Memorial to a tragedy at Blackrock

In 2004, Islay was treated to a presentation at the Machrie Hotel by Alan Deller who was Squadron Leader of 246 Squadron of Coastal Command while it was stationed in Bowmore operating Sunderland Flying Boats from Loch Indaal during WW2. Alan was talking about the book he has written about his experiences flying Sunderlands, and during his visit to the island he returned to the site of the terrible crash of Sunderland DV979F in which nine of his comrades were killed. Reflecting on his visit later the Squadron Leader suggested that a memorial to the men be erected on the site and he approached his friend Alastair Shaw from Lagavulin with the idea. Alastair in turn contacted The Museum of Islay Life, and the idea is now close to becoming a reality. A stone cairn is to be erected on a grassy knoll that overlooks both the site close to where the aircraft came to rest, and also Loch Indaal where the great aircraft were stationed. A granite slab has been inscribed with an inscription and will be set into the cairn. There will be a simple ceremony to mark the occasion when the cairn is complete. The site has previously been marked by a wooden plaque erected by Margaret Reid, a friend of Sergeant Navigator Walter Heath who was one of those lost. This plaque will remain in situ and will be restored as part of the project.

This article appeared in the Ileach of 16 January 2010 together with an account of the above mentioned tragedy of which a separate page has been created on the Islay Info website. For the written account of Rona MacKenzie about this tragedy please visit the page World War II tragedy Blackrock Islay

Tag: history sunderland loch indaal tragedy worldwar2