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04/02/1941 - Hawker Hurricane V7078

Type Serial No Unit Station Duty Crew Passengers
Hawker Hurricane V7078 No 229 Squadron Speke Escort 1 0

On the 4th February 1941 a flight of Hurricanes from No 229 Squadron stationed at Speke were ordered to fly to Ormskirk and escort the DeHaviland DH89 in which Mr Wendell Wilkie was flying in on his return from Dublin. Wendell Wilkie was the Republican Candidate who ran against Roosevelt in the presidential elections and had come to Britain on a fact-finding trip.

While between Hooton and Speke the No 3 aircraft V7078 piloted by Sergeant John Arbuthnott was seen behind and below the section after coming through a break in the clouds prepatory to landing. On the No 2 aircraft landing it was found that Sergeant Arbuthnott was not with the section, and it was assumed he had not liked the weather and had gone of to land elsewhere, though it was feared he may have hit the River Mersey in the fog. No trace of Sergeant Arbuthnott was found up to dark. The fog bank over Speke extended up to 3000 feet, though the weather elsewhere during the flight had been excellent, sunny and with good visibility.

The following day Squadron Leader Rosier made three short flights over the river to trace the Hurricane and its pilot. During the morning the aircraft and the pilots body were located on a sand bank about half a mile out, the pilots body being some 350 yards from the aircraft. Arrangements were made with Garston Docks for salvage, but though efforts were made in the afternoon, owing to the tide, the aircraft could only be buoyed and the pilotís body could not be recovered.

On the 14th April 1941 the body of Sergeant Arbuthnott was washed ashore on Cressington Foreshore near Garston.  

Sergeant Arbuthnott during April 1940 - Centre

Sergeant Arbuthnott during April 1940 - Centre

Sergeant John Arbuthnott 564104 aged 26 was a veteran of the Battle of Britain and had served with No 1 squadron, he was the son of William and Margaret Arbuthnott of Kirknewton, Midlothian, Scotland and is buried in Carluke (Wilton) Cemetery, Lanakshire, Section E, grave 89. Sergeant Arbuthnott was an ex apprentice and pre war pilot, at the start of the war he served with No 43 squadron at Tangmere and was then posted to No 1 Squadron in France, during the Battle of Britain he was posted to No 229 squadron.

Alan Davie who was a British armourer on No 312 (Czech) Squadron recently recalled seeing Squadron Leader Rosier addressing the squadron about Sergeant Arbuthnott's loss.

 Sergeant Arbuthnott during the Battle of Britain - 1st left

Sergeant Arbuthnott during the Battle of Britain - 1st left

Hurricane I No V7078 was built by Glosters Aircraft under contract No 85730/40,

First issued to No 10 MU on 10/11/1940

Issued to No 229 Squadron on 16/11/1940

Struck of charge on 04/02/1941

Position Name Rank Service No Age Status
Pilot John Arbuthnott Sergeant 564104 26 Killed

Speke Incidents

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