Hawker Typhoon Mk.IB JR439 of No.440 Squadron crashed on Dunharberry in Dumfries & Galloway on the 18th March 1944

Hawker Typhoon at the RAF Museum, Hendon


Kenneth Osborne Mitchell Pilot Officer RCAF Pilot Killed


On the 18th March 1944 No.440 and No.439 Squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force were being moved from RAF Ayr to RAF Hurn, Bournemouth, via RAF Woodvale in Lancashire. Together the two Squadrons were flying a mixture of Typhoons and Hurricanes for offensive operations over France in the run up to the D-Day landings. While on the first leg of the flight to Woodvale P/O Mitchell in Typhoon JR439 lost control of the aircraft which dived into the ground close to the then active Dumfries to Stranraer railway line just to the west of the now demolished Little Water of Fleet viaduct and Loch Skerrow. It was however the following day before the wreck was found and confirmed to be that of the missing Typhoon.

At a similar time to this crash a Hurricane Mk.IV of No.439 Squadron, LD594, dived into the ground further north close to Loch Doon.

Grave of Pilot Officer Mitchell at Ayr Cemetery
Pilot Officer Mitchell was buried at Ayr Cemetery, his grave is adjacent to that of the pilot of LD594
Memorial at the crash site of Hawker Typhoon JR439 near Dunharberry
The most prominent feature of the site is this stone cairn with part of the propeller reduction gearing cemented to the top of it. A few years ago a plaque was wired to the cairn commemorating the pilot.
Surrounding the memorial are numerous pieces of the aircraft which had previously been a short distance away at the actual crash site.
Wreckage from Hawker Typhoon JR439, hidden in brambles
The actual crash site, as stated above, is a short distance away in what until not that long ago was a forestry plantation.
Today the remaining parts there are lying in ditches slowly being covered by brambles and grass.
Further wreckage at the crash site from Hawker Typhoon JR439
Some further pieces in one of the ditches within the former forestry plantation.