Foreign aircraft landings at Baldonnel and Collinstown Aerodromes, Dublin 1935 to 1945.
Baldonnel Aerodrome located south of Dublin city was the headquarters of the Irish Air Corps throughout the war years and remains so to this day. As it was one of only very few established airfields in Ireland at the outbreak of war the airfield was known internationally as one of the main airfields in Ireland. Indeed, as well as being the head quarters of the Air Corps, Baldonnel also functioned as the main civilian airport in Ireland. It was from here that Aer Lingus operated their airline flights to the United Kingdom. Civilian flights moved to the new airfield at Collinstown, to the north of the city, in 1940.
Collinstown Aerodrome, Ireland's new international civil aerodrome, was built north of Dublin city on the site of a former Royal Air Force airfield. Built from the offset with concrete runways, Collinstown was equipped to the latest standards when it opened for operations in 1940. It was immediatly however caught in the middle of conflict and flights were greatly curtailed.
Being operational airfields, Baldonnel and Collinstown were marked on navigation charts and thus became a port of call for a small number of Allied aircraft throughout the war. These were a varied collection of mainly training types which found themselves lost and with dwindling fuel. The two Irish aerodromes allowed them a safe haven and a place to refuel, not just machines but mind and body also.
|January 28, 1942||Hawker Hurricane I||V6573, '29'||RAF||59 O.T.U. / Crosby-on-Eden, Cumbria||Dublin Airport, Colinstown||0||1||Sgt Salvator Bassi WALCOTT R/79006|
Aircraft landed and was subsequently allowed to leave.
The pilot, an American serving in the RCAF was not
interned and later transferred to USAAF after a further
period of internment with the Vichy French in North
Africa. He served in combat with the USAAF in North
Africa during His story is told in the book "Spitfire
Deserter" by Bill Simpson.
|April 17, 1943||Boeing B-17F-70-BO Fortress||42-29755||USAAF||Air Transport Command (Ferry Flight)||Dublin Airport, Colinstown||0||10|| "1/Lt Cecil WALTERS O-664094 DIS
Lt Sidney D. ROSBERGER O-790297
Lt Edward C. QUIGLEY O-733355
2/Lt James C OLSEN O-736318 DIS
S/Sgt Barnett H GOODMAN 35285949 DIS
S/Sgt Joseph A. WOLOZYN 13087777 DIS
S/Sgt Rowland DOMENICK 35390046 DIS
S/Sgt Frank G. WADE Jr. 38204123 DIS
S/Sgt Joseph H. TRUITT 35487257 DIS
S/Sgt Ralph E. LEWIS 31077856 DIS"
This aircraft was noted flying over Cavan and eastern
counties. It was fired on by Irish anti-aircraft
batteries around Dublin. Landed at 12:30 and following
refueling took off again at 18:30. The aircraft was on
delivery flight from North Africa. The aircraft was
assigned to the 96th Bomb Group initally but was then
issued to the 533rd Bomb Squadron, 381st Bomb Group in
July 1943. It survived the war and returned back across
the Atlantic after the conflict. The 96th Bomb Group
transferred to the UK during April 1943.
photo from Edward Quigley's album shows, Jim Olsen,
Edward Quigley and Cecil Walters, 'inf front of
Edge-water Gulf Hotel, Gulfport, Mississippi. (March
'42). Two weeks here after emergency landing on Test
Sidney Rosberger also returned to duty with the 96th Bomb Group, flying missions into September 1943 with the crew of 2/Lt W F Bacon. His son posted a large article about him on the Army Air Forces Forum in May 2011 and a link to that is presented here. Lt Rosberger changed his name to Ross after the war and passed away in 1980.
|June 29, 1943||Avro Anson I||LT985||RAF||9 (Observer) AFU||Dublin Airport, Colinstown||0||3|| "P/O Edward Brian CHURCHILL 123246
P/O KEMP RCAF"
| Noted flying over Waterford, Kilkenny and
Carlow. Landed at 14:35 short of fuel. Given 94 gallons of
fuel and took off at 17:25 for Wales.
P/O Edward Brian CHURCHILL 123246
|October 12, 1943||Avro Anson I||LV139, ED-4||RAF||12 AGS, Bishopscourt, NI||Dublin Airport, Colinstown||0||4||
Sgt Stuart CHAMBERS 1576381
LAC Sydney BIRD 1494307 DIS
AC Reuben Edward FOULDS 1591122 DIS
AC Donald Victor DALE 1463201"
On a gunnery training mission, but lost target and then their way in poor visibility. Were planning to ditch but saw land. They were refueled and took off again at 17:40 to NI. Foulds was Killed in Action over France in Jun 1944 and Bird was killed in a flying training accident in May 1944.
