On 28th March 1943, Bristol Beaufort AW277 took off on a non-operational night navigation flight. On the plane's return from the training exercise, the Royal Air Force tracked its progress until around 20 miles from the destination airfield.
The crew of the Mark II plane was serving in R.A.F. No. 5 Operational Training Unit (O.T.U.) Within a short distance of the airfield at R.A.F. Maghaberry, Co. Antrim, the crew signalled X257. Around 3 minutes later, the plane collided with electric cables around 0400hrs on 29th March 1943. Records from No. 5 O.T.U. suggest the weather was clear but the night was extremely dark.
Beaufort AW277 crashed on Colin Mountain, Co. Antrim, under conditions of clear sky although the night was very dark. The crew of four Sgt W.A. McKinley, Pilot, Sgt T.C. Stevens (Australian) Navigator, (B), Sgt E.F.H. Stephens, W.O.P/A.G., Sgt P.H. Ryder, W.O.P/A.G., being killed; cause of accident not yet known.
O.R.B. of R.A.F. No. 5 Operational Training Unit.
The site of the crash was Colin Mountain, Co. Antrim. There were no survivors.
Remembering the crew of AW277
|Last Name||First Name(s)||Rank||Role||Information|
|McKinley||William Alexander||Sergeant||Pilot||R.A.F.V.R. 1080089 Killed. Buried in Strabane Cemetery, Strabane, Co. Tyrone.|
|Ryder||Peter Henry||Sergeant||Wireless Air Gunner||R.A.F.V.R. 1293932 Killed.|
|Stephens||Edward Francis Hunter||Sergeant||Wireless Air Gunner||R.A.F.V.R. 1312371 Killed.|
|Stevens||Thomas Charles||Sergeant||Navigator and Bomb Aimer||R.A.A.F. 9452 Killed. Buried in Belfast City Cemetery, Belfast.|