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Thread: A long shot - a Spitfire pilot killed in Northumberland being a "ghost" after WWII

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    Default A long shot - a Spitfire pilot killed in Northumberland being a "ghost" after WWII

    Hi all, I would like to ask if anyone can help me to bring to light details about one story I was told by a veteran RAF pilot many years ago but I was not able to indetify the pilot in question.

    The story was that a Spitfire on a training flight has been lost without any trace - believed in area between Alnwick and Cheviot Hills. Several year after the war there were rumors there is a ghost in the local moors and after several attempts a Spitfire was recovered from local moor with the dead pilot.
    The pilot was later buried possibly in Morpeth.
    Unfortunately no names, no unit, no serial, no dates...
    I personally believe the accident should happen in the last months of 1944 or early 1945 and the recovery + funeral in approx. 1952-1953 but this is only a guess.
    His base may be Acklington or Eshott (maybe 57 OTU) but I was not able to find any casualty which would fit with this story.

    Any ideas about the Spitfire or pilot identy would be much appreacited.

    TIA

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Pavel

    A possibility: if you do a Google search for spitfire pilot ghost northumberland it comes up with some newpaper articles from the Daily Mail and Daily Express* concerning John Knight:

    https://stjameswarmemorials.wordpres...r/john-knight/

    https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/c.../knight,-john/

    Regards

    Simon

    *the Daily Mail and Daily Express are regarded by some people here in the UK as less than reliable news sources - some might say much like all the other UK tabloid newspapers. 'Caveat lector' as they say...

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    Thank you Simon, I have seen this story but not with the pilot and aircraft identification.
    But I am afraid this would be not "my ghost" as the one I was told about have been found only after the war and this one seems to be was found right after the accident.
    Also "my ghost" stopped his "activities" when the pilot has been buried.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Pavel

    I'm pretty sure there are no burials related to Spitfire accidents that match your story in Morpeth. There are some victims of Spitfire crashes buried in Chevington Cemetery, however:

    BOOTH, Geoffrey 119496, Spitfire IIa P8197 of 55 OTU, crashed 1/2 mile NW of Boulmer November 22nd 1943.

    BROWN, Eric Lindsay 401893 R.A.A.F., Spitfire IIb P8587 of 57 OTU, crashed into hills at Dunstable, Wooler, March 25th 1943.

    HULTON Fergus Te'oha 416496 R.N.Z.A.F., Spitfire IIa P7902 of 57 OTU, crashed near Wooler after colliding with Hurricane AG111, May 5th 1943. He was buried on May 10th 1943.

    MOUREAUX, Henri René Eugene, Spitfire R7202 of 57 OTU, flew into high ground at Darden Rigg, Rothbury, February 3rd 1943. His body was not recovered for 5 days after a shepherd found the wreck. He was originally buried at Chevington, but his remains were returned to France after the war.

    van HAMEL, Jacob Willem 132085, Spitfire XIV NH700 of 322 (Dutch) Sqn, crashed on a hillside near Rothbury, April 11th 1944.

    Regards

    Simon

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    Thank you Simon for your effort.
    Still I am afraid to me there is no right candidate in your list.
    If the story is correct he should be registered as "Missing" during the far and body found only in the early 1950 and then buried. There were articles about the ghost in the local newspapers according to the reminiscence - possibly any in Acklington where he was based in the 50s.
    But there is still possibility the veteran mixed up sveral stories into one...

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    I think it may perhaps this may be the origin of the story related to you:

    https://www.cheshire-live.co.uk/news...-plane-5292869

    "The craft's flying career - and that of its pilot - was ended on a training exercise in Acklington in 1942 [sic], when Sgt Hugh Biggans MacGregor, 24, of Glasgow, clipped the tail of another plane while learning to fly in formation. After crashing into flooded bogs, the Spitfire and the pilot's body were left unrecovered until 1952, when an officer came across the plane's tail - complete with machine guns - sticking out of the ground. The tail and wings of the plane were taken from the site when Sgt McGregor's remains were recovered, but the front cockpit and engine section, which were buried deep in the ground, were left untouched until Mike rediscovered them 48 years later."

    Sgt Hugh Biggans McGregor, Spitfire P9451.

    https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/c...-hugh-biggans/

    Regards

    Simon
    Last edited by wwrsimon; 22nd September 2019 at 16:38.

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    Simon many thanks! This looks promising! I will try to put all things together and I will se.

    Pavel
    Czechoslovak Airmen in the RAF 1940-1945
    http://cz-raf.webnode.cz

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    Doesn't appear to be a photo on the Hooton Park Trust's web site but here's a photo of P9451's cockpit with a reference to that organization:

    https://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/5870252

    Robert

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    I am not sure that my posting will clarify the identity of this "ghost". In 1952 and up to Aug 1953 I was employed by British Rail as a clerk at Acklington Railway Station - just across the field from RAF Acklington. I have often related the story of RAF Acklington's personnel staff arranging the conveyance of a coffin by train to an undertaker's address in Glasgow. I was out of my depth as a youngster of 16 years but all went smoothly. The coffin was brought to the station platform with minimum ceremony and placed in the guards van at the rear of the train, the guard having been warned in advance of an usual passsenger before leaving Newcastle down the line. I was handed a Railway Warrant - the normal ones used for leave or duty journeys - completed with the airman's number, rank and name - boldly endorsed DECEASED. I recall with clarity talking to the RAF staff and being told that this was the remains of a WW2 pilot recently excavated from the moors. What I do not recall was the pilot's name - remembering only that he was a Sergeant and was "going home to family in Glasgow". I live some 4 miles from the now closed railway station and pass if frequently and never fail to recall that unusual event.

    Jim

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