de Havilland Moqsuito Mk.IV DZ642 / AZ-H of No.627 Sqn crash on Royl Field in the Clift Hills on Shetland on the 22nd November 1944
|John Alexander Reid||Flight Lieutenant||Pilot||Killed|
|Wesley Douglas Irwin||Flying Officer RCAF||Navigator||Killed|
On the 22nd November 1944 nine aircraft from No.627 Squadron were tasked to take part in an attack on U-Boat pens at Trondheim, though 2 were cancelled and 1 landed on the outward leg at Montrose with fuel related problems. Their role was to drop target markers for main force aircraft to aim their bombs on.
The seven aircraft took off from No.627 Sqn’s home station at Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire and flew initially to RAF Lossiemouth where they were refuelled before taking off again for Trondheim. The aircraft which took part in the raid were to return to RAF Peterhead where they would again refuel before flying back to Woodhall Spa. Upon arrival in the Trondheim area the U-Boat pens were found to be obscured by a dense smoke screen, only one aircraft dropped any flares and the raid was called off by the Master Bomber. Two of the aircraft jettisoned their target markers before making the return journey to Peterhead, while two returned with their full load.
The crew of DZ642 were heard by the other aircraft calling for assistance from the Shetland islands while being low on fuel. They were given a course to steer for Scatsta, close to Sullom Voe, and at one point were brought within sight of the Sandra lights at Sumburgh. At that point they were warned of high ground in the area after which point nothing further was heard from the crew. The aircraft was presumed to have been lost at sea after flying away from Sumburgh, but it was found on the western side of Royl Field on the 6th December 1944 having flown into the high ground.
The two crew were returned to their families for burial, F/O Irwin, while a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force, had married while in the UK and so was buried at the City of London Cemetery at Manor Park in East London.