Date: 19/06/1944
Squadron Code: 'L'
Serial Number: Liberator V - FL898
Flight/Mission Details:

Base; Ballykelly
Take off time: Unknown.
Op: Unknown

Two Liberator's were lost on this day, L/59 & A/59. Both aircraft crashed shortly after take off, fully laden and caught in severe downdrafts.

From the writings of F/O Don Howard:

"Due to some awful weather we were experiencing, a couple of aircraft taking off on ops. at night and fully loaded, didn't quite clear the high cliff-face of Binevenough, the threatening mountain not far from the end of our North-South runway (at Ballykelly). This was not the first time it had happened but it was the first time since I had been on the Squadron. Nobody really knew how it happend but visibilty was poor on each night so perhaps they thought they were higher than they really were, who knows? In any event it left scary feelings in us all, 18 young men dead without any enemy action at all...

There were two Australians in the crews involved (F/Sgt Kenneth John Nielson Apitz and F/Sgt Norman Athol Cooper) and our C/O specifically asked for volunteers from the Australians in our Squadron to act as pallbearers and to carry the coffins at the military funeral to be conducted in honour of the two Australians. I volunteered although I did not know the two boys well but I did know them and I felt obliged as an Australian, to take part in a farewell for them, so far away from their own homes..."

From the memorial of Vaughn McLellan:

"Vaughn MacLellan was a crew member aboard a Liberator aircraft on anti-submarine patrol when he was killed. The aircraft flew into high ground obscured by clouds at Glengad Head, County Donegal, Ireland. He was a wireless operator air gunner in No. 59 Squadron RAF when he died at age 22. His funeral was held in Ballykelly parish church, in Londonderry County, Northern Ireland. He is buried in the churchyard there." source


Crew Details:

All lost:

Memorial Page Links


Source: Amrit

During WWII, the RAF used three-letter codes to identify their aircraft from a distance. Two large letters were painted before the roundel, which signified the squadron to which the aircraft belonged, and another letter was painted after the roundel which indicated the individual aircraft. Aditionally, there was the individual serial number for each aircraft, which was painted in a much smaller size, usually somewhere at the rear of the aircraft: (more)

Codes used by RAF 59 Squadron:

PJ Sep 1938 - Sep 1939
TR Sep 1939 - Oct 1942
1 Aug 1943 - Jul 1944
WE Jul 1944 - Oct 1945
BY Oct 1945 - Jun 1946, Dec 1947 - Oct 1950