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Mosquito LR412, propeller hub.
Grid reference SH 85660 21485
On 9th February 1944 Mosquito LR412 – a photo reconnaissance aircraft – crashed on the mountain of Aran Fawddwy in Snowdonia, Wales.
Both crewmen, pilot Flying Officer Marek Ostaja-Slonski (PAF) and navigator Flight Lieutenant Paul Riches DFC (RAF) were killed in the crash. They had been on a cross country exercise coupled with the testing of newly fitted flaps.
The cause of the crash remains unknown. It was five days after the crash before a hill farmer spotted and reported the missing aircraft.
The crewmen were buried together at Chessington in Surrey. Fl. Lt Riches was from Epsom in Surrey but F/O Ostaja-Slonski was of the Polish Air Force. It would appear his burial alongside his navigator was a touching gesture by the family of Fl. Lt Riches.
The two airmen, side by side in their Mosquito and buried together too.
Photo from this site; kelvin.leadhoster.com/index.htm
A photo of this very Mosquito; LR412 of 540 Squadron.
Photo from History of War; www.historyofwar.org/index.html
One of the Rolls Royce Merlin engines of LR412 forms an unofficial memorial to the crewmen. Embedded in concrete it is sited at the entrance to Esgair-Gawr Farm. Llanwrog Mountain Rescue Service brought the bodies of the two airman off the hills and along this road in the early hours of February 15th 1944.