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Appeal over WW2 plane crashes on Bute

The grave in Wisconsin of 2/Lt James R. Stroebel, killed when a B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft crash-landed at Stravanan Bay on Bute's west coast on June 6, 1943. (Pic courtesy of Findagrave/Dave Earl.)

The grave in Wisconsin of 2/Lt James R. Stroebel, killed when a B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft crash-landed at Stravanan Bay on Bute's west coast on June 6, 1943. (Pic courtesy of Findagrave/Dave Earl.)

 

The co-author of a book on military aircraft accidents on Scotland’s islands has appealed for information about two crashes which happened on Bute in 1943.

David Earl is the joint creater, with Peter Dobson, of ‘Lost To The Isles’, a series of accounts of military aircraft accidents on Scottish islands between 1914 and 1941.

Mr Earl is now working on a second volume and is seeking information about a Royal Navy Spitfire which came down on Bute on November 19, 1943, killing its pilot, Sub-Lieutenant Ernest Gordon Elwell RNVR.

In an email to Bute Museum curator Anne Speirs, Mr Earl says: “I was told it [the crash] was between Windyhall and the A845 but that is very vague. On the death register it says Kerry Croy Farm, so I think it’s somewhere between Ascog and Kerrycroy.

“He was flying from Ballyhalbert, Northern Ireland to Abbotsinch, Glasgow, so was heading roughly in a north-east direction.”

Mr Earl is also looking for personal recollections from Bute residents of a 1943 air crash on the island which is rather better known, namely a Boeing B-17 ‘Flying Fortress’ which came down at Stravanan Bay, killing one of its ten crew, 2/Lt James R. Stroebel, on June 6 that year.

The wreckage of the aircraft was an attraction for many inquisitive young boys after the crash, and the wreckage, at least until relatively recently, was still visible on the Stravanan shore at low tide.

Mr Earl continues: “If anyone has any souvenir pieces of it that could be photographed, or photographs of Stravanan Bay that could be used in the book, that would be a great help.”

If you have any information about, or recollections of, either crash, or its aftermath, please get in touch with us at The Buteman - to email us, just click on the address at the top of this article, or you can give us a call on (01700) 502503.

 

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