Search This Blog

Friday, 18 September 2020

Oxford X7064 of 11 Advanced Flying Unit RAF Wrexham Moel y Gamelin

A visit to North Wales with a friend to visit 2 sites near Llangollen the first is one I didn't think i could find easily as information is almost non existent .
This site is on the flanks of Moel y Gamelin, Denbighshire and contains the last remains of Airspeed Oxford X7064 of 11 Advanced Flying Unit RAF Wrexham 20th February 1944 .
X7064 took off at night for a local survey flight with 2 crew the plane was to have stayed local to the airbase and the flight was to have only lasted for about 1 hour but in the dark the crew strayed away from Wrexham and into high ground to the west , the plane was seen in the mountains near Llangollen shortly later an explosion and flames were seen high on Moel y Gamelin, rescuers climbed to the site but sadly both crew were beyond help .


On the slope a small crater holds a collection of pieces of the Oxford others parts are spread over the slope for some distance .
From this site looking west you can make out the scar of my next site.
Crew =
Warrant Officer Robert Mead Sinclair RCAF
Sgt Christopher Bewick , RAuxAF



 

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Tigermoth T6464 No.24 Elementary Flying Training School 12th of April 1945 ,RAF Sealand , Chester , Chew Reservoir Saddleworth

From my last trip into the peaks .
On the 12th of April 1945 Sgt Michael O’Connell RNZAF Took off from RAF Sealand , Chester in Tigermoth T6464 No.24 Elementary Flying Training School .
The flight was a cross country training flight towards Manchester nearing the high ground of Saddleworth moors the plane entered low cloud and mist the young and inexperienced pilot either became disoriented or fell victim to pressonitis but sadly the Tiger Moth impacted sloping ground near Chew Reservoir with the tragic loss of Sgt O,Connell .

On the moor today in a depression a shallow water filled crater can be seen and nearby a few alloy parts in a collection nothing really identifiable but a look in the grass showed up some surprisingly well preserved canvas remains still showing paint I left them in their hiding place

 

Saturday, 5 September 2020

Lysander V9403 Mk 111a of 6 AACU [anti-aircraft co-operation unit] , V9403 Ringway, Manchester 19th of August 1941


 From my last trip to the peaks .

On the flat featureless Slate Pit moors, Saddleworth near to Chew Reservoir is a small collection of remains easily missed by the walker.
These few bits are the last reminder of the crash of Lysander V9403 Mk 111a of 6 AACU [anti-aircraft co-operation unit] , V9403 took off with 2 crew from its home of Ringway, Manchester on the 19th of August 1941 to fly to Rhyl on a visit to the anti-aircraft units stationed there.
Climbing over a blacked out city, the pilot set his course by his compass and headed off on what he believed was a route to the west, but either due to a compass malfunction as the pilot stated or as the enquiry judged an error by the pilot, the plane turned not over the flat plains of Cheshire but East into high ground.

Skimming the moors the plane impacted the flat grass and flipped over onto its back, this trapped both crew. Injured but alive thankfully there was no fire but also no rescue, the 2 crew had to endure through a day and a night until a water worker spotted the wreck and called for help.
Both crew were rescued but sadly the radio operator LAC A.M.Chadwick passed away from his injuries 3 days later.
Sat by the scar I did spot a couple of interesting bits in the grass at the edge of the site a small rubber pulley and a small piece of black Bakelite marked FX2.
Crew =
P/o F.W.Hoddinott
LAC A.M.Chadwick


Sunday, 30 August 2020

RAF Abingdon, Blackburn Beverley C Mk 1 XH117 53 SQN 5th March 1957 Sutton Wick , Drayton

In the small hamlet of Drayton , Oxfordshire on Sutton Wick Lane a wooden memorial plaque sits on a quiet green it is the only reminder of the sad events of the 5th March 1957.
Blackburn Beverley C Mk 1 XH117 53 SQN lifted off from RAF Abingdon on a flight to RAF Akrotiri, Cyprus. On-board was a flight crew, a relief crew and 8 RAF police dog handlers and their dogs, 17 passengers and 5 crew in total.
Just as the plane left the ground engine No1 Port engine stopped, the crew feathered the prop and set about returning to Abingdon. Turning back the crew noticed No2 Port was losing fuel at an alarming rate and unable to keep the Beverley flying the pilot looked for any area to put the falling plane down. The pilot selected a field beyond Drayton but the heavy transport plane had no room or time left, hitting HT power lines the plane broke up impacting the ground but also a caravan and a prefab cottage, flipping over the Beverley then hit houses on the lane. In the prefab, Muriel Binnington and in a house on the lane, Southern Electric engineer J Maltravers were sadly killed, on the Beverly only 2 crew 2 passengers and one of the dogs survived the crash.


