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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 25050
Last updated: 25 November 2021
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Type:Silhouette image of generic B24 model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Consolidated YB-24/LB-30A Liberator
Owner/operator:Atlantic Return Ferry Organisation Royal Air Force (Atlantic Return Ferry Organisation RAF)
Registration: AM261
MSN: 4
Fatalities:Fatalities: 22 / Occupants: 22
Other fatalities:0
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Mullach Buidhe, at the head of Coire Lan, Isle of Arran -   United Kingdom
Phase: Initial climb
Departure airport:Heathfield aerodrome, RAF Ayr, Scotland
Destination airport:Gander, Newfoundand & Labrador, Canada
Consolidated YB-24/LB-30A Liberator c/n 4; ex 40-699; TOC St Hubert 27.4.41; used by ATFERO as trainer; to RFS with BOAC crew; first service St Hubert to Prestwick via Gander 1.6.41; carried Duke of Kent to Canada 28.7.41.

Written off (destroyed) 10.8.41: Crashed in cloud into the hillside of Mullach Buidhe 2,366ft, near Brodick on the Isle of Arran, ca. 41 km WNW of Heathfield (RAF Ayr). The aircraft had take off from Heathfield (Ayr) to fly to Gander in eastern Canada with ferry crews onboard with the intention of those crews ferrying new aircraft back across the Atlantic. Shortly after take off the aircraft entered cloud and flew into Mullach Buidhe near the head of Coire Lan. The flight crews onboard were from Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Air Transport Auxiliary and British Overseas Airways Corperation. All 22 of the crew and passengers perished in the crash making it the worst crash on Arran. This aircraft had been used less than two weeks earlier to fly the Duke of Kent across the Atlantic, the first such time a member of the royal family had crossed the Atlantic by air.

All 5 crew and 17 passengers on board were killed:

Ernest Robert Bristow White Captain BOAC Pilot Killed
Francis Delaforce Bradbrooke Captain ATA Co-pilot Killed
James Josiah Anderson Captain RAFFC Passenger Killed
Ralph Bruce Brammer Radio Officer RAFFC Passenger Killed
John Beatty Drake Radio Officer RAFFC Passenger Killed
Daniel Joseph Duggan Captain RAFFC Passenger Killed
Henry Samuel Green Radio Officer BOAC Passenger Killed
George Thomas Harris Captain RAFFC Passenger Killed
Hoyt Ralph Judy Captain RAFFC Passenger Killed
Wilfrid Groves Kennedy Radio Officer RAFFC Passenger Killed
Watt Miller King Captain RAFFC Passenger Killed
George Laing Radio Officer RAFFC Passenger Killed
William Kenneth Marks Radio Officer RAFFC Passenger Killed
Hugh Cameron McIntosh Radio Officer RAFFC Passenger Killed
Albert Alexander Oliver Radio Officer ATA Passenger Killed
George Herburt Powell Radio Officer ATA Passenger Killed
John Evan Price Captain RAFFC Passenger Killed
Herbert David Rees Radio Officer ATA Passenger Killed
Ernest George Reeves Flight Engineer RAFFC Passenger Killed
John James Rouleston First Officer RAFFC Passenger Killed
Harold Clifford Wesley Smith Captain RAFFC Passenger Killed
Jack Wixen Captain RAFFC Passenger Killed

All but one of the crew and passengers were buried on the Isle of Arran, the one who wasn’t, Radio Officer Henry Green, was buried at Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey.

According to the RAF investigation team, the accident was caused by a navigation error on part of the crew who followed a heading of 295° shortly after take off instead of 012°. It resulted in a deviation of the aircraft which was flying 15 km north of the initial track. The crew was unable to know his real position due to low visibility and the absence of ground visual references.

The Liberator was being operated by the Atlantic Return Ferry Organisation. It took off from Heathfield bound for Canada carrying personnel intended to fly new aircraft back to the UK. The persons on board were mainly from Ferry Command, RAF, with a few from the Air Transport Auxiliary and BOAC.


1. Air-Britain Archive, September 2012, p. 101
2. Multiple casualties; aircraft accident, Liberator AM261: National Archives (PRO Kew) File AIR 81/8267 at


Consolidated Liberator Mark I, AM261, of Ferry Command, prepares to taxy at Prestwick, Scotland, with the Duke of Kent on board, bound for Canada on July 28 1941. This was the first occasion on which a member of the Royal Family crossed the Atlantic by aircraft. Consolidated B-24 Liberator - Royal Air Force Ferry Command, 1941-1943. CH3168

Revision history:

27-Sep-2008 01:00 ASN archive Added
21-May-2010 14:42 angels one five Updated [Aircraft type, Location, Phase, Nature, Departure airport, Destination airport, Narrative]
21-May-2010 14:45 angels one five Updated [Location, Source]
09-Jun-2013 11:34 Uli Elch Updated [Aircraft type, Cn, Location, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Narrative]
10-Jun-2019 07:23 Anon. Updated [Narrative]
09-Nov-2019 08:02 Anon. Updated [Departure airport]
03-Feb-2020 11:19 stehlik49 Updated [Operator, Operator]
23-Jun-2021 20:57 Dr. John Smith Updated [Time, Cn, Operator, Departure airport, Destination airport, Source, Embed code, Narrative]
23-Jun-2021 20:58 Dr. John Smith Updated [Source]
23-Jun-2021 22:18 Anon. Updated [Operator, Departure airport, Operator]

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