Remembering the Telegraphist Air Gunners
WWII Swordfish Crash Site in Nova Scotia By Glen Gaudet Wartime Heritage On   September   3,   2007,   a   group   of   four   with   Wartime Heritage   visited   the   site   of   the   crash   of   Swordfish   HS486. Swordfish   HS486   was   stationed   at   East   Camp   in   Yarmouth where   RCAF   pilots   carried   out   training   flights   for   No.   1 Naval   Air   Gunners'   School   (No.   1   NAGS).   Telegraphist   Air Gunners were trained at East Camp. Through   some   research,   Wartime   Heritage   learned   that HS486 crashed on January 28, 1945. The   crash   site   is   approx   40   miles   from   Yarmouth   in   the New   France   area   of   Nova   Scotia.   After   investigating   with locals,   a   rough   map   was   drawn   up   and   the   group   set-out to locate the 62-year old wreckage.   The   map   proved   easy   to   follow   and   after   an   approximate   2-hour   drive,   the   group   left the   car   to   travel   by   foot,   off   the   logging   road,   and   onto   a   side   path.   A   short   walk   and five minutes later, the group arrived at the crash site. Through   information   found   in   RCAF   Veteran   Hank   Reed's   book,   East   Camp   Memories   of World   War   II,   it   was   discovered   that   HS486   was   flown   by   RCAF   pilot   Bert   Joss.   There were   two   other   personnel   aboard   and   thankfully   the   entire   crew   survived.   Joss   recalls, "I   received   a   broken   left   ankle   and   broken   right   thigh,   the   joyrider   behind   us   a   cracked hip,   but   the   poor   student,   who   didn't   even   know   we   were   crashing,   wasn't   injured, perhaps due to his rearward-facing seat." The   cause   of   the   crash,   an   incorrectly   assembled   fuel   cock,   was   explained   by   Joss,   "The Swordfish   had   a   peculiar   arrangement   of   fuel   tanks,   consisting   of   a   main   tank   and   a   gravity   tank   which   was   kept   full   by   the engine-driven   pump   with   an   overflow   back   into   the   main   tank.   The   procedure   was   to   take   off   with   the   fuel   cock   selecting   "main only"   and   once   airborne   and   cruising   to   switch   to   "normal"   in   which   case   the   gravity   tank   was   kept   topped   up   by   some   of   the   fuel from   the   fuel   pump,   so   that   there   was   always   an   emergency   supply   in   the   gravity   tank   should   the   fuel   pump   itself   back   up.   In this   particular   instance   the   aircraft   had   just   come   back   from   servicing,   and   the   indicator   on   the   fuel   cock   was   assembled, rotated   90   degrees   on   its   shaft.   When   I   selected   normal,   I   was   actually   running   on   my   gravity   and   in   due   course   drained   the tank." Swordfish   that   have   been   restored   and   preserved   include   HS469   at   the   Shearwater   Aviation   Museum   in   Nova   Scotia,   Swordfish W5856   (Mk   I)   and   LS326   (Mk   II)   still   flown   today   by   the   Royal   Navy   Historic   Flight   in   England,   and   Swordfish   HS554   (Mk   II)   of Vintage Wings of Canada. Both HS469 and W5856 were based at East Camp in Yarmouth in 1944-45.
Wreckage of Swordfish HS486
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