Fairey Barracuda II DP872
The Barracuda Project aims to rebuild a whole Fairey Barracuda from the crashed remains of several aircraft; the predominant example of these, and the intended finished identity of the airframe, is DP872.
DP872 was a Barracuda Mk II built by Boulton Paul, being ready for collection on the 14th July 1943; the aircraft was taken on charge of 769 NAS at ‘HMS Peewit’, RNAS East Haven in November of that year. 769 was a carrier landing training squadron, with the aircraft likely bearing the codes ‘E4’ on the fuselage, followed by an individual letter. In January 1944 DP872 suffered an undercarriage collapse while at the hands of S/Lt RB Walker RN.
On the 29th August 1944, DP872 took off from RNAS Maydown to return to RNAS East Haven, but subsequently spun into Blackhead Moss near Enagh Lough, Waterside, Londonderry, some five miles from the airfield. The crew of three were all killed.
A crash crew was soon in attendance, finding the front of the aircraft completely submerged and various parts adrift such as a wheel and part of the undercarriage which were in a nearby tree. The aircraft slowly sank before the crew could be recovered, and a funeral service was held for the crew on site.
In 1971 a combined team from RNAS Yeovilton and 63 HQ Sqdn RE recovered the aircraft and with the blessing of the families involved, the remains of the crew; the wreckage was moved to the store of the Fleet Air Arm Museum at Wroughton in Wiltshire. The nose section was partly restored by Hampshire Aircraft Services and put on show at the museum in Yeovilton, while the rest of the aircraft remained in storage.
All Photos by kind permision of FAAM
The crew of DP872
Sub Lieutenant Dennis Herbert Oxby RNVR, aged 19, born 7th October 1924 in Lincolnshire. Oxby was in his last week of training at the time of
Sub Lieutenant Frederick Robertson Dobbie RNVR, aged 20, born in 1924 in Fife, Scotland
Leading Airman Derek Albert Thomas Mew RN, aged 19, born 11th May 1925 in Herne Hill, London
Following their recovery in 1971 the crew were buried together in Faughanvale (St Canice) Church of Ireland churchyard in Eglinton, Londonderry
The project also intends to make use of the partial remains of several other crashed Barracudas-
Barracuda II LS931
LS931 was a Barracuda II flying with 815 NAS based at RNAS Machrihanish (‘HMS Landrail) and the aircraft went missing on 2nd January 1945 while on a training mission; the wreckage was airlifted from the Paps of Jura by a Sea King helicopter from 819 NAS for the Fleet Air Arm Museum in 2000.
The crew of LS931 were-
Lieutenant Commander Desmond Norcock (Squadron Commanding Officer) aged 25
Sub Lieutenant William Murray Moncrieff aged 20
Petty Officer Leslie William Gurden aged 23
Barracuda II DR306
DR306 was a Barracuda II also of 769 NAS, by then based at RNAS Rattray in Scotland. The aircraft was on the return leg of a routine cross-country navigational exercise and is believed to have encountered cloud; descending through it the aircraft struck the lower slopes of Whernside, the highest peak of the Yorkshire Dales, some 500 feet below the summit. The aircraft came to a halt largely intact and the crew were able to walk away from the incident; Petty Officer J R Cromer was slightly injured. Sections of DR306 were recovered by the Fleet Air Arm Museum.
Barracuda III MD953
MD953 was a Barracuda III. Fitted with the ASH air-to-surface vessel radar, the aircraft was delivered on 2nd November 1944 and was used for trials by the Wireless and Electrical Flight at the Royal Aircraft Establishment from 3rd January1945. The aircraft moved to 70s NAS on 11th August 1945, where it carried the code letter ‘D’; the aircraft crashed on 20th September 1945 and was broken up by 710 NAS at Ronaldsway.
Barracuda II PM870
PM870 was a Barracuda II, ready for collection on 4th January 1945. Delivered to 818 NAS at Fearn on 18th May 1945, the aircraft flew into a mountainside in cloud on 14th July 1945 at Col-Bheinn, 5 miles NW of Brora; the crew were all killed.
The crew of PM870 were-
Sub Lieutenant Derek Allen aged 20
Sub Lieutenant James Hirst aged 20
Petty Officer William Semple aged 19