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ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 144975
Last updated: 2 June 2020
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Time:21:15 LT
Type:Silhouette image of generic ANSN model; specific model in this crash may look slightly different
Avro Anson Mk I
Owner/operator:3 S of GR Royal Air Force (3 S of GR RAF)
Registration: N5372
C/n / msn:
Fatalities:Fatalities: 2 / Occupants: 4
Other fatalities:1
Aircraft damage: Written off (damaged beyond repair)
Location:Drumavoley Road in Glenshesk, Ballycastle, Northern Ireland -   United Kingdom
Phase: En route
Departure airport:RAF Squires Gate, Blackpool, Lancashire
Destination airport:RAF Squires Gate, Blackpool, Lancashire
On the 18th October 1943, Anson N5372 took off at approx 19:40 hours to carry out a night non-operational navigation B3 exercise. The aircraft crashed at 21:15 hours in Ballycastle, County Antrim,Northern Ireland. Two of the crew were killed and two injured.

The aircraft was being flown by Flying Officer Cooper and he attempted a forced-landing, but struck a tree before crashing into a house in Drumavoley Road, Glenshesk, Ballycastle, which at the time was owned by Charles Blaney. Mr Blaney’s wife and their five children were at home as was a young woman from County Donegal, 22 year old Josephine McGroarty, who was staying there at the time.

She was standing outside the house with her boyfriend John Greer from Ballycastle. John was thrown clear as the aircraft came sliding into a fatal impact with the house. Josephine McGroarty was tragically killed as were two of those on board the aircraft. One of these was a high-ranking free-Polish officer, Wing Commander Heller, who was based at Jurby in the Isle of Man.

The Pilot, Flying Officer Cooper, was thrown from the aircraft and he landed in the children’s room, none of whom miraculously were injured, nor were the Blaneys themselves. Wing Commander Heller was later buried in Movilla Cemetery, Newtownards, Co Down.

The Pilot who survived the crash, later stated; “On the last leg of the exercise, the aircraft was flying at 2,400 feet. It was however eleven miles to the starboard of track, a fact not known to the crew. I decided to descend to 2,000 feet to avoid another aircraft. We approached from the downwind side of the mountain, and the wind was 150 degrees at 35/40 kms per hour. There would have been an extensively strong down draft as we approached the mountainside. After the aircraft struck Knockgavd, SOS procedures were carried out and preparations were made for a ditching.”

RAF FO Cooper, J G Captain (Pilot) Injured
Polish Wg Cdr Heiler, W R (1st Navigator Pupil) Killed
RAF` Flt Lt Dunn, J H (2nd Navigator Pupil) Injured
RAAF 404206 WO E G Clarke, (Staff Wireless Air Gunner) Killed

WO E G Clarke is buried in the Drumaclose (Christ Church) Church of Ireland Churchyard,
Limavady, Londonderry, Northern Ireland.


Revision history:

11-Apr-2012 16:48 Dr. John Smith Added
11-Apr-2012 16:50 Dr. John Smith Updated [Operator]
11-Oct-2013 08:21 Nepa Updated [Operator, Narrative]
03-Apr-2014 19:38 mikedunn Updated [Other fatalities, Destination airport, Narrative]
18-Jan-2017 20:25 jdrn7278 Updated [Location, Narrative]

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