Aircraft Type and Background
USAF Republic P-47D Thunderbolt / 44-33143
Aircraft Type Nickname: "the Jug"; since—because of its weight and solid build—it was considered to be something of a juggernaut.
The Republic P-47 Thunderbolt was perhaps the heaviest single engine fighter-bomber of its day. It was equipped with a Pratt and Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engine of 43 - 46 litres capacity.
The Thunderbolt was equipped with .50 calibre machine guns, with four on each wing. It was also capable of carrying rockets or bombs.
The aircraft was used as an escort fighter, a fighter-bomber, and a ground-attack fighter.
BELOW: Side view of P-47D-40 R-2800 Thunderbolt engine.
Photo: 2006 'Kogo' (own work).
Released by the author to the public domain under GNU Free Documentation License, 1.2 or later.
Aircraft Accident Details
P-47 44-33143 took off from Renfrew on the 16th of February 1945 at 13:10 hours on a ferry flight to RAF Burtonwood. The pilot was 2nd Lt. Robert Knowles. A few other aircraft were in the same flight and they lost touch with Knowles after the weather closed in after Prestwick. Around 14.30 hrs an explosion was heard over Fleet Bay.
On the 18th of February an RAF rescue party located the wreckage near Craigmore point, Kirkcudbright. The pilot had tried to get out of the aircraft but was too late and his body was found outside the cockpit of the aircraft tangled in the wreckage.
[The information here and in the Panel below was kindly provided by Alan Leishman]
Crash Site Photos
General Location of Crash Site
BELOW: A panoramic shot taken from Craigmore Point with Fleet Bay to the right. The yellow arrow at the extreme right of the photo indicates the approximate location of the P-47 crash site.
Photo: © 2014 Gary Nelson
BELOW: Looking toward the crash site (yellow arrow) further up Fleet Bay. The actual location is in mud at the edge of the river, and just off Rough Point Hill.
Photo: © 2014 Gary Nelson
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Crash Date / Site
Accident Date: 16 Feb 1945
Fleet Bay (off Craigmore Point),
by Gatehouse of Fleet.
Nearest road: A75.
Region: Dumfries and Galloway
Nearest towns or villages:
Gatehouse of Fleet (NE), or Kirkcudbright (E).
Nearest large towns:
OS Grid Ref. N/A
GPS Ref. N/A
Present Condition: Buried in soft mud at the moment. However, some wreckage may be seen from time to time.
The cockpit canopy was recovered from the site and transferred to Dumfries and Galloway Aviation Museum.
Registration or Serial: 44-33143
Operator: USAF (Troop Carrier Group.)
Departure Station Location: Renfrew near Glasgow.
Departure Station Status: Closed. Overbuilt with housing and M8 motorway.
Destination Station Location: Near Warrington, Cheshire, England.
Destination Station Status: Closed and derelict.
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Fleet Bay, Gatehouse of Fleet