Handley-Page Halifax LL145, Skibbereen, Cork
Click on image to view full story in PDF format. On the 21st April 1944, a Halifax bomber of the Royal Air Forces 517 (Met) Squadron found itself in difficulty after a long weather reconnaissance mission over the Atlantic. Seeking a safe landing zone the crew of Halifax LL145 found themselves making landfall in the Cork town of Skibbereen. Eight young airmen had found safe haven.
On April 21, 1944, M. Jennings of Skibbereen must have thought that his field, 'The Marsh' was going to become an airfield, when for the second time in less than a month, an Allied bomber chose his field to make an emergency landing. On March 16th previous, an American B-26 Marauder had made an emergency landing in the same field next to Skibbereen town.
The incident of April 21st is recorded in the Irish Army reports G2/X/1307 and ACF-S-217. Prior to the landing, the aircraft had been reported flying around the south Cork area by army and police posts.
The station master of Skibbereen station later reported, on April 21, 1944, at mid day, he lit some straw to attract the attention of an aircraft flying around the town. The aircraft, a Halifax bomber, landed thereafter at 12:16. bounced twice, passed through a fence and hitting a grazing heifer. The unfortunate animal subsequently had to be destroyed. The station master at that time was one Thomas "Toss" Barry who was an early aviator it seems. If this is the man recorded in the Irish Military Archives Report, then it explains his actions in lighting the straw.
Members of the Local Defence Force (LDF) took the crew into custody at the site until regular Irish Army troops could arrive.
Click on the image above to access the story of Halifax LL145 and its crew in a PDF file.
Below is a composite photo showing the crew on board Halifax LL145 on April 21st, 1944. [Standing] W/O AG; A Mitchinson - 1st Pilot A Ashworth - W/O AG F J Poune - [Kneeling] 2nd Pilot J Musk - Navigator A S Lawes - W/O AG R Wright - [Inset left] Sgt D Travers - [Inset Right] Sgt Sgt J Bartram