A.W. Albemarle P1503

Fearnan, Kenmore, Perth & Kinross













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: An Armstrong Whitworth A.W.41 Albemarle transport aircraft of the type used to train Soviet crews.


RAF Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle transport aircraft


Photo: Crown Copyright (expired)






Aircraft Type and Background


RAF Armstrong Whitworth A.W.41 Albemarle / P1503



The twin-engine A.W. Albemarle was intended as a bomber, butexcept on two occasionsit did not fulfil that role with the RAF. Instead, the Albemarle was used as a transport (troop carrying and parachutists) aircraft, as well as a glider tug.


The Albemarle was equipped with twin fins and rudders, and was constructed from wood and steel (partly due to the acute shortage of aircraft grade aluminium). It had a tricycle landing gear, with the main wheels retracting into the engine nacelles.


When configured for paratrooper carrying duties, the Albemarle could accommodate up to 10 fully armed personnel.


The Albemarle was used also as a crew training aircraft. Two hundred A. W. Albemarles were purchased by the for training their pilots. This training took place at RAF Errol in Scotland, after which the Soviet crews flew their aircraft to Vnukovo in the USSR (as it was then known).






Aircraft Accident Details


The Albemarle featured on this page was being flown by a Soviet and Czech crew when it flew into high ground behind Cromrar Cottage, Fearnan, and just north of the site beside the A827 where the Tigh an Loan Hotel once stood.


Apparently, the crew had taken the cook up for a joy ride and the ballast weights slid forward causing the aircraft to dive and crash. [This paragraph based on information kindly provided by A. Leishman.]


No. 305 Ferry Training Unit RAF was a squadron of the Royal Air Force during World War II. It was set up at RAF Errol near Dundee to train Soviet aircrews, utilizing Armstrong Whitworth Albemarles as trainers. During training, one aircraft was lost with no survivors.






Aircraft Crew Fatalities


Those who died were:

  • Aleksander Gruzdin (39) (Russian), Major USSR Pilot. Date of death 29th May 1943
    Cremation number 1716

  • Aleksandr Andrejevich Aleksejev (34) (Russian), Senior Lieut USSR Flight Engineer.
     Date of death 29th May 1943
    Cremation number 1714 Cremation date 1st June 1943

  • William Dramin (30) (Russian) (Anglicised form of name. Correct form pending.) Senior Lieut USSR Navigator. Date of death 29th May 1943.
    Cremation number 1715

  • Sgt. Francis Drahovzal, (Czech).
    Buried, Murie Cemetery, Errol.


The applicant for cremation was Mr Fredrick Alfred, Errol RAF station. Three sets of remains were returned to RAF Errol station.






Crash Site Photo


BELOW: The recovery dig at the crash site carried out by a team from Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum.


Wreckage recovered included a piston and ballast weights. These are now at the museum.


Photo of the recovery dig at Fearnan by Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum


Photo: ©  2011 Alan Leishman







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Crash Date / Site



Accident Date: 29 May 1943


Accident Site:

Fearnan [map] (Loch Tay)

(N of former Tigh an Loan Hotel)


Region: Perth & Kinross


Nearest town or village:

Kenmore [map]


Nearest large town:

Aberfeldy (NE)


OS Grid Ref. N/A


GPS Ref: N/A


Present Condition:  Onsite wreckage status unknown. Some parts, including piston and ballast, recovered from crash site are now at Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum.





Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: P1503


Operator: RAF (305th Air Training Squadron. (Air training base for Soviet crews.))


Operating Station: RAF Errol


Station Location Midway between Perth and Dundee.


Current Airfield Status: Operational Private Airfield.


Current Airfield Name: Errol airfield (one runway retained for light aircraft only).

 Remainder of airfield now used for vintage car rallies and other events. Another part of former airfield houses industrial / commercial units.






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