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Mosquito HK141, Striding Edge, Helvellyn
Australians Warrant Officer William G D Frost (pilot) and Flight Sergeant Corbie F Marshall (navigator) died when their de Havilland Mosquito crashed into Striding Edge on Helvellyn on February 10th 1945.
The wreckage of the aircraft fell down the cliffs and into Red Tarn. There’s very little left and we didn’t expect to find anything given the snow cover and that the area is very popular with hillwalkers. This was the only bit found, it was at the edge of Red Tarn but it’s enough.
HK141 had taken off from RAF Cranfield in Bedfordshire on a night exercise. There was low cloud and the hills were covered with snow. It appears the crew drifted off course and as their fuel ran low, W/O Frost was attempting to nose down through the cloud – rather than bale out – in the hope of getting a visual fix when the aircraft crashed into the mountainside.
Edit November 2014. There might not be much remaining by the edge of the lake but this superb photo of the fuel tank provides a unique view of what lies below the surface of Red Tarn. Photo used with kind permission of Christian Ashby of High Wycombe Sub-aqua Club. Many thanks to Christian, Stuart and Ian.
The wider scene, Striding Edge rising up to Helvellyn.
140 years earlier, this was the scene of another tragedy. An artist, Charles Gough, unknown at the time but to acheive fame only after his death, was climbing Striding Edge in the hope of getting in some really dramatic painting. Accompanied by his dog, he set out on April 17 1805 and was never seen alive again. His remains were found by a shepherd at this spot, 3 months later, his faithful dog by his side. Charles Gough had fallen to his death from Striding Edge.
Various artists were immediately inspired by the romantic ideal of the faithful dog guarding the master’s body, as in this painting by Landseer. There was a sad irony in that a young man set out to record romantic images but became the subject of one himself. Alas the reported account is a little more harsh. When found the bones of Mr Gough were scattered around, and the dog was looking decidedly well fed!
Attachment by Edwin Landseer. Image from Wikipedia Commons