Word-War-2-Memories

Articles from the Isle of Man Part 2 of 2

World War Two Memories of an Eight Year Old

John W. Qualtrough of Port St Mary, Isle of Man has provided this account, based on his memory as an 8 year old, of a Halifax bomber crash which occurred on Cronk Moar Farm near Port St Mary in 1943. Cronk Moar Farm was farmed by members of the QUALTROUGH family

He writes:

"On November 6th 1943, a Halifax bomber (I now know as W 1251 from Topcliffe, Yorkshire) flew over Port St Mary. It was a Saturday afternoon.

"I was in my father’s shoe shop in High Street, when I heard it. It sounded rough and misfiring. I ran out to the top of the lane across the road where you could see over the Bay.

"As I looked up it disappeared into the clouds, trailing smoke. After a few seconds there was a bang and it came out in bits. The tail and one wing broke off with a lot of small bits.

"The fuselage came straight down spiraling slightly. It hit the ground in a cloud of smoke. I saw what looked like a chequer-board (black and white) shoot across the ground. It must have been some sort of optical illusion.

" A short time after, the Port St Mary fire tender went. My father (Henry James Qualtrough) was in the Brigade, so he went. It had crashed on Cronk Moar Farm, not on Strandhall, as the records say.

"On impact, the flames had set several haystacks on fire. My father was there all night. The farmer, Bertie Qualtrough (George Berkeley Qualtrough -see Chart 12 ) was coming up the lane in a horse and cart. The horse bolted over the hedge and Bertie’s cap flew off and he never found it!

"The tail (of the plane) was some way from the rest of the wreckage and one of the air crew, presumably the rear gunner, was found later deep in the ground.

"The farmer’s (Bertie Qualtrough, above) daughter, Margaret Qualtrough, died some weeks later from shock. She wasn’t very strong and it had come down just by their house.

"My father bought me back some engine parts. He (my father) told me a funny story that one of the firemen, a painter from Port St Mary, was sleeping in the cow house (they were on shifts at night) when he received a cow ‘flop’ in his face and woke up spluttering much to the amusement of the rest of the crew!!"

Information provided by John W Qualtrough, Port St Mary, Isle of Man.

April 2001

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