Hawker Hurricane Mk.IV LD594 of No.439 Squadron, crashed near to Loch Doon on the 18th March 1944

Hawker Hurricane


Roswell Murray MacTavish Flying Officer RCAF Pilot Killed


The story of this aircraft is virtually the same as Typhoon JR439 of No.440 Sqn which crashed within a few minutes of LD594. On the 18th March the two Royal Canadian Air Force Squadrons were transferring their aircraft from RAF Ayr to RAF Hurn, at the time No.439 Sqn had a mixed fleet of Typhoons and Hurricanes. 7 Typhoons set out for their re-fuelling stop at RAF Woodvale at 10:10 with 11 Hurricanes following on 10 minutes later. Of these 9 arrived Woodvale, one aircraft landed at Walney Island and after a short while continued to Woodvale, the 11th aircraft however was missing and had been from only 7 minutes into the journey. While the flight was climbing through various layers of clouds over southern Ayrshire and at a height of about 3,300ft F/O MacTavish’s aircraft was seen by other pilots to enter a dive and disappear into the clouds.

It was the following day before the crash site had been located and reported to the RAF, who despatched a search team from No.5 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit at RAF Turnberry. They confirmed that the site was indeed that of the missing Hurricane and F/O MacTavish had been killed in the crash. The aircraft had dived into the lower slopes of Meaul in the Rhinns of Kells a short distance to the south east of Loch Doon.

Pilot Officer MacTavish's grave at Ayr Cemetery
Flying Officer MacTavish was buried along side P/O Mitchell, pilot of Typhoon JR439, at Ayr Cemetery.
Crash site of Hawker Hurricane Mk.IV LD594 in the forest near Loch Doon
The crash site lies in what is presently a forestry plantation with a large collection of wreckage surrounding a crater which has been excavated over the years.
Excavated crater at the crash site of Hawker Hurricane Mk.IV LD594 near Loch Doon
The larger parts around the crater are sections of the wing spars and sheets of armour plating
Wing spar from Hurricane LD594
One of the sections of spar which is still present.
Rolls Royce Merlin from Hawker Hurricane Mk.IV LD594 near Loch Doon
A short distance away is the aircraft’s smashed Rolls Royce Merlin engine.