Air Operations over Ireland

Discussion in 'Postwar' started by CROONAERT, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Wandering through my local cemetery again (can't you just tell that we bought a dog recently - haven't visited as much since the kids were babies!!!) came across the grave of a Flying Officer of the RAF who was killed "On Air Operations in Ireland" in June 1950. What "operations" were these?

    Cheers

    Dave
     
  2. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Dave , when up at Ballykelly to take some photos of the Australians buried there I found these gents who died on service at the base in the 1950's and 60's .

    What are the dates of death on the headstone(s) , just an outside chance but in the 50's there can't have been many operational bases left in N.I.

    There are several graves for April 1968 - odds on a flying accident.
    I made a mental note to check the local papers for that date but have not got around to it as yet.

    ( I have a feeling that a call to Ernie Cromie of Ulster Aviation will provide the cause of the mens deaths.)
     

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  3. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    The exact date is June 16th 1950. I thought that it would be an air accident death , but it's the specific use of the wording "Killed On Air Operations in Ireland" on the headstone that aroused my curiosity.

    I'll probably find out exactly what happened when I next visit my local newspaper archive, but just wondered if anyone knew of any operations over Ireland (doesn't specify whether Northern or Republic) at this time.

    Cheers.

    dave.
     
  4. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member Patron

    Date:16-JUN-1950Time:16:30 Type: Handley Page Halifax Operator:Royal Air Force - RAF Registration: RG843C/n / msn: Fatalities: 8 / Occupants 8: Airplane damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair) Location: Isle of Achill ACHILL ISLAND CROAGHAN MOUNTAIN - [​IMG] Ireland Phase: Nature: Survey Departure airport: RAF Aldergrove( BELFAST) Destination airport:RAF Aldergrove (BELFAST)

    Narrative:
    On 16th of June 1950 RAF RG843 departed RAF Aldergrove Belfast northern ireland the handley page halifax plane was to commence a meteorological survey on the west coast of ireland and had completed the survey west of the kerry coast and was returning up along the coast when the weather conditions had deteriorated and there was extreamely thick fog and the and accidently crashed on very high ground on mountain on the west mountain of achill island total RG 843 had entire crew of 8 fatalities of Royal . Air. force 202 squadron crew list

    Pilot..... Ernest George Hopgood
    Navigator. Joeseph Kevin Brown
    CO-Pilot... Michael William Horsley
    Engineer ... Harold Shaw
    Air Signaller.. Cornelius Joeseph Rogan
    Gunner.........Martin Gilmartin
    Meteorological Observer...James Charels Lister
    Airman......... Bernard Francis McKenna

    All the Wreckage from Handley Page Halifax RAF RG 843 was removed from mountain shortley After the plane crash


    Dave,
    Wondered if this loss fits in with yours?

    Regards
    Peter.
     
    James S likes this.
  5. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Dave, I would imagine that it was to do with Air Patrols over the North Atlantic. In both WW2 and the Cold War, Allied aircraft constantly patrolled the North Atlantic. The RAF bases in the North and also Scotland were important for this very task. So "Air Operations in Ireland" would have meant this sort of task. I dont think they were flying south of the Border (at least I hope not!!)
     
  6. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Well Peter's post has cleared that one up!!!!
     
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    These casualties could be associated with air operations from Ballykelly when this airfield was the main airfield of RAF Coastal Command in Northern Ireland.In the early 1950s, Ballykelly squadrons were equipped with Neptunes, a stop gap arrangement until the Shackleton had been accepted into Coastal Command service in large numbers and replaced them.Shackletons went on to give valuable service as a Coastal Command aircraft and were adapted as an "early warning" aircraft during the Cold War.

    There were quite a number of Shackletons incidents from the Coastal Command bases around the UK which involved casualties and the one illustrated is likely to be associated with this aircraft.The last Shackleton air operation took place in 1990,possibly out of RAF Kinloss with No 8 Squadron before it converted to the AWAC Sentry but Ballykelly, like the large Coastal Command base at St Eval have been closed many a year.