March 12, 1944
Armstrong Whitworth AW38 Whitley
Dublin Airport, Colinstown
Sgt Nelson Joseph McDonald R/168240 RCAF
"F/O Albert Smitten J/35051 RCAF
F/O Charles Reginald Laing J/35099 RCAF
P/O Ernest John Simpson Wood J/88510 RCAF
F/O John Robert Thackeray J/28989 RCAF"
Aircraft landed while lost on a training mission. The
crew signalled to the airport that they were in distress
and were given assistance to land at 17:54 hrs. The crew
reported they had been in the air for the previous seven
hours and must have mentioned that they were based at 24
OTU in southern England. It was noted by the military in
the Irish Army report that there was no one on duty at
weekends. The aircraft was recorded as having just a
letter 'T; painted on the side.
Four of the Canadian airmen are shown in the photo
above while flying with 427 Squadron RCAF. They are,
standing, at left, C R Laing and standing at far right,
J R Thackeray. Kneeling from the left are E J S Wood and
The pilot, Nelson J McDonald, was a Nova Scotia
born airman who had enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air
Force. He had moved with his parents Williams and
Elizabeth to Illinois in 1925. The Illinois newspaper,
the Suburbanite Economist, published the following short
article on Wednesday, July 7th, 1943: Go To
Canada to See Son Receive RCAF Wings Mr. and
Mrs. William MacDonald, 7521 Normal ave,; will leave
tonight for Alymer, Ontario, where they will attend
the graduation of their son, Nelson J. MacDonald, who
will recieve his wings and become a first lieutenant
in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
Charles Laing was born in 1920. He served served
with the R.C.A.F. for 23 years and then embarked on a 14
year career with the Ministry of Transportation of
Ontario. Charles passed away in April 2005 just two
years after making contact with the website about his
short visit to Dublin. In 2003 he wrote via email:
We (myself & rest of the aircrew) were on a
training mission to drop a few practice bombs on a
watery target. We became lost somewhere over the
atlantic ocean and received a radio fix to alter
course. We change course and the first land that came
into view was the coast of Southern Irland.
John Robert Thackeray was born in April 1925 in Regina, Canada. He enlisted in October 1942 in Regina. Following training in Canada, he would have been posted to 24 OTU for crew training, it is expected that he would then have gone with the crew to a Heavy Conversion Unit where they would have learned to fly the Halifax bomber. He moved with his wife Marie to America in 1952 and there raised a family in California. John, known as 'Jack' to friends and family died in Ventura, California, on 19 October 2001.
|April 22, 1944||Avro Anson I||LT284, B-3||RAF||7 (Observer) AFU, RAF Bishopscourt, N.I.||Baldonnel Aerodrome||0||4|| "F/Sgt Raymond Twyford 1230496
Sgt Ronald Valentine Westmore 1602754
P/O William McGregor Robinson J/38338 RCAF
P/O Morris Donald Berry J/39352 RCAF POW
This event was an early morning landing at the airfield, the aircraft having been flying from Bishopscourt, County Down on a nighttime dead reckoning navigation flight. The crew of four and aircraft flew out at midday later that day. The air men on board consisted of the pilot, F/Sgt Twyford, a wireless operator instructor Sgt Westmore and two Canadian airmen, undertaking training in navigation duties in North West European conditions. All four men survived the war although one was shot down over Germany and made prisoner of war.
Raymond Twyford was a young
Warwickshire born pilot of the RAF Volunteer Reserve.
Raymond was posted to Rhodesia in May 1942 for pilot
training, this being completed successfully in December
of that year. He was then sent home on a vessel which
sailed first to Fort Slokum in New York, He transferred
then to Halifax in Canada from where he then sailed
presumably back to the UK. It was in September 1943 that
he was posted to 7 (Observers) Advanced Flying Unit,
then referred to as 7 Air Observers School. He remained
there as a staff pilot for navigators who had completed
their instruction in the vast empty skies of Canada or
Africa. His time at Bishopscourt ended in April 1945
with a posting out to 17 Operational Training Unit at
Silverstone where he converted to the Wellington bomber.
His first front line unit was Transport Commands 77
Squadron which was in the summer and autumn of 1945
converting to the Douglas Dakota transport.
Ronald Valetine Westmore was
born in 1916 on the Isle of Wight. His surviving log
book contains some great narrative of his service up to
the time he arrived in Northern Ireland. To quote from
the log book:
The colleague Ron refers to was F/Sgt Ronald S Schneer 1684911 who was lost in the crash of Anson DG972 on December 26th, 1943. Ronald Westmore had married in 1942 and returned to live in his native home. He passed away in 1989 in the Isle of Wight. His son was very kind in providing scans of his log book.
