Duke of Kent Sunderland crash 1942. A mystery?

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Our local rag recounts again the mystery surrounding the Sunderland crash with the Duke of Kent aboard, on to Eagle's Rock, Caithness in 1942. The remains of all thirteen crew and passengers had initially been accounted for but the tail gunner later turned up alive after being thrown free along with the tail section - he had been trying to seek help. So, who was the extra man ?
Found this elsewhere. Anybody have any insight? Moggy (Elvis, Lord Lucan and Glenn Miller have all been suggested and discounted.)
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Just a guess but enough ‘remains’ to account for thirteen crew were probably found... ...until crew-member thirteen turned-up.....after surviving a 'non-survivable' crash.
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Don't believe everything on the internet •Lt. John Crowther, RNVR, (Private Secretary) is I believe actually Lt JOHN ARTHUR LOWTHER

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Seems to be a fair bit of confusion all-round. Does anybody know what time of day the crash occurred? When were the remains of those killed counted? Was there a post-crash fire? When did the ‘accounted for’ rear gunner show-up? Where did he show-up (at the crash site)? Was it dark during any of this? These are the questions I would be asking myself before I jumped to the conclusion there had been any ‘mystery’ passenger.

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No confusion just poor research. Details of crew and passengers is clear in the Squadron ORB and other relevant primary documents. Took off at 13:10 hrs from Invergordon for the transit flight to Iceland and flew into the cloud covered hill in bad weather. Regards Ross
Profile picture for user avion ancien

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Having regard to the duke's sexual proclivities, one might hazard a guess at the reason why there was a 'mystery' additional passenger. Were his remains found in the toilet compartment of the Sunderland? The other possibility is that person was required to carry the substances that the duke liked to abuse!

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No confusion just poor research.
No offence intended; my comments were intended to highlight how easily mistakes are made when it comes to just transcribing the names of those killed in the crash (from the comfort of a computer screen)... ...compared to mistakes being made on a lonely hillside amongst the shambles of an air-crash.

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Bodies were rarely identified on the crash site by the ad hoc recovery team. Their first task was to tend to the injured at the scene then to establish if any survivors had left the scene and to search/locate them. The team rarely had crew lists with them so they would not know the number of full crew and passengers. All this was early days and the first Mountain Rescue Team had not been set up by F/L George Graham in Snowdonia until the following year. The attendant team was created from men at the local RAF unit supplemented with local farmer/shepherd/ghillie help. All organised by the M.O. Having established that no lifesaving duties were needed the weapons and confidential documents would be secured. These would be brought down off the mountain using horse and cart or improvised wreckage sled along with any human remains found. Once at a local rendevous eg Pub, barn the coroner would use any documents and identifiers to try to match the bodies to the telephoned crew roster from the parent station. All this points to it being very unlikely that even with this high profile crash the team would be identifying and counting remains on the hillside as described. The ORB was signed off at the end of each day and month so what is recorded is what was known on the day of the flight and within a few days after. The web pages are of the typical fanzine where cut and paste coupled with selective quotes become taken at face value rather than questioned and compared to known fact before correction. Hence my comment on poor research as it takes very little effort to obtain copies of the primary documents and correctly transcribe the data. Regards Ross
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http://www.eyespymag.com/intv.html Conspiracy theories abound , or alternatively worms in a can ! :dev2:
The book referred to is quite a good read, and makes a good follow on to another I read by the former Doctor in Spandau stating that the prisoner was not Hess., from memory dental x-rays were said to differ and a lung wound (bayonet?) from WW1 was not visible. The Royal Family/nazi peace notion has been around a long time, I doubt what truth there may be hidden (if at all) will never be out with the UK legislation as it stands.

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The book referred to is quite a good read, and makes a good follow on to another I read by the former Doctor in Spandau stating that the prisoner was not Hess., from memory dental x-rays were said to differ and a lung wound (bayonet?) from WW1 was not visible.
According to the Wikipedia page (not the best source, I know) it was a bullet wound from WW1 (Heß had been a pilot) and was in a different place to where the doctor had claimed, and it had also left a very small scar. However, X-rays in 1981 showed damage from the would and that part of a rib had been removed to allow the lung to drain (I apologise if anyone is eating at the moment). No mention is made there of the dental records. As a fan of Occam's Razor I do find the notion that his Doppelgänger would willingly impersonate him for an open ended life sentence... hard to swallow.
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happy to take anything at face value oldironside ! It was a long time ago I read it, and as with all myths and conspiracy theories.... you pays your money and takes your choices.... from memory the tooth thing was something to do with a gap in the front teeth maybe ? Then again I have read of a theory that Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindburg were in fact the same person....:eek:

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Bodies were rarely identified on the crash site by the ad hoc recovery team. Their first task was to tend to the injured at the scene then to establish if any survivors had left the scene and to search/locate them. The team rarely had crew lists with them so they would not know the number of full crew and passengers. All this was early days and the first Mountain Rescue Team had not been set up by F/L George Graham in Snowdonia until the following year. The attendant team was created from men at the local RAF unit supplemented with local farmer/shepherd/ghillie help. All this points to it being very unlikely that even with this high profile crash the team would be identifying and counting remains on the hillside as described.
Exactly my point; I wasn’t suggesting that the fatalities would be named at the crash-site only that within your excellent description of the recovery procedures in use in 1942 there is ample scope for confusion of the number of fatalities (especially with people not used to recovering bodies from crashed aircraft). This was what was behind my initial line of questioning as to where and when the rear-gunner showed-up. Clearly the mystery of the ‘extra’ passenger can be traced back to a point where they have (or think they have) thirteen bodies but have not in fact identified them against the crew / passenger list and the rear-gunner shows-up and suddenly there appear to have been fourteen people on the aircraft. Much more stubborn conspiracy theories have been born from far simpler misunderstandings. Edit: Apparently the rear-gunner, Flight-Sergeant Jack was ‘missing’ for twenty-two hours following the crash; plenty of time for those recovering bodies to assume that there had been no survivors!
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It's worth mentioning at this point the crash of the Liberator at the Fairy Lochs in Wester Ross in 1945. The remains of an appropriate number of crew were found and removed, and buried with due ceremony, only for a torso to bob to the surface of a lochan a few days after the funerals had been held... I've only ever seen the fragmentary remains that surface years later, but judging from the size of those pieces, I don't envy the "bucket squad" boys, who had to do it at the time, their job one bit. Incidentally - there is a burial in Yattendon churchyard in Berkshire of someone killed in the crash of a named flying boat that I recall as being in 1942. It's not recorded in CWGC - am I hallucinating it? Adrian

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Incidentally - there is a burial in Yattendon churchyard in Berkshire of someone killed in the crash of a named flying boat that I recall as being in 1942. It's not recorded in CWGC - am I hallucinating it?
Would a civilian death in the crash of a civilian flying-boat be listed in CWGC?
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Good point - might depend on whether they were defined as a civilian casualty or not - eg would a BOAC aircraft loft in an accident count a a loss due to war? Next time I'm that way I'll have to take a look... Adrian

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Interesting stuff; all we need now is the name from Yattendon, but it must be a passenger from a crash in the UK (or UK waters) for them to be buried there. Or is it a local memorial for a passenger ‘missing’ from a far-off crash?

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We are producing a documentary series about air crashes in WW2, and we are looking to film someone talking briefly about the conspiracy theories surrounding the crashes that killed the Duke of Kent, and General Sikorski. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Martin