Robert Mitchell Anderson of Uphall was one of ten men who perished when the aircraft they were onboard crashed into the Solent at 04.48hrs on Wednesday 13th February 1946. All ten crew were killed in the crash:
|P/O K. Dollin (pilot) |
F/O R. B. Couchman (co-pilot)
F/Sgt Hamish Ian Sandison
F/Sgt R. M. Anderson
Sgt H. Barker
Sgt G. Granger
The aircraft, operated by 302nd Ferry Training Unit, was an almost new Short Sunderland GR.V (registration VB885). It had earlier flown from Alness, Ross-shire. When it took off from RAF Calshot, its intended destination was Karachi for service with Coastal Command.
Immediately after take off an engine failed and the pilot (Pilot Officer Dollin) decided to return to RAF Calshot. The first attempt at landing was aborted and the aircraft went round for another approach. However, in the dark and with poor visibility, the pilot apparently misjudged his rate of descent and, after a flight lasting 22 minutes, the aircraft crashed into the sea 100 yards from Lee-on-Solent pier and caught fire.
On Friday 15th February 1946, the West Lothian Courier reported "Among the dead airmen was Flt. Sgt. R. M. Anderson, wireless operator, only son of Mr and Mrs Anderson, Wyndford Avenue, Uphall, and husband of Mrs Anderson, nee Miss Boag, who resides with her mother at Dechmont, Uphall. The couple were married about three months ago".
Sources: Hampshire Airfields (http://www.hampshireairfields.co.uk/airfields/vb885.html) and the British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)