Aircraft Type Photo
BELOW: A U.S. PBY Catalina making a landing at sea.
Photo: [no date] taken by a sailor or employee of the U.S. Navy. A U.S. federal government photo now in the public domain.
Aircraft Type and Background
RAF Consolidated PBY* Catalina Mk IVB / JX273
* Designated 'Marks I, II, III, IV', etc. by the RAF rather than 'PBY-5A' etc.
(This aircraft was built by Boeing, Canada)
Type Nickname: "Cat"; "Mad Cat"; "Black Cat", and others.
Aircraft Acronym: P: Patrol; B: Bomber; Y: Consolidated manufacturer's ID.
First flown in the United States in March 1935, the PBY was intended as a long-range patrol aircraft. Originally equipped with two 850hp Pratt and Whitney engines, these were replaced in later versions with 1200hp Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial engines. The aircraft had a maximum speed of 179mph.
The PBY was not intended as a passenger aircraft. The purpose was
flights and long range patrols. The
aircraft had the ability to take water landings.
BELOW: A Canso flying boat.
Photo: © Canada's Air Force
The RAF first began using these flying boats in 1941, renaming the Consolidated PBY as the 'Catalina' - a name first used by Consolidated themselves for their commercial versions, and adopted later by the US Navy. According to the RAF, Coastal Command had 602 Catalinas (or 'Cats') at their disposal. (Higher number are cited elsewhere.) A number of Catalinas remain in civilian use today. (See The Catalina Society for a full list.)
BELOW: A U.S. Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina at anchor, preparing for take-off.
Photo : [no date] US Federal Government photo released to the public domain.
BELOW: A U.S. PBY gunner, with machine gun, mounting one of the two side gun blisters on the hull.
Photo : [no date] U.S. Federal Government photo released to the public domain.
Aircraft Accident Details
The Catalina featured here (JX273) was built by Boeing of Vancouver,
Canada. Sometime after its delivery to the UK, this aircraft was
assigned to 302 Flying Training Unit, then operating from
RAF Oban (a
flying boat base).
Aircraft Crew Casualties
Of the nine personnel on board, three were killed and the remaining six were injured. Those who died were:
Those injured were:
Sgt E. Kilshaw, 2nd Pilot
Sgt P. Lee, Navigator
Sgt G. Calder, Wireless Op / Mechanic-AG
Sgt Roy Beavis, Engineer
Sgt Ron Anstey, Wireless OP-AG
Sgt R. Whiting, Flight Mechanic
The survivors were taken by the Royal Navy to hospital in Oban.
BELOW: The memorial pillar and plaque to the crew of RAF Catalina JX273.
Photo: © 2088 Steve White
BELOW: The names of those who perished in this accident and also of those who were injured but survived are listed on this memorial plaque.
Photo: © 2088 Steve White
Memorial Photos (Graveside)
BELOW: The grave of Flt Sgt David Clyne, (Captain), one of those who died in this accident. (David Clyne was a pre-war international footballer.)
Photo: © 2009 Steven Spink
BELOW: Close-up view of inscription on headstone.
Photo: © 2009 Steven Spink
Crash Site Photos
BELOW: The memorial to the victims of this air
accident stands close to the remaining wreckage.
Photo: © 2008 Steve White
For additional crash site and wreckage photos please select
from the drop down Album Menu in the Photo Gallery.
Crash Date / Site
Accident Date: 12 May 1944
(Bhatarsaidh / Vatersay)
Region: Hebrides (Western Isles)
(Restricted ferry service)
Nearest town or village:
S of Eilean Bharraidh (Isle of Barra).
Nearest large towns:
None on Barra / Vatersay. Nearest by ferry to Oban.
OS Grid Ref. N/A
GPS Ref: N/A
Present Condition: RAF recovery teams broke up the aircraft, removing the engines, electronic equipment, and armaments etc. from the site. However, some larger parts were left further down the hill, where they had been dragged by the recovery teams. These parts are still there today.
Registration or Serial: JX273
Operator: RAF (No 17 (Training) Group in Coastal Command / 302 Flying Training Unit)
Operating Base: RAF Oban (X6ON); moorings on Sound of Kererra.
Base Location: Oban Bay, North Connel, Argyll and Bute, Scotland.
Current Airport Status: Operational Civil Airport;
Current Airport Name: Glasgow (Prestwick) International Airport (EGPK)
Accident Specific Link
Eddie's Photo Archive (Current photos of wreckage)
Museums with Connected Exhibits
Oban War and Peace Museum
Forums, Organisations, and Societies
A Salute to the PBY Catalina (some outstanding photos of this type.)
PBY Catalina International Association (Newsletter providing a detailed description of events)
The Catalina Society (UK) (A full list of surviving Catalinas)
Hill Walking Links
(Hillwalking and Mountaineering)
Hillwalking (The Scottish Mountaineering Club)
Hillwalking.org.uk (Equipment, etc.)
Mountain Guides (Routes, maps, advice and guidance compiled by Steven Fallon)
OutdoorScotland.co.uk (Directory of Clubs, Associations, and Mountain Rescue Teams)
WalkingScotland (The official Walking site of Scotland's national tourism organisation)
Other Outdoor Activities
Backpacking and Backpackers
Cicerone (Backpacking Guides for Walking in the UK)
Kayaking and Canoeing
Kayak Scotland (Sea Kayaking in Scotland)
Kayaking at Active Scotland (Various venues)
Mountain Bike Trails (Forestry Commission Scotland)
Rock Climbing and Abseiling
Abseiling Scotland (Various venues)
Rock Climbing at Scottish National Outdoor Training Centre (Skills Courses and Qualifications Courses)
Rock Climbing in Scotland (Rock Climbing Areas)
Trekking and Hiking
Gairloch Trekking Centre (Pony Trekking in the Scottish Highlands)
Pony and Quad Treks (North Wales)
Ramblers (Worldwide Holidays)
Emergency Services Link
If you cannot make voice calls, you can now contact the 999 emergency services by SMS text from your mobile phone.
PBY Catalina JX273
Heishavel Beag, Vatersay, Barra