Rescued airmen at Tiree pier in 1944
Photograph of rescued airmen at Tiree pier in 1944.
Courtesy of Mr Geoff Pringle
In November 1944, one of starboard engines of Halifax LL123 from RAF Squadron 518 caught fire shortly after takeoff from Tiree airfield on weather reconnaissance duties. The flames were so intense the skipper decided to ditch in the Atlantic rather than risk returning to base.
Despite a thirty foot swell, the aircraft was safely ditched and the nine crewmen clambered aboard the inflatable dinghy with only minor scratches. To add to their danger, the water surrounding the Halifax was a sea of petrol, in the middle of which a fuel tank was bobbing about with flames issuing from a hole.
An Air-sea Rescue aircraft from Tiree dropped a second dinghy, then HMS ‘Flanders’ arrived to pick up the very much relieved airmen. They were given hot food, dry clothes and liberal amounts of Navy rum. The photograph pictures the crew safely back on Gott Bay pier.
Black and white photograph of the rescued aircrew of Halifax LL123 at Tiree pier.
The rescued aircrew of Halifax LL123 from RAF Squadron 518 standing at Tiree pier in November 1944. Far left: F/Sgt Ozzie Ozaist (Met Air Obs, Polish); forth from left: Flt Lt Freddy Green.