RAF Cranage, Cheshire

‹ Return to Aviation History

RAF Cranage

The site of RAF Cranage is now farmed but the owner kindly gave me permission to wander around the fields to look at some of the remains. The building in the photo above was the detonator store. Note the bomb blast walls protecting the doors. The runways were in the fields just beyond in this view.

This excellent website by Craig Singleton, RAF Cranage has lots of photos, stories and diagrams about the air base.

For a time RAF Cranage was home to 96 Squadron – night fighters defending Liverpool and Manchester against Luftwaffe attacks in Hurricanes and Boulton-Paul Defiants.

Below; artwork of a 96 Sqn Defiant night fighter from Wings Palette

7

Interior of the pill box.

049

The pilots of the 96 Sqn Defiants mentioned in the two photos below were New Zealanders.

Crash site of a Junkers 88 which was shot down by a 96 Squadron Defiant based at RAF Cranage, though the claim was apparently disputed with the crew of a Defiant from 256 Squadron at RAF Squire’s Gate.

Crash site of Boulton-Paul Defiant above the Derwent Valley. The 96 Squadron crew safely bailed out when their Defiant developed engine trouble.

29 comments on “RAF Cranage, Cheshire
  1. christopher newman says:

    I am interested in the whereabouts of the site where a Hudson crashed in April 1942 killing all 9 aboard, 8 of which are buried in Byley church yard.Are there any photos of site or crew killed ? My interest is that I have an interest to one of those killed ,George Buxton.Any info would be most helpful

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Christopher,

      It is not a site I have visited I’m afraid. I will take a look in some books, see if it is detailed in any. Craig at RAF Cranage would be the best person to ask as to its whereabouts.

      Will get back to you if I find anything.

      Ian.

      • christopher newman says:

        many thanks .I have visited Byley church and driven round Cranage meeting people who remember,some sadly now passed on but I have not found out the exact location of crash. Would like map reference or direction ,field etc .

        • Ian D B says:

          Not had any success yet Christopher. I was about to e-mail Craig at Cranage, have you done that already? If not I will drop him a line.

    • Nigel Cartwright says:

      Hello Chris,I have lived near Byley Church for over 13 years,but only found out about the war graves last Sunday.The Church had a flower festival and the lady at the door mentioned them.I went to have a look,and on returning home did some research on the internet.I just’googled’The war graves in Byley Church,Cheshire,and all the deceaseds details are on that’site’.I hope this info has been of some use Chris,Kindest regards,Nigel.

      • chris newman says:

        Hi Nigel ,many thanks for email on my interest on war graves at Byley church , one of whom is my father GC Buxton , the grave of whom I have visited. I have been trying to find the exact spot on a map where they crashed , near Byley, and any other info of interest to me about the airdrome etc .
        It is nice that people take an interest so thank you again
        Regards Chris Newman

    • John Carr says:

      Hi , George Buxton was my fathers best friend at at Brighton College. I too have been searching info.

    • John Carr says:

      Hi Chris, just checking you’ve seen the information on http://www.rafcranage.org.uk/raf-cranage-1942.html detailing the crash. Cheers

  2. christopher newman says:

    Thanks for contact ;no I have not contacted Craig but have been in touch with several people who lived in the area and met some when I visited but I never found the exact location of crash or who (if known ) the pilot was . I gather several were (training ) pilots . Any info from anyone will be gratefully received Chris Newman

    • Ian D B says:

      Sorry for the late reply Christopher. Have asked Craig if he knows anything of it. It is odd that none of the usual sources of info have any reference to it, so I’d be very interested if anything does turn up. You might try the RAF Museum at Hendon, they may be able to assist?
      Ian

  3. chris newman says:

    Thanks again for reply on my query on crash site to Hudson near Byley, sorry about delay in reply .
    Have tried most websites and contacted severallocal people but will try your suggestion on Hendon or perhaps Duxford , near me , can help . Anyway appreciate your response Regards Chris

  4. chris newman says:

    Hi John thanks for both emails . No I had not seen the crash report and info so hanks for that . I did understand the aircraft was overloaded and that the pilot was not GH Buxton but I still am tryingto find our the locality of the crash .
    I have visited Brighton college , they were more that helpful and I have several college books and photos of that period but only met one person (at a Armstice day reunion there )who knew of him . I have group photos of him at college , do you ? Any info you are seeking I might have , just ask and I will let you have my email address Regards Chris

    • John Carr says:

      Hi Chris,
      Thanks for your reply.
      I remember visiting George Buxton’ s father, with my father and brother, at their home at Scaynes Hill in the late sixties.
      I was also at Brighton College and remember the old squash courts which had a plaque in memory of George Buxton. I wonder if it’s still there?
      My email address is rjncarr@yahoo.co.uk
      Kind regards
      John Carr

  5. chris newman says:

    Hi John. Funnily enough i just been going through family history with my son who is over here with family from Australia and showing him photos I have of George Jnr and the Awbrook house at Scaynes Hill (sadly no longer there). I also have group photos of George jnr at Brighton which i visited and who were so helpful .Yes the squash court was still there ,but no info could be ,or can be, gleened about George snr so any info you may have I would be most welcome to receive ,.
    I fairness to you I will let you have all known details that i have at a later date after my son has returned to Oz at end of week, the details are of some considerable amount and is going to take a lot of email butwill do my best regards Chris Newman

  6. Rol says:

    I have some information on this incident if you still need it.
    Regards,
    Rol

  7. chris newman says:

    Hi, many thanks for email re crash site at Cranage involving Hudson which killed G H Buxton amongst others. Most of the information that I have has been posted previously on this site butI am always pleased to receive any information that will add to my enquiry.
    Where was location of crash. are there any 1st hand accounts or contacts etc .
    Thank you for you interests, I look forward to hearing from you
    Kind regards Chris Newman

  8. Roland says:

    Hi Chris.

