Airspeed Oxford EB717

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Airspeed Oxford EB717

12 May 1943

Student pilot Sergeant John Henry Langley Wilson died when his Airspeed Oxford crashed into the moor at Burbage Edge near the Cat & Fiddle in the Peak District.

It is believed Sgt Wilson was lost having drifted off course on a night navigation exercise from RAF Calveley near Crewe. Cunningham (2006) suggests Sgt Wilson was circling the blacked out town below him (Buxton) while trying to match what he could see on the ground with what was on his map to determine his location? For whatever reason “whether he was too busy looking at the map or whether his aircraft entered a band of low lying cloud” his Oxford struck the moor and crashed through a drystone wall.

There is not much left today except the demolished wall and in a deep pool nearby some fragments of metal and plywood, some which appear painted red and yellow on one side and white on the other.

In order to retrieve the debris from the pool, I had to lie flat on the moor and grope about up to my armpits in muddy water, but the bits are still there and I returned them after photographing them on the wall (photo above).

Below; the wider scene showing the wall demolished by Sgt Wilson’s Oxford.

Below; photo of an Airspeed Oxford on wikipedia

Ref; Pat Cunningham (2006) Peakland Air Crashes – The Central Area

8 comments on “Airspeed Oxford EB717
  1. ang wickham says:

    I really, really like that top shot. Something about the brooding blueish tone and sky. More speculation on my part – with spatial disorientation – looking down at a map during flight, and then looking up again freaks out the inner ear and creates all sorts of body responses .. usually the incorrect ones. Having no discernable horizon to ‘level oneself with’ would compound trying to resolve this. I wonder what instruments they flew with? Quite possibly a rudimentary cockpit and therefore even harder to recover, instrument only – your one true saviour in such a situation. Great work Ian, sorry to go on with theories!

  2. paul says:

    Have i been to this one Ian ….i cannot recall …but i think not !

  3. Robin says:

    Well composed photo. The clouds on the horizon add to the picture.

    • Ian D B says:

      Thanks Robin, great to see you. I have neglected flickr and my pals from there, but I stop by occasionally…
      Hope you are well?

  4. Chris Jones says:

    Such a simple but poignant photo here, very emotional

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