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 Ariège.

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


9 Responses to “FLYING DRAMA IN THE PYRENEES – December 5th, 1944”

  1. Jon Etkins Says:


    My uncle, Captain R.V.D. Palmer, QORWK & Glider Pilot Regiment, was one of the fatalities in this crash. I know precious little about my family’s wartime service, and would very much like to know more about the crash which took my uncle’s life.

    If anyone knows how to get in touch with Simon Batchelor or Lt Col Mathevet, I would be much obliged if you could pass that information on to me.

    If the cited booklet is available online, I would also be obliged if someone could provide the URL.

    My email address is jon at snikte dot net.

    Thank you.

  2. Jon Etkins Says:

    The link to the PDF version of the account, at the top of the page, is no longer working. Could someone please update the link or provide a new URL for the pdf file?


  3. the24assocbloger Says:

    Jon – checked the BLog this evening and re-established the link to the booklet. I will separately forward your comments and request to Simon who may still have the Lt Col’s details.

  4. Jon Etkins Says:

    Greetings once again. My wife and I are about to embark on a European vacation, which will include a pilgrimage of sorts to Mijanes and the surrounding region. I also hope to hike to the actual crash site, if possible and weather permitting. If anyone here would like me to say or leave any words at the church yard or the site if I get there, or have any particulat photo requests, please let me know in the next week or so – I will be there on July 6th and 7th.

  5. Jon Etkins Says:

    In case anyone’s interested, I’ve posted photos from our visit to Mijanes to my Flickr account. This site doesn’t appear to like me trying to post a link, so you may have to cut and paste to get it to work:

  6. Pierre Lermigeaux Says:

    Bonjour.Aux personnes interessées je signale que le livre ” en français”Tragédie aérienne dans les pyrénées” est en vente à l ‘office de tourisme de Quérigut. ouvrage trés interessant ! par ailleurs, des parties de l ‘avion sont conservées à la maison du Patrimoine au château d ‘Usson.

    Which Google translates as:-
    Hello. Interested persons, I would like to mention that the book “in French” Air Tragedy in the Pyrenees “is on sale at the tourist office of Quérigut. From Heritage to Usson Castle.

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