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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
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RAF Crest
25.07.1941 OADF Hudson V AE640 Fl/Lt. Keith F. Arnold

Operation: Delivery

Date: 25th July 1941 (Friday)

Unit: OADF (Overseas Aircraft Delivery Flight)

Type: Hudson V

Serial: AE640

Code: None assigned

Base: RAF St. Eval, Cornwall

Location: Mull of Kintyre, Scotland

Pilot: Fl/Lt. Keith Fergus Arnold 39012 DFC. RAF Age 30. Killed

Obs: Sgt. Percy Keast 1250023 RAFVR Age 24. Killed

W/Op: Wilfred Bratherton 9055946 Civilian Technical Corps Age 24. Killed


The new aircraft was being delivered to RAF St. Eval in Cornwall via RAF Prestwick. It had been built at the Lockheed Vega factory in California USA and had flown across the USA from California, Montreal in Canada and the Atlantic Ocean then making a stop at Limarvady in Northern Ireland.

Poor weather was forecasted for the final leg to Prestwick with rain and low cloud but the pilot felt it was safe enough to take off.

No further details regarding why they crashed but it can be surmised that it was probably owing to weather conditions when it hit high ground at Feorlan on the southeast corner of the Mull of Kintyre - all 3 crew members were killed.

Burial details:

Fl/Lt. Keith Fergus Arnold. St Eval Churchyard, Cornwall. Row 2.Grave 12. Son of Harry Watson and Eva Mary Arnold of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Husband of Mary (née) Hudson of Redroof, The Ridgeway, Stanmore, Middlesex, England. Prior to service with the OADF he had served with 217 Squadron 217 Squadron in Coastal Command, where he earned his DFC on the 25th April 1941 with the Photo Development Unit (PDU). He was already serving in the RAF for a few years prior to his loss. Note: His younger brother, P/O. Victor Charles Arnold J/4253 RCAF was also killed just two months earlier during training with 58 OTU. Further details of his loss can be found here. Grave inscription reads: “Always Loved And Remembered”

st eval churchyard

St. Eval Churchyard, Cornwall UK

Sgt. Percy Keast. Campbeltown Cemetery (Kilkerron), Argyllshire. Division 4.Grave 587. Son of Percy and Hilda Keast of Tywardreath, Cornwall, England. Percy had several brothers and sisters, including Vera, Dorothy, Leslie and Stanley. Also commemorated on the Tywardreath War Memorial in Cornwall (right). Grave inscription reads: 'Always Remembered'.

twardreath war memorial cornwall

Left: Sgt. Percy Keast (courtesy Cornwall family history website - see link in credits below)

Wilfred Bratherton. Campbeltown Cemetery (Kilkerron), Argyllshire. Division 4.Grave 588. Son of Wilfred and Mary Bratherton of New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. Grave inscription reads: 'Beautiful Memories'.

campbeltown kilkerran cemetery

Campbeltown Kilkerron Cemetery, Argyllshire UK

Researched by Linda Ibrom for Aircrew Remembered - July 2017. Page dedicated to the relatives of this crew with thanks to Sam Lowe and Michael Lee (UK Military History/Military genealogy and Military photography). Grave photographs courtesy of James Adam, Pixturmn and Sheila W. Also thanks to Cornwall family history website for additional details on the pilot and for the photo of Sgt. Percy Keast.

Further details and crew photographs can be found on Alan Clark’s wonderful website: Peak District Air Accident Research.

LI 13.07.2017

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Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Archiwum - Polish Air Force Archive (on this site), Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Stan D. Bishop, John A. Hey MBE, Gerrie Franken and Maco Cillessen - Losses of the US 8th and 9th Air Forces, Vols 1-6, Dr. Theo E.W. Boiton - Nachtjagd Combat Archives, Vols 1-13. Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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