View Full Version : No.10 AGS, 20 August 1942, crash and rescue attempts

12th May 2021, 19:40
Found this while clearing a backlog - question is who were they attempting to rescue and was the chap ultimately saved ?

HATCHARD, Thomas Harold, Warrant Officer (403525) - No.10 Air Gunner School - King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct - awarded as per London Gazette dated 1 January 1943. With S/L Charles Bruce Thompson. Citation in Public Record Office Air 2/4918.

On 20th August 1942, a Defiant aircraft crashed in the sea one mile off Walney Island. At the time a heavy sea was running and a strong wind was blowing. On being advised of the accident, Squadron Leader Thompson took off in a Lysander and, after locating the aircraft, he dropped a dinghy. As the pilot was unable to pick this up, Squadron Leader Thompson radioed for another aircraft to come to the scene and drop a dinghy. He then returned and landed on the beach near a shed where he knew a rowing boat was kept. An entry was forced into the boat house and, in company with Warrant Officer Hatchard and another airman, Squadron Leader Thompson launched the boat. It was found to be unseaworthy for three persons, however, and the party had to return to shore. Warrant Officer Hatchard, who is a skilled swimmer with considerable experience of life saving, made a strong attempt to swim out to the pilot but was forced to abandon the attempt owing to the distance and roughness of the sea. He also asked for permission to make a parachute jump with a dinghy from an aircraft in order to save the stranded pilot but this request was refused in view of the dangerous conditions. Squadron Leader Thompson finally proceeded to row out to the aircraft alone but the boat took in so much water that it eventually sank and this officer had to rely on his “Mae West” to keep afloat. He was eventually picked up by another boat. Throughout these operations Squadron Leader Thompson and Warrant Officer Hatchard displayed indomitable courage and devotion to duty,

Errol Martyn
13th May 2021, 11:25
Colin Cummings in his Clipped Wings Volume One records the aircraft as Defiant I N3449 of 10 AGS, At sea off Millom.
The aircraft was found to have crashed into the sea and despite the best efforts of the air sea rescue service, it was not possible to revive the pilot, who died of exposure. The cause of the accident was not established.
Pilot Officer James Ferguson MACKIE 28
Leading Aircraftman Geoffrey BRADSHAW 19

Hatchard, incidentally, was RNZAF and was killed on ops along with all of his 7 Squadron Lancaster crew on the night of 3/4 Sep 43 in a raid against Berlin.


13th May 2021, 12:35
Thanks, Errol - ultimately a sad story all around.

15th July 2023, 14:18
Thanks to both Hugh and Errol for a really interesting post.

Having recently been in contact with a relative, I'm interested in finding out more about Pilot Officer James Ferguson MACKIE (110610) who was 28 years old when he died in this accident, in particular if he had been flying operationally with a squadron prior to his time at 10 AGS.

Many thanks