Fairey Albacore BF592

Mel Fea, Isle of Hoy, Orkney













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: A Fairey Albacore in flight.


Royal Navy Naval Air Squadron Fairey Albacore torpedo bomber in flight


Photo prepared in 2004 for Wikipedia by Keith Edwins


Photo published originally in Aircraft of the Fighting Powers Vol I. Ed: H J Cooper, O G Thetford and D A. Russell. Harborough Publishing Co, Leicester, England 1940. UK Copyright deemed to have lapsed.






Aircraft Type and Background


RNAS Fairey Albacore I / BF592



(Torpedo bomber)


Nickname: Applecore



Intended as a replacement for the Fairey Swordfish, the Fairey Albacore was designed as a single-engine biplane carrier-borne torpedo bomber for use with the Royal Naval Air Service / Fleet Air Arm. Some, however, entered service with the RAF and with the RCAF.


The Alabacore was equipped with a heated cabin and a Bristol Taurus II radial engine (later versions had Bristol Taurus XII engines), which were more powerful than the Pegasus engines fitted to the Fairey Swordfish.


The Albacore carried one forward firing .303in machine gun in the starboard wing; one or two Vickers K machine guns in the rear cockpit; one torpedo, or four or six bombs (depending on weight).


Although it had some improvements over the Swordfish, many pilots disliked the Albacore because it was found to be less manoeuvrable than the Swordfish when attempting to escape after dropping its torpedo.

The Albacore was also used for spotting / reconnaissance purposes.


Although intended to replace the Fairey Swordfish, the Swordfish in fact outlasted the Albacore. Fairey Albacores were retired gradually, being replaced by Fairey Barracudas and Grumman Avengers.



BELOW: A Fairey Albacore torpedo bomber at the FAA Museum, with wings partially folded. Note the torpedo slung below the fuselage.


Fairey Albacore at the FAA Museum


Photo: 2008 'Rodw'. Released by the author to the public domain.






Aircraft Accident Details


On 26 June 1942, Fairey Albacore BF592 took off from RNAS Evanton in the Cromarty Firth on a delivery flight to RNAS Hatston near Kirkwall on the main Orkney island. However, as the aircraft flew low over the west coast of the Isle of Hoy, it crashed at Mel Fea just south of Rackwick.






Aircraft Pilot Casualty


The Pilot of this aircraft died in this accident. He was:

  • Sub-Lt (A) James Leggat, RNVR, HMS Merlin.
    (Buried at Sea. Memorial: Bay 4, Panel 1, Lee-on-Solent Memorial, Hampshire, England.)


Please click on the hyperlinked name above for further details at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's website.






Crash Site Photos


BELOW: An overview of the site where Fairey Albacore BF592 crashed.


This photo overlooks Rackwick Bay. The village of Rackwick lies just out of sight, and down the north-west side of this hill.


overview of albacore crash site on mel fea, hoy.


Photo: © 2014 Steven Mckee



BELOW: The remains of the 14-cylinder Bristol Taurus engine from the Albacore torpedo bomber.


bristol taurus engine from albacore aircraft.


Photo: © 2014 Steven Mckee



BELOW: Another view of the Bristol Taurus engine.


another view of bristol taurus engine.


Photo: © 2014 Steven Mckee



BELOW: A close-up of the engine showing some of the damaged cylinder heads.


engine close-up showing some damaged cylinder heads.


Photo: © 2014 Steven Mckee



BELOW: Apart from the engine, much of the wreckage lies together in this debris field.


The engine lies a short distance away from the main wreckage.


main debris field.


Photo: © 2014 Steven Mckee



BELOW: Wings sections and small parts lie littered around this area.


littered wreckage parts.


Photo: © 2014 Steven Mckee














BELOW: Main wing section showing ribs, spars, struts or braces and other parts of the airframe.


main wing section and showing ribs and spars.


Photo: © 2014 Steven Mckee



BELOW: Another view of the main wing section.


main wing section.


Photo: © 2014 Steven Mckee



BELOW: Side view of wing section.


side view of wing section.


Photo: © 2014 Steven Mckee



BELOW: Wing section, braces, and other wreckage parts.


The engine can be seen a short distance away, at the top right of this photo.


wing section and other wreckage parts.


Photo: © 2014 Steven Mckee



BELOW: Wing section with wing brace or strut.


wing section with wing brace or strut.


Photo: © 2014 Steven Mckee



BELOW: Closer view of one of the wing braces or struts used for separating the upper and lower main wings of the bi-plane.


closer view of wing strut.


Photo: © 2014 Steven Mckee



BELOW: Unidentified aluminium part.


closer view of wing strut.


Photo: © 2014 Steven Mckee








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