Beaufort (DW980) landed in Sagres












Bristol Beaufort I      DW980




F/Sgt.   Wilfred James Collier             GB

F/Sgt.   Rutherford Gale                     Australia

Sgt.     Joseph Louis Antonio               GB

Sgt.     John Walker                             GB

On October 2, 1943, at 4 pm, a Bristol Beaufort bomber landed at the site of Peniche (possibly Beliche) near Sagres, due to lack of fuel or engine failure. The four crew members were unharmed and were taken to the Sagres Hotel by order of the acting commander of the 5th Border-Guard Company, Lieutenant Joaquim Dores.

The first information about the landing was given to the Ministry of War in a telegram sent by the Commander of the Lagos section of the Inspector Border-Guard, Lieutenant Basil Marreiros.

On 3 October at 1 pm, Lieutenant Armando Correia Mera, From Air Base No. 1, presented itself in Lagos Lagos with orders to interrogate the crew and to assess the conditions of the aircraft.

In a later report this officer stated that the plane was guarded by the Border-Guard and showed some damage on the fuselage, the landing gear and the propellers, caused by the belly landing the pilot had made.

Inside, he found the radio set destroyed and during the interrogation he was informed that one of the crew members was responsible for destroying it with ax. The armament - two double machine gun towers and two spare machine guns - was in perfect condition and was transported with the ammunition to Air Base No. 1, with "other material considered to be of delicate conservation".

The crew refused to indicate the origin and destination of the plane.

Lieutenant Mera also points out that the plane is unlikely to fly without substantial repairs.

A Border-Guard Initial inspection stated that the forced landing was related with the lack of fuel, but a latter expert assessment indicated that it was probably caused by a failure of the right engine.

According to information received from the head of the post of the Border-Guard of Sagres, the crew, after removing their personal property from the aircraft tried to set it on fire but were stoped by the patrol who immediately reached to the scene.

On the 4th of October, the commander of the 4th Military Region authorized the military commander of Lagos to take the airmen to that city. That same day they were sent to Caldas da Rainha, where they were interned.

*  Information sent by D. Smith
* Livro "A batalha de Aljezur" de José Augusto Rodrigues
* José Augusto Rodrigues