The crash of Sunderland W4026 "DQ-M" of 228 Squadron

 

H.R.H. The Duke of Kent.

   

Iceland had been bloodlessly occupied by the British early in the conflict to prevent its occupation as a logical expansion of the German advance into Norway. The island was of vital strategic importance in maintaining a link across the Atlantic and as a base against the U-Boat offensive. An airfield had been constructed at Kaldadarnes near to Reykjavik and permanently based units of Coastal Command established there.

    In August 1942, George Edward Alexander Edmund Windsor, Duke of Kent, then aged 39, was undertaking a tour of stations in his role as Air Commodore of the department of Inspector General of The Royal Air Force. His function was essentially one of welfare assessment and required him to have access to all ranks. He was accompanied by a small staff for this task and he was himself an able and keen pilot, qualified to fly multi-engined aircraft.

Duke of Kent.

Duke of Kent at RAF Evanton in July 1942.

    Transit flights between Britain and Iceland were commonplace, most Oban squadrons providing an aircraft for this purpose as and when the requirement arose. the particular nature of the station at Iceland had given rise to the common, but officially discouraged, practice of aircrews taking alcoholic drink with them for the various canteens. The gifts of Whisky , Gin and spirits also served as a useful lever with the local population who were resentful of the British presence. Personnel, spares and equipment were continually ferried to and from this northernmost outpost, running the gauntlet of the Norwegian based German aircraft. Between 30th June and 15th July 1942 the Commander in Chief, North Western Approaches, Sir Percy Noble was taken on a tour of Naval Sub-Commands in the area by 228 squadron aircraft, flown by Pilot Officer Church. The navigator for this operation was Squadron Leader Archibald Bremble. The efficiency and conduct of the tour was evidently well received by the C. in C., for he promised to confer a highly prestigious duty upon 228 squadron in return for his treatment.......

 

    The Duke of Kent was due to travel from Invergordon to Reykjavik on Tuesday 25th August 1942. An aircraft from 228 squadron at Oban had been selected and undergone a thorough maintenance check prior to the flight. The aircraft in question was a Sunderland mark3, W4026. Two days previously it had been slightly damaged in a taxying accident at Oban and had required some minor repairs to a wing tip. the flight personnel were hand-picked by the commanding officer, Wing Commander Thomas Moseley, age 29. They consisted mainly of Flight Lieutenant Frederick Goyens regular crew.

regular crew.

228 Sqn crew of Frank Goyen.

Survivor of crash, Andrew Jack 2nd from left, rear row.

"Frank" Goyen, a 26 year old Australian was a very experienced pilot with over 1000 hours flying Sunderlands.

Frank Goyen

Frank Goyen in Sunderland W4026 shortly before the crash.

The selection of a navigator was made by a game of chance, with the exclusion of Sqn. Ldr. Bremble. In the event, Flying Officer Saunders, who was attached to the other resident Oban squadron at that time, No. 423 RCAF, was selected. The aircraft crew were:-

   

                Air Commodore HRH The Duke of Kent.

              Lieutenant John Crowther, RNVR, Private Secretary.    Pilot Officer The Hon. Michael Strutt.

              Leading Aircraftman John Walter Holes, Batman.          Flight Lieutenant Frank McKenzie Goyen, Captain.                  

                                       Wing Commander Thomas Moseley, English CO of 228 squadron, 1st pilot.

              Pilot Officer Sidney Wood Smith, 2nd pilot.                            Pilot Officer George Saunders, Navigator.

                                                 Flight Sergeant William Jones, Fitter / Mechanic and Air Gunner.

              Flight Sergeant Charles Lewis, Airframe Fitter.                     Flight Sergeant Edward Hewerdine, WEM / AG.

              Sergeant Edward Blacklock, RNZAF, WOP / AG.                Segeant Arthur Roland Catt, WOP / AG.

              Sergeant Leonard Sweett, Fitter.                                          Sergeant Andrew S.W. Jack WOP / AG.

 

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