The remaining two airmen on the aircraft were
Canadian's undergoing acclimatisation flying having
recently arrived in Europe following training in Canada.
Morris Donald Berry was a young airman from Innisfail, Alberta. Amazingly, his log also survived the war and is the third record of the days flying.
After his time in Northern Ireland he was posted to 425 Squadron, Royal Canadian Air Force. He completed 20 bombing missions with that unit before things went wrong in January 1945. He was the bomb aimer on Halifax NP999 on the night of January 5th/6th 1945 when the aircraft was brought down over Germany. Morris was lucky enough to survive by bailing out with 5 of his crew mates however; their English Flight Engineer lost his life. He is shown below with his crew, Morris berry is the second from the right, standing.
Morris spent the last few months of the war as a Prisoner of the Germans. He passed away in October 1986.
This summary of the fourth airman, also a Canadian
named William McGregor Robinson comes from a Canadian
researcherís summary of his wartime service record:
ROBINSON, William McGregor (R.191608 and J.38338) - Born
6 December 1910 in Glasgow, Scotland. Enlisted in
London, Ontario, 9 September 1942. To No.1 Manning
Depot, 6 November 1942. To (illegible on microfilm), 6
December 1941. To (illegible again), 15 January 1942. To
No.5 ITS, 1 March 1943. Promoted LAC, 12 June 1943. To
No.4 AOS, 26 June 1943. Graduated and commissioned, 13
November 1943. To No.2 Aircrew Graduate Training School,
18 January 1944. To "Y" Depot for embarkation, 11
February 1944. Taken on strength of No.3 PRC,
Bournemouth, 15 March 1944. Repatriated to Canada by
air, No.428 Squadron, 7 June 1945. Training for "Tiger
Force" when war ended; retired 10 September 1945.
|October 7, 1944||Avro Anson||Unknown||RAF||Unknown||Baldonnel Aerodrome||-||-||TBD|
|Reviewed ACF-S-241 only and not the possible main file. Is mentioned on the lists in the F/A file A.26 in the NA; IMA #B103, Info will be in MISC 6/06 in MA and ACF-S-241|
|April 5, 1945||Avro Anson I||W1709, '42'||RAF||7 (Observer) AFU, RAF Bishopscourt, N.I.||Dublin Airport, Colinstown||0||5|| "F/Sgt Arthur BANKS 1458368
Sgt BANCUTT 1825006
Sgt Donald John MCLEOD R/192444 RCAF
Sgt Derek LANGLEY 1570484
Sgt Frederick FITZNER R/253936 RCAF"
|Suffered oil system problems, was drained and repaired. From Nav. School at Bishopscourt, Co. Down; D J McLeod emailed in 2011 to confirm he was on the aircraft. Contacted the Fitzner family in 2008, F Fitzner went missing after the war and his where abouts became unknown to his family.|
|November 12, 1945||Boeing B-17G-70-DL Fortress||44-6883||USAAF||BADA, HQ Burtonwood, UK||Baldonnel Aerodrome||0||3|| "Maj Frederick B. JOHNSON O-661102
S/Sgt Egon L ECK 35316683
Lt/Col James J SHOWN O-913379
According to the USAAF accident report, "The
aircraft, after making a normal approach and landing
set down just over the fence at the end of the runway.
The pilot applied the brakes as soon as was
permissible. The brakes stopped the wheels but they
slid on the wet grassy surface and the aircraft slowed
but would not stop and continued on into a hedge at
the end of the runway. Upon striking the hedge the
tail came up off the ground then dropped down hard
driving the tail strut into the fuselage buckling it
at that section of the aircraft."
The pilots own account in that accident report reads as
The USAAF report also contains a statement from the Irish Air Corps officer commanding, Col. W P Delemere in which he states the conditions and causes similar to Major Johnson's report above..
The aircraft was arriving from the USAAF airbase at Burtonwood, near Warrington in Cheshire. Irish Newspapers reported the aircraft carried members of the Irish Air Corps who were returning from a meeting in the UK however the USAAF crash report makes no mention of anyone other than US personnel on board. The USAAF crash report and the testimony therein from the Pilot Major Frederick B Johnson point out that he had flown into Baldonnel Aerodrome the previous week. It appears that at this time there was of talks taking place between the Irish Authorities and those of the US Government, perhaps about purchase of surplus weaponry.
