Fairey Firefly DT977

Blaeloch Hill, Largs, Ayrshire













Aircraft Type Photo


BELOW: Royal Navy Fairey Firefly WB518.


Royal Navy Fairey Firefly WB518, similar to Firefly featured on this page


Photo: 2002-2004 Paul Maritz ('paulmaz'). Released by the author to the public domain under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.






Aircraft Type and Background


RN (FAA / NAS) Fairey Firefly / DT977



Aircraft Type Nickname: Firebox.



A two-seater (pilot and observer) fleet reconnaissance, anti-submarine, night fighter and strike aircraft used by the Fleet Air Arm / Naval Air Squadron of the Royal Navy. Successor to the Fairey Fulmar, the Fairey Firefly was considered a superior aircraft and was powered by a Rolls Royce Griffon engine. The Firefly was equipped with folding wings for use on aircraft carriers.


The aircraft continued in service until 1950, when it was retired from the FAA. Aircraft production continued, however, until 1955; and the Firefly was still being used elsewhere for several years after this. Buying one of these for personal use would probably lead most people to a Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyer unless you were very wealthy.


Firefly fighters were engaged in action against the German battleship, Tirpitz, and against targets in Norway, Palembang and Japan.



BELOW: Royal Canadian Navy Fairey Firefly Mk.5 VH142 at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.


Royal Canadian Navy Fairey Firefly VH142 at Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum


Photo: 2008 'Balcer'. Released by the author to the public domain under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License






Aircraft Accident Details


The Firefly featured here belonged to the 1772 Naval Air Squadron. This particular Squadron was the first to fly over the Japanese mainland, and the first British aircraft to fly over Tokyo.


The aircraft was on a navigation exercise (Navex) from Ayr when it crashed at Blaeloch Hill. Neither of the crew survived the crash.






Aircraft Crew Casualties


The two airmen who died in this accident were:

  • Sub/Lt. James Henry Fairclough (Pilot)

  • Sub/Lt. Anthony John King (Navigator)





Crash Site Photos (Page 1-A)



Researcher's Notes (1970s) [From John Martindale's log].


    Wreckage Description


  • Firefly DT977

  • 239550 Blaeloch Hill

  • Considerable amount of wreckage left scattered around on impact crater, on an excavated hole into which parts were heaped. Griffin engine some yards to the west. In the crater are tail units, fuselage and wing parts. Does not appear to be serials under wing. Colours visible are grey / slate green / sky. Roundels appeared to have yellow ring.

  • Stamp F8 and V5 seen.

  • What appeared to be a 20mm cannon imbedded in wing parts buried. Undercarriage legs, prop spinner and mechanism. Part found with likely serial T97(7). Perhaps DT977?




BELOW: A hinged section from the Fairey Firefly on Blaeloch Hill near Largs.


hinged section from firefly.


Photo: © 2013-2014 Gary Nelson



BELOW: A section of the Firefly's wing. This is the largest remaining part.


largest wing section.


Photo: © 2013-2014 Gary Nelson



BELOW: A piece of a wing's leading edge.


piece of wing leading edge.


Photo: © 2013-2014 Gary Nelson



BELOW: Possibly, part of the Firefly's tail assembly. (rudder / vertical stabiliser)


part of tail assembly.


Photo: © 2013-2014 Gary Nelson



More photos from Gary Nelson's 2013 collection on


PAGE 1-B and PAGE 1-C





Other photos below.





BELOW: A Rolls-Royce Griffon engine. This was the type used by the Fairey Firefly and other aircraft.


a preserved Rolls-Royce Griffon engine on museum display


Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation.



BELOW: The Rolls-Royce Griffon engine from the Fairey Firefly at Blaeloch Hill near Largs.


rolls-royce griffon engine from the fairey firefly at blaeloch hill near largs


Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel



BELOW: Side view of the V-12 liquid-cooled engine.


side view of vee-engine


Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel



BELOW: The main debris field from Royal Navy (FAA) Firefly DT977.


the main debris field from royal navy firefly dt977


Photo: © 2013 Neil Daniel



BELOW: Blae Loch — a lochan not far from the crash site of the Fairey Firefly.


