RAF Air Crash Sites 1939 – 1942

 

Posted in RAF Crash Sites 1939-1942
26 comments on “RAF Air Crash Sites 1939 – 1942
  1. Stanley Tudor says:

    As a boy aged 6,and on holiday in Blackpool with my parents in 1938(approx), we decided to visit Lytham St Annes airport to view the planes from a bridge over the Railway line which passed close to the airport.Having caught a tram to Lytham, my Mother, Father,older Brother and myself, set off across the field adjacent to the airport to mount the bridge for an improved view of the airfield.We were approximately 100 yards from the bridge, when a Bristol Blenheim Bomber that was in the process of taking off,lost engine power, tried to tilt sideways to get between two vertical columns on the airport boundary wall, but a wing tip unfortunately struck one of the towers and the plane spun sideways and crashed into the bridge which we had been heading to. All of the planes crew were killed unfortunately and if my family and myself had been 3 minutes earlier so would we.

    • Ian D B says:

      Interesting story Stanley, thanks for sharing that. I should probably be able to identify the aircraft and the exact date. Will take a look over the weekend, see if I have anything on it.
      Ian

      • Stanley Tudor says:

        I was very pleased to receive your Email in regard to my query on my experience of the St.Annes air crash. Just as a matter of interest,I emigrated to Australia from UK in 1967, and on a return holiday trip in 1974 decided to visit the crash site.I was intrigued to see the bridge still existed
        and the difference in the colour of the bricks in the repaired area caused by the crash was clearly visible. Viewing google earth on the PC and scanning around also proved interesting. Thanks again for your interest. Regards Stan Tudor.

        • Ian D B says:

          Hi Stan,
          I’m afraid I cannot find anything in the usual resources, have looked through various databases, websites and books but nothing has turned up matching your description. I can find references to Blenheims crashing on take-off but those after 1940. However the very specific detail about the aircraft striking the bridge is referred to on one site which states only “1939 A Fairey Battle crashed into the bridge near the railway station killing 3 crew.” Could this be the incident to which you refer? Could you please email me at IanDB@gmx.com if you can recall anything further? I think I have found the bridge to which you refer. It would be good to pin it down.
          Ian

  2. Stanley Tudor says:

    After reading through your comments several times I am convinced that the Fairey Battle crash into the bridge over the railway line at Squires Gate Saint Annes in April 1939 was the crash I witnessed.
    I think I may have been mistaken about there being two brick towers which the plane tried to navigate through,and think its wing tip may have hit the roof of a building that was alongside the single tower,as the pilot banked the plane to avoid hitting the tower with its right hand wing.
    Regards Stan Tudor.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Stan, yes I reckon you are right. When time permits I shall try to find out more.
      Try having a look at the view on Google street, might stir some memories?
      Ian

  3. Hilary Weston says:

    My family history research had hit a brickwall but within the last few days (April 2016), a stroke of luck and a report in national newspapers of 24.03.1939 identified a RAF plane crash just before WW2 on 23.03.1939. It was a Fairey Battle plane from Cottesmore, Rutland, night flying over Norfolk. It’s engine failed and it came down in flames at Mileham, Norfolk. The pilot was my relative Guy Shepherd. He was 19 years of age. The great coincidence is that I moved to Norfolk 12 years ago and Mileham is a neighbouring village. All these years of research and the answer was virtually on my doorstep. I hope to identify the site of the crash but local enquiries have so far been abortive. Has anyone had the story passed down to them?

  4. Garth Long says:

    Hi. I am looking for the actual crash site of a Battle 1 of RAF Benson which crashed on a training flight in bad visibility at Cadeleigh 3 miles Ssw of Tiverton Devon on the 12 Sept 1940 at 1840. All crew died.

