Date: 19/06/1944
Squadron Code: 'A'
Serial Number: Liberator V - FL990
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. 'A' Crashed some 5 minutes after take off from Ballykelly some hours after FL898. Hit high ground on far north of Inishowen Peninsula while area was blanketed in cloud at about 2pm. A memorial rests across from the Drunken Duck pub outside Greencastle.


Within minutes of taking off from Ballykelly the aircraft collided with Shrove Hill, just across Lough Foyle at Greencastle. At the time of the crash the mountain was shrouded in such dense fog that the Liberator was initially located by the sound of exploding munitions by those first at the scene. The aircraft hit the hill at a height of 1,500 feet and slid along the ground a distance of 200 yards. The Irish Army recorded the time of the crash at 1.10pm, but a local man who, as a teenager, visited the site shortly after the crash, puts the time between noon and 12.30. The 59 Squadron ORB gives no take-off time. (source spidge)


The following was submitted by Peter Hainsworth (relative of F/Sgt Kenneth Apitz):

The crew are buried at the Tamlaght Finlagen church in Northern Ireland.


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..."


The following is taken from Rootsweb - Aus Miltary Archives:

"I was recently in the graveyard attached to Tamlaghfinlagen (Ballykelly) Church of Ireland Church which is just a mile outside of Limavady. While I was there I noted down the following nine 2nd World War headstones. What struck me was that six of these young airmen were buried on the same day 23rd June 1944 while the other three were buried together on the 27th June 1944 just four days later. These are the transcriptions. Someone, somewhere may find them of interest..." source


Buried: Flt Lt Wade, and Flt Sgt’s Haines, Apitz and Cooper are buried in the Tamlaght Finlagan Church of Ireland, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, UK. Flt Sgt Anderson is buried in the Dunfermline Cemetery, Fifeshire, UK. Sgt Cook is buried in the London Colney (St Peter) Churchyard, Hertfordshire, UK. FO Parsons is buried in the Bradford (Bowling) Cemetery Yorkshire, UK. The CWG does not record where Flt Sgt Utting is buried. (RAAF Casualties During WW2 - Alan Storr)


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