Second Lieutenant, Pilot
311th Ferrying Squadron, 27th Air Transport Group
P-47D Thunderbolt with serial number 42-75606 took off from Renfrew at 1110 hours on the 29th of December 1943 on an internal flight to Burtonwood. At 1130 hours the aircraft flew in mist lower than the surrounding terrain and crashed through two lines of trees at Hartfield Farm and into a field on the Gleniffer Braes, Scotland.
[Note: There is a difference in the date of death of Herman C. Carey. On the headstone application form it is 28 December 1943. There is a memorial plaque on the place where he crashed in Scotland with the date of 29 December 1943. Memorial stone in field between Howwood and Neilston, Renfrewshire, Scotland reads: “Herman Carey killed at this spot 29th December 1943 while flying P-47D Thunderbolt.” He was in 311 AAF Ferrying Squadron. Crashed while flying from Renfrew Airdrome to Burtonwood in low cloud and heavy mist into plateau, altitude approximately 750 feet. Memorial stone located in field 250 yards from Hartfield farm, Hartfield Moss.]
–Submitted by Gordon Robertson
Sadly, during WW2, flying accidents in Britain were numerous and widespread, causing casualties, often fatal, to many nationalities. The idea of commemorating this particular accident originated from Bill Kerr, from Paisley, who had been an RAF fireman, then spent a further 21 years as a fireman at Glasgow Airport. While flying r/c models near Hartfield Farm, he wondered why some trees were missing from either side of the access road, then started a lengthy investigation. Thank you for your efforts Bill! Just before he left the site on 29 November 2003, he was told by a man, whose father, a farmer, had been an eye-witness of an air-crash that the aircraft’s propeller had landed in a nearby marsh. Probably it is still there!
On Wednesday, 29th December 1943, a P- 47D, Thunderbolt, took off from Renfrew on a delivery flight to Burtonwood. Minutes later, the aircraft crashed through trees bordering the access road to Hartfield Farm, killing the pilot, 2nd Lt Herman Carey, US Army Air Forces. The crash site is southwest of Caplaw Dam, just west of Gleniffer Road, the B775.
On Saturday, 29 November, 2003, a Memorial Service was conducted by Rev. Peter Houston, Glasgow Airport Chaplain, to commemorate the accident. (This event was held one month in advance of the 60th anniversary, to avoid anticipated travel problems close to the end of December.)
For several days, the weather had been fine – but not on Saturday! It was appalling, with gale-force wind and driving rain; the combination of gloom and noise from the trees was awesome. It could have been a scene from “Tam 0′ Shanter”, by Robert Burns. Despite these adverse conditions, the Aircrew Association, Air Training Corps, RAF Association and Royal British Legion Scotland all were represented. A US Air Force officer, on exchange posting to RAF Leuchars; Mr Douglas Alexander, the local MP; and Mr and Mrs Bill Kerr were also present. No 396 (Paisley) Squadron, ATC, provided two pipers who coped extremely well to make themselves heard above the din. The cause of the accident is believed to have been loss of the propeller – which would have had a profound effect on the balance and controllability of the aircraft. The Thunderbolt in the RAF Museum, Hendon, London, has a propeller of 13 feet diameter; a massive piece of machinery! (see https://www.aircrew-saltire.org/lib224.html)
Before entering the service, Second Lieutenant Carey was employed by the Firestone Tire Company in Knoxville. His manager was George S. Fox.
Next of kin (see obit below for full list) includes his father, Grover C. Carey; mother, Mrs. HD White; Mrs. J Frank Booker, his mother-in-law.
I emailed you a couple of days ago re The Hartfield Moss Thunderbolt Memorial in Scotland in memory of 2nd Lt. Herman Carey who lost his life here during WW2.
Howwood Community Council in Renfrewshire, Scotland have decided to repair or replace the damaged memorial. The cost is small compared to that which 2nd Lt. Carey paid in helping us all.
I wonder, however, if you have any record of any relatives who may wish to be informed. Or if you could point me in the right direction to trace any, that would be a great help.
My email address is email@example.com
My phone number is (+44) 7425 011718
Howwood Community Council
- Rank: Second Lieutenant
- Date of birth: 23 January 1914
- Date of death: 29 December 1943
- County: Knox
- Hometown: Knoxville
- Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
- Division/Assignment: 311th Ferrying Squadron, 27th Air Transport Group
- Theater: Europe
- Conflict: World War II
- Battles: Air War in Europe
- Awards: Purple Heart
- Burial/Memorial Location: Lynnhurst Cemetery, Knoxville, TN
- Location In Memorial: Pillar XIV, Top Panel
- Sponsored by: Howwood Community Council, Renfrewshire, Scotland
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