I had occasionally stumbled across the remains of military plane crash sites while out hill walking but only set out with the intention of visiting a site as the objective of a walk (that of the Superfortress ‘Over-Exposed!’ on Bleaklow) in 2008. I took some photos, wrote some notes and added them to flickr. Over the years more sites were visited and in June 2013 I moved everything from flickr to these pages.
The aim is to provide a record of these crash sites with words and photos; people continue to remove the last remains of these crashes, so recording what is left before it disappears altogether is one reason for uploading all this stuff. Another aim is to bring together various strands of research into one place, pointing out where there are conflicting views or records.
Probably the most important reason is to provide a memorial of sorts to the people who died at these places. Often the accidents occurred during training flights and many of the dead were young men, a long way from home, who never had the opportunity to defend their country in combat and whose deaths are consequently forgotten by all but their families and the readers of these stories.
People viewing these photos for the first time are often surprised that wreckage still remains and many also say they had never considered this part of our history. There are thousands of these places all over the UK; during the war aircraft came down every day. In Britain you are never very far from an air crash site. Those that came down in lowland were cleared, the land built on or cultivated. But in the hills wreckage sometimes remains though many of the sites detailed here have long since been cleared of all surface remains.
I had also uploaded onto flickr a number of then and now composites of Nazi Berlin, histories and photos about Luftwaffe air raids on Britain and a history of my father’s time during WWII in the Royal Navy. They are all on here too.
If you have anything to add to these stories, any corrections or additional info or anecdotes I’d love to hear from you. It’s always good to hear from relatives or from the people who were there at the time. The more valid info we can preserve and present for free, the better.
See also Aircrashsites.co.uk on TV. ‘Inside Out’ screened on BBC1 – 25 January 2016 (Yorkshire & Lincolnshire) and 01 February 2016 (North West). Video used with kind permission of BBC.