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TITLE
Duke of Kent's plane crash, Caithness (2 of 3)
EXTERNAL ID
GB232_MFR_JIMHENDERSON_02
PLACENAME
Dunbeath
DISTRICT
Southern Caithness
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
CAITHNESS: Latheron
DATE OF RECORDING
1991
PERIOD
1990s
CREATOR
Jim Henderson
SOURCE
Moray Firth Radio
ASSET ID
1712
KEYWORDS
Second World War
conspiracies
conspiracy
crashes
accidents
accident
audio

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Prince George, Duke of Kent, (1902-1942) was killed in a plane crash during World War II at Eagle's Rock, near Dunbeath, Caithness. The Sunderland Flying Boat in which he was flying was officially heading to Iceland where the Duke was to meet senior members of the U.S. military. In this audio extract, Jim Henderson, former editor of the 'Northern Times', discusses some of the issues surrounding the event. The extract is from Moray Firth Radio's 'Recollections' series.

Interviewer; But there would of course be a court of enquiry into the whole business, surely that came up with some sort of an answer?

That came up with the rather disturbing decision that it was pilot's error. Now pilot error has always been disputed, and even relatives of Andrew Jack, the rear gunner who survived, remember that Andrew Jack always discounted that theory of pilot's error, he just shook his head and said it wasn't the case, so the court of enquiry having ruled this, the announcement was made by the then air minister, who by strange coincidence was the MP for Caithness and Sutherland, Sir Archibald Sinclair, in the House of Commons, and yet the Hansard account has the wrong date. The Hansard story of the Duke of Kent's crash is ten days out. Well, when you can get the official record of parliament getting something wrong, how wrong are all these theories?

Interviewer: I believe the weather was particularly bad though at the time?

Yes, there was low cloud, poor visibility, and strangely enough we have another eye witness of great Highland standing, Captain Edmond Fresson. Fresson actually flew and was in the vicinity of Dunbeath, doing his normal mail run from Orkney to Inverness, when, in fact, the Duke's plane crashed at 1:30 on this particular day. Now, the following day, when he was back in Inverness, he received a message from R.A.F. headquarters asking him specifically to look out for any sign of wreckage because of course the plane had never made Iceland but nobody knew where it had crashed, except people in Dunbeath who had heard this great crump in the middle of the afternoon and had gone searching out on the hillside looking for wreckage. But Fresson was able to pinpoint the exact spot showing the fragmentation of the aircraft where it obviously, under full power, had flown straight into the hillside and he, in fact, then got his radio operator to tell Inverness that this was the spot and there were no apparent survivors. From where he was, he could see bodies lying around the wreck

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Duke of Kent's plane crash, Caithness (2 of 3)

CAITHNESS: Latheron

1990s

Second World War; conspiracies; conspiracy; crashes; accidents; accident; audio

Moray Firth Radio

MFR: Duke of Kent Plane Crash

Prince George, Duke of Kent, (1902-1942) was killed in a plane crash during World War II at Eagle's Rock, near Dunbeath, Caithness. The Sunderland Flying Boat in which he was flying was officially heading to Iceland where the Duke was to meet senior members of the U.S. military. In this audio extract, Jim Henderson, former editor of the 'Northern Times', discusses some of the issues surrounding the event. The extract is from Moray Firth Radio's 'Recollections' series.<br /> <br /> Interviewer; But there would of course be a court of enquiry into the whole business, surely that came up with some sort of an answer?<br /> <br /> That came up with the rather disturbing decision that it was pilot's error. Now pilot error has always been disputed, and even relatives of Andrew Jack, the rear gunner who survived, remember that Andrew Jack always discounted that theory of pilot's error, he just shook his head and said it wasn't the case, so the court of enquiry having ruled this, the announcement was made by the then air minister, who by strange coincidence was the MP for Caithness and Sutherland, Sir Archibald Sinclair, in the House of Commons, and yet the Hansard account has the wrong date. The Hansard story of the Duke of Kent's crash is ten days out. Well, when you can get the official record of parliament getting something wrong, how wrong are all these theories?<br /> <br /> Interviewer: I believe the weather was particularly bad though at the time?<br /> <br /> Yes, there was low cloud, poor visibility, and strangely enough we have another eye witness of great Highland standing, Captain Edmond Fresson. Fresson actually flew and was in the vicinity of Dunbeath, doing his normal mail run from Orkney to Inverness, when, in fact, the Duke's plane crashed at 1:30 on this particular day. Now, the following day, when he was back in Inverness, he received a message from R.A.F. headquarters asking him specifically to look out for any sign of wreckage because of course the plane had never made Iceland but nobody knew where it had crashed, except people in Dunbeath who had heard this great crump in the middle of the afternoon and had gone searching out on the hillside looking for wreckage. But Fresson was able to pinpoint the exact spot showing the fragmentation of the aircraft where it obviously, under full power, had flown straight into the hillside and he, in fact, then got his radio operator to tell Inverness that this was the spot and there were no apparent survivors. From where he was, he could see bodies lying around the wreck