Douglas C47B KK194

Beinn Talaidh, Isle of Mull, Argyll

 
     
 
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Aircraft Type Photo

 

BELOW: A C-47B Mk IV in RAF Transport Command livery, now owned and operated by Classic Flights Air Atlantique. RAF code: KK116. Civil registration: G-AMPY.

 

a former RAF C47B Dakota transport at Air Atlantique

 

Photo: 2008 Adrian Pingstone (Arpingstone). Released by the author to the public domain under the terms of the Wikimedia Commons licensing arrangement.

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Type and Background

 

RAF Douglas C-47B-20-DK Dakota Mk IV / KK194

 


 

(Military Transport)

 

Aircraft Type Nickname: "Dakota"; "Skytrain"; "Gooney Bird", and others.

 

 

The Douglas C-47 aircraft was a military version of the Douglas DC-3. the C-47B variant was powered by two Pratt and Whitney R1830-90 engines, equipped with superchargers and extra fuel capacity for extended flying by the military.

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Accident Details

 

Due to heavy demand during WWII for additional aircraft, many of these were built (or rebuilt/converted) in the USA or Canada and ferried to the UK. This C47B Dakota, intended for RAF transport use, had been built (or converted) in Canada and was being delivered to the UK by 45 Group RAF (Ferry Command).

On its way from Dorval near Montreal in Canada to Prestwick in Scotland, the Dakota landed at Meeks Field (Reykjavik), Iceland to refuel. The aircraft then proceeded towards RAF Prestwick, passing over the Western Isles.

Unfortunately, during atrocious weather conditions and while approaching a 2,500ft high peak on the Isle of Mull, the pilot lost his bearings. With insufficient height to clear the mountain, the Dakota crashed 200ft below the summit of Beinn Talaidh and then slid a further 500ft down the mountain on the snow and ice.

 

It may be that the aircraft was flying lower than normal due partly to pilot disorientation and partly to icing on the wings. Icing on the wings would have made it very difficult to maintain sufficient altitude in the weather conditions prevailing at the time.

 

 

Accident Report and Awards

 

Accident Report Summary and list of Awards can be seen here.

 

 

 

 

 

Aircraft Crew / Passenger Casualties

 

Three crew members died in this accident, and five survived. Those who died were:

(See also memorial inscription below)

 

This is not a war grave but the family has asked to only TAKE PICTURES and leave footprints.

 

 

Those who survived with injuries were:

 

F/O T B M Alexander, navigator

WO G Nicholls, wireless operator

F/L Derek B Auchinvole, passenger

F/L J D L Gammie, passenger

F/L Basil Miller, passenger

 

 

 

 

Crash Site Photos

 

Museum Photo

 

BELOW: Some of the remains of the nose section and cockpit windows from the Douglas C47B Dakota.

 

This item is now on display at Mull Museum in Tobermory.

 

The cockpit was recovered from the crash site by 1003 (Leighton Buzzard) Squadron Air Training Corps (ATC) (RAF Stanbridge) led by Pat Carty. An RAF Sea King helicopter lifted the cockpit wreckage from Beinn Talaidh down to lower ground.

 

Remaining nose section from Douglas C47B Dakota, now on display at Mull Museum Tobermory

 

Photo: © 2009 Steven Spink

 


 

General Location Photos: Beinn Talaidh and Glen Forsa

 

BELOW: After the crash, Flt Lt Auchinvole struggled down this glen (Glen Forsa) from Beinn Talaidh in the darkness to raise the alarm at Rhoail Cottage below, from where a light could be seen. At the time of the accident, the entire area was covered in deep snow.

 

(A larger version of this photo can be seen in the Photo Gallery)

 

flt lt auchinvolves route from the crash site on ben talaidh to the cottage in the glen below

 

Photo: © 2009 Quentin Thomas

 


 

BELOW: Looking up the gulley toward location of wreckage parts.

 

looking up gulley at beinn talaidh toward wreckage

 

Photo: © 2009 Quentin Thomas

 


 

Wreckage Photos

 

BELOW: Some of the remaining C-47B Dakota wreckage at Beinn Talaidh, Isle of Mull.

 

 

Photo: ©  2013 Neil Daniel

 


 

(The monochrome photos immediately below were taken in the 1960's, before parts of the remaining wreckage were removed from the crash site.)

 

BELOW: Remains of one of the two Pratt and Whitney engines from the Douglas C-47B on Beinn Talaidh.

 

engine from C-47 at Ben Talaidh

 

Photo: © 1960-2012 Pat Macguire

 


 

BELOW: Fragmented sections of the aircraft's tail fin.

