Hudson (FK791) crashed near Mira

fotografia do navio Alpha





Detail of the memorial inaugurated in Ermida, Mira, on March 6, 2024.

The memorial commemorates the 80th anniversary of the crash of the Hudson, registration number FK791, of 269 Squadron, and is dedicated "To the heroes of the Second World War - Their bravery will never be forgotten".

( Photo: João Alcaide)











RAF       269 Sqn

Lockheed Hudson IIIA      FK791


Portreath (GB) → Lagens Airfield (Azores)


W/O   George Gordon Mclean      Australia 

F/Sgt   Walter R. Potwarka        Canada

S/L      David Duncan McPetrie    GB

W/O   Philip Arthur Gallop          Canada

The plane was in transit to a new base in the Azores, but an electrical storm damaged one of the engines. Later, at six in the morning, the same happened to the other, which forced the pilot to make maneuvers to save the crew.

Everything indicates that the they intended to abandon the airframe, but only Walter Potwarka managed to get out.

According to João Alcaide, a local archaeologist who investigated the case and interviewed witnesses of the incident, the plane crashed near the place of Ermida, in a spot known as Canto do Mato, and was completely destroyed and burned.

Potwarka was found alive, hanging from a pine tree. Two other crew members perished inside and another outside the wreckage. The three are buried in the St. James Cemetery, in Oporto.

Despite the early hour, the population became aware of the event. Maria de Lourdes Costa told João Alcaide that Manuel de Miranda Rola was the first person to reach the survivor.

Despite neither speaking the other's language, they understood each other enough for the Portuguese to take the Canadian home, where he served him breakfast, consisting of coffee and cornbread. As he was still in the same house for lunch, he also shared a rice and beans meal that fed the whole family.

* “Aviões da Cruz de Cristo” – Mário Cannongia Lopes
* Portreath ORB - National Archives - London Kew
* National Archives Australia
* João Alcaide

fotografia do navio Alpha
fotografia do navio Alpha


Inauguration of the memorial and moment when Artur Fresco, one of the witnesses, recounts his 80 years old memories.
(Pictures: Município de Mira)

A man named Maia Alcoforado was later called to the place, as he was one of the few people in the area who knew how to speak English. He talked with Potwarka and called the authorities to take him away.

João Alcaide's investigation gained momentum at the end of 2023 and beginning of 2024. He deepened the information found on this website, found new data and rewrote the entire incident.

The data I had published – both on the website and in the book – indicated that the dead crew members had fallen in the sea, something that the new investigation refuted.

Realizing that in 2024 it would be 80 years since the plane crash in Ermida, João Alcaide armed himself with the information he had gathered and managed to get the local authority to erect a memorial that remembers the events and the pilots who were on board.

On May 6, 2024, the municipality of Mira inaugurated the memorial and brought together some of the witnesses in a ceremony where the case was once again remembered.

Carlos Guerreiro