Things rather went off the boil as far as this website went but I have been trying to catch up with matters outstanding. One of those things which fell badly through the cracks was a note from my informant Allan Connell who had the following to say:
This is my first visit to your site, and I had fun looking at the “wreck of the Odd” story, and Reg Sweet’s bit on the Durban fighter squadron of WW2. Regarding the fighter planes, I was born in 1943, in Amanzimtoti, where my folks had a house on the intersection of Kingsway and Inyoni Rocks Road. In those days we had lovely bush, with bushbuck and duiker, between Kingsway and the railway line.
Our folks told us about a day during WW2 (I think), when they heard what sounded like hail on the roof of the house, and a plane in trouble. The clattering on the roof turned out to be cartridges falling from the plane, and it crashed in the bush towards Umbogintwini. The pilot ejected and my dad told us he helped him down from the trees where he found the pilot, trapped in the tree canopy, by the ropes of his ‘chute. Can anyone shed any light on this story?
Secondly, can anyone shed any light on the ship wreck that lies about 3km offshore of Brighton Beach/Treasure Beach, just south of Cooper Light, in about 30m water depth. Durban’s commercial divers knew it well in the late 1960’s when they sometimes stopped there for “recreational” dives, during the hectic diving days of the construction of Durban’s two marine outfalls. One of them, Mitty Chelin, told me that he was convinced it was a whaler, because it had what he described as “sunken bollards” on the deck, for towing whales. I have SCUBA dived on it myself on a number of occasions and even collected a beautiful bronze porthole off it, but have never been able to establish a name, or how it came to be there. I wonder if any people from the whaling community have any record of this ship.
With best wishes
I think I can help on both of those questions. The crash you mention was likely that of a Kittyhawk fighter and there has been a fair bit on this site on the numerous examples which crashed in the Durban area during WWII including a list of dates, which might help you narrow it down. The wreck you mention sounds to me like that known as the Cooper Light Wreck. It is mentioned in diary entries for 31 July 2003, 2 August 2003 and 15 August 2003 – just click the links and scroll down to those dates.