Fairey Firefly F.R. Mk.I DT977 / 4A of No.1770 Sqn, Royal Navy, crashed on Blaeloch Hill on the 26th October 1944

Fairey Firefly Mk.I at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, RNAS Yeovilton


James Henry Fairclough Sub-Lieutenant Pilot Killed
Anthony John King Sub-Lieutenant Observer Killed


During the morning of the 26th October 1944 the Sub Lts Fairclough and King were on a radio navigation training exercise from RNAS Ayr (HMS Wagtail) before embarking on HMS Indefatigable when their aircraft struck the eastern side of 1,300ft high Blaeloch Hill, which is to the east of Fairlie in North Ayrshire, a short way below the summit and completely disintegrated.

The aircraft was presumed to have been lost in the Firth of Clyde due to their exercise area being around Ailsa Craig and it was not until nearly three weeks after the crash that the remains of the aircraft and its two crew were discovered on Blaeloch Hill.

Rolls Royce Griffon engine from Fairey Firefly DT977 on Blaeloch Hill near Largs
Lying in a ditch to the west of the main site is the aircraft Rolls Royce Griffon engine.
Wreckage at the crash site of Fairey Firefly DT977 on Blaeloch Hill, Largs, Ayrshire
The main site is marked by a crater on the side of the hill, this contains many very badly damaged parts from the aircraft.
Section of wing structure from Fairey Firefly DT977 on Blaeloch Hill, Largs, Ayrshire
One of the largest parts is the remains of one of the wings, the other is also present but is broken into several pieces.
Undercarriage from Fairey Firefly DT977
Close by is one of the main undercarriage legs.
Propeller hub from Fairey Firefly DT977 on Blaeloch Hill
This photograph shows the propeller hub, this aircraft had a three bladed wooden propeller rather than the later four bladed type.
The piece to the right is part of the mechanism from within the wings for lowering and raising the flaps.
Panel at the crash site bearing the serial number DT977
In the main crater is one panel which still carries the aircraft’s serial umber stencilled on it.
Overview of the crash site of Fairey Firefly DT977 on Blaeloch Hill near Largs
Looking SW across the site from the opposite hilltop, with the crater clearly visible, the engine lies to the right and is only just visible as two dots.
In the background are some of the hills on the Isle of Arran.
Sub Lieutenant James Henry Fairclough's grave at Ringley St Saviour churchyard, Greater Manchester
Sub Lieutenant Fairclough was buried at Ringley St Saviour churchyard near Bolton, his Observer is buried in Cambridgeshire.
Sub Lieutenant Anthony John King's grave at Chesterton St Andrews church in Cambridge
Sub Lieutenant King is buried at Chesterton (St Andrew) churchyard in Cambridge, above is his headstone.