James D. Harvey

Birth
Death 13 Jun 1945 (aged 30)
Scotland
Burial Woodside, Queens County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 173305676 · View Source
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Although small and remote, the Fairy Lochs are notable as the crash site of an American World War II bomber. On 13 June 1945, a USAAF B-24 Liberator bomber (serial 42-95095, based at the Warton Aerodrome) was returning home to the USA from Prestwick Airfield at the end of World War II.

The crew of nine was from 66th Bomber Squadron; also on board were six crewmen from Air Transport Command.

Its route via Keflavík (Meeks Field) in Iceland should have taken it over Stornoway in the Western Isles, but for an unknown reason the aircraft instead flew over the Scottish mainland. Over Wester Ross the aircraft began to lose height, and struck the summit of Slioch, a 980m mountain overlooking Loch Maree, losing parts of its bomb bay doors, before flying on towards Gairloch. An attempted crash-landing resulted in the B-24 colliding with rocks and crashing into the Fairy Lochs, scattering wreckage over a wide area. All 15 crew and passengers on board perished in the accident.
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USAAF WORLD WAR II
Passenger S/Sgt. James D. Harvey DIS
buried at Calvary Cemetery, New York City, NY
Hometown: New York City, NY
Squadron: 314th TC Grp.
Service# 32433806
Awards:
Pilot 1st/Lt. Jack B. Ketchum DIS

MACR #3849
Target: Scottish Highlands (Non-Operational), Gairloch, Scotland
Mission Date: 13-Jun-45
Serial Number: #42-95095
Aircraft Model B-24
Aircraft Letter: C-Bar
Aircraft Name: SLEEPY TIME GAL
Location: Near Gairloch Scotland.
Cause:
Crew of 9 DIS 6 Passengers DIS

S/Sgt. James Harvey was born 30 September 1914. His home address was: Tibbit Avenue,Bronx, New York. Sgt. Harvey served with the 9th Troop Carrier Command as a member of the 314th Troop Carrier Group. He had the honor of spearheading the invasions of North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, Holland and the invasion of the Rhineland. His chief work was dropping paratroopers behind enemy lines, towing gliders, and evacuating wounded from battle areas.

Unfortunately, the end of the war in Europe was not the end of death and loss of aircraft for the 44th BG. A writer of fiction could not have conceived a scenario with a situation any worse than this one. This event involved one combat crew of nine that had, at last, completed their long tour of combat duty exceeding 30 missions and covering a period of more than six months. The other passengers were all “old” veterans who had served heroically in the dangerous air over Europe with Troop Carrier units and Bomber Units. Each of these men had accumulated many combat experiences that he could not divulge to anyone due to the strict censoring of all correspondence. For the few days that these men were held at the Redistribution Center awaiting passage on ship they had written letters home with the super news that they were alive, had survived the war, would soon be home, and could then tell everyone about their dangerous experiences. Likewise, the families were so thankful that their loved one had survived the war, were just fine, and very soon would be together again. What a truly crushing blow it was to these families to then receive a telegram telling them he had been killed! All fifteen of them had been assigned to slow surface transport back to the US, but orders were changed when a B-24 from the 93rd BG that had just been repaired at a Sub Depot, was then available for a fast trip back to the U.S. and home. Combat men were given top transportation priority as the war with Japan still existed, and all combat units (ground personnel included) were scheduled for a month leave and then return for assignment to the Pacific War Zone.
Official records for the 44th BG do not extend beyond the month of April 1945, and consequently, they did not contain information about the loss of this 66th Squadron Air Crewwhen returning to the States. The author did not learn about this crash until nearly 40 years later when Ian Shuttleworth from Yorkshire, England contacted him for data to help him in his research concerning an aircraft and the fifteen men that had crashed on their way back to the U.S. All fifteen men had perished.
The Shuttleworth family, from Eastern Yorkshire, England, had discovered the crash site while on “holiday,” had “adopted” it and wanted to place a memorial marker there. Ian was a teenager at that time, wanted to contact the next of kin to obtain personal data about each of these veterans and to share with them the data that he had collected about this accident. The Shuttleworth family even offered to guide anyone who was interested to visit the remote crash site.
The author met Ian and his father in Yorkshire to get acquainted the next time that he visited Norwich, and each of us shared the data that we had acquired independently. That was the beginning of our joint efforts to learn as much as possible about the crash, the combat crew, and the passengers. Since then we have visited Gairloch and the crash site several times, including twice with the entire Shuttleworth family on their summer vacations. On one of these visits, both Ian and his father, David, took me a few miles from the site and showed me several pieces of the stricken aircraft that had come off from it a few miles from the actual point of impact. We spent considerable time examining these large pieces, searching for any clue that might indicate a possible reason for the crash. These parts were in remarkably good shape and condition for having withstood the many cold winters they had been exposed. All three of the bomb bay doors had no evidence of a glancing contact with any high ground, as some had speculated, when the airplane circled Gairloch and the surrounding mountain tops. The front portions of the tops of the two vertical stabilizers had no marks or dents that any of the three bomb bay doors would have made had they been the cause of those stabilizers breaking loose. But whatever the cause for those tops to break off, the crash was inevitable as nearly all control was then lost, the pilots helpless in their desperate fight to seek a safe landing area.
Ian has compiled a booklet about these facts and has placed it near the crash site at the Shieldaig Lodge Hotel south of Gairloch. His purpose was to make all possible data about this incident readily available to guests, any hikers or others who might want to learn more about the men, the airplane, or the circumstances.
Ian also designed, paid for and installed a memorial plaque on a rock wall facing the site in 1987, replaced it with a larger, more durable one in 1991. At that same time he organized an official Gairloch Memorial Service to make it an official Memorial Site. As a result, Ian recently advised that many people now visit it, bringing flowers, American flags, etc., in honor of these heroes.

SLEEPY TIME GAL Crew
1st/Lt. Jack B. Ketchum Pilot DIS
Jack H. Spencer Co Pilot DIS
2nd/Lt. Richard J. Robak Navigator DIS
T/Sgt. Hillburn L Cheek Engineer
T/Sgt.James C. Stammer Radio Op. DIS
S/Sgt. Eldon J. Gilles Gunner DIS
S/Sgt. Herman Riefen Gunner DIS
S/Sgt. Raymond E. Davis Gunner DIS
S/Sgt. Albert L. Natkin Gunner DIS

Passengers:
S/Sgt. John H. Hallissey DIS
S/Sgt.Robert J. Francis DIS
S/Sgt. Emil Einarsen DIS
S/Sgt. John B Ellis Jr. DIS
S/Sgt. James D. Harvey DIS
S/Sgt. Alexander W. Hastings DIS


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  • Created by: John Dowdy
  • Added: 29 Nov 2016
  • Find A Grave Memorial 173305676
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for James D. Harvey (13 Sep 1914–13 Jun 1945), Find A Grave Memorial no. 173305676, citing Calvary Cemetery, Woodside, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by John Dowdy (contributor 47791572) .