Beaufighter NE595

Bristol Beaufighter Mk.X NE595 (S), 603 Squadron, RAF Gambut, Libya
crashed Fiskardo, Kefalonia, Greece on 19th July 1944

Crew

PositionRank/TitleFull NameAgeService NumberInjury
PilotFlt SgtHarold Edward Yorke261615279Major
Nav/RadarFlt SgtJohn George Shaw211515622Fatal

Accident Details

On the 19th July 1944 Beaufighter NE595 took off from RAF Gambut in Libya with two other aircraft to carry out an offensive sweep over the Aegean Sea. The formation flew to Zakinthos and commenced their sweep up from there to Kefalonia. A small Caique was attacked at Sami before the flight headed north to Fiskardo.

As they approached the small harbour town of Fiskardo two German anti-aircraft guns, one on the old lighthouse and one on the harbour wall, opened fire, hitting NE595 the just behind the wing and starting a fire in the fuselage. The navigator, Flt Sgt Shaw, was killed immediately, but the pilot, Flt Sgt Yorke, with much effort was able to pull the aircraft up over the ridge, ditching in the sea beyond.

Yorke was able to get out of his sinking aircraft but was badly hurt, both from burns to his body and having smashed his head on the gun sight on impact. Because of this when he swam to shore, he was not able to get far and was captured soon after and became a POW.

The remaining two aircraft continued on their mission, attacking another Caique just south of Fiskardo before returning to RAF Gambut.

The Crash Site

The wrecked Beaufighter remained on the seabed until the 1960’s when local fisherman dragged it closer to the shore where it was blown up for scrap. However, some large sections of the wreck remain there to this day in 17 metres of water. The local diving school in Fiskardo operated by Cedric Georges, run diving trips to more experienced divers.

A marble memorial was placed on the seabed at the crash site by Cedric in 2016 and officially unveiled by the surviving family of Flt Sgt York.