  5. Nick Tait says:

    Hi I was reading a history of the Alnwick to Coldstream railway line recently which mentioned an aircraft crash on or near the line at Edlingham, Northumberland in May 1942. Can you supply any further details of this incident please. Thank you. Nick Tait

  6. Aron Bradley says:

    Hi there

    I’m a mountain biker and enjoy the country trails and that comes with strange sights sometimes.
    In my local wood Errington wood in Cleveland North Yorkshire, right at the top of the wood the trees have been thinned out but grown back over the years, at that same spot on the hill, there’s a bout a four to five meter wide crater, that goes down to approximately four or five feet in depth. around remembrance day there are always four crosses with poppies placed by its side.
    There is no debris, as it’s to close to population and would have been gathered up.

    I know there was a fighter / Bomber flight training school in a town called Saltburn which is litraly the next town down on the coast form the wood, I’ve looked about on the Internet for any information, I’m not finding any information regarding errington Wood and a crash site. ( not sure I’ve delved far enough )
    There is a war history in and on top of the wood with gun placements and such, bomb holes and cut trench paths.
    It’s also noted that Errington in the past has an important historic history with the near by blast furnace in Redcar and mining. not to mention the Bronze age.

    Thank you

    Aron

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Aron,

      I think the poppies could be there to remember the Wireless Operator of Wellington Z8853 who was killed when the bomber crash landed near New Marske on November 16 1941 after a raid on Germany. The date (around Remembrance Sunday) could tie in with the time you see the poppy crosses, though I am not sure if the location and description you give matches that in this report? And you say there are always four poppy crosses?

      A crash landing, which is what happened to this Wellington, would probably not leave any impact crater so it may not be what you are looking for but this is the only crash site I know of in that area.

      http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/yorkshire/york41/z8853.html

      Ian

  7. Aron says:

    Hi Ian

    Thank you for your prompt reply.
    That’s interesting what you’ve posted and thank you.
    Yes there are always x4 crosses right next to the crater, I took pictures last year while I was biking as i was really intersted to find out what it’s all about.
    There’s a very small village called Upleatham at the bottom far side of the wood, that village has a few older residence dotted about, I’m going to ask if they know any history or know of anyone that may know anything about it, after all, I’m thinking it’s one of the residence that’s placing the crosses. ( could be totaly wrong with that assumption ).
    Someone obviously knows the significance.

    • Ian D B says:

      Knocking on doors often has good results. If not witnesses to the events, stories are passed on to the next generation. Let us know how you get on.

  8. simonsmrt says:

    Hi Ian, an RAF one for this this time that I wonder if you have any info on. I came across a book on Crowborough rugby club today that had a large chapter on the war that completely deviated from the history of the club and players and proceeded to go through a list of airplane crashes in and around the area. Crowborough is about 3 miles from the village of Rotherfield where I live. The Parish boundaries have changed since the war as at the time Crowborough was a tiny village smaller than Rotherfield. Now its an ugly sprawling modern commuter town of about 25,000 souls thanks to the railway and the draw of London. Anyhow one of the crashes or incidents might just qualify for inclusion in my list of Rotherfield parish crash sites as its on the modern parish border between Eridge (a village in Rotherfield Parish) and neighbouring Groombridge. I had no knowledge of it before reading the single sentence about it today.
    It says on 4th Jun 1941 a Spitfire from 303 (Polish) Sqn flown by Plt Off Klosin went into an uncontrollable spin. The pilot baled out and landed safely at Park Corner, Eridge. That’s it, no mention of where the Spit crashed or anything else. Any ideas?

  9. Ian D B says:

    Hi Simon, that’s interesting. I will take a look over the weekend and get back to you if I find anything from the books and databases I have.
    Ian

  10. simonsmrt says:

    Another single sentence entry from Blitz over Sussex says it was a non-combat related crash/loss. However the Polish Sqns remembered website lists him as claiming a Bf109 destroyed on the same day. Maybe a victory roll that went wrong.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Simon, nothing in the books I have, a bit too far south for me!

