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Memorial cross has rotted away

A Fairey Swordfish, the same as the aircraft which crashed, taking off from HMS Condor during an air day in the 1960s.

A Fairey Swordfish, the same as the aircraft which crashed, taking off from HMS Condor during an air day in the 1960s.

Reader Patrick Anderson of Letham wonders if anyone can recall a fatal incident that took place in Letham during the Second World War.

He recalls that he was recently talking to a friend in the village who told him that on February 27, 1943, a Fairey Swordfish torpedo bomber (No. K8444) flew from the Fleet Air Arm airfield at HMS Condor, Arbroath, with two young Sub-Lieutenants on board on instrumental practice duties.

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

Mr Anderson related: “Flying the Swordfish that day were Sub-Lt (A) Brian R. Honeyman and Sub-Lt (A) Arnold Waterhouse.

“My friend told me that his mother lived with her parents at the farm worker’s cottage at Backboath and as it was a Saturday she went out to meet her father at 11.30 a.m or so as he came home for his meal at lunchtime.

“She heard in the sky the sound of an aeroplane obviously having engine problem and the biplane went on but it crashed into a neighbouring farmer’s field at Gask Farm.

“Both young airmen, aged only 21 years, were dead at the scene. Their bodies were removed for burial back home in England. Sub-Lt Honeyman was buried in Sussex and Sub-Lt Waterhouse was buried in Nabwood Cemetery in Shipley, West Yorkshire.”

Mr Anderson stated that he was a police sergeant in Shipley during the early 1980s but at that time he did not know about the burial.

He continued: “The parents of Sub-Lieutenant Waterhouse used to journey north from West Yorkshire annually to visit the scene near Letham and to visit a wooden memorial in the field at the crash site. However, over the many years since the crash the wooden memorial has rotted away.”

Anyone with information can contact Mr Anderson by e-mail at andrsp254@aol.com or by telephone on 01307 819107.

 

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