Operator: Royal Air Force (No. 17 (Training) Group in Coastal Command / 302 Flying Training Unit)
Accident Date: 12 May 1944
Accident Site: Heishavel Beag
Aircraft Accident Details
On the morning of 12th May 1944 a Catalina JX273 (F) of Number 302 Flying Training Unit Oban took off Westward with 9 crew on board on a training flight.
They were to use Barra Head lighthouse as a turning point.
The Navigator checked his compass and discovered they were on the wrong course and after checking the pilots compass discovered that his compass was indeed faulty.
The Pilot, Flight Sgt J R Clyned along with his co pilot Sgt E A Kilshaw, pulled the plain upwards towards a safe altitude.
But when they had risen to no more than 500ft they crashed into Heishival Beag on Vatersay.
This was almost at the summit some 70 feet from the top on the East side.
Three members of the crew were killed instantly and the other six injured. Three of those six were injured so badly that they could only be lifted off by stretcher, the other three with assistance from their rescuers. The Barra doctor had been ferried out to Uidh by the Barra lifeboat. All six men were transferred to a rescue vessel, sent out from Tobermory at 3.30pm the same day, by the same lifeboat.
The main aircraft parts were removed at the time by the RAF but pieces of the aircraft remain to this day as a reminder of the wartime tragedy.