Wellington bomber HE226

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Wellington bomber HE226

Wellington HE226 of No17 OTU (Operational Training Unit) was on a cross country training flight when it crashed with the loss of all crewmen on May 28th 1945, near the village of Conistone in the Yorkshire Dales.

It appears they had missed the designated turn point and nearly 40 miles from where they should have been, descended through cloud to get a visual fix only to meet the high ground of Bycliffe Moor rushing up towards them.

The crew were all members of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. These were no weekend flyers however. Volunteers accounted for the first Luftwaffe aircraft shot down over Britain, were the first to knock out a V1 flying bomb, and fought in the Battle of Britain.

Pilot; W/O Edward C Cole RAFVR
Navigator; Sgt James Mann RAFVR
Bomb Aimer; F/Sgt Arthur J Griffiths RAuxF
Wireless Op; Sgt John Duncan RAFVR
Air Gunner; Sgt Herbert H Rawnsley RAuxF

There is a lot of wreckage at this site, much of it deposited in sink holes, which are a geological feature of the area; limestone is dissolved by rain water over time, and the ground collapses in numerous depressions, indicating systems of caverns below.


On this day, another OTU Wellington bomber also came to grief with the loss of all on board while on a cross country training flight, Canadian crewed Wellington HE871 which fell out of a storm cloud and into the sea between Wales and Ireland.

10 comments on “Wellington bomber HE226
  1. andyholmfirth says:

    There’s a heck of a lot of metal Ian.

  2. Tech Owl says:

    Nice angle on the main shot Ian – I wondered if anyone has explored the caves to see the rest of the wreckage

  3. Ian D B says:

    Thanks both, the wreckage doesn’t sink into the holes (at least not yet!). You can stand in sinkholes quite safely. Just you don’t feel like hanging around much!

  4. Pleasureprinciple2012 says:

    Jeez, thats the most wreackage from any aircraft site that I have seen. Sink holes eh!……..learn something new every day!

  5. RoystonVasey says:

    That’s quite a lot of bits considering how long ago it happened!

  6. mick cooke says:

    nice to see its still there and nobody nicked it great story ian

  7. pasujoba says:

    Great background Ian , and yes there is an awful lot of this aircraft left on site but in very very small pieces .
    The more you look for parts the more you find at this site . Unfortunately it is very hard to photograph and show the wreckage within its enviroment due to its location in the sink holes and the proximity of the wall blocking the view .
    Good effort Ian .I particuarily like the shot with the arrows marking the sink holes .

  8. Corwin's Trumps says:

    The vantage point and perspective really help to demonstrate the physical destructiveness of such tragedies.

  9. jr55 (John Richardson) says:

    Great information and photo, it’s amazing how much aircraft remains there are on the hills.

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