‘Duty nobly done’ - Condor pilots tribute

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A fitting tribute is to be paid this weekend to a pair of young pilots who died on a training flight from Condor during the Second World War.

On February 27, 1943, Sub-Lieutenants (A) Arnold Waterhouse and Brian R. Honeyman took off from Royal Naval Air Station Condor in a Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber for an instruments training run.

However, mechanical problems caused the Swordfish to come down in a field at Gask Farm, near Letham, and both men died in the accident.

Waterhouse’s parents erected a wooden cross in the field to mark their sacrifice, but over the years the monument rotted away. Now his nephews have arranged for a more permanent and fitting memorial to their sacrifice.

Nephew Andrew Waterhouse explained: “My uncle and his co-pilot were both 21 years old when they perished so my brother Keith and I never met him. We are keen to preserve both he and his colleague’s memory and we will be laying wreaths.

“The owner of the farm, Dave Lumgair, has kindly agreed to a stone replacement being erected to replace the wooden one that my grandparents erected in 1943 and which has long since disintegrated.

“We have managed to find the bronze plaque that was on the original and this has been affixed to the new one.”

The short dedication service for the new memorial will take place at 2pm at the field at Gask Farm, near Letham.

The Swordfish in question, K8444, had previously been on operational duties with the Fleet Air Arm in Malta and Egypt.

In 2014 The Herald ran a story about the crash as related to us by local historian and retired police officer Patrick Anderson.

Mr Anderson was able to describe in detail the events of that fateful morning as had been given to him by an eyewitness, a young girl from the farm cottages at Backboath who, one Saturday morning, had heard the sound of an aircraft with engine problems as it passed by.

Both pilots were taken home for burial, Honeyman to Sussex and Waterhouse to West Yorkshire.