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Blackburn Skua
Savage in 1980 in a Vintage Sea Hurricane

On this day 16 October 1940

Published: 16 Oct 2012

In the early hours of the 16th of October, the aircraft of 801 squadron were prepared for a sortie. At 0405 hours GMT+1 three Skuas from 801 Squadron flew from HMS Furious to attack the harbour at Tromso. One of them L2902 flown by Lt Edward Graham (known as Peter) Savage released its load, and was hit by anti-aircraft fire. Unable to find the ship in thick fog, Skua L2902 crossed the Swedish border on a southerly course. Over the village of Malmberget the aircraft was fired at by Swedish anti-aircraft batteries (located there in defence of the mining facilities). To avoid being hit, Savage flew below the rooftops of the main street and, very low on fuel, ditched in Lake Vassaratrask near Gallivare. As the aircraft slowly sank, he and his navigator, Lt Homer Hayes, threw documents and a secret bomb-aiming sight into the water before climbing into their dinghy; they were met on the shore by a Swedish army patrol. After questioning, Lieutenants  Hayes and Savage were sent by train to Framby for internment. They were released for repatriation in December 1940 and travelled via Finland, Russia, Turkey, Syria and on to Gibraltar, where Savage rejoined Furious in June 1941. Savage and Hayes were awarded the DSC in the New year's Honours List of 1941.





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