Liberator Mk.II AL624 of No.1653 Heavy Conversion Unit, RAF, crashed on Drigmorn Hill near Newton Stewart on the 14th September 1942

Consolidated B-24 Liberator at the RAF Museum


Ivan Harold Betts Pilot Officer Pilot Killed
Derek Eaton Warner Sergeant Co-pilot Killed
John Churley Freestone Sergeant Observer Killed
George Douglas Calder Sergeant RAAF Wireless Operator / Air Gunner Killed
Geoffrey Crisp Boar Sergeant Wireless Operator / Air gunner Killed
Victor Frederick Talley Sergeant Air Gunner Killed
John Edwin Charles Averell Steele-Nicholson Sergeant Air Gunner Killed
James Bowrey Sergeant Air Gunner Killed


The aircraft was stationed at RAF Burn in Yorkshire, its crew were briefed, along with 3 other crews (those of Liberators AL597, AL625 & AL635) to carry out a cross country navigation exercise. They took off from Burn at 11:00, and while part way through the flight at 12:19 they were provided with a QDM by Silloth (this was 132o) for the navigator to check their position. After this there was no further communication with the crew by any airfield. At around this time the weather was reported by the other crews who completed the exercise to be 6/10th cloud with the base being 400ft but the high ground was covered by 10/10th cloud.

When the aircraft failed to return to Burn or land at another station it was reported missing a search was initiated, the wreck was later found by a shepherd on Drigmorn Hill, the southern end of Millfore, near Newton Stewart. The RAF investigator concluded that the aircraft had first struck the hill with its port wing at cruising speed, slewed round and broken up before catching fire. It was thought that due to the cloud cover a turn was made on ETA and while subsequently letting down through the cloud cover the aircraft had flown into the mountain.

Wreckage at the crash site of Consolidated Liberator AL624 on Drigmorn Hill, near Newton Stewart
The wreckage from the aircraft is in two distinct collections, the one shown here, and another a short distance away round the hill.
Aircraft wreckage in a small stream on Drigmorn Hill near Newton Stewart
Above is the second collection of wreckage, which at times has a small stream flowing through it.


Five of the crew were buried at Kirkinner Cemetery near to the former RAF station at Wigtown, below are their graves.

Grave of Pilot Officer Ivan Harold Betts at Kirkinner Cemetery, Wigtown
Pilot Officer Betts, Pilot.
Grave of John Churley Freestone at Kirkinner Cemetery, Wigtown
Sergeant Freestone, Observer.
Grave of Sergeant George Douglas Calder at Kirkinner Cemetery, Wigtown
Sergeant Calder RAAF, Wireless Operator / Air Gunner.
Grave of Sergeant Victor Frederick Talley at Kirkinner Cemetery, Wigtown
Sergeant Talley, Air Gunner.
Grave of Sergeant John Edwin Charles Averell Steele-Nicholson at Kirkinner Cemetery, Wigtown
Sergeant Steele-Nicholson, Air Gunner.


The remainder were buried elsewhere in the UK

Grave of Sergeant Geoffrey Crisp Boar at Ipswich Old Cemetery, Suffolk
Sergeant Boar was buried at Ipswich Old Cemetery.
Image Copyright: Richard Batley