Date: 18/08/1944
Squadron Code: 'P'
Serial Number: Liberator V - BZ724
Flight/Mission Details:

Base; Ballykelly
Take off time: Unknown.
Op: Anti-submarine patrol.

RAF Coastal Command Liberator BZ724 of 59 Squadron at Ballykelly,Northern Ireland, had been operating in the North Atlantic on an anti-submarine mission on the night of 17th/18th August 1944, when due to bad weather, and nearing the end of its lengthy patrol, it was diverted to RAF Tain in NE Scotland.

It would appear that after making a descent through cloud and very short on fuel, the Liberator struck the moor above Helmsdale and disintegrated.


Last mission before 'End of Tour'...

According to the nephew of F/O Seigler, this was Roberts last mission before he was due to return home. This could well have been the same for the entire crew...


Crew with P/59 in 1944: P/O John Lloyd (left) is pictured here in early 1944 whilst flying with 59 Squadron as a 2nd Pilot. P/O Lloyd had flown a good number of missions with Coastal Command, and soon gained a commission, after which he was offered the chance to captain his own crew. He was the only survivor. Photo: Canadian Aviation Museum. Given that I sourced this image from the Canadian Aviation Museum, the pilot on the right could possibly be F/O LeGrow who was a Canadian airman.

A story on this accident with much more on the investigation by an officer at Ballykelly, can be found in volume two of
`Hell on High Ground` (See books page for details).

The crash site 45 years on (1999):

A crater on the moor with wreckage consisting of fuel tanks, alloy and small motors etc.
Only this one supercharger of the four from BZ724 wasfound at the crash site in 1999. Source


Buried: PO Lloyd was injured in the crash and all the remaining crew were killed. FO LeGrow, Sgt Newell, Sgt Pratt, PO McLay and Sgt Instone are buried in the Wick Cemetery, Caithness-Shire, UK. FO Seigler is buried in the Glasgow (Glenduffhill) Jewish Cemetery, Glasgow, UK. Sgt Lowe is buried in the Great Crosby (St Luke) Churchyard, Lancashire, UK Sgt Grill is buried in the Chelmsford (Writtle Road) Cemetery, Esses, UK. Sgt Christie is buried in the Thetford Cemetery, Norfolk, UK (RAAF Casualties During WW2 - Alan Storr)


The above was submitted by Phill Jones



Crew Details:

One survivor :

The sole survivor of the crash was in fact the pilot and he was still strapped in his seat, a little way from the wreck when two farmers Alex & Jock Cuthbert reached him and carried him off the hill.

Crew of BZ724.

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