Catalina Canso A, s/n 9809
Aircraft 9809 was coming back from training flight south of Iceland. The aircraft caught fire and crashed into the sea and sank in Faxaflói (off Vatnsleysuströnd) 5 miles north of Meeks Airfield (Keflavík).
Mark Gratton from Canada told us his father's story. His father Sagt Guy Gratton of 162 Squadron Royale Canadian Airforce (RCAF). 162 Squadron was founded in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia in May 1942. The Squadron was stationed in Iceland from January to May 1944. The Squadron used Consolidated PBY Catalina aircrafts which they called Canso A in search of German U-boats. On April 6, 1944 Guy Gratton was onboard Canso 9809 coming home from a training flight south of Iceland. The aircraft caught fire and crashed in to the sea not far from Meeks Field (Keflavík). Onboard where 10 men. Two died in the crash, J.R.M. Rankine and J.E.V. Banning.
Five Icelanders witnessed the crash, they set out a small fishing boat and it took them a half hour to reach the crash site. When they arrived, the Canso had sunk and they found six men hanging on to a severely damaged life raft. The crew members were all in the water and the water temperature was 5°C (41°F). The Icelanders saw explosions and a lot of dead fish. All crew members were exhausted and were helped onboard the fishing boat. The British trawler Avant Garde arrived at the crash site and found two more crew members. The Captain of the British trawler offered to take the aircrew members from the fishing boat, on the trawler was more room and better conditions. The aircrew members were taken to cabins and given rum. One more crew member died from his wounds, Richard Bamford three days later. Crew member Leonard C. Dumbell was in hospital until May 17, 1944. While stationed in Iceland Guy Gratton was at Camp Maple Leaf in Nauthólsvík near Reykjavík Field.
Crew of 8 and 2 passengers.
Two crew members were killed in the crash.
J.R.M. Rankine, Flying Officer †
J.E.V. Banning, Flying Officer †
Two were rescued by Icelandic fishing trawler.
Six were rescued by small fishing boat.
Mfg.: Canadian Vickers, Montreal
Type: Canso A
S/N: 9809 ID letter:? CN: CV243
Operator: RCAF 162 Squadron
Details on aircraft: Youtube, Wikipedia