B-26C Marauder 41-34707 of the 455th Bombardment Squadron, 323rd Bombardment Group. Crashed on Beinn na Feusaige in Glen Carron on the 3rd June 1943
|Merrit E. Young||1st Lieutenant||Pilot||Killed|
|Robert A. Anderson||2nd Lieutenant||Bomb Aimer||Killed|
|Vincent Bravo||Staff Sergeant||Flight Engineer||Killed|
|Marshall R. Miller||Staff Sergeant||Radio Operator||Killed|
|Lewis M. Cross||Master Sergeant||Gunner||Killed|
During early June 1943 the USAAF ferried a large number of B-26 Marauder aircraft from the US to Europe. While many of the larger aircraft flew alone the B-26s made the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in loose formations.
The 323rd Bombardment Group had been formed in the US in 1942 and received new B-26Cs in early 1943 in preparation for their deployment to the UK. The Group began to deploy in April 1943 with their ground personnel travelling by sea. The aircraft were ferried by their crews later, with some of the Squadrons which made up the 323rd flying via the Southern ferry route via the West Indies, Brazil, West & North Africa and finally Cornwall. The remainder flew via the Northern ferry route crossing from Canada to Iceland and then onwards to Scotland. During the crossing a number of aircraft were lost, with two being in the UK.
One of those groups, from the 455th Bombardment Squadron, had departed Canada in early June 1943 and made their intermediate stop at Meeks Field in Iceland. On the 3rd June the crew of 41-34707 along with a number of other crews were cleared to fly from Meeks Field to Prestwick, using a radio beacon at Stornoway as a course change point.
They departed Meeks Field at 05:50 (GMT) and the formation climbed to 9,000ft with the lead aircraft reporting at half hourly intervals. At 08:15 they received a weather report from Prestwick and just over half an hour later broadcast that their ETA over Stornoway would be 09:11 and that the flight was now between 7 and 9,000ft to stay clear of cloud.
At 09:05 the flight leader reported that their aircraft was over Stornoway and advised the other aircraft to remain above cloud while they descended through the cloud to establish how high the cloud base was. Heading south east along the radio beam they broke through cloud at 4,000ft before turning back towards Stornoway.
The other crews were then advised to descend from overhead Stornoway using the same procedure and to reform as a group below the cloud, which in places turned out to be as low as 1,000ft. By 09:20 all but two of the aircraft had rejoined the formation, the flight continued to circle until 10:13 when they contacted Stornoway to state that the flight would continue to Prestwick without 41-34707. They landed at Prestwick at 11:44 having followed the coast south to the Mull of Kintyre before heading across the Firth of Clyde.
After being instructed to begin descending through cloud the crew of 41-34707 had flown in a south easterly direction away from Stornoway but had continued in that direction for too long while continuing to descend. They had flown for about 15 minutes and nearly 65 miles away from the beacon when the aircraft struck the north western flank of Beinn na Fuesaige in Glen Carron to the south west of Achnasheen, at 1,900ft a short way below the summit and at about 200mph. The aircraft had then broken apart and been destroyed by fire. At the time the hill was obscured by patchy low cloud so there were no eye witnesses, though the crash was clearly heard by local residents who quickly made their way up to the crash site, and as members of the Home Guard also acted a guard until they were relieved.