 

fragmented sections of the aircraft's tail fin

 

Photo: © 1960-2012 Pat Macguire

 


 

BELOW: One of the C-47's three-bladed propellers.

 

(One of these propellers has since been embedded in a granite boulder as a memorial to those who died. A small plaque is attached to one of the blades (see photo below).)

 

one of the three-bladed propellers

 

Photo: © 1960-2012 Pat Macguire

 


 

BELOW: Part of the tail wheel from the C-47 Dakota.

 

(The C-47 / DC3 aircraft were 'tail draggers', which did not help the pilot with forward and downward visibility during take-off!)

 

tailwheel section from the C47 Dakota

 

Photo: © 1960-2012 Pat Macguire

 


 

BELOW: Some general remains of the Dakota wreckage lie in this gulley.

 

general wreckage remains lying in gulley

 

Photo: © 2009 Quentin Thomas

 


 

BELOW: The shattered remains of part of the starboard wingtip.

 

shattered remains of starboard wingtip

 

Photo: © 2009 Quentin Thomas

 


 

BELOW: Top view of port wing section.

 

top view of port wing section

 

Photo: © 2009 Quentin Thomas

 

 

MORE PHOTOS BELOW

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

BELOW: Some of the C-47 Dakota's propeller blades have been set onto this granite boulder.

 

A small memorial plaque is attached to one of the blades (see details below).

 

Dakota propellor blade with memorial plaque attached

 

Photo: © 2009 Steven Spink

 


 

BELOW: The memorial plaque attached to the propeller blade at the crash site on Beinn Talaidh.

 

Photo: © 2009 Steven Spink

 

a close-up view of the memorial plaque on the propeller blade

 

The inscription reads:

 

Dakota Mk IV KK194

 

On 1st February 1945 this wartime Dakota crashed into the side of Ben Talaidh, at 2,300ft [2,500ft] some 200ft below the summit, the pilot having become disorientated by low cloud and heavy snow. KK194 was on a delivery flight from Montreal, refuelling at Reykjavik, bound for Prestwick.

 

On board were 3 crew and 5 passengers all RAF officers, one of whom got clear of the wreckage and sent up flares. He made his way into the glen below, following a light from a shepherd's house and raised help from local people. All the survivors were rescued, and the bodies of those who died, recovered.

 

Those who lost their lives were the following:

 

Sqn Ldr Archibald Earnest Alderton 73083 RAFVR
Kings Courier and passenger
F/O Frank Bishop 162502 RAFVR Pilot
F/O Herbert Ellis 158646 RAFVR passenger

 

In their memory this memorial was attached to the propeller blade from KK194 by the Vice-chairman and Hon. Secretary of the Aircrew Association, Highland Branch, Inverness on 1st February 2005

 

 


 

BELOW: Fragmented wreckage litters this gulley on Beinn Talaidh, Isle of Mull.

 

fragmented wreckage lies in this gulley

 

Photo: © 2009 Steven Spink

 


 

BELOW: Another section of wreckage, perhaps from the landing gear assembly of the Dakota.

 

Further wreckage sections, perhaps for the Dakota's landing gear

 

Photo: © 2009 Steven Spink

 


 

BELOW: One of the two Pratt and Whitney R1830-90 engines from the C-47B Dakota.

 

one of the engines from the C47B Dakota

 

Photo: © 2009 Steven Spink

 

 


 

 

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Photo Gallery

 

For additional crash site and wreckage photos please select

 DOUGLAS-C-47B-BEINN-TALAIDH

from the drop down Album Menu in the Photo Gallery.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Crash Date / Site

 

 

Accident Date: 1 Feb 1945

 

Accident Site:

Beinn Talaidh (763m / 2,502ft)

 

Region: Argyll and Bute (Argyll / Isle of Mull)

 

Nearest town or village:

Strathcoil

(S and W on A849 from Fishnish, opposite Lochaline)

 

Nearest large town:

Tobermory (NW)

 

OS Grid Ref. N/A

 

GPS Ref: N/A

 

Present Condition: The propeller memorial remains at the crash site. Other fragmented wreckage can be found in the gulley below the crash site.

Part of the fuselage (nose) is now on display at Mull Museum.

 

 

 

Aircraft Details

 

 

Registration or Serial: KK194

 

Operator: RAF (45 GP / Ferry Command)

 

Operating Station: Not Allocated (Delivery flight to Prestwick)

 

Station Location:  Unknown

 

 

 

 

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