John Haig Knight


The only survivor of the crash was John Haig Knight. Mr. Knight was contacted by John Henry of Folia after I had written to Mr. Henry asking for information on the crash. Apparently Mr. Henry and Mr. Knight had kept in touch for the many years since the crash.

After I had received a letter from Mr. Henry on his knowledge of the crash, I was resting on the coach one night and the phone rang. A gentleman on the other end of the line said "Mr. Harvey, I think you wanted to talk to me" it was the survivor of the crash that my uncle Robert Densmore Harvey had died in during the war.

Mr. Knight told me that the crew had been together for some time before shipping out to Iceland. They had trained together in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, then moved to Shearwater before heading overseas. The flight has started our quite like any other, the area that they were working in was prone to heavy fog and bad weather, so it was normal for them to takeoff from one airstrip and land at another. All seemed normal on the flight and they had no idea that they were going to have problems, they were on their way back to base, when they were told to land at RAF Stornoway instead. They had just changed direction, and Mr. Knight said he was in the back of the plane and could not even see the tips of the wings, because the fog was so thick. The plane did not change course again and there was no attempt to avoid the hill as the pilots would not have even seen it until impact.  Mr. Knight said he came to after the crash and he was still in the back of the plane. The plane was on fire and there was ammunition exploding all around him. He crawled out of a hole in the bottom of the plane and pulled himself behind a rock for protection. This is where local people found him when they made it to the crash scene. He was carried down the hill to a local farm and help was called from the mainland. He was taken to hospital where he spent a year recuperating from his injuries. He was then brought back to Canada.

The local people were used to hearing the planes pass over the Island of Foula, but some said this time they knew that things were not right, they could tell the plane was too low by the loudness of the engines, and seconds they heard the terrible crash as the Canso hit the side of the hill.

This page was last updated

Wednesday May 06, 2009 05:42 PM -0500

Copyright Michael K. Harvey

With contributions by many others.