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

6 Dec 2018. Another piece of good news today, another Welsh soldier has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research: George Henry Downer, of Swansea. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

5 Dec 2018. Some more great news today, another four Welsh soldiers have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my work: Richard Cook, of Newport; Daniel Oscar Evans, of Ystrad; Evan Ivor Isaac Jenkins, of Llanelli; and William John Jones, of Abercarn. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

16 Nov 2018. Again I'm pleased to say that another two Welsh soldiers have been accepted for commemoration today: William Arthur Hopkins, of Talywain; and William Henry Hopkins, of Cymmer. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

15 Nov 2018. Some more great news today that another two Welsh soldiers have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my work: Sam Cooper, of Trevethin; and Thomas William George, of Swansea. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

14 Nov 2018. Great news today that another four Welsh soldiers have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research: Godfrey Dorey, of Neath; John Garvin, of Pontypool; Stanley Griffiths, of Swansea; and William Price, of Abergavenny. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

13 Nov 2018. More great news, the CWGC have accepted another Welsh soldier for commemoration today as a result of my work: Thomas John Hale, of Newport, Mon. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

10 Nov 2018. Great news today that another three Welsh soldiers have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my work: Richard Charles, of Neath; David Evan Gough, of Merthyr; and William Jones, of Rhyl. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

19 Oct 2018. Some more great news today, after having received confirmation that another three Welsh soldiers have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research: Archibald Casswell; Sidney Coker; and Thomas John Joseph, all Swansea men. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

17 Oct 2018. Some great news again today after having received confirmation that another four Welsh servicemen have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research: Samuel Brooks, of Swansea; David Humphreys, of Pontypool; David Jenkin Jones, of Llwydcoed; and Tudor Emlyn Jones, of Swansea. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

16 Oct 2018. Have today received confirmation that another Welsh serviceman has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research: William Henry Lippitt, of Llanhilleth. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

12 Oct 2018. Some great news today that another two Welsh soldiers have been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my research:  David Morgan Jenkins, of Swansea; and Jenkin Robert Lewis, of Llanelli. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

6 Mar 2018. Some more good news today that yet another Welsh soldier, Thomas David Rees, of Whitchurch, Cardiff, has been accepted as a war casualty by the CWGC as a result of my work. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

3 Mar 2018. Good news today that another Welsh soldier, Reginald Wilfred Collard, of Whitchurch, Cardiff, has been accepted as a war casualty by the CWGC as a result of my work. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

26 Feb 2018. The second volume of my latest book 'The Welsh at War' has been published today and is available from all good bookshops. Please see the Steve's Books page for details.

 

23 Feb 2018. Some good news today that another local man, Gwilym Bennett, of Llanelli, has been accepted as a war casualty by the CWGC as a result of my work. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

5 Feb 2018. The first volume of my latest book 'The Welsh at War' has been published today and is available from all good bookshops. Please see the Steve's Books page for details.

 

27 Jan 2018. Some good news again, that Thomas Arthur Edward Pugsley, of Ynysboeth, has recently been accepted by the CWGC for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my work. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

22 Jan 2018. I have received news that a sailor from Swansea, James Carne, who I had researched, has been accepted for commemoration by the CWGC as a result of my work. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers section of the website for further details.

 

1 December 2017. A new section has been added to the website, which will cover some war memorials in Glamorgan, more especially the memorials nearest to the county border with Carmarthenshire. More will be added as time allows.

 

4 November 2017. Some good news this week following the discovery, after much searching, of the grave of Private Thomas Davies, of Laugharne. Please see the Forgotten Soldiers page of the website for details.

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