• Colin Dickie
  • 17 June 2023

Family visit Catalina Crash Site

Nephew of Catalina crash survivor commemorates site

Australian Jim Richmond was recently escorted to the wreck of a WWII aircraft by an Old Haa Trustee, Derek Walsh.

On the 19th January 1942, during World War 2, the Catalina or "Flying Boat" was attempting to land at the Sullom Voe base, when it was hit by a severe storm.  After several hours of circling the plane crashed at the "Hill of Arisdale" with the loss of 7 of the 10 crew.  Of the survivors, they were offered all the hospitality the locals could afford, before they could be returned to their milatiry duties.

Jim, was the nephew of the last survivor of the tragety the Aircraftsman Robert Richmond.  After the war Robert emmigrated to Australia, where he settled, but never forgot the hospitality offered by the local community. 

In order to pay tribute, Jim contacted the Old Haa and arranged a site visit to the crash site, and Derek was only happy to oblige.

On reaching the site, bagpipes in tow, Jim with over 60 years of piping experiance, played the sentimental tune "The battle's o'er"

After leaving the crash site, Jim and Derek visited the Hamnavoe Church where a tapestry hangs which was created by Mary Goolden, widow of the pilot, Harry Goolden.  Outside the church stands the collective grave of the 7 crewmen who were lost in the disaster.

In the words of Andy Stewart:

  • Sleep in peace, my soldiar laddie
  • Sleep in peace, now the battles o'er



The local Yell Community helps to raise funds, and although admission to the museum is free, donations are always very welcome.

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