Short Sunderland loss RAF Vagar, Faeroe Islands

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Peter Clare, Apr 13, 2013.

  1. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member Patron

    A relative who was in the RAF during WW2 and stationed at RAF Vagar in the Faeroe Islands in the latter part of 1944 early 1945 believes that a Short Sunderland alighted on the water of Lake Vagar and promptly sank.

    From what I can gather, it seems that RAF Vagar was used for emergency use. I cannot find a squadron that was actually posted there for any length of time, of course I might be wrong.

    I'm looking for details of this Sunderland loss, can anyone please help?

    Regards
    Peter.
     
  2. Orwell1984

    Orwell1984 Senior Member

    Hi Peter
    I've done some preliminary searching online and through some books and found only one Sunderland loss that fits the area so far.
    However the date is quite off from 1944-45
    http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19541025-1

    I'll keep looking and see if anything else turns up
    Cheers
    Mark
     
  3. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Hi Peter - I'm not finding anything from the war years either.

    A bit more info on the 1954 incident:

    The Sunderland Accident

    FOUR men of No. 230 Squadron lost their lives last weekend when a Sunderland in which they were flying met with an accident while attempting to alight in Tveraa Fjord in the Faroes to pick up a critically ill British seaman and convey him to hospital in Scotland. Reports from the Faroe Islands said that the flying boat was struck by a squall just as it touched the water, causing it to capsize and sink almost immediately.

    Those who lost their lives were: F/L. J. R. Hill, F / O A. A. Howardson and Sgt. A. S. Cronk.

    F/S. E. Davies died later in hospital. The two pilots, S/L. E. C. Bennett, who commands the squadron, and F / L. J. S. M. Jones were both seriously injured and are in hospital. The remainder of the aircrew returned in H.M.S. Pincher.


    http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1954/1954%20-%202985.html?search=faroe
     
  4. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER Patron

    Hi Peter,

    I cannot find any deaths (Air Force) for a Sunderland in any of the cemeteries although if not found they would be on the Runnymede Memorial.

    If it was a Sunderland they may have all survived.

    There is a crew of 3 RAF & 6 RCAF who died on the 22/04/1943 in a Catalina Ib of 190sq later to be 210sq who are buried in TORSHAVN CEMETERY.

    The RAAF lad buried in Midvaag cemetery was from a Whitley VII Crew of 612 sq Iceland which crashed into a hill on 9/11/1942.

    There are no other Air Force casualties buried in the Faeroes.


    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  5. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member Patron

    Hi guys,

    Thanks so much for looking.

    I seems you have just about come up with the same as myself. I get the feeling that this incident might not be as my relative recalls, he might be confusing it with another incident. He wasn't aircrew but he served in many places all over the world during the war.

    Once again thanks for your input.

    Regards
    Peter.
     
  6. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Peter,
    Let me have a look tomorow, I have some notes from a gentleman who was stationed there in the war for a short time, he was in the engineering section.
    From what I recall the approach to the landing area was to say the least challanging.
    Will have to go and do some searching but will try and look out this for you. He did mention on crash there (as far as I can recall) may surrender some info for you.
     
  7. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member Patron

    Thanks James, I look forward to your next post.

    Regards

    Peter
     
  8. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    Peter, I have managed to find what I was looking for , but no actual details of the crash.I had a copy of the Air Britain Sunderland Crash Log , but can't lay hands on it .
    This info came from Mr .George Gilfillan who was Squadron Engineering Officer with 228 Squadron, he spent time at Lough Erne and Oban with the Squadron and he found the lack of tides and salt water ( at Lough Erne) a Godsend.

    He mentions that 228 did have a small detachment in the Faroes and what is attached are some of his views on the place , from what he recalled take off and landing was not for the faint hearted.
    I had thought there was mention of an accident but was wrong , sorry not to have been of much help regarding the accident but the notes on the use of the water are worth seeing.
     

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  9. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member Patron

    James, Many thanks for your input. It certainly makes interesting reading. I'll pass this on to my cousin who made the first inquiry

    All the best.

    Peter.
     
