Vickers Warwick BV417 10th June 1944 281 Sqdn
We fly to save
This picture shows a Warwick with the lifeboat under the bomb bay.
One of the groups most important and exciting projects for 2009 was the hunt for the wreck of Warwick BV417 which ditched into Scapa Flow on 10th June 1944. F/O Jack Murray and his crew left Wick on 9th June 1944 to search for a Catalina belived to have been shot down by a U Boat 120 miles north of Shetland. Late that night the search was called off with nothing found, BV417 started her long trip back to Wick. At 12.45 next morning while over Orkney they suffered an engine faliure and F/O Murray dumped his lifeboat and then skillfully brought his aircraft down into the waters of Scapa Flow.
All the crew survived and the group are in touch with two of them, Ted Russell and Cledwyn Evans who have added so much to this project.
After many hours research looking through ships logs and reports we now have very good idea of where this aircraft will be.
(Photo Ted Russell)
The above photograph shows the crew of BV417 & later BV411 in front of their Warwick BV417.
L to R: Obs. F/O John Bartholomew, 2nd Pilot H.Bath, W/AG F/Sgt Ted Russell, Pilot F/O Jack Murray, W/AG F/Sgt Cledwyn Evans, W/AG F/Sgt Colin Acton & F/O C.H. Haywood.
Note: H.Bath was not on BV417.
Canadian Pilot F/O Jack Murray photo Ted Russell
A dropped airborne lifeboat lifeboat set up being tested
Both BV417 & BV411 (see Shetland Projects) worked with 281 Sqn out of Wick, NE Scotland & both flown by the same crew. These aircraft were used for Air Sea Rescue, looking for ditched aircrew well out into the Atlantic or in the North Sea over to Norway & Denmark.
Many aircrews owe their lives to these large but lightly armed aircraft, and brave crews, who would fly in all weathers and risking contact with enemy fighters to drop a liftboat that would offer more chance and hope than the flimsy rubber liferafts that most aircraft carried !.
12/9/2009. ARGOS reports with great sadness that Sgt Colin Acton, Wireless Op/Air Gunner in F/O Jack Murray`s crew from Warwicks BV411 & BV417 passed away on 3/9/2009 aged 86, he was the youngest member of the crew.
Sgt Colin Acton. Photo: Ted Russell.
5/12/2013.It is with great sadness that we report the
loss of Ted Russell, Ex-RAF W/Op & A/G of Warwick`s BV411 and BV417 of
281 Sq. Ted, who passed away on Thursday 5th December, had been a great help
with our research into the two aircraft that ditched in Scapa Flow and off
Sumburgh, and he will be greatly missed by friends and family. R.I.P. Ted
Above: An Airborne Lifeboat as used Warwick BV417 is now in Lyness, having been modified somewhat from it`s original status, fibre glassed, renamed ZULU and used as a sailing boat. For years it lay on a trailer at Ness Point, Stromness where it unfortunatly broke its back but was saved ten years ago it now lays in a shed at the museum badly in need of some TLC. Photo: Kevin Heath.
Above & Below: 2 more recent photos of the airborne lifeboat at Lyness Museum, top pic shows in good detail the hull and storage compartments, and the shot below the general scale of the LB. Photos: ARGOS Collection.
A video of some of the Warwick wreckage found in Scapa Flow can be found on our videos page Here: http://www.crashsiteorkney.com/page32.htm
Some parts of BV417 have been now found by ARGOS member divers off Fara Isle though the location of the main section of the aircraft has still to be located. (See update 12.3.2015) at foot of page.
Below are photos taken by diver Ben Wade of the bomb beam structure with overload tank tubes.
Above: ARGOS Dive photo of the bomb bay section. Photo: Ben Wade.
Above: Warwick Bomb beam section drawing Photo: Kevin Brown.
Above: Warwick BV417 wreckage off Fara. Photo: Ben Wade.
UPDATE: We now know what happened to the rest of the aircraft:
On the 1st October 2011 we were contacted by a Mr Jim Sinclair who as a child remembers an aircraft on the beach at Rinnigill and was told at the time that it was a Blenheim and remembers the aircraft having two engines '' fairly intact being beached at the hydrogen plant. Engines were centrally mounted and there appeared to be a bomb-aimers window at the nose.''
The record below confirms this.
Extra info for Warwick story from AIR 27/2298 950 (Barrage Balloon) Squadron Operations Record Book
"June 10 - During the early morning a Warwick crashed near Fara pier just off shore owing to petrol shortage. The crew of seven were taken to 'C' Flight Headquarters, and after lunch left for RAF Skeabrae.
June 18 - The RAF Salvage Unit, Shetlands, floated the crashed aircraft from Fara to Rinnigill beach and handed it over to this Unit pending the arrival of a salvage party from No 56 MU.
June 20 - Salvage party of one sergeant and ten airmen arrived from 56 MU went to work on crashed aircraft. They were accommodated at Rinnigill."
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