On the 10th of August 1941, RAF Liberator (AM 261) crashed into the ridge at Mullach Buidhe, just north of Goatfell on the Isle of Arran with the loss of 22 airmen.

The role of the Liberator was to transport flight crews across the North Atlantic so that the crews could fly newly built aircraft back to the UK.

The aircraft took off from Ayr bound for Newfoundland. Weather conditions were poor with low visibility and rain. In the prevailing cloud and mist, the pilot did not realise that he had not gained sufficient height to clear the high peaks of Arran.

Those watching on the ground realised that the aircraft was not climbing at the normal rate, despite there being high ground ahead of it as it flew over the outer islands off the mainland. Nothing further was seen or heard of the aircraft until wreckage was discovered a few days later near the summit of a mountain some 25 miles from the take-off point. It appeared that the aircraft drifted off track by 4 ½ miles in the strong winds and, not having reached its safety height, flew into a ridge of Mullach Buidhe. The crash was recorded as a navigational error.

The flight crews on board were from the Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Air Transport Auxiliary and the British Overseas Airways Corporation. In addition to the normal flight crew, the Liberator was carrying additional pilots and crew who were to ferry new aircraft back to the UK from Canada.

A total of twenty-two personnel were on board the aircraft and all perished in the crash, making it the worst crash on Arran. This aircraft had been used less than two weeks earlier to fly the Duke of Kent across the Atlantic, the first such time a member of the royal family had crossed the Atlantic by air.

All but one of the crew and passengers were buried at Lamlash, on the Isle of Arran.

Further Reading

Liberator AM261 at Yorkshire-Aircraft.co.uk

Accident Consolidated Liberator at Aviation-Safety.net