Short Sunderland NJ175 crash at Cashelard, Co. Donegal

Short Sunderland NJ175 was one of many flying boats operating from Castle Archdale, Co. Fermanagh in the hands of the Royal Canadian Air Force 422 Squadron.

Short Sunderland NJ175 took off at 1155hrs on 12th August 1944 from R.A.F. Castle Archdale, Co. Fermanagh. The crew was from Royal Canadian Air Force 422 Squadron flying with the Royal Air Force Coastal Command. The mission for the day was a convoy patrol over the Atlantic Ocean.

Following the River Erne, the plane passed over Belleek, Co. Fermanagh and Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal and out into the Atlantic. The crew noted the rough sounding engine and as it grew worse, the pilot decided to return to base. He dumped fuel and jettisoned depth charges over the coast before coming inland.

The plane came down on flat ground near Cashelard, Co. Donegal. The impact started a fire, which burned out the forward section and wings of the plane.

Three of the 12-man aircrew died as a result the crash. Their bodies returned to Northern Ireland at the border near Belleek, Co. Fermanagh as soldiers from the Irish Army based at Finner Camp provided a guard of honour. Irish authorities contacted R.A.F. Castle Archdale, permitting the Royal Air Force to enter neutral Ireland to retrieve guns and ammunition.

Short Sunderland NJ175 Crew

Last Name First Name(s) Rank Role Info
Allen George Willoughby Flying Officer Navigator RCAF J/24911. Survived with head injuries, and burns to hands and legs.
Clark Joseph Frank S Sergeant Air Gunner 1694120. Survived with fractured spine.
Colburn George Arnold Sergeant Air Gunner RCAF R/217572. Survived with head injuries, and broken right leg.
Devine Evan Campbell "Cam" Flight Lieutenant Pilot RCAF J/5705. Killed aged 22 years old. Buried in Irvinestown Church of Ireland.
Forrest John Reginald "Jack" Pilot Officer Wireless Operator / Air Gunner RCAF J/92096. Killed. Buried in Irvinestown Roman Catholic Church.
Jeal Harold Roger Sergeant Flight Engineer TCAF R/75336. Survived with fractured spine, and burns to hands and face.
Locke Arthur Leslie Pilot Officer Wireless Operator / Air Gunner RCAF J/85165. Survived with head injuries.
Oderkirk Delbert Venus "Bert" Sergeant Wireless Operator / Air Gunner RCAF R/161807. Survived with injuries to hands and face.
Parker Robert Clifford "Bob" Pilot Officer RCAF C/86728.
Platsko Martin Alexander "Alex" Flying Officer Co-Pilot RCAF J/24784. Survived with head injuries.
Singer Charles Langford "Chuck" Sergeant Air Gunner RCAF R/206461. Survived with fractured left arm.
Wilkinson Roy Thomas Flying Officer RCAF J/28705. Killed aged 22 years old. Buried in Irvinestown Church of Ireland.

We felt like nothing was ever going to happen to us out there. To fly was just a treat to get up and if they ever postponed a flight on us we got sick, you know, just sick. I don’t know any aircrew that ever worried- it was all jovial, funny guys that had a good time, I don’t know anybody that ever worried about dying. Flying out to sea in those things was so peaceful. You almost forgot that you had a job to do it was so beautiful and peaceful.

Charles Langford “Chuck” Singer speaking in Cashelard, Co. Donegal in 2002.

Back Row: Jeal, Colburn, Unknown, Singer, Parker. Front Row: Forrest, Allen, Devine, Platsko, Hawkins.

Crew of Short Sunderland NJ175

Royal Canadian Air Force 422 Squadron crew led by Evan Campbell "Cam" Devine. Three of this crew died in a crash after taking off from R.A.F. Castle Archdale on 12th August 1944. Photo from WW2 Talk Forms.

Short Sunderland NJ175 was one of only a few flying boats in Co. Fermanagh to crash in daylight with good visibility and many witnesses saw the crash.

Doctors, nurses, and clergymen attended the crew after the crash. An ambulance took the injured to Sheil Hospital, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal. Dr. Daly and Dr. Gorden and the nursing staff took care of the men. After a few days, the surviving crew returned to St. Angelo Airfield in Co. Fermanagh. From there, they travelled onwards to a hospital in England.

A memorial to the crew of Short Sunderland NJ175 stands near Belleek. Pieces of melted aluminium from the wreck are visible around the memorial erected by Gary Pentland and James McGarrigle.

In the years since the crash, local residents have found many scrap pieces from the Sunderland. Three members of the Jeal family came from Canada to visit the site on 30th June 2009. Charles Singer also returned to the crash site in 2002 despite some records suggesting he had died in the 1944 incident.

Evan Campbell Devine

Flight Lieutenant | J/5705

Flight Lieutenant Evan Campbell Devine, known as Cam, died on 12th August 1944 when Short Sunderland NJ175 crashed after taking off from Castle Archdale.