FLYING DRAMA IN THE PYRENEES – December 5th, 1944

Flying Drama – Dakota FL 588

Click on above link for pdf version of full story – its about 5MB in size

Another most interesting email from Nick Scarr set about a whole chain of events, including a link up with France, as you will see.

Dear Sir

I would be most grateful for your assistance. A colleague of mine, Mr J.C. Mathevet, has written a report on the Pyrenean crash of Dakota FL588 on the 5th December 1944. This aircraft belonged to the 24th Squadron of the Transport Command of the RAF based at Hendon. Mr Mathevet is in the process of re-writing the work and wishes to include an accurate, authentic image of the type of Dakota in question. The Dakota was a Mark III, RAF Number FL588 with twin wasp R1830-92 engines – I can supply more information about this if you require.

This seemed like a good case for Simon Batchelor, who had some success in assisting Lt Col Air retd Jean Claude MATHEVET of Lyon. He has given us permission to include some of the extract of a booklet he written about the incident.

The XXIV crew members on the fatal flight were F/LT N.O. CLEMENTS Pilot , F/LT M.L. RICHARDS Navigateur, F.O W.P. GRIFFITHS Radio.

In Memory

On December 1944, a new tragedy hit the Royal Air Force, the Army Air Corps and the Glider Pilot Regiment again. A Royal Air Force C-47 Dakota crashed on a snowy, majestic ridge in Ari├Ęge.

Twenty three airmen were on board, twenty of whom belonged to the Glider Pilot Regiment. Seventeen of them died on that day; another one died a few days later because of his injuries. Some of the bodies were only found the following Spring, when the snow had melted away.

Three men were saved thanks to the courage and outstanding determination of two among their comrades who, though seriously wounded themselves, managed to reach the village of Mijanes for help.

This story is dedicated to the memory of those eighteen British airmen who lie in Mazargues cemetery today.

Pyrenees Map

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