View Full Version : Spitfire Thread revisited #2

El Grifo
20th Jun 2022, 09:53
Some of you may recall a thread which I started away back, about an old American visiting me in Scotland asking if I would accompany him to the WW11 crash site of his Spitfire, located about 6 miles from my Photo Studio. He wanted photographs of the site and surrounds.

Here is a link to the closed thread :-

The thread raised a lot of interest as well as a fair sprinkling of cynicism and even a dash of ridicule.
It went on for a long period of time before eventually being closed !

Last week, out of the blue, I received a letter no less, from a family member of the pilot, explaining that he knew a lot about the story, but had been restricted by family in coming forward. Recent events had freed him up to be able to talk about it

The pilot was indeed American, involved in intelligence gathering whilst attached to a photo reconnaissance squadron or group.
He took off on a mission, but suffered some kind of unspecified equipment failure not connected with airframe or engine.
He turned back, but was faced with thick cloud or fog which had formed soon after take-off.
He headed along a track which he believed took him up the East Coast.
As the fog or cloud thinned, he spotted the landmark of the Eildon Hills and turned in that vague direction.
The fog started clearing quickly as the air temp raised, but his fuel was very low.
He spotted what he thought was a fairly flat field and made a preliminary pass.
On his return leg his fuel gave out and he managed a tight turn and a landing in the aforementioned field, but hit some soft ground before coming to a halt. The aircraft dug in and almost ground looped, luckily only leaving him with minor injuries.

Due to the nature of his mission or operation, he made his way to Selkirk, reported to the local bobby and caught the train to Edinburgh where he then reported to RAF Turnhouse.
The aircraft was recovered, as reported by the several witnesses and the rest is history as they say.
The pilot who already flew for US intelligence went on to continue a successful career in that field until finally retiring.
This was one of the reasons why the family, although initially very helpful, clammed up totally at the end when the enquiry deepened !

So, far from being a "Walt" or any of the other things some on Pprune described him as, it turn out he was actually the "real deal"
a fact that I fully believed from the moment he walked through my door.

It has taken time to get to the bottom of this and I thank all of those who helped in my quest !

El Grifo

20th Jun 2022, 21:36
For some reason, your link redirects to a Twin Otter post - let's see if this works - https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/474261-spitfire-crash-landing-scotland-ww11.html

El Grifo
20th Jun 2022, 22:39
Thanks Lono, but here, both links lead to my 2012 Spitfire thread !

El G.

21st Jun 2022, 20:54
Weird. Works fine now, but I SWEAR it was redirecting yesterday! As you were ...

longer ron
21st Jun 2022, 21:00
It was redirecting yesterday to a Twotter thread Lono :)

21st Jun 2022, 21:21
Weird. Works fine now, but I SWEAR it was redirecting yesterday! As you were ...
Relax mate.........you're not losing the plot! It did the same for me!!:ok:

21st Jun 2022, 22:29
Relax mate.........you're not losing the plot! It did the same for me!!:ok:

And me...

Skimmed rapidly through the other thread, did anyone refer the WWII raid on German docks in western France (St Nazaire?) where the bombers and escorts overshot the target by some margin and most barely made it back to Blighty? Might have been Brian Kingcome who mentioned it in his book. Realised much later that the then largely unknown jetstream played a part, wondering if your chap may have been foxed by the same phenomenon, particularly if he was flying a PR Spit at 30000+ above overcast on his return. Just a thought...

El Grifo
22nd Jun 2022, 05:30
It was discussed at length in the original thread. It seems to have been either fog or dense low cloud.
It dispersed the further North he flew.
He eventually caught sight of the tops of the very recognisable Eildon Hills, which apparently gave him a clue to his location.
It does appear though that fuel starvation brought him down
Without a doubt now, it has been revealed that he was definitely on some sort of Intel or Recce Mission, which goes some distance to explain the story varying from a Norwegian in Hurricane to an American in a Spitfire as well as his swift departure from the scene, almost directly to RAF Turnhouse.
He retired as a Senior Intelligence Officer in the US.
Amazing how close some on the thread came to figuring this !

(Seems that the spooks are still interested in a cover up. Messing with the links on the thread) 🤪

El Grifo