nd Lieutenant||Navigator||Killed|
|Hillburn L. Cheek||Technical Sergeant||Engineer||Killed|
|James C. Stammer||Technical Sergeant||Radio Operator||Killed|
|Eldon J. Gilles||Staff Sergeant||Gunner||Killed|
|Albert L. Natkin||Staff Sergeant||Gunner||Killed|
|Raymond E. Davis||Staff Sergeant||Gunner||Killed|
|Herman Riefen||Staff Sergeant||Air gunner||Killed|
|John B. Ellis Jnr||Staff Sergeant||Passenger||Killed|
|James D. Harvey||Staff Sergeant||Passenger||Killed|
|Alexander W. Hastings||Staff Sergeant||Passenger||Killed|
|Emil Einarsen||Staff Sergeant||Passenger||Killed|
|John H. Hallissey||Staff Sergeant||Passenger||Killed|
|Robert J. Francis||Staff Sergeant||Passenger||Killed|
Throughout the summer of 1945 the USAAF was re-positioning personnel, either for demobilisation in the USA or to the Pacific for the continuing war against Japan. Many aircrew were returned to the US by air, either in aircraft which were destined for the Pacific or ones which were simply being used as a ferry aircraft before being put into storage for eventual disposal.
One of these flights was being made with a B-24H of the 44th Bombardment Group, it had been flown to BAD2 at Warton and then on to Prestwick. It was to fly from Prestwick to Meeks Field at Keflavik in Iceland before its final leg across the North Atlantic to the USA. It took off from Prestwick under instrument flying conditions at about 14:00 on the 13th June and flew northwards, its planned route taking the aircraft via the Isle of Skye to overhead Stornaway before heading out over the Atlantic to Iceland.
As it approached the NW coast near Gairloch the aircraft was in serious difficulties, rapidly descending through the clouds in a gentle turn to port. At 15:25 the B-24 crashed killing all onboard and was completely destroyed by fire. The crash site is at least 25 miles to the East of the intended track from Prestwick to Stornaway but is only a few miles off the direct track.
While the accident investigators were not able to make any firm conclusions they suggested the most likely reason for the crash was an uncontrollable engine fire as parts had come off the aircraft before impact and they showed signs of fire damage. The reported surmised that after being unable to extinguish the fire the crew were trying to crash land before the aircraft broke apart but struck the rocky ground surrounding Sidhean Mor and the ‘Fairy Lochans’ while still in cloud and exploded.
Of the crew and passengers Eight were repatriated in the late 1940s while Seven were buried at the Cambridge American Military Cemetery.