We are most proud and delighted to have been donated this propeller.
It is a propeller from Watergate Beach (the beach just at the bottom of the runway used by Newquay Airport and RAF St Mawgan.) The propeller had been washed out onto the sand in storms over the winter. It has been reported and the RAF Museum have identified as one blade of a liberator paddle propeller and recommended that it was gifted to a nearby aviation heritage organisation. We aim to work on carefully preserving it and display this with an accurate account of what exactly happened all those years ago.
“On the 28th December 1943 at 2am, a four engined Consolidated PB4Y-1 (naval version of the B-24D Liberator bomber) named ‘Mucks Mauler’ took off from St. Mawgan, with 13 onboard – 9 crew and 4 passengers. The crew had flown over 30 bombing missions over Europe and they were on their way home to the States. As it was climbing for height, they encountered engine problems and the pilot – Lt Rance A Thompson, elected to return to the airfield. Losing too much height, it flew straight into the cliff at Watergate Bay. There were no survivors.
The USAAF sent eight personnel to look for possible survivors, but sadly five of these perished in the incoming tide. General Eisenhower was so moved by this accident that he insisted that launches were to be stationed at St. Mawgan when aircraft were taking off over the sea. These were based at Padstow.”