The aircraft itself was a Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, serial number 44-6883. This aircraft had flown in combat with the 535th Bomb Squadron, 381st Bopmb Group from Ridgewell, Essex. On a mission on the 2nd March 1945 to Chemitz in Germany, a pilot of the 381st Bomb Group, Lt Charles Carpenter was forced to turn back with technical problems and upon landing was assigned a spare aircraft, 44-6883. He took off quickly again to try catch up with the remainder of the group but instead accidentally found himself among a group of RAF Lancaster's on a late war day light mission to Cologne. Online records make it unclear as to whether it was before this event or because of this event that the aircraft received in painted nose-art of 'RAFAAF', the symbolize the Royal Air Force - Army Air Forces. The 535th diary indicates that the aircraft had two engines shot out on March 24th but was brought back home safely on that occasion. The following month on April 11th the aircraft suffered the complete loss of its right hand stabilizer and elevator following a mid air collision with another B-17 while turning after bombing Germany. The pilots of the aircraft were lucky enough to be able to recover the aircraft from a diving spin and were able to return to base. Despite this damage, a new stabiliser was fitted and the aircraft returned to flying. At some point it was delivered to the USAAF base at Burtonwood and had its armament removed and used as something of a transport. it was during this period that the incident occurred in Dublin and the aircraft finished out its days as a wreck at Baldonnel, slowly being scrapped. The Irish Army archives report on this aircraft consists mainly of discussions between the Irish and American authorities regarding the disposal and use of components from the aircraft. The propellers were provided to Aer Lingus and Irish Army radio van ZC778 was equipped with devices taken from the stricken bomber. The accident report records that the aircraft was assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron of BADA, the acronym for Base Air Depot Area.
Aircraft 44-6883 carried just three American personnel
on board, a pilot, Major Frederick B Johnson, an
Engineer, Sgt Egon L Eck and a passenger, Col. James J
Shown. The two officers have proved a little elusive to
confirmation but it has been possible to contact the
family of the engineer.
The Engineer was Egon L Eck, a 24 year old from Clevelan, Ohio. The son of Egon and Anna Eck, immigrants from Roumania, Egon himself having been born in Roumania in 1921 but was actually of German extraction. By the 1940 US national census, Egon was working as a car mechanic and he enlisted in the armed forces in July 1942. It is understood by friends and family that he served as an aircraft mechanic but clearly also had some flying duties. Egon returned to his native Cleveland and married Mildred Navratil in February 1950. Egon passed away in June 1973. His first cousin, Bob Teutsch remembers Egon well and was able to provide the photos of Egon with friends and colleagues from during his wartime service. Egon's cousin Bill Teutsch was completing his flying training in the USAAF having enlisted in 1943.
The passenger on the aircraft was a non flying officer of the Air Force, Colonel James Joseph Shown. The crash report lists his serial number as O-913379 however, the 1948 US Army and Air Force register contains an entry for 'Shown, James J, (O41672). B-Tex. 24.Feb.05. A.Tex. B.S.M.. The list of promotions after show an officer who joined the force in August 1942 apparently as a direct entry and who had reached the rank of Lt. Col. by April 16 1945. The name also appears in the State Bar of Texas annual publication of 1943 with the following text: On April 30 James J. Shown was promoted to Captain in the Army Air Forces. He is Commanding Officer of the 877th Guard Squadron at Kelly Field.. In 1946, the Armed Forces Journal International recorded Transferred to Keesler from Randolph Field, Tex., on 23 Sept. was Lt. Col. James J. Shown of Houston, Tex. Col. Shown is to assume command of the Technical Training Command military police school at this station. The Biloxi Daily Herald on Friday, February 7, 1947 carried the following story, MP School Closes At Keesler Feb. 15 Due to the fact that Military Police training is being consolidated at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., Keesler's Military Police school is scheduled to close after the final graduation exercises which will be held in Theater No. 1, Saturday, February 15. The graduation will follow the scheduled base review with MP graduating students present in the reviewing stand. Personnel of the MP school will remain with the Air Training Command, some staying at Keesler and others being distributed to bases within the command. Lt. Col. James J. Shown, director of the school, is to be transferred to the indoctrination division of the Air Training Command at San Antonio, Texas, where he will be assigned as Provost Marshal. The Texas State bar the following year further reported: Lt. Col. James J. Shown of Houston is attending the Air Tactical School at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida. Overseas he served with the 8th Air Force in England as provost Marshal for thirty-two months, returning to the States in in May 1946.
James Shown resigned from the military in 1950 and went on to become an attorney in the state of Texas where his name appears many times in legal cases. In 1952, he was himself the subject of investigation in a fraud case involving cars but was found not guilty. Before the war, his name frequently featured in Texas newspapers as he was a member of the Texas Rangers police force. James Shown passed away Houstan in 1966 and is buried there. His first wife Rita was killed in an automobile accident in 1932, and they had one daughter.
Compiled by Dennis Burke, 2018, Dublin and Sligo.