West Wales War Memorial Project
West Wales War Memorial Project

Haverfordwest (Dreenhill) Liberator Crash

Located on a wall beside a t-junction in the hamlet of Dreenhill, just west of Haverfordwest on the road to Dale, is an inconspicuous looking plaque. This plaque would often be passed without a second glance, but it commemorates a sad tragedy which unfolded at Dreen Hill on 3 January 1943. The photograph of the memorial was kindly sent in by Dai Phillips.

CONSOLIDATED B-24D LIBERATOR 41-23806

 

On 3 January 1943 a flight of 13 Consolidated Liberators from 67 Bomb Squadron, 44 Bomb Group, 8th USAAF were despatched from Shipdham, Norfolk to join another flight of Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, in a daylight raid on the Nazi U-Boat pens at St. Nazaire. Eight of the Liberators reached the target before heading home, following the B-17's. During the return flight the B-17's mistakenly headed for the Pembrokeshire coast. Unfortunately each of the Liberators was running low on fuel, and the aircraft began looking for somewhere to land.

 

With the port fuel tanks empty, and both port engines stalled, Liberator 41-23806, nick-named BAT OUTA HELL attempted a forced landing near Dreenhill, just west of Haverfordwest, but a third engine failed, and the stricken aircraft crashed about 200 yards north of New House Farm. One of the crewman was killed instantly, while the others, all injured, were taken to the War Memorial Hospital at Haverfordwest. Two of these men were returned to hospitals in the USA where they died within days. The men are commemorated on a plaque, which was erected on 6 June 1994.

 

The crew of Liberator 41-23806 were;

 

Pilot, 1st Lieutenant Roy B. Erwin (Died 5 January in Louisiana)

 

Co-Pilot, 2nd Lieutenant Clark Everett Swanson (Killed)

 

Navigator, 2nd Lieutenant Thomas Deavonport (Died 8 January in Texas)

 

Bombardier, 2nd Lieutenant John Gavin

 

Engineer, Staff Sergeant Hylan Simmons

 

Radioman, Staff Sergeant Thomas Laskowski

 

A Radio, Staff Sergeant George Kelsey

 

Gunner, Sergeant Lanville McCarty

 

Gunner, Sergeant Robert Reasoner

 

Gunner, Sergeant Delbert Perry.

Clarke Everett Swanson

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Website News

4 May 2017. Welcome news this morning that a new CWGC headstone has been erected in Laugharne for Domingo Mobile, a sailor who I found to be buried there a couple of years ago. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

8 March 2017. Some more good news today. Another un-commemorated Welsh sailor, Samuel Arthur Griffiths, of Tredegar, has today been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

8 February 2017. Some more good news today. Another un-commemorated soldier, Llewelyn Owen Roberts, of Penmaenmawr, has today been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

7 February 2017. Some more good news today. Another un-commemorated soldier, Isaac Owen, of Seven Sisters, has today been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

20 December 2016. Some good news today that another uncommemorated soldier, Private Thomas Owen Davies, of Machynlleth, has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC following my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

30 November 2016. At long last my latest book has been published: Welsh Yeomanry at War. Please see the Steve’s Books page of the website for details.

23 November 2016. Some good news today with the acceptance of another Welsh soldier, Percy Griffin Williams, of the Welsh Horse Yeomanry, for commemoration by the CWGC following my research. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for details.

 

15 November 2016. I would like to thank the people of Laugharne, especially the members of the Laugharne and District Historical Society, for their welcome during their recent History Event on Saturday when I visited to make a talk about how researching the Laugharne War Memorial inspired me to create this website and to begin my writing career. It was a very interesting day and was well attended by the locals.

26 Sep 2016. After a lot of hard work I have finally managed to identify a soldier from Gwaun-cae-Gurwen, Morgan Price James, who since the early 1920’s has been commemorated by the CWGC under the wrong name, James Morgan. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for details.

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