Blaeloch - a small body of water not far from the Firefly crash site


Photo © 2007 Gio Metra












BELOW: Another view of the Rolls-Royce Griffon engine from the Fairey Firefly.


rolls-royce griffon engine from fairey firefly dt977


Photo © 2009 George McCree



BELOW: Debris field from the Fairey Firefly.


debris field from fairey firefly


Photo © 2009 George McCree



BELOW: Approach to Firefly wreck site, a short distance from Blae Loch.


approach to firefly wreck site


Photo © 2007 Gio Metra



BELOW: Wing sections among the Fairey Firefly wreckage.


wing parts among the wrecked firefly


Photo © 2007 Gio Metra



BELOW: The manufacturer's plate for the Firefly's radio stack.


manufactuters plate attached to the Firefly's radio stack


Manufacturer's plate reads as follows:



TYPE CBY-AG157 (?)
[Weight (?) ] SERIAL 982 [or 902]
BOONTON N.J. [i.e., New Jersey, USA]



Photo © 2007 Gio Metra



BELOW: Engine / propeller reduction gear assembly from the Fairey Firefly.


reduction gear from firefly


Photo © 2006 Steve White








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Crash Date / Site



Accident Date: 26 Oct 1944


Accident Site:

Blaeloch Hill (407m)


(Lying beyond the SW shoulder of Blaeloch Hill, a short distance from the 400m spot height near Bulstern.)


A wind farm now occupies this site. However, visitors are welcome to visit the wind farm. The wind farm operators (RES) have placed points of interest around the area, including one for this aircraft wreck.


Region: North Ayrshire (Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park)


Nearest town or village:

Largs or Fairlie


Nearest large towns:

Largs (W) or Kilbirnie (E)


OS Grid Ref. 63 / NS 239 548


Latitude / Longitude

(main impact point): 55 45' 22.22" / 04 48' 15"
(engine): 55 45' 22" / 04 48' 16.1"


GPS Refs

(main impact point): NS 24051 54989
(engine): NS 24022 54975


Present Condition: Some of the wreckage was removed from the site in 2009, but significant amounts still remain.




Air crashes in this vicinity:



South side of A760:


1) RN Fairey Firefly DT977, Blaeloch Hill.

(The aircraft on this page.)

(Now within the grounds of a publicly-accessible wind farm at Kelburn Estate.)
Some parts, including engine, remain at the crash site, and are described on information boards by the wind farm operators (RES). RES have created a visitor's car park off the A760, and walking routes for the area.



North side of A760:


2) RAF de Havilland Devon VP969, Slaty Law / Box Law.

Wings, engines and under-carriage, etc., remain at the site.


3) RAF Vickers Wellington R1164, Box Law.

Fragmented wreckage only remains at the crash site.


4) BEA Vickers Viking G-AIVE, Irish Law.

Wings, engines and under-carriage, etc., remain at the site.


5) RN Supermarine Sea Spitfire ('Seafire'). Hill of Stake.

All remaining wreckage now removed from the site.


6) Northern Scottish Airways Spartan Cruiser, Hill of Stake.

Remaining fuselage shell was recovered from the site in 1973. Now at the National Museum of Flight, East Fortune.


7) RAF Bristol Beaufort L9817, Knockside Hills, S of Irish Law.
Wreckage removed by RAF recovery team. Fragments only remain at the crash site.


8) Starways Douglas C-47B Dakota G-AMRB, Greenside Hill, SE of Irish Law.

Fragments only remain at the crash site.




Aircraft Details



Registration or Serial: DT977


Operator: Royal Navy (Naval Air Squadron)


Operating Base: HMS Wagtail; HMS Indefatigable (R10); Carrier Borne, Mobile; RAF 44 Grp. Transport; RN HMS Gannett.


Base Location: Ayr (Heathfield) Aerodrome, Ayr, Scotland.


Current Airport Status: Operational Civil Airport;
National Air Traffic Services (NATS): Scottish Area Control Centre (SACC), Oceanic Area Control Centre (OACC), Military Control, & Engineering.


Current Airport Name: Glasgow (Prestwick) International Airport (EGPK)





Related Links



Accident Specific Links

Gio Metra's 2007 video
(Opens in Windows Media Player: 20 secs.)

Steve White's 2006 Video at YouTube (19 secs.)


FAA / RN / RNAS and Related Links

1772 Naval Air Squadron (Fireflies)

1772 Squadron Feature at BBC

Fairey Firefly Profile and History

HMS Indefatigable (R10)


Other Links

Fairey Firefly at Warbird Alley

Fairey Firefly at Wikipedia




Hill Walking Links



(Hillwalking and Mountaineering)

WalkingScotland (The official Walking site of Scotland's national tourism organisation)

Walking Scotland's Mountains



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