    The map ref for the Hudson AE618 crash is approx. 698708 a position between Brownheys Farm & Stublach Dairy Farm there was very little sign of a crash but there were a few melted alloy pieces as you can see in the picture of me & the late Roger on the Cranage web site,that confirmed that we were in the right place. As far as I know there are no eyewitness reports, but there might be in the RAF Court of Inquiry, I have not seen that. George Searle’s daughter wrote to me back in March 1991 & gave me some information on her Dad. I have also been in touch with Gron Edwards (ex flight commander of No.1 Flight of No.2 School of Air Navigation at RAF Cranage)around about the same time (March 1991)he was posted away shortly before the accident, but did fly with him & give dual instruction to George & Sgt Forrest also flew with Poole. He remembered George Searle as a tall, thin, red-haired and moustached, gentle, with a presence & authority, good humoured. An Oxford graduate & a qualified solicitor. My email if you want to contact me is tango99@ntlworld.com
    Regards,
    Roland

  9. dave poole says:

    i would be interested in any information on either cyril edwin poole (sid poole ) who was an engineer on this site or his good friend “RUDY/ROODY” (possibly surname of marrow FIRST NAME PETER ?)
    rudy was killed after the wing touched the ground either on a test flight or on return from a mission (possibly on fire as they returned)
    one guy died instantly (no name) but rudy “made it through the night..but died” as sid told me.

  10. chris newman says:

    Hi Roland ,sorry have only just got back to this site so thanks for giving position of crash site .brings me a little closer to the event
    (sorry Dave cannot give any info on your Rudy enquiry,but sure there are paople around who can Chris Newman

  11. dave poole says:

    update rouff is a derivative of rudolf/adolf so rudy way a little more acceptable…..

    29/07/1943CasualtiesFg Off Rouff, Vickers TP; Mr E. Booth, Aircraft InspectorAircraftVickers Wellington Mk X HE819Took off fromCranage, CheshirePurpose of flightProduction test flightIncident locationCranage, CheshireIncident detailsStalled on approach, burnt out on airfield –

    any more info on this one ?

  12. Roland Griffith says:

    Wellington Mk.X HE819 F/O Rouff MAP (Ministry of Aircraft Production)buried at Enfield (Hertford Road) cemetery Middlesex – approved test pilot (23)& Mr Edward Booth (Test Inspector Vickers Armstrong)Civilian war dead (Congleton Rural District Council), Byley Cheshire. Flown from Cranage. 3rd Production test flight to check that the fitting of a new carburettor had cured the reported throttle stiffness.
    ‘On return to Cranage the aircraft was observed executing a steep turn & apparently perfectly controlled gliding turn to port on the approach to land. Shortly after the aircraft had rolled wings level at an observed very slow speed, the aircraft stalled, the port wing dropped & touched the ground. The aircraft then slewed around, br
    oke up & burnt out. Both crew were thrown out of the cockpit & were trapped beneath the wreckage of a wing that was on fire. They were eventually extradited alive from the wreckage at great danger to the rescuers, but the inspector died in the ambulance on the way to the Hospital at RAF Wilmslow & the pilot died in the hospital at 22:00hrs that day.

  13. Roland Griffith says:

    I should also mention that F/O FJ Ruoff held the AFM. Sorry I spelt his surname incorrectly in the first post.

  14. Alistair H G Allcroft says:

    My 2nd cousin Flt Sgt (A/G) Frederick Augustus Allcroft was killed, along with his pilot, when his Boulton Paul Defiant of No 96 Squadron R.A.F. crashed near Ashford on the night of 4th August

  15. Alistair H G Allcroft says:

    …..1941 (sorry)

    • Ian D B says:

      Thank you for commenting Alistair. There’s not much on the internet about this crash so it is good that you have provided us with the location.

      A few more details about that accident from ASN;

      Defiant N3447 crashed on a night flight DBF. 5.8.1941
      Crew, both killed:

      P/O (61964) John Rogers DUNCAN (pilot) RAF
      F/Sgt (902259) Frederick Augustus ALLCROFT (AG) RAFVR

  16. Roland Griffith says:

    A couple of incidents that might be of interest:

    LAC(Pilot/u/t)WC Thompson died from his injuries sustanied on the 26.10.41 in Oxford I N4594 of 11 SFTS which crashed on a night take-off at RAF Cranage.

    F/O HJ Davidson killed in Defiant I AA297 of 285 Sqn which crashed whilst attempting to force land at base after engine failure & burnt.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*