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1944-01-11 The Loss of Swordfish LS244 (Slakhorst)

Crash site: Atlantic Ocean North of Ireland

Crash cause: flying accident, fuel shortage presumed

1. The Battle of the Atlantic

FAA 860 (Dutch) Squadron operated Fairey Swordfishes from small aircraft carriers, and had Maydown as home base. The base was handed over from the RAF to the FAA in May 1943. Its code name was HMS Shrike. The base at Eglinton, code name HMS Gannett, was used for training purposes.

The carriers with the Swordfishes escorted convoys, in what became known as the Battle of the Atlantic. These convoys transported War supplies from the United States to England. The Germans gave it a tremendous effort to sink supply ships with their submarines. The convoy system gave the Allied ships a better chance of getting through. Aerial reconnaissance, and U-boot attacks with Swordfishes armed with torpedos, were amongst the tools that won the Battle of the Atlantic. In the end, about 80% of the German U-boot crews perished. Without the supplies from the United States, the Second World War could have taken a very undesirable course.

Acavus "MA" Photos: [Acavus].

The Acavus was built by Workman Clark. Laid down ???, launched 24 Nov 1934, completed 1/1935. Taken over for conversion at Falmouth, conversion completed 10/1943. Served in the North Atlantic throughout the war. Returned to merchant service postwar; named Iacara in 1952. Scrapped at La Seine in 1963.

Merchant aircraft carriers (MAC) were minimal aircraft carriers used during World War II by Britain and the Netherlands as an emergency measure until United States-built escort carriers became available in useful numbers.

They were bulk grain carriers or tankers built with flight decks and small islands, but no catapult or other aircraft support facilities. They operated with civilian crews, under merchant colors, and carried their regular cargo while serving as aircraft carriers. Their fighter planes were primarily intended to attack long-range reconnaissance aircraft such as the Fw 200 Condor and the Junkers Ju 290 to prevent tracking of convoys.

The scale of the conversion was small, hence it could be completed in a short time; five months has been quoted as being typical. The tanker conversions had no hangar, the grain ships did but it was small (four Fairy Swordfish was the limit). Flight decks were around 460 feet long on the tankers and between 413 and 424 for the grain ships, width was 62 feet in all cases.

Work on the first two (Empire MacAlpine and Empire MacAndrew) was started in June 1942. By October of that year a decision had been made in favour of ten more (four tankers, six grainers) and a total of 32 was eventually planned although only the nineteen below actually were completed. Many of the ships were given names with the prefix 'Mac-', in a reference to their designation as MACs; the 'Empire' name was commonly used for wartime British ships.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MV_Acavus


Name

1. Boelhouwer, Marius

Boelhouwer M briop.jpg

Rank

Korp Vltg Telegr, Cpl., Wop

Decorations

None known

Born

18/10/1919

Place

Giessendam, NL

Squadron

FAA 860 (Dutch) Sqn

Ops/hr

Aircraft

Swordfish Mk. II Nr. LS244

Base

RAF Maydown, Londonderry, Ire

Mission

Operational flight from merchant aircraft carrier 'Acavus'

Status

KIFA/missing, emergency landing at sea in bad weather; fuel shortage presumed

age

24

Missing

11/1/1944

Place

Atlantic Ocean North of Ireland

Known to

OGS

yes

CWGC

no

Other crew

2. Off Wnr 3kl G.A.Q. Krijnen, Nav - MIA

3. Off Vl 3kl J. Slakhorst, Pilot - MIA

Remarks

Memorial

None known

GB arrival

As sailor on HMS Kestrel, after training as Wop/Ag on HMS Vincent. Posted to 860 Sqn on 4/10/1943. Source: BRIOP

Data

Confusion

MAC Acavus erroneously called Avacus or Acarus


Name

2. Krijnen, Gerard Abraham Quirinus

Rank

Off Wnr 3kl, F/O., Nav

Decorations

None known

Born

13/9/1921

Place

Batavia, Java, NEI

Squadron

FAA 860 (Dutch) Sqn

Ops/hr

Aircraft

Swordfish Mk. II Nr. LS244

Base

RAF Maydown, Londonderry, Ire

Mission

Operational flight from merchant aircraft carrier 'Acavus'

Status

KIFA/missing, emergency landing at sea in bad weather; fuel shortage presumed

age

22

Missing

11/1/1944

Place

Atlantic Ocean N of Ireland

Known to

OGS

yes

CWGC

no

Other crew

1. Korp Vltg Telegr M. Boelhouwer, Wop - MIA

3. Off Vl 3kl J. Slakhorst, Pilot - MIA

Remarks

Memorial

None known

GB arrival

Data

Confusion

MAC Acavus erroneously called Avacus or Acarus


Name

3. Slakhorst, Johannes

Slakhorst J.jpg

Rank

Off Vl 3kl, F/O., Pilot

Decorations

None known

Born

10/12/1916

Place

Oosterbeek, NL

Squadron

FAA 860 (Dutch) Sqn

Ops/hr

Aircraft

Swordfish Mk. II Nr. LS244

Base

RAF Maydown, Londonderry, Ire

Mission

Operational flight from merchant aircraft carrier 'Acavus'

Status

KIFA/missing, emergency landing at sea in bad weather; fuel shortage presumed

age

27

Missing

11/1/1944

Place

Atlantic Ocean N of Ireland

Known to

OGS

yes

CWGC

no

Other crew

1. Korp Vltg Telegr M. Boelhouwer, Nav - MIA

2. Off Wnr 3kl G.A.Q. Krijnen, Nav - MIA

Remarks

Memorial

None known

GB arrival

Trained at JAAB, USA, and was sent to GB

Data

Confusion

MAC Acavus erroneously called Avacus or Acarus


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