Jack Wixen

Captain, RAF Ferry Command
Died 10 Aug 1941
Buried Kilbride Old Churchyard, Isle of Arran
Age 27

Headstone Inscription

Jack was born as Jacob Vichnenko in Batum, Russia on 23 September 1913. His father Aron, a confectioner, was born in Odessa and his mother Tillie nee Abromovich was born in Romania. After the birth of his brother Isadore in Odessa the family moved to Jaffa in Palestine. Another brother Balfour was born in Jaffa in 1922 after which the family travelled to Marseille before sailing on the S.S. Canada to New York. The family settled in California where the final son Ben was born in 1930. The family became naturalised citizens in 1935 and the surname was changed to Wixen.

On completion of his schooling Jack trained as a pilot and worked for T.W.A. and American Airlines as a pilot and instructor. He enlisted in the RAF four months before he was killed.

Liberator AM261 departed RAF Heathfield at 20.20 hours to transport flight crews to Newfoundland to collect newly built aircraft back to the U.K. The 22 flight crew on board were from the Royal Air Force Ferry Command, Air Transport Auxiliary and the British Overseas Airways Corporation. Weather conditions were poor with low visibility and rain. The pilot did not gain sufficient height to clear the high peaks of Arran. Nothing further was seen or heard of the aircraft until wreckage was discovered a few days later near the summit of a mountain some 25 miles from the take-off point. The aircraft had flown into cloud-covered high ground 1 ml (1.6 km) N of Goat Fell, Isle of Arran. It appeared that the aircraft drifted off track by 4 ½ miles in the strong winds and, not having reached its safety height, flew into a ridge of Mullach Buidhe. The crash was recorded as a navigational error.

All twenty two personnel were killed:
Pilot – Captain Ernest Robert Bristow White BOAC
Co-Pilot – Captain Francis Delaforce Bradbrooke ATA
Captain James Josiah Anderson RAFFC, passenger
Radio Officer Ralph Bruce Brammer RAFFC, passenger
Radio Officer John Beatty Drake RAFFC, passenger
Captain Daniel Joseph Duggan RAFFC, passenger
Captain George Thomas Harris RAFFC, passenger
Captain Hoyt Ralph Judy RAFFC, passenger
Radio Officer Wilfred Groves Kennedy RAFFC, passenger
Captain Watt Miller King RAFFC, passenger
Radio Officer George Laing RAFFC, passenger
Radio Officer William Kenneth Marks RAFFC, passenger
Radio Officer Hugh Cameron McIntosh RAFFC, passenger
Radio Officer Albert Alexander Oliver ATA, passenger
Radio Officer George Herburt Powell ATA, passenger
Captain John Evan Price RAFFC, passenger
Radio Officer Herbert David Rees ATA, passenger
Flight Engineer Ernest George Reeves RAFFC
1st Officer John James Rouleston RAFFC, passenger
Captain Harold Clifford Wesley Smith RAFFC, passenger
Captain Jack Wixen RAFFC, passenger
Radio Officer Henry Samuel Green BOAC