2 RAF Officers were highly commended for their help in rescuing survivors but also locals who though not officially recognised risked much in helping amongst the burning wreckage.
In the official inquiry a fuel non return valve was found to have been fitted backwards this starved the engines. The technician was reprimanded but the crash led to changes, no longer would fuel valves be made with the same thread on both sides.


 On Saturday the 5th March 2016 a small service was held to dedicate the memorial also in attendance were service dogs of the RAFPA (Royal Air Force Police Association

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Shorts Solent Mk 3 G-AKNU of Aquila airways 15th November 1957 Isle of Wight

Another site from my work trip to the Isle of Wight

On a chilly evening 15th November 1957 Shorts Solent Mk 3 G-AKNU of Aquila airways with its 8 crew sat waiting on the Solent at Southampton Docks for its 50 passengers, the plane was to fly to Lisbon then on to Madeira and Los Palmas.

 



After final checks the crew manoeuvred G-AKNU down the Solent and onto its take off run advancing the throttles the pilot Captain W.Eltis, held the flying boat on its course and off the water climbing normally for about 3 minutes.  At 22.46 a call was received by the southern traffic control in London, all seemed ok but a few short minutes later the flight was in serious trouble, a radio message sent by the plane to Aquila’s office in Southampton said “Number 4 engine feathered coming back in a hurry“. Turning over the Isle of Wight the crew headed back towards the Solent for an precautionary  landing with one engine out but this wasn’t to last, over the small hamlet of Brook engine number 3 shut down. Unable to maintain height the plane’s wing dropped, clipping the ridge of Shalcombe Down near Chessel, crippled the flying boat impacted a quarry face and burst into flames. Locals and soldiers of the Royal Army Service Corps nearby ran to the site, in the wreckage only 15 souls were found still alive, sadly 2 later passed away and none of the crew survived.

 

Visiting the wooded hillside a short walk from the lane I could see the memorial that now lies on the site just on the edge of the path. I luckily ventured no further as the woodland is private [I found out when I saw the sign in a tree walking back to the path]. Another memorial is in the small picturesque church of St Marys by Brook village but it was locked at the time of my visit.  Standing back at the lane the quarry face can be seen, easily marking the spot of G-AKNU’s loss.

 

Saturday, 15 August 2020

Channel Airways DC-3 Dakota G-AGZB 6th May 1962 ,St Boniface RAF Ventnor. Isle of Wight

 

A work trip to the Isle of Wight meant I could get to visit 2 sites of civilian losses on the Island on a rushed and wet trip.
On 6th May 1962 a Channel Airways DC-3 Dakota G-AGZB left Jersey on route for a flight to Portsmouth with 15 passengers and 3 crew.
The weather was appalling with low cloud and drizzle over southern England and the crew were feeling under pressure to get the flight into Portsmouth, another concern was that one of the airlines senior pilots was on Jersey and had been seen in a heated discussion with G-AGZB's pilot about trying to get the flight to its destination.
Flying low over the sea the crew asked for a level of 1000ft to keep contact with visual conditions, endeavouring to stay below the cloud and being pushed lower the crew possibly believed they were further west, as unbeknown to them a strong tail wind was pushing the plane to the East. In the mist G-AGZB entered a valley on the coast of the Isle of Wight, at the head of the valley is the summit of St Boniface Down topped by the retired RAF Ventnor Radar station.


The pilot seeing the danger opened up the throttles but knowing he was unable to avoid the slope, shut them and levelled the plane. Sadly the stations fence and bunkers gave no safe landing, breaking up over 100yrds the plane came to rest on fire but not totally destroyed.
Local Ted Price ran to the crash and helped 4 injured passengers from the wreck, another passenger and a stewardess were found alive but both passed away soon after the accident.
All 3 crew and 9 passengers were lost

 This flight led to changes in rules governing passenger flights requiring all airports dealing with passenger flight to have radio communications and the adoption of Air Ministry weather minimum.

On the summit a small memorial is the only sign of this sad crash at the slope nothing could be seen but the towers and bunkers in the undergrowth .

Friday, 7 August 2020

Handley Page Hastings C1A TG577 , RAF Abingdon July 6th 1965

A work trip out to Abingdon in Oxfordshire meant a trip out to a very sad site.

