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Lockheed Hudson, AM834, Cahore Point, Wexford, 1942

On the 24th of February 1942, training continued at the base of the Royal Air Force's No.1 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit ((C)OTU) at Silloth in Cumbria, England. This base was the location where trained pilots, navigators and Wireless Operators/Air Gunners (WOP/AG) congregated after their individual training in order that they would be grouped into crews and learn to fly and fight as a team. The OTU had been based here since 1939.

The unit records books in the UK national Archives records the days activities as:
WEATHER. Fair or fine - hazy. Wind, light NE to ENE or calm. Vis 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 miles. Temps. Max 35 degs. Min 21 degs. Aerodrome 50% serviceable. At 11.55 hours Hudson N7307 collided with Hudson T9283 on landing, causing extensive damage to A/C. fuselage and nose., both mainplanes. F/lt Winnicott, 1st pilot, was unijured. At 11.55 hours Hudson T9283 collided with Hudson N7307 on landing causing damage to fuselage, mainplane and tail - engines serviceable. P/O Chandler, 1st. pilot, and Sgt Neil both uninjured. This resulted in Cat. "E". Hudson AM834 crashed into the sea off Cuhore, Eire, at 1300 hours - reason unknown. The crew, consisting of 928519 Sgt Plt. A.R.Rylatt, 1378465 Sgt Observer Sherlock-Beard, 1068192 Sgt WOP/AG Rostern and 1365081 Sgt WO/AG McGarvin all killed

It was the latter incident, the loss of Hudson AM834 that relates to Ireland. This was the third fatal loss of a Hudson from the Operational Training Unit in the month of February 1942 alone.

The crew of four was made up of Sgt Rylatt the pilot, Sgt Beard the observer or navigator, and two wireless operator/air gunners, Sgt.s Rostern and McGarva.

No cause could ever be established for the crash, the only contributing factor alluded to by the RAF was that the weather at the time was poor with bad visibility.

The men lost with AM834 are described below.

          Ritchie Burrett RYLATT

Sgt Alastair Ritchie Burrett RYLATT 928519

The son of Harry Martin and Jessie May Rylatt from Endsleigh Side Lane in Scartho, Grimsby.  Alastair was born in 1922 and had two siblings, Ian and Roberta.

An early wartime enlistee, Alastair was posted to South Africa for training in 1941 and at the time that he gained his wings was training with 61 Air School at George in the Cape Province.  He wrote from there on the 5th of May 1941 to his sister Roberta, where he mentioned that he was due to finish up there on Friday, 13th June and he expected to be posted home to England. He mentions in the letter that he had aplied for torpedo bombers and expected to get posted to such a squadron.  He added:  " see, thats why the Germans are keeping the Sharnhorst for me so that I can torpedo it."

Photos sent back by Alastair to his family included the following.  The two photos below were labeled only as being 'Anson' and the other as "Clary and myself".  The Anson was the aircraft type used by 61 Air School to train pilots on twin engine aircraft after their initial training on single engine types.
Alastair Rylatt is the man seated on the right of each photo.

Alastair Rylatt

Alastair Rylatt

The photo below of four RAF pilots was labeled only as "P/O Orrock".  A look at the RAF Lists for late 1941 reveals there are only two RAF officers with this surname, a Flight Officer in the Equipment Branch, and another, a Pilot Officer, Roy Kenneth Orrock 89090.  He appears to be the man sitting at the extreme left of the photo, with Sgt Rylatt on the extreme right of the photo.  The other two men are as yet unknown.

Alastair Rylatt

In his letter, he was attempting to advise his sister not to seek a posting in Burma as the weather was so hot, "All night long  you just lie sweating and wishing that you were anywhere it was snowing and then the damned mosquitos get through the net.  Well you have been warned."

Since Alastair's remains were never recovered his name is recorded on the Runnymede Memorial in Sussex.

 Sgt Alexander SHERLOCK BEARD 1378465Alexander Sherlock

Alexander was the 32 year old son of Alexander Charles and Ethel Ellen Beard, of Seaford, Sussex.  He was a Police Constable, having entered the service in 1932. He married Daisy G N Soan in 1933 and they had one loving daughter Patricia.  The 1939 register find Daisy and Alexander living in Twickhenham where he was serving with the Mobile Traffic Patrol.

Papers found on Alexanders remains were marked with 33 ANS, Mounthope Hamilton, Ontario.  As was common during the war, thousands of British Commonwealth airmen were trained far from their homelands under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) and other programmes.  Sgt Sherlock Beard had clearly only returned from such a posting sometime before the accident.

He was buried in Arklow on February 27th along with Sgt Rostern with an Irish Army Military honours.

In 2005 Patricia provided her memories of her father to the BBC WW2 Peoples Stories archive.  Patricia also visited Arklow in 2014 to visit her fathers resting place and was able to, over the years, speak with some of the fishermen or their relatives to recovered her father's and Sgt Rostern's remains.

 Alexander William
          McGarva - seeking photo

Sgt Alexander William MCGARVA 1365081

Alexander was born to James and Fanny McGarva in 1920 in Camlachie, Glasgow.  Much of what is known about him comes from the CWGC and his former school's online war memorial, Whitehill School in Dennistoun.

Alexander, along with Sgt Rylatt, was never recovered from the water and he is also recorded on the walls of the Runnymede Memorial.

 Sgt Jack ROSTERN 1068192 +Jack Rostern

 Jack Rostern was the son of Harold and Annie Rostern, of Radcliffe, Lancashire and the husband of Emily Rostern, nee Bagley.

The crash was a little unique also in that the burial of the two crew men in Arklow received wide coverage in the United Kingdom press. In these Sgt Beard is identified as being from Ontario, because an address found on him related to his recent training completed in Canada. As can be seen above, Sgt Beard was English. An example is shown here from the Gloucestershire Echo, 28 February, 1942. This was sourced from the website.

The aircraft was a Lockheed Hudson, carrying UK Air Ministry serial number AM834. This was one of a batch of just over 200 Hudsons delivered too the RAF of the Hudson V (LR) version. AM834 was the second of three Hudsons from this batch to end up landing or crashing around neutral Ireland. AM864 made a forced landing the previous year and AM885 crashed in the following year. A brief history of the aircraft can be read on Joe Baugher's website. You can watch footage of a restored example of the Hudson, based in Australia, at this Youtube video:

Compiled by Dennis Burke, 2015, Dublin and Sligo. With thanks to Patricia Wallace, the family of Sgt Rylatt and relatives of Sgt Rostern.  Seeking relatives of Sgt McGarva.  Thanks to Colin O'Reilly, Arklow cemetary registrar.  Irish Army Archives file G2/X/0977, The 1 (C) OTU ORB AIR28/, Arklow Historical Soc. Journal 1992-1993, S. Fitzgerald, 61 Air School ORB AIR54/174