Aircraft Type Photo
BELOW: A Fairey Albacore 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
RN (FAA / NAS) Fairey Albacore / L7109
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.
BELOW: A Fairey Albacore torpedo bomber at the FAA Museum, with wings partially folded. Note the torpedo slung below the fuselage.
Photo: 2008 'Rodw'. Released by the author to the public domain.
Aircraft Accident Details
On 8th September 1942, Albacore L7109 took off from RNAS Campbeltown (RAF Machrihanish) on a night flying exercise. It had just crossed the stretch of water known as 'Kilbrannan Sound', between Kintyre and Arran. However, at 23:25hrs—and while flying very low—the Albacore's fixed undercarriage caught the twin wire fence on top of a dry stane dyke. Consequently, the aircraft pitched over on its nose with wreckage being strewn from the dyke to the heather-clad hillside beyond. (At that time, the forest now standing on this site did not exist.) The accident occurred near Rock Nose, not far from Shedog Farm, Shiskine in Arran. The cause of the accident is not known.
Some reports indicate that the aircraft crashed into the sea near Shiskine. However, although since removed, wreckage was found near Shiskine, which is located inland.
Aircraft Crew Casualties
All three crew members perished in this accident. These were:
Sub Lt. Wilson was buried at Campbeltown (Kilkerran) Cemetery, Division 4, Grave 603.
Crash Site Photos
BELOW: The site at Rock Nose near Shiskine on the Isle of Arran where Fairey Albacore L7109 crashed.
The actual crash site lies about 4.5m (5 yards) beyond the stone dyke, which is just visible at the edge of the forest. At the time of the accident, the forest did not exist.
This location is about 10-15 minutes walk from the main road (B880 near Shedog Farm), and is accessible by a gravel road leading into Rock Nose House. (See Crash Site Directions below)
Photo: © 2008 Bob MacAlister
Crash Site Directions
(Kindly provided by Bob MacAlister)
Take the gravel road to the new part of the Shiskine cemetery which is on a hill 100 yards from the main road. keep going up the hill for about half a mile till you come to the first and only cottage on the left side of the road. The dyke runs alongside the house and the wreck was about 200 meters along the dyke. There are still a few fragments left.
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Crash Date / Site
Accident Date: 8 Sep 1942
(near Shedog Farm, Shiskine)
Region: North Ayrshire (Isle of Arran)
Nearest towns or villages:
Nearest large town:
OS Grid Ref. N/A
GPS Ref: N/A
Present Condition: A few wreckage fragments remain at the crash site.
Registration or Serial: L7109
Operator: Royal Navy ((Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) / Fleet Air Arm (FAA / 766 RN Sqdn OTU / Albacore); Royal Air Force (RAF)
Operating Base: RNAS Campbeltown. Base also for RAF Machrihanish; HMS Landrail, and Disembarked Squadrons.
Base Location: Machrihanish, Campbeltown, Argyll.
Current Airport Status: Military Airport closed 1997. Operational Civil Airport.
Current Airport Name: Campbeltown (Machrihanish) Airport (IATA: CAL / ICAO: EGEC)
Accident Specific Link
Canadian Fleet Air Arm Air Crew Memorial Roll of Honour (includes name of Sub/Lt Ross M. Wilson)
RAF / RN / FAA and Related Links
Isle of Arran Links
Bus Timetable (Brodick (Ferry Terminal) to Machrie via Shiskine) (PDF)
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Fairey Albacore L7109
Rock Nose, Shiskine, Isle of Arran