Halifax BB310

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Halifax Mk.II BB310, Great Dun Fell

In the early hours of 12 April 1944, Halifax BB310 of 1674 Heavy Conversion Unit crashed on Great Dun Fell in the northern Pennines with the loss of all crewmen.

Five of the crew were learning how to fly four-engined heavy bombers, the other four were instructors.

The newly trained crew would probably have gone on to fly Liberators, patrolling the English Channel and looking for u-boats, preparatory to the invasion of France.

They were undertaking an arduous cross country night navigation exercise and the Halifax had been in the air for eight and a half hours when it crashed. The low cloud covering the north west coast contributed to the bomber overflying the base at RAF Longtown north of Carlisle and was at an insufficient height to clear the high ground ahead. The aircraft exploded upon impact, killing all on board instantly.

The view above is looking approximately along the line of approach.


F/O Paul Stevens RCAF, pilot
F/O Sydney Brookes RAFVR, second pilot
Flt Sgt William Johnson RAFVR DFM, wireless op / air gunner
Flt Sgt Frank Pess RCAF, wireless op / air gunner
Flt Sgt Harold Seabrook RCAF, wireless op / air gunner (please see comment below by Brian Seabrook)
Sgt Robert Littlefield RAFVR, flight engineer
Sgt William Morrison RAFVR, navigator
Sgt Hugh Dunningham RAFVR, wireless op / air gunner
Sgt Dean Swedberg RCAF, wireless op / air gunner

A memorial plaque was placed at the crash site on May 1st 1994. Note the differences between some of the ranks recorded on the plaque with those above. I have taken my data from David Earl (Hell on High Ground Vol 2, 1999) who uses the extensive research undertaken by Graham Doyle, a relative of F/O Brooks.

Some of the debris remaining at the crash site.

Below; Visit on the 70th anniversary, 12 April 2014

Site of RAF Longtown, runways still visible
Google Map

Crash site is at grid reference NY 69669 32300

A Coastal Command Halifax.

Photo from uboat.net

7 comments on “Halifax BB310
  1. ang wickham says:

    8.5 hours is a long time up in the air, for anyone – let alone those learning, in weather and at night! What a hard pressed situation those guys must have been in to be pulling hours like that to complete training. Training accidents during war accentuate the futility and tragedy of it all, I think.
    Lead shot shows what I think I could say your ‘site style’, for anyone that takes photos and tries to take them well knows there is a skill in getting an image to catch the eye, and also, to translate what we see and feel of a location, into an image.

    Great colours, grand pov and nice to see a new post to the blog.

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Ang,

      thank you very your comments on the photo!

      that most of these crashes occurred during training flights does often add to the sadness of these places.

      thanks for taking a look.


  2. ang wickham says:

    aww cheers Paul 🙂
    I reckon he should make a calendar of his top shots, I don’t think that’s too morbid a consideration?

  3. Brian Seabrook says:

    Harold Seabrook was my uncle. I showed this to my 90 year old father (Harold’s brother) who didn’t know the memorial existed. I’m glad you took the initiative
    to honour these men.

  4. http://aircrashsites.co.uk/uw/

    Dear Sir
    I am in the final stages of a book about Cumbria in the Second World War and need to clear copyright issues. Could I please re-use the photograph of the memorial plaque at the Great Dun crash site in my book?
    Yours faithfully, Ruth Mansergh, ruthmansergh@icloud.com

    • Ian D B says:

      Hi Ruth,

      Thank you for your request.

      Please use the photo(s) for your book, happy to oblige. Credit to aircrashsites.co.uk please.

      Also I am very interested in the book and expect others will be too; would you please provide us with a link to its page on Amazon when it’s published?



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