Operation: Formation training
Date: 16th January 1943 (Saturday)
Unit: No. 58 OTU (Operational Training Unit)
Type: Spitfire X
Serial: X4614 / AR254 / P8276
Base: RAF Grangemouth, Scotland.
Location: Kings Seat, North of Dollar, Clackmannan-shire
Pilot: Sgt. ‘Gordie’ Gordon Murray Duda R/128862 RCAF Age 20. Killed
Pilot: F/O. ‘Bud’ Hugh Gordon Reynolds J/9465 RCAF Age: 20. Killed (1)
Pilot: Sgt. ‘Vin’ Vincent Patrick Daly AUS/408634 RAAF Age 21. Badly Injured, survived. (2)
REASON FOR LOSS:
A triple training tragedy flying out of Grangemouth crashed in bad weather onto Kings Seat Hill above Dollar, killing 2 of the pilots and badly injuring the 3rd. The instructor, F/O. Reynolds was one of the fatalities.
The injured pilot Sgt. Vincent Daly was found 24 hours later, barely alive crawling in the snow by a shepherd. He was taken to Larbert Naval hospital.
Statement made by Sgt. Daly for the board of enquiry:
“I am a pupil attached to ‘C’ Flight 58 OTU. At 11:35 hrs on the 16th January I took off on a practice formation as Red 2 in a ‘Vic’ formation led by F/O. Reynolds. After about 10 minutes flying F/O. Reynolds led our formation into cloud. We were flying in cloud for approximately 5 minutes when F/O. Reynolds signalled us to climb and looking down I saw the ground about 100 ft below me and the hill looming in front. I pulled back the control column and endeavoured to climb, but was unable to clear the hill. I climbed from the wreckage and crawled to Sgt. Duda’s aircraft (X4614) and found him dead - the aircraft of F/O. Reynolds (AR254) was in flames and too far away for me to reach. I endeavored to crawl down the mountain and was eventually discovered by a shepherd 48 hours after the crash.”
(Above courtesy Patricia Katherine Svinth Brammer)
Years later members of the 383 (Alloa) cadets ATC, the Ochil Mountain Rescue Team led by Major Brian Imrie of the REME built a memorial at the spot, on September 12th 2009 it was unveiled with a fly past from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The reverend Ray Gaston, who was the padre to 633 Alloa Squadron ATC, carried out the service of dedication. (Rev. Gaston contacted Aircrew Remembered in March 2016)
(1) The family lost three sons during the war, the other two, 23 year old W/O.II Arthur Mac Reynolds R/98064 RCAF killed just weeks later on the 31st January 1943, whilst with 227 Squadron - commemorated on the Malta Memorial. 20 year old P/O. Douglas Glen Reynolds J/38692 RCAF killed on the 15th April 1944 whilst with 31 OTU in Canada - commemorated on the Ottawa Memorial.
(2) Sgt. Vincent Patrick Daly born on 15th February 1921, of 129 Atherton Road, Oakleigh, Victoria, Australia. Injuries: Compound fracture of right tibia, Lacerations, severe bruising face, scalp and back, frostbite. Discharged from Halton hospital on the 15th June 1944. Repatriated to Australia in 1945. Sadly passed away on the 27th February 1969 of a heart condition, age just 48.
Sgt. Gordon Murray Duda. Grangemouth Cemetery (Grandsable). Sec I. Grave 30. Born in Edmonton Alberta, Canada the son of Janet Duda of Second Avenue, Seattle, Washington, USA.
F/O. Hugh Gordon Reynolds. Grangemouth Cemetery (Grandsable). Sec. 1. Grave 28. Born on the 11th July 1921 the son of Arthur T. Reynolds and Gertie E. Reynolds, of Chatham, Ontario, Canada.
Researched for relatives of the pilot. With thanks to the following for further information supplied by the 1333 (Grangemouth Spitfire) Squadron and the Grangemouth Spitfire Memorial Trust who provided me with so much information and assistance during my visit.
Graves visited by Aircrew Remembered in August 2012 and again in 2014. Patricia Katherine Svinth Brammer who's daughter found the photograph in her mothers possessions after she had passed away. Any relative who would like a high resolution photo of any of the graves in Grangemouth we would be happy to send you a copy.