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Introduction / The Island / Island Life / Second World War

Spitfire at Lakequoy

A Spitfire developed engine problems and the pilot, Flight Sergeant Miller, had to make a forced landing in the early morning of 2nd June 1944 in a field at Lakequoy. It was daylight at the time although foggy.

The pilot saw a break in the fog and decided to try to land. The plane just missed a deep ditch and hit some new fencing that had been put up before coming to a halt. Parts of it were spread over two small fields.

Flight Sergeant Miller had been in the Battle of Britain and was quite shaken by the incident although otherwise unharmed. He managed to make his way to Windwya and just appeared at their door. He expressed some surprise at finding himself on Faray and was most relieved that he had not hit any of the houses.

A high speed launch that was in Elwick Bay, Shapinsay was alerted at 6.54am after receiving a report of the plane being forced down and preceded to the Westray Firth.

The pilot had hoped to telephone his position but there was no telephone on the island so he was taken by boat over to Eday by Balfour Rendall and one of his brothers from Windywa and reported from there. The message that the pilot was safe was received by the launch at 8.30am. It picked up the pilot from Carrick Bay, Eday and had taken him back to Kirkwall by 11.00am. The launch then returned to its station at Elwick Bay.

The plane suffered some damage. Two or three men came out to look after and dismantle it. They were on the island for a time, spending the night at Windywa.

A tractor from Holland attempted to move the plane to the jetty without success. An International tractor of Robbie Leslie subsequently accomplished this. A drifter, out from Kirkwall, had difficulty getting into the jetty to take the plane away. The wings were taken off and the engine got on two boats lashed together and hoisted from there onto the drifter.

The plane was reassembled and flew again.

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