      However, I found one internet entry that claimed Spitire P8205 was shot down by a Bf-109 over Tonbridge! Another page I found has the crash site as Crowborough.

      http://www.airhistory.org.uk/spitfire/_prodn%20list.txt

      Is this the same page you found? Unsure if it is saying the Spit was destroyed by a bf-109 or whether it shot down the 109?

      http://www.polishairforce.pl/dyw303straty.html

      Luftwaffe crash archive Vol 8 has an entry for that date (but nothing else that might fit), Bf109F-2 Wn.6707 >+3 of Stab JG53 “reported to have collided with a Spitfire 10 miles off Dover at 18.00 hrs. Ff: Heinrich Rohl lost without trace”

      I could be putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with 5 but is it possible that the Spitfire involved in the collision was P8205 and P/O Klosin was trying to get back to RAF Northolt in his damaged Spit but bailed out…?

      Some more research needed, I will leave this one with you for now but let me know how you get on.

  11. simonsmrt says:

    Intriguing, I’ll have to come back to it in slower time as I’m working on a couple of earlier ones first. I will try the village historian who might know more.

  12. Rob Beck says:

    Hi Ian I live near a Hawker hurricane Mk 2 N2662 crash site is Pelton Co Durham 5th Dec 1941 Sgt John Donald Lenehan (RCAF)of 55 OTU squadron based at Raf Usworth Sunderland I am researching this for the village and school children I am at a blank now I want to build a model memorial painting a model in exact colours/markings and find exact location so kids can leave a wreath can you help

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Rob, I have nothing new to add I’m afraid.

      Have taken a look in what books I have that might detail the incident (inlcuding Chorley, RAF Bomber Command Losses Vol 7 OTUs) but nothing has come to light.

      However, I note on the Pelton Pylon there is a reference to the aircraft coming down in a potato field in Southfields. Is this the same place do you suppose as the road named the same? Looking on Google street view, the houses look post-war? So the crash site could have been built on.

      Your best bet might be (if you haven’t already) to take a look in the local library, access the mircofilm copies of the local newspapers in the days / weeks after the event and see if there is anything reported. Due to wartime censorship there may not be, but often there is but with vague references to place names, sometimes photos too. If it is at this Southfields place, you could do a lot worse than knock on the doors and find the person who has been there the longest, see what they recall! Often yields results though memories do tend to rearrange the facts over time, I find.

      I note this Hurricane was one of 3 Hurricanes all of 55 OTU which crashed the same day in the north east;
      http://www.nelsam.org.uk/NEAR/Losses/Losses-WWII1941.htm

      You could certainly write to the RAF Museum at Hendon, see if they have any records you can access.
      http://www.rafmuseum.org.uk/research/default/archive-collection/aircraft-records.aspx

      If you are able to identify the spot, finding a photo of N2662 might be even more difficult. However I just Googled “Hurricane Mk I 55 OTU” and a number of images came up, which may give you an idea as to the colour scheme and markings.

      Sorry I can’t provide anything concrete for you,

      Ian

      • Rob Beck says:

        Hi Ian thank you so much for the information that you have given I will try the raf museum and the raf museum at Sunderland next to Nissan (Usworth) I think the crash site is on the new estate near Southfields Rd but I’m hoping if I contact Charlton’s at the farm they maybe able to help thanks again ill keep you posted. I not that a hurricane crashed 4 miles east of Seaham the same year can you help me with this crash please?

        • Ian D B says:

          No problem Rob. have taken a look at my books, nothing about that incident at Seaham though some internet researching might yield results. Most of the crash sites I have information about are on high ground alas.

  13. Heather Parkinson says:

    Hi, I was wondering if you could shed any light onto a story regarding a Spitfire crashing in a field in South Owersby, Lincolnshire. I have searched and found nothing but the story persists.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Heather, any indication as to the date of the crash or the year it is said to have happened? Or any other details you have?
      Ian D B

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