    One of the best sources of information is "The Growler",the magazine of the Shackleton Asssociation.In the church at the end of the main runway at St Eval are memorials posted remembering squadrons operating out of St Eval (closed about 1960).Coastal Command aircraft tended to hop from one of their bases to the other so you may find casualties whose aircraft were based remotely but are interred close to the incident or as has been stated, instances when a casualty has been brought home.

    Just a point about casualties, the majority are usually associated with aircraft and ground operations but there are others which research may reveal are deaths from other causes than military service.However, The Growler at times records the odd incident which can be used to trace the story behind casualties.

    Added note. Not associated with the casuality referred to
     
  8. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Good one gents !
     
  9. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

  10. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Pilot..... Ernest George Hopgood
    Navigator. Joeseph Kevin Brown
    CO-Pilot... Michael William Horsley
    Engineer ... Harold Shaw
    Air Signaller.. Cornelius Joeseph Rogan
    Gunner.........Martin Gilmartin
    Meteorological Observer...James Charels Lister
    Airman......... Bernard Francis McKenna


    Dave,
    Wondered if this loss fits in with yours?



    Thanks very much for that Peter. It does, indeed, fit as the grave in question is that of PO Joseph Kevin Browne...

    Cheers.

    dave.
     
  11. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Good link Gott. :)
    The article seems to cover some of the burials in Ballykelly .
     

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  12. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    James

    Perhaps you can throw some light on this. Aglanhoo airfield seems to have been ignored in the article and I was wondering was it also known as Ballykelly or was it decommissioned much earlier?
     
  13. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    To be honest it is not a name I know , a local name maybe but one I can't place off the top of my head , sorry can't help on this one . :(

    Below from D.J. Smith's "Action Stations" No7. "Scotland N.East and Northern Ireland." (PSL. 1989.)

    [​IMG]

    Number Index.
    3. Aldergrove.
    11. Ballyhalbert.
    12. Ballykelly.
    13. Ballywalter.
    16. Bishops Court.
    18. Boa Island (Roc Bay).
    26. Castle Archdale.
    30. Cluntoe.
    48. Eglington.
    59. Greencastle.
    64. Killadeas.
    67. Kirkstown.
    72. Langford Lodge.
    77. Limavady.
    79. Long Kesh.
    86. Maghabery.
    87. Maydown.
    90. Millisle.
    94. Mullaghmore.
    95. Murlough.
    98. Nutt's Corner.
    107. St. Angelo (Enniskillen).
    108. Sandy Bay. (Lough Neagh).
    123. Toome.
     
  14. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

  15. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Thanks DBF!! Sorry about that James, Seems it was also known as Limavady
     
  16. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    No worries , a name to remember. :)
     
  17. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    This thread is what makes this forum what it is.
    Wonderful cooperation between members, more often than not, resulting in a lot of historical data being exchanged and answers to the questions posed.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  18. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    There is an interesting Luftwaffe photo in Robert Fisk's "In Time of War" * which shows the cluster of airfields around the Southern rim of Lough Foyle , they are all laid out just as in the diagram. *( Gill and MacMillan Ltd. ISDN 978-0-7171-2411-4).

    I have heard anecdotal evidence that the Fermanagh airfields were also photographed but would love to see the evidence of this in form of photos- I don't doubt they they were looked at from on high or at least that they could have been had the will to do so been there.
     

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  19. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member Patron

    As we are talking about airfields in Northern Ireland I thought I would post a couple of photos I took while visiting RAF Ballykelly (Shackleton Barracks) three years ago. I wasn't permitted to take many pics as the area is still very sensitive.

    The first is of the control tower, apart from the upper structure I'm assured its original WW2 (No longer used as such) The second is looking down the main runway, at one time during the war a main railway line passed across just before the end and aircraft had to time their take off and landings to accommodate the passing trains.

    As can be seem, a bit of a chilly day.
     

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    dbf likes this.
  20. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

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