July 6th 1965 Handley Page Hastings C1A TG577 sat waiting at RAF Abingdon for its passengers .

 TG577 had taken off from its home base at RAF Colerne, Wiltshire for Abingdon to pick up 35 men for a training parachute drop over RAF Weston on the Green.

The men walked out in the warm afternoon to board the Hastings as final checks were carried out by the 6 crew. Taking off TG577 climbed away at 4 pm with 2 Argosy aircraft  but the Hastings was in trouble. In the tail 2 upper bolts holding the elevator had suffered fatigue failure, the loading of excessive forces meant the 2 lower bolts failed almost immediately after causing a total loss of control, the crew struggled to gain height but sadly the plane stalled.

Falling inverted the Hastings impacted a field next to the hamlet of Little Baldon bursting into flames there were no survivors of the 41 on board.

The shock in the services was widely felt,  the men came from the RAF and Army and  included 8 RAF parachute jump instructors, 3 RAF air loadmasters, three NCO's and seven Parachute Regiment recruits, 1 Royal artillery gunner Airborne Forces and 2 were members of the RAF Falcons display team.

At the site today nothing shows of this terrible day but nearby in the small church of St Lawrence in Toots Baldon a memorial was dedicated on the 9th April 1967.

Those lost on TG577=

F/Lieutenant John Akin
F/Officer Christopher John Payne
F/Lieutenant Herbert Roy Scott
Sgt Graham George Blake
Fl/Sgt Michael David Charles Boyles
Master Air Quartermaster Peter Samuel John Timms
F/Lieutenant William Peter Roden
Sgt John Hurry
Sgt Peter Clifton
Sgt James Ian Borthwick
Sgt Philip Michael Way
Sgt John Joseph McGartland
Sgt Anthony Evans
Sgt Michael Charles Palmer
F/Sgt Austin Ralph Casey
F/Sgt Joseph William Robinson
Sgt Colin David Holmes
F/Lieutenant David George Stephens
F/Lieutenant George Joseph Taylor

Students on TG577

Officer Royston John Legg
P/Officer Thomas Issac Adams
P/Officer Alan William Henry Turner
Corporal Dennis Joseph Bayliss
Corporal John Raymond Smith
Corporal Anthony Charles Lee
Corporal Alexander Morris Telfer
Junior Technician Paul Glynne Williams
Senior Aircraftman Anthony John Sykes
Leading Aircraftman Michael Raymond Ireland
Colour Sergeant Bernard Joseph Houghman                                                                     Colour Sergeant Thomas Peverley Alderson
Sgt Harry Ellis
Private Duncan John Stewart
Private William Geoffrey Hilditch
Private Colin Bassom
Private Terence Ralph Brett
Private Robin Andrews
Private Michael David Walker
Private Anthony Arthur Blackman
Gunner Thomas Cooper


At the site today nothing shows of this terrible day but nearby in the small church of St Lawrence in Toots Baldon a memorial was dedicated on the 9th April 1967.

Those lost on TG577=

F/Lieutenant John Akin 
F/Officer Christopher John Payne 
F/Lieutenant Herbert Roy Scott 
Sgt Graham George Blake
Fl/Sgt Michael David Charles Boyles
Master Air Quartermaster Peter Samuel John Timms
F/Lieutenant William Peter Roden
Sgt John Hurry
Sgt Peter Clifton
Sgt James Ian Borthwick
Sgt Philip Michael Way
Sgt John Joseph McGartland
Sgt Anthony Evans
Sgt Michael Charles Palmer
F/Sgt Austin Ralph Casey
F/Sgt Joseph William Robinson
Sgt Colin David Holmes
F/Lieutenant David George Stephens
F/Lieutenant George Joseph Taylor

Students on TG577

Officer Royston John Legg
P/Officer Thomas Issac Adams
P/Officer Alan William Henry Turner
Corporal Dennis Joseph Bayliss
Corporal John Raymond Smith
Corporal Anthony Charles Lee
Corporal Alexander Morris Telfer
Junior Technician Paul Glynne Williams 
Senior Aircraftman Anthony John Sykes
Leading Aircraftman Michael Raymond Ireland 
Colour Sergeant Bernard Joseph Houghman                                                                     Colour Sergeant Thomas Peverley Alderson
Sgt Harry Ellis
Private Duncan John Stewart
Private William Geoffrey Hilditch
Private Colin Bassom
Private Terence Ralph Brett
Private Robin Andrews
Private Michael David Walker
Private Anthony Arthur Blackman
Gunner Thomas Cooper