  10. James S

    James S Very Senior Member

    No worries, I have seen something about a wartime crash/ accident there but for the life of me cannot get it together.
     
  11. JRD

    JRD New Member

    I can’t add anything to the original query but I can add a little to the 1954 accident. On a mission of my own to find something about a trawler which perished on the rocks off Famjin in 1931, we have just stayed as guests in Tvoroyri with a distant relative, Wigdis Sigmundsdottir, daughter of a famous Faroes artist, Sigmund Petersen. On hearing of my interest she mentioned the Sunderland accident and told us of a local man Eiler Djurhuus who was not only interested and knowledgeable on local history but was involved in the rescue attempt at the time.

    She promptly phoned the hospital where he was convalescing and within 15 minutes we had collected him and were off to the churchyard.

    Now 87, Eiler spoke good English, no doubt learnt from the British soldiers in the war and continued in his role as Syslumaour or Sheriff on the island.
    He recalls he was one of the first on the scene amongst the boats attempting to rescue the crew. They attempted to attach a rope to the plane to tow it ashore but it sank fairly quickly, so maybe not as quickly as the original reports suggests. He had an idea there were twelve crew and those who were taken to hospital survived but reading the above comments it appears that may not be the case. What is certain is that F/L Hill, and F/O Howardson are buried in the churchyard and it was moving to read the faded inscription and know how they came to be there.
     
  12. JRD

    JRD New Member

    I can’t add anything to the original query but I can add a little to the 1954 accident. On a mission of my own to find something about a trawler which perished on the rocks off Famjin in 1931, we have just stayed as guests in Tvoroyri with a distant relative, Wigdis Sigmundsdottir, daughter of a famous Faroes artist, Sigmund Petersen. On hearing of my interest she mentioned the Sunderland accident and told us of a local man Eiler Djurhuus who was not only interested and knowledgeable on local history but was involved in the rescue attempt at the time.

    She promptly phoned the hospital where he was convalescing and within 15 minutes we had collected him and were off to the churchyard.

    Now 87, Eiler spoke good English, no doubt learnt from the British soldiers in the war and continued in his role as Syslumaour or Sheriff on the island.
    He recalls he was one of the first on the scene amongst the boats attempting to rescue the crew. They attempted to attach a rope to the plane to tow it ashore but it sank fairly quickly, so maybe not as quickly as the original reports suggests. He had an idea there were twelve crew and those who were taken to hospital survived but reading the above comments it appears that may not be the case P1030933 edit.jpg . What is certain is that F/L Hill, and F/O Howardson are buried in the churchyard and it was moving to read the faded inscription and know how they came to be there.
     

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  13. JRD

    JRD New Member

    Well that post is all over the place but hopefully you get the gist. :)
     
  14. corinne mills me

    corinne mills me New Member

    this may help?
     

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  15. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Well-Known Member

    Peter

    Just came across this thread - is this the aircraft

    ASN Aircraft accident Short Sunderland III PP140 Faroe Islands

    Status:
    Date: Thursday 5 April 1945
    Type: Short Sunderland III
    Operator: Royal Norwegian Air Force - RNoAF
    Registration: PP140
    C/n / msn:
    First flight:
    Crew: Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 12
    Passengers: Fatalities: 0 / Occupants: 0
    Total: Fatalities: 12 / Occupants: 12
    Airplane damage: Damaged beyond repair
    Location: 160 km (100 mls) NW of Faroe Islands ( Atlantic Ocean)
    Phase: En route (ENR)
    Nature: Military
    Departure airport: ?
    Destination airport: ?
    Narrative:
    One of the Sunderland's four engines lost power. The airplane hit the sea in an attempted ditching, overturned and broke up.

    Its the only one in that database in Faroe Islands that I could see

    TD
     
    Peter Clare likes this.
  16. corinne mills me

    corinne mills me New Member

    No - this happened in October 1954
     
  17. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Well-Known Member

    I know that - if you read the first post it says

    TD
     
  18. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member Patron

    TD many thanks for that, it looks very promising, I’ll contact my cousin with this info and see what is said
     
  19. Peter Clare

    Peter Clare Very Senior Member Patron

    TD, that's the one, a very good find. Thank you
     

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